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Hostile Ground by [Witt, L.A., Voinov, Aleksandr]
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Hostile Ground Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 302 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

Enemy territory is a dangerous place to fall in love.

After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club’s security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave.

To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires — including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he’s a cop — and before they both grow too close to betray one another.

As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there’s much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.

Word count: 96,600; Page count: 362

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1171 KB
  • Print Length: 302 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing (May 11 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00K9YM52I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #139,168 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Talk about great ..I really enjoyed this book ...The characters were well developed ...I had trouble putting the book down...Sex was well handled....mysterious...intense...everything you want in a mystery....First book I have read from this auther and I will get more....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f2c2090) out of 5 stars 48 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f443e7c) out of 5 stars 4.5 stars May 15 2014
By K. Branfield - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov’s latest collaboration, Hostile Ground is an extremely fast-paced and engaging mystery. There is also an incredibly sexy but understated romantic element as lead protagonists Mahir Hussain and Ridley give in to their smokin’ hot desire.

With the deaths of three cops weighing heavily, Mahir knows there is no room for error when he accepts his first undercover assignment working security in a local strip club. But first, he has to convince Ridley, the unflappable, daunting head of security, that he is not a cop and that he has no interest in the female strippers. Proving he is gay is easy since the air between them is positively sizzling due to their mutual attraction. But convincing Ridley that he has no connection to law enforcement is fraught with danger and Mahir is forced to take drastic measures to dispel Ridley’s suspicions.

Hostile Ground is written from Mahir’s perspective and he is a wonderfully complex protagonist. He is an ethnically diverse character with strong faith, close family ties and an impeccable work ethic. Due to his Arab heritage and Muslim faith, Mahir faces bigotry, slurs and epitaphs in both his personal and professional lives but he can usually diffuse racially charged situations before they can escalate. Mahir is conflicted by his attraction to Ridley and he is also confused by some of the inconsistencies in his behavior. Although Mahir tries to keep his undercover and real life identities separate, the two areas overlap when his nephew, Kinza, seeks him out following a major disagreement with his father.

Ridley is another great character but it is difficult to get inside his head since everything we learn about him is filtered through Mahir’s point of view. There is never any doubt that Ridley is tough, dangerous and extremely focused on his job. But the fleeting glimpses of tenderness and something that resembles jealousy are at odds with his ruthlessness. These contrasting facets of his personality leave Mahir wondering if Ridley the cold-blooded psychopath he appears to be.

While there are quite a few secondary characters, the two that figure most prominently in the storyline are Mahir’s nephew Kinza and crime lord Gene Lombardi. Lombardi is oddly charismatic and he is an astute businessman. But he is a thoroughly despicable and utterly merciless criminal and Mahir is horrified once he uncovers the full truth about his criminal activities.

Kinza is a great addition to the novel and his storyline is heartbreaking. A typical teenager in most ways, he turns to Mahir for support and while on one level, he understands the reasons why his uncle is gone much of the time his immaturity leads him to resent Mahir’s continued absence. All of this spills over into an act of rebellion that could have deadly consequences.

The mystery aspect of the plot is engrossing and well-executed. Myriad twists and turns take the story in very unexpected directions. Mahir sometimes makes rookie mistakes that serve to remind readers this is first undercover operation and his zeal to uncover the truth leads to reckless decisions. Not knowing exactly what Ridley is thinking or feeling adds to the mystery surrounding his character. This also makes it easy to understand how difficult it for Mahir as he struggles to sort out his confusion over his attraction to a man that, to all appearances, is a brutal killer and hardened criminal.

The sex scenes between Mahir and Ridley are incredibly intense and highly erotic. They are locked in a powerful battle for control and their encounters are raw and gritty with a hint of savagery. There is plenty of hot man on man action that not only advances the storyline but reveals helpful insight into their personalities.

L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov’s Hostile Ground is an intriguing and suspenseful mystery. The overall plot is realistic and well-executed. The characters are superbly developed and with a few notable exceptions, they are sympathetic and likable. While it is not traditional romance, there is no mistaking Mahir and Ridley’s emotions run deep. All in all, a splendid novel that I highly recommend to old and new fans of the genre.

I received a complimentary copy for review.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f443ed0) out of 5 stars An all-round fascinating read May 14 2014
By Marleen - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I received my copy from the publisher through Love Romances and More and rated it 4.5 stars.

Talk about dropping your main character knee deep in s***. Mahir, a Seattle Detective, goes undercover in a strip club in the full knowledge that the three policemen who preceded him have been shot and killed. Because the owner of the club doesn’t want his security staff to interfere with the girls working there, Mahir’s first hurdle is the ‘gay-test’. Since Mahir is gay this isn’t a huge issue but the head of security investigating his credentials, Ridley, is one scary bastard. Which makes Mahir’s reaction to the test rather surprising. Rather than repulsed he finds himself excited and drawn to the man.

Mahir’s cover is well established and means he has to live away from his own house most of the time which makes the arrival of his teenage nephew a problem. The boy has left home after coming out to his mother and afraid of his father’s reaction. Since Mahir has had a fraught relationship with his brother ever since he came out, he understands the boy’s fears and allows him to stay even thought it means leaving him alone most of the time.

As a strange, potentially dangerous but compelling relationship with Ridley develops, Mahir has to balance the various balls he’s trying to keep in the air. If his cover is blown he’ll die, probably at the hand of the man he’s becoming ever more attracted to. A man who seems incapable of staying away from his as well.

With it being unclear exactly what the owner of the club is up to the investigation can’t be rushed while every single day undercover increases the risks for Mahir. And it isn’t long before Mahir isn’t the only person in mortal danger.

This was a fascinating book. It is both a thriller and a love story but it is so much more. The authors deal with a host of issues while never giving the reader the feeling that they’re being overwhelmed with them. Through Mahir’s nephew we get a look at the problem of coming out to parents who neither understand nor ‘approve of’ being gay. Mahir being a Muslim leads to the unavoidable issue of bullying and discrimination. Both issues are woven into the story in a meaningful yet unobtrusive way. Often, when an author wants to deal with an issue the reader gets beaten over the head with it. Not in this book. The issues were there but not only did they fit the story they were also dealt with in such a way that they made the reader think without taking them out of the main story-line.

I was fascinated by the transformation Mahir went through every time he had to become Saeed and couldn’t look away when his cover was put to the ultimate test.

I love it when authors have respect for their readers’ intelligence. I won’t say what, but I saw two plot developments coming quite early on in the story and half feared it would be dragged out until the final pages, as seems to be the standard these days. I’m very grateful it wasn’t and am convinced it made the story much better than it would have been if they’d gone for the more standard approach.

The relationship between Mahir and Ridley was intriguing as well as incredibly hot. I loved the small shifts in dominance between these two men and their inability to stay away from each other even though being together posed huge risks for both of them. Mahir falling for Ridley against his better judgment despite the dangers involved was breathtaking.

“...dammit, but that was a smile tugging at the man’s lips. Butterflies in his stomach? More like a horde of red-assed apes going berserk in there.”

I don’t know enough about Islam or being a Muslim to say whether or not that aspect of the story was dealt with in a realistic manner. What I can say is that I never questioned Mahir’s thoughts or actions or felt the need to double check something. All of it made sense and felt natural.

It is a joy to have authors you can turn to, secure in the knowledge you’re starting a well written story with fascinating characters and a captivating narrative. Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt have turned into must read authors for me. I barely even glance at the blurbs for their books, because I know that I’ll love their words regardless of the story content. And, Hostile Ground only confirmed that idea for me. It was a thrilling page turner with enough love and sex to give the reader a breather from all the tension while the secondary characters all had a meaningful place in the story.

In short this was a well-plotted, intriguing, hot and fascinating story written by two authors who have turned captivating their readers into an art form. This book comes highly recommended.
HASH(0x9f2ba6c0) out of 5 stars Very suspenseful! Jan. 11 2015
By Stephanie N. Gomez - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hostile Ground is the second book I've read by Aleksander Voinov and L.A. Witt. They write some of their published books together and have quite the right flow going between them. They certainly compliment each other.

This is a book about a cop in deep undercover in what appears to be a drug operation involving teenaged boys as 'couriers'. Mahir works hard to keep his identity under wraps, but when he meets Ridley, the head henchman of a drug lord, his defenses are suddenly down. The attraction both men feel toward on another is undeniable.

Very well written, this book kept me on the edge of my seat, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. I like a book that keeps me guessing and this certainly fit the bill. Such a good, good book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2ba6cc) out of 5 stars I’d say this book delivered on all my expectations. May 22 2014
By LYLBTB - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The blurb of this book pretty much screams gritty and suspenseful. Then you see the authors and you know it’s going to be dark and sexy. I’d say it delivered on all my expectations.

The book starts off with the MCs very much on opposite sides of the good guy bad guy debate. Mahir is going undercover in a strip club where they hire only gay men so they don’t have problems with them messing around with the strippers. To get the job Mahir has to pass the test of the sociopath head of security for the club named Ridley. Right away the men clash. That also makes it exciting and creates some intense sexual tension between the MCs that has you anticipating the next move they’re going to make. Will Ridley see through his facade? Will he kill him on the spot? Mahir pushes him on instinct but also has to submit. Dare’s him to push him sexually. The game here is so good and honestly fun in a sick can’t take my eyes off this kind of way. You are not supposed to want to dropped to your knees and blow the guy who you think killed your fellow cops. Ridley is more than happy to take control and make Mahir do what he wants. It was a very hot and sexually charged introductions scene. That tone keeps going for a while as the guys test each other and give into their desires. Some really raw sex scenes. I think the build up to the actual physical acts almost trumps the sex itself. Loved their jacked up chemistry in the first part of the book. Then you’re waiting to see how Ridley acts during their next meeting right along with Mahir.

The tension as far as the MCs does really taper off after and turn almost tender. Feelings start to develop but Mahir has a job to do. At first I was disappointed but then I settled into that and let the plot play out. There was still danger and intrigue but not as intense as the beginning of the book. The baddie was vile and I thoroughly hated him. You know he’s doing something bad. Something really bad but you’re pretty much left guessing until the end what it is he’s doing.

I think by the end of this book I just wanted to know they both came out of it alive. I don’t know if that made the ending feel rushed or convenient but I definitely preferred the first 2/3 of the book. You’d think the ending would be the high point but for me it wasn’t. Maybe Voinov just brings out the need for intensity from me. Who knows!

I really enjoyed this book. You’re thrust right into this dark underworld with Mahir and I loved it. The threat of him being found out kept me on edge for most of the book. The authors throw in other elements just to make it that much harder on him that I can’t get into without spoiling. Great intense sex scenes. Witty banter between the characters that helps you connect to them beyond the parts they’re playing for those watching and waiting for any hint of disloyalty. Great read. I highly recommend this one.

Originally posted at "Live Your Life, Buy The Book."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2bab94) out of 5 stars B+ rating... May 14 2014
By Smitten with Reading - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
My Review:
I do love my m/m men with a romantic suspense twist and this one was a very good example as to why. Mahir is a Seattle cop. He's gone in undercover to a club where the cops keep ending up dead...good cops with families. Since Mahir is a single, gay guy (the gay part is a requirement of the job) he volunteers. He'd rather do that than have to watch another grieving family at a funeral, but he's well aware that the odds aren't with him to come out of this alive.

When he arrives, he meets his boss, Ridley, who's the head of security for the club. Because this is a club that runs prostitution, the owner has decided that the way to keep his girls fresh as product is to hire only gay men. Ridley is in charge of testing and making sure that all the security meets those requirements. So, from the very start, things are pretty explosive between Mahir and and heavy sexy with a very real edge of danger and adrenaline is an explosive mix. And I did like these two together. The entire book is told from Mahir's pov, but you can see that Ridley is just as affected at moments as Mahir is, no matter how dangerous that is for both of them.

To complicate things in Mahir's life is the arrival of his 17 yo gay nephew who is looking for someone to help and understand him when his father completely shuts down his confession of being gay. For Mahir's older brother, this isn't even an option and is something that he's never been able to forgive Mahir for, much less his son. So Mahir can't turn him away, but this is the absolute worst time for him to have to care for a 17 yo because his life has just gotten extremely dangerous to be around.

The book is high-adrenaline, high-action, high-sexy. From start to finish, I had no idea how Mahir was going to come out of this with both his heart and body intact. There were several different twists and turns and some at the end that I just didn't see coming. It was a great read and I absolutely didn't want to put it down once I got into it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.