The first book of the Hard Hits series, Training TJ launches right into the action. The story opens with TJ, a detective who listens to his gut over the orders of his superiors, and Parker, an expertly trained SWAT doctor, attempting to talk a man out of jumping off a bridge. The sparks of a yet-unvoiced passion erupt almost immediately between Parker and TJ, and between their locker room double entendres and sweaty Krav Maga training sessions, the sexual tension never lets up.
Training TJ is a masterfully told story about taking risks and learning to live with the consequences. Sure, TJ will risk his life in a heartbeat to save someone else’s, but when it comes to his relationship with Parker, he finds himself unsure of whether he’s willing to risk their close friendship—not to mention both of their careers—to indulge his romantic desires.
But regardless of what Parker and TJ fantasize about having with each other, a stable relationship between the two men may be completely out of the question, as TJ’s detective work has left him restless. A serial killer who he helped put behind bars confesses to having killed more women than was previously assumed but won’t divulge where the bodies are buried, and TJ promises himself not to stop working on the case until the bodies of all the victims are discovered and given a proper burial. When TJ finds himself without any more leads, his obsession leaves him stymied. Parker may be the only person who can pull him out of the downward spiral as they reshape their relationship into a tenderer one than before, though no less endearing.
When Parker’s life is threatened in the line of duty, TJ realizes that not risking his heart may lead to the most unthinkable consequences of all. This message shines through Training TJ, reminding readers that no amount of physical strength can protect one from the reality that not taking a chance on love could mean losing it forever. And perhaps that frightening possibility alone makes the risk worth taking.
Review by Staff Contributor