Review: Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man. 

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I'll be watching you

Oh can't you see
You belong to me
My poor heart aches
With every step you take

When you first heard that illustrious song did you think it was a love song? I did. Until I really listened to the lyrics and thought:

Sting's seductive voice masked its underlying FAKE NEWS lub! What the song and this book are about is obsession.

Thomas had a stalker in Seattle that destroyed his life, forced him to change his name, cost him his job, any semblance of a relationship with his parents and prompted a cross country move. Thomas being painfully attractive and well aware of his irresistibility began his sexual journey at 14 and embraced the one and done. He tried the long term thing a couple times but it didn't take. One night he makes the worst smash 'n dash mistake of his life and lands himself in the sights of Creepy McCrayCray

Once he's free of Creepy he continues his philandering ways which, quite frankly, puzzled me. There is an explanation but... *squints* For argument's sake let's say I do buy it, so my question then becomes why continue to hit bars? Why not move to Grindr where the "come and go, thanks bro." mentality is more commonplace? What's more, why in the Sam hell does he continue to bring randoms back to his place? 

I did like Thomas but his self-denial where Zachary's concerned frustrated me and dragged out too long. Also, *SOAPBOX MOMENT* this whole fidelity thing in the romance genre particularly in this instance feels so contrived. I get that the majority of romance readers aren't interested in reading about their MCs being with others, but Thomas has acquired a line of dudes he's dicked down longer than a line for a Taylor Swift concert and I'm supposed to believe that he goes cold turkey after he and Zachary boink? Once?

I was born at night but it wasn't last night, ok?

Anywhat, enough of my soapboxing.

Zachary is younger than Thomas and he reads younger. He's like a gamboling puppy, speaks before he thinks and has a naiveté about him that makes him immediately likable. He's exceptionally forthright without artifice and isn't afraid to call people out when needed, like Thomas.

Every Breath You Take is told from several different perspectives including Thomas and Zachary. They aren't together for much of it, but they think about the other near constantly which was both sweet and salty.

However, when they are together...

Somebody unexpectedly becomes Bossy McTopperton and somebody got drilled! *grunts* Believe me when I say it was amazemagastic. This author doesn't hold back on the deets and bless him for it. If you appreciate the fine art of analingus and completely wrecking a bottom, you've found the gay sex equivalent of Mecca. Go forth, my friends, but make sure all your things are powered up. #ProTip

So, HUGE check on the sexual chemistry. I'm pretty sure in my "checking" of said box I left a gaping hole in the questionnaire. Oops. It's amazing how lead just goes straight through paper when you're busy swallowing your tongue. Like a knife through butter, I tell ya.
Since you've gone I been lost without a trace 

I dream at night I can only see your face 
I look around but it's you I can't replace 
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace 
I keep crying baby, baby, please

The narrative is balanced between the serial killer and romance plot lines. I didn't expect to be bowled over by the thriller plot line, but Winter did a great job making Psycho McWowsers incredibly deranged, diabolical and unhinged. I shuddered more than once. The action parts of the narrative were well done, though the end was a bit anti-climatic.

There were some splendid secondary characters too. If you read September then you'll remember Joe and Terry. I really love Joe and that he got a larger role in this book, but I think the Joe/Terry subplot was distracting. Randy is an amazing friend and I would not be upset in the slightest if he were to show up again somewhere. Torres is the investigating officer and she's smart, not easily intimidated nor egomaniacal. I'm seeing more and more strong female characters in m/m who aren't clichés and this is a trend I'm heartily in favor of.

While reading Every Breath You Take I experienced a range of feels and I liked it, but I do think it could've been tightened up. There were lulls in the middle I had to push through, but overall, the story was woven together strongly with good characterizations and a sweet HEA. Maybe the HEA was a little OTT and I waffled on whether or not the dialogue was cheesy. It probably is, but I'm guessing Thomas is mid to late 30's and in love for the first time, so let your sap flag fly, T! I ain't mad at it!

Recommended to fans of thrillers and smutters who go for AMAZEMAGASTIC, SMOKING HOT, TONGUE SLAP YOUR BRAINS OUT SEX!

You're welcome.

A review copy was provided.


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