In Death: Glory in Death

Glory in Death

Glory in Death

The dead were her business. She lived with them, she worked with them, studied them. She dreamed of them. Murder no longer shocked, but it continued to repel.

The first victim is found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second is found murdered in her own apartment building. Both have had their throats slashed.

New York City homicide lieutenant Eve Dallas has no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both women were beautiful and successful; their glamorous lives and loves the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with powerful men provide Eve with a long list of suspects–including her own lover, Roarke.

As a woman, Eve is compelled to trust the man who shares her bed. But as a cop, it’s her job to follow every lead, to explore every secret passion, no matter how dark. Or how dangerous.

There are some authors who just have that something. You know, that thing, that quality, to their writing that makes it almost impossible to put their books down. J.D Robb has that thing. With every chapter that I finished, I became more and more glad that I’d started this series. It really is something else.

Eve Dallas’s life hasn’t changed all that much since the end of Naked in Death. She still investigates murders, she still works too hard, she still has nightmares. The only aspect in her life that’s undergone any sort of shift is her love life. As in, now she actually has one and she’s not entirely sure how to handle it. Thankfully, but also unfortunately, Eve has plenty to distract herself from her growing attachment to Roarke. A high profile lawyer has been found murdered in a really dodgy part of town. Said lawyer had a close relationship with Eve’s boss, who’s given Eve strict instructions to find whoever did this at whatever cost. So no pressure. But then the body of another high profile lady is found, murdered in the exact same way, and Eve finds herself in the midst of a shit storm. Not only does she have to deal with one truly obnoxious journalist, she also has to face the fact that both victims were linked to Roarke. So, once again, Eve has to turn her eye onto Roarke in her professional capacity. This obviously doesn’t go down too well with Roarke, leaving Eve to deal with issues in both her personal and professional life.

This book was really incredible. I wasn’t only captivated by the who-dunnit element of the story, but also how the characters are starting to evolve. We see Eve gradually becoming more open and vulnerable with Roarke. She spends a lot of time fighting her feelings, and we see how justifiably frustrated Roarke gets. I didn’t really blame him for getting huffy. He really puts himself out there, and still Eve holds back. I think my favourite part of this book was actually getting to know Roarke better. In the first book, he came off as this hot, aloof millionaire who’s suddenly taken an interest in Eve. With this book, we saw Roarke as a person, not the badboy rich guy. He was actually–dare I say it–sweet. Not a word I would have associated with Roarke, but there you go.

Now, I just need to share this with you. This little snippet, after Roarke swoops in to rescue her, is exactly why I love Eve as much as I do. She’s awesome sauce…

“It’s his blood,” Roarke said calmly, “not mine.”
“His blood.” She nearly wobbled again, forced her knees to lock. “You’re not hurt?”
“Nothinh major.” Concerned, he angled her head back to examine the shallow slice along her collarbone, the rapidly swelling eye. “You need a medic, Lieutenant.”
“In a minute. Let me ask you something.”
“Ask away.” Having nothing else, he tore part of his ripped sleeve to dab at the blood on her shoulder.
“Do I come charging into one of your board rooms when your having trouble with a business deal?”
His eyes flicked to hers. Some of the fierceness died out of them into what was almost a smile. “No, Eve, you don’t. I don’t know what got into me.” 

I really recommend giving this series a try. Robb’s descriptions and the way she seems to weave these mysteries so effortlessly is awe inspiring. And the characters are just so interesting. I know that I’m dying to find out more about both Eve and Roarke. They’re both very enigmatic characters, despite being our leads.

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Psy-Changeling: Branded by Fire

Branded by Fire

Branded by Fire

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons;  the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together–before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it will leave them both branded by fire…

 I have fallen in love with this series. I’d really, really, really enjoyed it before, but this book totally clinched it for me: Nalini Singh is a paranormal romance writing goddess. I adored everything about this book. Singh manages to write these hot romances while keeping up with her absolutely riveting world building. Honestly, I’m fangirling right now.

Branded by Fire is Mercy and Riley’s story. I wasn’t sure what to expect from these two since they’ve both been peripheral characters in the past books. But Singh did not disappoint. Branded by Fire is another one of those “opposites attract” scenarios. We start off with Riley and Mercy not particularly liking each other very much. They respect each other on a professional level, each acknowledging that the other is a badass, but not having much time for one another beyond that. Until one day… bang! Pun intended. In a moment of sexually frustrated weakness, Mercy takes Riley on after he propositions her. And, man, talk about fireworks. Riley, of course, is happy to go there again, but Mercy is horrified that she went there with a wolf with no discernible personality. Mercy is of the opinion that Riley makes the chilly Psy seem bubbly, and Riley sort of sees Mercy as a bit of a lose cannon. Mercy thinks that Riley thinks too much, while Riley thinks that Mercy doesn’t think enough. Mercy is a free spirit, and Riley is always in control. Clearly, they’re as different as two people can be in terms of temperament, never mind the fact that one’s a leopard and the other is a wolf.

I enjoyed the romance and how they gradually softened towards one another. Riley hasn’t been the same since Brenna (our heroine from Caressed by Ice) was kidnapped and tortured by a deranged Psy. He’s hardened himself, and everyone in his pack has noticed. But when he starts spending time with Mercy, he lightens up a little. Mercy’s been having some problems that her pack’s picked up on too. As a dominant female, she’s been worried about her prospects of finding a male who can handle her. Thing is, she needs someone even more dominant than her in order for her leopard to accept him. Thankfully, Riley seems to fit the bill.

I’m not going to go into too much detail with the romance because, although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t my favourite part of the book. No, my favourite bits were the more peripheral stuff. I was far more focused on  issues like, what’s happening with the Psy Council? And who exactly is the Ghost? And what is Kaleb Krychek’s story? And why are there so many books on my to-be-read pile between me and Sienna and Hawke’s book?!?! Just to go off on a quick tangent here, but I cannot–CANNOT— wait to read that book! It’s going to be EPIC!!! Ahem… anyhow. I actually find that Singh’s attention to detail is my favourite part of her books. I mean, most romance novels follow the same general patterns and she’s no exception to that. But what she does do, better than almost any author I can think of, is focus on the little things. Her world building is just phenomenal. With each installment of this series, things just get more and more intricate.

In short, I can’t get enough of this series. The attention to detail in the world building is breathtaking, the romances are hot and sweet, and everything is just so well-written that I think this series is going to go down as one of my favourites. Nalini Singh can honestly do no wrong in my eyes, and I am dying to see what’s going to happen next.

 

Immortals After Dark: Dark Desires After Dusk

Dark Desires After Dusk

Dark Desires After Dusk

 

A Ruthless Demon Mercenary.
A Lovely Young Halfling.
In the Dark, There is No Escaping Desire.

A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can’t resist…

Cade of the rage demons will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

A tormented warrior she should fear, but can’t deny…

Raised as a human, Holly Ashwin never knew some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch. 

Surrender to dark desires…

Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs–and claim his heart?

It’s official: Kresley Cole is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of my absolute favourite authors. In fact, I think she’s in the top five. Every time I start another of her books, I think to myself that it can’t possibly be any better than the last. And then… I’m proven wrong. Each and every single time.

Dark Desires After Dusk is Cadeon Woede’s story. Cade is a rage demon. And not just any rage demon; he is actually the brother of the king of the rage demons… and also the reason why his brother, Rydstrom, lost said kingdom to an evil sorcerer. It happened centuries ago, but no one’s been willing to let him live it down. Now, at long last, Cade has the opportunity to make things right. All he needs to do is deliver the Vessel, a Lore female destined to give birth to either a force of ultimate evil or ultimate good, to a slightly deranged sorcerer, and he’ll be well on his way to mending fences between him and his brother. Cade should be chuffed as hell to finally accomplish what he’d started to believe was impossible. Except the Vessel is none other than Holly, a woman he believed to be forbidden to him due to the fact that she was human. Now it turns out that Holly is not, in fact, human but Cade can’t have her anyway because he’s promised his brother to put the needs of their kingdom above his own. Poor demon…

Holly Ashwin was raised as a human. A woman with an unquestionably brilliant mind, Holly suffers from some… social anxieties. Sporting a bad case of OCD and a reluctance to get intimate with her supportive boyfriend, Holly lives a very ordered life. At least, until she finds out that not only is she part Valkyrie, but she’s also the Vessel. Gone is her predictable and structured life; she’s now got almost every faction of the Lore coming after her and finds herself having no choice but to trust a foul-mouthed, rough-and-tumble demon. A demon who, as time passes, she finds herself increasingly attracted to.

God, I loved this book. Every single little thing. The characters, the plot, the dialogue–everything– was just epic. Cade was just this lovable, brash moron who I just wanted to hug… and do other things to. He’s had a thing for Holly for months but, believing her to be human, has resigned himself to the fact that he can never have her. And then things just get worse for him when he realises that her being human would be the least of his problems. He tries so hard to sort of work his way onto her good side, but half the time that just backfires on him. He was this mixture of cocky and uncertain with Holly, and it just made him so sexy. And Holly was an utter badass, too. I think she may be my favourite leading lady in this series so far, and that’s saying something. Cole’s heroines never wait around for their men to come save them. He’s not there when the shit hits the fan? She takes care of it herself, because she’s got shit to do. Holly adapted really well to her change in circumstances, and didn’t let Cade just talk his way into her bed. She told him when she thought he was being full of crap (which was fairly often) and held her ground when confronted with the freakiness of the Lore. The only thing I wish is that we’d seen more of Rydstrom. I think it would have been interesting to see more of him and Cade interacting. But since he was kidnapped by an evil sorceress for reasons unknown, we’ll just have to wait for his book to see a resolution to his and Cade’s issues.

In all, this book was everything you could possibly want from a paranormal romance: Take-no-prisoners heroines get paired up with sexy bad boy heroes to take on some nasty thing bent on destruction. And nobody does it like Kresley Cole.

You can buy Dark Desires After Dusk at Sony‘s ebook store.

In Death: Naked In Death

Naked In Death

Naked In Death

She woke in the dark. For a moment she simply lay there, shuddering, imprisoned, while the dream faded. After ten years on the force, Eve still had dreams.

Named by the social worker who rescued her as a child, Eve Dallas is now a New York City cop who lives for the job. 

While recovering from her latest case, Eve is sent to investigate the brutal execution of Sharon DeGlass. A high-class escort and senator’s granddaughter, Sharon has been shot three times with an illegal gun and left naked and posed on her own bed.

All the evidence points Eve towards Irish billionaire Roarke. With an instant sexual attraction between them, Eve and Roarke must work together to find a sadistic killer–but can Eve really trust a man whose past is as damaged as her own?

I had heard of J.D Robb, or Nora Roberts, for a long time and for some reason, I never tried any of her stuff. Let me let you in on a little secret: that was dumb. I was dumb. Because this book was brilliant. Robb is an incredible writer. Her descriptions are so vivid, her characters are so complex and layered, and I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. This book was, in a word, phenomenal.

Our story is set in the year 2058, and a lot has changed. Prostitution is now legal, guns are–for the most part–illegal, and genetic testing is done to ensure that the worst of humanity’s violent tendencies are weeded out. Despite many of the advancements that have been made, murder is still a fact of life. This is where out leading lady, Eve Dallas, comes in. She’s a cop, and she’s been called in to investigate the murder of a prostitute. This particular case has made headlines, not only because of the way in which the victim was killed but also because of the woman’s social status. Her grandfather is a high-ranking member of a conservative political party calling for a return to a more “moral” way of life, where prostitutes are arrested and the American public has the right to bear arms. Also of note is the fact that this woman wasn’t strangled or stabbed; she was shot. So there is a lot of public interest in this case and a great deal of pressure on Eve to catch the person responsible. And the pressure continues to mount when more prostitutes are found dead, all killed in the exact same way. As Eve investigates, she finds a lot of evidence pointing in the direction of Roarke, the gorgeous, mysterious billionaire. Eve pursues the investigation wherever it takes her, but things are made a little complicated by the sexual tension between her and Roarke.

I need a minute to talk about Eve. She was such a complete and utter badass. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a heroine this much. She didn’t put up with anybody’s shit. Her utter focus on finding the truth, on catching the bad guy, was awesome. She was tough, but she never came across as hard. Eve has suffered through some major trauma in her life, but she’s overcome it to become on of the best cops in New York. She’s just the kind of heroine that you have to root for. Given her damage, you just want her to be happy. This leads me nicely to Roarke. He is Mr Megabucks, the guy who has everything and wants for nothing. Well, there is one thing he wants: Eve. For the first time since he made his first million, it looks like Roarke is actually going to have to really work at getting what he wants because Eve is wary of him from the get-go. Not only because he’s a suspect but because he threatens her on a level that no one else ever has.

This is normally the kind of book I would avoid since I don’t really like being kept in any real kind of suspense. But I loved everything about this book. I honestly had no clue who the murderer was, even until the end. I know there are a crap load of books in this series and, while some may find that intimidating, I find that I can’t wait to delve even deeper into it.

You can buy Naked in Death over at Sony‘s ebook store.

Immortals After Dark: Dark Needs at Night’s Edge

Dark Needs at Night's Edge

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge

The Beauty Wants Him Gone-
The Warrior Can’t Leave

Let the games begin…

Neomi Laress, a famous ballerina in the 1900s, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with powers, but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away any trespassers–until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Neomi herself.

To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Roth’s brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. There only Conrad can see the dancer with wild raven hair–who seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature inflames him with desire, leaving his body wracked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own. 

Yet even if Conrad can win Neomi and claim her completely, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?

Kresley Cole really is something else. Every time I read something of hers, I’m just left in utter awe. How she manages to create these awesome characters, while writing intensely hot romances, while also producing this incredibly complex and intriguing world is beyond me. Each book in this series just gets better and better than the last. 

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge is book four in the Immortals After Dark series and, as usual, Cole did not disappoint. Conrad Roth is… well, the kindest thing to call him would be troubled. He was once a vampire hunter, sworn to destroy any and all of the monstrous creatures he could find. Aside from Conrad’s duty to his vampire slaying buddies, he also had a duty to his family. Living in Estonia back in the day was not easy, especially considering that the country had beef with Russia at the time. The whole war thing, coupled with the fact that his little sisters were killed by Russian looters, and the fact that he was turned into a vampire by his brothers in spite of the fact that he was trained to loathe the creatures, has left Conrad a little bit crazy. He’s now one of the most feared assassins in the Lore and he’s also seeking revenge against his brothers. So, to say our hero has issues would be an understatement. That’s why he needs a heroine who’s capable of seeing the lighter side of life, someone who–despite being through a lot–is still capable of laughing and smiling and being happy.

Enter Neomi. Neomi is a phantom. She had fairly humble beginnings, going from being a burlesque dancer to a highly acclaimed ballerina in just a few short years. However, she was killed by a jilted lover the night she was to make the announcement that she’d bought her dream house, and all by herself too. So, since that fateful night, Neomi has been stuck in that house and has been forced to live her death once a month. Not the most ideal conditions to live under, but Neomi gets by okay, scaring away those she deems unworthy of living in her home/prison and observing those that she finds acceptable. It’s been a while since Neomi last had house guests and she kind of misses the company, but she’s not entirely sure how she feels about having a ranting, raving madman in her house. Even stranger than his behaviour is the fact that he can see her.

I loved this book so much. Neomi and Conrad were beautiful together. The fact that Conrad was able to see Neomi but not actually touch her took the sexual tension to a whole new level. It also gave them the chance to get know each other before the hopped into bed together. But beyond the romance between Neomi and Conrad was the fact that we got to see a whole bunch of my other favourite characters. We got see see Mariketa and Bowen, and a couple of the Valkyrie and even the demon brothers, Cade and Rydstrom. Shiver me timbers, those guys are smoking!

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge has been my favourite book in this series by far and I am so looking forward to Dark Desires After Dusk. It’s Cade’s book, and I’m dying to see more of the sexy demon brothers. You can buy this book over at Amazon. It’s the teeniest bit cheaper there.

In the Company of Shadows: Evenfall

Evenfall

Evenfall

Years after the bombs of WWIII have changed the physical and political landscape, the Agency ruthlessly works behind the scenes to take down rebel groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means. Hsin Liu Vega (Sin) is their most efficient and deadly assassin ever. However, he tends to go off on unauthorized killing sprees and somehow his assigned partners all end up dead under suspicious circumstances. That is why the Agency has had him locked up in a box on the fourth floor for years. But now they think it is time to put the psychopath back in the field. With a new partner.

Boyd’s mother, a high ranking Agency official, volunteers her teenage son for the position. Boyd is not afraid of death. In fact, his life has been such an endless cycle of apathy and despair for the last few years that he’d welcome it. 

Can these two broken men form an efficient partnership? Can they learn to trust anyone, let alone each other? Sin doesn’t give a fuck about the Agency, or the androgynous boy who holds the remote to the shock collar that is supposed to control him.

On the other hand, Boyd is strangely unafraid of the man everyone calls “monster” and Sin seems reluctant to let his keeper get himself killed on any mission. Yet.

Have you ever read a book where, a couple of chapters in, you question the wisdom of having started it at all? Not because it’s bad but because it is so good. Almost too good. Like your brain has just been kicked in the metaphorical face, solar plexus and nuts all at the same time. Ever had that feeling? Because I was assaulted by that feeling every time I picked up my Kindle and started reading.

Sin and Boyd are the most interesting characters I’ve read in a long time. Individually and as a team, these two were riveting. They’re both so damaged and so sad and they just completely broke my heart. Boyd is just… completely apathetic. His traumatic past has made it so that he honestly doesn’t care if he lives or dies. When he’s given the gig at the Agency, it’s just a means of passing the time until he croaks. He has this huge wall between him and the people surrounding him; very little can inspire any sort of reaction from him. And that is what makes him perfect for the recently opened position at the Agency: the position of being Hsin Liu Vega’s new partner. Sin makes me want to cry. Like, ugly snot-en-trane cry. He has had such a horrible life, with the people who were meant to protect him doing him the most damage. Sin had been trained from an early–and I mean, ridiculously early–age to be an assassin, despite showing signs of mental instability. After his father died, Sin went to the Agency and picked up where his father left off. Instead of showing empathy, Sin’s new colleges treated him like shit and cemented Sin’s decision to never trust anyone. And now he and Boyd are thrown together and expected to work as a team. Needless to say, the beginning was rough. But then things get better. Boyd doesn’t treat Sin like a monster; he treats him like any other guy, albeit someone seriously lacking in the people skills department. Seeing Sin gradually let his guard down, in even the teeniest ways, was just so sweet and so sad. And seeing Boyd let something filter through the barriers he’d put up between himself and the rest of the world just put a lump in my throat. There were parts where I was pretty much wanted to get inside the book and be, like:

  

I’m not going to go into too much detail as to the actual story line. I could spend the whole day telling you about it and still not manage to do it justice. From here on, I’m just going to tell you how this book made me feel. I have always been one of those people who has the tendency to shout at my books. It doesn’t always happen; it’s only when I’m really into what’s happening on the pages. I spent so much time yelling at my Kindle that I honestly think that I was starting to freak my family out a little bit. Seriously, I was rowdy. Shouting in anger because someone was being hateful, or Sin and Boyd’s massive communication issues reared their ugly heads; just about sobbing when something awful happened to Sin or Boyd (which was fucking often, I’ll have you know); giggling when Sin got snarky; and heaving dreamy sighs whenever my boys had a moment where they seemed to get each other. This book was honestly an emotional roller coaster. There were times when I was miserable. Like, how could these evil authors do such horrible things to these two characters I had so quickly come to adore? But, at the same time, I have never been happier to be miserable because of a book.

I think that by now you can tell that I loved this book. A lot. That being said, I do want to warn you of a few things. Firstly, you will not like me if you decide to take my advice and give this book a go. I currently sort of, but not really, loathe the people who recommended this book to me because I had not planned on spending my December holiday as an emotional wreck. Next, you can probably tell that this book is not what you’d call “light and fluffy”. If you are looking for candy floss, you might want to keep on looking. I’m not saying that this book won’t totally grab you if you start, but it is a little on the heavy side. Thirdly, it might take you a while to finish reading. Not as long as it’s taken me (two bloody weeks!) but at 1400 pages, it’ll probably consume quite a bit of your time. So do yourself a favour and wait until you’ve finished up with any deadlines or whatever.

However, even with all these warnings in place, I can honestly not think of a better way for anyone to spend their time. Evenfall was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever been so invested in characters and their development before. And I realise I’m droning on so I’m going to go now before I make you gag. 

You can download the entire series for free right here.

McCabe: Seduction of a Highland Lass

Seduction of a Highland Lass

Seduction of a Highland Lass

Fiercely loyal to his older brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now, he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires, to the test.

An outcast from her own clan, Keely McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice. Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

I have to admit, this series has come as something of a surprise. I looked at the cover and I read the blurb–for this book and In Bed with a Highlander–and was a little hesitant. As you know, I loved In Bed with a Highlander. But it’s been a while so I once again found myself judging a book by its cover. And once again, I was completely blown away.

Alaric is the middle McCabe brother. He’s not as serious as Ewan and not as grouchy and brooding as Caelen. He’s the nice brother. This isn’t to say that he’s any kind of slouch in the sexy badass department. His loyal to his family and his clan is absolute. There is nothing he values more in his life. Which is why, when Laird McDonald put forth the idea of uniting the McCabes and McDonalds through marriage, Alaric stepped up and offered to marry Rionna McDonald. He’s not totally enamoured with Rionna, but… she’ll do. Marrying her will also give Alaric the opportunity to be laird of his own keep, something that will be impossible if he stays with his family. In all, not a bad way for his life to go. But as it turns out, things don’t go exactly to plan. In fact, they go horribly awry with Alaric and his men being attacked in the dead of night. All of his men are killed and Alaric is gravely injured. He hops on his horse in the hopes of getting to safety as soon as possible.

Enter Keely. Keely’s been living on her own for years after being kicked out of her clan. She doesn’t get many visitors aside from those who seek her out for her healing skills. So you can imagine her surprise at seeing this huge ass horse riding up to her cottage and an unconscious man dropping to her feet. Keely’s a little uncertain. Which is smart given that she has no idea who Alaric is or where the hell he came from. But she can’t in good conscience leave him there so she manages to drag him into her cottage and nurses him back to health. Everything goes along swimmingly until the McCabes come to reclaim Alaric and insist on her accompanying them back to their keep. This is where Keely and Alaric are drawn deeper into their attraction to one another. Things are especially difficult for Keely once she realises that not only is he betrothed to another, but that this woman–Rionna– was once her best friend.

I enjoyed this book so very much. Keely and Alaric were wonderful characters. I especially enjoyed Keely. That girl had steel in her spine. She managed to survive after being kicked out of her home for something she didn’t do, she manages to heal the people who come to her for help and, especially impressive, she manages to hold her own with the McCabes. Despite knowing that the guy she loved was going to marry another, Keely had so much dignity. Alaric was… surprisingly sexy. I wasn’t too sure about him from the previous book. It’s not that I didn’t like him, I just wasn’t paying him very much attention. Trust me, all that changed pretty quick; it involved some sexy time featuring some light bondage. It may or may not feature for this week’s Holy Wow Wednesday…

I definitely recommend giving this book a try. Please, I know the blurb and cover are misleading, but this series is so definitely worth your time. You can get it over at Kobo, nice and cheap 😉    

Immortals After Dark: Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night

Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night

A Brutal Highland Werewolf.
An Exquisite Young Witch.
Immortal Enemies… Forbidden Temptations.

Her breathless kiss taunts him.

Bowen MacGrieve of the Lykae was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior became even colder, never taking another to his bed-until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.

His slow, hot touch is irresistible.

Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go. 

No deed is too wicked for her seduction.

If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul-or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

I loved this book. So much. No question about it, Kresley Cole is right up there on my list of favourite authors. This book was so much fun. We have a gruff, sexy alpha male, smoking hot sex, a sassy heroine, smoking hot sex, a bunch of awesome secondary characters, smoking hot sex, an action packed story line, and did I mention the smoking hot sex?? Sorry, I know I sound like a bit of a perv, but the smoking hot sex thing bears repeating. Bowen MacGrieve was a freaking beast.

But before we get to all that hot stuff, we have to start at the beginning, which starts off in No Rest for the Wicked during the Talisman’s Hie. Like most of Ms Cole’s pairings, Mari and Bowen get off to an extremely rocky start. They’re both competitors in the Hie. It has been foretold that Mariketa the Awaited will be the most powerful witch ever born. Except she doesn’t have much control over her powers, so her spells tend to go a little haywire. She’s entered the Hie in an attempt to prove herself to her coven and the rest of the Lore. Bowen has entered the competition in the hopes of securing the end prize, which will allow him to go back in time to save his mate. In his determination, he’s been mowing down his competitors and, unfortunately, it’s not long before Mari gets caught in the cross hairs. Bowen also has a slight issue with Mari that doesn’t stem from the fact that she’s after the same thing Bowen is; Bowen finds himself wildly attracted to her. Feeling disloyal to his long, lost mate, Bowen lashes out at Mari. Luckily, though, Mari is no pushover and she gives as good as she gets. She manages to hit Bowen with a debilitating spell just before he traps her in a cave with a couple of other competitors and a bunch of creepy incubi.

Mari and Bowen’s story really starts after the Hie. Needless to say, Bowen didn’t win and he’s devastated. It’s like he’s lost his mate all over again. And he’s still suffering from the effects of Mari’s spell. After finding out that Mari’s still trapped in the cave, weeks after the Hie ended, Bowen goes off to save her and get her to remove the spell. But it’s a little late. Mari is righteously pissed and Bowen’s lord-of-the-manner attitude isn’t helping matters, either. The rest of the story follows Bowen’s attempts to win Mari over (not an easy thing) and come to terms with the idea that he may have been given another mate or, and this doesn’t sit well with his, the woman he lost all those years ago wasn’t his real mate.

I loved Bowen MacGrieve. I know I’m going on about him, but this guy was insanely hot. Sex on a stick covered in oh-my-dear-sweet-lord sauce. Despite the fact that he could act like a major jackass when he had a minute, he meant well. For the most part. Luckily, though, he wasn’t dealing with the average girl. He was dealing with Mariketa the Awaited, and she was a badass. I loved this chick. She had ooomph. She called him out on his bullshit, and she wasn’t willing to sit around, waiting to be saved. Honestly, if I had to describe Mari in two words, they’d be: Fucking and Awesome.

I’m going to share some of my favourite bits with you. They mostly showcase Mari’s sassiness and Bowen’s overall hotness.

He stood motionless, clearly not about to be directed. “Only humans call me Mr MacGrieve.”
She shrugged. “I’m not a human.” Her mother was a fey druidess and her late father had been a warlock of questionable repute… “So would you like me to call you Bowen, or Bowe for short?”
“Bowe is what my friends call me, so you doona.”
What an ass… “No problem. I have a slew of other more fitting names for you. Most of them end in
 er.”

And later…

After a few moments he said, “Doona fret, witch. You’re no’ so unbecoming from my angle. Bit scrawny where it counts, but no’ too bad.”
Yep, ogling. Many adjectives could be used to describe her ass but scrawny was not among them. He’s just making these comments and brushing up against you to unnerve you. Knowing that didn’t make his efforts any less effective! “Scrawny where it counts, MacGrieve? Funny, I’d heard the same about you.”

Right towards the end, Mari’s BFF hears Bowen’s voice over the phone. Her response is this: 

“Oh, great Hekate, is that his voice?” Carrow cried. “I just had an orgasm! Fudge your name tag if you have to, but you get some of that some-some.”

In short, Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night was another excellent installment in what already appears to me to be an amazing series. You can buy it from Sony’s ebook store.

Highland Pleasures: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family-rich, powerful, eccentric, dangerous. A lady couldn’t be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them-of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz. 

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He’s also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama-an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

Just a quick heads up on this one: I will be making squeaky fangirl-like noises with this book. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is without a doubt the best historical I have ever read. The chemistry between the main characters was off the charts, I adored the peripheral characters, and I emitted so many dreamy sighs that eventually people started looking at me funny. And you know what? I didn’t even care.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is the first book in the Highland Pleasures series and follows the mysterious Mackenzie brothers. The first book-surprise, surprise-is about Ian Mackenzie, the youngest brother. Ian is a little bit… strange. Actually, I think the best way to describe his personality would be to compare him to Sheldon Cooper: he has a brilliant mind but his people skills are a little iffy. But unlike Sheldon, Ian has a sex drive. And is totally, ridiculously hot. And tears you between wanting to give him a hug and jump his bones… Moving swiftly on, Ian had a really rough childhood. Being a little boy genius during that time was not easy, and his father was convinced that Ian was insane. As a result, he threw Ian into an asylum where he was subjected to horrific “scientific” procedures designed to make him act “normal”. Thankfully, as soon as the old bastard died, Ian’s older brothers got him the hell out of there. The closeness between the Mackenzie brothers was one of the many aspects of this book that I loved. They could argue and brawl with the best of them, but they would cheerfully ax murder anyone who threatened one of their brothers. Now, I’ve spoken a lot about Ian so let me move on to Beth. This woman was chock full of awesome. She was so patient with Ian. She never got irritated when he stopped listening to her or when he got distracted by something else. She didn’t give a continental damn what other people said about him. She looked beyond all the things that would have put other women off, and she found an utter gem. She is my favourite heroine out of any historical that I’ve read, and probably in my top twenty heroines in general.

I was actually disappointed when I finished with with this book. I mean, normally you read a book and you enjoy it. You’ll laugh and sigh and grumble, and then you’ll move on to the next book where you’ll do the same thing. And that’s fine. But with this book, I felt it. There were scenes where I could almost literally feel my heart wrench. And no, I’m not exaggerating. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie was that good.

I think I’m going to stop here. I’m actually finding it a little hard to write this; I don’t think I’m quite doing this book the justice it deserves. Just trust me and go read it. You will definitely not regret it. The cheapest place to get it right now is over at Kobo.

Cut & Run: Touch & Geaux

Touch & Geaux

Touch & Geaux

After having their faces plastered across the news during a high-profile case, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have become more useful to the Bureau posing for photo ops than working undercover. Just as Zane is beginning to consider retirement a viable option, Ty receives a distress call from a friend, leading them to a city rife with echoes from the past.

New Orleans wears its history on its streets, and it’s one place Ty’s face could get him killed. Surrounded by trouble as soon as they land, Ty and Zane are swiftly confronted by a past Ty can’t hide-one with a surprising connection to Zane’s.

As threats close in from all directions, both men must come to terms with the lives they’ve led and the lies they’ve told. They soon discover that not all their secrets are out yet, and nothing lasts forever.

I was on Abigail Roux’s website a long while ago, just before Touch & Geaux was released. I don’t remember what the situation was exactly, but it had come out that a fan had sent Abi a message saying that she loved the series so much she was going to stop at Stars & Stripes. Or something to that effect. And I thought, what an odd duck. As it turns out, this person was actually a smart duck. A very smart duck, indeed. I cannot remember the last time a book made me so miserable! In all fairness, we’d been warned that Touch & Geaux was going to be rough but nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for the anguish I experienced at the hands of this book.

ust a quick warning: there will be spoilers from here on out. Not little spoilers; big ones. If you haven’t gotten to Touch & Geaux yet and want to remain blissfully ignorant, you need to look away now. 

The story starts off well, with Ty and Zane still in their happy place. They’re boss is making their lives uncomfortable (he’s the boss, so why not?) but besides that the boys have nothing to worry about. And then Nick O’-fucking-Flaherty calls Ty. He tells Ty that he’s in New Orleans and that he’s been arrested for murder. Ty, being the loyal guy that he is, hops on the earliest plane, with Zane in tow, to go help his friend, even though he knows that being seen in New Orleans could spell big trouble for him. Ty and Zane arrive in New Orleans being all, “Where’s the fire?” and it turns out that it was just a hoax. It was the Sidewinder boys’ way of getting Ty to travel to New Orleans so that they could celebrate the fallen Elias Sanchez’s birthday. I’m still irrationally angry with Nick about this. Obviously, there’s no way he could have predicted what was going to happen, but still. Ty’s a little annoyed but he gets over it pretty quickly, and it looks like things are going to be fine. Ha! All that is is Abi lulling you into a false sense of security before she kicks you in the face. We get introduced to a new character, Liam Bell, who a lot of people seemed to find charming. I was not one of those people. The shit starts hitting the fan as soon as that smarmy fucker (excuse my language, but I feel strongly about this) shows up on the scene. In all fairness, it’s not entirely his fault but I found his… glee at the turmoil between Ty and Zane infuriating, to say the least.

Anyhow, things rapidly go from bad to worse, and then they get even freaking worse. Ty had to go to hospital, then his cover in New Orleans was just about blown, Liam was threatening Zane, the Miami drug cartel from Zane’s days undercover were after him, and then all these secrets-the ones Ty never wanted to tell-were being force out of him, and it was just awful.

Turns out, Ty was keeping two humongous secrets. The first secret was bad, the second one was worse and the consequences were soul destroying. No, I’m not exaggerating. This book bloody well made me cry, and I’m not a crier. I didn’t know who I felt worse for: Zane, for being lied to about so much for so long, or Ty, for being forced to watch everything he cared about start to crumble. And, all the while, Liam fucking Bell was sitting around smirking. It was just… too much. My parents were genuinely worried and then genuinely annoyed when I told them I was getting this worked up over a bloody book. And, as you can see, nearly five months after Touch & Geaux’s release, I’m still a tad upset.

And, because misery loves company, I’m going to share with you the most gut-wrenching quotes from this book.

Zane gritted his teeth and slammed his palm against the wall. “Tell me the truth or I walk!”
Ty swallowed hard, but it was obvious he was weighing whether or not he should speak.
“You really have to think about it?” Zane shoved away from Ty, unable to tear his eyes away even as the pain twisted in his heart like a knife. “I guess we finally found the one thing more important to you than I am.”
Ty’s face hardened. “You know that’s not true.”
“Fuck you, Ty! I feel like I don’t know a goddamned thing right now!” Zane jabbed his finger toward Ty. “I tell you I’m going to walk and you have to fucking think about it? Just fuck you!”

………………………….

Ty’s grip tightened and he lowered his head. He was holding onto Zane as if he’d fall if he let go. Zane recalled the last time they’d both fallen; Ty’d begged him to trust him, and then thrown him off a building. Literally. And Zane had trusted him, with his life, with his happiness, and finally with his heart.
During all that, though, Ty hadn’t trusted Zane with one simple secret. 

………………………….

“Well forgive me if I don’t believe a goddamn word you say. The only way I hear the truth from you is when someone has a gun to your fucking head. Or mine!”
“Someone did have a gun to your head!” Zane started to get up, but Ty reached out to grab him. He didn’t dare let him turn away, afraid Zane wouldn’t ever turn back again. “After everything we’ve been through, why the hell can’t you believe me?”
“Because you lie.”

………………………….

“Grady, come back,” Zane said quietly.
Ty tore his eyes away from the shimmer and met Zane’s gaze.
“That stuff must have a hell of a punch.”
“Easy to get lost in,” Ty murmured.
“Yes,” Zane said under his breath. His facade cracked, and suddenly he looked devastated. Like he’d given up. “You are.”

………………………….

“I’m sorry, Zane,” he gasped, trying to hold on tight.
Zane pressed his face into Ty’s neck, fighting back a sob. His entire body was trembling.
Ty dug his fingers into Zane’s back, holding him close. He put his lips to Zane’s ear. “I’m so sorry.”
Zane’s shoulders tightened under Ty’s hands. “I would have chosen you over anything,” Zane hissed. He pulled back, breaking Ty’s hold, bunched the front of Ty’s shirt in both hands, and jerked Ty forward until they were nose-to-nose, until Ty’s feet weren’t solidly on the floor. “My job, my family, my
 wife. I would have given my life for you! But you! You can’t even give me the truth!”

………………………….  

I’m done. If anybody needs me, I’m that chick huddled in the corner in a fetal position, crying.

Hell or High Water: Catch a Ghost

Catch a Ghost

Catch a Ghost

Everyone knows that Prophet-former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass-works alone. But his boss at Extreme Escapes, Ltd. has just assigned Proph a new partner and a case haunted by ghosts from Prophet’s past. Suddenly, he has to confront both head-on.

Tom Boudreaux-failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full-time believer in bad luck-is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still, he’s determined to succeed, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE’s most successful. lethal, and annoying operative, on a case that resurrects his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in a dangerous world of underground cage matches while fighting their own dangerous attraction. When they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners must trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts… or pay the price.

I just finished Catch a Ghost by SE Jakes, and I’m not sure what to say about it other than that it was perfection. I am actually a little shell-shocked. This is book one in the Hell or High Water series, and it was just… riveting. Since words are failing me and because I also don’t want to spoil anything, I will sum up my reactions to this book like this:

  1. Upon receiving my email from Riptide saying that I could download my book (I pre-ordered, bitches):  
  2. 1339605827_excited_fanThen just before I started reading:tumblr_m7xtgqguPp1ryfrfko1_500
  3. When I started reading I swung between this:typing-omgto this:tumblr_mqnmzmnxfG1sryr89o1_500to this: cry
  4. By the time I was done, I pretty much looked a little like this:cosby_omg
  5. And by the time 28 October rolls around, I imagine that I’ll look like this:tumblr_ma5lhzX7Oy1rv558io1_400

I know this isn’t much of a review, but I really don’t want to spoil anything. In short, it was amazing. Prophet and Tommy were such interesting, complex, damaged characters and I just wanted to hug them. The story was fast-paced, action-packed and full of humour. The sex scenes were out-of-this-world hot and Prophet and Tommy’s chemistry just leaped off the page.

If you’re a fan of the Cut & Run series, you will devour this series. If you’re into action, romance, and badass guys with tattoos and piercings in interesting places, this book is most definitely for you. You can order Catch a Ghost here and then, after you’ve read it, you can order Long Time Gone over here. I promise, you will not regret it!

Cut & Run: Stars & Stripes

Stars & Stripes

Stars & Stripes

Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have managed the impossible: a few months of peace and quiet. After nearly a year of personal and professional turmoil, they’re living together conflict-free, work is going smoothly, and they’re both happy, healthy, and home every night before dark. But anyone who knows them knows it can’t possibly last,

When an emergency call from home upsets the balance of their carefully arranged world, Ty and Zane must juggle family drama with a perplexing crime to save a helpless victim before time runs out.

From the mountains of West Virginia to a remote Texas horse ranch harboring more than just livestock and childhood memories, Ty and Zane must face their fears-and their families-to overcome an unlikely enemy and bring peace back into their newly shared world.

I wish I could adequately put into words how much I loved this book. Granted, it wasn’t as action-packed or as tense as the previous books, but Ty and Zane were happy and angst-free. And if you’ve been following this series, you will know that this doesn’t happen often. You will also know that the likelihood of it lasting for very long is next to nothing. But while it lasts… it’s beautiful. 

After months of ups and downs, misunderstandings and fits of stubborn jackass-ery, the boys are in a good place. They’re living together and they’ve managed to hide their relationship from their colleagues. Then they each get their respective calls from home. Ty’s family crisis is kinda funny; Zane’s is far more serious. And that’s where the trouble comes in. When Ty and Zane head to West Virginia, things are a little tense. You’ll remember that Zane and Earl did not get off to the best start. However, that isn’t the worst of it: Chester Grady, the astute old coot, just blurts out the fact that Ty and Zane are a couple. Despite being one of my absolute favourite characters in this series, I could have strangled the old guy. The way Abi wrote this scene was just… you could feel Ty’s apprehension and I just wanted to get in the book so I could give him a hug. Everything turned out okay, but still. I was tense. Then, just when it looks like the boys have weathered the storm, the next bombshell drops, this time on Zane. He gets a call from his sister: his father has been shot.

Zane heads down to Texas, sans Ty. I was really happy to meet Zane’s family and get a little more insight into his past. Zane has been extremely tight-lipped about his life before Ty and I really enjoyed seeing how he interacted with the people back home. Plus, Zane the cowboy? So hot. But things are pretty tense, especially with Zane’s mom. Most people hated Beverly, and I’m not going to say that I didn’t want to slap her, but I felt a teensy bit sorry for her. She was so set in her ways and narrow-minded that she bulldozes any common ground she and Zane might have stood on. It made me a little sad. What made me really happy about Zane being in Texas was Ty taking time off work to be with him. It was just so “awww…” worthy. Plus, Texas seemed to make Zane hotter and, as such, made it damn near impossible for Ty to keep his hands of him. As an aside, Stars & Stripes has the hottest sex scene I have ever read. Ever.

There was a mystery element to this book, but it wasn’t as prominent as the rest of the series. The Carter-Garrett Ranch is right next door to a big cat sanctuary, who is missing some of its residents. Needless to say, having tigers and lions and the like going AWOL near a horse ranch is not ideal. And there’s evidence pointing to the fact that someone on the C-G may be involved in the catnappings. While this was pretty entertaining (Ty hates horses so being in the middle of horse country is not making him a happy camper), I was more interested in getting to know Zane’s family. Harrison, Zane’s dad, and Annie, Zane’s sister, were legend but Beverly was downright unpleasant.

I can’t even say that Stars & Stripes is my favourite book in the series; it’d be like asking a mother to choose her favourite child. But of all the books in the series, this book makes me the happiest. Alas, it is only the calm before the storm…

Here are a few of my favourite bits and pieces from Stars & Stripes:

“I love you,” Ty said out of the blue, his voice almost sing-song.
Zane laughed. “You’re drunk.”
“I loved you before I was drunk.”
…………………..

“Don’t be a smartass.”
“Can’t help it, runs in the family. What happened?”
“Your mother cut my finger off with a pair of garden shears. That’s what happened,” Earl answered, his tone neutral. Although, he did manage to make the word “mother” sound like a curse.
“Did you… deserve it?” Deuce asked shakily. Either he was afraid of asking the question, or he was trying not to laugh. Ty was inclined to think the latter.
“A little bit,” Earl said. “She was out there pruning that big ol’ gardenia bush, and I was trying to get the mulch under it just right as she did it.”
“So, you…”
“She told me to wait, that I was going to lose a finger.” Earl looked toward the kitchen and then back at Ty and Deuce. He snorted. “I asked her, did she think I was stupid? Then a couple snips later, whack. Off went the finger. And you know what that woman said to me? I said, ‘Mara, you cut my finger off.’ And your mother said to me, ‘Well, Earl, who’s stupid now?'”

……………………

…”Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. Gay son? That don’t cost me nothing.”
*Harrison Garrett*

……………………..

Zane tossed the rope, landing it around the saddle horn time and time again. He was trying to teach Ty the proper technique, but Ty wasn’t watching his hands or his posture, or even the rope as it sailed through the air. He was watching Zane’s face.
“You ready to give it a try?” Zane asked, unaware that they had an audience.
“No, show me one more time.”
Zane gave him a tolerant sigh and nodded. Harrison snorted, luckily not loud enough to draw their attention. This Ty Grady had Zane wrapped around his finger. It was almost sweet. And Harrison had rarely seen a man who could go toe to toe with Beverly and come out alive, much less on top and smiling. The more he saw of the man who’d caught his son’s heart, the more he liked him. And the more he saw of his son, the more he realized how close they’d come to losing Zane altogether. Even before his wife had passed, Zane had been a cold and rather distant man. He’d been so much like Beverly. Now, though, there was warmth in Zane that Harrison had never thought he’d see.
It could have been a coincidence that Zane had found new life and Ty at the same time, but Harrison didn’t put much stock in coincidences.  

……………………….

[Ty] looked down at Zane and shook his head. “I want you to put ‘He didn’t want to ride the damn horse’ on my tombstone.”

                                                                                                     ……………………..

 

FBI/US Attorney Series: About That Night

About That Night

About That Night

He’s playing games.

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face-to-face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful assistant US attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.

But she’s making the rules.

Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case-but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants-and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten…

I really do think that this series could quite easily become a favourite of mine. James has this way of writing where she effortlessly combines a fast-paced story line with characters who are hard not to adore and with a sense of humour I can only describe as wicked. I loved every second of this book, and I was almost disappointed when I finished it.

About That Night is book three in the FBI/US Attorney series (I still haven’t found the first one) and it’s Kyle’s book. Once, Kyle Rhodes was known for being the heir of a billionaire dollar company and being a shameless playboy. But all that changed in the space of time it took to compose a single tweet. Now, he’s known universally as the Twitter Terrorist and he’s finding it hard to shake that label. Still, it isn’t for lack of trying. He reverts, to a large extent, back to his habit of partying and womanising, but his heart just isn’t in it. But Kyle’s days of going through the motions grind to a screeching halt when he runs into someone he never thought he’d see again.

Rylann Pierce, assistant US attorney, is one tough cookie. She’s new to Chicago, having just moved there after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. Rylann is a woman with a plan (for, quite literally, everything) and she doesn’t take shit from anyone. Nothing ruffles this lady’s feathers… until she bumps into Kyle Rhodes in the courtroom during his release proceeding. Needless to say, neither one was expecting to see the other.    

After Kyle’s release, he’s adamant that the US Attorney’s office can kiss his shapely behind. They are getting exactly nothing from him. Well, in theory, anyway. But when Rylann comes over asking him for help, Kyle finds it a little hard to say no. Not that he has any interest in helping the US Attorney’s office, but Rylann… something’s still there and he’s quite keen on exploring it.

Honest to God, these two were adorable. I loved Kyle from A Lot Like Love, so I was itching to read his story and Ms James did not disappoint. Rylann was fierce and Kyle was funny, and together they were just perfection. Contemporary romance isn’t typically my thing, but Ms James is truly making a believer out of me.

I have to share this little snippet with you. Rylann and her best friend, Rae, went out to celebrate their win in the courtroom and have gone to the opening of a new club. Unfortunately, their lack of a certain male appendage means they’re being ignored by the female bartender.

Once again, Rylann tried to catch the eye of the female bartender working Firelight’s main bar. “One of the few times I’ve ever wished for a penis,” she said to Rae when the bartender stepped up to take the order from yet another male customer. They’d been waiting to be served for over twenty minutes. She’d even worn the red magic boob dress, but unfortunately its mojo offered no help in this particular situation.
“You haven’t had sex in six months,” Rae said. “If I were you, I’d be wishing for penises every night.”

Go on, read that without laughing. You can’t do it, can you? The rest of the book follows in pretty much the same fashion. Definitely worth a read if you’re looking for a cute, sexy contemporary.

Cut & Run: Armed & Dangerous

Armed & Dangerous

Armed & Dangerous

Left alone in Baltimore after his unpredictable lover bails, Special Agent Zane Garrett takes his frustration out on everything in his path until he is ordered to Chicago to backup an undercover operative. When he gets there, though, he finds himself face to face with his wayward partner, Special Agent Ty Grady. They have to deal with the uncertainly lingering between them while they work to retrieve their intended mark, a retired hit man and a CIA wet-works operative named Julian Cross.

Ty, once a Marine and now an FBI hotshot, has a penchant for being unpredictable, a trait Zane can vouch for. Zane is a man who once lived for his job but has come to realize his heartbreaking past doesn’t have to overshadow his future. They’re partners, friends, lovers, and the go-to team for unusual cases. With Cross and his innocuous boyfriend, Cameron Jacobs, in tow, Ty and Zane must navigate the obstacles of a cross-country trek, including TSA pat-downs, blizzards, their uncooperative prisoners. CIA kill teams, a desperate lack of sleep and caffeine, and each other. Ty and Zane are determined to get Julian Cross to DC in one piece, but it’s starting to look like the last thing they do. 

I was so very extremely glad that by the time I discovered the Cut & Run series, Armed & Dangerous was already out. Because the way Divide & Conquer ended damn near sent me into a panic. To those of you who followed the series earlier on and had to wait for Armed & Dangerous, I have the utmost respect for you. I would have had a breakdown. I mean, seriously, how can you end a book like this?

I’m sorry. Walls are closing in and I need to go.
Love you.

Really? I ran-and let me tell you, there isn’t much that will inspire me to run- to the computer so I could download this book. And it was so totally worth it. I know some people may be a little worried to see that Roux was writing this one on her own but, in all honesty, I couldn’t really tell. The series carries on in pretty much the same way as it has in the previous four books.

Armed & Dangerous picks up right where Divide & Conquer ended. Zane has just found Ty’s note and we’re all just sitting there like, “Noooooooooooooo!” Thankfully, Ty calls and clarifies that this isn’t a note to say things are over. Cue the sighs of relief. Despite the huge weight off of Zane’s chest he’s still pretty pissed, and he continues to be pissed in days after finding Ty’s note and hearing his explanation. Until he gets a phone call from FBI top boss, Richard Burns, telling him that he’s needed in Chicago to provide backup for an unknown undercover agent. Turns out… that agent is none other than the flighty, irresistible Ty Grady. Kinda saw that coming, but whatever. Their mission? To find a former CIA hit man and deliver him to the FBI’s DC headquarters. Cross apparently has some information that can put some very high ranking CIA officials in jail for using agency assets to carry out private hits. Seems like a simple enough assignment except… Julian Cross has no intention of going anywhere near that particular shit storm and wants the FBI and CIA to leave him the hell alone. Ty and Zane’s job is made even more difficult when they’re forced to drag Julian’s clueless boyfriend, Cameron Jacobs, along. The trip from Chicago back to DC can only be described as harrowing. From Julian and Cameron’s repeated attempts at escape to unfortunate encounters with the TSA, from running away from CIA agents determined to keep Cross out of DC to having to contend with spectacularly shitty weather, Ty and Zane must have been beginning to suspect that God hates them, And then, there are the issues between them. Granted, Zane finally pulled his head out of his ass and admitted to Ty that he loved him, but now they’re on a case where they can’t really explore what that means. They’ve gotten pretty good at hiding their relationship from the world, but now it’s starting to wear on them.

Julian and Cameron are characters from an earlier book by Roux and Urban called Warrior’s Cross and, to be honest, I haven’t read it yet. It’s sitting in my Kindle and I just haven’t gotten there. But I mostly enjoyed their characters, although maybe I would have connected with them more had I read their book. I found Cameron a little… preachy, but I really liked Julian. As for Ty and Zane? Well, they pretty much broke my heart which is par for the course for this series. Their reunion after Ty left was just so sweet. And how, after keeping their emotions all bottled up for the past few weeks, they can finally admit that they love each other without worrying that the other’s head will explode. Every time they did, I just sort of broke out in this big happy smile.

Here are a few of my favourite bits and pieces:

“What the hell does Burns want now? You’re supposed to be on wellness leave.”
Ty didn’t answer for a long time, long enough that Zane checked the display on his phone to make sure the call was still connected. Then he heard Ty huff. “God, I love it when you’re cranky like this. Promise to still be pissed when I get home, okay?”
“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”
                                                                                               ………………

“Ty,” Zane said between kisses, his hands firm on Ty’s body. “Be mine, just for now. There’s time.”
Ty reached for Zane’s face, meeting his eyes. “I was always yours,” he said with difficulty.
Zane pressed his fingertips to Ty’s lips. “Why?”
Ty shook his head, searching for the answer. His chest tightened and breathing became difficult, but he landed on the words he needed. He met Zane’s dark eyes and realized he was feeling light-headed as he answered. “Because… you make me the kind of person I’ve always wished I was.”
Zane was silent, his gaze tracing over Ty’s face. Ty held his breath until Zane spoke. “I’ve always wanted you just like you are. As much as you infuriate me, you’re who I want.”
………………. 

“I thought you were going to kill him back there.”
Ty turned to face him. “Next time I will,” he said, his voice cold and determined.
A shiver ran down Zane’s spine, and he had to admit, a part of him liked it. “What is it about him that gets you so riled?”
“It’s not him, Zane. It’s you.”
“Me? What’d I do?”
“He is a threat to both of us. You’ve seen what he’s capable of, and I have to tell you, I don’t think he’s trying yet. I think he’s just a fucking raptor testing the fences. When I look at him, I see him hurting you.”
……………….

Actually, I’m going to stop right here or I’ll end up quoting the whole damn book. In short, Armed & Dangerous was amazing. Pretty much like the rest of the series and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon…

Cut & Run: Divide & Conquer

Divide & Conquer

Divide & Conquer

Baltimore, Maryland, is a city in alarming distress. Rising violence is fanning the flames of public outrage, and all law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are catching blame. Thus the FBI’s latest ideas to improve public relations: a municipal softball league and workshops for community leaders. But the new commitments mean more time Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have to spend apart when they’re happily exploring how to be more than by-the-book partners.

Then the latest spate of crime explodes in their faces-literally-throwing the city, the Bureau, and Ty and Zane’s volatile partnership both in and out of the office into chaos. They’re hip-deep in trouble, trying to track down bombers and bank robbers in the dark with very few clues, and the only way to reach the light at the end of the tunnel together requires Ty and Zane to close their eyes and trust each other to the fiery end.

If there was ever, God forbid, a fire in my house I do believe that off all the books on my shelf, I’d save the Cut & Run series first. I have become so emotionally attached to Ty and Zane that it’s not even funny. They’re not just fictional characters any more; they’re actual people. But before my imminent trip to the loony bin, let me tell you about this installment in what has become my most favouritist series ever.

Ty and Zane are in a pretty good place right now. Despite Ty dropping the L-Bomb, there’s been minimal awkwardness and their relationship has reached the stage where they’re comfortable with each other. But this being Ty and Zane, this happy phase in their lives can’t last. True to form, something goes horribly wrong; in this case a spate of bombings and bank robberies.  Law enforcement is being accused of not doing enough to keep the city safe, and the subsequent PR nightmare is giving the authorities grey hair. Ty and Zane find themselves in the middle of the chaos when there’s a bomb scare at the local aquarium. Instead of the romantic evening in the boys had planned, they find themselves  responding to the call. After arriving in a fairly dramatic fashion, Ty and Zane become the centre of the media’s attention. Needless to say, this is the last thing Ty and Zane want or need. They just want to be able to do their jobs and be together. Alas, the fates (aka Roux and Urban) seem to take some sadistic pleasure in making the boys’ lives difficult. Becoming the media’s darlings has meant added responsibilities for both Ty and Zane, which also means less time for them to be together. Then things get worse. So much worse. The ringleader of the bombers/bank robbers becomes fixated with Ty, making him a target. While dealing with yet another bomb, Zane gets caught in an exploding building and subsequently loses his vision. Then, and then, as if all this weren’t bad enough, Team Sidewinder shows up for a visit.

I loved this book so much. There were so many ups and downs and tugs at your heartstrings and kicks in the stomach and fires lit in your pants… there was just so much. I love how Ty and Zane’s relationship keeps on developing. They’ve yet to reach a point where I felt that things were dragging or that their relationship is stagnant. But, even though I love Zane, I did want to kick him. Hard. The issues Zane had with telling Ty that he loves him frustrated me. I know this hesitancy was true to Zane’s character and his tendency to overanalyse things is a part of who Zane is. But it still annoyed me. Another thing that totally got my goat was Nick O’Flaherty. I forgave him for it-eventually-but at the time I was furious. There was much shouting and swearing on my part, fueling my family’s insistence that I need to get out more.

In all, this book was pretty much just like the previous three: it was funny, heart wrenching, hot as hell, action-packed, and just plain awesome. And now I will share some more awesomeness with you.

Zane let the momentary annoyance fade into the background. They could bitch about work later. “Sure you still want dessert before dinner?”
“You’re not dessert, Zane. You’re the main course,” Ty informed him in a husky drawl. And you have about five seconds to take your pick of flat surface before I do it for you.”
………………..

Ty reached out and patted Zane’s knee, letting his hand rest there as he finally forced himself to look up and meet Zane’s eyes. “Thank you for believing me today,” he said roughly. “No one else did.”
“I trust you,” Zane said simply.

This is one of my favourite scenes in this book. It involves a slighly jealous, possessive Ty. Makes the knees a little weak.

Zane’s gut clenched; hearing and feeling Ty this worked up was a hell of a turn-on. And the fact that it was because Ty was feeling possessive…Zane’s head spun with delight, and he tried to give as good as he got. Ty pulled back from him just long enough to shuck his suit jacket and yank his shirt and undershirt over his head. Zane could feel the bare skin under his fingertips, soft and warm, shifting over muscles he could trace with his eyes closed. Then Ty was on him again, hands all over him as he tugged and yanked at Zane’s clothing, biting at his lips and his chin and his neck, sucking on his earlobe and growling, “You’re mine. Jersey Shore can get his own.”