Series: New York's Finest #3
Published by Forever on March 29th 2016
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Vincent Moretti is one of the NYPD's top homicide detectives-and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. His family, however, thinks he should date his longtime partner, Jill-a sassy, sexy, smart-mouthed blonde who drives him absolutely crazy.
Behind the quiet authority, tough-guy demeanor, and dark aviator glasses lies a man with a big soul-and a hard body that can soften any girl's heart. After years as his coworker, Jill Henley has given up hope that anything could happen between her and Vin. Besides, loving him would break all the rules. But seeing Jill with someone else triggers feelings in Vincent he never knew he had. Now he'll have to stop playing good cop/bad cop-and find a way to convince her to be his partner for life. . .
It all comes to a head for Jill Henley and Vin Moretti when Jill returns after a 3-month break, ready for work and newly engaged, in this classic case of a very slow burn friends/partners-to-lovers story.
I appreciated the manner in which Lauren Layne respectfully dealt with Jill’s other half while she was engaged. Tom wasn’t written as an arse as a foil to show up how good the main characters would be as a pairing; instead, I found him likeable and was almost regretful that he didn’t quite get what he needed from Jill.
It proved refreshing as well, to read about a female lead who isn’t for once, a jaded and cynical detective (even if Valentine’s Day being her favourite does push the envelope a wee bit much), keeping in line with the light-hearted feel of what I never thought possible: a so-called ‘light’ crime mystery with a very heavy focus on developing relationships as well as the romance. Vincent is as well, a character who’s intriguing enough, with depths that weren’t entirely plumbed throughout the book: his disconnection stemming not from disenchantment but simply, a lack of feeling because he didn’t think he was built that way – a type of behaviour that is only reinforced and perpetuated by him and others around him. Lauren. Layne does a credible job in matching these opposites in both Jill and Vincent; they are by far, one of her more convincing couples in this series.
Yet I couldn’t help but be disappointed in what’s probably a minor quibble to most readers: for every story that involves a long time before that particular transition to lovers happens, I expect a bloody good reason for that delay. Ms. Layne at least goes partway to try to address the issue, even if it does seem a rather flimsy explanation in my opinion. I wished we could have seen more of Vincent’s yearning, or at least some form of self-actualisation, which would have made his need for Jill less like a reflex action of wanting her only after another man has proven her attractive and ‘worthy’ of a long-term commitment.
‘Cuff Me’ is nonetheless, a very unusual mix of suspense (and I’d use that term very loosely here) and romance, which makes me now look forward to the rest of the Morettis to come.