Hard Line (The Woodbury Boys #2) by Sidney Bell

Premed student Tobias Benton is making amends for his past. He keeps his head down, mouth shut and colors within the lines. But when his close friend Ghost goes missing, Tobias will do whatever it takes to get answers—including using blackmail to enlist some help. The last thing he’s looking for is romance.
Private investigator Sullivan Tate isn’t above a little breaking and entering to solve a case, but when Tobias catches him in the act, it’s almost game over. Their uneasy alliance only gets more complicated when Sullivan learns that Tobias shares his interest in kink. Mixing sex and work could kill Sullivan’s career, but Tobias’s acceptance of Sullivan’s darkest urges is nearly impossible to resist.
Side by side, Tobias and Sullivan spend their days searching for the truth and their nights fulfilling their respective fantasies. But the answers they seek are far more dangerous than they realize, and soon they find themselves fighting for more than just each other.

Readers met Tobias in the first book in Sidney Bell’s Woodbury Boys series, Loose Cannon. I really loved Miller and Church’s story and Sullivan and Tobias’ story was just as good, if not a little bit better.

Tobias crossed pretty much every line he had drawn for himself in Hard Line. It started with his need to find Ghost and make sure he was okay, but the more he got to know Sullivan, the harder it became to keeping that line drawn. His relationship with Ghost was complicated and he even questioned his dedication to him at times. He felt a loyalty to him because of their time together in Woodbury. Ghost was Tobias’ unsolicited and unexpected protector. Tobias wasn’t the typical resident of Woodbury. His adoptive parents were supportive, but strict and had very high expectations for all their adopted children. Tobias had a hard time handling the pressure and he cracked. His parents felt like they had no choice but to send him to Woodbury so they get him the help they thought they needed. By the time he met Sullivan, he was still just going through the motions, but not facing the real issues.

Sullivan had his own past to come to terms with. The last thing he needed was someone pushing him into taking a case with threats of blackmail. He was risking a lot by giving into Tobias, and not just his job. He had sworn he would never be part of a D/s relationship because of a bad experience. The attraction between him and Tobias was too strong for either one of them to resist.

This book wasn’t just about the heat between Tobias and Sullivan though. There was the mystery of what actually happened to Ghost and why. There were quite a few twists and turns and readers learned a lot about both Tobias and Sullivan. Not to mention the fact that the set-up for Ghost’s story made me want to get there sooner rather than later. He’s a mystery that readers have been teased with since Loose Cannon. I have to admit, I have no idea how Sidney Bell is going to pull it off, but I can’t wait to get to know him – and maybe understand him just a little bit better.

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Loose Cannon (The Woodbury Boys #1) by Sidney Bell

Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.
With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.
Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.

I almost skipped this one. Thank goodness another author/blogger/reader that I trust suggested that I pick up Loose Cannon, otherwise I would have missed an amazing story. 😉

I’m a huge believer in not judging someone from mistakes made in the past, especially those made when you’re young… within reason. First, they have to own up to those mistakes and not make excuses. Second, they have to want to make a better life for themselves. Church was that kind of person. He knew he screwed up and he was honestly ashamed of the actions that caused him to eventually end up at Woodbury. He was determined to make up for what he put Miller through and prove to himself that he was a better person… and not his father. Fate had different plans and there was literally no way that Church could have avoided the situation he ended up in.

I really liked Miller, but he frustrated me. Yet, ass frustrated as I got with Miller and his denial, I understood where he was coming from. That denial was engrained in him by his father and religion. There were times that I felt that Church deserved better, but so did Miller. His relationship with Church wasn’t the only thing that he was denying himself though. His fear of loosing everything kept him from seeing what he needed most and kept him from being truly happy. He almost lost it all.

The supporting characters in Loose Cannon were pretty amazing. There were very blurry lines between right and wrong and a lot of the characters fell into that gray area. I’m still not sure how I feel about a couple of them, which is just one of the many reasons why I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I’m pretty sure Tobias’ story is next, which is good. He was such a great, supportive, upbeat character. And then there was Ghost… it stands to reason that Sidney Bell would make readers wait to get to know him better, but I have a feeling that that wait is going to be torture.