REVIEW: Dirty Deeds by HelenKay Dimon
No dirty deed goes unnoticed in a seductive game of cat and mouse. But for Alec and Gaige, the wrong move could get them killed.
Alec Drummond didn’t make his billions by playing nice—or by playing much at all. When it comes to pleasure, Alec only has time for whatever’s quick and easy, which is exactly what he gets from his company’s hot new computer genius. But Gaige Owens isn’t some pushover. He pushes back, and it’s giving Alec a rush. The question is, could Gaige be the one who’s leaking trade secrets? Just to be safe, Alec keeps him close at hand . . . night and day.
Gaige never thought he’d roll over for a man like Alec again, but who could resist sex this mind-blowing? Then there’s the draw of Alec’s mysterious side: his cutthroat ambition, his covert CIA connections, and the murder in his past. For Gaige, a deeper look proves an irresistible temptation. But when Gaige and Alec are stripped of their defenses by an unseen danger, everything they don’t know could bring them closer together—or tear them apart. Only one thing is certain: Before it’s all over, someone’s going down.
Dear HelenKay Dimon,
I was a bit surprised when I started Dirty Deeds. The blurb set my expectations at one level and the opening chapter blew them all away. Alec and Gaige first encounter one another when Gaige is breaking into Alec’s supposedly super secure HQ in Munich. Gaige had been tasked to get Alec’s attention by Seth Lang – the hero from Guarding Mr. Fine (a book which is on Mt. TBR but which I haven’t managed to read yet). Seth Lang is a CIA operative who is, effectively, blackmailing Gaige to help him with an off the books enquiry. He wants Alec’s help too. (I gather Alec had at least a cameo in Guarding Mr. Fine as there is clearly some history there. However, I was mostly able to pick up what was going on fairly quickly so I think readers can dive in to your world from here without too much trouble.)
So, by the time Gaige becomes “his company’s hot new computer genius” Alec is well aware that Gaige has been installed in Drummonds on false pretenses to try and uncover information about a mysterious plot which somehow involves the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. The exact nature of the plot isn’t revealed for most of the book – as the protagonists really only know something hinky is going on but exactly what and who is involved is unknown. I found this a little frustrating as I tried to grasp the architecture of the plot. To continue with the metaphor, there wasn’t quite enough for me to grab hold of and I kept slipping. (Then again, I’m not good at subtle so it could have been me.) However, it mostly does become clear by the end and I must say it is clever and unique.
Most of the story was set in Munich where Drummonds’ European HQ is situated but the denouement is in Norway at Svalbard. There are approximately eleventy billion romances in the world right now but I bet very few of them are set around Svalbard. I loved this. It was fascinating and different and exciting and topical. More of this please.
Alec is clearly a man who trusts slowly and sparingly. Gaige is a man who has been burnt by love before (the reason Seth has been able to blackmail him is because his former lover set him up for an espionage charge which Seth is holding over Gaige’s head). Despite the circumstances in which they meet, both men are instantly attracted to one another. Because Alec is suspicious of Seth and of Gaige (as Seth’s proxy within Drummonds), Alec keeps Gaige very close. He sets Gaige up at a desk hastily moved into the sitting area outside his own office and takes Gaige home with him every night. It’s a “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer” kind of thing.
Of course, attraction + proximity = sexy times and it is not at all long before Gaige and Alec are getting physical. I stuttered just a little at how fast they hooked up considering the circumstances of their acquaintance but once I decided to go with it, I was easily able to buy into their connection. They were clearly well matched from an intellectual perspective even if Alec’s wealth vastly outnumbers Gaige’s. Gaige is a confident and talented man in his own right (and when he’s not feeling confident he can fake it really well) and I never really had the sense that Alec intimidated him at all. There is a power dynamic at play because of the set up of the book but they the time the story finishes, it is clear that Gaige has given their respective bank balances some thought and has a plan of how to proceed to ensure he is not a kept man. I liked the way Alec’s money wasn’t a barrier to the relationship but that it was still something Gaige considered and addressed.
There were a few little things near the end where I felt a bit lost. I think it’s likely because I’m not always good at picking up on some subtelties but I did have a suspicious about who the villain was and so I patted myself on the back there for not being too surprised when the big reveal happened.
I adored the way Alec and Gaige said the “not I love you’s” at the end of the story. It was entirely fitting and endearingly tongue-in-cheek as well.
While I found the very beginning of Dirty Deeds a little uneven, the story did draw me in and by the end I was completely engaged. Added to that, the setting was unique and the suspense subplot was scarily realistic and really interesting to boot. And now, I’m thinking I need to move Guarding Mr. Fine closer to the top of Mt. TBR.