Title: Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt
Mary’s Boys Series Book Two
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 112 pages/Word Count: 36,047
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Author
A Mary’s Boys Novella
Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.
Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.
Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?
Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt is a charming romance that is also quite thought-provoking. This latest addition to the delightful Mary’s Boys series can easily be read as a standalone, but I also recommend the previous installment as well.
Denver police officer Marlon Barton’s legendary patience is tested to the limit by his new partner, Andrew Morris. After barely diffusing what could have been a volatile situation, Marlon’s plans to relax with a beer at his usual hangout are thwarted when he discovers Andrew is there. He instead stops in at Mary’s where his plans quickly take a very uncharacteristic turn after meeting bartender Vahin Arora. Marlon’s previously uncomplicated life is turned upside down by his vengeful partner and his fledgling relationship with Vahin is soon put to the test.
Vahin and Marlon are mature characters who have both experienced prejudice based on their appearance. Vahin came to terms with his sexuality a long time ago but he lost his family’s support in the process. His job at Mary’s provides him with more than an income; his co-workers have become his family. Vahin is tired of meaningless hook-ups but before he and Marlon have the chance to see where their relationship is headed, Marlon pulls a disappearing act and his partner sets his sights on Vahin.
Marlon has enough to deal with on the job due to the fact he is a person of color, so he keeps his sexuality a closely guarded secret from his fellow officers. Before he really has the chance to figure out if he has a future with Vahin, he has to deal with the fallout from his loathsome partner’s vengeful actions. Will Vahin still be waiting for him once Marlon sorts through his complicated feelings about the effect their relationship might have on both his personal and professional lives?
With a cast of wonderful characters and a substantive plot, Vodka & Handcuffs is an engrossing romance that is realistic and quite moving. Touching on some very topical issues with sensitivity, Brandon Witt’s newest installment in the Mary’s Boys series is an angst free love story that has plenty of depth and substance. An absolutely outstanding read that old and new fans do not want to miss!