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Transactional Dynamics

Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords, Book 3
Narrated by: Tristan James
Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Emery Hazard is ready for Valentine’s Day. He’s made reservations months in advance, he’s ordered flowers, and he’s got a boyfriend he wants to treat right — even if John-Henry Somerset occasionally lets the dishes sit in the sink a little too long. They even have an extra reason to celebrate this year: Somers has received a special commendation for his police work. 

Everything begins to go wrong, though, when Hazard’s ex-boyfriend shows up on their doorstep. Billy claims he just needs help getting away from an abusive partner, but Somers believes Billy has other motives, including designs on Hazard. 

When men who have been hired to track Billy show up in Wahredua, Hazard agrees to help his ex elude them. But as Hazard prepares to sneak Billy out of town, a woman is murdered behind the local gay bar, and Somers’s investigation leads him towards Hazard’s ex. 

As Hazard and Somers find themselves working together to find the killer, they both must confront a hard truth: Everything comes at a cost — career success, healthy relationships, and even justice. The only question is if they’re willing to pay the price.

©2020 Gregory Ashe (P)2020 Gregory Ashe

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-09-2020

Wow

This the best story in the series and I loved them all. The narration was excellent, portraying all the emotions of Hazard and Somerset. This story was a rollercoaster ride

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  • Sagrace
  • 16-08-2020

Still Love ❤️ These Guys!

You would think after 10 books it would be more of the same...not at all. I love the fact I sometimes need to go back and hear a scene over again because the next seen referred to something unexpected.

The characters are getting more interesting and the relationship....well let’s just say I don’t want the throttle their necks like I did when I first “met” them!

And Hazard’s relationship with Evie (his step daughter) makes me smile every time! Let alone the relationship with Evie’s father!

I know there are more books in the series but that doesn’t make me want to get to the end...it makes me enjoy the ride!

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  • Riva
  • 25-07-2020

Another winner!!

I was given a free copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review

I love this series. Once more there is a murder mystery for Hazard and Somerset to solve, with a little tease to the “Bee Keeper” mystery. But much of the book is focused on their stormy relationship. And this one broke my heart for Hazard. He is not doing OK. His horrible ex boyfriends show up to just complicate his life and one really should be shot. Although this series could be listened to as a stand alone series, I think the listener will get more out of it if they listen to the first series and get the back story of some of these guys. There are also references to events in the first series.

In this book, Hazard is put through the ringer and for the first time I got REALLY mad at Somerset for his actions. Even though they were eventually “explained” I am still mad. I assume there is an eventually HEA or at least a HFN at the end of this series, but I’m questioning whether these guys SHOULD be together. There is just so much baggage. That said, I’m hooked on these two and look forward to continuing their journey. What can I say about Tristan James except bravo on another stellar performance. You rock!

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  • Aethena Drake
  • 18-07-2020

Great story. Great narration.

Hazard and Somers are trying to solve another murder, manage exes, and navigate the perils of maintaining a relationship.

Every new addition to this series is engaging. I can't wait for the next one. I am impressed with the continual character development. Gregory I Ashe never stops evolving his characters, and the story continues to build on previous books.

If you don't find immersing yourself in a well plotted mystery/suspense series, I recommend this series!

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  • Karen Hardy
  • 15-07-2020

There are two things about writing reviews ...

that for me are irrevocable truths...

1. The hardest reviews to write are for books that you truly hated. I say this because in my naivete I truly believe that when an author publishes a book they're realizing at least one of their dreams to share a story that will touch the minds and hearts of those who read it. So when someone writes a bad review they’re essentially telling the author that they've failed to achieve their dream…no one wants to hear that and I truly don’t want to be the person to deliver that message.

2. The hardest reviews to write are for books that you truly loved…books that linger in your heart and mind long after the last page has been read. I say this because when you’ve read a book or in this case listened to the audio book and the story has stayed with you long after the last page is read then as a reader, and very amateur reviewer, I hope to find the words that express how much I loved and enjoyed the story that has been shared with me in a manner that will hopefully compel others to give it a chance and to also express to the author my appreciation for the talent that they’ve shared providing those of us who love to read/listen hours of what is often thought provoking entertainment.

Fortunately for me the one that’s far more palatable to do is the second one and it’s the one I need to attempt now. I actually finished listening to “Transactional Dynamics” two days ago and during that time I’ve spent a lot of hours asking myself how? How do tell people what an incredible story this is. How thought provoking, heart breaking and at the end of it incredibly touching this story was.

I love this series, I’m pretty sure I’ve said it more than once. Just like I’m pretty sure that I’ve said more than once that without fail Tristan James is one of my absolute favorite narrators and here with this latest installment in ‘Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords’ he has once again shown me why as he brings Emery Hazard and John Henry Somerset to life for listeners.

As with previous stories there’s a crime to be solved here but more importantly Hazard and Somerset unwittingly find themselves at a crossroads and if they’re not careful they may discover to late that they’ve each chosen a different path.

Sometimes the hardest thing for any relationship to survive are the things that lay outside of a person's control…Emery finds he can’t control his ex-boyfriends who suddenly turn up with the intentions of manipulating him to their own ends. He also can’t control how John Henry behaves or reacts to things…in the end what he realizes is as is the case for most of us…there is really very little that he can control beyond his own reactions and behavior.

John Henry for different reasons struggles with the same issues and if he doesn’t stop buying into his own hype he may loose what he loves most.

I found myself very quickly engaged by this story especially where Emery was concerned. I empathized with him to the point of subjecting my poor spouse to multiple rants about John Henry and even more so about his partner Dulac…I admit even though he did a very decent thing at the end of the book, he’s still just too much of a jerk for me to totally forgive and forget liking him, I’m not sure that could every happen.

I really, really wish I could say more...honestly, I could go on for hours about this one, but to me the point of a review isn't to tell the reader what happened in a story, but rather how it made the reviewer feel and whether or not they enjoyed it...so, here goes...

1. obviously I enjoyed it...right...I think my 5 stars pretty much put that question to rest.

2. how did it make me feel...well, as with anything that I've enjoyed by this author, at the end I was emotionally drained and I loved it. If a book doesn't put me through my paces and take me on the same emotional journey as it takes the characters on...then really, what's the point?

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An audio book of "Transactional Dynamics" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Grey
  • 15-07-2020

Favorite series!

This book packed an emotional punch. I appreciate books that make me think and that make me feel - books by Gregory Ashe always make me do both (as well as laugh). His books are outstanding. Perhaps one could enjoy reading any individual book in the series as a standalone but I would highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series. And while each book is interconnected and integral, there is no rehashing of overabundance of retelling previous information. Highly recommend.

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  • Lisa
  • 27-06-2020

An intense emotional rollercoaster

4.5 stars. I feel like this book should come with a warning:

"GET READY FOR PAIN. *alcohol is not optional.*" 👀 I'm just sayin'. This one messed me up but good. I'm not sure I know what to say here.

In this book, Hazard and Somers' relationship takes the hardest knock yet. These two always have to genuinely work at being together. Being together, loving each other, is one of the most singular important things in their lives, so work at it they do. They both have their issues, and mostly they honestly know what those are, and try to keep them under control. But sometimes knowing what you have a problem with doesn't keep it from being a problem.

Hazard's ex Billy shows up at his door, begging him for help with the people that are after him. Hazard, being Hazard, cannot turn down anyone who needs his help, not even Billy. At the same time, a new murder case falls in Somers' lap, so he gets tied up with that. Along with the case comes Dulac, Somers' partner, who's always work of a different sort. 🙄 In the midst of all this, there's home repairs, Evie's ballet classes, errands, dinners to cook, and all the thousand and one little things that have to be done every day, and the arguments these things tend to occasionally cause.

These are normal, everyday things, and it's part of what makes Ree and John real and human, relatable. But the unusual, not-so-good things in their pasts make the way things go in this part of their life together anything but usual. When things inevitably blow up, it very nearly obliterates them. And I'm not gonna lie, it nearly blew me up too. 😭😭

John-Henry Somerset let me down so badly. I love Emery Hazard fiercely, but let's face it, he can be a real asshole, sometimes deliberately, hilariously so. John normally has endless patience and good humor but he can be just as flawed and wrong as the next person. He really screws up this time and I was so afraid he had broken something permanently. No matter how bad these guys do screw up, the love they have never wavers *thank God* and John does everything he can to apologize and redeem himself. 😍 I've got to say he pours everything he has into it, and no matter what, Hazard loves him.

Gregory Ashe's writing continues to be outstanding, if not even a little bit disturbing. *side-eyes GA* No author should be able to reach into my heart and head and affect me so literally, and few things I've ever read are able to do it as completely as Hazard and Somers can. Let me explain something. I am NOT a fan of angst. I avoid it and will pass a book if I see readers saying that it was bad. This one in particular broke my heart and made me cry, made me so furious at one point I had to stop reading, I thought my head was going to explode. Even this is not enough to make me give Ree and John up. ❤️ None of that sounds like a good thing but it's a true, sincere compliment to the author. Ok, it's maybe somewhat twisted but that's just me. 🤷🏼‍♀️

The case was damn well done, and though I did end up being right in my suspicions, there were several things I didn't anticipate that still managed to surprise me. And just to keep it creepy, the Keeper of Bees makes it clear he's still there in the background. Worse, Hazard is still somehow in his plans.

One thing that has got to happen is Hazard getting some help for his apparent PTSD. He absolutely cannot go on this way, it's going to crush him.

Mixed in with all the dark, there's still moments of light and pure satisfaction. Hazard's relationship with Evie is adorable, I love them together, and I love how he loves Evie. Hazard vs the park moms made me actually laugh out loud, they didn't know who they were playing with! 😂😂 And my favorite was that little psychopath Billy getting to meet North and Shaw, which I look forward to doing myself when I get to their series!

As a note for the audiobook, Tristan James's narration is excellent, allowing me to get lost in this world, which is everything I could want. Despite all the heartache, this was another amazing piece of Hazard & Somers story.

Disclaimer: A copy of the Audio book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Sandra Kirchner
  • 23-06-2020

Another roller coaster

Another roller coaster split between heartbreak and laugh-out-loud moments. When Hazard's ex comes to town, it's clear from the beginning that things are going to go south, but the push and pull of all the ways both Hazard and John Henry are broken make it even more of a mess than I was expecting. The backdrop of the case is pretty standard Hazard and Somerset (with Dulac thrown in for fun), but it's the tender moments when they come together in the midst of all the craziness that brings the story to such a satisfying end.

The author has built such a rich world that there are moments when I'm convinced the places he describes are real, and I want to take a road trip to visit them. Having North and Shaw in town was like having my cake and eating it, too. Although Tristan James is amazing, I hear North and Shaw in my head with the voices their narrator gives them, so it kept throwing me off, but it's not something that can be avoided.

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  • Dana Piazzi
  • 20-06-2020

I love the building tension

So, the first book in this series had me tangled up in knots and full of tension. I reviewed the second book and felt like the author was giving us a break before the drama between the two main characters, and the people in town, got explosive. In this book, I feel like the author is slowly ramping things back up.

The Bright Lights organization/hate group were silent, but I don’t really expect that to last long. The more liberal protesters from the local college are also quiet. The police force’s abuse of power does play a fairly important part in this book as well as the last one as we learn that some officers are on the take and local business, legal and illegal, are suffering for it. Hazard and Somerset had seemed to have talked through most of their problems in the last book, but the arrival of Hazard’s ex definitely throws things off and reveals even more problems that they haven’t quite admitted to, even to themselves.

Somerset is now the recipient of an award for his heroism. The instance he received the award for occurred while Hazard was still his work partner. I don’t think that Hazard resents Somerset’s recognition, and he is happy for his partner in life, but there might be some underlying bitterness because it is the same case that required Hazard to leave his job. Hazard had killed a dangerous criminal who happened to be a past bully of Hazard’s and there are unofficial questions about how he handled the situation. Then comes Hazard’s ex, Billy, who emotionally manipulated Hazard by acting like Hazard was too rough and verged on abusive. It makes Hazard question himself in a lot of ways. He sees all his actions in a new light and he might have believed himself to be a monster if not for Somerset’s support.

I was like, “Thank goodness for Somerset and his support of Hazard.” Only Somerset had his own demons resurrecting as his need to unwind and have a beer or four started affecting his relationship with Hazard the same way it affected the one with his ex-wife. Honestly, for a moment I thought lines would be crossed that couldn’t be mended. Somerset’s new partner seems to like seeing him unencumbered by Hazard and almost encourages Somerset’s bad behavior. It could have been worse, but what Hazard does walk in on is pretty awful and while they seem to deal with the consequences, there are scars that won’t disappear as easily.

So, yes, the tension between the two men did seem like a roller coaster in this book. Meanwhile, two private detectives from St. Louis come to town in a cameo appearance from the author’s other series. It was fun seeing North and Shaw appear to be the calm and sane ones, knowing how they are in their own series. It turns out Billy isn’t only trying to manipulate Hazard to hate himself but wants Hazard to help him escape from facing the consequences of some criminal behavior in St. Louis. The murder that Somerset and his partner Dulac are investigating sees one of Hazard’s other ex’s under suspicion though things aren’t quite what they seem. The Keeper of Bees also pretends to be Hazard to get his hands on one of his previous victims and his reappearance is just one more wrench thrown in the way of a peaceful life for Hazard and Somerset.

I was sucked into all that happened in this book, if you couldn’t tell by lengthy review. I am just on edge waiting for what the two mc’s might face in the next book, and I can’t wait for it to be on audio. Tristan James voices these two characters wonderfully. I definitely recommend the book and narrator and the whole series.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-06-2020

Loved It. 😍 He. Is. Mine. ❤️

The best one in this series. So intense, heartbreaking and beautiful.

The story and the audiobook was perfection. Tristan James brought the characters to life. The writing is great as always, gritty, in your face, honest, packed full of feels.

I am deeply in love with Hazard and Somers.❤️ Their relationship is so intense and real. I am rooting for them all the way. Hazard and Somers relationship takes the lead in this one, and boy, it doesn't get more real than this. I am happy that it's not all roses and perfection, we get to see day to day. They argue about chores, Evie's ballet slippers, leaving the dirty dishes around, etc. It is these small things that make their relationship feel real.

I was heartbroken, i felt awww inside, i wanted to send both Hazard and Somers to therapy, lock them in with the therapist and let them out when they have sorted out all their issues. My Hazard was hurt so bad, i wanted to wrap him in a warm blanket and never let him go. Gaaaahh!!

Somer! Somers! Somers! Ugh! Gaaaahh! Jury is still out. Although that Valentine was a win. 😍

The mystery was so engaging, kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. Billy is a little psycho. 😫

North and Shaw.. Yay! I screamed when they appeared on page. Love them so much.

Hazard and Evie's relationship is so sweet and cute. 😍 Their love is so pure.

Best laugh out loud moment: Hazard and Evie vs the Moms at the park. 🤣🤣

Overall, it was amazing and enjoyable.

Disclaimer: : A copy of the Audio book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • nikki
  • 14-08-2020

ready to fight for hazard🤣

emery's ex is horrible. John-Henry is romantic af. emery is perfect. I found this one to be more about relationship drama than mystery. and there was even a visit from the borealis boys. absolutely loved it all.

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  • Mrs. E. J. Curtis
  • 13-07-2020

Good story

The concept is interesting and well written. The characters are likeable and the narration is good.

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  • WallE
  • 06-06-2020

I wish I could give this audible book 6 stars

Coda: Well, I have now had the opportunity to listen to audible book as an advanced listener and I have to give this 6 stars.
I had already read the e-book and you can see my 5 star review below which still holds.

However, the audible book adds another dynamic. Tristan James and and Gregory Ashe are a dream team with James able to capture capture every emotion that Ashe writes perfectly; so that over the course of the book he heightens the joy, shame, humour, disgust, trust, fear and surprise that arise from this book. Hopefully not too long to wait for his interpretation of Wayward.

Ebook review
Gosh this was a hard read!. Not because it was poorly written but that with Hazard and Somerset, Gregory Ashe put us through the ringer as they continue to negotiate their relationship and learn more about one another. Yes, love is hard work. The Valentine's dinner scene being a case in point, both beautiful and excruciating.
Along with this we have Hazard's two exes caught up in the central criminal case. If you like to have characters to boo at, these two fit the bill for self-centred stupidity. However, it was good to see the guy from Borealis Investigations.
Am I up for the next book? Sure thing! Also, I do hope the audible book is out soon.