Read Love is a Stranger by JohnWiltshire Online


How do you love someone who exists entirely in the shadows? How do you love a man who describes himself as dead? How do you get that ghost to love you back? Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider falls in love with his enigmatic married boss Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, but Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so profound that when the shadows are lifted, Ben realises he's in love with a very dangeHow do you love someone who exists entirely in the shadows? How do you love a man who describes himself as dead? How do you get that ghost to love you back? Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider falls in love with his enigmatic married boss Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, but Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so profound that when the shadows are lifted, Ben realises he's in love with a very dangerous stranger. Ben has to choose between Nikolas and safety, but sometimes danger comes in a very seductive package....

Title : Love is a Stranger
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 22241361
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 296 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Love is a Stranger Reviews

  • Baba
    2019-01-13 22:24

    4 stars. Review posted December 1, 2014One of my favorite quotes. Its meaning is very telling:Dead men can't be resurrected, no matter how much life you have running through your veins.First off, let me sweep some preconceptions out of the way. While Love is a Stranger has a couple similarities, it's nothing like Special Forces: Soldiers Part I -Director's Cut. SF is edgier, grittier, much more violent and certainly steamier. Yet all those facts did not prevent my humble little self from enjoying this first book. Very much so. Besides, I'm very glad that this series seems to be different because I don't want to read the same story again. For a debut, I must say I'm pretty much impressed and look forward to reading more by John Wiltshire. Let's get down to business. After a prologue, the story starts off with Ben running, testing his bruised right knee. When he comes home, his cottage is on fire and a man dies. A few weeks later, Ben meets up with his new boss and lover, Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, head of a Black Ops department within Britain's Intelligence Agency. As it was, Ben had been a former SAS member. They have a talk if the fire might have been anything but an accident. After a rather heated discussion, Nikolas has another job for Ben and invites him to spend a weekend with him, his wife and a few friends. "People like us cannot afford love, Benjamin. Even affection is dangerous. You should know this, and if you do not, then you will have to learn. We have to stay alone or be destroyed.""Bollocks! What about you? You're not alone, you're married."Nikolas's hands stilled, and he said distinctly, "Metaphorically alone works just as well."Even though Ben had been sleeping with Nikolas for the last four years, he didn't really know him. Over the past years, Nikolas always succeeded to retain his enigmatic facade. He was a man living in the shadows, whose whole existence was based on a tangled web of half-truths and lies. Outwardly, Nikolas was an impeccably dressed, tall, handsome, very sophisticated, self-possessed and rich diplomat and married to a queen's cousin. But inwardly...who and what was Nikolas really? According to the very apt title, Ben fell for a stranger.I will admit that I needed a few % to feel at ease with the plot and characters. It started off somewhat strange, mainly due to the fact that Ben and Nikolas had been shagging each other for the last four years already. There is no careful build up; I was thrown right into the middle of their lives and had to find my bearings. As I see it, that can and will be a turn-off for some readers. Though the good thing here is, both main characters come off as a bit mysterious, especially Nikolas. It's not easy to figure him out and what I'd like to encourage you to do is to read between the lines and pay attention to all those little hints the author was planting throughout the entire story. Everything is going to climax in a rather shocking and sad revelation. Author A.B. Gayle told me that this first book is a set up for the sequels which doesn't surprise me at all. After having finished the first book, there remain questions and I can't say that I really "know" both characters. Sure, the foundation stone was laid and I knew much more about Nikolas's past by the end of Love is a Stranger. Yet it's time to build the basement and I'm very stoked to see these two men construct a very complex and intriguing building. The end result should be stunning. Guys, digging out the proper engineering skills might be very helpful. Also, due to both main characters' backgrounds, the author has a lot of options to develop new stories.The development of the interesting plot as well as the characters is done very well and kept me engaged. While the beginning felt somewhat detached, I really enjoyed to see Ben and Nikolas make the transition to a certain level of intimacy and familiarity which also helped me to connect with them and feel their chemistry. Another little detail worked just fine for me: an age gap of twelve years between Ben and Nikolas. Of course it didn't hurt either that both MCs are physically very appealing. What bugged me a bit was the frequency of the sex scenes. I'm one of those readers who believe in less is more. However, the writing is great, the dialogue witty and I really like the author's voice very much. All in all a very promising start in the More Heat Than the Sun series that managed to garner my vote in the Goodreads M/M Romance Member's Choice Awards as best debut. It goes without saying that I'll be reading the entire series and anything else written by John Wiltshire. In a time where the book market is flooded with tons of superfluous and trite sexy billionaire stories (view spoiler)[(yes, Nikolas is filthy rich too but the story is definitely different), (hide spoiler)] it feels darn good to discover a new author whose work hits all the right buttons. Thank you.Nikolas put his hands up and held Ben's face. "I once told you that I've lost everyone I've ever said I love you to--which is true--but I've been thinking while I've been lying here today that maybe I always said it to the wrong people. I should have said it to you a long time ago, Benjamin, because I do--I love you."Recommended read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Val ⚓️ ShamelessBitchySKANKY ⚓️ Steamy Reads
    2019-01-13 05:41

    Need to catch up on this going to re-read it...4/29/16This was insanely good.Seriously, outstanding. It's not everyday that you score like this and get the sometimes elusive trifecta of great writing, a solid plot and fleshed out characters ALL IN ONE BOOK. Crazy, I know. Plus, I have read a lot of m/m, a lot of military, and a lot of mystery/thrillers in my time ...and let me tell you, John Wiltshire took my expectations for this this book and said, "Pffft."Benjamin and Nikolas are such great, interesting characters. They have both been through A LOT in their lives and overcome - or emotionally buried - a great deal of tragic experiences. Not to mention they are just plain dead sexy. Their chemistry was palpable. I loved their constant byplay and repartee. Honestly, when I die, I want to be reincarnated as a saucy aristocrat with a bitchin' European accent. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, I loved Wiltshire's writing style and his dry, sarcastic, deadpan delivery of humor throughout. I have already started number two.

  • J *deep in the heart of Texas*
    2019-01-22 22:52

    Oh man.....I really had to use my brain on this one.It almost felt like the book started in the middle of the story or something. Nik is Ben's boss and they've apparently been sleeping together for the last 4 years. It's previously only been sex, but where this story begins its obvious more feelings are involved. And speaking of the sex. It was....different. interesting. Definitely fade to black in some scenes and not always very detailed. But then at times was really hot. I really wish we had gotten some of Nik's POV...but maybe that wasn't possible with all of the secrets he was hiding.Knowing there was some big reveal coming, definitely had me intrigued and turning the pages. But the reveal itself....Wait...what? I'm confused. I had to re-read some parts a few times. I'm still not 100% sure I know what happened. Still, I liked this one enough to continue on with the series. At least for now. Relationship wise, things ended fine. But the plot was definitely left open.

  • Ingela
    2019-01-17 03:28

    Written January 6, 2015 4 1/2 Stars - Overwhelmed and totally exhausted after this emotional and action-packed adventureBook #1The first book in John Wiltshire's talked about series 'More Heat Than the Sun' (4 books so far - all published 2014). ~ I was so very happy for this Christmas freebie gift and so very curious and excited to start to read it.••• Ohmygod what have I just read and experienced?This is unlike anything I've read in a long time. A cross between an action spy / agent thriller and melodramatic epic love story. There are maybe one or two things to whine about, but I'm totally charmed and enchanted.***********************************************'Love is a Stranger' was for me an mostly very unpredictable and also often surprisingly tough bloody read. This story is —set in the UK and deliciously 'British stylish'— kind of a grand twists and turns relationship drama.Devon and London, UKThe main topic is about an ex-SAS soldier who, after four years of a mostly unemotional "friends"-with-benefits relationship, falls in love with his enigmatic married boss. ~ An mysterious older powerful, and rich, man with many (dark) secrets. The larger-than-life hero we have met so many times .... but maybe not in this shape and form. ***********************************************# Benjamin (Ben) Rider, the "pretty boy", a six foot four with wide-set green eyes and high cheekbones, is a sort of 'double bluff' agent.‘Who would ever suspect such a pretty boy? Distracted by the charming, beautiful exterior, the skill and quiet self-possession beneath were often overlooked.’# Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, the head of a 'Black Ops' department within Britain’s Intelligence Agency, is a secretive, tall, handsome, impeccably dressed Dane. A beautiful and impressive lord-like man with a lovely perfect British upper class wife —Lady Philipa, a cousin of the queen— and a grand country estate filled with weekend guests in hunting mood. But Sir Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so nasty and huge that when the shadows are lifted, dear Ben realises he's in love with a very dangerous stranger. ‘Nikolas regarded him thoughtfully. “You think my life is camouflage?” Ben held the stare. “Sir, I think everything you do from the moment you wake up to the moment you let yourself sleep is nothing more than a shadow dance.”Gorgeous, goodlooking, smut yummy men but... I can't say I loved, or even always liked, these two characters. They are certainly no good examples or particularly easy to like. But, I'm by now very interested in them and want to know much, much more. This first (quite long) installment was just like a small tempting and enticing appetizer.***********************************************High steam and angst factor but grandly romanticBen and Nikolas relationship is anything but simple. It is violent and intense with a constant struggle for power and advantage. And amid all this drama in the same time so amazing intensely romantic and sexy. ~ I believe in it, on them and that it is possible to solve most if hearts beat hard and hot like these two. “You…” Ben hesitated. “You hold all the cards, don’t you?” Nikolas shrugged then nodded. He flicked his eyes up to Ben as if to see how his words would be received, and replied honestly, “I relish owning you, Ben. I need it.” Ben gave him a small, conspiratorial smirk. “And that’s exactly why I allow you to do it.”This 'thriller' plot (plots) is anything but 'sweet & simple. I'll not even try to say something useful about what is actually happening here. It is precisely all these unexpected surprises that made this book so awesome and entertaining. ~ Ignore some incredible twists and turns, and new truths, and just enjoy the speed and the never cooling steamy heat.***********************************************I must say I feel some vibrations of those thriller agent books an old boyfriend always read by writers like Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Frederick Forsyth etc (...and I also in cases of crisis and at a casual girl-book shortage.) ..Exciting, clever and scary spy / agent stories from that old 'cold war' time (70s and 80s) with a lot of violence, fire and blood. Evil nasty (usually Russian / Soviet) enemies and those kind of tough, but also goodlooking and sharp, characters (beloved heroes) who never ever hesitate. They just keep running, and shooting, and killing, and keep on to be brave smart male sexy manly MEN. ‘Ben knew that if he didn’t pull away, he would be truly lost. But as he was entirely happy to be entirely lost in Nikolas, he made no attempt to leave the strong arms at all. Sometimes, he wondered if he was so far gone on Nikolas that he’d let him kill him one day.’...Like these two, in this book. Like this complicated puzzle. Like this first part in what I assume will be a great series.***********************************************Frightfully intense and crazy exciting reading!Did I undoubtedly fall for this? Well, almost. ~ Against all better judgment completely involved.Gosh, it will be wonderful to download the second book (#2 - Conscious Decisions of the Heart) soon and continue this 'crazy' addictive adventure.I LIKE - Oh YES I Do !!****YAY!!! - A Christmas FREEBIE 23 December from MLR Press - Thanks!! (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Jan
    2018-12-26 21:50

    ****4.5 Stars****Firstly I want to say that it took me a while to get into this and I almost gave up. I am glad I've persevered because at some point an U turn happened and I couldn’t stop reading it.There were two things bothering me at the very beginning but I came to terms with it as soon as I started to get to know both characters better - around 30% in the story, I would say. They were:1)I know it's going to sound weird but their sex style was bothering me. I believe my friends know me as an avid dark reader and as such I am ok with rough sex in a story. However, Ben and Nikolas seem to know no other way. Don’t take me wrong, I like that they play with fire. And I am not saying that I wanted them to change either, because their "tough way" defines them as a couple. I just wish this wild animalist attraction they shared, was tuned down a bit and softer at certain times. I felt this need, especially when I began to glimpse a tenuous shape of relationship starting to form between them. You know… making love sometimes. (view spoiler)[Prep and lub?There is no such thing for them(hide spoiler)] Tough guys! They just go for the kill. It’s getting better though. Snail pace, but I can see it happening.2)Nikolas and Ben knew each other for 4 years and I have to confess that I was a bit disappointed about that. It felt like the story started without me. I wish there was more flash backs or past glimpses of them together. :(That all said, passing that crucial mark of giving up, I started to get lured by what I couldn’t see and soon I was tangled in a web, bewitched by an aura of seductive mystery. My thoughts about giving up completely gone! Here are my highlights:∙∙)Ben Rider is our typical alpha and stands no chance of resisting his enigmatic boss...)Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen is something else. The complexity of his character stands out and calls to me.and the more I get to unravel and learn about him, little by little, the more appealing he becomes to me. I think the author did an incredible job when creating all this aura of mystery surrounding Nikolas. I can't get enough of him. Now, can you imagine these two together?∙∙)An age gap of 12 years between the MC’s holds an irresistible allure on me...)I love the fact that they cannot keep their hands off each other.∙∙)And finally, the dynamic between both MC’s – both tops - was a first to me. Throw all that together with some action, a scorching hot chemistry (I advise you not read in public) and we have a winner!Fantastic!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Kaje Harper
    2019-01-19 01:40

    The main characters in this book begin as boss and subordinate in a black-ops type of unit based within the UK. Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider is a man whose skills of all sorts, including sex and assassination, have been used by his smoothly-charismatic married boss Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, in the pursuit of the unit's goals. But a recent operation resulted in the death of a man whose family is intent on revenge against Ben, and as they strike back, the falling dominoes unravel the whole situation. Nikolas is far from who he seems, and Ben is very unsure how to deal with both his obvious ignorance about Nik and the fact that he is becoming more and more emotionally involved with the man.There is a lot of plot here, in a somewhat episodic multi-event style, and even more back story, particularly where Nik is concerned. The writing, while smooth and easy to follow, is a bit unemotional and often more detailed with setting and plot than with motivation and emotion. The characters are used to violence, and have few qualms about killing or even torture if it's warranted in their eyes. That attitude even bleeds over unrealistically into the softest and most ethical man in the story (view spoiler)[who encourages Ben to kill a child molester rather than try to bring evidence against him(hide spoiler)]. Violence is always an acceptable practical answer for these men, and usually leads to few qualms. This lack of deep moral focus is somewhat explained, particularly for Nik, but it had the effect of holding me at a bit of a distance from the characters, particularly given the writing style which didn't expose the emotional resonance of those actions very often. There is a lot of physical heat between the characters, and a relationship that has balance without equality. The shift from a long-term sex-only relationship to falling in love is sudden and not always convincing, although I always believed the physical attraction. Nik is a very damaged character and his inconsistencies make him less sympathetic (especially since we only see him though Ben's eyes). Nik's background eventually explains a lot, as it is slowly revealed, and it is somewhat unusual and unexpected, but it happens a bit late in the story. This will appeal to fans of dramatic mystery/spy/black ops stories, who are willing to accept somewhat amoral men of action. I was entertained and pulled along through this book, interested to see the events unfolding and to learn all the back-story secrets. I'm not sure I came to care about the characters enough to pick up the next one, though, with the anticipation of more untempered mayhem to come.

  • Lena♥Ribka
    2019-01-23 03:33

    ***3,4 stars***SEX, LOVE, SECRET SERVICE and a DOG.Even if there is a significantly increased risk that all my brain cells would be irretrievably destroyed after...I.HAVE.TO.READ.THE. NEXT. SEQUEL.And if a harmful effect has been already shown, I have a single reassurance – I am not alone. We'll go down all together!WARNING: Everyone can be infected, but our experience shows that particularly young men and women with preference for strong masculine characters with a hard shell and a soft core are especially susceptible to this VIRUS series.My extra bonus for Radulf!-don't miss his blog!:)BR with Nick and Mark!Thank you, buddies, it was fun to read with you!P.S It was a totally new experience for me-I have rolled my eyes almost in non-stop-run, but I was jolly entertained!I promise to be more serious in my review for the next sequel.

  • ~IreneOust~
    2019-01-16 21:39

    This book did the impossible: it cured one of THE worst book hangovers I ever had caused by An Exaltation of Larks! It was literally a 'Mission Impossible' kind of situation but ... John Wiltshire's Ben & Nik stole my heart. 'Love is a Stranger' sucked me in right from the Prologue and managed to hit all the right buttons thereafter: 3rd person narrative (I think I've become allergic to anything BUT), set in Britain, exquisite writing, mystery element that had me guessing and biting my finger nails till the end, the chemistry, the two men ... what can I say? Damaged men is something I crave in my books. They provide for fantastic leading men which is exactly what happens in this book. What else? Ah ... the dialogue. That back and forth banter. The British-ism (is that a word?). I can keep going but honestly ... if M/M is your thing and even if it isn't but you are in need of an exceptionally well written story, give this a go. I one-clicked THE ENTIRE series after having read a free sample of this book on Amazon. John Wiltshire now has a fan for life in me! Cheers!

  • Ele
    2018-12-30 05:52

    My friends will disown me because of this review. But for the life of me, I can't find a single thing that worked for me in this book. 2 stars because I could tell that something great was trying to pick out from this mess.I can't even tell you what my overall reading experience was, because the whole thing felt like mismatched scenes just thrown together. Odd writing, too much telling, lapses in time, plot lines that last just a few pages and a lot of repeptitive inner monologue.As far as the relationship is concerned, well the above meme describes it perfectly. I thing a huge part of the reason I didn't connect with the couple at all, is that we don't get to see how they started this affair. Obviously, they 've been sleeping together for the last few years, but how did it all start? This really affected my understanding of the relationship dynamics.I don't always have to like the characters in my books. But I have to be able to understand them.I never managed to figure Nik out, not even when the "big secret" is revealed. And Ben's reactions gave me whiplash. One minute he's immature, the next he's all badass and tough, but when Nik says jump, he says how high. He turns into a puppy.And lastly, the sex. I didn't like it and not because of the no lube thing. Not just I didn't care for it. Not just meh. I disliked the sex scenes! It was weird, it came out of nowhere most times and it was sketchy. Many fade to black scenes and others were over in the blink of an eye. All these little scenes together, make for a big sex scene.I'm sorry, friends, I don't think I'll be reading the next books.

  • Tina
    2019-01-17 02:38

    YouTube Booktrailer Love is a StrangerWow… this book was just wow, it's an exhausting, overwhelming start of a brand new series, I couldn’t put it down one damn second. Who needs sleep? Sleep is overrated anyway.… John Wiltshire made me virtually inhale the story, devour it. I’ve never heard from this author before but after only reading one of his books he became an auto-buy to me.You love dark? You love gritty? You love reading about a MC who seems to exist entirely in the shadows? You don’t mind falling for guys who are trained to kill deliberately and don’t fear to do exactly that?You love hot ex special forces guys falling in love? You love mystery/suspense novels mixed up with freaking hot M/M loving? Then the More Heat than the Sun series is the perfect reading choice for you.I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoiler anything… but let me say that Love is a Stranger is outstanding, it’s brilliantly written and definitely the beginning of a series that is going to be one of my top favorites this year.Nik and Ben are great characters… you can’t not fall for them. Okay, at the beginning Nik is a real mystery, but give him a chance, don't let him fool you... OMG - you have no idea what he’s been through.“If this is love for you, then you are in love with a ghost, with the illusion of a man. Is that enough for you?""Would you let me have that? If you do, then I will find the man. I'll breathe life back into the ghost.” Now off to reading the second book of the series. Highly recommended!

  • Nick Pageant
    2019-01-02 23:36

    BR with Lena, Mark, and Sofia!3.5 StarsMy head is still spinning! This is a very good book. Lots of action, lots of sex, and some great plot twists. I'm taking off one star for a pretty rough start, but I promise if you hang in there you'll be hooked (unless you're Sofia). Good stuff!

  • Wendy
    2019-01-10 02:43

    This series has been on my tbr list for some time and since I love mystery, suspence and m/m, I figured it was time to give it a try.I was sucked right into the storyline and even though this story doesn't have a real distinct beginning, I had no problems figuring out what was going on. At least not at this point. You see, we get thrown right in the middle of an already ongoing relationship. If you can call fucking your "almost stranger boss" for 4 years a relationship ;)I was happily reading when bit by bit pieces got revealed, and I was gobbeling them all up. It was were the two hot men getting it on together.Near the end, things got way more confusing though and I had to call in my helpline "Marte" to figure everything out. Damn, but there were some complicated parts. I already read the same chapter twice and it still didn't make sence to me !!Thankfully Marte cleared it all up for me, so I ould continue my reading in peace...without the extreme confusion <3However, I loved this one. The mystery and secrets, the steam, the characters. I can't wait to read the next one, which is said, is even better than this one. I think was a bit of an intro book. Now that I know the characters, or at least I know some, since I'm sure there will be more secrets, I wonder what book 2 has in store for me. So...on to the next one :)I'm gonna go with 3,5 rounded it up to 4, because I was so intrigued.

  • MaDoReader
    2019-01-24 05:25

    4,5 La verdad, no sé porqué no le doy las 5, llegados a este punto estoy absolutamente entregada a Nik y Ben, me encantan ellos, sus diálogos, su dinámica, la retorcida historia que les rodea, todo.No es el típico libro de chico conoce chico, aquí la relación entre los protagonistas ya lleva 4 años en marcha y para mi ha sido refrescante ver como de esos encuentros furtivos algo ha despertado, algo que ha puesto su mundo patas arriba y que les hace moverse sin saber muy bien donde ponen los pies. Si a eso le sumamos un trasfondo de espías, agencias secretas, e identidades que no son lo que parecen, el cóctel es perfecto y te mantiene en vilo hasta el último momento.Ya estoy con el segundo empezado, no podía abandonarles ahora que empezaba lo bueno ^^

  • Sofia
    2019-01-14 01:44

    It’s a tale replete with:Kickass, emotional, picture-perfect model mc’s, able to kill or cry at the drop of a hat.Back stories full of tear jerking traumas.James Bond actionFluids – starting from tears going on to spit and spunk, plus lots of showers.Sex - well lots and lots of that in every shape and form.I tried hard to connect believe me, my friends assured me that I would. Unfortunately the writing and me never gelled. This was me whilst readingUnplanned BR with Lena, Mark and Nick – they liked it much better than me.

  • Christelle
    2019-01-18 22:42

    3.5 stars : damned these good series with hot guys, action and fucked up twists. Rounded up to 4 stars because it's a bit unconventional and I'm surprised to enjoy it so much.Ben is a black-op working for Sir Nikolas. These 2 have been...colleagues with benefits (?!?) for 4 years and their relationship is slowly evolving to much more as terrorists swarm around them and the pasts of the 2 characters are revealed bit by bit.It’s fast-paced when it comes to the plots, complex when it comes to the personalities of Ben and Nick, rough and hot when it comes to their relationship…Nothing is straightforward, nothing is what it seems to be…really intriguing !Eight books in total, 7 more to go, with a lot to come with this cliffhanger on book 1.PS : thank you Ariana for this great gift, I’m enjoying this ride with Ben and Nick !!

  • ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
    2019-01-23 23:28

    Update: no change in my view on this book but, having now read books 2 & 3, I'm so freakin' happy I kept going with this series. So if you have anything similar to my experience, I definitely recommend to keep going. Because, surriusly, Nik & Ben... siiiiigh :)3.5 Stars on Prism Book AllianceBy the time I arrived at the beginning of chapter 8, I felt like I was having trouble understanding both Ben and Nikolas. We’re told that Ben has been working directly for Nikolas for some time and they’re having sex from basically the beginning. Now, Ben apparently thinks he loves Nik and can help this man rediscover the “man behind the ghost” and feel the same kind of love. This is technically not insta-love but it feels like it. We’re told some things that are supposed to represent a history between these two but the feeling behind the facts didn’t quite translate. Often there is a mismatch between words and actions. Ben sometimes reads as a 20 year old kid and yet sometimes as a hardened veteran at least a decade older, if not more. The story is basically told from his point of view so it’s important that his voice be a clear one and that isn’t always the case here.There is delicious detail in this writing. It made it very easy to picture the characters, their mannerisms, all of the locations, atmosphere, both physical and emotional, everything. On the flip side, some instances (an argument, sex, etc.) were almost glossed over, presented quickly and without a lot of detail. This was a contrast layered in frustration for me as the reader since some of the meaty exchanges were put on an unnecessary diet.About a third of the way through, I was still waiting for the main plot to materialize. There are some small stories started, some even with semi-resolution, but none of them are revisited after the initial mention. Despite this, I kept reading because the writing does have a level of quality that I could feel just wanted to break through with something important, something fantastic. With some more directional editing, the story may have touched more of its own potential.More often than not, the sex between Ben and Nik is briefly described or merely mentioned without any further reveal. I don’t always need every detail but when your story is centered around two people working their patooties regarding whatever is going on between them, letting the sex scenes inform some of the emotional connection would have been a big plus. This is especially true for these two because they do use physical interactions, sexual and otherwise, to work things out between them. Things do get more detailed later on in the book, but that’s because they are interwoven with emotion and revelations between the characters. Even with these difficulties, there are some fabulous moments of connection that I felt with both Ben and Nik. Simple gestures that spoke volumes, subtlety that opened a door to change for them in their relationship, and proof that they both were learning how to understand each other were all things that felt real and organic, not forced.It took me awhile but then I finally figured it out: this reads like a soap opera. We have overly dramatic prose, even more emphatic dialogue, and mundane activities and random bits of action scenes to string it all together. Once it hit me, I tried to read this story as such and was able to enjoy it a bit more.Meanwhile, I was still suffering whiplash, being tossed between haphazard language and lines of brilliance that sprang up out of nowhere. That same frustration was now having its own tug-of-war with an almost celebratory feeling towards some of the raw emotional truth these two do share a few times.This story wanted to be dark but the overall tone isn’t there. Some of the details are but they are far outweighed by the soapy storytelling.The big reveal is a missed opportunity in that it could have been a great jumping off point for the entire story. Instead, it happens late and therefore feels underutilized, underdeveloped. Despite this, it is actually very well done and leads the most honest emotions between and behaviors by Ben and Nik. It’s the vicious circle of decisions made long ago, under duress, impacting the future, which is right here and right now. Rather well played. In the span of two pages, everything is turned upside down, only to land right back where it all started: the complicated, emotional world of Ben and Nik.Ultimately, this is a relationship story that thinks it wants to be an action-y secret agent murder-y type story. Details alone will not give you such a thing, there needs to be some depth, some heft holding up the premise. However, as the reader, if you let that go and just concentrate on what’s happening between Ben and Nik, you’ll probably end up enjoying this read much more. It’s a trick that more or less worked for me.

  • Dreamer
    2018-12-26 00:50

    An excellent m/m thriller with lots of hot sex between two uber-male characters. Forget about prep, lube or condoms however! Also loved the cute dog. Story continues in book two.'We don't look anything like brothers, and you're Danish and weird. How about we say I'm your... financial advisor?'Re-read 20 May 2016

  • Sara
    2019-01-14 21:38

    The title of this book, is what really drew me in and made me want to read it. I am obsessed with music and the song of the same title by the Eurythmics is one of my favorites. In fact, I have it on repeat while I write this review. The lyrics… they have so much depth and emotion and this book, oh boy it does the same and then some.I don’t know how much of a review I can actually give for this. There is so much that happens in the story with so many twists, turns and secrets revealed that I would be doing a grave disservice to spoil that for you. So you know what? I am just going to fangirl all over this one.Let me begin with a short history on two characters whom I love for being swoon masters; Jake Riordan from the Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon and Julian Cross from Warriors Cross by Madeline Urban and Abigail Roux. Those men with their tough guy, alpha testosterone exterior and ridiculously romantic interior are on my shelf as Swoony Mc. Swoonsters. But you know what? Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen kicked their asses, tossed them on the shelf and sat his blond self at the top. This man, just thinking of some of the things he says to Ben and what he does for Ben make my heart hurt. I have a thing for endearments, even when the endearment is someone’s proper name and Nik simply saying, “Hello, Benjamin”, makes me squirm in my seat. Good lord.Ben, our narrator and lover of all things impossible was stellar. Though I would love to be in Nik’s head, just once, I don’t think I could handle it. Besides, Ben does an amazing job of letting me see who Nik is and through his eyes, he is resplendent. Yes, I used that big word because it’s true, Nik is also maddening, extremely powerful, sexy and the master at avoidance and deflection. He really is but when he gives in to his Benjamin, watch out and be prepared to take a cold shower or three when these two get honest and then get down and dirty.Back to the title, the stranger in this love affair of course is the mysterious Sir Nikolas.…mostly he was thinking about Nikolas. He was the proverbial riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Every time Ben thought he’d found the real Nikolas, that man he found slipped away again into shadows and illusion.Yeah, right there with you Ben and I couldn’t wait to get more of you and Nik as you unraveled the man's history and his resolve. Usually I am good with mysteries and can figure them out early on but this? Nope, I had no clue where the story would go and each time something turned around on me, I was lost worse than a GPS leading me through rough paths to a fairy tale land. I mean, how in the world could I have guessed any of this? Sure, small hints lead to big reveals but it was never what I expected and that in itself is amazing. Talk about talent, this author has hooked me in and I am so ready to marinate in this series.Have I told you about the story? Let’s do the short/short version shall we? Nik is Ben’s boss. They do some work for the government, things don’t go the way they planned and they gave to restructure and regroup. They have a relationship that has been going on for four years but what do they really know about one another? Well, Ben knows jack about Nik aside from what he feels but don’t worry. That will all change as you turn page after page and though it will shock you and make you yell at your ereader like I did, it’s so freaking fracking worth it. So worth it that right now I want to sit down and tell you exactly what you will find out and the numerous highlights I have and notes that I am looking over. I want to share it all with you but at the same time, I want YOU to read it and share it back with me so we can swoon, and flail and fall in love with two utterly beautiful and broken men who couldn’t be more perfect for one another.It was fate, Nik, you know that. You can rationlise things as much as you like, but everything had led us to this place and to each other.Gah! I am so lost and in love with this book! I have the rest of the series ready to go. I am sure they will hurt me in the best way possible and I am ready for it. I am a glutton for punishment and I need to have Nik and Ben in my life.Choosing this book as my new author read was a match made in reader heaven. Love is a Stranger is a stellar read, a wonderfully crafted tale of intrigue, romance and the rewards of  what you get when you give in.***Note***There is one minor deal I have to mention and the reason this didn’t get a 5 star from me though it’s clearly going on my favorites shelf.  I know the author has addressed this in a group but.... There is lack of lubrication in the book. These men, they have an intense relationship that goes from the daily grind to the bedroom, a lot. I loved the emotions that you get with their intimacy because it’s not overly detailed and yet you feel the connection they have during sex. But each time they do, there is never mention of them using lube. I don’t need the actual word “lube” to be used but a slick or a slide before entry would have made me relax a bit instead of cringing each time thinking these two were going at it dry. That hole, is not naturally lubricated and a dry finger is intrusive enough but the way they go at it? Ouch. It would pull me out of the scene momentarily and had me thinking of this image and hearing the words in my head. For me as a reader, I don’t need the one/two/three finger scissor prep but I want to feel… I don’t know, at ease with how they get it on. Totally personal, I know. I just had to toss that out there.4.5 stars

  • Em
    2019-01-23 23:29

    He wondered how many other people were lucky enough to have an entire universe of need satisfied by one blond-haired man.This book has sat on my kindle for quite a while and I'm annoyed that I didn't realise how good it was and read it sooner. I blame friends of course for not binging it to my attention! I'm certainly going to be bugging the hell out of everyone I know to read it as they are really missing out on something special. It's absolutely epic and I know that Nikolas and Benjamin are now going to be firm favourites of mine. There are so many twists and turns in this book there isn't a chance for even mild boredom to set in. Just as Nikolas and Benjamin get comfortable and settle into some kind of a routine, there's a shock in store and a nice touch of angst, which I love. I've already moved onto Conscious Decisions of the Heart which is even better.I really enjoyed the familiar setting of Dartmoor, it's one of my favouite places and I could picture the abandoned house with the tor nearby, just beautiful.

  • Simone
    2019-01-05 05:45

    To cut things short:Black ops. Secrets. A smokin' hot undercover operative. An enigma that is his boss -slash- lover. An out of the ordinary love story. Marvelous dry sense of humor. Excellent writing style.Exactly my cup of tea! LOVED IT! It's just the beginning, but this is serious all-time-favorite material! I'm in!

  • Natalia
    2018-12-27 05:54

    4.5 starsReally excited to continue this series!!

  • Ariana
    2019-01-07 04:46

    *4,5 stars*Oh my. That was a wild ride. And didn't I love it!1. This has an excellent start! It immediately created tension and a whole bucketful of anticipation! 2. There is the action of course, worthy of any good thriller. Be prepared for shootings, kidnapping, fighting, kicking, and some other 'gruesome' stuff. Think of secret agents and you'll get the idea! :)3. Then there are Nik and Ben, of course. And sigh, where to start?There can be no doubt that the chemistry between them is intense. Even after four years of having a 'purely sexual' affair, they never manage to keep their hands off each other for very long. They crave each other, and I would call their sexual encounters 'desperate'. Which expresses itself in incredibly rough sex. (and yes, Jan, I totally agree with you on this aspect (view spoiler)[ These two guys have never heard about 'prep' and lube! It is actually pretty mind-boggling at times how they manage without it!(hide spoiler)] Ok. They do improve marginally as the book moves along, and there is some tenderness eventually, but 'rough' is their MO!The thing is - Ben is starting to realise that he has fallen in love with Nik. But Nik is Nik. (ha! and those who have read the book will have a little smug grin on their face just now) And he is emotionally so detached you couldn't touch him with a flag pole. He makes that very clear to Ben, too. "You have the wrong person, Benjamin, if you are looking for love" Nik doesn't give away any personal information, never speaks about his past and of course you are made to wonder WHY? This creates a LOT of tension and angst, most of all for Ben who has no idea how to break through to the Nik behind the mask he is wearing.Needless to say that it is impossible to build a real relationship on a basis like that, and my heart was bleeding for Ben because he can't help himself loving Nik, whatever. But, I couldn't hate Nik for it, either. Because we get glimpses again and again that he is a seriously f***ed up guy. But WHY? Mystery galore! Brilliant!4. There is also the 'Britishness' of the book. Apart from the setting (like London, Dartmoor, the coast etc), we get typical British idioms, a bit of the 'culture'. It is true that a cup of tea is the no 1 remedy for pretty much anything horrible happening to you, btw! And there is the hilarious reference to the Famous Five by Enid Blyton ("Where are Timmy and George? What will Julian say?" )5. There is the dry/black humour I absolutely adored. I admit I was glad for it because some parts of this book are pretty dark. So please do not be mislead by the following quotes! (As welcome as they were for lightening the darker themes.)(Ben is following a woman in this scene)"Her first stop was a hairdresser. Ben settled down in a coffee shop opposite and gave her twenty minutes. Two hours later, he was still there."Nik: "Didn't your mother ever teach you not to speak with your mouth full?" Ben swallowed. (view spoiler)[ No, she didn't have time before my father murdered her."(hide spoiler)]Ben to Nik whilst having a five star fried English breakfast: "I'm having what your wife is probably having this weekend, (view spoiler)[ Duchy organic sausage." This one really cracked me up. If you're not from Britain - The Duchy Originals brand was set up by Prince Charles. Here it refers to a royal.(hide spoiler)]But I loved Radulf, the dog, and the humour around him most. Just like here, when Ben puts Radulf in a borrowed Lada: "He (=Ben) was concentrating on driving. Radulf appeared to be concentrating as well, but Ben reckoned he was just trying to pretend he wasn't now a passenger in a Lada." So yes, I loved this book. A lot.Only thing - sometimes the action moved too fast and it felt as if there were almost too many things happening in a short time. But this is only a minor niggle - I am all ready to embark on No 2!HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Isabel
    2019-01-11 00:33

    My first John Wiltshire book, and what a fabulous start!I love Nikolas and Benjamin relationship! I love Nikolas's enigmatic aura, his mysterious past, his mysterious personality! I love Ben's tenacity to always be the man that Nikolas needs! And sex scenes... just fantastic! I even love the dog! But most of all, through the reading, you can actually feel their love and how much they care for each other...This is a book to be relish, to be appreciated... not only for it's fabulous MC's and amazing plot, but also for an extraordinary writing!Conscious Decisions of the Heart here I go!

  • Fabi
    2019-01-02 22:45

    This is my first John Wiltshire book. That's all it took to make me a rabid fan.I spent days immersed in the insanely captivating world of special black ops and international secret agencies. I'm sure I grew a gray hair or two stressing over our MCs. Wiltshire put Ben and Nik on a long, torturous road to HEA.I traveled with them on an amazing road of discovery. A road that revealed so much to each other, yet revealed even more to themselves. I watched with bated breath between gasps of surprise with each reveal.This is a truly great mystery and suspense romance. It's edgy & gritty with that awesome British humor I can't seem to resist. I can't wait to read the next book.

  • Ulysses Dietz
    2018-12-25 01:43

    Love is a StrangerBy John WiltshireFour starsOne thing is clear: when you read reviews by amateurs (which of course includes yours truly) you have to understand where they are coming from—what baggage they bring to the review. Professional reviewers (“mainstream” reviewers) also have baggage, but everyone knows who they are and the biases they bring to their reviews. So, as an almost-sixty-year-old gay man with a 39-year relationship; someone who came out in the mid-1970s in the first great wave after Stonewall; I have a distinct perspective.Thus, having bought “Love is a Stranger” through the recommendation of a Goodreads friend, I initially wondered why anyone would think I’d enjoy this book. Right away, John Wiltshire’s dark, gripping action/romance novel pushed several negative buttons for me. Those would be”1. A young gay man in the 21st century marrying a woman for reasons of power/status/wealth. 2. Another, younger gay man having an affair with said married man3. These two men having unprotected sex4. The younger man sleeping with other men while 2 and 3And yet…Ben Ryder and Nikolas Mikkelson are not exactly what they seem. Their relationships, both working and personal, are not quite what they initially appear to be either. Wiltshire has created what for me was a repellant set up, only to undermine my kneejerk reaction by gradually revealing fragments of these two men’s lives and inner selves that mitigate the situation in which they find themselves.By the midpoint of the book, even as I anxiously anticipated the next off-putting things that one of these men was going to do, I had become decidedly sympathetic to both Ben and Nikolas, and had largely forgiven them for their transgressions of my worldview. Nikolas is the more complex of the two men, as Ben begins to understand, and my compassion for him grew tremendously as his layers were peeled away to the harrowing truth beneath them.There is a certain retro (i.e. 1970s-80s) attitude in the narrative of “Love is a Stranger” that accounts for most of my discomfort. It is not unlike Daniel Craig’s portrayal of the newest James Bond in “Skyfall,” a movie I enjoyed and yet detested at the same time. Ben is sort of a young gay James Bond—and so is Nikolas, for that matter. It is hard for me to believe that Ben, even given his history and professional background, would be so amenable to Nikolas’s machinations, all the while reminding us of his erstwhile bisexuality as if to prove he’s a “real” man somehow. I had to ask why the author needed to build a heterosexual moment into Ben’s past. In 2014, is it entirely impossible to conceive of a tough, highly-skilled military man who is completely and comfortably gay? Whom was this detail in Ben’s character designed to appease?All my bitching aside, Wiltshire has written a truly compelling novel, a page-turner that kept my interest and my heart-rate up until the oddly lyrical quasi-ending (which leads us into the next book in the series in a somewhat limp cliffhanger). This excellent story will never be made into a film unless either Ben or Nikolas is transformed into a woman. Too bad. Either of these men is as interesting as James Bond ever was to me.

  • Elsbeth
    2018-12-27 22:34

    BR with Julie.*3.5 stars*I couldn't give it more stars cause I didn't particularly enjoy the first 40%. An ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider who, after 4 years of a friends-with-benefits, falls in love with his married boss Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen. Their relationship felt weird, unexplanable things happened and I kept wondering how it was possible for Ben to be so in love with Nik. Cause he sure was a stranger, how much did he really know him?"I never really knew you, did I? So to me you are exactly the same enoying basterd you've always been. But as the story went on, things got unraveled and nothing seemed to be way it looked like.Ben and Nik's relationship is one of the most intense relationships I've ever read about. I'm not sure about Nik yet, but he's growing on me.....He seemed to know that there was nothinig he could not do to the male body beneath him, that his male muscle wouldn't overpower, his male strength not threaten, his male force not penetrate too far or too hard.In this, man upon man, he could release some pent-up fury that he otherwise kept contained, locked down, hidden.Sometimes, when being taken this forcibly, this hard, Ben wondered whether he was the release-valve enabling Nikolas to bear the escape he had made to this narrower worldI'm certain there will be far more secrets to be unraveled so for now I'm intrigued enough to continue this series.

  • Taintedskyee (Books Books&More Books)
    2018-12-31 02:27

    Rereading 7th Jan 2016Can't get enough fix of Nicolas.John Wiltshire, just didn't create a story, but two individual Characters to fall in love with.This book as an introductory story of the series did a fine job of hooking me to it.John WiltshireThe writing was awesome, dialogs heartfelt and not cheesy kind but the one you would like to save up.I must say I became a puppet in the author's hand and he successfully provoked all kind of feelings he wanted us to feel along with Ben & Nic.The best feeling of all was falling in love as Ben did for Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, but Nikolas is living a lie. A lie so profound that when the shadows are lifted, Ben realizes he's in love with a very dangerous stranger. But the best thing of all, So did I....Come fall in love with Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider and his enigmatic married boss.Scenes of passion so hot will make you squirm.Take a ride along with Ben and Nic Highly recommended.

  • Breann
    2019-01-11 23:38

    3.5 heartsWell, this was different and refreshing! Twists, turns, lies, action. Just fun!Right away we're thrust into the affair between Ben and Nikolas. It's hot and heavy and 'just sex'. Pfft. Okay, I haven't heard that before. I know, I know, I just said that this is different, and it is. Obviously, what Nik and Ben have is more than sex, we all know it even if they don't. But there's one little snag in their relationship (other than 'just sex'), Nik is married.It's clear right away that Nik is not who or what he seems. As Ben is dragged further and further into Nik's web, he's finding out more and more about his lover and who he really is. Maybe. Kind of. Okay, not really. But regardless of who he is, as far as his identity goes, one thing was the the same throughout, he loved Ben. No matter how hard he tried to deny or pretend otherwise, he was."'So, I have not really changed all that much Benjamin. I believe I am very much what I once was.' He looked across the table. 'Totally obsessed with you.'"Unf. If that doesn't make someone just swoon, I don't know what will. Nik is an excellent character. He's witty, funny and, even though we don't know much about his identity, his actions and feelings towards Ben are very real. And he knows he's a liar and secretive. He totally owns it and he owns it well. "'I lied. I always lie, you know this.'"Ben was great, too. He stuck by Nik, he knew there were secrets and danger, but he stayed, he was there and he was honest. He's not dumb though. Ben is very aware of the kind of person Nik is and I liked that he didn't let him get away with the lies.This is different that your run-of-the-mill suspense. There isn't just one suspense storyline, solved and done. There's a couple of... erhm... missions, I guess you could say, that Ben and Nik have to deal with. They're full of action, fast-paced and we're even left with a mini-cliffy! *gasp*Awesome characters and some awesome suspense, but there were a few dull moments in between. I did get a little bored a couple times, luckily the feeling didn't last long, but I was bored nonetheless.If you need a break from the typical M/M tropes Love is a Stranger is a great choice. I'd definitely recommend it and I'll be on the lookout for more of Nik and Ben.I need a solid HEA, dammit!A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  • Loederkoningin
    2018-12-30 22:36

    ETA: wasn't to be. Bummer.:(I've been told this could be read as a really good Hannibal fanfic, so of course here I am, stoked and all ready. Uh! The guy's last name is Mikkelsen?! ... No, I'm fine. I'm cool. I'm squeeing just a wee bit with anticipation.

  • Christina
    2019-01-22 22:25

    2.5 StarsI couldn't get into this one. I liked the characters, especially Nik, but I'm afraid not enough to ignore the plot holes. I thought Nik was a well-developed character and he carried the story for me, but everything seemed so OOT that I had a hard time believing the situations they found themselves in.