Cameron Jacobs is content with his quiet and introverted life. He enjoys his career as a headwaiter at one of Chicago's fine restaurants, and he looks forward to the visits by one of his regular customers - a handsome and quiet man who dines in the restaurant at the same time every week and who always sits in his section. Cameron is attracted to the man, but he knows the mysterious Julian Cross is out of his league in so many ways. When the evening comes that Julian approaches Cameron, speaks to him, and even asks to spend time with him, Cameron figures that it is a fantasy come true. And when the night ends with mind-numbing sex of exceptional closeness, Cameron is well on his way to losing his heart.
For all his large size and intimidating demeanor, Julian is gentle and soft spoken. He seems to cherish Cameron and even admits to loving him, but there is a part of him that he won't share with his lover. Although they see each other twice a week, Cameron doesn't really know who Julian is, what he does for a living, or even how to get in contact with him.
Cameron thought he could live with not knowing the details. He loves the man. He knows that whatever Julian does, it's dangerous, because his lover is frequently injured on the job - shot, bruised, even mauled by dogs. Julian insists that the secrecy that surrounds him is for Cameron's own good, but Cameron realizes that he simply cannot deal with his fear for his lover's safety. Julian is the most wonderful man he has ever known, and Cameron loves him completely, but he can't live with this fear on a daily basis. Cameron has no other option but to push his lover away, even though doing so will break both of their hearts.
When I saw Warrior's Cross the first day after it was published, I had to refrain from a completely undignified squeal of delight. Not only is the cover art by the wonderful Anne Cain, but Ms. Urban and Ms. Roux are a one of my favorite writing teams. Knowing that I was in for a treat, I snagged this book almost before the pixels on my screen could settle, and I pushed everything else off my plate so that I could indulge myself and read it.
And it was worth it; I enjoyed reading this novel very much. It mixes two of my favorite genres, romance and suspense, and tosses in a little bit of action, a healthy shot of danger, and a heaping dose of angst and broken hearts. In this story, the authors' narrative is comfortable and flows smoothly, their plotting is tight, and their characters are well-developed and interesting.
I'll admit a certain fondness for tough guys as heroes, and Warrior's Cross gives us one such tough guy who is absolutely unique. Julian is the man of mystery. Although it is apparent that his job is anything but philanthropic, the authors leave us with just a soupcon of a doubt about his villainy. No man who is all bad could possibly be as gentle and soft-spoken as he is. I found him to be very compelling, and when I found out that he was a cat man? Well, I think I fell a little bit in love with him myself.
The suspense element of Warrior's Cross is very well done. There are many small mysteries, such as who Julian actually is, whether he will ever open up to Cameron, and what negative repercussions there might be for Cameron because he is involved with Julian. We spend much of the book anticipating some sort of disaster, and when the climactic moment comes, it packs an emotional punch that will take your breath away. I'll admit to wanting to search for a tissue at this time but also not being willing to put down the book long enough to actually go looking for one.
My only true disappointment in this book? That I've finished reading it. It was a little bit like a slice of birthday cake: beautiful to look at, satisfying to consume, and then mourned when it's gone. Suffice to say, I'll be on the eager look out for the next offering from Ms. Urban and Ms. Roux, because it's just plain good stuff.