Title: In the Name of the Law
Author: Sue Holston
Length: 46 pages, 15,026 words
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Blurb: Baltimore police detective Mitch Dawson is in love with his partner, Ivan Stanislav, but will fate intervene before Mitch can reveal the truth?
Mitchell Dawson is a detective with the Baltimore Police Department’s Vice unit. He’s hard-working, dedicated…and carrying around one big secret—he’s in love with his very straight, engaged-to-be-married partner, Ivan Stanislav. Then Ivan’s fiancée dumps him and too much alcohol leads to Mitch and Ivan sleeping together. The next morning, Mitch figures their friendship and partnership is over, but surprisingly Ivan doesn’t bring up their encounter. On the outside, life continues on for the duo. However that night changed everything for Mitch.
When Ivan is shot and nearly dies, Mitch realises he has a choice-keep quiet and eventually watch Ivan fall in love and marry someone else, or tell Ivan the truth and reveal he’s been in love with his partner for years, hoping the other man might feel the same. Will Mitch risk it all for love?
Publisher Note: This story has been previously released as part of the His Hero anthology by Total-E-Bound
Review: Mitch has been in love with his partner on the force (Vice) for years now, ever since they became partners on the same beat. The problem is that Ivan is about to marry the love of his life, a woman. Even worse than having to watch the two together at their swank engagement party is seeing just how much of a shrew the woman is. Will Mitch ever have the chance to tell Ivan how he feels? And should he?
This is a well written story, and the first story I’ve read by this writing pair. I think they pulled off the unrequited love bit quite well. It is definitely a situation that can take over your life and I think the authors made good choices about how to pull it off. They didn’t turn Mitch into a dick because of his out of control feelings, and they gave Ivan a good amount of both loving brother/partner and enough of a sex-god reputation to not steer him too far into too nice or a man who would take advantage of his friend. I liked that much of the story deals with the unrequited feelings without pacing the plot too fast. The amount of time that they spent with the two as friends works because that’s a difficult situation to get out of, and I liked that it felt realistic.
Right off, with these two guys being cops, I knew that someone was going to get hurt in some way. It is sort of Occam’s Razor when it comes to stories about cops — someone is going to get hurt because in choosing a catalyst for the characters to come together, a dangerous situation in a high danger job makes sense. But I was also happy how and when it was placed in the story. It comes at a time I didn’t expect, offering a type of situation that I really like to see, which allows the characters more time together without a pretty, homogenous ending.
There was one thing that bothered me a bit. Ivan is shown to be straight his whole life. Now, this could either be true, or he could secretly have had feelings for men as well, as Mitch does as a bi man (though he’s open about it). The problem was that when they do eventually get together, Ivan seemed a little too experienced for me. Also, he seemed to accept the change from straight to bi/questioning/gay (whatever he really is) without much thought or angst, at least seen by the reader. For a story that had so far been quite realistic to me, I found this a little off, but not enough to mar my enjoyment of the story. I’ve avoided saying some things about this because I don’t want to spoil anyone — but I think that any reader could probably see this when they read it and understand what I mean.
I’m not sure if this is the first story these authors have written together, but I’m pretty sure they’ve only written a few. They seem to work together well if this is any indication and I’ll definitely look forward to other stories they may write. Very well done