Review: Bone to Pick by T.A. Moore

Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home.

He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.

This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn't come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn't run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks less and less likely that Drew will be found alive.

This book is a sample of why I have a shelf titled “Partridge Family Related”, because you know the chorus to their famous song…

“I think I love you so what am I so afraid of
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for
I think I love you isn't that what life is made of
Though it worries me to say that I never felt this way”

Yup. It’s one of those books and I’ll state it here, we don’t end with an HEA but we do end with a very strong HFN that after a couple books, I am coming to expect from the author. They work because they fit the characters even though I want a grand over the top ending, what we get works for the couple.

So, this was really freaking good. The story is thankfully told from both POV’s of Javi and Cloister so we don’t have to guess what’s going on while these two go from being pissy with one another to finally getting it on. The pissy doesn’t exactly go away completely, because they like to egg the other man on, but it’s more playful whereas when we first get them on page, its simple animosity.

Cloister Witte is a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department whose job is to work with his partnered pup, Bourneville, to find the missing and bring them home. It’s not a random job for Cloister as we learn his older brother went missing and was never found so it’s a life promise to do his job well. Cloister and Bourneville are good at what they do and they have been called out to an ex-hippie development called the “Retreat” in to find missing 10 year old Drew Hartley.

“We’ve got a request from the Feds for a K-9,”
“Is there no one else available? Last time I was seconded to them, I ended up on a disciplinary after I nearly decked the Special Agent in Charge.”
When Cloister gets to the Retreat he’s met by the Special Agent in Charge Javier “Javi” Merlo whom he’s met before and almost decked. Javi and Cloister don’t have the friendliest of relationships at the beginning but they are forced to work together to bring Drew home. When they actually start working together, they are amazing. I love the way they would push the other’s buttons and really it was all just foreplay and them fighting the way they feel. Javi can tell himself all he wants that he only wants to use Cloister for sex and not get involved but the FBI Agent doth protest too much.

There is so much in this story that I loved. The mystery was fantastic and all the twists and turns with the other cases that tied into Drew’s disappearance were woven into the storyline so well. The trust it takes to work closely with someone the way Cloister and Javi do spills over into the trust that the two men have with one another when it comes to them becoming intimate. Again, Javi can call it just sex all he wants but he is so into Cloister in so many ways, he would miss the chance to kiss him if it were his last thought ever.

Javi wasn’t a profiler, but he wasn’t blind either, and he’d been watching Cloister. If you wanted to have dark, detailed fantasies about someone, you needed to pay attention.
I want to say so much but I don’t want to spoil the mystery.


I adored Cloister even though a few times he made my heart hurt. The relationship he has with Bourneville is stunning and I have always admired the intelligence of K-9 dogs and their handlers. Dogs aren’t dumb, I have four myself and they learn so fast. It would be amazing to watch a K-9 in action and see them hunt to find the missing person. All the commands Cloister uses, how Bourneville is a working dog but she’s still totally a dog who begs, wines and wants to be around “her human” made this dog lover so very happy to have her as a focal character in this story.
No falling in love, Cloister reminded himself as they walked up the drive to the shiny blue front door. No getting overattached like a stray dog shown some affection. Javi Merlo was just a hot asshole who got under Cloister’s skin, not the next ex-boyfriend he was going to disappoint. He fell easily. It didn’t mean he was any good at it.
But Cloister has becoming one of my favorite MC’s for sure. There was something about him that tugged at me to sit up and pay attention and it wasn’t the running, being a romantic or his love of dogs. He has a past and it’s a hard one to shake but he tries every day to make up for what he couldn’t do before, bring his brother home. Though it wasn’t his fault, Cloister has tried to bring the missing home to their loved ones. Goodness. That man was a blessing to read and who he becomes in the bedroom was gorgeous. Yeah. These two don’t have much page time being romantic or together but the times we get were swoony and to be frank, fucking hot. That use of a hook on the back of the door… just saying.
He grabbed the collar of Cloister’s jacket—the leather butter soft under his fingers—and pulled him in for a kiss. The dog came in too, but Javi supposed he had to get used to that.
Javi, Javi, Javi…what am I going to do with you? I know that working in Plenty at a blended Sherriff’s station is what you had planned but you fit there, you know? You fit because Cloister is there and you’re getting used to Bourneville, even if she likes to watch. You are more than just a booty call with tacos and it’s so obvious you are falling for Cloister because we all know what you thought when you had that flash dude. You drive me nuts, but you’re hot in bed and you would totally put yourself on the line to protect the innocent. Goodness but I loved being in your head.

Bone to Pick began with the frustration of a K-9 officer wanting to set a Special Agent straight and vice versa. It began with frustration that led to a mystery of epic and creepy proportions that brought the romance to a fruition that teased with the best intentions. I wouldn't mind another helping of these two both in another case or um, position. Where did my gutter mind just go?

OOOH!!! One last thing and then I will shut up!

OMG that epilogue was exactly what I needed even though I wanted more because I am greedy. The line about it not being a date because Cloister didn’t bring wine… OMG TIMES TEN! It gives me hope that Javi will get to taste that certain vintage on his tongue one day and thank Cloister properly with all sorts of demands and directives… in bed.

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