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Monday, February 21, 2011

Liar's Waltz by Becky Black

Liar's Waltz by Becky Black
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (200 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Firmly-closeted Lieutenant Greg Matthews takes a transfer to space station Saira to make a fresh start. But a rogue military intelligence officer has discovered Greg’s secret and forces him to spy on Karl Webster, the owner of the last gay bar on Saira. The disapproving military authorities want Karl’s bar closed, too, and he’s feeling the heat. He thinks his gorgeous new lover is an ally in his fight, but Greg is reporting back all of Karl’s plans to save the bar. As the campaign against Karl escalates Greg becomes ever more reluctant to deceive the man he’s falling in love with.

Despite his fear Greg is too jittery and unstable to bother with, Karl wants him too much to give him up. He can’t guess the real reason behind Greg’s anxiety -- constant fear of what will happen when Karl discovers his deception. The inevitable revelation shatters their relationship and their lives as the blackmailer takes drastic action to silence Karl. Greg must sacrifice everything he’s been trying to protect to undo the damage and save Karl.

When duty turns into love, Greg may lose everything. Greg Matthews has recently transferred to a new military base hoping for a fresh start. He’s determined to keep his desire for other men under wraps so it doesn’t affect his career or the career of anyone in his family. Yet when Greg is blackmailed by a senior officer into getting close to a gay bar owner, Greg is in a no-win situation. Greg’s life is further complicated when he falls in love with Karl and doesn’t know how to get out of his predicament without hurting everyone.

Liar’s Waltz is a tense, angst ridden romance that plays on the familiar theme of hidden secrets. Here Greg is undercover spying on Karl to get information to shut down Karl’s bar but the two have so much chemistry and passion that Greg soon gets embroiled in his own lie. Yet with Greg’s career on the line, not to mention the potential damage to Greg’s successful brothers and father, more than just Greg and Karl’s relationship is on the line. The tension is high and carries the fast paced action through to the end. The characters are three dimensional with a lot of emphasis on their flaws and confusion. Tough decisions are made and agonized over, lending a lot of introspection and questioning to the characters.

Although this is labeled as a science fiction story, it’s really just a contemporary story set in the military. The idea of a closeted officer not able to be openly gay is one especially relevant in today’s society and contemporary romance fans will like this theme. The writing and pace keeps the story moving and it’s over before you know it. The ending is somewhat over the top, with an almost clich├ęd romantic gesture that doesn’t really solve anything but sounds good anyway. Other than this problem, the characters do fall in love easily but the story shows why and, with such smoking chemistry, it’s understandable.

There are a few other problems such as infidelity but this is very minor and shouldn’t bother many fans. The alternating viewpoints allow readers to get to know both main characters, to care about them and the tension is always present from beginning to end. The romantic ending with a happy resolution should satisfy romance lovers while the hint of a possible sequel is there. While not without its flaws, Liar’s Waltz is still likely to please.

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