Advanced Book Review by Rita: Friendly Fire, by Cari Z

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Friendly Fire - Cari Z

Friendly Fire, by Cari Z
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 17, 2016

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliot is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Bisexual Characters
Second Chances
PTSD (Military)
Class Differences
Trust Issues

Additional Warnings:
Animal Cruelty

Book Review by Rita

I knew I wanted to read this one as soon as I heard about the second chances trope. I just love the fact that no matter what we’ve done in our past, no matter our age, there are often opportunities to try again. I was immediately taken with Elliot and his vision for his company Charmed Life.

“That’s what starting up this company has been all about: living a better life than I had before, and helping other people to do the same. It’s about being more genuine in everything you do. And letting your present actions speak louder than your past mistakes.”

Elliot and Lennox complement each other nicely. Elliot’s the think-big dreamer and doer, but when his head gets too far up in the clouds Lennox is there to ground him. It really works for these two. I could feel the chemistry between them the moment they met and I was rooting for them all the way to the end.

Lennox’s PTSD storyline is woven all through the book so I was disappointed when it was left somewhat unfinished in the end. The majority of the book revolves around Elliot’s problems, but I kept waiting for Lennox’s nightmares to be addressed. In the beginning, I believed just how serious the state of his mental health was, and although it helps, I don’t think that finding love is a miraculous cure-all. I wish that we could have seen more of how he deals with his disorder.

I thought the supporting characters were all written really well. They’re largely comprised of women and I was happy to see them depicted as intelligent and strong additions to the story. And no evil ex-wife! What a joy it is to finally see authors write women who aren’t bitter, bitchy burdens to the main characters. On behalf of female M/M readers everywhere, I thank you!

The book is filled with attention grabbing suspense and while there’s a twist in the mystery that I didn’t see coming, the final reveal was as I expected. I think if this character’s name hadn’t been mentioned as often I would’ve been unsure if they really were the one out to get Elliot.

The epilogue wraps up Elliot and Lennox’s story quite nicely but it jumps ahead to their happy ever after directly following the conflict resolution; when they’re still figuring out if they’re even dating. Since there’s not a lot of romance throughout the book I felt a little cheated that I didn’t get to see how they arrived at that HEA. That said, I was still happy to see them get a second chance at love. ❤

Cari Z is a new to me author and I’m pleased with what I’ve read thus far. I’ll definitely be checking out more of her books and I recommend giving Friendly Fire a shot as well.


Cari ZCari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on, under the name Carizabeth.

Follow Cari: Website / Blog / Goodreads / Twitter

You can purchase Friendly Fire from:
Riptide Publishing
Amazon (Paperback)
Google Play
Barnes & Noble

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


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