Title: Up Close and Personal
Series: Auckland Med, Book 3
Author: Jay Hogan
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Southern Lights Publishing
Tropes: Enemies to friends to lovers, forced proximity, humour, suspense
Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/upcloseandpersonal
DETECTIVE MARK KNIGHT has a serious problem—one that comes in the form of Auckland Med’s brand-new forensic pathologist. Six feet of delicious blond-haired, scary smart, stern and disapproving hotness—DR EDWARD R NEWTON.
The man is miles out of Mark’s league; completely opposite in almost every way, and shockingly immune to Mark’s flirtations. Mark should just let him go. But the alluring doctor has taken residence in Mark’s brain and is messing with his life’s plan—in particular Mark’s determination to skirt attachments and all the self-absorbed drama that goes with them.
Mark has spent two years watching his friends drop like flies to the white picket virus, only to suddenly find himself hankering for a hammer and some white paint. Edward, however, doesn’t want a bar of Mark’s roguish charm.
But it’s not like Mark can avoid the sexy pathologist—death brings them together on a regular basis. So when a string of murders threatens both their lives and sends them into hiding, something has to give.
Mark checked his watch. Eight thirty. Shit. Should he have brought something? No. Not. A. Date., idiot. He rapped on the door and jumped at the booming bark that greeted him from the other side. A dog? And not just any dog by the muscle behind that bark¾ a big ‘keep your hands to yourself or lose your whole arm’ dog. And that was a surprise. In a million years, Mark would never have picked Edward for a dog guy, ever. Too much hair and dry cleaning for all those pristine suits for a start.
There were a few muffled words before the locks snapped and the door opened to reveal Edward…and wow. The man sported a light scowl, hand tousled hair, a cute as fuck dimple, those damn black rimmed glasses and a million points of contact for Mark’s lips. His tongue landed on the roof of his mouth and stuck there. It was marginally better than having it on the floor in full living colour but not by much because… holy shit…Mark had been in no way prepared for this.
The image of Edward R Newton in soft sweats, bare feet, a light dark scruff on his jaw and a slim fitting Rascal Flatts tee shirt that did nothing to hide a considerably tighter, fitter body than Mark had ever fantasised, damn near sucked the breath from his lungs. It was all he could do not to back the pathologist against that very expensive wall and sink into those succulent disapproving lips.
Oh, yeah, as if he didn’t already know how much trouble he was in. Yet he seemed completely unable to stop himself from walking straight into it, like a damn prisoner to the executioner’s block. Now why in the hell was that? Oh, right. Still no fucking answer.
“Detective Knight.” Edward motioned Mark inside with a sweep of his arm. “Straight down and to the left.” Business as usual.
For Mark it was anything but. He hitched a brow and did his damnedest not to drool…or pant, then turned and made a dramatic point of scanning the neighbourhood, giving himself some much needed time to get his shit together.
Finally he turned back to Edward and pulled up his most confused expression. “Excuse me, sir. Do I know you? This is 16 Holsworthy Drive, right?”
Edward bit back a smile. “Why? Is there something the matter, detective?”
“You know damn well there is.” He eyed Edward sideways. “You did this deliberately, didn’t you?”
“Did what?” Edward’s brow creased.
“This¾” Mark gestured with a sweep of his hand. “¾this mellow, breezy¾I’m not buttoned up tighter than a drag queen’s tuck¾look you’ve got going on here. Just a regular joe, relaxed, take me as I am kind of guy, in my obscenely revealing sweats and painted on fucking T-shirt¾just your everyday sexy piece of intelligent gorgeousness, right?”
Edward’s eyes popped. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. These are my home clothes. And… obscene?”
Mark’s gaze narrowed. “All of that and you focus on obscene? You know very well what I mean. You’re a tease Edward Newton. I can not only see you’re circumcised in those, at the right angle I could quite possibly read the date stamp of the procedure. Come close enough and I can probably scan the bloody QR code with my phone.”
Edward chuckled. “You’re an idiot.”
“No, I damn well am not. You don’t play fair. Who are you and what have you done with Edward? Where’s the suit? The exec shirt with its labyrinth of teeny tiny Alcatraz style buttons, and chastity level belted up trousers with their ubiquitous no trespassing sign plastered across the fly in neon lights. And for the love of God where the hell are your shoes? Look at those toes¾those feet are seriously sexy.” He threw up his hands. “You can’t fuck with me like this, Edward. I may need serious therapy.”
Edward gaped, his expression part amusement, part serious concern over whether Mark might have lost his freaking mind, which Mark suspected wasn’t far from the truth. And if a little bit of flirting had troubled the good pathologist, spewing crazy talk was never gonna be a winner. Mark figured he’d cooked his goose.
But then Edward laughed, loudly, and everything in Mark’s world got a little brighter with it. “Just the outcome I was looking for,” he said. “Total derision.”
“No, um, it’s not…” Edward took a few breaths in a seeming effort to calm down and waved Mark inside for the second time. “Just so you know, I’m not going to furnish any reply to that nonsense, mostly because I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m at home, in at-home clothes, Mark. It happens.”
“Nuh-uh.” Mark waggled his finger in Edward’s face as he stepped inside. “At-home-Edward-clothes have always, in my imagination¾and believe me when I say I’ve spent some considerable time imagining it¾have always been a pair of conservative relatively ugly¾sorry¾beige corduroys or chinos, belted of course, quite possibly padlocked even… with added chain. And maybe, just maybe, a loose button-down shirt, untucked if you were feeling particularly risqué. But nowhere, and it bears repeating, nowhere did you ever appear barefoot and tousle-haired. Never. Slippers, at the very least. Dealbreaker, Edward, dealbreaker. You cannot expect me not to flirt with all this on display. You have no one to blame but yourself.”
Edward shook his head disbelief. “Your imagination is a dangerous place Detective. Remind me never to visit. But it’s nice to know you fantasise about me. Now, head down the hall and to the right before you say something you’ll regret.”
Mark eyed him up and down. “Like that horse hadn’t already bolted from the stable a paragraph or two back.”
Edward grinned. “I promise not to hold it against you.”
“Such is my luck. Shoes off?”
Mark paused. “By the way, the scruff looks good on you.”
Edward’s hand immediately lifted to his jaw and Mark smiled to himself.
“You should keep it,” he said and the man’s cheeks tinged pink. At least Mark wasn’t the only one off-balance.
They stared at each other for a few more seconds before Edward cleared his throat. “After you, detective.”
Why did I wait to start (reading) this series!? The third installment to Jay Hogan’s “Auckland Med” series brought together Detective Mark Knight and forensic pathologist Dr. Edward R. Newton in a lively and exciting UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. Mark was first introduced in the series first book, already grabbing attention there. Here, he enjoyed the heck out of goading and provoking calm and cool Edward. The clash of opposing personalities and sparks of chemistry of the men were such joy to read.
This is a moderate pace, dual alternate POVs story – centered not only on the cracking relationship between our two leading men but also the murder case that threw them to the murderer’s attention. Of the three books in the series (so far) UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL is slightly ahead as my favorite due to the well-balance blend of romance and mystery. Although at times I gritted my teeth over the often unhurried manner of everyone involved in solving the problem. I haven’t read many books set in New Zealand though, so it’s been a learning experience too for me finding details, such what’s usual in US or UK’s LEOs not applied in NZ. My hunch was proven true as to the culprit of the killing – which I wish others here clued-in sooner to lessen the amount of blood spilled.
On the romance front, it’s good to know the scrap between the good detective and aloof pathologist had been going on months before the story started. It dispensed with first impressions and such; and instead lent a familiarity – albeit in a rather hostile way – between the two men and making their battle of wits straight from the first chapter more plausible. The highlight for me was Mark and Edward’s interaction with Tink – the hilarity that followed each time, except for that one unfortunate moment. Doubtless, Jay Hogan is fast becoming my favorite author and I really hope there are more to come on her “Auckland Med” tale after this.
Copy of this book is kindly given by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I am a New Zealand author writing in m/m romance, and romantic suspense. I have traveled extensively and lived in the US, Canada, France, Australia and South Korea. In a past life I have been an Intensive Care Nurse, Counselor, and a Nursing Lecturer.
I’m a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). I love to cook, pretty damn good, love to sing, pretty damn average, and as for loving full-time writing, absolutely… depending of course on the day, the word count, the deadline, how obliging my characters are, the ambient temperature in the Western Sahara, whether Jupiter is rising, the size of the ozone hole over New Zealand and how much coffee I’ve had.
Welcome to my world.
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