{Review} Cask Strength by Layla Reyne

{Review} Cask Strength by Layla ReyneCask Strength by Layla Reyne
Also by this author: Single Malt, Barrel Proof
Series: Agents Irish and Whiskey #2
Also in this series: Single Malt, Barrel Proof
Published by Carina Press on May 1st 2017
Genres: M/M Romance, Romantic Suspense
Character(s): Detectives
Pages: 205
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Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan "Irish" Talley and Jameson "Whiskey" Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.

Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer's radar. They're assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie's home state, where Jamie's past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories.

As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner's world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.

Erin: My current favorite FBI agents, Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Jamie” Walker are back—better, more kick ass, and sexier than ever (if you can believe that!) in Cask Strength, book two Layla Reyne’s fabulous Agents Irish and Whiskey series. The action is more intense, the banter even wittier, and the chemistry between Aidan and Jamie even more sizzling hot. Layla Reyne’s writing is on fire and sharp and so fast paced you need a seat belt to keep you strapped in (though if speed demon, Jamie, was driving you’d need on anyway, and maybe something to throw up in, too!). I love this series, so hard. The action and suspense is every bit as fantastic as the romance, and that’s not easy to do.

You really do need to have read Single Malt, book one of the series, before this one, so I’m going to assume you’ve already done so—but I promise not to spoil anything if you haven’t! Cask Strength begins where book one ends, about five months later. Aidan and Jamie have established themselves as the top team at the FBI. Their partnership is based on mutual respect, and these two are SO good together. Their romantic relationship is not quite so certain. Aidan is still struggling with the loss of his husband who died in a car accident years before that may or may not be a murder. He’s afraid of loving Jamie, no matter that his feelings for Jamie are every bit as strong as Jamie’s are for him. There is quite a bit of push and pull with Aidan; he wants Jamie, he knows he wants to be with him, but his heart and mind are telling him different things. It’s frustrating, no lie, and it’s painful to watch Jamie struggle while Aidan dates other men. The angst, it’s powerful here my friends, but trust me, when Aidan pulls his head out of his ass and Jamie goes after his man … you’ll melt all over the floor.

The suspense part of Cask Strength is, to me, every bit as awesome and captivating and the romantic part. Jamie gets sent undercover to North Carolina where he will be posing as a basketball coach. Not too much of a stretch for the famous ex-Tarheel and it’s something that calls to him. Aidan is sent as well, posing as a smarmy sports agent while they investigate an identity theft ring that also leads to illegal gambling and sports betting. Seriously, this whole angle of the book was just so SO good. I loved seeing Jamie going back to his roots and seeing him in a sports environment, which really is such an important of his identity. So much happens once they arrive in NC, and Jamie has to confront his past in the form of ex-boyfriend, Derrick. Talk about some really emotional moments there, gah! You can clearly see the path Jamie could have taken had he not had to give up basketball, how happy he would have been playing the game he loves so much and excels at. Of course, that path wouldn’t have led to Aidan, and Jamie doesn’t want to be anywhere but with Aidan, his home.

Jamie … this man. You guys, he’s really just beyond fantastic. Sarcastic, wicked smart … not to mention charisma for days and an uber sexiness that Aidan can’t resist. And Aidan, um, is there anything sexier than a man with a hint of an Irish accent with an attitude that is bigger than he is? I don’t think so, and these two? I’m telling you, the make the screen of your e-reader practically melt.

Jamie lifted a hand, palming the side of his face. “You are far from past your prime, Aidan Talley.” His thumb caressed his cheek and Aidan’s eyes fluttered closed. “And I love you. I think I have since that night we danced at the Tavern. I know I have since I saw the real you in the airport.” His fingers ran through his red hair and gave a tug. Aidan opened his eyes. “I don’t want him. I only want you. You’re my home now.”

Still scary.

And everything Aidan wanted. Everything he needed.

“I’m yours, Whiskey.”

He barely got the nickname out before Jamie claimed his mouth. So full of love, the kiss would’ve driven last week’s Aidan to the airport. Now it drove him further into Jamie’s arms.

“You know…” Jamie’s lips curved into a smile against his. “This pool table would look a lot better if you were on it with me.”

Aidan smiled, remembering how he’d said the same about the bathroom floor in Galveston. He wasn’t about to argue now. “I couldn’t agree more.”


It’s not just the sex either, it’s their whole connection. Whether working or in bed, Aidan and Jamie just GET one another. They’re so in tune they can read each other’s mind, anticipate actions, and when the shit hits the fan, know without a shadow of a doubt they’ll have each other’s backs.

There are SO many secrets, so many things going on in the background. The terrorist, Renaud, is still out there. Jamie is keeping something HUGE from Aidan regarding his husband, Gabe’s, death. The supporting characters we’ve come to love from book one are back—Mel, Danny, Dominic, and my favorite Cameron. Things are learned, things are hidden, things are going to happen. There’s no doubt that book 3, Barrel Proof is going to be explosive … with that ending how could it not?

Really people, you need to read this series ASAP. Great writing, fantastic characters, suspense and mystery and action worthy of a block buster movie, and once you get sucked in, you’ll be DYING to know what’s going to happen next!

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    Overall: 5

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