Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Love and Payne (THIRDS Universe, #1) [Austen & Zach] by Charlie Cochet

Outstanding. I couldn't have asked for more. The THIRDS had something going for it, I don't know if I've experienced before, every single book is 5 stars for me. I LOVE Charlie's writing and the world she build for her beautiful characters and as I've loved reading of Sloane and Dex, I SO enjoyed getting FINALLY Austen Payne's story. He has been a constant even if in the background and he deserved to get his story told. Not only that he deserved to not only find his HEA with Zach but get his own family in the process. A HUGE family of bears. Perfect.

Austen Payne have been a TIN operative since he was 14 years old. It all started when he foolishly tried stealing Sloane Brodie's wallet.. Sloane took him in and in no time he has found his calling, and more importantly for him, he learned how to defend himself in a way NO ONE can be a treat. Austen is very good at what he does. He takes pride with everything he is, all he has accomplished, yet there is something he knows he can't handle and that's the big, strong yet tendered hearted Bear Therian Zach.. They couldn't have met in a more annoying and moreover humiliating situation for Austen - at his weakest, after getting hurt on the job Sloane appoints Zach as his champion, and what a champion he is..

Osmond "Zach" Zachary is a part of an enormous family of Bear Therians. Being the younger of his ten siblings and working under his biggest brother as a THIRDS operative his life is somewhat protected even if he works in a dangerous job. That's one of the reasons he appreciates Austen so much. Being on his own and smaller compared to so many, he is still the boss of himself and NO ONE tells him what to do or CAN tell him what to do when he has other plans in mind. It has been a few years since Zach and Austen met and yet Zach can't get him out of his mind, certainly when he keeps appearing even if he seems to keep his distance. As time goes by Zach gets discouraged yet he doesn't want to give up and he has a very good reason why.

When Zach gets hurt on the job and then assassins appear at his hospital bed, Austen is determined to keep him safe. Yet no matter what HIS intentions are he should have taken into account Zach's huge family who WON'T leave him no matter the danger. That's how Austen finds himself somewhat vacationing in the Zachary's "winter home" in Bear Mountain (pun intended hehe). The place is remote enough and able to be secured enough for Austen to keep Zach safe. What he hadn't considered, or rather thought of but hadn't a clue what to do with, is having so much time with Zach - one on one (even if still surrounded by his family).

Time spend together meaning both of them get reminded what they are fighting for (Zach) or against (Austen). Austen might be very independent but he NEEDS a constant like Zach in his life.  Likewise Austen is exactly the kind of guy and influence Zach needs to stand up to himself and find his place. For Austen the good hearted Zach is a super hero, one he shouldn't be allowed to snatch from the world, not with his black as night past, with everything he has done, all the killing, rivers of blood on his hands. Zach knows enough, Austen might not be innocent but he is a good guy at heart, one he wants to share his life with and he is willing to play by Austen's rules which was beautiful beyond words. Austen might be a Cheetah Therian but he is also a sort of a stray cat you keep on feeding little by little, not pushing or asking for ANYTHING that isn't FREELY given. Zach keeps offering and though Austen MOSTLY declines, there comes a time when he can't anymore and then.. then he needs to figure out what the hell he is going to do now..

I've said SO MUCH without saying a lot about the action which like Charlie - comes striking at the very end making Austen choose the easiest choice ever - him or Zach. Yet Zach especially backed by his family is NO damsel in distress.. Together they conquer not only their enemy but a way for a future together.

I can't say enough praise about this one. I loved it SO MUCH. Zach and his family are adorable. I loved them ALL! Zach is the embodiment of everything I appreciate in a man. Strong - physically but also and mostly mentally. Resilient. Knows what he wants and is patient enough to work for it. He is kind and loving but can also be fierce. No wonder for Austen he is THE superman. He is for me as well. Yet I loved Austen as well. The feral cat everyone loves to hate. Ferocious yet not without cause.  his morals might seem to be compromised yet they aren't truly. He has his own and he follows them, especially when a friend is in need. He might not have a lot of them but when needed he WILL be there. I think both have a lot to learn from one another and I wish them all the best and hope we'll get to see them in future books.

HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Yet be warned, this book contains A LOT of spoilers, especially at the very end so I don't think it should be read as a stand alone without reading THIRDS before. Thing is, THIRDS is such a favorite for me I CAN NOT recommend this as a standalone knowing it will destroy this wonderful series, so frankly you have NO OTHER CHOICE - START AT THE BEGINNING. You'll thank me later.

Read on:
4-5 September 2018


THIRDS is my absolute favorite Paranormal MM Romance / Urban Fantasy series. It's the first I've read by Charlie Cochet (and wasn't the last!). I absolutely ADORE the series, each book was simply superb! There's a lot of action in the books, but there is also A LOT of laugh out loud moments as well as heartfelt ones between the MCs. I couldn't have asked for more. This series has it all!

The world building is AWESOME, it's explained right in the beginning of the series - A biological weapon used in the Vietnam war caused a mutations that made the Therians, a new species of half man - half animal. What we usually call "shape shifters". The world is struggling to deal with this new species, a lot of prejudice, a need to register and somehow contain the new members of society. The THIRDS - Therian-Human Intelligence, Recon, Defense Squadron is formed to help the "human police" deal with Therian threats.

The series focuses on the "Destructive Delta" team, mostly the leader - Sloane a Jaguar Therian and his new human partner Dex (with 3 novels focus on other couples). 

The Destructive Delta Team:
Sloane Brodie (Therian Jaguar) - Dexter "Dex" J. (Justice) Daley
Ash Keeler (Therian Lion) - Julietta "Letty" Guerrera 
Cael Maddock (Therian Cheetah) - Rosa Santiago 
Ethan Hobbs (Therian Tiger) - Calvin Summers

The series contains 10 novel but Dex and Sloane's journey continues on the spin-off - TIN (Therian Intelligence Network)

HIGHLY HIGHLY Recommended! 

Each book contains a cast members list and a glossary, but if you want MORE - about the books, characters and the world of THIRDS - look into Charlie's dedicated site THIRDS HQ.

1. Hell & High Water [Sloane & Dex] (Published 5 July 2014) ★★★★★
2. Blood & Thunder [Sloane & Dex] (Published 3 August 2014) ★★★★★
3. Rack & Ruin [Sloane & Dex] (Published 7 November 2014) ★★★★★
4. Rise & Fall 
[Sloane & Dex] (Published 2 February 2015)

5. Against the Grain [Cael & Ash] (Published 3 August 2015) ★★★★★
6. Catch a Tiger by the Tail [Calvin & Ethan] (Published 5 November 2015) ★★★★★
7. Smoke & Mirrors 
[Sloane & Dex] (Published 8 July 2016)

8. Thick & Thin [Sloane & Dex] (Published 1 February 2017) ★★★★★
9. Darkest Hour Before Dawn [Seb & Hudson] (published 25 April 2017) ★★★★★
9.5 Gummy Bears & Grenades [Sloane & Dex] (published 4 October 2017) ★★★★★
10. Tried & True [Dex & Sloane] (published 24 November 2017) ★★★★★

THIRDS Universe 
These are side stories of characters mentioned throughout the series and will center around THEM (not the Destructive Delta arc) so they could be read as stand alone. Yet be advised they MIGHT contain spoilers to the main series. 
Currently there is only one book published with quite a lot of promised couples - Dom & West ; Wolf & ??? ; Taylor & Angel ; Lou & Bradley ; Felipe & Bram Zachary ; Brayden Kavanah & Eden Zachary 

Love and Payne [Austen Payne & Osmond "Zach" Zachary] (Published 4 September 2018) ★★★★★


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