Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt
Riptide / May 12, 2014 / $17.99 print / $8.99 digital
After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club’s security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave.
To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires—including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he’s a cop—and before they both grow too close to betray one another.
As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there’s much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.
Hostile Ground is co-authored by Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt, who are also known for their Market Garden series. The Market Garden series is heavy on the BDSM theme, but light on the violence. The blurb for Hostile Ground speaks of mind games and undercover efforts, so the violence is much more evident here.
Mahir Hussain is working as Saeed, his cover identity, and hoping to get in with the security team of the man running a drug ring. Mahir has a major advantage by being gay as the big boss doesn’t want his men messing with strippers and only gay men are hired. First he has to go through Ridley, the head of the security team. Ridley is a scary bastard and possibly the person responsible for the deaths of several cops who came before Mahir.
The initial meeting between Ridley and Mahir triggers a dominance game that sets the tone for their working and personal relationship. Ridley has to be sure Mahir isn’t a cop and will go to anything length to keep his organization from being infiltrated. Mahir knows he will have to prove himself in many ways; prove that he is gay and prove that isn’t the cop he is suspected to be.
He doesn’t quite expect the lengths he will have to go to gain Ridley’s trust, however. As the two engage in an explosive sexual relationship they must keep secret, the club and the big boss intrude on their time together. Drugs, violence and promiscuity are a way of life with the club he is now a security guard for and Mahir must involve himself in all aspects if he wants to avenge his fellow cops’ deaths.
When Mahir’s real life begins to intrude on his undercover work he knows he has some difficult decisions to make. To escape a judgmental father, his nephew has moved into Mahir’s house, but since Mahir is off on assignment he cannot be there to watch over him. Mahir asks for time from his nephew but he is an emotional, flight teenager and isn’t willing to give that time. Instead, he follows Mahir to work one day and suddenly involves himself in the club business. Mahir is terrified for his nephew because he has recently learned boys his nephew’s age have started disappearing off the streets and his boss might be the one behind the missing.
Mahir and Ridley have grown close—but is it close enough for Mahir to trust him with his nephew’s life? Does he have any choice trusting Ridley as he is the one in deepest with the gang? What do he and Ridley really have going? These are all questions Mahir must answer if he, his nephew and his new lover are going to survive the most dangerous assignment he has ever taken on.
Voinov and Witt have written a dark, compelling and sensual novel that will grab the reader in the first chapter. Hostile Ground is a gritty book that pulls no punches and kept this reader on the edge of her seat. With complex characters who don’t immediately tell you their intentions the reader will be left guessing and wondering how things will work out. Romantic suspense fans will find this one to be right up their alley.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Hostile Ground by Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt, available May 12, 2014: