Wednesday, April 3, 2019

When It Rains by Elle Keaton

Beto Hernandez’s objective: Break the human trafficking ring plaguing Skagit once and for all. He’s not in Skagit to make friends—he's kicking ass first and taking names later. Maybe. He crosses paths with an intriguing and sexy man, the first in years to spark Beto’s interest. It’s ultimate bad timing, though; no one in Skagit can be trusted.

Who is Carsten Quinn, and where does he fit in Beto’s investigation? Beto tries to stay away from Carsten but their undeniable chemistry keeps him close.

Carsten Quinn survived years in hell to return to “normal life,” and he has his own mission in Skagit. The only problem is he’s hiding, not living anything like a normal life. When his closest friend is severely injured it’s up to Carsten to finish gathering evidence to put some very bad people behind bars and he knows all too well he can’t trust anyone, especially not the law.

Ironically, the law appears anyway, in the form of a sexy cop he can’t stop thinking about; when Carsten’s past comes back with a vengeance, he has no one else to turn to.

Is happiness too much to hope for? Are Beto and Carsten too different and too broken to trust anyone, much less each other?

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Book 8
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“Another?” asked the attentive bartender.

“Sure.” The drink had relaxed him a little; he felt his shoulders release. Instead of worrying, he focused on the cheesy ’70s ballad currently playing over the sound system, tapping his fingers on the bar top. Then he eavesdropped on the conversation the bartender and the stranger next to him were having.

“Long day?” The bartender did that thing where he kept his hands busy like he was only half paying attention, wiping down the bar, straightening glasses.

“Long cold day after a long cold night. Does it always rain like this?”

The other man’s voice was low and smooth. Carsten liked it. He turned his head so he could see what the guy looked like.

Holeee moly, he was Carsten’s walking wet dream. The stranger wore a dark suit. It had to be tailor-made for him; the jacket stretched perfectly across his shoulders. It was paired with (from what Carsten could see at his angle) a crisp white shirt that made his electric-blue tie pop.

“See something you like?”

Carsten blinked, belatedly realizing the man was speaking to him, his intense gaze pinning him to his seat. Carsten’s sneaky glance had been not sneaky at all; the Lone Wolf had gone to his head.

“I, ah, we don’t see a lot of suits and ties here. In Skagit, I mean, not this bar, but I don’t come here that often, so I wouldn’t know about that. Do you?”

The stranger was sex on a stick: glossy black hair cut short against his skull, sharp cheekbones and plush—plump lips. Lips that had a half smile gracing them at the moment.

The man chuckled. “Did you just ask if I come here often?”

Carsten rewound what he’d said. “Oh crap, no, I just meant… Shit, this drink”—he motioned at the half-empty second Lone Wolf—“is stronger than I realized.”

“Well, when they let twelve-year-olds drink…”

“I’m twenty-four,” Carsten protested.

“I’m the pope.”

“I am! How old are you?”

“I’m old enough and had a long enough day that I don’t actually care if you are underage.”

Suit took a sip of the drink in front of him. It looked like bourbon or whiskey; Carsten knew nothing about drinks, good or bad.

“I’ll ask you the same question: Does it always rain like this?” Suit asked.

“This is bad.” Carsten agreed. “I heard somewhere that fish were swimming across roads. That’s some serious rain.”

Suit frowned as he took another sip of his drink. Carsten was intrigued; he wanted to ask why he was wearing a suit when no one in Skagit did. “This is nothing like LA.”

“I’ve never been there. I mean, it’s way warmer there, of course.”

“It’s the dark and gloom here, then add weeks of rain. I’m starting to feel moldy.”

“You sure don’t look moldy.” The words were out before Carsten could stop them.

Suit didn’t smile, but he also didn’t punch Carsten.

Carsten motioned to the TV. “At least there’s TV we can watch and know there are sunny places out there.” The TV host was talking silently about some exotic dish she was about to try.

Carsten’s stomach rumbled. He hadn’t eaten since lunch. “Where would you go if you weren’t here?” The drink, on top of the lack of dinner, was making him bold. Carsten wasn’t shy per se, but he usually kept quiet and in the background as much as possible.

Suit glanced up at the TV. “I’ve never thought about it. My job keeps me busy.”

“Come on, there’s got to be someplace. Not in the US. Quick, pick one.”

Suit looked up.

“Don’t think about where, just say it.”

“Ireland or Iceland. I’ve always been fascinated by their mythologies, and it would be interesting to visit the land they came from.”

“Both those places are cold,” Carsten pointed out.

“Italy. Happy now?”

Carsten nodded. “All I’s…”

“Dios, it’s your turn, smart guy.”

It was foolish of him to dream about leaving Skagit… but something about the stranger had him dreaming about where he would go if he could. They spent the next half hour or so comparing places they’d rather be. It was fun and distracted Carsten from the fact that Troy never showed up.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

We first meet Carsten in the past. He is clearly in terrible circumstances which are alluded to just enough to convey the horror of his situation. By the end of our first meeting with him, however, there is just the tiniest glimmer of hope.

In the present, Beto, an FBI agent working undercover in the Skagit PD, is working to bring down illegal activities in the town. The men meet each other in a bar and then again as part of Beto’s investigation, where Carsten is a potential witness and his past is relevant to Beto’s case.

The efforts by Beto and the FBI to bring down the child sex ring that has been operating in Skagit lends a heaviness to this story and the constant deluge of rain adds to the atmosphere. On the other hand, the growing romance between Beto and Carsten balanced it out, giving me hope for a happy future for the men and that the good guys would win in the end.

I loved When It Rains. The drama, action, and love story combine well together and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing two men with less than perfect pasts find their happily ever after together. This is the eighth and final instalment in the Accidental Roots series and I’m going to miss Skagit but when I do, I know I’ll have eight wonderful stories to re-read.

Also Available in the Accidental Roots Series

Book 1
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For reviews & more info, check out our Storm Season post.

Book 2
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For reviews & more info, check out our No Pressure post.

Book 3
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For reviews & more info, check out our Spring Break post.

Book 4
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For reviews & more info, check out our As Sure as the Sun post.

Book 5
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Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the River Home Blog Tour.

Book 6
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For reviews & more info, check out our Unforgivable post.

Book 7
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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our His Best Man post.

Book 7.5
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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our The Northstar post.

Author, photographer, rare Pacific Northwest Native, Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west. Less than two hours northwest lie the majestic San Juan Islands. To the northeast is the Methow Valley and the scrub deserts of Eastern Washington. Geography ripe with material.

A graduate of Western Washington University, Elle has a BS in biology which taught her to be tenacious. The closest she has come to biology since then is having two kids. Like an experiment or something. She’s lived in four states (none of which were gaseous), London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time it is, and has no problem finding parking even in the most difficult places. Cannot balance a checking account.

Elle's series Accidental Roots, mostly set in the Skagit Valley of Western Washington, will make its debut spring of 2017. Storm Season is tender, sometimes irreverent, full of nosy neighbors and help when the hero didn’t think he needed it. Writing has always been a passion but not something she was able to take seriously until recently. Now her head is full of ideas and not enough time in each day.

Connect with Elle

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of When It Rains (Accidental Roots #8) by Elle Keaton to read and review.

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