Michael Knight is an excellent undercover cop and could take a joke. However, the recent jokes and pranks from his co-workers in regards to his name went too far when they messed with his truck. His fury leads to him walking out on the job he loves and a desire to hit something or someone, like the guy leaning on his truck.
Aaron Slade has worked alone undercover for the International Narcotics Enforcement & Tracking agency for years. When he’s sent to meet his new partner, one he doesn’t even want, sparks fly.
Fists soon follow as Slade deals with Knight’s anger management issues over everything, but especially his I.N.E.T. training. All Knight wants is to be back in the field with his new partner, but it turns out that isn’t the only thing Knight wants from Slade.
As the first book in Cothern’s new International Narcotics Enforcement & Tracking series, I.N.E.T. does a great job of introducing the reader to Knight, Slade, and a whole host of trainees, agents, and the agency’s man in charge, Fish. The book opens with Knight dealing with yet another prank by his brothers in blue, who are taking advantage of Michael’s unfortunate name as inspiration for their pranks. Knight’s anger over the vandalism of his truck and his lieutenant’s homophobic response to Knight’s complaint do not make for a good first impression to his soon-to-be partner, Slade. But it does make for a lasting first impression, especially when they end up in the boxing ring together and Knight comes to realize that Slade isn’t the “straight”-laced agent he initially sized him up to be. Yet the real surprise came when Slade informed Knight that he was being recruited to I.N.E.T. and Knight didn’t fight it.
Unlike Knight, I actually enjoyed the training program he was forced to undergo because it made for an interesting way to introduce the kinds of tasks the agency performs, while giving the reader a chance to get to know Knight. I particularly enjoyed the surveillance techniques class because I felt it really highlighted Knight’s intelligence and ability to think outside of the box. Not to mention, it made for a hilarious situation when the trainer confronted Fish with the report prepared by the trainee assigned to surveil Knight. Yet Cothern doesn’t subject the reader to just the training side of I.N.E.T. as Slade gets sent out on an undercover assignment, with another member of the team, while Knight is in training. Slade’s assignment is the perfect opportunity to introduce the reader to several field agents and demonstrate just how close they are to one another as a result of being in life or death situations, including the lengths to which they’ll go to save one of their own. Slade’s mission also provides a glimpse into the kinds of missions that I.N.E.T. undertakes and while I’m all for proper use of the justice system in real life, I found the organization’s mission and methods perfect reading material.
In regards to the romantic aspects of I.N.E.T., I really enjoyed watching Knight and Slade interact throughout the book. The volatile nature of their first meeting and subsequent shower time were hot, but they were merely appetizers of what was to come when the two men were behind closed doors and didn’t have to worry about anyone walking in on them. Slade and Knight have great chemistry and this, combined with them being matched physically, makes for some seriously hot sex scenes, especially when Slade’s aggressiveness brings to the fore a previously unknown trait of Knight’s that was barely explored in this novel – leaving me looking forward to the next book in the series in hopes that we will get to see Knight and Slade’s personal and professional relationships continue to develop. I.N.E.T. proved to be yet another enjoyable read from Cothern and I cannot wait to see what happens next.