4 STARSI'm going to start this review with this HoYay (homoerotic...yay!) moment between Gabriel and Hunter:"You had a gun and you still fought me like that?"Hunter grinned. "Wait, you were fighting for real?"Aren't they adorbs? No I'm not going to apologize for that word. With how Gabriel was introduced in the first book, I was full on expecting more snark and more bite coming from the short-fused half of the Merrick Twins. This being his book had a lot of these endearing douchequotes but what was surprising was the emotional baggage behind all these verbal, and sometimes physical, blows he deals the people around him. He's more than a pretty face and a sharp tongue (mmm... Gabriel's tongue....)Though there was enough romance to drive the plot for this book, it's the relationship between the brothers that are very much brought to the fore. There are times when I am more interested in reading the scenes between Gabriel and his brothers than the ones he has with Layne (which is new for me, because I'm a romance reader first and foremost). I love reading the dynamics in Casa Merrick. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that house. I'm glad this installment explored the less predictable (compared to Nick) relationship between Michael and Gabriel. Their conversations were reined in (when they're not punching each other or breaking up a fight with another Merrick).No frills, no unnecessary drama, just subtle, matter-of-fact conversations without scrimping on the tugging at the heartstrings department. As how I would imagine men/boys of their age would talk. Or how they would argue or defend each other or come to blows. I have no brothers so this was all very fascinating for me.I'm not sure if I like Layne as much as I liked Becca though. I'm beginning to suspect the heroines in this series are going to be plot devices to save from elements-related danger and for the boys to play with their powers. And while I love reading about the action sequences, I do hope this changes up a bit. Layne was written a bit too much like a hodge-podge of the heroines I've read lately and Simon felt like a safety ploy to make sure I like Layne if all the hidden angst didn't pan out for me. I did like that she's smart and appreciate she didn't turn out to be an elemental too . So far, anyway. I'm enjoying the fact that the story is moving along in a direction that was totally unexpected for me (it went a little predictable for me in the first book). and has me curious as to what will happen next. Even if it's gonna be focused on Hunter. Sorry, but he eats using a plastic knife. To echo Gabriel's sentiments: Um, no.