Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Against The Grain by Charlie Cochet - Meet Cael Maddock along with a giveaway and review!


Title: Against the Grain
Series: THIRDS, Book 5
Author: Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Length: Novel, 216 pages
Release Date: August 3rd, 2015


As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.

Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.


At one point, Ash felt Cael’s leg pressed up against his, and it was ridiculous how happy the tiny gesture made him. If it was even a gesture. Ash swiftly put it off to being an accident, but then a little later, Cael reached over and wiped a thumb over the corner of Ash’s mouth, telling him he had a breadcrumb.

“You should have seen him,” Dex said with a laugh. “He looked so adorable with his cheetah fuzz shaped into spikes, from his head down to his back. Like a little spotted punk rocker.”

Maddock shook his head at Dex. “It took me two hours to wash all the hair spray off your brother’s fur.”

“We were pretending to be Guns N’ Roses,” Cael explained. “Dex was singing ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ and I was backup sing—er, chirping.”

Ash laughed and playfully bumped Cael’s shoulder. “I’m going to have to agree with Dex. That’s adorable.” Even in his Therian form, Ash thought Cael was the sweetest thing he’d ever laid eyes on. Cael could be in his Therian form among thousands of cheetahs, and Ash would be able to point him out. His little gestures, the heart shape of his nose, or the way he chirped away, as if anyone not in their Therian form might understand him if he tried hard enough.

Dex grabbed Sloane’s arm. “Tell me you recorded that. Doesn’t matter. I have witnesses.” Dex stood and motioned to all of them. “Witnesses! You all heard it. Ash said he agrees with me.”

“Oh, good Lord. We’re never going to hear the end of this,” Maddock sighed, getting up to clear the dishes.

“Do you realize how epic this moment is?” Dex said, helping clear up.

“It’s not really that epic,” Maddock replied.

Dex let out an exaggerated gasp. “Where have you been living? Ash Keeler has agreed with something I, Dexter J. Daley, has said.”

“About your brother being adorable. Not exactly earthshattering. He’s thought that since they met.”

The table fell into silence as they all gaped at Maddock. Well, this was news to Ash. What the hell? Seeming to notice the quiet, or more likely the lack of Dex talking, Maddock looked up.

“What are you, fish? Close your mouths.”

Four mouths promptly closed.

“It’s not rocket science. I’ve known that boy since he joined, and he’s threatened every agent he’s ever met with kicking their ass. Except for Cael.”

Hard to argue with that. It was the truth.

Dex frowned at Ash. “You threatened to kick Hobbs’s ass?”

Ash nodded. “Yep.” Was it his first week of being on the job? He was pretty sure it was the first week.

“Dude, that’s not cool. Hobbs is awesome.”

“He can also be a pain in the ass. Plus when we first met, I didn’t know he had selective mutism. I asked him a question, and he wouldn’t answer me. He’d whisper to Calvin, who’d answer for him. I got pissed off and told him if he didn’t tell me himself, I’d kick his ass.” Ash had never met a tiger Therian as big and insecure as Hobbs. The whole encounter had left him confused. Here was their new demolitions expert, and he couldn’t talk. How the fuck was he going to communicate with his team? Ash wasn’t proud to admit he’d had a shit fit. He understood the THIRDS was about equality and representation when it came to hiring, but he had been genuinely concerned about the safety of his team. Not long after, Ash had seen how wrong he’d been about Hobbs. Not that he’d admitted it.

Dex let out a sound of disgust. “Dude, not cool.”

“I said I didn’t know. I apologized afterward, and that’s saying something.”

Ash got up to help clear the dishes, with Dex going on about how he should really think about using some of those scented candles Rosa had gifted him. Ash proceeded to flip him off.

When Cael stood to help, Ash put a hand to his shoulder.

“Relax, I’ve got this.”

He gave Cael a wink and walked the dirty dishes to the kitchen with Dex yammering on behind him. The guy was like a fucking mosquito buzzing in your ear and trying to suck the life out of you. Ash placed the dishes in the dishwasher, giving grunts and one-word replies. He grabbed the dishes from Dex and put those in as well. He wished he could stick Dex in there. Finally someone up there decided to give him a break, and Dex left the kitchen, singing some stupid song about a lion sleeping tonight or something.

Ash frowned at Maddock. “Does he never shut up? How the hell did you live with this for so long?”

“It’s called patience,” Maddock replied. “Not exactly your forte.”

“Oh, I can be patient. That’s not what’s required when dealing with your oldest. I’d say sedative is more the word you were looking for.”

Maddock laughed. “Just get in there, Keeler.”

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5 out of 5 stars

So I'm totally going to fangirl all over Ash and Cael because this book was all I could ask for and more! Against The Grain, the fifth book in the THIRDS series still includes the rest of the team but focuses on Ash and Cael and their building relationship. And good goddess these two boys are HOT and sexy, geeky and sweet, and will break your heart all in one book, hell even in one CHAPTER. 

Ash has so much to overcome from his past, and he doesn't want to hurt Cael because he means so much to him. Ash, though, isn't sure he can overcome his issues and love Cael the way he should be loved. Cael is this sweet, geeky, adorable young man, who's eager to love Ash no matter the cost to himself. We see more of Cael's past in this book and it just made me want to wrap him in my arms and hide him away from all the big bad in his life. 

There are some really funny moments in Against the Grain, and there are some moments that make you want to just bawl your eyes out. But that's okay because our favorite author delivered a story that was very worthy of Ash and Cael in so many ways. Watching Ash give in to his feelings for Cael, and watching Cael having to deal with a ghost from his past really shows how much both of these characters have grown even through this book. The trademark zings between Ash and Dex are there to give lighthearted moments along with the smexy hot scenes between Ash and Cael that burn up your ereader. 

And don't fear there are still a lot of moments spent with the rest of Destructive Delta throughout the book. Watching the team through Ash's viewpoint shows the rest of the team in a different light with more to their backstories. As I said above, Against The Grain did not disappoint in any way. In fact, it was even better than I had expected, and actually made me like Ash vs just tolerate him as Sloane's best friend and Cael's crush. Ash really showed his softer side in this book. 

Don't let this mislead you that this is a light book, focused more on the relationship with Ash and Cael. It's not, because there is some serious ass-kicking in here by some unexpected people. The action thread in Against The Grain adds more depth to the story angle focusing on issues within the THIRDS organization. It puts the spotlight on some characters we've seen but only on scene for short bursts of time. 

Something tells me we're in for a wild ride with the next books in this series after the set-up in this book. I can't wait for Calvin and Hobbs book, which is up next.

I am utterly in love with this series for just how well crafted each book, each character, and the THIRDS world itself is and how each story just pulls you deeper into the series. If you haven't tried this series yet, you're missing out and need to dive into the THIRDS world. If you have read the series to this point, you MUST read Against The Grain.

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
Winner’s Prize: Against the Grain Swag Pack and $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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