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Diversion - Eden Winters I'm feeling like a dork today and rated this upon my first reread: 4.222222... stars!

Richmond E. Lucklighter ("Lucky"). 35 years old. 5 foot, 6 inches in height. Ex-con who stole drug shipments in the past. Served 2 years in prison, but traded the remaining 8 years of jail time by working as a drug diversion consultant for the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau's (SNB) Department of Diversion Prevention and Control. He's vulgar, cocky, loves to piss people off, and always has the last word in a conversation. He's a meats and potatoes kind of guy, and drinks his coffee black with "enough sugar to choke a horse."

Bo Schollenberger. 31 years old. At least 6 foot in height. Ex-marine and a pharmacist with his license revoked. Is currently working for the SNB as part of a deal to get a clean slate. He's a good guy who has anxiety issues (perhaps PTSD) from serving in Afghanistan including his own past traumas. He's a vegetarian who avoids processed foods and orders decaffeinated green tea from Starbucks.

So how do these two seemingly polar opposites work together as partners in fighting drug diversion? To be honest, that's probably the most entertaining aspect of Diversion (and the whole series in general). Watching these two banter at each other was absolute FUN, especially seeing how Lucky would push all of Bo's buttons.

Bo's glare wasn't impressive, but with some work stood a good chance of improving over time. He nailed the gritted-teeth growl, however. "Lord grant me patience, 'cause if I pray for strength, I might just wind up beating you to death."

In theory, Lucky was aware of non-meat eaters existing, but couldn't recall ever meeting one face to face. Weren't those small nerdy guys with glasses? How'd Bo get buff nibbling lettuce leaves?

However, things aren't always just for shits and giggles. After all, we are dealing with two men damaged by circumstances both within and outside of their control. The moments of intimacy and shared pasts were well developed between Lucky and Bo. And with Lucky's own 8 year sentence at SNB coming to a close, he must come to terms that his "feelings" for Bo must not be more than a temporary arrangement. While this may all seem like the typical "broken men who get together" type of story, I will say that I felt that Eden Winters does a good job eliminating unnecessary melodrama.

So I will conclude this part of the review by stating that I LOVE THIS COUPLE TO DEATH!. While Lucky's bad boy character by itself isn't very inspiring, it's when he's with Bo that he shines. Lucky and Bo are like burgers and fries, butter and popcorn, cheese and crackers, Arthur and Merlin. I think you get the point? While they do have a rough start (thanks to pervy and obnoxious Lucky), once they click, they really click. They don't really start to interact with one another until 20-25% into the book, so be patient!

HOWEVER, I am weary about how readers will feel about the plot of drug diversion in itself. I will state upfront that I am bias: prescription drugs, issues of drug shortages and diversion, the regulations of narcotics and scheduled medications are all relevant in my real life occupation. While Eden Winters does a good job in defining and explaining the issues at hand (without info dumping), I will say that my interest in the issues at hand definitely made me enjoy this a lot more than a person who's not familiar with the pharmaceutical scenes. For readers who aren't sure what drug diversion is:

"In the terminology of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, diversion is the use of prescription drugs for recreational purposes. The term comes from the "diverting" of the drugs from their original purposes." - Wikipedia

The type of work that Lucky and Bo does for SNB involves undercover work. In this case, undercover in facilities that are involved with prescription drugs (the manufacturers, the clinics and pharmacies, etc). While I have read plenty of M/M fiction involving undercover jobs in situations that are life threatening and usually involves some kind of gun fight and tons of angst, Diversion doesn't really hit those same notes. Hell, the characters don't even carry firearms in this book. They try to get an "in" to the targeted facility and gather enough evidence to bust whatever operation is going on.

I guess what I'm trying to convey here is that if the topic of drug diversion is making you yawn, then you may not enjoy this book as much as me (probably a 3 star read for those people). However, if you have even a niggle of interest (and believe me, Diversion and its sequel Collusion brings up some very interesting issues and ethical dilemmas that the general public are not aware of; it's also educational without being boring in my opinion, but once again: I'm bias), then I would fully endorse that you give this book and series a chance. Even if you end up not liking the investigative/undercover aspect of the story, I believe Lucky and Bo's interaction is enough to make the read enjoyable.