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Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads Book 4) Kindle Edition
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From the Author
Ben mounted the bottom step in front of his building. "This is where you kiss me goodnight."
"Is it?" Evan moved closer, and thanks to the stairs their heights nearly matched. "You're a bossy one, aren't you?"
Ben's pulse began to pound, providing his head with a delightful buzz. "I can be. But I liked having someone else see to everything tonight. It's nice being looked after."
Evan took Ben's face in his bare hands. "I'd be honored to look after you." Then he kissed him.
For the first moment, all Ben could think about was how Evan's eyes hadn't left his since the word kiss had been uttered. Which meant he hadn't checked to see whether any "ruffians" were watching.
In the second moment, when Evan's lips coaxed his apart, Ben stopped thinking. His tongue trembled, along with his knees, and he felt himself tilt forward, succumbing to the pull of a tenfold gravity. For an instant he worried they'd both topple over in an embarrassing heap.
But Evan held him up, as strong and solid as the concrete they stood upon. Ben reached inside Evan's open coat to place a palm against his chest, where he felt a racing heart whose speed matched his own.
This was not a goodnight kiss. This was a let-me-stay-and-show-you-what-else-this-mouth-can-do kiss.
- File Size : 2335 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- ASIN : B07GV5G8ZR
- Publication Date : November 20, 2018
- Print Length : 454 pages
- Language: : English
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 1796834181
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #387,854 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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And speaking of Throwing Stones, if you haven’t read it, I urge you to give it a try. It’s the first book I’d read by this author, and got me to read all the Glasgow Lads books. Chronologically, it fits between Play Dead and this book, but I think you could read it afterward. It’s about curling, which I love, but I think you’ll enjoy it even if you’re unfamiliar with the sport. Plus there are some Glasgow Lads, in addition to Ben, who make an appearance!
While “Playing in the Dark” falls in line with the other Glasgow Lads books, it takes a darker, more unsettling turn. Here Cockburn reintroduces the character of Evan Hollister, who her readers know largely as the awful man who betrayed Fergus back at the beginning of the series. Now we learn the real reason Evan left, and finally grasp the sacrifice he has made to serve his queen and country.
Into this mix she drops Ben Reid, a Scottish lad who cares nothing for football, but has vivid memories of the one time he met Evan – at a gay wedding in a castle. Ben is short for Behnam, and he is half Persian, his mother a refugee from Iran because of her Baha’i faith. Whereas Evan is caught between fidelity to his civic duty and his increasing attraction to Ben; Ben is stuck in the intransigent strictures of his mostly benevolent religion.
From the legalization of gay marriage to the insidious influence of hostile nations, “Playing in the Dark” takes Evan and Ben on an emotional adventure that tests their strength. What is personal integrity in a world so complicated that right and wrong depend on one’s point of view? Both Ben and Evan are drawn with vivid credibility, as are the people who surround them and care for them. Cockburn has done her homework and provides us with a believable and unnerving backdrop against which Evan and Ben’s drama plays out. She makes sure to add some twists and turns that keep us guessing until the very end.
Ms. Cockburn lives in the USA, which always surprises me. I imagine her very Scottish name is a nom de plume, but it is hard to imagine she isn’t native Scottish, since her grasp of the culture and language of the northern kingdom of the UK seems so good.
One of the chief pleasures of these books (for an American reader, at least) is reading the language and vocabulary of a different part of the English language. All these books are about identity – self-identity and perceived identity. Language, for the UK, is still a very strong identifying feature, and is one of the many cues used to label people (this is true, but to a much lesser extent, in the USA). Cockburn’s placement of this series in Glasgow is not accidental. She wants her readers to see a part of the UK that is far from the English-speaking world of Austen and Trollope, or even Sayers and Wodehouse. Although it is not her main purpose, through Cockburn’s characters we get a glimpse into the social realities and unseen turmoil that are as much a part of the modern UK as they are of the USA today.
Now not so good things (some spoilers and a rant ahead). As a Russian, I’m so, so tired of Russians being portrayed as cartoonish villains who want nothing but to cultivate chaos in the West. I’ve got news for you - nowadays, Russian politicians/oligarchs are all about money, not world domination. They don’t need chaos in Europe because their families live there, not in Russia. But based on limited and biased research (I was genuinely horrified by the title of one of the books used for it, that casually puts hackers, terrorists and Russians in one line), the author deems it possible to proclaim Russia a number one threat for the Western countries. It’s not even a big part of the plot, but the idea is there. And I’m afraid that books like this might unintentionally cause hostility towards common Russians. Towards me, someday. It’s fiction, yeah, but fiction stays in your mind much longer than controversial facts, especially if a story is well-crafted - it really is, that’s why I can’t rate this book badly. If you’re not Russian and if the impact of fiction on real people’s lives doesn’t bother you, you will probably like it.
Top reviews from other countries
Evan...well, even *I* had a go at him in book 1 Playing for Keeps but smoke and mirrors people, smoke and mirrors. To keep his friends safe and his profession under wraps [he has more layers than the proverbial onion], he takes all the flak for dumping Fergus and legging it to Belgium with a new lover when the actual reality was something much more scary indeed...he was on an undercover op in Belfast [I've mentioned in previous reviews for this series that to this day Glasgow sadly remains a city divided by religion with close ties to Belfast]. I'm not going into any more detail about what happens but suffice it to say that things did not go as planned for either Evan or his employers MI5.
Ben really struggles to reconcile his faith with the fact that he is a young, out and proud gay man with needs. His 'job' as a wedding planner means that he knows several of the Warriors players, and when he and Evan connect at Robert and Liam's wedding [Playing with Fire], we could only hope that things would work out for the two of them. I had big issues with Liam in this story I have to admit but he redeems himself towards the end. Evan finally gives Ben the vaguest details about his job [to keep him safe] but Ben seems to be unable to keep quiet, and that gets people into trouble 😲. He also has trouble knowing which glimpse of Evan he catches is the 'real' one. I'll leave this one here...
I knew there had to be more to it, running off to Belgium just sounded like it had to be an excuse, not that there's anything wrong with Belgium, but it's not the first place you think of when it comes to illicit affairs.
Avery dropped other hints here and there throughout the series that there was more to Evan than him being a callous heartbreaker and I remember mentioning somewhere that I bet him was in MI5.
Now I was joking really when I said it, I honestly was expecting some kind of twist, undercover police or special forces perhaps, rather than the UK secret service.
But with this wonderful narrative, it makes perfect sense and my heart broke for Evan so many times. This is a love story, it is a romance, but it's like all of the Glasgow Lads series - it's laced through with so much more.
Set back in 2015 there's a whole host of things going on here in the UK which are reflected in this book and Evan's dedication to his country is given the weight it deserves.
I loved Ben, I was fascinated by the background Avery gave him and the insights into a faith I'd only heard about in passing. I loved his passion, his innate sense of justice, his quirks and his growing confidence in himself and his relationship with Evan.
All of this book made me happy, but the scenes in Orkney were among my favourites, where Evan could let go and be the Evan he might have been in a different lifetime.
A triumphant closure, if it is the last of the Lads I think they've gone out on a positive note.
I mostly liked Ben, I loved the diversity and dialogue surrounding his faith, but I never felt the connection between these two. Not once. Somehow they just didn't click for me. I don't know if I could've loved Ben had he been in a different story, with a different guy, but I like to think so. I just couldn't root for these two as a couple.
As for the plot, it was very well researched and very in-depth, all these political and terrorist elements, and I mostly enjoyed that, too. It did get a little heavy on the details at times and I felt some of that slowed down my reading, so, overall this is not my favourite of the Glasgow Lads series but I loved the closure it offered to an event that stretches back to book one and that Evan did get his HEA.
I actually really enjoyed this one.
I was worried in parts that it would get too bogged down in the religious aspects and I felt that this was handled well
I liked learning about Ben’s religion and how it affected his decisions. I enjoyed his relationship with his mum too.
The match up of Ben and Evan was well done. On paper Ben would have been totally opposite to what Evan needed. He couldn’t keep a secret to save his life, (and I liked that it was just who he was it wasn’t malicious in any way) But in reality he was exactly what Evan needed. Someone to believe in him and someone to stand up for him against the haters. I was a bit disappointed in Liam in this one. I understood why he did it, but when it comes down to it he had no right.
I hope we see some more of Jamie
Macht nix! Ich freue mich schon auf den nächsten Band!