I have a new favorite in the series. Maybe it’s the time lapse since the last Men of Haven novel I read, but I don’t think so. Stand & Deliver offers the perfect blend of two people falling in love and a true understanding of family whether connected by blood or choice. Ninette (one of the clan mothers) has a perfect line in the book that defines why I enjoy this series, but the basics are because it’s people supporting those they love without undercutting them. You can be strong and cared for at the same time, but it’s something rarely shown so well in fiction.
As with the others, the book had detailed sex scenes with talk of more risque acts (but no action), swearing, and violence. Some of the last went beyond my lines, specifically in the very end though off-screen, but the reasons were clear and a natural extension of Beckett’s character. This is down-to-earth real, not perfect, people facing real crises. Yes, the Haven men have hard-earned wealth to pad their way, but they don’t use it to make things easy so much as to expedite what’s important… Well, except for when Trevor brings home special Scottish ale for Axel. Which also brings up the element of humor that laces through heavy emotional and sometimes scary story lines.
Each book in the series blends a love thread with some kind of deadly crisis, and how this particular one came together was critical. While all the Haven women are strong in their own ways, Gia is strong in traditionally male ways, or so her father believes. She’s a security professional in her own right, so the muscle Beck has to offer her didn’t come about in the same way even Darya’s story did (Darya being a serious hacker). Sure, Beck makes mistakes in that area, but understandable ones. It’s what the whole crew does at one point that really hammered home their acceptance of Gia as who she really was, though, and I wouldn’t have expected it in a million years.
The “big bad” I figured out in the first third of the book, though I hoped I was wrong. What I didn’t peg was the whole story. When things went south, it was much worse than I’d foreseen by a measure of ten, and worked wonderfully.
Then there was Beck and his sensory processing disorder that gave Gia every opportunity to prove she had what it took to take him on. That’s an odd comment considering it was Beckett who had to convince her and get through her walls, but if you give the book a read, I think you’ll see what I mean.
There are a ton of other aspects I could comment on, but instead, I’ll leave you with this: I started Stand & Deliver because I needed a read I could trust after a few less satisfying ones. Rhenna Morgan repaid my hopes in spades.
P.S. I received this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.