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    Loved this second in the series!

    This is the second book in the Desert Dogs series, a name that comes from a group of childhood friends who formed a club of sorts, and still have each other's backs even as they've had to deal with the ups and downs of relationships and life in general. There is a continuity to the plot from the first book, in which a casino developer moved into their town and brought some shady dealings, including murder into their midst. You don't have to read the first story to enjoy this one, the setup is laid out well, but it definitely would be of benefit if you want to know more about Vince and Kim, whose story is the first in the series. This story focuses on Raina, the bar owner and all around feisty heroine type and Duncan, the suave and sophisticated legal counsel for the Casino company - a man who finds that by aiding the Desert Dogs in their murder investigation in the previous story is now a suspect as a result and his life unravels before his eyes. He's already got mental health issues, and they are definitely exacerbated by the new events. In an effort to clear himself, he decides that solving some of the still remaining mysteries should fall to him. But in being a suspect and considered a shady character by many of the townsfolk, his life is also threatened and Raina takes him in, a thank you of sorts for his help and the fact that his own career is threatened by him aiding their club. I really enjoyed the relationship that builds between Raina and Duncan. She's such a strong character, and yet she's able to be what Duncan needs, without diminishing herself. Her history with Miah, her childhood friend and former lover isn't glossed over, and it's clear that while they have strong feelings for each other, it's not enough to make for a future for them. (Incidentally, a novella was released after this story, Drive it Deep, that looks more closely into Miah and Raina's prior relationship). Duncan was fascinating as he gets slowly taken apart and rebuilt as a new person, something that's happened to him before and yet now, finally, he feels at home in his own skin. I loved reading about that transformation. There is a tense underlying feel to the story, the knowledge that there is a murdered man somewhere out there, and combined with the harassment of Duncan, makes for a compelling read. The sex scenes between Raina and Duncan are super hot (as expected of Ms. McKenna) but tender too. I felt like this was more Duncan's story than anything else, and I really liked how the whole thing was put together. The ending leaves us with some mysteries still to be solved and I'm looking forward to the next story in the series!
8

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