Katie(babs)'s Reviews > The Assignment

The Assignment by Evangeline Anderson
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Dec 08, 2009

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The Assignment is about two detectives, who are partners and the best of friends. They have such a strong and emotional bond that when one of them is shot and almost killed in the line of duty, one of them has an epiphany, and comes to the conclusion they love their partner more as a friend, but someone they want to have a sexual relationship with.

The Assignment takes place in the early 1980’s where being loud, proud and gay for those just coming out of the closet is still very much in the baby steps stage. Detective Sean O’Brian and Detective Nicholas Valenti are involved in an undercover sting operation. They must pretend to be gay lovers at the country’s largest gay resort called the RamJack (The name RamJack had me choking in laughter) to catch a nasty drug kingpin who’s selling poisoned cocaine at the gay bars. This assignment doesn’t sit well with Nick because he’s scared. His feelings for Sean has changed and he now wants Sean as a lover. Nick isn’t sure he can pretend to be the sugar daddy while Sean is his boy toy at the resort. He doesn’t want to ruin what he has with Sean and even though Sean is excited to go undercover and doesn’t mind playing the part. Nick, on the other hand, has some big reservations.

Nick has never been comfortable in his own skin as a Latino who acts more like a WASP. The only time he feels he belongs is while he works and being with with Sean, who he first met at the LAPD Police Academy. Sean is pretty easy with teasing Nick and giving him hugs and pats. Nick thinks it’s because Sean comes from a big affectionate Irish family. Nick never really minded that Sean was so touchy-feely before but now that Nick is stressed over his own feelings for his buddy, he’s not sure if he can continue to be as comfortable as he always has been with Sean.

Sean seems oblivious to Nick’s internal dilemma. When their Captain tells them about a kid who OD’d at one of the gay clubs and they want to bring down Vincent Conrad, the drug lord responsible, Sean is more than excited. The reason someone from Narcotics isn’t going undercover, and Harris asks if Sean and Nick from Homicide can, is because these men are so comfortable around one another and the police force in general is homophobic in that sense that two straight police officers just can’t play the part of gay lovers perfectly. If Sean and Nick take on this assignment at the RamJack, they cannot fail because Conrad has an interesting form of payback, especially for those straight men who pretend to be gay and try to cross him.

Nick and Sean are called to duty and off they go to the RamJack. As soon as they arrive at the resort, there’s no room for error. Soon Sean is getting into it all. Even though Nick loves Sean’s caresses and tender touches, he’s like a live wire, because his lust for Sean is about to explode. And then they have no choice but to show the other guests and Conrad they are lovers. The moment Nick grabs Sean by the neck and deep throat kisses Sean, there’s no going back. These great friends who test their attraction hope to survive and take down the bad guys because the RamJack is a place where fantasy and reality collides and one misstep will get someone killed.

The Assignment is one of the better MM romances I’ve read. This is a great suspenseful read for those who enjoy a police procedural type of feel. Nick and Sean are well written characters who really jump off the pages. My concern before I read was really believing that Nick, a man who always thought he was straight, and even was married and divorced, could fall for his close male friend. I really felt for Nick because he's so torn over his feelings. How can he love Sean in this new and strange way because it has come out of left field? He’s s worried because he certainly can’t tell Sean he wants him because Sean is straight. These emotions Nick feel and his internal debate is exactly what I would expect.

Sean isn’t that well rounded and his motivations are questionable. His acceptance of Nick seems a bit off because he’s the one who moves first, mainly because of the role he has to play. I never got the vibe that Sean has been gay or interested in testing those waters, unlike Nick, who I believed had these feelings but ignored them. Evangeline has written such strong chemistry between Sean and Nick, and why they love each other the way they do, is because of the person inside and not necessarily because of their sexual attraction based on a person’s gender.

The love scenes in The Assignment are very steamy and emotional. When Nick and Sean kiss, or use their mouths and hands on each other to bring forth pleasure, it simmers and crackles. These men are desperate for one another and it shows.

The ending is a bit abrupt and too pat, but after the angst and headache that Nick goes through trying to come to terms with Sean and the danger that surrounds them, I found myself not really minding because these two men, who have been though so many ups and down have finally found peace in each other’s arms.
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