Review: Imperial Stout – Layla Reyne

Review: Imperial Stout – Layla ReyneImperial Stout
by Layla Reyne
Series: Trouble Brewing #1
Also in this series: Craft Brew, Noble Hops
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 23, 2018
Genres: Romance
Pages: 272
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Layla Reyne spins off from her pulse-pounding Agents Irish and Whiskey books with Imperial Stout, the first installment in the Trouble Brewing series

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.

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This is the first book in a spin-off series of Ms. Reyne’s Agents Irish & Whiskey.  As such, I would not recommended reading this without reading the other series – it builds on the relationships and characters that were already introduced in the first series.

The beginnings of their relationship, and their underlying attraction, were already established in the Irish & Whiskey series, so we’re able to jump straight into angsty lust.  And action!  There’s no slow build to the plot, rather we’re thrown into the midst of the action.

“I wasn’t always Special Agent Cameron Byrne.”
“I didn’t expect you launched from your mother’s womb as such.”

Nic had been a Navy SEAL sniper before an injury sidelined him to JAG duty.  Now he’s a US Attorney, and working closely with the newly transferred FBI agent Cam, a former kidnap and rescue expert who’s resettled in San Francisco (and dealing with just how dang expensive that city is!).  A case gone sideways ends up with Cam having to relive his past by going undercover to solve the crime and protect a witness.  Cam’s not the only one in danger, though – Nic’s estranged father has made some bad business deals and now goons are coming after him, too.  With their current problems and their respective pasts crowding in on them, is there any room for something between them?

“Is this going to push you over the line? Break one rule, break them all?”
“I broke the rules the minute I laid eyes on you, Dominic Price.”

I loved Cam from the previous series, and he lived up to my expectations in this one.  Both main characters from the previous books had money, so it was nice to see the perspective of someone who’s got a decent job but still struggling to live in the SF Bay Area.  Nic, I think, came off a lot more aloof in the other books, but seeing things from his perspective really made me warm up to him.  While I think the chemistry between the two of them is excellent, it did feel like the book was more focused on the action and setting up the rest of the series than their romance, though what is there is pretty darn steamy.  Like the previous series, there’s lots of sub-plots and secrets that are hinted at but not revealed in this book.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent start to the spin-off series, and I’m very much looking forward to the next one!

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