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Review: Tested – Liv Rancourt

Tested - Liv Rancourt

Genre: Fantasy, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

There’s no easy way to come back from the dead…

…and Connor MacPherson is living with the consequences. He may be back in Trajan’s life – and in his bed – but the trust they once shared is gone.

Some days it feels like David is the only thing holding their threesome together.

When Trajan and David stumble over a murdered kitsune, Connor is drawn into the investigation. He uses that murder to cover a second inquiry, one he’s bound by his oath to the Elites to keep secret – specifically from Trajan.

Then David uncovers his covert search, and if Connor’s own internal conflict is painful, seeing how it hurts David makes it even worse.

But they don’t know the secret Trajan’s keeping, a command that could destroy everything. Trajan’s maker has ordered him to kill, and if they don’t rebuild their damaged trust, this time death will be permanent.

The Review

I suppose this is a romance, and surely my love of the oddball throuple at the center of this series confirms that. But really, it’s a detective story, and a modern glam-noir tale of the underbelly of supernatural LA.

Just writing that makes me laugh.

Connor MacPherson is “mixed race” in the paranormal world. The crucial thing here is that he can’t say who his father was. Only his mother’s divine Gaelic bloodline is known to him, and in this book it becomes a problem (which is putting it mildly).

David Collins on the other hand, is “just” a werewolf. OK, a campy, fashion-forward, beautiful little werewolf who is also an alpha and the son of the big-wolf in the USA. Abandoned by his bloodline pack, he has found a new one in the arms and bed of Connor and Trajan.

David is the new addition to the refabricated relationship between Connor and Trajan Gall, a century-and-a-half-old vampire who has found a comfortable niche in the commercial and supernatural world of Los Angeles. Trajan is in fact a sweetheart, but he thinks he’s a badass, which suits his professional demeanor of bodyguard and demimonde entrepreneur. Trajan’s vampire lineage comes from another Angeleno, Jacques Betancourt. In this book, that also becomes a problem.

When supernatural citizens start to turn up brutally murdered, the LAPD enlists Connor’s help. Connor, in turn, turns to David for assistance, because of the young alpha’s smarts and his keen wolf-senses. But Connor’s former employer, an elite supernatural agency known as Securitas, finds they need him, too.

In short, the situation contrives to put stress on the loving but tentative triad that these three men have formed. Each of them—David, Trajan, and Connor has to look deep inside himself, and learn to trust the other two men in his life. This is the central joy of the book, oddly enough, which is why I see it as a romance.

These men are all powerful, but they are all broken as well. Lonely, compassionate, and bound by a sense of justice, they have to prioritize what matters to them as a family—a pack—when faced with others who would have them do otherwise. Rancourt does such a good job of getting us inside each character’s head. They are such different men, but they deserve the love they want to find with each other.

Turns out, a triangle really is the strongest structure in nature.

Rancourt writes a story that is exciting and sexy and genuinely romantic.

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City. 

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