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Iris Boys #1

Now or Never

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“Harlow Hampton meets the Iris Boys.”

All I needed was a break. A sign. Something.

Nearly getting run over was not the sign I was looking for, but it’s what I got. That and a group of guys who say they work for something called Iris.

No, thank you.

I had enough to deal with, thank you very much. No brother. No dad. No sanity most of the time. I certainly didn’t need to be dealing with thieves and wild cats and guys that were way too good looking. That is…I didn’t need them until they were all I had left. Now I have to make a decision about my future and whether or not they’re going to be in it.

***This is a Reverse Harem title***

340 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 29, 2017

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About the author

Lucy Smoke

66 books1,707 followers
Lucy Smoke, also known as Lucinda Dark for her fantasy works, has a master’s degree in English and is a self-proclaimed creative chihuahua. She enjoys feeding her wanderlust, cover addiction, as well as her face, and truly hopes people will stop giving her bath bombs as gifts. Bath’s get cold too fast and it’s just not as wonderful as the commercials make it out to be when the tub isn’t a jacuzzi.

When she’s not on a never-ending quest to find the perfect milkshake, she lives and works in the southern United States with her beloved fur-baby, Hiro, and her family and friends.

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5 stars
895 (36%)
4 stars
774 (31%)
3 stars
549 (22%)
2 stars
146 (6%)
1 star
56 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews
Profile Image for Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*.
373 reviews440 followers
January 4, 2018
Yay! First book of the year complete! And it is one feeding my reverse harem obsession despite this one not really giving me the fix I needed.

I feel that, by now, I have read enough reverse harems to consider myself to be a bit of a connoisseur of the genre. In this genre, I put the erotica PWP books off in a dirty overlooked corner where I don't really consider them part of the rest of the group but you can't leave them out. Then there are the ones where the girl has a bunch of guy friends but it isn't really harem-y and then there is this recycled plot line that this book has floating around. Among all this mess are the good books with unique plots which this book was very much not a part of.

So a basic part of any good reverse harem book is why is this group of individuals tied together. Most of the time, it is through a company of some sort. It could be military or security or something else but those two seem popular due to their secret nature and also there is a hefty amount of money involved in both of those professions. There is nothing wrong with using this as a place to start. I mean, how many dukes are there for Regency Romances or lonely hunky men on cattle ranches? I would think the pool itself would be small but you can also make something interesting from those plot lines.

This book starts with that basic premise but it failed to make the idea unique. It seemed like a rehash of the ideas put forward in the Academy series. Hell, it is even set in Charleston, like that series. The girl was taking care of an ailing and controlling mother while being in high school. She worked hard and caught the attention of this exclusive and secretive group. It sounds so familiar without any of the flavor that I have seen from other series.

I mean, this is set in Charleston! It has depth and character! It isn't just a little highway town. There is food, history, carriages, money, traditions...there is so much there but this book just didn't take advantage of any of it. Your settings shape your characters, whether you want them to or not. There was very little to place this book which was unfortunate.

Also, the characters were rather bland. The guys all had similar personalities and tendencies. It felt like this book barely touched on them being individuals but rather took them as a group only. These guys need personalities, and strong ones at that, in order to make the dynamic work! Otherwise, it is just a bunch of people sitting around going "What do you want to do today?" "I don't know, what do you want to do today?"

This book just didn't have the oomph I was looking for. It felt like it was missing major parts of plot and character development.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,084 reviews215 followers
December 31, 2017
Now or Never definitely reminded me of the ghost bird series by c.l. stone. Not in a bad way, because it had less guys helping out one girl. Then they are slowly starting to develop crushes on her - plus they moved at a faster pace than they did in Introductions like she's already kissed two guys and it took forever for the girl, Sang, to kiss any of the guys or let them in. But then again they did grow up in way different home situations. However, both moms are crazy.

I really liked this book. It was very easy to follow and the guys in it were hilarious. I don't know how I feel about Grayson since he's not apart of the whole group but he has an obsessive crush on Harlow. I can totally see myself reading the next book in this series but that's because I'm officially hooked. I love books and I'm addicted to reading them. The more the merrier.

Plus I saw that little bonus chapter with her meeting Marv's mom and sister - so I have an inkling what the next mission will be about. Hopefully Grayson doesn't try to interfere again OR show up randomly to every little thing she is at!
Profile Image for Anna.
808 reviews
November 27, 2017
Harlow has been struggling for a while. Left alone with her sick mother, she's busting her butt to keep afloat. School all day and long hours at the diner at night have left her exhausted but she's almost to graduation. She's just got to hang on a little bit longer. All of a sudden she's got people popping up all around her and butting into her life. She finally has options. Now she just needs to decide what's the best choice for her. Does she really want to get involved with a group of guys she knows nothing about, who can't seem to tell her what she wants to know? Does she really have much of a choice left?

I really, really liked this story. It does have a very academy/scarab beetle vibe to it, but it's not a rip off or a copycat. It's a great story line with lots of emotions and adventures to keep you entertained. You've got an organization that, while not really secret, still doesn't divulge all their information. A team of guys needs a girl to help out with their mission. Since they were looking to add to the team anyway, they figure why not give Harlow a shot after she was recommended. Harlow is skeptical of course, but with her money problems and mother problems, it's hard to say no when the guys keep stepping in to help out. She agrees to help them out on a trial basis so she can make an informed decision. After spending time with the guys, together and individually, they start to get attached. Outside forces always have to try to step in and mess things up though don't they.

I think Harlow is a very good female lead. She's strong, cares about other people and works hard. Knix is a fierce leader, Texas is a wiz with the techs but doesn't come off as geeky in any way, Marv is just plain smooth and Bellamy is your free spirit. Together they make a great, rounded out team. The story was well written and had a good flow to it to keep you interested the whole time.

Great start to the series and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for SJ.
1,848 reviews15 followers
November 29, 2017
This book is absolutely amazing! It gripped me from page one and I could not put it down, in fact I squealed and internally squealed whilst reading it which to me is a sign of a fabulous book

Harlow works as a waitress and goes to school, she also looks after her mum. Her life is busy and full and boring! She works hard and is an absolute sweetheart

Her life gets flipped upside down when she meets the boys and her life changes drastically. I love the chemistry between all the characters the story flows beautifully. There is action, adventure, excitement some romance and humour

I recommend this book, it is the whole package and I definitely want more, an awesomeness of awesome read
Profile Image for Skye.
149 reviews12 followers
June 27, 2018
If you don’t like love pentagons perhaps stay away from this series.. I still enjoyed it, the book was well written and kept me interested outside the romance aspect of the book. I’m intrigued as to what Iris is and am excited for some answers.
Profile Image for Anna.
733 reviews67 followers
December 10, 2017
I really liked the book Daimon, so when I realized that this one was written by the same author I did not even hesitate. I was very quick to grab it and started reading, and I wasn't disappointed. Now or Never was just as good as I hoped it would be.
The plot is somewhat similar to the Scarab Beetle series, which for me was not a bad thing at all. At first I was afraid that it was going to be another abusive home situation (getting kind of tired of those), but here things were a little more complicated.
I liked our main heroine - Harlow, mainly because of the fact that she (thank god) wasn't dumb (again, getting tired of that). She was very driven and dedicated to take care of her mother, who could no longer take care of herself and had more bad days than good, forgetting about her own needs and wants in the process. She's very strong and I like that about her. I also wonder if the brother (Michael?) will appear in the future and how will Harlow react to that. How will the guys react to that? That's an interesting thought.
I just hope it won't take long for the next book to come out, because I can easily see myself getting addicted to the story.
Profile Image for Daisy Delfin.
882 reviews104 followers
January 30, 2021

Pages: 340
My rating: 3.5
Read other books by this author in the future: yes
MC: Harlow, Knix, Marvin, Bellamy, Texas
SC: Grayson, Alex (Boss), Michael (the brother), Erika (BFF), Josh (Graysons brother, Ericas boyfriend)

Now or Never is the first book in the Iris Boys five book series. This books reminds me of C. L. Stones Ghostbird Academy. But the main characters are older than Sang and her guy. They also act more their age than the Ghostbird guys.
I enjoyed the book, but when I started it, I was not in the mood for a book like Ghostbird Academy. So I put it down and finished it today. I will read the next book too. The series has potential and I am eager to see how this plays out.

Contention with a lot of spoilers:
Profile Image for Tiblu.
1,251 reviews43 followers
January 4, 2018
Loved it for the most part....

Loved it for the most part, I only wish as mature as the h is,
( I mean I’m damn impressed w/all she’s handled on her own)
But if your gonna give me a RH why the heck to you do it w/an 18 yr. old virgin ?
That seriously doesn’t make sense....
Geez can’t she at least have had some sex and say be a 22-23 yr. old collage grad ?
Why does she have to be soo dang young ?
Sighs, that annoyance aside , I like the story for the most part,but for me atm “Iris” is just too mysterious, not background or backstory for it and as much as I was liking Harlow and her budding relationships with the guys, there just wasn’t enough info given or time to build relationships....
I know it’s just the part of a series but except for know Harlow is a pretty tough and resourceful little cookie w/a pretty decent head of her shoulders , that’s all I really feel that I learned ...
I don’t really know what any one wants and none of the guys are about as clear as mud w/her...
Sure they can be possessive and even a little jealous at times but one minute they treat her like a little buddy or maybe a little sister and the next their kissing her or their tongues are hanging out when they see her in a new dress,but it was all a bit too much of a hurry up,and wait too me..
That said i am looking forward to more ...
Profile Image for Coco.V.
47.2k reviews4 followers
Want to read
March 4, 2021
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (3/4/2021)! 🎁
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,197 reviews23 followers
October 29, 2019

I liked the book, but maybe it's just that it's the first book in a series but it didn't feel finished. There's the who semi romantic plot line just left wide open which is a whole can of worms that needs to be addressed. There's the strange conflict between Grsyon and the other guys that needs to be addressed. There was a large cast of characters that I feel like I barely know. I'm u decided because I feel like too many things were left unfinished to make a decision about whether I liked the book and the series or not.
637 reviews14 followers
April 16, 2020
Good start for RH series

I really enjoyed this book and the idea of it especially since most RH series I’ve read are mostly fantasy and PNR.
This story reminded me a lot of CL Stone’s Ghost Bird series and the Scarab Beetle series.

I liked the story and the characters but there were some inconsistencies in the story. Though minor, it was still distracting and it made me doubt what I read before making me do a double take so it kinda cut off my reading flow.

Also the plot twist was kinda juvenile and I saw it coming from miles away. I truly enjoy surprises and like it when the author throws unexpected things my way and this wasn’t one of those times. But I like the characters and will read the next book and hope the mystery is better.
Profile Image for Nerdy Housewifey.
433 reviews2 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
September 26, 2018
So except for about 2 or 3 series (that are actually complex and very well written) anything RH is basically just a guilty pleasure and even if I enjoy it it’s probably not getting more then 2 stars, purely because the standards and quality of a really well written novel just aren’t there. This book was basically a rip off of another poorly written RH so it was kind of doubly bad in my opinion. Characters were introduced one after another and even at 50% not enough time was spent getting to know any of the them and yet they’re already all about the MC.
Profile Image for The Romance Book Disciple (Samantha).
1,836 reviews304 followers
September 28, 2020
I snagged this because many people said it was like Ghost Bird. It is a LOT like that, but I think it made me realize how much it just wasn't as great. I think if I had read this before GB, I would have enjoyed it better. But, since its set in the same town, has many of the same plot points (secret society that helps people, they work in teams, money is no object, etc) its nearly impossible not to make comparisons and this one just doesn't make the same grade as GB (in my opinion). I might continue on with the series if I have time and nothing else to read.
Profile Image for SarahBear88.
31 reviews1 follower
December 3, 2017
Too bad it's not original

Normally I would say I like this book. Except the fact that it pretty much plagiarized CL Stone's Ghost Bird and Scarab Beetle series. Both have a mysterious group that helps people out that the boys are involved and the girl tries to join. Funny enough this girl also has a crazy mother that she has to hide her phone that the boys have given her. It moves faster than CL Stone's books but if you took both series and combined them you'd end up with this book. Which is really disappointing, because this author is actually pretty decent. She just needs to make up her own story and not plagiarize someone else's. I would love to read an original story from her. Because she does have a pretty decent writing style and not very many grammatical errors which are usually distracting. Just too bad it's not an original.
Profile Image for Jenni.
112 reviews6 followers
January 17, 2023
sort of predictable and confusing

I think the thing that really threw me for this book is the ages or the variations of age. For a long time I thought they were all kids because she called them boys but then somewhere like older, and some act super old… It was a lot.

In the end, the whole thing just felt like kids playing spies and didn’t have a lot of real suspense or feeling to it. This one just kind of lacked much oomph to me in spice and romance or suspense.
Profile Image for Ri.
4,983 reviews
December 5, 2018
4 stars

What an interesting read and not at all what I was expecting. It was more YA then anything. There was no steamy moments yet, I was completely hooked trying to find out what was happening.

Definitely reading the next one to see where this goes as the writing style was really good.
Profile Image for Megan.
2,977 reviews38 followers
September 27, 2021
This isn't bad. Its fine. Perfectly adequate read.

I kept thinking this is reminding me of another book by I think CL Stone which is sort of irritating.

Its the way the authors make the girl weak and feeble that gets me. Nicknames like princess are just icky and they really make her seem a lot younger than 18.

I didn't hate this. I could read it but I didn't feel the need to binge.
Profile Image for C.J..
Author 4 books392 followers
January 18, 2018
I really enjoyed this story. It was intriguing and I liked all the characters. If you’re looking for lots of romance though, you won’t find it here. I have a feeling the RH elements will be slow-burn.
Profile Image for Alicia.
1,169 reviews53 followers
December 19, 2019
I really liked this one. Kind of a Ghost Bird meets Scarab Beetle story that moved a little faster. Basically, there's a secret organisation out helping people and the girl gets brought into the fold. I'll definitely be reading more.
Profile Image for Candace Jane.
Author 1 book1 follower
December 27, 2017
A must read

Like many of the great books that lead the RH genre this fit's the box. I have fallen in love with all the characters. This is a must read that will not disappoint.
Profile Image for Ash.
25 reviews1 follower
January 21, 2018
Great storyline, however, it seems to be a mashup of Ghost Bird and Scarab Beetle series by C.L. Stone. I'm curious to see where this goes but the next book will be a downtime kind of read.
Profile Image for Siri.
1,187 reviews47 followers
December 1, 2017
I will for sure continue reading this series, it has potential to be really good
Profile Image for Cassie Guest.
120 reviews26 followers
December 3, 2017
No feelings

I didn't feel any chemistry coming from any of the characters. There was also just not enough details to the story. I know it is some secret organization but the main character basically went around with a bunch of older man not knowing anything.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews

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