All of the Voices (Southern Spirits #3) by Bailey Bradford


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The body might be reluctant, but there’s more than one spirit willing to step in and keep two stubborn men from walking away from each other forever…

Deputy Matt Nixon has had a rough time of it lately. He’s put up with the spirit of his boss’s dead lover, been stabbed, and had his fledgling interest in another man cruelly flung back in his face. His only close friend is an elderly woman who gets her kicks from calling in false prowler reports then greeting the responding deputies with a lewd proposition and little clothes.

When he finds her dead, Matt grieves for the old woman so many people snickered at—and he fumes at the idea of her snooty nephew from New York who never bothered to visit her. Matt is going to give Carlin Douglas a piece of his mind if he does show up.

Carlin Douglas hates the small town of McKinton, Texas. The only other time he’d been there was years ago when Zeke Mathers was almost killed in a gay bashing. Now Carlin has obligations that keep him tied to New York, but he doesn’t mind.

Until he clashes with Deputy Matt Nixon, a man who seems determined to hate him. But McKinton is a different place, and there’s always a spirit or two lingering, just waiting for an opportunity…Or meddle.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series but can be read as a stand alone title.

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So when I finished When the Dead Speak, I had an idea as to who All of the Voices would be about. It turns out I was half right as Matt is our McKinton resident who finds love and spirits or love with the help of spirits this time around. I’m actually glad I was wrong about Rich being the love interest because not only would it have been too easy to bring Laine’s former partner to town, but Carlin proved to be a much more entertaining choice as the city slicker finds himself swooning over the country boy.

 

After nearly dying in When the Dead Speak, Matt developed a friendship with the elderly Mrs. Hawkins and rather than attempting to jump his bones when he responded to her prowler reports, she baked him cookies and they visited for a while. Because of this, he was devastated when he found her dead while responding to her latest prowler call. Their friendship was the only reason that Matt was able to tell the sheriff about Mrs. Hawkins’s nephew, a man who quickly becomes the target of Matt’s ire as he’s not visited his aunt in years. We learn that Carlin had good reasons for not visiting and once Matt is made aware of them, he reassesses Carlin and the men bond over their shared love of Mrs. Hawkins – and a rather lusty mutual attraction. Matt & Carlin strike up a short-term relationship with Carlin being honest about his intentions to return to New York and Matt wanting what time he could have with Carlin. Until Rich, Matt had never entertained the idea that he was gay. His attraction to Carlin confirmed his preference and Carlin was his first everything. Because of this, the sex scenes take on a level of care and sensuality I wasn’t expecting, especially with Carlin’s return to New York hanging over their heads.

 

I really enjoyed watching Matt and Carlin get to know one another. Although they fell in love within a week’s time, thse book didn’t have that insta-love feel to it that I find often accompanies such a quick moving relationship. This is probably why it hurt so much to watch them part ways when Carlin returned to New York. And thanks to the helping hand of a spirit or two – and Severo – it’s also what made the ending so perfect. I am curious about the new waiter and cannot wait to find out his story as he’s already eliciting the protective instincts of some of the townsfolk. All of the Voices was an excellent addition to the Southern Spirits series and I look forward to reviewing Wait Until Dawn – which is Rich’s book.

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