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Kick Start is a new direction in the series arc and a very interesting fork in the road...the plot is quite intricate but you will have to discover that for yourself.

5+ Stars - Highly, highly recommended...

Jesse for Gay Book Reviews
Will is finally braced to bring Taylor home to meet the folks. Unfortunately, not every member of the Brandt clan loves Taylor the way Will does. Then again, not everyone loves the Brandts.
In fact, someone has a score to settle — and too bad for any former DS agents who get in the way when the bullets start to fly.


Taylor yanked the wheel, pulling over to the side of the road. The car bumped over rough ground onto the narrow shoulder, and rolled to a stop. He cut the engine and turned to Grant who, even in the enveloping woodland darkness, he could feel watching him warily.

Taylor said, “You have something you want to say to me?”

“No, sir.” Funny how disrespectful “sir” could sound, depending on the tone and the expression.

“Sure you do,” Taylor said easily. “Let’s hear it.”

Grant unsnapped his seatbelt, shoved open his door and got out. “I’ll walk back,” he said, and slammed shut the door with all his force.

“Shit.” Taylor undid his seatbelt and opened the driver’s door. The night air was very cold and rich with the spicy scent of pine and earth.

He followed Grant who was moving fast, fueled by rage, and already several yards away. Grant’s compact silhouette stomped up the steep incline. Taylor loped after him.

“Do I really scare you that much?”

Grant rounded on him. “You don’t scare me at all.”

“Then why are you running away?”

“Because Will won’t like it when I kick your skinny ass from here to Portland.”

Taylor chuckled.

“You think that’s funny?”

He did, yeah. And the offended note in Grant’s voice struck him as even funnier, but Taylor didn’t want to escalate this any higher than necessary.

“Kind of. Don’t you? What are we really fighting about?”

“We’re not fighting. And we won’t fight so long as you stay the fuck away from me.”

“Only the problem is, we’re family now. So I can only stay so far the fuck away from you.”

“You’re not family! You’re just Will’s…friend. He’s not going to—you’re not going to be here forever.”

Ouch. Would it have been different for David Bradley? Taylor had to wonder. Bradley’s military background, even his size and looks, would probably have been more palatable to Grant.

“I wouldn’t bet on that. Why don’t you just tell me what the problem is.”

He could feel anger and frustration coming off Grant in waves. “You know what the problem is.”

“Sure. I have a pretty good idea, but why don’t we get it out in the open.” Taylor gestured at the towering trees and moonlit mountains. “It doesn’t get more open than this, right?”

He could feel Grant’s inward struggle. At last, Grant spat out, “You’re a queer.”

“I don’t like that word, but yep. I’m gay. And you have a problem with that.”

“I don’t give a fuck what you are,” Grant said. “I don’t care about you. I care about Will.”

“I understand that. But Will is who he is. He didn’t become gay for me. I didn’t make him gay.” Taylor’s sense of humor sparked back into life—did Grant think he’d forced Will to watch musicals? Eat quiche?—but he squelched it. This was serious because this angry young man was Will’s little brother and his feelings and opinions mattered to Will. Therefore they needed to matter to Taylor.

“He was never queer before.”

“He’s been queer for as long as I’ve known him.”

Grant made a sound of fury and launched himself at Taylor.

Taylor was ready. Mostly. He had known from the minute he forced Grant to go with him, this was probably going to happen. In fact, he had been pushing Grant into it. Even so, he’d had a long and exhausting day, and as Grant piled into him like a young bull charging a red cape, he felt a flicker of alarm.

He had underestimated his own weariness and stiffness. He had also underestimated Grant, who had been taught to fight by Will.

Grant tackled him low, burying his head in Taylor’s gut, wrapping his arms around Taylor’s knees, and Taylor, who relied on kicks and footwork to avoid getting thrown to the ground where his lack of weight was a dangerous liability, couldn’t maneuver. The wind was knocked out of him and he went down hard in the damp earth with Grant on top.

Worst case scenario. Thirty seconds in and he was about to be pinned in a double leg takedown his own sister could have avoided.

Instinct and adrenaline saved him. That and Grant’s unsportsmanlike attempt to knee him in the balls. Possibly a subconscious wish to neuter him, or maybe not subconscious, but Grant’s shift allowed Taylor to twist and bring his own knees up. He used his left forearm to trap both of Grant’s in an arm bar. That left his right hand free. Taylor swiveled, grappling under Grant’s legs, and throwing his left leg behind Grant’s neck. He was trying to pin Grant face down, but Grant knew that move and yanked out, rolling away to his knees.

Taylor let his own momentum carry him to his feet, and he scrambled ungracefully up. Standing, he was no longer vulnerable. He faced Grant who was upright again as well.

He needed to prevail here. It was that simple. Partly because he would not be able to live down the embarrassment of pushing for a fight he couldn’t win. Partly because with a young guy like Grant, winning was nine-tenths of the law. The law that said Might Makes Right. But he had to do it without seriously hurting Grant—and without letting Grant seriously hurt him. Because Will wouldn’t forgive either of them for seriously harming the other.

Now aware of his own limitations, Taylor waited, breathing hard, for Grant to charge back in—which he did, still too angry to be cautious, throwing a powerful right punch that would have taken out a rib or a lung had it connected. Yeah, that power strike was straight out of the Will Brandt book of hand-to-hand combat. Taylor deflected, grabbed Grant’s lapel and hauled him sideways while delivering a hard kick to the inner knee area of Grant’s weight bearing leg. He was careful not to take out Grant’s knee, but even so the strength and speed of that blow should have brought Grant down.

No such luck.