I’m on a roll right now with some really great romantic suspense books and this one fit right in. Lost is the second book in the Dobbs Hollow series by Laura K. Curtis and revolves around Tara, a police officer that abandoned her career after a costly mistake, and Jacob, a determined FBI agent. Ordinarily I would not read a “cult” book, but the blurb drew me in and I’m glad I gave it a shot. A good blurb is so important! After her friend Lucy almost died while Tara was on the job, she handed in her badge and walked away from the law. While working at a restaurant she meets Andrea, a sweet if naive woman and the two become fast friends. Andrea begins attending a ranch run by a “spiritual group” that her cousin is a part of, and Tara goes with her a few times to be supportive. When Andrea drops off the radar and cannot be reached, Tara leaves her belongings and life as she knows it behind and becomes a member of the Chosen to find out what happened to her friend. Since she had been there before visiting, they easily accepted her in to the group.
When Lucy (the heroine from the first book in the series Twisted) doesn’t hear from Tara, she and her husband ask FBI Agent Jacob Nolan to go undercover and pull her out. After deliberately being cruel to Tara out of guilt, Jacob has been anxious to make amends with her. When he finds out that no one has heard from her, he quickly creates a fake identity and background and joins the group. With no backup available, the pair are on their own but things are not adding up with the Chosen and they set out to figure out what the group is up to.
After being a Chosen for months, Tara, or as she’s know now, Selena, is no closer to finding out what happened to her friend. The official line is that Andrea and her cousin decided to leave and no one knows where they have gone. Tara knows that there is no truth to that, but she is determined to stick it out to get to the bottom of things. At dinner one evening she is stunned to see Jacob introduced to the group as their newest member but at first the pair pretend not to know each other. When it becomes obvious that they do have history, they create a cover story that Tara fled and joined the community after Jacob was unfaithful. As they get closer to the truth of what the leaders of the Chosen are up to, Tara and Jacob must rely on each other as much as their own instincts.
I haven’t read the first book in the series but thankfully I was able follow along with no difficulty. We learn enough about the interactions between Jacob and Tara that occurred in Twisted, that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Both characters were relatable and likeable and there was a good balance of the progression of their relationship and the suspense of taking the Chosen down. The story was fast paced and well written, and I thought it was a fair assessment of the reality of cults. Curtis didn’t set out to make all religious groups appear evil, and highlights that the majority of the members are self-sufficient, hard-working people.
Overall I really enjoyed the story and the main characters and this is a series I will continue to follow. It was my first experience with Curtis’ writing and I would definitely check out her future work.
Ordinarily novellas or shorter stories are not my thing but I do read them if they are a part of a series I am already in to. Taken is a collection of novellas and short stories by Lora Leigh. All of these have been previously released so if they sound familiar that is why.
This one is the first in Ms. Leigh’s Tempting Seals series and even though it is short, Raven and Reno are one of my favorite couples from the series.
Raven has been in love with her best friend’s brother since she was a teenager but she is convinced that she is too much like her mother to allow herself to be with him. While her father was away on missions as a Seal, her mother would fall apart and when he died, her mother never recovered.
Reno has known for years that Raven is in the one but he has also known that rushing her would be a mistake. He needed her to realize that she was stronger than her mother and that she would be able to survive and thrive when he was on a mission. He’s done waiting and he sets out to show Raven how good it could be between them.
The sex between these two was smoking hot and their chemistry jumped off the pages, but there was also a very sweet story there. We see some of Raven and quite a bit of Reno in future stories in the series but I would have loved to see these two get a full length book. Overall it is a satisfying and enjoyable introduction to the Tempting Seals series.
For Maggie’s Sake
This story picks up after Dangerous Games and is the third in the Tempting Seals series. I don’t want to give away too much about Dangerous Games in case you haven’t read it, but the story in this one is directly related to the goings on in the previous book so it would not do well as a stand alone.
Joe Merino was a Seal and now works for the DEA. He has been in love with his best friend’s wife ever since he blew his chance to be with her. Now that Maggie Samuels’ life is in danger, he goes above and beyond to protect her, while trying to take down those that threaten her. We get to know Joe a bit in the previous book and there is only a couple of quick mentions about Maggie so it was fitting that most of the novella was surrounding their relationship as opposed to the story that drove the series. There was some of it to move it all forward but the majority of time was spent on the couple.
Overall a fast, enjoyable read but not one of my favorites of the series.
This story is the 6th in the series and I was really looking forward to getting Macey’s story after seeing him in previous books. I was slightly disappointed that it was a novella but it was still enjoyable. Mason March (Macey) is the communications guy for Reno’s Seal Team. His home is a fortress that few people are invited in to. When Emerson Delaney, the Admiral’s goddaughter is kidnapped by terrorists, Macey hides her in the one place he figures is the safest – his underground home. After lusting after her for years, Macey knows that having her in his quarters is a bad idea, but it’s the safest option for her.
Emerson has lived her life in an emotional vacuum, with her parents always preaching about duty and honor. Up until Macey, she had been sure she could live the life that she was supposed to and not let anyone close or ask for love. She doesn’t stand a chance when Macey sets his sights on seducing her.
I loved this couple. Macey is a sweet, alpha man and Emerson is a feisty, strong woman. There is a scene in the epilogue that is adorable and one of my favorites. A quick, but enjoyable story that doesn’t do a whole lot to move the overall plot of the series forward, but still serves its purpose.
The Elite Ops series is a spinoff of the popular Tempting Seals series and is the second book in the new series. Night Hawk is the code name for Lillian Belle, one of the female agents of the Elite Ops group. Although they have signed away twelve years of their lives in exchange for a new life with a new identity, she finds herself drawn to Black Jack, another operative. Night Hawk’s group is supposed to be limited to intelligence gathering and she hears a rumor that directly impacts Black Jack’s mission. There is no doubt that the duo are drawn to each other but both seem to accept that it is never going to happen so they settle for one kiss.
The events in this book are related to probably my favorite book in the Elite Ops series, Maverick and it sets the book up nicely. Eventually this couple gets their own full length story so I think this one was really just put out to set the rest of the series up. It was a very short freebie and it made me look forward to Black Jack as well.
This book is the first in the Wounded Warriors series and given the way Lora Leigh writes her Seals and other military men, I really hope this one continues! Ethan Cooper has been lusting after his prissy neighbor Sarah Fox since she moved next door, and when he looks out of his window and sees her laying in her backyard naked, he is unable to look away. After returning from the Army, Cooper opened a local bar that frequents bikers and all types of people so in his mind he thinks Sarah is way out of his league and would never be able to tolerate his sexual needs and desires.
Tired of being known as the town virgin since she relocated there, Sarah is determined to break out of that and live a little. After being the victim of a senseless crime when she was a teenager, she spent years running and has finally found a place she wants to call home. Ethan may not remember it, but the two had met before and he was the primary reason she moved to town. Now she is ready to do something about it.
Loved this couple and story. Ethan is your typical badass alpha man and sometimes comes off as overbearing but not in a way that ruins him. Sarah may be innocent in some ways but girlfriend has a bad side and she wants Ethan to help her discover it. There wasn’t a ton of suspense in the story but that is partially because it was a short one. The time was spent developing the relationship and getting to know the hero and heroine better and the sex was hot! Really enjoyed this one.
This story is the second in the Wounded Warriors series and given that the first two have been short stories as opposed to full length, I’m a little worried the entire series will continue that way. I’m hoping not, but even if it does I will keep reading them because I enjoy the characters that have been introduced. Nick Casey is one of the men that works at Ethan’s bar and we were briefly introduced to him in Coopers Fall.
Sheila is the daughter of the man that Cooper and his bouncers report to when they are gathering intel on criminal activity in the area. After being fooled by her first real boyfriend who was only with her to get a lucrative job from her father, Sheila is understandably wary about men that report to her father. The two dance around each other with neither willing to admit they love the other, but expecting the other to admit it.
I hadn’t read this one and I’m not sure how I missed it. It was a great story, I loved the two leads and I really enjoyed the set up for future books in this series.
When I found out Jaci Burton was releasing a new series, I could not wait to get my hands on it. I didn’t read Hope Smolders which was the introductory novella for Burton’s new Hope series and instead dove right in to Hope Flames. You can check out my review of Hope Flames on the site, but I was sadly underwhelmed by it. Despite that, I wasn’t about to give up on the series because I love Burton and the secondary characters sounded really appealing. I am so glad I stuck it out! Hope Ignites is the second full installment and revolves around rancher Logan McCormack and movie star Desiree Jenkins. I loved both of the main characters and their chemistry was smokin’ hot!
Logan is the brother of Luke, the hero from Hope Flames, who lives a solitary life running the family ranch. Deeply scarred by his parents’ relationship, Logan has sworn to remain single forever. Growing up, Logan and his brothers were always aware that their mother was miserable living on the ranch. Their father loved her deeply and they saw how their mother’s behavior hurt him. After their father died, she wasted no time finding a new husband, leaving Hope, Oklahoma, and her boys behind. Logan is convinced that no woman could possibly love the life he lives and he is mostly content with that. When a movie company approaches him about renting his land for a shoot, Logan figures the money is good so why not.
Desiree “Des” Jenkins is the current “it” girl in Hollywood. After growing up a military brat, she longs for a home of her own where she can put down roots. Knowing that an actresses has to strike while the iron is hot, Des has worked steadily for the last 7 years with very little time between movies. Des and her best friend Colt have known each other since they were teenagers and are lucky enough to have been co-stars in a number of successful movies. Their current project is a sci-fi movie being filmed on Logan’s property since the landscape can pass for being on another planet. The two may heat up the screens as lovers but in reality, Des is Colt’s “beard” and helps keep the fact that he is gay away from the press.
Logan’s sole interest in the movie being filmed on his property is the money they are paying him but his housekeeper/mother figure Martha is a huge movie buff and forces him to go down and check on things. Although he has no real interest in doing so, he would do anything for Martha so he heads down to see what all the fuss is about. While there he runs in to Des who has been out jogging, and he is immediately taken with her beauty and her direct nature. For her part, Des is attracted to the rugged owner of the ranch but he seems to go out of his way to be rude and abrupt. Trying to get to know him better, she invites Logan and Martha to the set to see everything in action. The sparks continue to fly and soon they are burning up the sheets. And the walls. And the floor.
There were so many things I loved about this book but the biggest were Logan and Des. Logan is an alpha, hard-working man who doesn’t care what people think about him. He is a gentleman who believes in treating a woman with respect, opening her doors and paying for dinner. On the flip side, he has no problem going all caveman in the bedroom, and the chemistry between them is scorching. Des is a woman after my heart. She says what she wants, doesn’t pull punches and is not afraid of being herself. She wants Logan and is not ashamed of that and she propositions him at every turn. Logan is not used to women like her but they agree to enjoy each other while she is there.
I also loved how loyal Des was to Colt. She fiercely guards his secret and even when Logan confronts them in a jealous fit, she refuses to set him straight. She encourages Colt to take the leap and officially come out of the closet, insisting that he should be free to love his long time boyfriend in public. Des fits in with Emma and her friends, she forms a bond with Martha and she loves being on the ranch. Of course Logan convinces himself that they are from two different worlds and she would never be happy on the ranch, leading to the inevitable break-up but even when he was being a stupid man I was still rooting for him. Seeing how unhappy his parents were, you can’t help but understand and sympathize with him.
Loveable hero and heroine, interesting secondary characters and sex that will steam up your mirrors, make this a great read. One character that had me intrigued from Emma and Luke’s book was Emma’s sister Molly. There were references to something big happening and her leaving town, and her story is up next so I can’t wait for that. Thankfully it comes out in a couple of months so I won’t have to wait long. Definitely glad I stuck with the series!
Break out the fan before reading this hot hot book by Rhyannon Byrd! Keep Me Closer is the third book in Byrd’s Dangerous Tides series and is probably one of the sexiest books I’ve read this year. Alex Hudson, the brother of Ben Hudson, the sheriff from the first book in the series and therapist Brit Cramer were a totally loveable couple who had chemistry off the charts. The book has plenty of suspense, lots of emotional baggage to work through and an alpha male who has met his match.
In his former life, Alex Hudson was a married Orlando police detective. After catching his wife in bed with one of his fellow officers (one of many), he self destructs, losing his job and drowning himself in a bottle. After cleaning himself up and getting sober he relocates to Moss Beach where he has become a private investigator. Alex has sworn off love and keeps his relationships strictly physical, never having trouble finding a willing partner.
Brit Cramer is a therapist and a close friend of Alex’s brother and his wife, who has moved to Moss Beach after an unpleasant break-up. She is an intelligent, beautiful woman who, despite being insanely attracted to Alex, holds a grudge for the way he treated Ben’s wife when they first met. Brit has found herself the target of a deeply disturbed former patient who has become obsessed with her. When Ben asks Alex to keep an eye on her while he’s away with his wife, Alex is convinced it is a ploy to throw him and the doctor together. He agrees to watch out for her but he doesn’t take the threat against her seriously. That allows the patient to attempt to kidnap Brit, but Alex is able to intervene before she gets hurt.
When it becomes clear that Brit’s stalker knows where she lives, Alex takes her to stay with him but the close quarters make it impossible for them to resist the sizzling chemistry they have. The two finally give in to their attraction and the sex is mind blowing for both of them. A lot of times I skim through sex scenes because when you’ve read as many as I have, they can become repetitive and boring. This time I read every word of those scenes and whether it was because of the connection that had been built between them, or just the way Byrd writes, they were steamy and sexy and didn’t feel like I had read the same thing a hundred times before.
As the psychotic patient becomes more unhinged, he steps up his threats and his attempts to get at Brit. Alex takes her out of town to not only keep her safe, but take her mind off it all and while they are in Miami, Brit gets to see a more playful, less guarded side of him. Despite the fact that she is falling in love with him, Brit decides to just enjoy the time she has with Alex and deal with the heartache later. For his part, Alex knows that something is different about his relationship with the voluptuous doctor but, of course, he refuses to acknowledge it.
Alex’s brothers and Ben’s wife Reese can clearly see that he has fallen for Brit, but he is so determined to fight it that he pushes her away. There is a cute scene with Reese telling Alex off and it is clear that the issues they had with each other in the first book have been resolved. He can see how happy and in love his brother is but is still convinced that love is not worth it. I loved the relationship between the brothers and I’m sure Mike’s book will be just as fun.
Despite the fact that he goes out of his way to push Brit away, you can’t help but love Alex. He’s definitely an alpha, dominant man but until now, he had never met his match. Brit is not a super skinny heroine which I liked since not every woman has a perfect body, but I also loved her intelligence, independence and the fact that she didn’t just roll over and play dead for him. She sees through his gruff nature to the man beneath and gives her heart to him knowing it may end in heartache. They were a great match for each other!
If you like romantic suspense books combined with loveable characters and chemistry that jumps out of the pages, then you will enjoy this book. Byrd’s writing style has me hooked and I’m really looking forward to the next installment.
I officially have a new book boyfriend! For years I’ve been all about Eric Northman (helped along by my minor obsession with Alexander Skarsgard) but he has now been replaced with Swanny. When Day Breaks is the newest book in the KGI series by Maya Banks and centers around Swanny, the adopted member of the Kelly family who was imprisoned with Nate, and Eden Sinclair, the world’s most beautiful supermodel. Action, sizzling romance and an insecure hero, combined with a “holy shit did that just happen” scene, made this one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Daryl Swanson (Swanny) is the teammate who was rescued with Nathan in Whispers in the Dark and he still bears the physical and mental scars from their capture and torture. A large scar down the side of his face, numerous scars on his body and all of his nightmares have Swanny fully believing that love and a family will never be for him. He is dedicated to his team and his job and most days he’s okay with that.
Eden Sinclair is one of the world’s most beautiful women. A supermodel with the world at her feet and a loving family that would do anything for her. When someone begins threatening her life and taking shots at her, she chalks it up to a crazy stalker. She has no way of knowing that she is being targeted as payback for something her father did when he was in the military years before. After the threats escalate in to actual violence, Eden’s brother Ryker calls in Nate, Joe and Swanny who he served in the military with. Their job is to keep Eden safe while she completes a major modeling gig in Paris.
I loved these two together. Swanny was so insecure about the scars on his body and face that when Eden lets it be known that she’s attracted to him, he pushes her away because he doesn’t feel he’s worthy of her. Watching them get past their individual demons and then help each other with theirs was really sweet. The action part of the book slowed down for just enough time that we were invested in them as a couple but not too long that we were getting bored. When it picked up again, I could not put the book down.
I really enjoyed seeing more of Skylar in this book and getting to know her a bit better. There has been very little info about her but now I actually want to read her story. She is an awesome combo of kickass woman and beautiful, feminine charm. Skylar played a role in helping Swanny accept that Eden really was attracted to him, and also helping Eden understand some of why Swanny was having such a hard time accepting that. I hope we see more of this friendship as the series goes on.
We also got more background and information on the mysterious Hancock. He has popped up in several books, some times hurting, and some times helping KGI. We haven’t been able to tell which side of the line he is officially on, but this mission is personal to him. It turns out Eden’s dad and Hancock have history, and while we didn’t get the full story, we got enough to intrigue us. Hancock joins forces with KGI to help bring down the threat to Eden and we see a different side of him.
I figured I had a pretty good idea of how this book was going to go and then Maya hit me with a curve in the story that had me actually yelling holy shit. It was everything I love in a good book – suspense, romance, a twist, hot sex. Bring on the next one!
Blind Faith is the third book in the Sin Brother’s series by Rebecca Zanetti and is the perfect example of why I have a love/hate relationship with book series. The first three books have me completely immersed in the world and the brothers but now I have to wait until March 2015 to get the conclusion and read Jory’s story!
Nate Dean has spent his entire life trying to be the buffer between his younger brothers Shane and Jory, and their older brother Matt. Matt’s job was to train and prepare them and Nate took on the role of trying to provide them with as normal a childhood as possible in the circumstances. Some of the most touching moments in all of these books come from the glimpses we get of the boys as kids.
Audrey Madison is the one person aside from his brother’s that Nate has loved. She also happens to be the daughter of Dr. Madison, the brilliant, yet twisted scientist that helped the Commander with his creations. Five years earlier she ended things with Nate in order to protect him and in Matt’s book it was revealed that Audrey had been pregnant with Nate’s baby when they split. Determined to find out the truth about the kill chips that are planted in the brothers’ spines, and find out what happened to his baby, Nate sets out to make Audrey talk.
After getting seriously injured in the explosion the Dean brothers’ set off at the compound they all lived at, Audrey has spent the last five years rehabilitating her leg while doing double duty as a Senator’s aide, and getting information for the Commander. Nate cannot believe that she would willingly help those monsters but it becomes clear that Audrey has her own agenda with the Commander. Despite his doubts about her loyalty, Nate and Audrey are unable to stay away from each other and their story is both sweet and hot! Right now Nate is my favorite of the brothers but I suspect that Jory is going to steal that title in his book.
As with the first two stories, there is plenty of action going on both surrounding the Commander and the organization the brothers want to take down, and there is also another threat to Audrey’s safety. There is a plot twist that I didn’t see coming which added so many layers to the series. I’m kind of sad that there is only one brother left. Hopefully this series will turn in to a spinoff maybe about other brothers that escape the Commander? A girl can hope!
If I had any complaints it would be that Audrey’s naiveté about her mother seemed a bit too extreme considering all the things that her mother had done to her and Nate. But all kids want to love their parents so it was easy to overlook that. After the glimpse we get at Jory’s book I cannot wait to read it. I suspect its going to be a very emotional, satisfying conclusion to the series.
Lora Leigh is back!! For a little while some of her books seemed like she was dialing them in but with the latest Breed book Rule Breaker and the newest installment in the Nauti Girls series, Ms. Leigh is back on her game! Her books were always good, but for fans of her writing “good” was a step down from great. I’m happy to say she is firmly back with great. Nauti Enchantress is the third book in the Nauti Girls series and centers around Dawg’s third sister Lyrica MacKay and former marine Graham Brock. Steaming hot sex scenes, plenty of adventure, and a sweet love story bring all the elements that made me fall in love with the Nauti Boy series way back when I read Rowdy’s story.
Lyrica MacKay is not like her sisters. Rather than letting Dawg, Rowdy and Natches guilt her in to behaving in a way they would prefer, she meets each man on their own grounds and as a result she has had more freedom than the other girls. Since she met Graham at the age of 18, Lyrica has flirted, tempted and teased him in an attempt to get closer. A genuine friendship strikes up between her and Graham’s sister and that affords her the chance to be around Graham even more. After someone tries to shoot Lyrica during a girls night out, she reaches out to Graham who rides to her rescue.
Graham has been doing his best to distract himself from his growing attraction to Lyrica by methodically sleeping his way through the majority of the women in their town and the surrounding towns. Believing he is not the happily ever after type, he stays away from her in a attempt to “save her”. Not going to lie, that trope can get old, but I was able to overcome it and enjoy the writing and the rest of the story. The McKays knew Graham’s parents and there is a very touching scene where Natches talks to Lyrica about his relationship with the elder Brock. While the group tries to figure out who is after Lyrica, Graham is unable to stay away from her. Despite the fact that he’s convinced things will never work, he finds himself falling for her more and more and you are left wondering why Natches is being particularly hard on him. Once the story comes out about him and Graham’s father, it all makes sense. Waiting for him to pull his head out of his ass and realize he can’t walk away is a little frustrating but it makes the final scene that much better!
Although this series focuses primarily on Dawg’s younger sisters, I really love that we still get to see plenty of Rowdy, Dawg, Natches and the rest of the group. This book brought quite a few more of the previous characters back and it was nice seeing what they have all been up to, aside from making Lyrica and her sister’s lives hell. As overbearing and protective as all the men are, it is clear that they all love the girls very much and are trying to protect them from the enemies they have made. It is also sweet the way they are trying to ensure that all four have a man that are capable of protecting them since they are now all in their fifties. I really hope the series continues and we can see what becomes of all those daughters.
The sneak peek we got at Zoey’s book had me anxiously running to Ms. Leigh’s site to find out when that one will be coming out. We haven’t heard or seen much of Zoey since she confronted Dawg and the rest of the guys when the sister’s were first introduced and it seems as though she has held the most secrets. I cannot wait to read it!
I think I might have a new favorite Maya Banks series. Well at least until I read the newest KGI book. Giving In is the second book in the Surrender trilogy by Ms. Banks and in a small way it is a spin-off of her popular Sweet series. In this installment we get Jensen and Kylie’s story and this one had me all teary right from the beginning!
Kylie Breckenridge is still reeling from the death of her brother Carson, the only person who has ever protected her and been there for her. Horribly abused as a child, Kylie has survived by keeping everyone at arms length and hiding herself. Working at the company her brother and his best friend Dash started, she is content to manage their office and never go after her dreams.
Jensen Tucker is Dash’s new business partner and he’s tired of watching Kylie run herself in to the ground. He can tell she’s not sleeping or taking care of herself and his protective instincts are all riled up. Jensen also sees that Kylie’s talent is being wasted in the office manager job and he gives her a project to show her that she is capable of so much more.
There was no mystery, no one trying to hurt them, just two people working on their issues and there was more than enough story to fill the book. If I had any complaints there were just two small things that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book, but kind of irked me. The first was the number of times the word dominant was used. We got it he’s dominant, but it could have been used a little less. The second was that I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Kylie taking on new challenges at her job and succeeding. I know the work part was secondary to her emotional issues but I think her confidence in business was part of her transformation. Like I said it wasn’t enough to ruin the book, just caught my attention.
Both Kylie and Jensen had difficult childhoods and the scenes where they confided in each other were very sweet and emotional. There of course was the inevitable “break-up” that these books call for and it was nice to see a role reversal with how it all worked out. One thing I really liked was usually in most books where the one partner promises to not be so dominant with the other, that doesn’t last. The man usually plays nice for a short time and then just cannot control his alpha instincts. Jensen keeps his word to Kylie and that was nice to see.
I did this series backwards I haven’t read the first book yet but after seeing how in love Joss and Dash are, I can’t wait to go back and read their story. I’m sure it was just as emotional as this one and from the blurb for Chessy and Tate’s story I have a feeling that one will take the cake emotion wise. Cannot wait to read it!
Wrath and Beth have always been my favorite couple in this series and I was so happy that we were getting another book dedicated to them. After the fi...moreWrath and Beth have always been my favorite couple in this series and I was so happy that we were getting another book dedicated to them. After the first couple of chapters I will a little frustrated because we hadn't seen a whole lot of them. That finally picked up and I was really enjoying the way the story was playing out. Loved Trez and Selena, XCor and Layla, and iAm and damn cat. I'm definitely looking forward to Assail's book too.
The ending of the story was just okay for me and it felt like J.R. Ward couldn't make up her mind about how she wanted it to play out and I wasn't impressed with a couple of the "twists". That being said it was still a good book and it set up the next several books nicely.(less)
Secrets and Sins: Raphael is the third book in the Secrets and Sins series by Naima Simone. This book was my first experience with Ms. Simone’s work and I am so glad I decided to give it a shot! The series focuses on a group of four men, Gabriel, Malachim, Raphael and Chayot, who have been friends since they were babies. This installment focuses on Rafe, a hot, tattooed, alpha male who owns a security company with Chayot, and Greer Addison, a privileged, upper class woman who has been framed for her cheating ex-fiancee’s murder.
Finding out her fiancé had been cheating on her with her best-friend was bad but when Greer’s father tells her to get over it and get back with the fiancé for business reasons, it’s too much to handle and she heads to a bar to drink the hurt away. While at the bar she runs in to Raphael, the sexy security specialist who Greer and her ex had met with a week earlier to discuss issues with the bank Greer’s father owns. Rafe is the opposite of the men Greer normally associates with, but his sexy rocker look and complete sex appeal draw her in. She decides to throw caution to the wind and the two have smoking hot sex in the back seat of his vehicle on a public street.
When Rafe drops Greer off at her house she walks in and finds her cheating ex dead on the floor. The next thing she knows, she awakens in the hospital with a splitting headache and as the number one suspect in Gavin’s murder. Rafe validates her alibi, but she is too humiliated to speak to him and leaves the police station with her brother, and still the prime suspect. Flash forward four months and Greer is living with her brother, pregnant with Rafe’s baby and feeling completely alone in the world. When she starts remembering glimpses of the crime, and starts receiving threatening letters and creepy packages, Greer heads to the one person she knows will protect her and her baby – Raphael.
Poor Rafe – his one night stand from months ago shows up at his office and announces that not only is someone threatening her, but she is also pregnant and claiming he’s the father. Experience has made him jaded and he can’t help but question if in fact he is the father. Regardless, Rafe immediately moves Greer in to his house to ensure that her and the baby are safe from whoever is threatening her, and he begins to see a side to her that he never imagined was there.
With Greer having flashbacks of the night Gavin was murdered, the killer steps up the plans to remove the only witness to the crime. While trying to figure out who was behind the vicious crime, the two slowly begin to get to know each other and let down the walls that their pasts have built. Greer gets to know Rafe’s best-friends and from that interaction I can’t wait to go back and read the two earlier books. I also suspect that Chay’s book is going to be very emotional but I still can’t wait to read it!
Smoking hot sex scenes, fast paced mystery and a couple that were relatable and loveable, make this a satisfying, keep you guessing story. Thankfully the next one comes out in July according to the blurb at the back of the book so I won’t have to wait too long to read the conclusion of the series!
Midnight Pursuits is the fourth book in the Killer Instincts series by Elle Kennedy. I was introduced to this series when the third one was released but went back, read the first two and now it is up there as one of my favorites. Ms. Kennedy writes some bad ass women who are also seriously damaged and I’m loving it. This instalment surrounds the rookie from Jim Morgan’s team Ethan Hayes, and the master thief from Noelle’s team, Juliet Mason. After the teasing that Juliet dished out towards Ethan in Midnight Games, the sexual tension between the two was obvious but the relationship that built between them was even more appealing.
Ethan is the youngest and newest member of Jim’s team earning him the nickname of rookie. He had a perfectly normal childhood, in deep contrast to the childhood that Juliet had and the wistful way she listens to him talk about his parents makes you sad for her. There is one scene where she breaks into a bakery to steal him cookies to remind him of his mother and that was too cute. In previous instalments Ethan seemed laid back and sweet, but damn the man has an alpha side! While house sitting for Trevor and Isabel when they head for their honeymoon, Ethan intercepts a call from an injured Juliet and rushes to help her.
Juliet is one of Noelle’s most heartless team members and doesn’t care who she steps on to achieve her goal. At least on the surface. After she is severely injured during a deeply personal mission, Juliet has no choice but to let Ethan help her out. When they uncover a conspiracy that shows that others, including a 15 year old girl, are in danger Ethan cannot turn a blind eye. Juliet is determined to see her mission through but grudgingly follows Ethan, telling herself that she’s only doing it so that she can move on to bigger fish.
I love strong female characters in my books, but I also like a lot of emotion. Juliet offered both. There is no doubt that she is ruthless and vicious but that kind of made me love her even more. She is unapologetic about the way she dispatches with the assassin that killed her brother, but the way she handles Anastacia shows her sweet side as well. Ethan accepts both sides of her and doesn’t try to change her which just increased his appeal.
As Juliet and Ethan get closer to bringing down the person that orchestrated the hit that killed her brother, things between them heat up. But we also get to see more of Noelle, D and Jim and man I cannot wait for Noelle’s book. I just know without a doubt that this one is going to make me cry even more than Abby’s did. There are still a few team members we have heard of but haven’t seen yet so I’m keeping my fingers crossed this is one series that keeps going!(less)
Rule Breaker is the latest instalment in the popular Breeds series by Lora Leigh. Often times with long running series, the story gets stale and it is difficult to remain interested. That is not the case with this series. This book did a lot to move the overall arc forward, while giving us a satisfying, steamy hot couple.
Gypsy Rum McQuade is a woman on a mission to atone for a sin that was never really hers. Believing she was at fault for the death of her brother and hero, Gypsy keeps emotional and physical distance between her and everyone in her life. On the surface, she is a party girl who lives a flirty, carefree life. She works at the family image consulting business, helps out at the family bakery and answers phones for Navajo Covert Law Enforcement Offices. Dig a little deeper and you find that Gypsy has been working secret missions gathering information for the Unknown. Thought to be a fairy tale or myth, the Unknown is said to consist of six warriors who are chosen to protect what is most important to the Navajo people.
Rule Breaker is one of Jonas’ most trusted enforcers who is set to become the Division Director in Window Rock. After he and his brother Lawe Justice witnessed the horrific death of their mother and her mate, Rule has sworn to never take a mate. He goes to the extent of adding in a clause to his work contract allowing him to run should he ever start to feel mating heat. Rule’s lion recognizes its mate immediately, but knowing the man will run, it bides its time. With danger all around Gypsy, the lion is determined to protect its mate, while the man fights for the woman he loves.
Rule Breaker was a fast paced story that brought us resolutions to some situations, a few answers to questions and of course some big cliff hangers. There are still so many characters that haven’t had their own stories and rather than getting bored and wanting a new series, I cannot wait for each breed book. Ms. Leigh ended this book on a perfect note that will have you anxiously checking her website to see when the next one is coming.
I loved Gypsy and I really enjoyed seeing that softer side of Jonas outside of his mate and his child. Rule’s determination to not take a mate was completely understandable and watching him struggle with the subconscious knowledge that his lion had claimed Gypsy, made for a great story. It was easy to figure out who the person was that betrayed Gypsy’s brother, but that did not lessen the enjoyment of the book for me. As usual for a Lora Leigh book, the sex was smoking hot.
One thing that stood out that I really enjoyed about the book was that the primary focus wasn’t on the mating heat and the effect of the heat on the couple. Yes it was there, but in some of the books the overall storyline took a back seat to the heat and in this one I thought they were balanced perfectly. The mate trope is one that I love so I don’t get tired of that, but there is a lot going on with the Breeds and I was happy that the stories moved forward.
Overall a great addition to the Breeds series. Cannot wait for the next one!
Theirs to Cherish is the eighth full length book in the Wicked Lovers series by the amazing Shayla Black. If you haven’t been reading this series and are a fan of BDSM books, I highly recommend you get started right away because no one writes BDSM quite like Ms. Black. She started long before the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon and gets even better with every book. It has been a long wait for Callie and Thorpe’s story and I was really excited to dig in!
Callie Ward has been on the run for almost a decade, accused of killing her family. With no way to prove her innocence, she had no choice but to walk away from her family fortune and name. Hiding out in Club Dominion for the last 4 years, Callie has felt a sense of belonging for the first time in her life. In other books in the series we have seen the bratty submissive doing everything in her power to tempt and taunt Dominion owner Mitchell Thorpe. In an attempt to make her boss jealous, Callie begins submitting to Dominion newcomer Sean Kirkpatrick. As she learns to let her guard down, the walls around her heart begin to melt too and Callie finds herself in love with both Sean and Thorpe.
Believing he has been doing the best thing for Callie by staying away from her, Thorpe has watched from the shadows as she submits to, and falls in love with Sean. He doesn’t trust the other man, but when Callie finds out Sean isn’t who he says he is and takes off, the two men must team up to find out who is after her, and keep her safe. I was a little worried at the beginning as to how the story was going to pull off having the two men end up with Callie at the end given all the animosity and tension between them, but it came together in a believable and sweet way.
I’ve loved every book in this series and one of the primary reasons is the way that Shayla always makes sure to integrate the characters we’ve fallen in love with from past stories, in every book. Sometimes its just a brief mention, other times they are part of the action, but you always get updates about what they are up to. I wish all authors did that because once you fall in love with the characters it sucks to never hear about them again. In this book we got to see a bit of Logan which was awesome and I’m really hoping we will get Axel’s story soon. I have a feeling its going to be realllly good.
Typically in these kinds of stories I find myself rooting for one guy over another but both Sean and Thorpe had me rooting for them. Each man provided something that Callie needed and the sex was smoking hot! Sometimes the woman on the run to protect the men trope can be annoying, but in this case Callie wasn’t worried about them getting hurt, she didn’t want them in trouble for harboring a fugitive. That was a little more reasonable than the woman believing the big strong men she loves will be killed if she sticks with them. My only complaint is that we have to wait a year for the next book in the series!!(less)
Hope Flames is the first book in the new Hope series by Jaci Burton. I am a huge fan of Burton’s Wild Rider series so when I saw that she had a new series coming out, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. She writes smoking hot sex but one of the things I enjoy about reading her books is that the sex isn’t the primary focus. A lot of authors lately seem to build a storyline around the sex but Ms. Burton builds strong characters and interesting worlds, and then adds the sex as a bonus.
Emma Burnett is a veterinarian who has recently moved back to her hometown of Hope, Oklahoma to take over the practice of the popular town vet who had recently retired. When local police officer Luke McCormack brings in his injured police dog Boomer, the sparks fly. Luke promptly puts his foot in his mouth by asking Emma out in a way that makes it look like a pity date and Emma says thanks, but no thanks.
After a disastrous marriage and divorce, Luke is determined to never do a serious relationship again. He is careful to only hook up with women who know the deal, and his first impression of Emma is that she’s not a one night stand kind of woman. Emma has her own relationship demons and is as adamant as Luke that she does not want a boyfriend or complications.
A burglar has targeted Hope’s medical facilities, stealing all the drugs and frustrating the police. Their first break comes when Emma happens to catch a glimpse of the guy and Luke moves in to her place to protect her while they try to catch the guy. The couple and their dogs fall into a comfortable routine, despite their insistence that the relationship is just casual.
While I really wanted to love this book, I’m afraid it was just okay. There were several things that frustrated me and interfered with my enjoyment of the story, and I found myself focusing more on those things than the overall book. The first thing was the constant mentions about this horrible relationship that Emma had been in. It was brought up so often that between her inner dialogue and comments from her parents, I was expecting something much more dramatic. I’m not trying to trivialize what Emma went through, but it felt a little anticlimactic when we got the whole story.
The second thing that irked me was the wrap up of the two “dramatic” storylines. It felt like once we got to the end, there was a mad rush to finish the book and I kind of sat there and said “where’s the rest?”. There was also a complete overreaction by Emma to a situation that came out of nowhere. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t get specific, but that part had me wondering if I had been missing pages because it felt like I must have missed something.
Despite these issues, the secondary characters were really interesting and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I’m hoping that this was just a one-off because I really enjoy Jaci Burton books overall.(less)
Do or Die is the first book in the Reluctant Heroes series by Suzanne Brockmann. This new series is a spin-off of Ms. Brockmann’s popular Troubleshooters series and in fact Do or Die is set in the TS world. Characters Martell Griffin from Force of Nature and Deb and Yashi, who work with Jules Cassidy, all play prominent roles in this book. If you are a fan of that series you are going to love this one.
Phoebe Kruger is an attorney in her first few weeks at a prestigious law firm when she is pulled in to assist on a file with one of the firm’s super secret clients. The partner in charge of the file is injured in a car accident and no one else seems to have any information on him. Knowing nothing about the client except what she is able to dig up on the internet, she heads to the prison where he is serving time, in to offer him what should have been the deal of a lifetime. Teaming up with Martell Griffin, a police officer turned lawyer, Phoebe must convince her client to work with the government or two kidnapped children will disappear for good.
Ian Dunn is a former Navy Seal who has apparently gone rogue and turned to a life of crime. When Phoebe and Martell show up at the prison, Dunn not only turns down the opportunity to get out of jail and rescue the two children, he does all he can to make the duo go away. Refusing to take no for an answer, Griffin pulls some strings and a few short hours later Ian walks out the front doors of the prison but he is not a happy man. The lives of his brother and his brother’s family depending on him staying IN jail so in addition to having to plan a rescue for the kids, he also has to figure out a way to convince the mob that he didn’t go back on the terms of his deal with them.
After taking off with Phoebe in tow, Ian beelines to his brother Aaron’s house to warn him of the impending danger. The mob has friends in high places so they know immediately that he is out and they also head there. After a shoot-out, Aaron, Ian and Phoebe are trapped in the panic room and with the house surrounded by police and the mob, they have no choice by to contact Griffin and the people he reports to for help getting out of the mess. In turn Ian must agree to rescue the kids – which he was going to attempt anyways.
Do or Die is a fast-paced book with plenty of action, interesting characters and an adorable main couple. I really loved Phoebe and Ian, although her naivete about the criminals that she represents was a little unbelievable and frustrating. That was a very minor irritant and overall I really enjoyed the book. The most interesting character in the book was Francine and I absolutely cannot wait for her story. Just from the bits that Brockmann dropped in the book I know that one is going to be a huge tear jerker and I’m going to love every minute of it. The only complaint I’ve ever had about her books is that there is typically a large gap between them and I’m one of those that forgets a lot of stuff when you have to wait a year. Hopefully that won’t be the case for this series.
On a side note I must say I love that Ms. Brockmann writes great romantic suspense books but she does not hesitate to have gay primary characters. For the most part gay couples usually appear in M/M erotic books or they are friends of the primary couple, and it is refreshing to see them take part in a story with more than just sex. She also avoids stereotypes and writes realistic men that you can relate to.
If you are looking for a well-written book that has a lot of action and likeable characters, you will enjoy this one. I cannot wait for the next one to be released! (less)
Luck of the Dragon is the first book in a new series by Susannah Scott and revolves around a group of dragon shape-shifters who live in plain sight in Las Vegas. Dragons are not typically my thing but the blurb of the book hooked me and I’m definitely glad I gave it a shot!
Luciana de Luca is a world renowned gemologist who has worked incredibly hard to put her difficult childhood behind her and build a stable life. The only thing holding her back is her useless twin brother who continuously gets in trouble through gambling debts and then turns to his sister to bail him out. His latest screw up has him in deep with a notorious mob boss and he once again turns to Lucy to save his hide.
In order to save her brother, Lucy puts on a tight, revealing dress and killer shoes and heads to the Crown Jewel Casino on the Las Vegas strip. The owner of the casino, Alec Gerald, invites Lucy to the grand opening so that she can appraise his extremely valuable gem exhibit that will be one of the big draws at the Crown Jewel. Successful, intelligent and extremely attractive, Alec also happens to be the king of the dragon shape-shifters. Lucy’s objective is to get close to him and swipe the key card for the exhibit to pass on to the mob boss and save Joey. Since his senses are heightened as a shifter, he feels her grab the card but does not call her on it.
Alec is immediately drawn to Lucy and quickly realizes he has met his mate – and just in time. As a male dragon waits to find his mate, he slowly begins to lose his dragon form and Alec has been waiting for a long time. He has his hands full as his people are getting ready for a mating ceremony that only happens periodically and in addition to trying to convince Lucy to give him a chance, he also needs to figure out why she stole his key card.
Thinking she has saved Joey, Lucy buys them one way plane tickets to get out of town but the mob boss and Joey have different plans. Alec has changed the codes on the pass so that it cannot be used and they demand that Lucy steal another one or Joey will die. While she is figuring out a way to do this, she begins to develop feelings for Alec and is very conflicted over where her loyalties should be.
I really liked the world Ms. Scott created for this series, particularly having the dragons living in plain sight in Las Vegas. Having only the male dragons lose their form if they don’t find their mate adds an interesting component to it for future stories as I find that its usually the woman that has consequences for not finding their mate. Alec is a total alpha male but does not come across as an asshole, and he was willing to lose his dragon if walking away was what Lucy wanted.
Lucy was a little more challenging for me. She is smart, successful and has worked really hard to get where she is. But when it comes to her brother she is a total sucker and repeatedly bails him out. The siblings, who are twins, have been close since their difficult childhoods but it is a completely one-sided relationship. Joey screws up, Lucy bails him out, he says he will never do it again, then repeat. When Lucy calls him crying for help he refuses to give it to her and she still turns around and steals from Alec. It made her look naive and and brought my opinion of her down a few notches.
There were a couple of things that bothered me in addition to my comments about Lucy. (view spoiler)[The first was how quickly Alec forgave her after she stole from him. The scene where they worked things out felt extremely rushed and after the time it took to build it up, it felt a little anticlimactic. The second thing was that after the scene where Lucy is attacked by the dragon everything felt a little rushed. It wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me but I definitely noticed it. (hide spoiler)]
Overall I enjoyed the book and I will be checking out the next one in the series. I’m hoping we will get to see a story for Joey that involves him turning his life around. There were also a few secondary characters, in particular the Doctor and Lilly Belle, that drew me in and I’m looking forward to reading about them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sweet Revenge is the second book in the Sin Brothers series by Rebecca Zanetti that revolves around the Dean brothers who were genetically engineered as part of a black ops division of the government. The boys were created and raised in a lab but they made their escape when they were older and are now on the run trying to survive. If you read my review of Forgotten Sins you know that I instantly fell in love with the brothers from the prologue of that book and I really enjoyed Shane and Josie’s story. Matt and Laney’s story was even better and this book put Ms. Zanetti on my auto-buy list!
On top of being hunted by the group that they abandoned, they all have chips implanted in their spines that will kill them if they don’t enter a new code every five years. They are 6 weeks away from that deadline and Matt is on the hunt looking for one of the doctors that can save his brothers, when he gets a lead that sends him to Charmed, Idaho. On the way there he is jumped and arrives in the alley of a bar bleeding. There are three doctors in town that Shane cannot find background information on and with the tight deadline Matt doesn’t have time to be injured. As he’s resting in the alley Laney Jacobs comes out of the bar she owns and sees the injured man. Instead of using caution and running back inside she immediately goes to his aid and brings him into the bar – where she faints when she sees the blood.
Shane’s book was really more about bringing us in to the story, giving the essential background and building the characters while in Matt’s book the focus is on finding anyone that can help them stop the chip from killing them. We learned a lot more about the agency they worked for and got to know each of the brothers a little better. Even though the locations change, Zanetti has written the books in a way that we don’t need to see the brothers together all the time to know the bond that they have and that point is the heart of the series.
As the oldest, Matt had the difficult task of training his brothers harshly in order to save their lives. He protects them and puts them first and his main concern is their’s and Josie’s safety. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to find out how to stop that chip and the sexy bartender is the perfect cover. She is looking for a bouncer for a bike rally that travels through once a year for two weeks and she hires Matt, instinctively knowing that she can trust him. The three doctors that Matt needs to investigate are customers of the bar so he is able to gain access to them fairly quickly, but his judgment is becoming clouded by his attraction to Laney and his growing feelings for her. For the first time in his life he wants something more than just his brothers.
I really liked both Matt and Laney. Matt could snap your neck in a second but he is extremely protective of people he cares about, and as a serial killer puts Laney in his sights, Matt is determined to make sure she stays alive. Lately I find I skim through a lot of sex scenes because it kind of feels like you are reading the same thing over and over, however in this book the chemistry was so hot and the sex scenes were done so well I read every word. Laney doesn’t take orders from Matt (unless its in the bedroom), and she is a strong, confident woman who obviously has her own demons and secrets. The two agree that this is just temporary and they want to make the most of it. But as both the Commander and the serial killer close in both realize their feelings run a lot deeper than temporary.
I LOVE being surprised in a book. Sometimes I read a book and I think I have things figured out and then it doesn’t work out but this book gave me numerous surprises. I was wrong in which Doctor I thought was the “one” Matt was looking for, I was wrong about who the serial killer was and there were a few scenes and surprises that had me re-reading because I was sure I had read it wrong. There were a couple of WTF I didn’t see that coming moments and I literally could not stop reading. I was up until 4am finishing it because I had to know how it ended. The tease at the back of the book for Nate’s book was just plain torture since we have to wait until May for the next one!
I have already recommended this series to all of my friends and if you like a tortured alpha male who’s not an asshole, and strong female leads then you are going to love this series! It is fast-paced, the “character story” and overall plot of the book weave together perfectly and at the end I was frantically searching Ms. Zanetti’s website to find out when the next one comes out. I cannot wait for Nate’s story to release and to see where some of the plot points are going to end up!(less)
One of my favorite tropes is the secret baby one so when I read the blurb for Not Your Average Joe by Nell Carson, I knew this book would be right up my alley. Although the plot for these types of books is predictable, I still enjoy them and read pretty much every book I come across with this theme.
Jennifer Wright is a single mom who works during the day at Brickman Foods and attends law school at night. At the end of her shift one day her boss brings over new employee Jason Baxter and asks Jennifer to train him. The only problem is Jennifer instantly recognizes him as Jared Brickman, the son of the owner of the plant – and the father of her 6 year old son. Jared is there to film an “Undercover Boss” type show so she plays along and doesn’t let on that she knows him. Jennifer has always struggled with whether or not to tell Jared about their son, and their close working relationship makes the urge to tell him even stronger.
The back story between Jennifer and Jared really portrays him as a cheating asshole and it is a little hard to overcome that dislike even as the story progresses. Granted we’ve all done things we weren’t proud of in college, but it seems that he is still an asshole. His comments about single moms and daycares really do not help us like him at all. Jennifer on the other hand I really liked. After getting pregnant in high school her parents kicked her out and she was on her own. She had to drop out of school because she was so ill during her pregnancy but now that her son is older she has gone back and not only completed high school and college, but she is in law school.
Jennifer is being sexually harassed by the plant manager and her friend Mandy is determined to do something about it. Unbeknownst to her, Mandy has been in contact with Jared’s sister in an attempt to get the manager fired. When their father won’t do anything about it, Jared and his sister take matters into their own hands. A video is obtained of the manager assaulting Jennifer and they show it during the live airing of the show. I found myself cheering for Mandy and Cynthia and I’m hoping they get their own books.
I enjoyed the book overall but there were just a few things that irked me. One was the fact that the author never really redeemed Jared which made it a little difficult to cheer for him in the end. The second thing was the big reveal that Jared was Chris’ father. It was just blurted out, he took her word for it and they ran and told Chris immediately. There was no time to absorb the shock, none of the normal are you sure questions, nothing. I felt like so much more could have been done with that scene.
If you are looking for a fast read with a predictable story then you will enjoy this one. I wouldn’t hesitate to try more of Ms. Carson’s books and if this happens to turn into a series I will be reading them all.(less)
Colters’ Gift is the final book in the Colters’ Legacy series by Maya Banks. I cannot choose a favorite Maya Banks series, but my first experience with her work was Colters’ Woman, the book that started this series and it had me instantly hooked on her writing. I’m sad to see it end but there really wasn’t anywhere else to go with it so it makes complete sense that it ends now.
Max’s sister Lauren made her first appearance in Colters’ Daughter, when Max and Callie rescued her from an abusive relationship and I was really hoping that even though she wasn’t a Colter, we would still get her story. She now lives in Clyde trying to piece her life back together, while avoiding her past. Liam and Noah were hired by Max to protect Lauren when she first left her ex and they have been on a mission to find the man who hurt her and bring him to justice. They continue to hit brick walls until they manage to find one person who can give them the information they are looking for and what they find out surprises them. It turns out Lauren wasn’t completely honest with them about the identity of her ex and they head to Clyde to not only find out why she lied, but to claim her as well.
I loved Liam and Noah. The two have been close since childhood and Liam’s parents actually took Noah in when his parents abandoned him. They both have feelings for Lauren and Liam suggests to Noah that they enter a relationship with her like the Colters’ have. At first Noah is resistant to this idea because he doesn’t want anything to come between their friendship, but after he sees her again, he knows he can’t walk away. The way the two went about helping Lauren feel safe was extremely sweet and it was obvious they were going to fit in with the Colters’ without a problem.
When they discover that the woman they talked to who gave Noah and Liam the information on who they were dealing with was murdered, Lauren knows she can’t keep her secret any longer. It turns out that when she left she took some incriminating evidence along with her as insurance. The men realize that the threat to her safety is even bigger than they thought and they hatch a plan to ensure her safety. On the way to stay at the Colters’ ranch, their car is driven off the road and the story takes a bit of a dark turn.
Callie is my favorite Colter woman but Lauren grew on me over the course of the book. She finds her strength only to endure another horrible experience, but overcomes it with the love of her men. None of the Colter women have had an easy go of it so they were all very supportive of her. Since it was the final book it made total sense that the entire Colter family was really involved in the story. We got to see the birth of Lily’s baby and it was an adorable scene. I loved seeing Holly, Ethan, Adam and Ryan again and choosing to end the book with the ones that started it all was an excellent decision by Maya.
While I’m sad to see the series end, Maya ended it on a perfectly sweet note. All loose ends were tied up and it seemed like they are all headed for “happily ever after”. Now if only we could persuade Maya to write about the third generation of Colters…(less)
After the Storm is the 9th book in the KGI series by Maya Banks and it is the story that I have been waiting for! Chances are, if you are a fan of this series you too have been waiting for Donovan’s happily ever after, and Maya delivered as usual. It had the perfect amount of sweetness, hotness and emotion and you will most definitely fall in love with Donovan even more!
Eve is on the run with her younger siblings Travis and Cammie when they wind up in Kentucky Lake. Planning to stay only for a short time while Cammie recovers from an unknown illness, Travis gets a job at the hardware store the Kelly’s own. Rusty recognizes some of herself in Travis and enlists Donovan’s help to find out what is going on with the family.
Can I just say I’m totally in love with Donovan? Although he is happy for his siblings and the love that they have found, he is also a little envious. His house has been fully built on the Kelly Compound but he has not decorated or really furnished the home. He has been waiting for his future wife to come in and put her touches on the house and this just adds to his appeal.
As soon as he sets eyes on Eve, Travis and Cammie, his protective instincts kick in and Donovan immediately wants to find out what they are running from. Eve panics and attempts to hit the road again with her siblings, when a tornado hits town. Cammie and Travis make it into a culvert but Eve is caught up in the storm. After being rescued, Eve realizes she cannot run with her own injuries, Travis injured and Cammie still severely ill. Left with no choice but to trust Donovan and KGI, Eve let’s down her guard and confides what they are running from.
I don’t want to give away too much but the inevitable rescue scenario was done really well. In addition to the regular Kelly team members we get to see a little more of Skylar who is one badass bitch, and I can tell there is a killer story there waiting to be told. For that matter, after reading this book I’m dying to read Swanny’s story too. He’s such a sweetheart with Cammie, who is extremely scared of men and he endured a lot of the same treatment and torment as Nathan.
If I had a few small complaints about After the Storm they would be a) the number of times it is mentioned that Donovan has a soft spot for women and children and b) that there wasn’t more “action”. One of the things I love about the KGI series is the planning and execution of the missions so I missed that action part a tiny bit. Definitely not enough to ruin the book for me – it is up there as one of my favorites in the series.
On the plus side I felt we really got to know Rusty a lot better and got to see her as a strong, confident Kelly woman and that was great to see. There is one scene with her that literally had me yelling “yay” in the middle of the night as my poor boyfriend slept beside me. Oddly he didn’t find the scene as scream worthy as I did…
Overall Donovan’s story gave me exactly what I had hoped for. Eve is a fighter who fiercely protects Cammie and Travis, and she will be good a great match for Donovan, and will fit right in with the Kelly women. Maya has done it again!(less)
Midnight Games is the third book in the Killer Instincts series by Elle Kennedy. Not that this is remotely relevant to the review, but I was kind of excited when I read up about Ms. Kennedy and found out she lives in the same city as me, but I digress. Five minutes into reading the story I could tell that I was going to be hooked if only to read Noelle’s eventual story, but I was drawn in by all of the characters, not just the two the story was focused on so I’m definitely looking forward to more. I’m going out to buy the first two so I can be up to speed, but this book was a great introduction to a series that I will now follow for sure!
Isabel Roma spends most of her time undercover as other women, allowing her to ignore the hurt from her past and avoid personal relationships. She is generally able to keep her emotions in check around everyone but for some reason her control completely eludes her when she’s near Trevor Callaghan. A mercenary on a team that Isabel has worked with in the past, Trevor is the one person that threatens her perfectly sterile, emotionless life. After running out on him one night when things got too serious, Isabel takes off for five months going deep undercover. When she completes her mission she knows she can’t avoid him forever and she heads to the ranch that he’s staying at to tell him in person that things are never going to work out between them.
Trevor thought his life was over when his fiance was killed in home invasion while he was on a mission. He never anticipated falling in love again and certainly not with someone who is a complete opposite of his fiance. Trevor sees through Isabel’s disguises down to the real woman and that makes her scared and wanting to run. She has her own set of emotional scars, being the daughter and sister of notorious mob bosses and he doesn’t buy her “I don’t need anyone” garbage. Before they have a chance to hash things out, the compound is attacked by a skilled team, sending them all into hiding to hatch a plan. Both Isabel’s and Trevor’s teams are forced to work together to figure out who was behind the attack and eliminate the threat.
The story is fast paced and keeps you guessing which I like in any of my stories. There was plenty of smoking hot chemistry between the lead characters and the sex scenes between them were hot but sweet at the same time. Now the sex scenes between Noelle and Derek “D”, on the other hand were just plain hot. I can’t decide who I want her story to be with – Derek or Jim, but again that’s not relevant to this review so I will move on.
I can’t really say I had any complaints about this book. It was well written, had an interesting story, the primary characters were both lovable in their own way, the secondary characters were funny and made me want to read their stories. All in all it was a great book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest!(less)
Theirs To Keep is the first book in the Tangled Hearts trilogy by Maya Banks. After following Maya’s posts on Facebook regarding this trilogy I was really excited to read it and as usual, she did not disappoint! Where a lot of Maya’s most popular series center around a group of friends and/or family, with each character having their own story, this series is going to focus on the core relationship between Elle, Cade and Merrick.
Cade Winslow and Merrick Sullivan are best friends who own their own private security business. Merrick is also a professional mixed martial arts fighter who is on the cusp of his shot at the championship. When the two are pulled out of bed to investigate a break-in at one of their clients, they discover Elle hiding in a cupboard covered in blood, terrified out of her mind, and unable to remember who she is or what happened to her. Both men are instantly drawn to the wounded woman, and after getting her some medical help, they take her home to help her recover. Elle may not remember anything about who she is or who hurt her, but she instinctively knows she is safe with the two men. As she recovers physically, small snippets of her past come back to her, but she is still unable to remember her name or any other important details.
With most books that have this type of a relationship, the men have experience sharing a woman before they meet “the one”. That was not the case in this book. Cade and Merrick both want to protect Elle, but they also both start to develop feelings for her. The two decide that their friendship is too important to them and that the answer to their problem is for both men to be in a relationship with her. One thing I love about Maya is her steaming hot sex scenes, but in this book the sex doesn’t come until much later in the story. If you are looking for a purely erotic book then this one isn’t for you, but the fact that the sex took so long completely made sense with the story that Maya was developing between the three. The focus is on the emotional relationship between them and was really about Elle and her journey to get strong enough that she was ready to remember her past.
The book takes place over the span of about a year and during that time Merrick makes his play for the championship, while Elle helps Cade with the business to free up Merrick’s time. The two men have made some enemies in the course of business and that provides some of the action to keep the story going at a fast pace. Cade and Merrick are completely lovable and their loyalty to Elle and their determination to protect her at all costs comes off as endearing not assholish. Elle is a very fragile and wounded woman when we meet her, but she grows throughout the story. She almost doesn’t want to remember her past because she’s so happy with what she has found with the two men but she eventually realizes that she can never be whole unless those pieces are filled in.
Warning – if you are not a fan of cliffhangers then you may not like this book as much. This isn’t a story where Elle meets the men, falls in love, gains her memory back and they all live happily ever after. I suspect that there are some very unhappy times coming up for this trio in the next book and I’m hoping that in the end they come out stronger than ever because I really loved all three. If you like your stories tied up all nice and neat then you will be disappointed, but it is a beautiful story that sets up the next book perfectly and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one!(less)
Archer is the first book in the Hard Body Novel series by Debra Kayn and tells the story of Jane Beaumont, a woman on the run from her past, and Kage Archer, a man determined to rise above his name. The book opens with a difficult to read scene so if domestic violence is a hard topic for you then this might not be the book for you. I actually really enjoy the woman leaving the bad relationship and rebuilding herself angle so it was right up my alley.
After escaping from her abusive boyfriend, Jane goes home to hide out with her brother Garrett while she tries to come up with a new plan to get her ex to leave her alone. She works at night in the auto shop that Garrett has taken over since their dad passed away and tries to maintain a low profile. Kage is her brother’s best friend and a partner in the detective agency that is run out of the garage as well. I will admit this angle seemed a little unnecessary and it would have made a bit more sense if it had just been one or the other, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story or the characters. Although she doesn’t want to bring her brother, Archer and the other guys into her problems because she is concerned about their safety, they let her know that they are getting involved whether she likes it or not.
I loved Kage right from the beginning. His mother died of a drug overdose when he was young, his father went to prison for drugs and his uncle is the head of a large drug cartel. He has lived his life completely above board to prove he is nothing like his family, and to prove that he is worthy of Jane. When she is in danger, however, he will do whatever he needs to in order to ensure her safety and that just made me love him a little more.
Jane took a little bit longer for me to warm up to but once she got her spark back and realized she was still the same person she was before the relationship, I started to root for her. I loved that she had strong friendships with women that totally had her back, but also cared about Kage too. Her attachment to her cat was really cute.
Although Jane has always had a thing for Archer, she believes that he deserves better than her and fights it all the way. She made a move on him when she was 17 and he turned her down and sent her away. Now that he’s decided to stake his claim, he is not letting her go but she continues to act like they are just sleeping together. As the ex continues to taunt them by showing he can get to her anywhere, we find out that she took a little more than her cat and her pride when she left the relationship, which raises the stakes higher. It also makes Kage more determined to protect her and establish that their relationship is more than just sex.
There were two things that kind of irked me when I was reading the story (aside from the garage/private investigator angle), but it wasn’t bad enough that it affected my enjoyment of it. One was the determination that Jane had to keep the guys out of this issue. I get that her ex had a lot of connections, but there was quite a bit of time spent detailing the qualifications that Garrett, Kage and the others had, so her fear that they would get hurt by this guy didn’t really seem to jibe with the rest of the back story. The second was the concern that Garrett and the other guys had that Kage was going to somehow turn into this other person and forget all his morals and decisions, just because he was thinking about asking his uncle for information about Jane’s ex. Garrett was supposed to be his best friend, and ultimately he did have his back, but there were a couple scenes that had me scratching my head wondering about their friendship.
The small issues aside, I really enjoyed the story and the characters. The secondary characters were well developed and we got just enough to make us look forward to their stories. This is one series I will be keeping up with. If you enjoy a fast-paced story, hot sex and interesting characters, this story is for you!(less)
Witch Bound is the second book in the Twilight of the Gods series by Eleri Stone. While you could read this one on its own, I suggest going back and reading the first book (which I reviewed as well), Demon Crossings, to help with a bit of the mythology and story line.
Witch Bound revolves around Raquel Lindgren, a witch from another clan, who is supposed to be marrying Christian in a marriage arranged by their parents a long time ago. Raquel shows up in Ragnarok for the wedding and to make her new home there, but finds herself more attracted to Fen, a hound and the intended best man for the wedding. Fen is determined to never take a mate due to the bond that hounds form with the first person they have sex with. He can come up with plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t be together but Raquel is determined to fight for what she wants.
Someone is causing a weakness in the fault that stops demons from coming into their land, and the clan is looking at Raquel to help the older witch Lois, put a stop to it. The only problem is, Raquel cannot tap into her powers and no one informed the clan of this before she came over. There does not seem to be any dispute that she holds an incredible amount of power, but there is some type of block there that only allows her to perform basic magic.
Raquel is stressed out about her upcoming wedding and while hiding out in the bathroom, she overhears Christian saying that he is only marrying her out of obligation. Lois is downright belligerent and doesn’t like the new witch stepping on her toes, and Raquel’s only source of happiness through all this is her friendship with Fen.
While trying to help her work through the block to her magic, Fen starts to fall in love with Raquel even though he knows he can never do anything about it. Once the wall breaks down, her powers come tumbling out and she figures out what is causing the portal to be unstable. In order to stop it, she must cross over with the hunt and free the Vanir who had kept Grace and Hailie safe in Demon Crossings. After they successfully cross over to rescue him, Raquel uses magic to bind herself to the Vanir, a plot point which I suspect will come up in later books. I’m very interested to see the effects of that piece of magic later on.
I loved Fen in Demon Crossings, so I was looking forward to watching him get his happily ever after. Once a hound has sex with a woman they are irrevocably bound to that woman, while the woman doesn’t necessarily feel the same. Fen has watched his fellow pack member torment himself over the woman he bonded with when they were young, and he does not want to experience the same pain. I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that I loved the way their story played out. I know Fen is absolutely against having kids but I think it would be sweet later on to see him with kids.
There are so many stories waiting to be told in this series and I’m looking forward to reading them all!(less)
Wicked and Dangerous combines novellas from Shayla Black’s Wicked series, and Rhyannon Byrd’s Dangerous Tides series, giving the reader two steamy, well written experiences in one book! I’m a huge Shayla Black fan and have read every single one of the Wicked books so I was really looking forward to Wicked All Night. I have read some of Byrd’s books but did not read the first story in the Dangerous Tides series and thankfully Make Me Yours was written in a way that I didn’t feel like I was behind or missing any information.
Wicked All Night is Decker McConnell and Rachel Linden’s story. At the very beginning of the story we see Decker with Xander and Javier, who are his bosses, but that is the only glimpse we get of the core group from the series. One of the things I enjoy about the Wicked group is the way that the people are always in each others lives, but since it was a shorter story I knew the focus had to be on the couple.
Decker has been approached by a man who tries to hire him to kill a woman who lives in the town where Xander and Javier now reside. After seeing a picture of the beautiful teacher, Decker “accepts” the job in order to buy some time and try to get close to Rachel, while protecting her as well. While out at the bar to celebrate her birthday, Decker approaches Rachel and hits on her in order to get close. While his interest in her is genuine, you just know that before the story is done she is going to find out why he’s there, and it won’t be pretty.
Ms. Black writes her sex scenes flawlessly and I loved that there was realism in the story in that Rachel was insecure about her body and her sexuality after her divorce. Her ex-husband had put her down and made her feel inadequate sexually, and watching Decker work to make her comfortable with herself made me cheer for him even more. It also made Rachel much more relatable for me and allowed me to connect with her.
The nature of the short story required that things move at a fast pace but I didn’t feel like I “missed” anything if that makes sense. Decker works at figuring out who is threatening Rachel and the entire arc takes place over a very short period of time. I was wrong with who I guessed was behind the threat to Rachel and I love being wrong when I’m reading. Overall it was a very satisfying story and I hope that we have the chance to get to know Decker and Rachel more in future Wicked books!
Make Me Yours revolves around Scott Ryder, a sheriff’s deputy, and Lily Heller, the daughter of his former boss. Lily shows up on Scott’s door one night on the run after witnessing her father’s murder at the hands of a terrorist that is now chasing her. After thinking he had killed Radovich in their last encounter, Scott agrees to protect Lily despite the obvious history and chemistry between the two.
The tortured hero trope is one I will never get tired of and its clear that there is some messed up stuff in Scott’s childhood. He has stayed away from Lily in an attempt to “protect” her and she is not having any of that. At every turn she tries to tempt and tease him in order to get him to give in on his obvious attraction to her and the chemistry between them is hot! As he works to eliminate the threat to Lily, Scott is unable to resist her for long, but he battles his inner demons while trying to convince himself that it is just sex.
Again, as is necessary with a shorter story, the action plays out fast and there is a resolution fairly quickly. If I had any complaints it would be that Lily never really seemed to grieve for her father, but since the story only spans a few days that could explain it. Overall it was well written and crazy hot and this is a series that I will definitely keep up with.
Demon Crossings is the first book in the Twilight of the Gods series by Eleri Stone. I had initially started with book two but felt like I was missing some stuff so I went back and started at the beginning. I’m glad I did! While Norse Gods and mythology aren’t normally my thing, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the plot, the characters and the overall storyline.
The story revolves around Grace, a private investigator who stumbles into Ragnarok, Iowa, while looking for a missing girl. She is a psychic who is able to locate the people she is looking for. Grace crashes her car after seeing some kind of a monster in the road and she is rescued by Aidan, a sexy and somewhat old fashioned man who she instinctively trusts. After spending the night at his house because she was unable to drive, she sees a picture on his mantle of a little girl. When she touches it she has a link with Aidan’s daughter and realizes that the girl is not dead as everyone thinks. She keeps this to herself because she’s spent a lifetime trying to avoid calling attention to her gift.
When Aidan takes her to breakfast she finds the young girl she was initially looking for. On her way out of town she gets attacked by a creature she has never seen before and she realizes that there is more going on in Ragnarok than she thought. When Aidan once again comes to her rescue, he tells her stories about Norse Gods, mythology and portals to other worlds. While she doesn’t believe them immediately, she does agree to try to track down Aidan’s daughter.
It is very easy to like both Aidan and Grace. Aidan is a strong, reliable man that takes care of his people and those he loves. While he is focused on getting his daughter back, he begins to fall for Grace which makes it harder for him to allow her to risk her safety for his daughter. Grace is a very strong, independent woman mostly by necessity. People have consistently let her down through her life so she has a hard time with the closeness of the clan.
I really enjoyed some of the secondary characters, particularly Fen and Christian. There was a set-up for the next book but it wasn’t done in a way that shoved the characters down your throat. They blended into the story nicely as Aidan’s best friends and they accepted Grace while others were more resistant to her.
Aidan’s daughter was trapped in a different world and getting her out is very risky to all involved. The clan does not want their leader taking that risk, but he cannot leave his daughter there. Grace is determined to go in and rescue the young girl even though she knows it is likely that she will die. While preparing for the opening to gain access to the other world the two become increasingly more connected and neither one is sure what to do about it. The sex scenes were hot and the bond that slowly developed between them was realistic and sweet.
Overall the story kept me wanting to read more, and I was really rooting for Grace and Aidan. I’m hoping that in further books we will get to see a little more of Aidan’s daughter and how she is getting along with Grace. There was enough of a tease of Fen that I can’t wait to dive into his book. The book was well written, interesting and had a hot romance. I definitely recommend it!(less)