Title: The Ruby
Author: Amelia June
Length: 18,000 words (63 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary adventure
Daniel is a psychologist on vacation, damn it. When he meets the sexy but shady Hawk in the resort’s bar, he is brave enough to accompany the man back to his room. One impulsive decision later, he’s embroiled in a tale of intrigue, treasure hunting, and adventure. What happened to relaxing on the beach?
A massive stolen ruby, mysterious gunmen lurking in the shadows, and a gorgeous rogue push Daniel past all his comfort zones. Will Daniel and Hawk find the pirate’s treasure? More importantly, will Daniel get out of this crazed vacation alive?
I very much enjoyed this little action adventure short, but you really must take it in the manner in which it is meant, pure escapist adventure fun. Much like Indiana Jones movies or Romancing the Stone, they and this book, are not meant to be realistic portrayals of treasure hunters/archaeologists. You are to sit back and enjoy the adventure, no matter how unrealistic it may be.
In this case, psychologist Daniel has saved up for his vacation and it’s rather a dud. The place is a dump there is nothing to do, but he’s kind of getting into pina coladas and reading on the beach when Hawk runs into him, literally. Before he knows what hit him, he’s back in Hawk’s room getting sexy and the next morning a gun-wielding thug is threatening his life if they don’t give him the treasure, and he finds a giant ruby in his pants. He’s then forced to go with Hawk to find the treasure as the bad guys now think he’s Hawk’s partner and will kill him as well if they don’t come though.
Hawk is one of those devil may care guys who always has a grin and is sure he’s going to get out of the trouble he’s in and has a “plan” to come out on top, usually by double crossing someone, but he’s sure it will be fine and no one is really getting hurt. He’s sure this is his last gig, he can get enough treasure to pay for grad school and he’ll be out of the game, well, except maybe for that bad habit he has of stealing watches. But he can’t help it. Daniel is the opposite, he works hard, he lives with his cat, he contributes to his elderly parents retirement home bills and he wears sweater vests. Once he gets going, he’s also a tiger in the sack which changes Hawk’s perception from a guy he can use to further his plan, to someone he genuinely likes.
There is a grand finale in the cave, with guns, blood, and Daniel becoming the kind of hero he think only exist in movies. I was starting to fear that perhaps there would be a slightly too pat easy solution for the men at the end, given this takes place on a South Pacific island and neither Daniel nor Hawk live in the same place, but I thought it was handled well, without an easy out, but perhaps feasible, in that action/adventure HEA way that enjoyable movies have. The author also did some great descriptions of the island, the beaches, the jungle and how Daniel experienced it, both the good – gorgeous beaches and sunsets – and the bad – mosquitoes the size of humming birds and sand in uncomfortable places.
I liked both characters, and even though you only get Daniel’s POV, you can see his exasperation with Hawk and the mess he’s gotten Daniel into, and yet he is also attracted to the boyish charm and enthusiasm which is so different from his own staid life. He knows he’s walking into trouble, but Hawk is just so damn adorable he can’t help it. This is a perfect read when you are looking for fun and adventure and are ready to set aside a bit of everyday logic and just go along for the ride. I was left smiling at the end which is always a good thing.