“If he’d expected to be pampered and coddled through his undercover assignments, he would have gone to work for the CIA.” ― Julie James
Author: L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 362 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Enemy territory is a dangerous place to fall in love.
After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club’s security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave.
To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires—including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he’s a cop—and before they both grow too close to betray one another.
As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there’s much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.
Review: Hostile Ground is another successful collaboration between L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov. This time it is set in a female strip club. The police are investigating a drug ring concealed behind the strip club front, but the undercover officers they send in keep getting found out and killed. They know there is more going on than meets the eye because they’ve gotten a look at the books, and there is way too much money coming in to be income from just a strip club. Or even from a drug smuggling ring.
Detective Mahir Hussain is the next undercover agent to go in. His goal is to be hired on to the club’s security crew and find enough evidence to convict the club owner, his head of security, and anyone else involved before they discover who he is and kill him. David Ridley is the head of security. The owner has dictated that they only hire gay male security guards so that they won’t be trying to get with the strippers. Ridley makes sure his prospective recruits prove to his satisfaction(!) that they are gay.
Mahir and Ridley are combustible. They are drawn to each other, and Ridley trusts Mahir. He begins giving Mahir more sensitive assignments within the organization. That’s when Mahir figures out part of the secret that those who have gone before him died to keep. He realizes that he has to figure out the rest before Ridley or any of the other security goons figure out that he is a cop.
To complicate matters, Mahir’s nephew Kinza shows up at his house announcing that he is gay and can’t continue to live with his parents. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise to Mahir, but it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Even though Mahir is spending most of his time at a crash pad in Seattle, arranged by the department, he allows Kinza to stay at his home across the bay.
Other complications begin to arise. Not the least of which is the developing relationship between Ridley and Mahir. Mahir begins to suspect that Ridley is more than he appears to be. Putting aside the sex and mind games the two men are playing, Mahir happens to develop actual feelings for Ridley.
There are drugs, strippers, minors, an unfortunate incident of following where one shouldn’t go, gangsters, guns and a whole lot of danger that make up the rest of this story. The mystery and intrigue were great. There were a couple of surprise twists like those that always turn up when Witt and Voinov write together. The development of the relationship between Mahir and Ridley was a sweet thread woven among those of mystery, intrigue and danger. Love can be found in the most unusual places, and with these authors, it usually is.