Dominic and Jonathan are on their romantic Spanish honeymoon, and things are perfect… except Dominic has kept a secret from his husband. He’s failed to tell Jonathan that he plans to meet his former lover, Bernhardt, who is speeding on his way from Germany to present Dominic with a mysterious gift.
But Bernhardt is killed in a suspicious car accident. Shortly before he dies, he sends Dominic a bizarre text message that will take the newlyweds on a hair-raising adventure.
Lies upon lies plunge Dominic and Jonathan into an internet crime that could destroy the lives of millions of people. What is the mysterious Charter Ninety-Nine group? And will their planned internet assault force Dominic to choose between the fate of the world and the life of his lover?
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Publisher: DSP Publications
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Cheating, Criminals & Outlaws
Word Count: 67000
Setting: Spain and California
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Dominic and Jonathan stood side by side on the sand, sharing the beauty of the moonlight dappling the surface of the sea. The air was warm and still; the hubbub of Sitges nightlife sounded muted and distant. Dominic slipped his fingers through Jonathan’s, squeezed his hand tight, and kissed him on the cheek.
“Thank you, Jonathan.”
“What for?” he asked. “I haven’t done anything yet. I may yet need to protect you from the perils of the night. I anticipate we will imminently be attacked by international drug smugglers or carried off by white-slave traders to be sold in the markets of Morocco as the playthings of Arab oligarchs.”
Dominic laughed, rested his head on Jonathan’s shoulder, and watched the moon-silvered waves lap the shore.
“I think I want to say thank you for so many things. You make me very happy. And I feel guilty I wasn’t honest with you about this evening, or the meeting earlier—”
“What meeting earlier?”
Jonathan turned to look at Dominic. “So your visit to the antiques shop was just a cover story, was it?” His face appeared severe, but Dominic was certain it was mock anger. He knew Jonathan too well.
“No, not entirely. I did go to the antiques shop, and I did find the gift for you I was looking for. But the reason I didn’t tell you about the meeting—”
“Dominic, stop.” Jonathan kissed him gently on the lips. “We all have convenient lies to tell from time to time. I am confident—no, more than that—I know you love me enough not to want to hurt me. I know there’s some good reason for your secrecy. I love you and I trust you. You don’t have to say any more.” He looked into Dominic’s eyes. “But if I find it’s another man—”
The Deadly Lies is a great follow-up to book 1 in the Delingpole Mysteries. As soon as I saw that it started with Bernhardt – the man who first popped Dominic's gay-cherry! – I swear I squeezed with excitement. I thought, for sure, that he would be the biggest surprise of the book, but I was wrong. So wrong.
There is one reason I didn't give this one 5 stars, like I did with book 1, and that is the fact that the first half of the book wasn't quite as captivating. It focused more on their relationship, with fewer hints and clues about the overall crime, so I found it interesting but not as intriguing and it didn't stir my 'mystery solving' tastebuds quite as much.
Saying that, the second half was gripping and thrilling. The story is a great mystery, with a lot of information provided. There are multiple POV's, because the author is smart enough to show the POV of the criminals, the enemies and the players who really had an impact on how the story progressed. I loved seeing the POV's for the new characters – Pete, Bernhardt, Alfonso and his husband Gabriel, as well as Karl Michael and Sinon – and learning how they fit into the overall story. It was a bit harder to figure out where Pete and Sinon came into it until around the halfway mark or just after it, because there was a subtle genius to the way they were linked to the rest of the plot and the characters. Once again, I found myself amazed at how well it all came together.
I'll admit, I read reviews after reading book 1 and couldn't understand the complaints about it being unrealistic – would you say the same thing about James Bond? – or the horrible slut-shaming of Jonathan. For me, the plot is a brilliant, well conceived and well written – not to mention thoroughly researched, which I can see from the immense attention to detail – while the characters are realistic and relatable.
I am still in love with Dominic and Jonathan. I still love their individual quirks and how they function together. Just as in book 1, their chemistry isn't off-the-charts, because they've been together a while and they don't have to prove their feelings for each other at every turn. Their chemistry is subtle and gentle, in ways that every long term couple can recognise. They have their struggles, more so in this book than in the previous one, but they find a way to work through it and, in the process, learn even more about each other and their relationship.
It's kind of sad, but also logical, that Jonathan would feel betrayed at the thought of Dominic having had an affair, because he's the adventurous one, the one who doesn't always admit to this 'open' relationship excursions, while Dominic has always been transparent about it. It makes sense that he'd feel especially hurt that Dominic hadn't told him about one of his 'adventures', which makes it sound shady, whereas Jonathan is also feeling the same jealousy that Dominic usually feels over his encounters. I loved that they faced this difficulty head-on, because it was something that the first book touched upon. To see the way Jonathan and Dominic dealt with it – the secrets, the talking, the silence, the hurt feelings etc – all showed that these are two men who really do love each other and they're willing to face any struggle head on, together. And, I love that Alfonso and Gabriel show Jonathan and Dominic that an open relationship can be both successful and honest. I'd love to see more of Alfonso and Gabriel in the future, because I hope that these two will become firm friends to Dominic and Jonathan. They need them, to keep them stable and remind them of what they have.
When it comes to the secondary characters, I really did love to see Steve again. I'm so glad that he was back. He has some excellent skills and they were really well utilised in this book. I kind of loved Sinon, too. I'm super intrigued to find out who will appear in the next book and what kind of part they'll have in it, not to mention the impact they'll have on Jonathan and Dominic.
Overall, this intriguing story took place partly in San Francisco and partly in Barcelona, full of conspiracy and subterfuge, while exploring Dominic and Jonathan's relationship in a whole new way. There are secret organisations, a bit more of the hot stuff than book 1 (mostly fade-to-black) and some serious drama. With the author leaving the story open for another book, I can't wait to see where it's going to go, but I know it's going to be one hell of a ride.
““Good evening, my injured Englishman!” said Alfonso in a loud whisper. “Now, don’t you cause these nice people any trouble, or I will bring the full force of the law upon you.”
“Oh, I do hope so,” said Jonathan, his leg lifted in readiness to get into the bed. “I have nothing to protect me except this hospital gown, which, as you can see, has full rear ventilation and offers total access.” Jonathan gave the flimsy gown a flick, like a coquettish debutante at a dance, before settling himself into the bed.”