Review: Barrel Proof (Agents Irish and Whiskey #3) by Layla Reyne

FBI agents Aidan "Irish" Talley and Jameson "Whiskey" Walker can't get a moment's peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie's life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take.

Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie's been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan's late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him.

But the explosions are far from over. Aidan's cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist's conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.

This series owns me and it owns me hard. It’s been awhile since I have felt this much emotion for two characters on the page and I cannot recommend the Agents Irish and Whiskey series enough.

Barrel Proof starts with a bang and it was a rush of a first chapter. It picks up right where Cask Strength left off and delivers heartbreaking feels and intense emotions right along with the amazing cinematic action that I have come to expect from the series but never to the level has it actually delivered. As I read the first chapter, I swear I didn't’ breathe. Between Danny’s angst of finding Mel, Jamie knowing what Aidan would find out the truth of his lies, Aidan knowing those he loves have betrayed him and Jamie almost following in his father’s footsteps... How could I take a breath?

I honestly don’t know what to say without saying too much so Rambling Red is gonna go vague with y’all but I will try to be somewhat comprehensible... Kay?

Wow! Where to begin?

Through the first two books there is so much we already know about Renaud and his ties to Aidan’s late husband Gabe and his partner Tom. But what he thought we know, isn’t all of it. This book digs way freaking deeper and takes Jamie and Aidan further into the twisted world of a man whose end game is hell bent on destroying everything and everyone Aidan loves. But the love Aidan has, the love he is learning to trust not only in Jamie but with Mel, Danny, the Talley family unit, and others who come to his aid, is a love far stronger than any game Renaud could have planned.

If you’ve read the previous books, you know that Aidan finding out that Jamie lied to him is huge. You know the angst that lies there and how much it hurts. But what I love about this book and these two men is how much they are growing in their relationship and partnership that though it’s hard to watch Aidan and Jamie be hurt by the lies, it’s how they deal with it that makes me fall hard for their romance. The intimacy between the men is obvious when they are simply sitting in a meeting after a separation while a new member is added to the unconventional team to bring Renaud down. Though it’s only been months the men have been together, their connection is deep, palpable and so very swoony that they make slow dances sans music sexy as all get out.

Now, I am an emotional reader (shocker, I know) but it’s a rare author who can make me feel so much during a sex scene that I am reduced to tears. Honestly, only Josh Lanyon has the honor of making me sob while dudes are getting it on but now Layla Reyne joins the ranks of Lanyon because there is a beautiful and intimate scene in this book that had me a sobbing mess. Good lord, it hurt like hell but I am a masochist for the feels and it was worth it.

I have to say how freaking much I love Mel and Danny throughout the series. Seeing Mel, who is not only Aidan’s boss but his sister-in-law from his first marriage to Gabe and his best friend, fall for Aidan’s baby brother Danny was gorgeous. I wouldn’t mind a short with the two of them even in vignettes of their time together during this series. They are a fantastic couple and really, Danny saying “Melissa” turns me into goo even if the circumstances are intense AF!

But back to Jamie and Aidan. As the lies come out, more details of why Renaud went after Gabe and Tom and how he uses leverage to gain more accomplices to do his dirty work things gets way crazy. This book, once again is full of cinematic scenes that could rival that of Bourne films or the like. It’s detailed but not overly so you get bored or frustrated, the book is the purest blend of action, mystery, romance and literature that keeps on you the edge of your seat while trying not to melt off it into a puddle of goo. Reyne is a talented author in this genre that delivers time and time again. This book is breathtaking in the sense that you literally can’t breathe because everything is turned up to 11, and I mean everything.

Phew. Just writing this makes me hold my breath and I know how it all turns out. And let me tell you that it turns out perfectly! I was worried toward the end how things would go with a certain character and I am more than happy with the outcome. BUT that end, literally that end? I stayed up to finish last night and was rewarded with the most perfect ending that brought happy tears to my eyes. Just. So. Freaking. Good.

Barrel Proof… again the title is amazing in how it blends and lends to the story. When bourbon says “barrel proof” on the label it means it was bottled at the actual proof an aged bourbon was barreled at. As whiskey ages through the years, you lose part of it through evaporation and when that happens, your proof in the barrel goes up, making it stronger. It’s like the partnership and romance between Jamie and Aidan. At its originality, it’s decent and based on a mutual respect for agency skills but as the men turn into “partners always” and lovers; they learn to love, to trust each other and as all the lies are evaporated out of their life, they only become stronger for it.

So yeah.
This was an amazing series.
Gorgeous romance.
Fantastically action packed and full of the best emotions.

I’ll shut up now.
Just read the books. Kay?

Check out the Barrel Proof blog tour stop HERE!


  1. Thank you so much for the lovely review. You always get the title intention spot on! As for Mel/Danny, how about a holiday novella? Tequila Sunrise, coming November 13: Happy Reading :)

    1. I fell so in love with Aidan and Jamie. This series was a beautiful ride of emotions!

      I am so excited about Tequila Sunrise! I can't wait to get more of Mel and Danny! AND I am excited to get another couple from the series too.