ARC Review: Imperial Stout (Trouble Brewing #1) by Layla Reyne

39672580Title: Imperial Stout (Trouble Brewing #1)

Author: Layla Reyne

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: July 23, 2018

Genre: MM Romance, Romantic Suspense

Format: eBook, Print

Length: 272 Pages / 62,000 Words

Rating: 3 – 3.5 Stars



Layla Reyne spins off from her pulse-pounding Agents Irish and Whiskey books with Imperial Stout, the first installment in the Trouble Brewing series

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.


♦ Personal Thought ♦

Imperial Stout” is part one of Layla Reyne’s new “Trouble Brewing” duology. The story centered on San Fransisco FBI’s new ASAC, Cameron Byrne, and Assistant US Attorney, Dominic Price. Both were familiar names on Reyne’s earlier series “Agents Irish and Whiskeys” and it came as no surprise that a handful of characters from the series took the part here as well.

It’s a dual POVs third person story, a blend of romance and crime-solving that involved the biro and US attorney office. Not only they faced conundrum from outside adversaries, Cam and Nic also had to face problem from within; in the form of obnoxious superior, mole, and last-but-very-not-least the attraction between the men.

On the romance front, I think “Imperial Stout” is a bit low-key. Given that it’s clear they were attracted to one another since they first met, the number of physical encounter between Cam and Nic was not as many as I predicted. If you’ve read “Blended Whiskey” you knew there was that “explosive kiss” that both men couldn’t stop thinking about. But that didn’t dictate how things revealed here. Worry not, there were steamy scenes between the two, but responsible adult that they were they didn’t act on it every other time.

With the fast-paced course and the sitch at stake, one would expect our heroes were vigilant on their surroundings. After their “performance” on AIAW, I kind of had pretty high expectation of Cam and Nic – given they were being Aidan’s and Jaime’s go-to person. I got that the incidents occurred here were pertinent to the climax (of the story), not only in this book but also to gear up for the sequel. But reader could hope, surely?

I think one of the reason I tolerate Nic at all because of his age – that kinship sort of thing with someone with the same age; if not emotional, at least physically, lol. That said, his being former Navy SEAL should’ve put him in a much better state than moi! At the minimum, his sense of self preservation should’ve been more than shown here. Although, the ten year age gap between Cam and Nic wasn’t too obvious here, which made him rather robust for a silver fox. 😉

Frankly I also wondered about the comfort of nepotism throughout reading; what’s with the involvement of certain civilians in the case. Again, I didn’t begrudge the familiar face’s cameo in this book, I also understand the officials often recruit private contractors. Still, it tickled me how close family of a certain Special Agent in Charge seemed free to roam the federal offices. One of the silver linings here is the big role another formidable female agent showed. I love it when there’s a kickass female in a story and that the heroes don’t feel intimidated but appreciated her instead. Although, one wish with that many help they could solve their problems in one go, instead of sort of having the last chapter hanging like this. Not really a cliffhanger, but hinting on trouble brewing on the sequel for sure.


Advanced copy of this book is kindly given by the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Carina Press