Book Reviews – Final Lover & Forbidden Lover by Jocelynn Drake

Exit Strategy #3
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 246
Characters: Justin/Gabriel
POV: 3rd
Genre: Action, Drama, Series

Two assassins meet, don’t kill each other, and fall in love.

It’s happily ever after, right?

Not so fast.

Reformed mercenaries Justin Mallory and Gabriel Prescott have taken the big leap of living together. They’re even working together.

But “one last job” has them taking a falsely accused man and his young son into their home for safe keeping.

While dodging bullets and fellow hitmen out for the $27 million bounty, Justin and his G Love realize that falling in love was the easy part. Building a life together might be more than they bargained for.

Join Justin and Gabriel for their final adventure as they protect an innocent man and uncover the missing piece to their forever.

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Although I’m already a huge fan of this author, this is the first book I’ve read in this series. I’ll be buying the rest ASAP. I loved Justin and Gabriel and this story’s mix of action, romance, and a rollercoaster plot. This series is on my paperback to buy list.

Not having read the previous books in the series didn’t detract from my enjoyment, but I would recommend reading the series in order, if you can, as there are references to previous events.

I liked how different Justin and Gabriel are, although they both carry the consequences of their pasts and occupations. I liked how, because of their own skill set, it takes a lot of checking security systems etc for them to feel safe in their own home. I loved the life they’ve built together, helping people, and coming home to their fur children. Love the names of their dogs and cats. Their codenames of Chameleon and Reaper are very apt.

I liked the supporting cast too. I’m very happy that Kai and Devlin get their own book, and I liked Marilyn too. Poor Dev has been through hell because he was trying to make the world a better place. I liked how that part of the plot was resolved.

The action scenes are edge-of-seat, and I loved how Gabriel and Justin work seamlessly as a team. I pity anyone stupid enough to try and take one or the other of them out. The banter is fabulous, and they’re a great couple, on and off the field. I liked how the final scene with the bad guy played out, and how the tension kept rising.

The epilogue is sweet and I loved the closure of it, although I don’t believe for a moment that these two are retiring.

5 out of 5 stars.

Exit Strategy #4
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 259
Characters: Kai/Dev
POV: 3rd
Genre: Action, Drama, Series

Devlin Relic was off limits.

The sweet man had already lost a husband and nearly lost his life when someone put a contract on his head last year.

He needed to focus on raising his adopted son and finding a nice, normal man.

Kai was anything but nice and normal.

He was an assassin, and that did not fit into Dev’s neat and tidy life.

But when a dead body mysteriously appears in Dev’s bathtub, it looks like an assassin is exactly what he needs.

Maybe this time Kai will be brave enough to fight for Devlin and finally put his exit strategy to use.

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I’m very happy that Kai and Dev have their own book as I loved them in Final Lover. I’d recommend reading that one first as it has Dev’s backstory and their first meeting(s). This is very much an opposites attract story with loads of action, and a good sized mystery. I enjoyed it as much as the previous book, and loved how the tension kept up right until the end. An extra bonus was seeing Justin and Gabriel again too.

This story hits the ground running with Dev finding the body in his bathtub, and I love how he and Kai are totally attracted to each other, but keep telling themselves it won’t work. Kai’s a very efficient assassin, but totally inexperienced at doing normal. His second rule is already broken when he meets Dev for the first time. I liked how Dev adapts to being in Kai’s world, and how smart he is at figuring things out. He and Kai complement each other well, and are good for each other. Murders, and being a target aside. It was interesting learning about Kai’s background, and getting a glimpse of his family. All these guys have had horrible lives, apart from Dev—up to the events of the previous book.

I loved Justin and Gabriel’s role in this story, and seeing them from a different perspective. Mother is a cool character. I liked how her true nature was so different to what she appears to be. I liked seeing Jake a little older too, and his growing friendship with Kai.

The bad guy is a nasty piece of work and I thought he came across well as totally dangerous and delusional. I thought it said a lot of Dev’s strength of character in the scene where the situation is resolved. The following scene with the police is fun, and I liked how Kai can inhabit a role he’s playing so well.

The epilogue is very sweet, and I’d also totally recommend reading the newsletter extra scenes. They’re wonderful. I’m sad that their story has come to an end.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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