All Kinds of Tied Down (Marshals #1) by Mary Calmes
4 Pants Off
Blurb: Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they've gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.
As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn't working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn't work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn't being tied down at all.
This is an action-packed and unpredictable story. The MCs are US Marshalls who have to chase down suspects, secure witnesses, dodge bullets and grenades, and jump off balconies. The story starts off with Miro and Ian already being devoted teammates and best friends. We don't get to see the transitions from strangers to friends like it says in the blurb, but they still need to make the leap from friends to lovers. After many dangerous situations on the job, Miro and Ian gradually realize they are "the one" for each other and they're practically an old, bickering couple anyway.
Ian is an US Marshall whose mindset is "shoot first, ask questions later" and with a mantra of "screw the pain." Ian has almost no interpersonal skills. Throughout the story, he pisses off other law enforcement officers, his girlfriend, and his boss constantly. This demonstrates that he cannot survive in society without Miro to mend his broken bridges. Despite the many dangerous situations he gets into, he gets off with hardly a scratch while Miro, the more rational partner, seems to get injured every time. I find that contradictory but that doesn't distract me from the story too much. Even by the end of the story, Ian has too many secrets and I don't completely understand him.
In my opinion, Miro lets Ian get away with too much. He lets Ian eat his food, walks Ian's dog, etc. At least in their hearts, they are each others number one person. That makes Miro's painful one-sided love worth it in the end. There is a lot of contrast between Miro and Ian. Miro is more rational, has better interpersonal skills, and is more fashion conscious. Miro wears his nice (and expensive) clothes to work that end up getting ruined after chasing suspects or escaping with witnesses. Miro is really the best match for Ian and he makes up for Ian's shortcomings but I don't really see it working the other way around. While Ian was called away to do a secret mission for the army, we get to see some of Miro's childhood and get to know why he works in law enforcement. This part of the story progresses slowly. I love reading the dialogues between Miro and Ian but when there is only Miro, the story seems off track and missing the excitement in the beginning of the story.
They finally take their relationship to the next level when Miro takes a leap of faith and they end up together. Ian is difficult to live with and it takes a special person to get into his heart. We don't get to see his background story but he's quiet, intense, and needs reassurance of where he stands in Miro's heart.
I really love the dialogue between the MCs. It's fun and natural when Miro and Ian are bickering. I also love the side characters, each has a unique personality. The best side character is Chickie, the wolf-sized dog. It's everyone's dream dog that's super loyal, affectionate, protective and can scare off a would-be robber. Overall, this is a fun and action-packed story with lots of tension between the MCs. Highly recommended.