I Spy Something Wicked by Josh Lanyon

I Spy Something Wicked by Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (45 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Cactus

It’s All Hallow’s Eve and Mark Hardwicke’s past has come back to haunt him. The Old Man needs Mark to go on one last mission to the wild, lonely hills of Afghanistan—a mission Mark knows he can’t survive. Even if he does make it back, Stephen has made it very clear Mark is out of second chances. Should Mark place his lover and his own happiness before duty?

Especially when deep down Mark knows he doesn’t deserve a happy ending.

Mark must choose between his love and his loyalty to his old life. In this sequel to the popular, I Spy Something Bloody, Mark and Stephan have lived together for 5 months. Mark is just beginning to settle into the life of a civilian when his old job asks him to take one more job – one that will likely kill him. Mark doesn’t want to go but feels he has no choice. But Mark can’t leave Stephan either, what can he do in a lose/lose situation?

This is a great short sequel to the first book and shouldn’t be read alone. The process Mark goes through in the first book from working in a British secret organization to being together with Stephan finally is involved and well drawn. So those reading just this short will miss some much needed context. For those that have read the previous book, this look into Mark’s head is wonderful and sometimes wrenching. Sometimes you want to slap him on the head and tell him to stop whining and other times Mark’s emotions are so real and understandable that the scene is poignant. Here Mark is the main focus as he struggles with his dueling emotions and the decision to leave or stay. Beyond his loyalty and love, Mark also struggles with the fact that he doesn’t believe he deserves to be happy, given his past.

This dichotomy for Mark is played out to the very end where his decision to go or stay is very much in the air for the entire story. Stephan plays a more minor role but it’s nice to see him less than perfect sometimes. The emotion could get too angsty but the deft writing keeps the characters real and the situation tense. One aspect I liked was that the story showed Mark as a complicated character who struggles with his past and present. He must accept himself or the Stephan’s love will never be enough. That road to acceptance is not always easy and Mark may stumble, but he definitely deserves a happy ending when it’s done.

For those that always wanted to revisit Mark and Stephan, they will love this short story. Although it’s pretty emotional, the deft handling will have you happily along for the ride.

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