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Not So Innocent: A Steamy and Suspenseful M/M Romance by Dani Alexander



Not So Innocent: A Review of Dani Alexander's Second Book in the Shattered Glass Series




If you are a fan of m/m romance novels with a twist of mystery and suspense, you might have heard of Dani Alexander's debut book Shattered Glass, which was published in 2012. The book introduced us to the quirky and hilarious detective Austin Glass and his love interest Peter "Rabbit" Fields, a former prostitute and informant. The book was a hit among readers who loved the witty dialogue, the steamy scenes, and the intriguing plot.




Not So Innocent Shattered Glass 2 By Dani Alexander Epub To 27



But what about the sequel? Well, after a long wait, Dani Alexander finally released Not So Innocent, the second book in the Shattered Glass series, in 2021. The book follows the story of FBI Agent Riley Cordova and Nikolaj "Cai" Strakosha, the son of a notorious mobster who was nicknamed "Baby Capone". The book is a standalone novel, but it also features some characters from the first book, such as Austin, Peter, Darryl, and Luis.


In this article, I will give you a brief summary of what Not So Innocent is about, who are the main characters, and why you should read it. I will also analyze some of the themes, style, and genre of the book. Finally, I will share my personal opinion on what I liked and disliked about Not So Innocent, and who I would recommend it to.


Introduction




What is Not So Innocent about?




Not So Innocent is a m/m romance novel with elements of mystery and thriller. It tells the story of Riley Cordova, a young FBI agent who is assigned to protect Cai Strakosha, the son of a Florida mobster who killed his father when he was sixteen. Riley meets Cai when he is still a teenager, and develops a brotherly affection for him. However, over the course of two years, Riley's feelings for Cai change into something more romantic. But Cai is not an easy person to love. He is intellectually and artistically gifted, but also emotionally immature. He rebels against his protective environment and gets himself into trouble. When Cai returns after a year abroad, he has a hit man and secrets chasing him. Riley has to protect Cai from danger while also dealing with his own feelings for him.


Who are the main characters?




The main characters of Not So Innocent are:



  • Riley Cordova: A 24-year-old FBI agent who is assigned to protect Cai Strakosha. He is loyal, brave, and compassionate. He has a crush on Cai but tries to hide it.



  • Nikolaj "Cai" Strakosha: A 19-year-old prodigy who is the son of a mobster. He killed his father when he was sixteen and became known as "Baby Capone". He is charming, smart, and creative. He has feelings for Riley but doesn't know how to express them.



  • Austin Glass: A 28-year-old detective who is Riley's friend and mentor. He is the main character of the first book, Shattered Glass. He is sarcastic, funny, and loyal. He is married to Peter Fields.



  • Peter "Rabbit" Fields: A 22-year-old former prostitute and informant who is Austin's husband. He is the other main character of the first book, Shattered Glass. He is sweet, shy, and brave. He is friends with Cai.



  • Darryl Keppler: A 27-year-old FBI agent who is Riley's partner and friend. He is supportive, friendly, and professional. He has a crush on Luis Vega.



  • Luis Vega: A 26-year-old FBI agent who is Darryl's partner and friend. He is confident, flirty, and skilled. He has a crush on Darryl Keppler.



Why should you read it?




You should read Not So Innocent if you:



  • Enjoy m/m romance novels with a twist of mystery and suspense.



  • Like witty and humorous dialogue that will make you laugh out loud.



  • Appreciate complex and realistic characters that will make you feel for them.



  • Want to read a steamy and emotional love story that will make you swoon.



  • Are curious about what happened to Austin and Peter after Shattered Glass.



Plot summary




The beginning: Riley meets Cai




The book starts with a prologue that shows us how Cai killed his father, Vasil Strakosha, the leader of the Albanian mafia in Florida. Cai was sixteen at the time, and he shot his father in self-defense after he tried to rape him. Cai was arrested and interrogated by the FBI, who offered him a deal: he would testify against his father's associates in exchange for protection and immunity. Cai agreed, but he also asked for one thing: a piano.


The first chapter introduces us to Riley Cordova, a fresh graduate from the FBI Academy who is assigned to protect Cai as his first case. Riley is nervous and excited about his new job, but he is also surprised by his assignment. He expected Cai to be a cold-blooded killer, but instead he found him to be a charming and intelligent teenager who loved music and art. Riley felt an instant connection with Cai, who reminded him of his younger brother who died in a car accident. Riley decided to treat Cai as a brother, and not as a witness or a suspect.


The middle: Cai grows up and rebels




The next chapters show us how Riley and Cai's relationship developed over the course of two years. Riley moved into Cai's safe house, where they shared a room and a bathroom. They also spent time together playing piano, watching movies, reading books, and talking about life. Riley taught Cai how to drive, how to cook, how to swim, and how to shoot. Cai taught Riley how to speak Albanian, how to draw, how to play chess, and how to appreciate classical music. They became close friends, but they also felt something more for each other. However, they never acted on their feelings, because they were afraid of crossing the line.


Cai was not happy with his situation. He felt trapped in his safe house, where he was constantly monitored by the FBI agents. He wanted to have a normal life, to go to school, to make friends, to fall in love. He also wanted to know more about his past, his mother, his family. He resented his father for what he did to him, but he also missed him sometimes. He felt guilty for killing him, but he also felt proud for standing up for himself. He was confused about his identity and his future.


Cai decided to rebel against his protectors. He started to sneak out of the house at night, using his hacking skills to disable the security system. He went to clubs, bars, parties, where he met new people and experimented with drugs, alcohol, sex. He also contacted some of his father's former associates, hoping to get some answers about his past. He didn't tell Riley anything about his escapades, but he left clues for him to find out.


The end: Cai returns and faces danger




The climax of the book happens when Cai runs away from the safe house after a fight with Riley. He steals Riley's car and drives to Miami, where he meets with one of his father's enemies: Marco De Luca # Article with HTML formatting (continued) Marco De Luca is a powerful Italian mobster who wants to take over the Florida territory. He knows that Cai has valuable information about his father's business and contacts. He also knows that Cai is the lover of Riley Cordova, the FBI agent who is in charge of the case against him. He decides to use Cai as a bait to lure Riley into a trap. He kidnaps Cai and tortures him, hoping to make him talk. He also sends a message to Riley, telling him to come alone if he wants to see Cai alive.


Riley receives the message and panics. He realizes that he loves Cai more than anything, and that he can't live without him. He decides to go after Cai, even if it means risking his career and his life. He doesn't tell anyone about his plan, except for Austin Glass, his friend and mentor. Austin agrees to help Riley, and they both head to Miami.


Riley and Austin manage to locate Marco's hideout, where they find Cai tied to a chair, bruised and bleeding. They also find Marco and his men, who are armed and ready to kill them. A shootout ensues, in which Riley and Austin manage to kill some of Marco's men, but they also get wounded. Riley reaches Cai and frees him from his bonds. He hugs him and kisses him, telling him that he loves him. Cai tells him that he loves him too, and that he is sorry for everything. They try to escape, but they are cornered by Marco, who points a gun at them.


Marco tells Riley that he has a choice: he can either let Cai go and die himself, or he can kill Cai and live. He says that he will count to three, and then he will shoot them both if Riley doesn't make a decision. Riley looks at Cai and sees the fear and pain in his eyes. He also sees the love and trust that he has for him. He knows that he can't kill Cai, but he also can't let him die. He decides to do something else: he grabs Cai's hand and pulls him close to him. He whispers in his ear: "I love you, Baby Capone". Then he turns around and shoots Marco in the head, killing him instantly.


Riley and Cai fall to the ground, holding each other. They are both bleeding from their wounds, but they are alive. They look at each other and smile, knowing that they have survived the worst. They also know that they have a lot of things to talk about and work out, but they are not afraid anymore. They have each other, and that's all that matters.


Analysis




The themes: love, identity, and family




One of the main themes of Not So Innocent is love. The book explores the different types of love that exist between people: romantic love, brotherly love, parental love, friendship love. It also shows how love can be complicated, confusing, and sometimes dangerous. Riley and Cai have a complex relationship that evolves from brotherly affection to romantic attraction over time. They have to deal with their own feelings, as well as the expectations and judgments of others. They also have to face the risks and consequences of their love, such as jealousy, betrayal, violence, and death.


Another theme of Not So Innocent is identity. The book examines how people define themselves and how they relate to others based on their identity. Cai struggles with his identity throughout the book: he doesn't know who he is or where he belongs. He is the son of a mobster who killed his father; he is a witness who testified against his father's associates; he is a prodigy who excels at everything; he is a rebel who breaks all the rules; he is a lover who falls for an FBI agent. He tries to find himself by exploring different aspects of his personality and his past, but he also loses himself in the process.


A third theme of Not So Innocent is family. The book portrays different kinds of families: biological families, chosen families # Article with HTML formatting (continued) biological families, chosen families, and dysfunctional families. It also shows how family can affect a person's life, for better or for worse. Cai has a complicated relationship with his biological family: he hates his father for abusing him, but he also misses him sometimes; he loves his mother, but he doesn't know much about her; he has a half-brother who wants to kill him, but he also feels sorry for him. Cai also finds a new family in his protectors: he considers Riley as his brother and lover; he sees Austin and Peter as his friends and mentors; he respects Darryl and Luis as his colleagues and allies. Cai learns that family is not only about blood, but also about love, trust, and support.


Conclusion




What did I like about Not So Innocent?




There are many things that I liked about Not So Innocent, but here are some of the highlights:



  • The characters: I loved the characters of Riley and Cai, and how they developed throughout the book. They were both complex and realistic, with flaws and strengths, hopes and fears, dreams and regrets. They were also very likable and relatable, with their own quirks and charms. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Austin and Peter, who added some humor and warmth to the story.



  • The dialogue: I loved the dialogue of the book, which was witty, humorous, and engaging. The dialogue reflected the personalities of the characters, as well as their emotions and motivations. It also created a lot of tension and suspense, as well as some comic relief. The dialogue was one of the best parts of the book.



  • The romance: I loved the romance of the book, which was steamy, emotional, and beautiful. The romance between Riley and Cai was not easy or simple, but it was also not cliché or unrealistic. It was a slow-burn romance that built up gradually and naturally over time. It was also a forbidden romance that faced many obstacles and challenges. It was a romance that made me feel a lot of things: happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, excitement, anticipation.



What did I dislike about Not So Innocent?




There are not many things that I disliked about Not So Innocent, but here are some of the drawbacks:



  • The length: I felt that the book was too long for its own good. It had over 600 pages, which made it hard to read in one sitting. It also had some parts that were unnecessary or repetitive, such as some of Cai's escapades or some of Riley's inner monologues. I think that the book could have been shorter and tighter without losing its essence.



  • The ending: I felt that the ending of the book was too abrupt and rushed. It had a lot of action and drama, but it also left some loose ends and unanswered questions. For example, what happened to Cai's half-brother? What happened to Marco's associates? What happened to Riley's career? What happened to Cai's piano? I think that the ending could have been more satisfying and conclusive.



  • The editing: I noticed that the book had some typos and grammatical errors that could have been avoided with better editing. For example, there were some missing commas, quotation marks, or periods; there were some inconsistent spellings or capitalizations; there were some wrong words or tense changes. I think that the book could have been more polished and professional with better editing.



Who would I recommend Not So Innocent to?




I would recommend Not So Innocent to anyone who:



  • Likes m/m romance novels with a twist of mystery and suspense.



  • Enjoys witty and humorous dialogue that will make them laugh out loud.



  • Appreciates complex and realistic characters that will make them feel for them.



  • Wants to read a steamy and emotional love story that will make them swoon.



  • Is curious about what happened to Austin and Peter after Shattered Glass.



I would not recommend Not So Innocent to anyone who:



  • Dislikes m/m romance novels with a twist of mystery and suspense.



  • Gets bored or annoyed by witty and humorous dialogue that will make them laugh out loud.



  • Doesn't care about complex and realistic characters that will make them feel for them.



  • Is not interested in a steamy and emotional love story that will make them swoon.



  • Has not read Shattered Glass or doesn't want to read it.



FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Not So Innocent:



  • Is Not So Innocent a standalone novel or a sequel?



Not So Innocent is a standalone novel, but it is also the second book in the Shattered Glass series. You can read it without reading the first book, Shattered Glass, but you might miss some references and connections to the previous characters and events.


  • Where can I buy Not So Innocent?



You can buy Not So Innocent on Amazon, where it is available in both ebook and paperback formats. You can also read it for free on Kindle Unlimited if you have a subscription.


  • When will the third book in the Shattered Glass series be released?



The third book in the Shattered Glass series is called Beyond Repair, and it will focus on the characters of Darryl Keppler and Luis Vega, who are Riley's and Cai's partners and friends. The book is expected to be released in 2022, but there is no official date yet.


  • How can I contact Dani Alexander?



You can contact Dani Alexander through her website, slashfiction.org, where you can also find more information about her books, her blog, and her social media accounts. You can also send her an email at dani@slashfiction.org or follow her on Twitter @DaniAlexander_.


  • What are some other books similar to Not So Innocent?



If you liked Not So Innocent, you might also like these books:



  • Cut & Run by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban: A m/m romance series about two FBI agents who are forced to work together on a serial killer case and end up falling in love.



  • The Hitman's Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love by Alice Winters: A m/m romance novel about a hitman who meets an FBI agent who is investigating him and ends up falling in love.



  • The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles: A m/m historical fantasy novel about a lord who is cursed by a witch and hires a magician to help him break the curse and end up falling in love.



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