Dirty Deeds is the first book in HelenKay Dimon’s new Dirty series (which is a kind of sequel to her earlier Tough Love series). The books are vaguely connected by the CIA and Black ops agents involved in each story, but they can all be read as stand alone novels. The men in this series take on the jobs that blur the lines between legal and illegal, but all in the name of ultimate justice.
This novel’s main protagonist is Alec Drummond, whom we met most recently in Guarding Mr Fine. He is a billionaire, a ‘go to’ man for undercover operations and runs a highly successful business, Drummond Enterprises, that distributes seeds and agricultural products. His company also helps save seeds for the future by storing them in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This vault is a real place that protects seeds and crops from contamination and hybridisation, so we could replant the world should something horrid happen…
…on with the plot.
Gaige Owens works, unwillingly, for Seth Lang, a top agent of the black ops / CIA variety, who has something on him. Gaige is a computer hacker and whizz kid and has been instructed by Seth to try to override the security protocols of Drummond Enterprises, and break into the company’s system. He fails – just – and when Alec and Seth arrive at the site of Gaige’s break in, Seth reveals to Alec that someone is circumnavigating the security at the seed vault and setting up Alec’s company as the perpetrator.
Gaige was testing the security to see how easy it would be for an outsider to break into Drummond’s systems and, as he proved it couldn’t be done, Seth suspects it is an inside job. Additionally, Seth asks Gaige to report to him about Alec, as he wants to keep an eye on his actions and make sure he’s trustworthy.
Alec has very few people he trusts in his life or with his company, and so Gaige has to be introduced as a security expert checking their system. Alec puts him in a glass office where he can keep an eye on him and lets him stay at his incredible glass house.
Of course these two fancy the pants off each other immediately and the usual ‘it’s just sex’ excuse is employed. There is a good plot of sorts here; the section of the book set in and around the seed vault is exciting and fast moving and I didn’t guess who the bad guys were until near the end. But the first part and ending are pretty much as expected for Alpha male novels.
I like the occasional strong, forceful male romances and I definitely do not believe that you always have to have one weak, one strong in a m/m pairing. However, I want nuances, shades of light and dark, moments of weakness. HelenKay Dimon is a fair writer but her Alpha males are ‘gorgeous’ – of course – ‘muscular’ – of course – hunks. One is usually very rich or high up in the CIA or some other large operation or corporation. The other will have super skills and be a ‘muscular’, ‘gorgeous’, hunk who is carefree and poor.
This author’s characters are wooden, all rinse and repeat. Men have feelings, men can show emotions, men can change and be remorseful. Alpha males always have the best sex, no awkwardness, no fumbling, no laughter, no softness or cuddling. They throw each other against walls, rip clothes off, never mean it, yet are always surprised and prepared. Okay, maybe that all works in a moment of frenzied passion but surely it can’t happen like that every time!
Also, HelenKay Dimon does veer towards, ‘imminent death let’s have sex’ territory quite a lot. Terrible things are happening in Alec’s hard fought for company, he is shot at or nearly run over and yet he stares and describes Gaige’s bulging biceps – a lot. This novel isn’t bad, it just isn’t anything new. None of the characters acts in a normal manner; they are Bond villains or Bond good guys. Dirty Deeds strives to be a romantic suspense story, but in truth, it is a gay sex novel held up by an almost interesting thriller plot, which may be manna from heaven for many romance readers – just not for this one.