Beneath the Shield - Diana DeRicci I really enjoyed this entertaining, character – driven book. Both heroes were very likeable characters. As a newcomer to the city of Arbor Heights and caught in a stressful schedule as an ER doctor, Brant recently suffered through a heavy disappointment with his latest boyfriend (the bully) and was eager for a real connection with someone else. Seemingly unattainable Jack tickled Brant’s ambition, but this turned into real emotion fast. I liked Brant’s patience, his sensitivity and concern for Jack. But Brant is no doormat, he knows what he wants and goes about it with determination, and he refuses to let Jack hide in his shell. Although Brant is a tender lover, he can also be demanding in bed and beyond. He’s a very likely person to cut through the fog of self-blaming that surrounds Jack.Jack was a well-drawn character too, understandably grief-stricken but with just the right amount of humor to keep him from being pathetic. Yet, I found the drastic means he resorted to in order to deny himself pleasure a little over the top. There was one particular scene where he gave himself a decent case of blue balls - literally! - that had me squirming in heartfelt sympathy while at the same time I laughed myself to tears at the sheer unlikeliness. Aside from this, the issue of his survivor’s guilt was respectfully dealt with and believable.The writing was smooth and laced with slight irony at times. I liked this, although I found the phrases missed the mark at times. I also had some problems with the timing, though, as sometimes days or weeks passed between chapters almost unnoticeable, which conveyed an unfortunate impression of insta-love between Jack and Brant.All in all, this was a delectable, well-written story, solid entertainment and a pleasant read. Highly recommended.Read the full review at