Hazard and Somerset: Off Duty Volume 2 by Gregory Ashe

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Hazard and Somerset: Off Duty Volume 2 is a collection of short stories. It includes the following:

John-Henry Somerset: Sold!
Somers enters a charity bachelor’s auction without telling his boyfriend. This story takes place before The Rational Faculty.

Pretty and Pink and Perfect
Hazard plans a toddler’s birthday party. This story takes place before The Rational Faculty.

Pride Slays Thanksgiving
Hazard and Somers prepare for their first Thanksgiving as a couple. This story takes place before Police Brutality.

Santa: A Cultural Hegemony
Hazard is volun-told to dress up as Santa. This story takes place before Transactional Dynamics.

Valentine’s in Six Beats
Hazard executes his do-over for Valentine’s. This story takes place before Wayward.

Emery’s Birthday Scavenger Hunt
Somers plans the perfect birthday for Hazard . . . or so he thinks. This story takes place before The Keeper of Bees.

Hazard and Somerset: Off Duty
A series of six vignettes featuring Hazard and Somers on a Caribbean vacation. This story takes place after The Keeper of Bees.

Rating: A

This is the second set of short stories featuring Emery Hazard and John-Henry Somerset in their off-time. Most of them have been available to subscribers to the author’s mailing list, but the final set of vignettes, Hazard and Somerset: Off Duty are new, and take place after the events of The Keeper of Bees, the final book in the Union of Swords series.

The first of the stories takes place between Criminal Past at the end of the first series and The Rational Faculty, and they follow the guys through the timeframe of the series, each one usually taking place between books – and they’re full of classic Hazard and Somers banter and snark as well as showing them at their most couple-y and loving. We’ve got Hazard obsessing over the perfect birthday party for Evie, (he is SUCH a great Dad!), Somers up against Nico in a bachelor auction, and my personal favourite, a wonderful Valentine’s Day Do-Over in which Hazard pulls out all the stops to make the day as special and romantic for Somers as possible.

It’s always a pleasure to read about Hazard and Somers in situations where they’re not being shot at, beaten up or having a major relationship crisis; these stories provide wonderful glimpses into their ‘ordinary’ daily lives and give us – and them – a bit of respite from the chaos and danger that they invariably attract in the full-length novels. Plus, there’s a real sense that the author has fun writing these and it also showcases just how well he knows (and loves) these characters.

The final set of stories is new and given the note on which The Keeper of Bees ended was just what I wanted to read next. But be warned, Mr. Ashe drops one helluva bombshell – one I did NOT see coming – at the end of the last one! So now it’s just a case of waiting to see how the guys handle this latest upheaval in their lives in their next series – Hazard and Somerset: Arrows in the Hand. I can’t wait.

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