Review: Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary's Boys #2) by Brandon Witt

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

If you've read the first book in this series, Nachos & Hash, then you'll remember the sexy bartender Vahin, who was outrageously flirtatious and purported to be quite the player.  We get a closer look at him in this book.  Vahin is in a bit of a slump.  He hasn't had a hookup in months and can't seem to call up any interest in the multitude of offerings at Hamburger Mary's.  That all changes when he spies tall, dark and handsome Marlon entering the bar.

Marlon is having a bit of a hard time himself.  He's been saddled with the worst possible partner on the force and having to put up with the racist dickwad is taking it's toll.  Pulling up to his usual watering hole, he sees his partner's flashy douchemobile and decides then and there that he just can't deal with him right now so he drives around town for a bit until he comes across Mary's.  It's as good a place as any so he decides to check it out.  Many, many drinks later and he's waking up in a stranger's bed with a monster hangover and a vague recollection of the wild night before.

I liked that both Marlon and Vahin are mature characters, though by far means not old.  It's nice to see characters in their mid to late thirties rather than the eighteen to twenty year olds that are abundant in this genre.  I also liked that the sex wasn't at the forefront of the story.  Sometimes I feel that when sex is prevalent it tends to distract from the plot.  Not the case here.  There was just enough to set the scene, offering little peeks before continuing on with the story. 

I can't decide if this book suffers from second-in-a-series syndrome or if it was just too short but I felt something was missing.  While I liked what I read, I needed more.  More romance, more interaction between the characters, more depth to the plot.  More pages to the book... just more.  It felt more like the beginning of a book than a complete story.  But that's what I usually get when I read a novella which is why I tend to read longer books.  I like to get lost in a story but I find that hard to do when it ends before it ever really gets going.  It's probably why I don't watch much TV either.  

I still liked this story though, and I am eager to read the next one in this series.  Witt gave us a sneak peek into the third book and I'm very intrigued.  A doctor and a drag queen?  Seems like a match made in heaven to me.

Did you see the Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary's Boys #2) blog tour stop HERE?

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