REVIEW: Dirty Games (Dirty #2) by HelenKay Dimon
Sometimes, to get what you want in business or in love, you have to get your hands dirty. Luckily for Finn and Justin, dirty comes naturally.
Finn Drummond is the baby in a family of sharks—which means he’s worked twice as hard to make a name for himself. After learning the tricks of the trade from his brothers, Finn’s just as ruthless and dominant. Out in the field, his appetites are legendary: for success, for money, for women and men. But when supplies from Drummond Charities go missing, Finn has to partner up with the smoldering ex–Army grunt who’s always challenging his authority—or giving him mixed signals.
Justin Miller wanted his attraction to Finn to be mutual, but the cocky brat always had a girlfriend. Who could blame Justin for trying to move on? Despite their history, they’ve got to work together to figure out who’s been derailing their humanitarian work. But after Justin and Finn are thrown together against gunrunners and kidnappers, their simmering chemistry turns explosive. Turns out, Finn knows how to handle himself in a crisis—and in the sack. Justin only hopes that hot sex is enough to persuade this spoiled pretty boy to do the right thing.
Dear HelenKay Dimon,
I do not remember being that torn about what I thought about the book for quite some time. This is apparently a second book in the series which is in turn spin off another series. I have read a book and a half in the first series, but have not tried the first book in the current ones. I however do not feel that I was confused reading this story. The Dirty Series seems to feature the Drummond brothers who lead a huge corporation, they also find love while getting in some very dangerous situations. The first book apparently featured oldest Drummond brother Alec and he makes a brief appearance in this story, since he is in charge of Drummond corporation. However as the blurb tells you, the main couple in this book is the youngest Drummond brother Finn and Justin Miller who leads the charitable division of Drummond corporation on the ground.
Apparently after the father of the Drummond brothers got the company participating in some unsavory dealings, when Alec took over he tried his best to run a legitimate business, including making huge commitment to charity. Justin is in charge of charitable operations in Morocco and they are basically providing food and supplies to refugees, they are located between Morocco and the Spanish city of Seuta. Actually no, I think their operations are in Morocco AND Seuta.
Justin requested the help from the corporate headquarters because the shipments of food and supplies go missing lately more often than ever and the chances are high that people who steal them exchange them for arms. The help from the corporate headquarters arrives only, instead of Alec, Finn appears and Justin is pissed.
Why Justin is pissed? Supposedly because Finn is not Alec, Finn is a rich boy who does not know much, etc, etc, etc. I have to admit I rolled my eyes at Justin almost right away. He knows Finn is a partner. He may not be in charge of everything, but surely Alec sending his younger brother means that Justin’s concerns were heard. And we learn very quickly that Finn is planning to take on more responsibilities in the company and plans to stick around to help take care of the problem, so it is not as if he came just to take a vacation.
Of course very quickly we also learn that Justin had a crush on Finn for several years and is just sniping because he cannot have Finn/does not want to show his attraction/ come up with your own reason here.
I mentioned in the beginning that I have not been so torn about a book for a long time as I was about this story. This is the main reason why. I think the writing was superb and better than a lot of m/m books that I have read and enjoyed. I think antagonistic chemistry between the guys was *off the charts* and the sex was hot (and it takes a lot of writing chops to make me care about the sex scenes.)
But my goodness the reasoning for Justin being so antagonistic and annoying got old and got old so fast for me. He went through some painful shit in the past, but I just did not buy that as a full explanation for him running so hot and cold throughout the book. And he did it several times to Finn. I want you, I don’t want you, I am afraid you will leave here and leave me, I want you.
“I thought you wanted me gone.” “I suck at this, okay?” Justin hated the begging in his voice. Admitting even that much cost him something. “At what?” Damn. Finn wasn’t going to let him weasel out of this intact. “Just… don’t make me say it.” “Your mood changes from one second to the next.” Finn shook his head. “It’s hard to keep up.” “I know.” Justin did. He wasn’t an easy man. He fought emotions and tried to limit ties. He hated that Finn mattered, despised that weakness. But he was determined to control the knee-jerk reaction to shove people away and launch”
This was all taking place amongst action and them trying to figure out who is betraying the company, so I was not bored in the slightest, because if I was subjected to Justin’s mood swings without action/adventure story, I would have wanted to slap him silly and DNF the book.
I found this especially bizarre since through Finn’s eyes we do see and hear that Justin was not being annoying to anybody else, only him, so clearly the thing that happened during his past did not affect his complete personality, only his behavior towards Finn.
“Somehow, Justin held it all together. With an iron fist, yes, but he never snapped. Finn hadn’t seen him be anything but decent to the people milling around him. He listened. He directed. For the most part, his only angry outbursts seemed to be aimed at Finn, and even those came in short attacks then disappeared. Despite their personal issues, Finn admired Justin’s ability to balance competing interests and keep people calm. It likely had something to do with the way he commanded any space he occupied. He spoke and people listened. People panicked over big and small issues and he never lost control. Never gave any indication that the big issues were big. A sense that he could handle any crisis seemed to follow him.”
But where Finn is concerned, a 37 year old man is acting like a child. The story acknowledges it at some point thank goodness, but it did not make the actions more convincing to me.
“So, instead of dealing with your feelings and filling him in on your longtime unrequited love, you’re lashing out. It’s cute, really. I imagine it’s how five-year-olds act.” The verbal blow landed, but Justin pretended to ignore it.”
Note again how I mentioned being torn about the book and characters? Here it comes again, despite wanting to slap Justin at times I found him (and Finn) sympathetic and likeable. Note that I did not have much to say about Finn? That’s because I just liked him without limitations and he may have been a rich guy ( okay a very rich guy), but he did not annoy me in the slightest.
I am not sure how to grade this one. C+?