Reviewed by Susan65
Title: Love and Payne
Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS #13
Heroes: Austen & Osmond
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart… until he meets Osmond Zachary.
THIRDS Defense Agent Osmond Zachary has a huge, doting family, yet something is missing in his life. After meeting grumpy, foul-mouthed, jittery cheetah Therian Austen Payne, Zach knows exactly what that something—or someone—is. Unfortunately Austen seems determined to avoid Zach at all costs.
When Zach foils an assassination attempt, he ends up in the killer’s crosshairs, and Austen is Zach’s best chance at staying alive. Zach hopes the crisis will bring them closer, but Austen has every intention of walking away as soon as the danger is over.
Happily ever after isn’t for guys like Austen, but Zach is determined to show him it can be….
I admit, I was a little concerned when I’d realized that Love and Payne was a part of the THIRDS universe, but not necessarily the THIRDS. However, Zach has been along for the ride since the beginning, after chasing Dex through the halls on his first day on the job for snagging the last bag of cheezy doodles. And Austen, oh man, Austen has owned a piece of my heart since his debut and his initial crush on Sloane. You just knew that boy was trouble and you knew he had a story to tell, you just didn’t realize how heartbreaking it was…until now.
Austen broke my heart, but stable, gentle giant Zach was a solid force for good. These two were destined, it just took Zach years of patience, and Austen needed to get out of his own head. After you understand his past, you forgive him for dragging Zach along for so long. I read this book in two sittings, only broken up for the need to sleep. That is a huge indicator to me that the writing from this author continues to be top notch and continues to keep me vested in the THIRDS universe, even if Dex and Sloane are not front and center.
I really loved the bigness, both in size and number, of Zach’s family. Family is what was missing for so long in Austen’s life, and what finally got him the security and acceptance he desperately needed. And Brayden. You can’t fault either him nor Austen for their friendship, and more, because in their world they could not trust anyone else. I admit, I hurt a bit for Zach when the truth was revealed, but Austen’s explanation made total sense. I think what made it less awkward was the crush that Brayden clearly has on Edan, Zach’s brother. I do believe we have a storyline brewing with these two.
The ending was perfect. I really can’t say more than that. You have to read this story to fully appreciate all that Austen has done and gone through to survive, and you end the book realizing that he is now in a good place with a man who could break him in half, but would never in a million years hurt him. I never once doubted their love for one another and I look forward to seeing this new development within TIN. Things are going to get interesting.
Highly recommend this book, but you sincerely need to read all the THIRDS books first to fully appreciate the love that is Agent’s Austen Payne and Ozzy Zachary.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*