Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Diplomatic Relations
Author: J.L. Langley
Series: Sci-Regency #4
Heroes: Dalton & Blaise
Genre: M/M Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: 281 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.
Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.
When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelance has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other.
This has been one of my favorite series since I read the first book published so many years ago. So when J.L. released them again, I loved getting back to the series and seeing how she changed the little things. Even though Dalton hasn’t interested me in the previous books, it’s the first one in the series that’s new and not re-released so I was super excited to read it! And I was not disappointed!
In fact, this might be my favorite of the series so far, which says a lot because I’ve read The Englor Affair so many times I lost count. But this one I was pleasantly surprised by it. For being described as a rakehell, I was shocked to see that Dalton didn’t try harder to seduce Blaise more than he did. I loved that Dalton and Blaise were complete opposites and how Dalton had such a reputation for being ‘The Demon Lord’. I also really liked that Blaise was so prim and proper. It really was a change because none of the other guys had been so caught up in being part of society as Blaise had been.
It’s hard for me to describe how must I enjoyed this one because it’s hard for me to describe Dalton, who changes so much from start to end. He starts off being described as a true hellion before he joined the military and now he’s back. But even before this book started, I think he was changing because of his attraction to Blaise. And I’d like to think it made him stop sleeping around and realize there was more to life than his next lay or next gamble. He matured and it became obvious his thoughts were leaning more towards settling down and that he could build a life near his family with Blaise. Speaking of family, I really liked the subplot with Dalton’s family. It starts off intense but then we soon learn why Dalton is estranged from them and why his father and sire are so hellbent on getting him home. I really adored seeing Dalton get closer to his parents and understand why they acted the way they did when he was a child.
As for Blaise, I liked that he was stuffy and then loosened up by being around Dalton. Well, I wouldn’t call him stuffy. It’s more like he tries really hard to prove to everyone that he’s a good heir. Almost like Rexley, who we actually get more of in this book!! But behind closed doors, Blaise starts to realize he wants to be more than just the next councilman in intergalactic politics and Dalton helped him realize that by their interactions. I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other and felt like maybe they might have the most ‘on screen’ romance of the series where we learn about them and not about their bodies…. even though I do love the smut in this series, it was a nice surprise that they didn’t jump into bed as quickly as the others had.
While I absolutely loved this one, I felt like it had a little too much crammed in than there should have been. Not only is there the budding relationship between Dalton and Blaise but there’s also the orphans, Dalton’s family issues and the mystery behind what the IN is really up to. With all that in there, some parts that I thought should have been expanded on were just skipped over or rushed through. For instance, I wanted to see more of the orphan line and while we did get to see how much that affected Blaise, we didn’t get to see how things progressed as much as I would have liked. With the IN mystery, it was hard for me to understand how that storyline progressed, even though it did in the end, I couldn’t follow the logic on how they got to where they ended up with that.
Add to that, I wished their relationship hadn’t been all in secret… although I will say that it made the end even more romantic because Dalton was Blaise’s dirty little secret (so to speak). But certain parts I would have expected to be over with like how Blaise grew so much in the book but then when it really mattered, he returned back to the stuffy little heir… which was completely out of character from how he had developed. Except, he did seem to grow when it was just Dalton and Blaise. We didn’t get to see them apart and with others as much as I would have liked to see those newfound characteristics set in play… until the end when Blaise is put in a difficult position.
I’m not sure if I’m even making sense here. I honestly feel like I’m babbling so I’m going to leave off with saying I absolutely adored this book. I loved that I was surprised by Dalton and really enjoyed the adventures Dalton and Blaise went on. I enjoyed seeing Dalton and Blaise get to know each other and seeing how Dalton changed by being around Blaise and how Blaise gained some confidence by being around Dalton. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the series and getting Bannon’s book but when are we getting Trouble and Rexley?!
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*