Summary Review: A wonderful adventure in the world of Ce and Dan that will make you want to hug them.
Hard help can be good to find.
Romano and Albright, Book 2
Feisty New Yorker Caesar Romano has a knack for getting into a jam, and this week is no exception. When his pregnancy-hormone-buzzed business partner sweet talks him into working a solo gig for his famous ex, Caesar attracts the worst kind of attention.
It’s only the beginning. Hit on by a lusty German, stalked by the paparazzi, victim of an unexpected airbag attack—and desperate for some part-time help—Ce’s running out of time, staff and patience. But what’s really got him poised to run? A looming brunch with his sexy lover’s esteemed family.
PI Dan Albright is a man of many gifts: investigation, security, sex talk and driving Caesar nuts in and out of the bedroom. Hired to protect an outrageous soap star from a deranged personal assistant, Dan’s got his hands full refereeing rival actors, locating one four-foot-eleven woman…and convincing Ce that he’s playing for keeps.
Hey, nobody ever said taking a relationship to the next level was a waltz in the park.
When last we left Caesar and Dan in Catch Me If You Can reviewed here their romance was just starting to jell and they both thought that maybe this time it was the real thing. Ce had recently come off a three-year relationship with Shep, a small time television star who was in the closet because he didn’t want his sexual orientation to negatively affect his success in the industry. When he figured out that being gay could be a plus, he used his orientation shamelessly to benefit his career. Dan was the complete opposite of Shep – he was proud of the fact that he was gay and didn’t care who knew it, despite the fact that his family was high profile. He was openly demonstrative with Ce, which was a novelty to someone as conservative as Caesar so that took some getting used to. Their 6-week relationship was going great except for the dreaded visit to the ‘rents that was looming over Ce’s head which he kept postponing, but could not admit to either Dan or himself why.
This particular morning Ce was supposed to be on the lookout for someone Dan wanted to interview in connection with a current case, while he was otherwise engaged following up on a lead for his latest assignment. Waiting impatiently at an upscale car dealership for Dan to finish his business, boredom set in for Ce and he was ‘hijacked’ by one of the salesmen who challenged him to test drive a BMW. Ce’s car experience up until this point was limited to driving a delivery van for his best friend Poppy’s restaurant Pish Posh Nosh, but he was never one to turn down a direct challenge so he was up for going on the road in a BMW. Of course everything that could go wrong did and the accident scene was one of the most hilarious I have read in a long time. Not only did Ce crash the BMW without even leaving the dealership, but in the process he also hit another car or maybe he hit two cars – who knows? The confusion that ensued is one of the reasons this author is so popular. No one could possibly be as inept at driving as Ce but this stunt was so believable, as well as the reactions of everyone who witnessed the accident (s), that you will split your sides laughing. I won’t elaborate any more because I think you need to experience this debacle for yourself. I will say that in the middle of waiting for Dan to extricate him from the car without any further bodily injury than that caused by an exploding airbag, and rescue him from those who wanted him tarred and feathered, he received a text from his pregnant best friend Poppy asking him to pick up pickles and ice cream. ‘Nuff said.
When Dan and Ce managed to leave the dealership, with Ce barely escaping with his life, it was time to embark on their next adventure - riding the streets of NYC in a borrowed Camry which reeked of fetid, rotten, week old curry. If you have ever been to NYC in the summer (or any large city) where the heat is cloying and there’s no breeze, you may understand why the smell in the car made Ce sick to his stomach. The many pine tree air fresheners didn’t even have a minimal impact on the rancid smell wafting in the car, and turning on the air conditioning just made things worse as other, more evil smells were coming through the ventilation system. One of the reasons I admire LB Gregg is her world building which has nothing to do with fantasy. She used the heat in NYC as almost another character in the book, especially when driving the Camry or taking the subway which was another not- to-be missed adventure. I know of which I speak - I have ridden the NYC subway and it is a joy beyond compare.
Dan, it turns out, had been hired by Shep’s buddy and fellow soap star Gunter Heidelbach as his personal bodyguard because of threats that had been made on his life. To add insult to injury, Poppy had accepted a catering job at Shep’s apartment where he would be wining and dining his industry associates in preparation for the Soapies, the awards for which both he and Gunter had been nominated. Of course Poppy requested that Ce cater the event, and after pleading with and blackmailing him, he accepted. It seems that friendship always won out between Poppy and Ce. Since none of the waiters was available due to yet another series of unfortunate events, Ce had no choice but to ask his uncles, minor criminals Tino and Vito whom we met in Catch Me If You Can, to work as waiters at the event. These two characters are so great I can’t wait to meet them again.
What surprised me the most about this book above everything else was the evolution of Dan’s and Ce’s relationship. I just love this couple who will worm their way into your heart. Despite all the public sex of which there was a lot and it was really hot, the tender moments between them and the way that Dan cherished Ce were what I thought showed their love for each other best. Dan was so caring of and to Ce that Ce realized admitting the ‘L’ word was not such a big deal after all. At one point Dan said “my ass is yours for as long as you want it” How much more romantic can you get? Of the other characters I think that Gunter was inspired characterization. One scene where he was shaving his crotch in the kitchen of Shep’s apartment and placing the hairs in the same sink that Ce needed for food prep for the big event was horrific for Ce, and I’m not sure if it was the thought that Pish Posh Nosh could lose its catering licence, or because Dan was ogling Gunter while this was going on. Words cannot describe this scene .
The other characters were just as wonderfully drawn and Poppy was translucent and dazzling throughout Trust Me If You Can. Even the sleazy paparazzo photographer was three dimensional, but I missed the homeless men, Captain and Joseph who loved to pee on parked vehicles, and I hope they will be back in future stories of what I hope will be a long-running episodic series. Even Bella the cat, who was a fat tub of lard, got into the action and saved the day (or night) on one occaion. Ce’s sweet tooth wreaked havok with me since I can’t eat any of the delicacies he was forever stuffing in his face, and the last fudge macadamia caramel coated brownie I thought was just too evil.
Trust Me if You Dare is available now and you should get it as soon as you can. Highly recommended!