Title: Compromised Judgment
Author: Penny K. Moss
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 11,800 words, 30 pages
Genre: m/m, Fantasy, Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Military, Undercover, Enemies to Lovers, Gun Play, HEA-ish, Short Story
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Nikyta
Rózsa Ignác is under cover to expose a gunrunning operation supplying arms to his enemies. His mission is simple: mark a crate of weapons so it can be tracked for evidence. If successful, they can find all those responsible, and Ignác has the feeling the scheme goes right up to the top, to Second Apprentice Tarr Andor. All he has to do is prove it, and that means getting close to Tarr Andor’s subordinates.
Cistalan Konrád is the key to Ignác’s investigation, but his growing attraction to Konrád threatens to compromise his judgment, not to mention his mission. An unexpected confrontation reveals a sliver of Konrád’s past, sparking Ignác’s interest to an all-time high. But risking contact and trusting Konrád could endanger everything he was sent to accomplish.
First Lieutenant VégEszes Ignác is undercover as Rózsa Ignác trying to bust a gun smuggling operation assumed to be controlled by Second Apprentice Tarr Andor. While undercover, he’s simply supposed to mark a crate of weapons for evidence and keep tabs on certain individuals. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to one of Tarr Andor’s subordinates, Third Apprentice Cistalan Konrád, and when Konrád catches Ignác unaware and decides to become Ignác’s informant, things become dangerous rather fast. Ignác wants to help Konrád but he doesn’t know if he can trust Konrád, even though he has to, and when the operation starts to fall apart, Ignác realizes he might have made a mistake trusting Konrád.
Set in a world that is both complex and fascinating, it holds a lot of punch for such a short story. I really enjoyed the way everything was so unique in the way the law enforcement was designed and how the gun production facilities varied. There’s also hints of either a mob or an enemy culture being dangerous but we don’t get much on that.
Ignác is an interesting character. He’s definitely an honorable man of the law but he’s also conflicted about his feelings over Konrád. His desire for Konrád makes him want to believe Konrád has honorable intentions as well but his mind tells him to be cautious. Konrád is a rather mysterious character. He loves making guns but he hates what’s happened to his ‘school’. He wants to fix it and he’s willing to sacrifice anything to do that including Ignác.
My biggest issue with this book was the lack of explanation. The world is really fascinating because of the Feke, Orsá, gun schools and everything. Extremely interesting, however, I was confused about everything. There are a lot of foreign words and I had no idea what they meant. I had so many questions regarding what the difference between a Feke, Orsá, Birís and other words were and they aren’t answered. There’s a very brief attempt at explaining them but it’s over so fast that it just left me more confused. I didn’t understand how a school could be producing guns and how the school would be selling them. It all left me very bewildered. So, while the world is interesting, the lack of explanation of what all these foreign words (and there are a lot) mean.
Aside from that, I liked the way the story headed and how it all played out. Ignác’s confusion over Konrád and his desire were nice to experience as well as the subsequent betrayal Ignác feels. The resolution was a bit rushed and I’d have liked to get more information about the months between the end of the operation and when Konrád and Ignác meet again.
However, when they do meet again, holy crap was it hot! They definitely have an intense attraction together and that boils over and leads to some very hot and kinky sex, although not very much of it. Still, there’s gun play but it’s aggressive and intense and I really loved it. They bond of guns, Konrád and Ignác understanding the significance they hold and they passion they have towards guns plays over into their intimacy.
Overall, a nice read. I was confused most of the time but I adored the attraction between Ignác and Konrád. I sincerely hope there will be more of these two because I’d really love to see how they make a relationship work in this society.