Book Review: Come Back by JA Huss

Come Back cover

Title: Come Back (Dirty, Dark and Deadly #2)
Author: JA Huss
Genre: Erotica, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis
“Secrets keep the darkness alive,” Harper tells me. But that’s not how I see it at all. Secrets keep me alive. The truth is overrated. Honesty is never the best policy. And everything you know absolutely can hurt you.

The contracts I fulfill are just agreements. Death is a business deal. Secrets are currency in my world. I pay my debts with them. I feed on them. They ground me in the present and they promise me a future. I’ve lived a life filled with secrets for so long—I forgot what it’s like to… feel.

Until I saw Harper. Until I saw how beautiful she’s become. How perfect, and pure, and innocent of all the ugly that goes on around her. And that dirty promise I refused the night her father turned me into a killer twelve years ago is suddenly on the table again.

Harper can be mine. No—Harper will be mine. All I have to do is complete the mission.

Death is a business deal.

And I just shook his hand.

My Review
WARNING: If you have any intention of reading the Rook & Ronin series, my suggestion is that you hold off reading this book.  While you will not be lost if you proceed, there are MAJORLY HUGE spoilers that will ruin some of the suspense of Taut, and more so with Guns.  If you don’t mind spoilers, or don’t have time to read the awesomeness of that 7 book series (I get it, that could be daunting), then carry on.

This book pretty much picks up where Come left off.  James Fenici, aka Tet, aka Number Six, has run off for an assignment, but Harper Tate isn’t much of a fan of waiting around, and takes off with the intention of finding him.  As they come back together, everything is intensified; the mystery, the threats, and the sex.

“I always fantasized about you waking up and watching me and then you’d stick your fingers in your pussy and we’d masturbate together, coming at the same time.”
Do they live out this fantasy?  Let’s see, I’m half naked and reaching for batteries.  What do you think?

I loved this story from page one.  Like the novella, the storyline is complex. The author slowly reveals layers to the story as it alternates from James and Harper’s POVs.  Within those layers remains secrets that neither is willing to share, just yet.  Those secrets are not predictable in any way, at least for me they weren’t, which made reading this so much more enjoyable.  I never knew who to trust.  While it is apparent to everyone that James is being set up, the whos and whys are not apparent.  So you just go for the ride and watch it all unfold.

“Can you make sure if I die, then I don’t die for nothing?”

As the story develops, you learn of the long-time connection between James and Harper, his Lionfish.  (Pay attention here=>) Promised to James on her six birthday, when he becomes Six, the two, while 10 years apart in age, formed a bond.  While awkward and inappropriate at that age, the early bond creates a connection that is impossible to break when Harper finally becomes 18.  And we all know what happened then (ok, if you don’t know, then I suggest you read/reread Come).

Added to the mix is Sasha Cherlin, who you may remember if you read Slack.  She was a completely unexpected character.  From her interaction with Ford in that novella (yes, his name is mentioned often in this book *happy dance*), she came off a bit innocent.  She is anything but that.  Of the three, Sasha seems to have the most secrets.  She is a true wild card.

At times Sasha was frustrating, as her emotions were back and forth.  I could sometimes sympathize with James’ reactions to her.  Quite frankly, he is a bit of a dick to her, but he occasionally lightens the mood between them by giving her various “Smurf” nicknames.
Soldier Smurf
Smurfette
Kamikaze Smurf
Cocky Smurf
I wasn’t sure if I should trust Sasha, but nevertheless, I liked her character.  She’s smart, strong for someone her age, and brave.  Oh, and she just wants to be with Ford (did I mention he is on my top 5 BBF list?).  Obviously, she is wise beyond her years. *wink*

The common theme of this book is trust.  The trio all have moments of mistrust about each other, rightly so.  The secrets they refuse to share only add to that mistrust.  James begs Harper to trust him.  But she’s not there yet and I don’t blame her.

“You can’t have it both ways. Either you want something convenient and fast filled with sex and that’s it. Or you want something meaningful and you earn the trust that comes with it.”

Although I didn’t always trust James, his secret put the group at risk, I think he is genuinely a good guy.  Sensing that he was being set up, he clearly thought ahead to protect Harper and Sasha.  The title of the book is based on James’ promise to Harper, that if he ever had to leave for an assignment, he will Come Back.

“If I tell you to walk through fire, it’s because I know beyond a doubt that you are fireproof. If I tell you to take a bullet, it’s because I know that you are bulletproof. If I tell you to walk away from me, it’s because you know I will come back for you.”

Whether James will keep his promise to be away from Harper no longer than 10 days, remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.

“This feels like something new. Something apart from what I was and a way forward into what I can be. This feels like hope, baby.”

And so we wait, and hope . . .

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