Bait - Lissa Ford Review originally posted at Sinfully.
3.5 stars

Bait is a good start to a new series from Lissa Ford. This story focuses primarily on the mystery storyline, with some dark subject matter, while the romance takes a secondary role. The mystery, inspired by a true story, is well written and did keep me guessing who, from a small pool of suspects, was actually involved.

Special Agent Danny O’Pray is third generation FBI. He loves his job, but a recent career setback and the pressure of living up to the storied careers of his grandmother, his father and even his brother are all getting to him. He knows he has to be careful to get his career back on track, but this latest undercover job playing bait in a gay club has him close to a panic wondering if he can get through the job without letting on that he has urges towards men, something he’s been denying and pushing aside. The big problem seems to be the difficulty he has reining in his emotions and not letting them show.

Alexi Romanov is the owner of Fetish, a nightclub and leather bar that has recently played a part in a blackmail and extortion scheme that may also be linked to human trafficking. Romanov is a well-respected businessman and leader in the LGBT community, but he is also a person of interest in the case. When Danny goes undercover to gain access to the VIP room at Fetish, the sparks fly between him and Romanov. Soon Danny’s career isn’t the only thing in danger as he finds the investigation heating up along with the attraction between himself and Romanov.

Lissa Ford does a good job establishing both Danny and Romanov as individuals. Having read and enjoyed her Doubleback series, I was expecting a bit more in the romance aspect. The relationship here really didn’t go past lust, which would be realistic under circumstances with Romanov a person of interest in a high-profile investigation and the short time frame during which the story takes place. I had a little trouble fully believing that Danny would compromise his career so thoroughly for a shot at the man, but the two do have definite on-page chemistry as evidenced in the few sex scenes. Danny has no problem jumping in with both feet once he has the opportunity, and Alexi definitely clouds Danny’s judgment. There are feelings involved, but they really don’t have an opportunity to explore that part of things.

The multiple points of view in the story including both Danny and Romanov, as well as one of the victims of the trafficking ring, worked well, with all the characters having distinct voices. I also enjoyed getting to know Danny’s family especially his feisty grandmother and his mysterious brother, Terrance, who has left Philly to work on the West Coast. I’m not sure what’s in store for the upcoming books, but would love to see what’s going on with him.

Bait worked well as a set up for the relationship and a starting point for the series, with a HFN ending. I’m hoping the next book picks up on Danny and Romanov’s relationship as the two have so much to explore and they are not going to have an easy road. Lissa Ford has done a good job with relationships that have a lot of depth to them in her prior books so I’ll be eagerly anticipating the next installment.