Crossing the Line
(Jake's Bar Book 2)
by AG Meiers
Publisher: Painted Hearts Publishing
Release Date: August 25, 2022
Genre: Romantic suspense, Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Lovers to enemies to lovers, second chance romance, race to uncover dangerous secrets
Themes: Fast-paced suspense, ex-cop with little left to lose, protective lawyer who loves too hard, hurt/comfort, broken trust, forgiveness (or not), family found, new start, Two men falling in love while dodging bullets and chasing bad guys
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 81 000 words
Crossing the Line is Book 2 in the Jake’s Bar series. It is a standalone romance with a satisfying end for the mystery. It does not end on a cliffhanger.
Broken Trust doesn’t give Second Chances…
Holden Wright had it all—and lost it. Five months ago, he was on top: a decorated detective with a bright future. Then his father’s gambling destroyed everything. Left with nothing, Holden works nights at Jake’s Bar with no idea how to get his broken life back on track.
Brent Northwood has it all—except the man he loves. Brent made a deal with the devil to become a well-respected lawyer, but success doesn’t turn out to be all he ever wanted. His love for Holden started with a wild, crazy hookup in the rain, but it all came to an abrupt end when Brent lied—with best intention—but a lie is a lie and Holden can’t forgive.
Holden needs the successful lawyer back in his life about as badly as he needs the bullet hole his father put in his shoulder. But with secrets from Holden’s past threatening his future, Brent is the only one who can protect him. The two men forge a volatile truce to stay one step ahead of danger, but is it enough to mend the broken trust between them? Can they risk a second chance for love knowing what’s at stake?
But none of that matters if they can’t find out who is trying to take Holden down…
Series: Crossing the Line, Book 2 in the award-winning Jake’s Bar series, is a steamy, M/M romantic suspense featuring a rainbow-colored bar full of quirky characters, and all the romance you can handle. So, download today, and get ready to fall in love with Jake’s Bar.
Holden topped off the beer and slammed it on the counter in front of Grey. The grungy mechanic tore his eyes away from a green-haired twink across the room. “What crawled up your ass tonight?”
JD’s was a gay bar and prime hookup spot, so there were a few dozen suitable answers, but Holden wasn’t feeling any of them. His mind was f*cking with him—flashing lust-filled images from a past he’d buried deep in a box labeled “mistake.” For the past hour, while he was serving drinks and cashing out people as it got late, he had tried hard to ignore the man in a dark suit sitting at one of the high tables away from the crowds. It had been a good night until Brent Northwood showed up.
Grey took a sip and licked the foam off his lips with an exaggerated swirl of his tongue. On the other side of the bar green-hair rolled his eyes and turned away to follow his friends back to a booth. Grey had tried to get the guy’s attention a few times now and had consistently been shot down.
“You’re not Kyle’s type,” Holden said helpfully as he wiped down the beer taps.
Grey pulled a face. “It’s a sh*t night. The place was hopping for a while, but lately it’s been slow. I think Jake is in trouble. He hit gold when that blogger made a big deal out of JD’s, but there was just no way that was gonna last. JD’s doesn’t offer enough. In the end, it’s just a dingy corner bar.”
Then what the f*ck are you doing here every night? Holden swallowed his acrid reply. Grey was a bit of an ass, however Holden was pretty sure that nothing but an empty apartment waited for the guy at the end of the day. Five months ago, he would have been quick to judge and discard JD's regular, but these days, they had too much in common.
Before he could stop himself, Holden threw a glance across the room to the lanky man sitting motionless in the dim light. As always, Brent looked like he’d just stepped out of a courtroom. Impeccably dressed in an Armani suit. A face with square angles and full lips with a cupid’s bow. The dark five o’clock shadow was the only imperfection, but it enhanced his classic charms. Holden had always known he was bi. He’d experimented with both men and women, but Brent Northwood, almost ten years older, serious to the point of severe, wasn’t even his usual type. Still, nobody had ever been as irresistible.
Elbows resting on the table, the lawyer nursed a whiskey in his hands. He seemed lost in his thoughts. Luckily, Grey picked up their conversation again before Holden was caught staring. “Somebody must have bought the rundown movie theater next door. They’re renovating. The dumpster takes up half the parking spots on this side.”
“Yeah, Jake’s been talking about them hammering all day long. He’s pissed about the noise,” he replied.
“If that’s turned into a bar, Jake can bag it,” Grey said with gloomy delight. “I’m telling you, this is only the beginning.” He waved around the mostly empty place.
“Bullsh*t. It’s Tuesday. Tuesdays are slow.”
“And you’re stuck with Tuesdays.” Grey wasn’t done stirring sh*t up. “Maybe you should talk to Jake. You must be hurting for money after losing your cushy detective job—”
A hand came down on Holden’s back. “Grey, shut your mouth,” Jake growled at the mechanic. “Nobody needs your poison. Told you that before. If you can’t be civil, get the f*ck out of my bar.”
It wasn’t an empty threat. Jake had zero tolerance for hate or stupidity, and he was fiercely protective of his staff. Jake grabbed a few empty bottles and tossed them into a crate under the bar. “Where is Jazz?”
“It was slow, so I sent them home a few minutes ago. They’ve got an exam tomorrow. Talked about it all night. I’ve got it covered and thought they could use a few extra hours of sleep,” Holden replied.
“Makes sense to take advantage of a nice, peaceful night,” Jake said with a happy sigh. He was the only bar owner Holden knew who got into a pissy mood when his place was packed with people. Jake loved peace and quiet, and most nights, JD’s Bar was anything but.
Jake stopped abruptly and squinted into the dimly lit taproom. “What’s the damn fixer doing here?”
“Northwood?” It was petty, but Holden took some perverse pleasure in the fact that Jake didn’t like Brent.
“Yeah, Brent f*cking Northwood.”
The first book in this series was really good. This one? Even better. I loved Holden’s character, and really felt for him with the unfair situation in which he found himself after the events in the first book. Here we get to delve deeper into his personal situation and his past, shedding more light on how things got to this point. The more I read, the more I wanted to see justice.
My feelings about Brent were mostly neutral after book one. Like with Holden, once more background was revealed, the more I was championing him coming out on top without losing everything he’d worked for in his life. Both of them have had difficulties in their lives, but have each worked to become successful in spite of their respective pasts.
I was not a fan of Con’s mother in book one; book two just cemented my opinion of her even more. On the flip side, my respect for Con’s sister wound up growing. The secondary characters from the first book returned here, doing another great supporting job. I’m particularly fond of Sheldon and his flighty ways, Jazz and their in-control attitude, and even Grey finally wound up giving a tug at my heart (you’ll see).
There’s much to uncover and a case that needs solving; plenty is going on to keep your attention throughout the story. And just when everything’s wrapping up, the author throws in a twist at the very end for the next story in the series—I’m definitely hooked.
4.5 stars for Crossing the Line, and this book is meant for reader’s 18+ for adult language and sexual content.
**Be sure to check out my review of book one, End of the Line, here on the blog!**
Eighteen years ago, AG Meiers came to the US for adventure and stayed for love. Currently, she lives in New England with her husband and two awesome kids—balancing work, friends and family, and writing.
When she has some free time, her favorite thing to do is travel and visit new places. Her past trips have already brought her to a variety of countries on four continents. She never passes up an opportunity to experience different cultures, diverse people and amazing locations.
Even though she has been dreaming up stories all her life, she has only recently started to write them down and share them with the world. As a writer she loves to put her characters through a lot of challenges, conflict and heartbreak, before she allows them to find their happy-ever-after.
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