Release Day Tag Team Review: Late In The Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes

Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.

The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

Greeting Calmes Crack Whores!  Red and I are back for another episode and we can't wait to dish about the amazing man known to us as Mother Fucking Conrad!  <-- this was the title to our latest chat.  So, without any further ado...

Red: Ready to start when you are!

JL: Yay! Let's start tonight!

Red: We should? I will if I need to. Wait. Is [THIS A SPOILER???? NOT EVEN!]  Hmmmm... I expect this book to have a shit ton of Cameos!

Red - 5 Hearts

It’s gonna be hard to review this for a number of reasons.
Hard because I can’t get my fangirl words to flow from my fingers.
Hard because there is so much that needs to be read first hand.
Hard because there is not a damn thing you could offer me to spoil this.
Hard because what I want to say isn’t so hard.

I. Loved. This. Book.

For some reason after I finished reading this, I started to think back on all that makes Darius Hawthorne; who he is, his relationship with people he cares about and the man he simply cannot live without and every thought led me to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Don’t ask, it’s just the way my 6 degrees of randomness works but when I started to recall my favorite moments from the movie, certain moments, certain lines just fit.

So, every quote in this review isn’t from the book, they are from the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  

“They're not the kind of stories you can really tell.”
“Too dirty?”
“Yeah, I suppose they're dirty, too, but only incidentally. Mainly they're angry, sensitive, intensely felt, and that dirtiest of all dirty words – promising.”

Red:  Okay. I am at [SPOILER%] and my mind is already blown. There will be no way to review this and no way we can even put in our chats.

JL:  I'm a little ahead of you. Ok, a lot. I'm at [SPOILER%] and I don't want to spoil it for you but dear God read faster! I HAVE SO MUCH TO DISCUSS!
I think that's a great idea by the way. Our chat will be nothing but SPOILER and OMG, did you see where SPOILER did SPOILER. LOL  well, we did warn you...

Red: You read way fast! I've been reading as much as I can during work. I leave in just under 1.5 hrs and then I have yoga and then I can attempt to read a bit before I pass out.

Red:  Okay. I just got to the mention [SPOILER OF SPOILING SORTS]...  WTAF and FUCK YEAH! I love the layered details we get of the vault and why Conrad was asked to be it and all about his names and how he wants [NOT TO SPOIL ANYONE FOR OR ANYTHING FROM THIS BOOK!]  This woman is amazing. My GAWD she is so smart.
I am waiting for more Cameo's to show up though with all his names.

Knowing we were getting a story of Conrad Harris was exciting. After reading A Day Makes and learning Conrad had numerous aliases all that the Calmes fan had met before was mind blowing but reading how they all came to be was epic. Epic and really quite sad. I am of the persuasion that Darius Hawthorne may be the saddest hero of Mary’s I have yet to read. Sure, Darius is one badass motherfucker but Darius is lonely.  He has not only cut ties with the names he used to hold but the life he led as that name and the people all became collateral damage.

Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.

Now just because he’s left so many behind it doesn’t mean they don’t play a significant role in Darius’ life because they do. Every choice he’s made entwines with the man’s DNA and allows Conrad Harris to have the reputation as a man you don’t want to cross. The outright level of confidence that bleeds off Conrad is palatable but it’s never on the side of arrogance. The man has done the job that he’s been assigned and paid to do but the return was less than retail could offer.

Ahh... Do I detect a look of disapproval in your eye? Tough beans buddy, 'cause that's the way it's gonna be.

Red:  She's killing me. And here I thought the airport reunion with Ian and Miro was hot AF! [MIGHT BE A SPOILER] is burning my eyes it's so sexy and so intense with emotion. *swoons at the romance*

Learning how Darius becomes The Vault was so entertaining. After a few cameos from the author’s other books, we learn exactly how Darius gets the new job. It was funny, it was snarky, and it had some serious emotions as we take a trip down memory lane with Darius and his internal struggles. The whole scenario OF The Vault is so layered and detailed that I am once again amazed by how strong and creative a storyteller Mary Calmes truly is. She is so damn clever with all of this that I am truly in awe.

The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

I think Darius does get a case of the mean reds throughout parts of this book. He has known the way of life that is a contact killer for so long, transitioning to the vault is a lesson he never thought he’d have to learn. It was actually adorable watching the man thaw and his life become complicated. But nothing can complicate your life like love.

How do I look?
Very good. I must say, I'm amazed.


JL: I KNOW!!!!

Efrem Lahm is nothing short of stellar and stops at nothing to shred my heart into pieces. I think this is one hell of a romantic short of the forever love telling and Efrem and Darius have it all. From their first meeting, to the first kiss, to the first everything and then some. I fell hard for Efrem, I fell hard for the couple he and Darius made and I fell hard for the man Efrem has become in the years he’s been apart from the love of his life.

“You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You're chicken, you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, "Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness." You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself."

You might be confused by the last quote but trust me, it fits and nothing fits better than that last line. When the reunion happens between Efrem and Darius there is so much emotion and things left unsaid that it gets heated fast. I honestly think we, or um… the author has maxed out TMCSS (The Mary Calmes Separation Stipulation) at 16 years!  It was so damn painful knowing what both Darius and Efrem went through over those extremely long years they were apart but it also gave me a ridiculous amount of hope.

Red:  And 16 years. Is that the longest time frame for The Mary Calmes Separation Stipulation?

JL: I believe it is.

“I love you.”
“So what.”
“So what? So plenty! I love you, you belong to me!”

Late in the Day is such an amazing and romantic story full of cameos of beloved characters and the final telling of one man’s stellar story. All the elements a Calmes fan could want are in this but there is just so much emotion tacked on that it weighed on my poor hopeless romantic heart. I love where they author took everyone, how she gave them humor, wit, love and family all while still letting each of them be who they are even if that means scary contract killers have tea with… *sigh. I can’t say but it’s one of those things that makes you laugh because it’s such a Calmes thing to have her characters do.

JL - 5 Hearts

Guys.  Guys.  I have been waiting for this book for so long.  So. Long.  You don’t know how bad I’ve wanted to read Conrad’s story.  You. Just. Don’t. Know.  Did it live up to my expectations?

You bet your ass it did!

Whatever you know him as, be it Conrad, Terrence or Gold Team Leader; Darius Hawthorne has been sneaking in and out of Mary’s books for years.  He’s like a ninja, swooping in, showing just enough of himself to pique our interest and then swooping out again.  He’s been an enigma and to finally get his story?  Why, it’s EVERYTHING!

Red: This makes me wanna go back and read all the books with him in it to look at them in a new way. You know? If only I had unlimited time to read.

JL: I know exactly how you feel. I also want to go back and read every book that the cameos are in.

If you’ve read A Day Makes, the first book in this series, then you know that Darius has recently become the Vault.  (What’s the Vault, you say?  Well, I’m not gonna tell you.  You’ll have to read the first book to find out.)  With the new job comes a LOT of new responsibilities, but it also comes with a sense of freedom Darius hasn’t experienced in decades.  He’s finally able to slow down a bit and just breathe.    

Exactly how I would live my life if I could.

Red: Darius just handed [SPOIL NAME] the job of a lifetime and himself the golden ticket! He just needs the love of his life by his side. Ugh. I hope [EPIC ROMANTIC SPOILER OF SPOILS THAT DOES NOT NEED TO BE SPOILED!]


He’s hand-picked his team and boy, there are some interesting characters among them!  Some you will recognize from other books but there are a couple that are new.  One in particular that I’m sure everyone will love as much as I do.

JL:  I'm liking this [SHHH SPOILS IN A POT NEVER SPOIL].  He's very sassy.

Red: I haven't got to [SPOILSPORT SPOILER] yet. Just got to [A POSSIBLE SPOILER I WON’T SPOIL.]

JL:  Ha!  I highlighted that [SNARKY SPOILER] too!

This was like the culmination of all of the books Mary has written in this world.  There were so many cameos and references to other stories that my head was spinning and I was constantly squealing in delight. 

Red: Okay. I am stopping at [SPOILERING] Chapter [SPOILER]! LOL I can't stop reading. This is so good. But of course it is, right? But IT IS SO GOOD!


I love playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon with Mary.

Red: I know! I honestly thought when [DOUBLE, DOUBLE, SPOIL AND TROUBLE]  instead. I am still waiting to see if they show up.

And the banter in this book!  OMG!  I think this is the snarkiest book Mary has written to date.  I was seriously LOLing throughout a majority of the story.  It showed to me how much Mary has grown in her writing over the years.  

JL: “Just because you’re the vault doesn’t make you good or any more likely not to go to hell.”
“We’re carpooling, I’m aware.”

So snarky! I'm loving all the banter in this one.
 But it’s not all fun and games in this book, no sir.  There were parts that were so heartfelt, so emotional that I couldn’t help but sob into my pillow.  Being alone for most of his life, Darius hasn’t been able to make the connections that are needed to keep one healthy and sane.  He’s lonely but doesn’t really know how to go about fixing his problem.  What makes it even harder to bear is that there was a time in his life that he wasn’t lonely.  He knows what love is, he’s experienced it before, but it was ripped away from him in an instant that, while he doesn’t regret doing what he had to do to protect his love, he wishes would have happened differently. 

JL:  It had gone nothing like I’d thought it would. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that Efrem would [YOU DIDN’T SERIOUSLY THINK I WAS GONNA SPOIL THIS PART, DID YOU?]
Aaaaaand now I'm sad.
Red:  I've highlighted those same parts! Listen to him. Ugh. I just realized while I was in corpse pose, Conrad is possibly the saddest MC MC (Mary Calmes  Main Character) ever. He's so lonely giving up or lost everyone he's ever loved.

JL: I know. He's so lonely. I want to give him a hug.

Throughout his life, there has only been one person that made Darius feel alive.  One person that made him think that being a human being on this planet was worth it.  Efrem.  They had five glorious years together before they were ripped from each other’s arms.  Darius never got over Efrem.  Sixteen years later and a chance encounter leaves Darius with a hope that he’s scared to feel.  Will Efrem feel the same as he did all those long years ago?  Is the love still there?  

When you were moving at the speed of sound, being alone made sense, but as soon as the scenery outside the window became recognizable shapes instead of a steady blur, you longed for home.  Efrem was the only home I had, and the constant ache in my chest was the yearning for him.

JL: Stupid book with stupid Efrem making me cry.

Red: I know! Where are you? I just started chapter [SPOILERING SPOILY STUFF.]
I'm done. That. Was. Good. And. Romantic AF!

Thank you, Mary.  Thank you for writing this book.  It was everything I ever wished it could be.  And the story’s not done!  There is still a thread that hasn’t been resolved.  I for one cannot wait to read the final book in this trilogy.  It’s going to be EPIC, I just know it.

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