L.K. Shaw is the bestselling author of sexy, sinful suspense. She resides in South Carolina with her high maintenance beagle mix dog, Miss P. An avid reader since childhood, she became hooked on historical romance novels in high school. She now reads, and loves, all romance sub-genres, with dark romance and romantic suspense being her favorite. Her books feature hot alpha heroes and the strong women they love. L.K. describes herself as a world traveler, chocolate lover, and perpetual procrastinator.
The moment he divorced his ex-wife, Jeremiah decided two things.
One, he would never, ever get into that kind of situation again—i.e., marriage.
Two, he would spend more time doing what he loved—baking, riding motorcycles, spending time with the Battle Crows MC, and getting some quiet time for just himself. Pretty much doing the things he enjoyed, that his ex-wife could no longer ruin.
And, months after his divorce was final, he’s held strong.
He hasn’t gotten entangled with a woman. He’s opened his own bakery. And he’s never been closer to his club.
It has to be why he allowed them to have a massive club party at his place, which became the cause of Gracelynn Barry entering his life.
If he’d known Gracie was going to be his employee, he definitely wouldn’t have slept with her.
Yet, there he is, in the middle of an interview, finding out not only was the woman he slept with the most viable applicant for a job he very much needed filled, but that she’d recently broken up with the man he loathed. The second reason he’d divorced his ex-wife. Erich. His ex-stepson.
To say life is simple for Jeremiah would be a joke of epic proportions.
Wow! And I mean… WOW! Lani Lynn Vale really brought it with this one!
Lots of drama and action, but those last few chapters really hit me hard. Talk about thrills and chills. I loved all the sweet moments between Jeremiah and Gracelynn. Wanted to kick Jeremiah in the balls over one incident, but thankfully he pulled his head out of his @ss. Lots of ups and downs that kept me guessing and needing to find out what happened next.
Very well written! Loved every second of it!
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC and am leaving a voluntary review. The review above is only my opinion.
In the aftermath of the Big Crash, the President of the United States declares martial law. The National Guard rounds up citizens who are never heard from again. While fear and chaos reign, a small band of revolutionaries rise up to resist.
Lacy Monroe, barely out of high school, never saw herself as a leader. All that changed after the Big Crash. When the rest of her family fled, she remained on the farm, the last piece of land in the state holding out against the hostile government. Alone and vulnerable, she endures a horrific attack, yet survives and offers sanctuary to others like herself—until an old friend turns her world upside-down.
Jace Cooper has harbored a secret for years—he is completely in love with his best friend’s sister. The world is crumbling around them, no one knows how long they will survive, and all he wants is to protect Lacy and stay with her.
With the National Guard circling ever closer, hunger and sickness taking a toll, and betrayal and jealousy threatening to destroy the group from the inside, the struggle to hold onto the farm pushes them to the brink. And Lacy is keeping a secret so devastating it could drive Jace to unthinkable actions. Is the farm a safe asylum—or will the fight for freedom destroy them?
“This tattoo on your back.” She ran a finger down his spine. He shivered.
“Why do you have it? I mean, what made you get a wolf-dragon tattoo? It’s unique.”
“Do you want the short answer or the long one?” She trailed her finger back up his spine. “Just tell me what was on your mind. Did you design it?”
“Yeah, I did,” he said, his voice husky. Her fingers kept tracking his spine and he found concentration difficult. “I’ve always been fascinated with dragons. The
symbolism behind the myth. I love everything about them. But the dragon needs
temperance. With great power comes arrogance, conceit, and a thirst for even
more power.” He chuckled and glanced at her.
“Just about everything you’ve accused me of.”
Her hand stilled. “Jace, I—”
“It’s okay,” he reassured her, giving her leg a squeeze. “Don’t feel bad.”
“Go on,” she urged.
He continued to tread water. “Well, the dragon holds immense possibility while the wolf relies on his instincts to guide him. Combined, the dragon sees all the
possibilities before him, but the wolf chooses based on instinct. His heart
guides him. It’s a balance. The dragon embodies primordial power. The wolf
checks it with his ability to relate to others. The wolf takes on everything
the dragon is—his protection, loyalty, fearlessness, and strength—and enhances
it, makes it stronger. The two combined incorporate everything I want to be.
The tattoo is a reminder. Especially when I’m having a bad day.”
She laughed. “Or when someone accuses you of being conceited?”
“Pretty much,” he admitted. “Do you like it?”
“I do. You said you designed it. Does that mean you drew this?”
“Yeah. I knew what I wanted.”
“Wow.” She sounded impressed. “I had no idea you could draw. You’re talented.”
He grinned. “Girl, you have no idea just how talented I am.”
“And the dragon rises.”
Laughter burst from his chest. “Touché.”
A red-eared slider swam their direction. “Look.” He pointed at the turtle’s nose jutting out of the water.
Her grip around his neck tightened. “Let’s go back.”
“He won’t hurt you,” he said, laughing, but swam back anyway. He helped her out then hoisted himself on the dock beside her. He retrieved his shirt and offered
it to her. “Dry off with this.”
She took the shirt and mopped her face. “Pond water is so gross, but that was fun.” She gave him a demure smile. “Thanks. I needed that.”
He spent the rest of the day making her laugh. Being her distraction. But as the
afternoon waned, so did her spirits. She shifted from cheerful to pensive. The
temperature dropped as the western sun burned to the ground. “I guess we’d
better get back.”
She sighed. “Yup. Duty calls.”
They untied their horses and started back. When Highway 11 stretched before them like a winding, black snake, he trotted up beside her and grinned. “I saw the
girl I used to know today.”
They crossed the highway onto Monroe land then she turned and faced him, eyes full of pain and regret. “That girl is gone, Jace. She doesn’t exist anymore. If
that’s who you’re looking for then give up because you’re wasting your time.”
She gave Acer a nudge and galloped away. Frustrated, he urged his horse
forward. She wasn’t going to run. Not this time. He raced beside her and
grabbed her reins.
Eight hooves skidded on dirt and loose gravel and halted in a dusty cloud between the two farmhouses. His horse whinnied, tossing her head. She jerked her reins out of his hands. “That was a stupid thing to do,” she shouted. “I could’ve been
thrown!” Chest heaving, he jumped off his horse. His boots thudded on the
gravel. He stomped around Acer, trying to check his frustration. The girl was
scared, and he didn’t want to demolish the progress he made today. He reached
up and plucked her out of the saddle. “Stop running from me, girl.” He studied
her and saw her demeanor shift from anger to fear. “I’m not going to hurt you.
If you’d crawl out of your pain long enough, you’d see that.” She flung her
hands up, eyes glistening.
“You don’t think I’m trying? I’m drowning trying to save everyone else, but
who’s gonna save me?” She bit her lower lip and looked away. He drew her into
his arms and to his surprise, she didn’t fight him. He rested his chin on her
head and whispered, “Hold on to me. I’ve got you.”
Creating Character: Breathing Life into the Cast of Asylum
If you remove characters from a story, any story, all you’re left with is a news report, right?So, characters, even though they’re metaphors, should feel, act, and speak like people. If you plucked your characters out of your book and Geppetto’d them into real, living beings, would they withstand the test? Or would they fall short as too perfect? Or too flat? No one is princess perfect just as no one, not even the most obtuse person you know, is two dimensional.
First impressions. What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone? Unfortunately, for most of us, it’s their physical appearance. When readers meet characters in a story, they must be able to “see” what they look like. I read a novel recently, and the author never clued me in on what eye color the main character had. For me, that was super annoying. Seasoned authors will tell you to character sketch and that’s one of the first things I had to sit down and do. I mentioned eyes, and for me personally, that’s a big deal. I tend to focus on eye color (for better or worse). You have three basic colors to choose from: blue, green, brown, and their variants. It’s how you describe the color and what shines through them that will help bring your character off the page. My main character, Lacy, had green eyes, but what about them? In Jace’s point of view, he described the color changing with her mood from a thoughtful forest green to glittering diamond hard. Conversely, Jace had blue eyes, but not the light, ice blue of Zach, his brother. They were dark, sometimes with a humorous spark, and other times darkened with desire. In moments your characters can’t speak, their eyes can. Any character can have green, blue, or brown eyes. Breathe life into them. Otherwise, you’re left with a main character’s eyes the same boring brown as your supporting cast.
Give your characters flaws. This was hard for me to do. Even though I wanted Lacy, my main character, to react to diverse, difficult situations with unerring grace, I realized she couldn’t. I let her make mistakes: lose her temper with Jace, treat Hailey harshly, yell at Cat. I placed her in unthinkable circumstances. Of course, she was going to fail! Why? Because that’s what people do. How they handle and grow from their failures shows the reader of whatmettle your character’s made. Crawl through their head for their reactions. At the beginning of Asylum, Lacy suffered a brutal attack. As her rapist was leaving, I felt I had to show how absolutely devastated and angry she was. I can’t tell you how many times I re-wrote the scene until she uttered two words to himthat summed up everything she felt. As an author, I’m never happy using vulgar language, but at that point in Lacy’s life, those two words were exactly what she would’ve said. Even though I fought her (and myself), I eventually conceded they were the best two words to write.
Character vernacular; keep it real! If it sounds stiff and too formal as you read it back to yourself, it probably is. I had to go back and edit in contractions, and even use words like, y’all. Two of my characters needed their speech to set them apart. Raul, born and raised in Mexico, needed to sound different. Think about how a foreigner doesn’t contract their words. They say things like, “I do not understand,” instead of,“I don’t get it.” Edwards, an older gentleman and from a different era, used words like fella instead of guy or man. Set your characters apart by what they say, how they sound. Otherwise, you’re back to a news report.
Oh, the feels… Showing my character’s emotion instead of tellingabout it was what I struggled with the most. Those dang adverbs ending in ‘ly’ tripped me up more times than I can count. Don’t underestimate the power of movement. Show your character’s frustration by pacing, running a hand through their hair, heat rising up their neck, etc. In Asylum, I wrote, “Her feet slammed against the wood floor. Her socks softened the impact, and much to her disappointment, muted the sound.” This showed Lacy’s frustration. It took a lot of work to edit in how Lacy felt by her actions. Your character’s differing personalities will show through their actions. In Hailey’s case, she showed how she felt by simply sniffing. I didn’t have to say she was too haughty to do menial household chores to convey her personality. I wrote, “She sniffed. ‘I don’t plunge toilets.’” Can you see it? I can.
Do you know someone who’s eccentric? We all do. Don’t be afraid to give your character a quirk or two. Cat entered Lacy’s life and quickly became her surrogate mother. Even though Cat wasn’t a main character, I wanted her to stand out as no-nonsense, and a bit audacious. She kept the farm running and everyone in line with nonsensical metaphors. One of my favorite examples is when she chastised Jace for picking a fight with Travis. She said, “Travis didn’t have anything to do with what happened to Lacy and you know it. I’ll admit, sometimes he has no more sense than a snake in a snowstorm …” Memorable, right? I mean, who wants to be compared to a snake in a snowstorm?
Breathe life into your characters. You’re omniscient, the master of your own universe. Whether your story is plot driven, or character driven, you need strong characters that will live inside the readers mind long after they’ve finished the book.
About the Author:
Susy Smith has a bachelor’s degree in English and is a language teacher for the Kanza Tribe. Her debut novel, Asylum, won the 2020 WriterCon contest in the novel category. She loves creating a home on paper for the characters in her head and dabbling in poetry. She lives in a small Oklahoma town with her husband, four grown children nearby, and two spoiled dog-children.
When the ruthless magician Madrin dies, opportunists seek revenge for his cruelty. They kidnap his daughters, meaning to sell them into sexual slavery at a brutal club for sadistic, wealthy men. Lady Harri Madrin manages to escape before the doors close behind them and vows to rescue her sister, Morgan.
Gareth Lamb, the handsome son of a local merchant, finds Harri and hides her from her furious pursuers. When she begs him to help rescue her sister, he agrees. They decide to pretend she is his concubine so they can gain entry to the club to search for Morgan.
The master-slave charade forces them into sizzling erotic encounters. Soon, they fall in love, but Gareth knows he could never aspire to marriage with the high-born Lady Harri.
Though Harri’s magical abilities give them an edge, they’re badly outnumbered by the slavers. Even if they manage to rescue Morgan, will Gareth’s disapproving father disown him if they declare their love and attempt to marry?
Harri Madrin woke in her narrow bed in the dark hours of the night. For a moment she thought she might be dreaming — until she realized there was some sort of disturbance in the convent, something she had never heard in this place of tranquility.
With moonlight streaming through the narrow window, she slipped across the stone floor of the small chamber to where her sister still slumbered. “Morgan, wake up. Something bad is happening.”
Her younger sister’s eyes blinked open as the sound of rough male voices came closer. Men in the convent? Never, unless there was some task that the vestals could not accomplish on their own. And never at night.
Sister Matilda rushed into the room. “Hurry, you must hide! They are after you.” She had always been kind to them, and now her wrinkled face was full of fear.
“For revenge. Your father is dead.”
Harri felt nothing for her sire besides a flood of relief. In all her eighteen years, she had feared her father, the magician, Madrin. Now he would no longer rail at her for being born the wrong sex — and for not inheriting any of his powers. Or so he thought. He was incorrect about the latter, but she had kept that knowledge from him, unwilling to give him the satisfaction of her talent. It was the same for her sister, Morgan.
“You must hide before they find you.” Sister Matilda urged.
“Come with me,” she pleaded.
“We must dress,” Morgan protested.
“No time.” The elderly vestal ushered them out of their room. The stone floor was cold on their bare feet as they followed the sister to a small chapel. She led them up the aisle to the front of the room, then removed two candlesticks and opened the top of the altar where they saw a deep cavity under the horizontal surface.
“In with you.”
The girls climbed into the box, curling on their sides and scrunching down to fit into the space.
“I will come back for you when it’s safe,” Sister Matilda promised before lowering the lid. The sound of metal hitting wood told Harri she had replaced the candlesticks.
Harri moved in the cramped space, trying to get comfortable. She froze when a rough male voice demanded, “What have you done with them?”
“You’re lying, you old bitch.”
“You dare such sacrilege?”
“You are no better than Madrin, sheltering his demon’s spawn.”
The words were followed by the sound of a hand slapping against flesh. Sister Matilda cried out in pain.
“Where are they?”
There was no answer, but Harri heard something hitting the floor. She crammed her fist against her mouth as she struggled not to scream.
Outside in the chapel, a whirlwind of destruction erupted — heavy pews being tossed about, glass breaking. And then silence.
Harri trembled in their hiding place, and she could feel her sister’s similar vibrations.
Footsteps approached the altar, and she struggled to keep her teeth from chattering. A sweeping noise sent the candlesticks clattering to the stones. The top creaked up, and Harri cringed away.
“And what have we here?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling Author Rebecca York began her career as a journalist writing articles for newspapers and magazines, but after several years decided to try writing fiction. She’s a highly successful author of over 50 romantic suspense and paranormal novels and is the head of the Columbia Writers Workshop. Her many awards include two Rita finalist books. She has two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times: for Series Romantic Suspense and for Series Romantic Mystery. Her Peregrine Connection series won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense Series. She collects rocks, and enjoys cooking, walking, reading, gardening, travel, and Mozart operas.
The Devil Within Tanya Nellestein
(A Devils MC Novel)
Publication date: April 13th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Sometimes you have to go to dark places before you can truly find the light.
Sarah Darcy has created the life she always wanted with her dream job in London, as far from Australia as she can get. However, all she’s ever wanted was to love and be loved. She thought she’d found it in bad boy biker, Alex Riley; until he ripped her heart out.
Unwanted his whole life, Alex went from foster child to an outlaw and enforcer with The Devils MC. He never went looking for love, never thought he deserved it, until he found Sarah. To keep Sarah safe, he ended the relationship. But he couldn’t stay away, not forever.
Alex has come to start his life over as well. But he’s running from a dark and violent past that will not let him go alive. Forced to run for their lives across Europe, being chased by a biker gang hell-bent on revenge. With no one else to turn to, can Sarah trust Alex, let alone love him again?
The Devil Within is a standalone novel from The Devils MC. If you like flawed heroes looking for redemption, strong women looking for love and a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, you’ll love exploring The Devils MC.
‘Did you even take your keys with you today?’ Sarah was still giggling as she placed her own keys on her allocated hook on the vintage hall stand that held an assortment of coats, hats and scarves. There was a hook for each of the flatmates and the idea was they would hang their keys to let the others know they were home. Heather’s bunch of keys and assorted keyrings hung in their normal place.
‘Lordy! I did leave them at home.’ Heather clapped her hand to her head.
‘Come on, I’ll put the kettle on and you start packing. When will Matt be here?’ Sarah shrugged out of her coat and started down the hall towards the kitchen, following the path illuminated by the living room light Heather flipped on.
‘About half an—’
Sarah flicked the kitchen light on, pausing as she waited for Heather to finish her sentence. Instead, a loud crash came from the front of the flat. Sarah dropped her bag and coat on the floor.
What in the…
She hurried back up the hallway. ‘Heather?’
‘You little bitch,’ shouted a distinctly Australian voice, its edges hard and rough.
Sarah’s skin prickled with heat and she raced the final steps to the living room. ‘Oh my God! Heather!’
Her flatmate was struggling against a tall, well-built man with an ugly raised scar above his left eye. Heather kicked out, the hand across her mouth already sporting bloody teeth marks. A second man, a little shorter than the first, stepped forward raising a gun.
Sarah screamed. We’re being robbed. Another horror ripped through her mind. Please, please, take the money and leave us alone.
‘Evening, love. Where’s your boyfriend?’ said the shorter man.
‘What?’ Sarah felt her legs turn to jelly as he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into the living room, across from Heather and her captor.
‘We’re looking for Hollywood. Where is he?’
She’d never seen either of the men in her flat, but instinctively she knew who they were. Or rather, where they were from. Members of outlaw motorcycle clubs wore menace the same way they wore their colors. Her mind flashed back to the night she’d met Alex. He wore a leather cut with a skull and guns insignia on the back. A patch on the front left was embroidered with the name Hollywood.
The gun was jammed into her ribs. Sarah held her breath, the lack of oxygen disorienting like she was being dragged under the ocean, twisting and turning her until she no longer knew which way was up. Except for the searing pain where it felt as if her hair was being ripped from her head, and the gun punching a hole into her side.
The tall man shoved Heather away, and she collapsed over the back of the sofa. Her foot must have connected hard with his shin as he hopped about for a second. He recovered and punched her hard in the face. Heather collapsed to the floor.
‘No!’ screamed Sarah.
Something crashed out in the hallway, then a hooded man plunged into the room, tackling the tall guy to the ground behind the sofa. Heather shrieked and tried to crawl out of the way. What the hell was going on?
‘Keep your mouth shut!’ The grip on Sarah’s hair grew stronger, the gun pushing so hard against her she was sure her ribs would snap.
The third man emerged from behind the sofa. His hood had slipped from his head. Sarah’s lungs burned and spots appeared before her eyes. She dragged in a breath that felt like razor blades going down her throat. She knew that hair, that face.
Tanya Nellestein has been recreating the fruits of her overactive imagination on paper since she was a child. She is an avid reader, novelist, experience enthusiast, outstanding car vocalist, and Queen of fancy dress. Tanya writes gut-churning historical fiction, contemporary crime/mystery and suspense with a romantic angle that always includes good sex and a happily ever after. One thing you will always get with Tanya’s books – a strong woman who knows who she is (eventually) and gets what she wants.
She lives on the outskirts of Sydney with her two children, a psychotic cat and a dog that refuses to believe he’s not human. Tanya is also an award-winning freelance journalist and member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Australian Romance Readers Association and the Romance Writers of New Zealand.
Iron & Ink Melanie Munton
(Brooklyn Brothers, #5)
Publication date: March 29th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
We are the Rossetti’s.
The exiled “sixth family” of the New York mafia. We’re the good guys.
People don’t fear us…much. They respect us.
The five of us? We’re the Brooklyn Brothers.
And we protect what’s ours.
After a gunshot wound to the chest, I died on an operating table. Then I came back to life. Yet the thing that’s going to take me down is a redheaded Irish bartender who has a pension for trouble and drinking me under the table. Ash Donahue is brave, beautiful, and scarily street wise. In fact, she’s the only woman I’ve ever met who seems remotely capable of handling the kind of baggage a man like me comes with.
Not to mention, she has secrets that could very well rival my own.
I’m a soldier, a warrior. That’s all I’ll ever be. No woman wants to be strapped with that for the rest of her life. But every time we remind ourselves why we’re completely wrong for each other, we end up tangled together in the stock room. Or on top of the bar. Or against a wall.
That all changes when I find out what brought her to my city. How could she not tell me her uncle is the Irish mob boss? And how am I supposed to protect her from him and my family from our countless enemies, all at the same time?
The stock room wasn’t refrigerated, but I still pressed my forehead against some beer bottles for relief. The glass was marginally cool, and I would take anything to help diminish the flames culminating south of my belly button.
Suddenly, I felt a presence behind me and spun around, pulse skittering out of control. Rome’s body was inches from mine, close enough for his heat to permeate the space between us and turn my flesh feverish.
His deep grumble rolled over my skin. “Need a hand?”
Yes, but not with the beer.
“I, um, think I’ve got it. Not my first time.”
His eyes rolled closed, a soft groan escaping his mouth.
“I meant with the restocking—”
“Stop talking, Ash.”
I did. And waited to see what he would do. Because in that exact moment, I realized I would let him. Whatever he wanted. Vibrations were pulsing off of him, almost like he was fighting his own restraint. He inched forward slightly, bringing our chests within grazing distance.
Rome was huge. Much taller than my willowy five-foot-seven frame and nothing but rock hard muscle wrapped around a broad, warrior-like frame. I wanted to shove the leather jacket from his shoulders and rip that gray t-shirt off so I could see just how much of his body those wicked tattoos covered.
My breath hitched when he raised his arms. Instead of touching me with them, he pressed his hands against the shelf of beer cases at my back. He caged me between those muscular arms, making it clear I wasn’t going anywhere until he was ready to let me go. His breathing was labored, same as mine. I wondered if his heartrate was as out of control as mine too.
“I don’t usually say much.”
I nodded in understanding. I wasn’t asking him to be chatty. Or to be anything other than what he really was.
“But I’m finding myself wanting to say a whole damn lot around you.”
“Like what?” I whispered.
He tilted his head, running his nose from my temple down to my jaw. “Like telling you about some of the things I want to do to you.”
“Such as?” I was breathless.
It was like he was relieved I’d asked. “These jeans you wear sit really low, Ash. Too fucking low.” The scruff of his beard brushed my cheek, though it wasn’t coarse and scratchy. “It makes me think there’s no room in there for your panties. I want to push them down even lower, just to check.”
Beer bottles clinked as my head fell back, leaving my neck exposed. “How’d you know?”
“How did I know what?”
“That I’m not wearing any?”
My hips were squeezed, moved, and situated in between his. My thighs cradled the thick ridge in his jeans that rubbed against my sex so emphatically, I was already throbbing down there. Dripping down there. He was grinding it against me in slow, small thrusts that felt more like a rough petting.
I’d never been so singularly hot for someone in my life.
“What else do you want to do?”
“You just short-circuited my brain,” he growled. “And you expect me to still have the ability to think?”
He claimed he didn’t talk much, but he was really good at it.
“Power through, tough guy.”
Careful. You get too close to fire and you’re going to get burned…
Melanie grew up in the Midwest, but she loves living in the Southeast (where the beaches are!) now with her husband and daughter.
Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!
I’m enjoying the Battle Crows series, although I’m starting to miss the KPD guys. This was a nice addition to the series.
Shine is tough yet gentle when it comes to Iris. He’d do anything for her. The way they meet starts out funny and quickly turns into an “oh crap” moment. Thankfully, Shine is there to get her to safety.
I enjoyed both characters and the overall storyline. I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed. There’s major action toward the end of the book, and while the build-up to it is incredible, once that moment happens it’s a mad dash to the end. At least, that’s how it felt for me. I did like the epilogue, and I’m eagerly waiting for the next book.
In all, it was a great read. If you want action, drama, romance, and a bit of humor, then you can’t go wrong with Make Me Your Villain.
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.
He never pretended to be anything other than the wolf he was and I fell for it. Hard.
Now I’m tangled in a web of deceit not only of his making, but mine too.
A favour. Something owed.
A promise that would come back and bite me on the ass.
I don’t know when it happened. When it changed.
When that initial combination of mild infatuation and burning hatred somehow morphed into my obsession.
When did it spiral out of control?
Was it when she first let me hold her hand? Or when my lips graced the reverence of her skin? Was it when she was naive enough to let the wolf into her inner sanctum?
Hard to say, but now I’m there. I’m not letting go.
Can I keep the girl I should have let go? Or does fate have other things in store for us?
NOTE: La Famiglia MUST be read prior to The Ties That Bind
H.L Packer is, quite frankly, a busy bee.
An avid reader as a child, her love for all things written waned into adulthood, the excitement of real life things taking over. But when her life slowed down as she finished her office job for maternity leave, her husband purchased her an e-reader, and that obsession was rekindled.
Quickly she went from reader to reviewer, and then from reviewer to blogger; street teams and promo tours galore. When she began collating her own book boxes over at Romance Readers Book Box UK and had the opportunity to include her own words and worlds, the characters began talking.
Those cheeky characters quickly found themselves written down on the page, and her first series was in progress.
When she is not coordinating her worlds, you can find her running around after her free-spirited three children, and husband, or tending to the dogs, bearded dragons, and snakes that also reside with them.
A break can be found soaking in a bubble bath or enjoying a glass of wine, often still with a book in her hand.
It was supposed to be one night… Now I’m knocked up and bound forever to my brother’s alphahole best friend.
I messed up. I witnessed a crime I shouldn’t have. Now the man I despise the most is the only one who can save me. Leo King. I’ve always known he was bad news. As an enforcer deep in a criminal underworld, he’s dangerous beyond measure. As my brother’s best friend, he’s a first-rate savage prick. I wish I could turn back time and unsee that crime. That I didn’t need to rely on him for protection. Now I’m pulled into his dark world and there’s no turning back. Unexpectedly, his stone-cold gaze begins to light a fire inside me. Our burning chemistry is undeniable and being with him feels so right. His hunger to claim me is crystal clear when he wraps his strong arms around me. But he’s also 20 years older than me and completely off-limits.
We have a secret that could destroy our worlds.
My brother would kill me if he found out about us. Especially if he knew his new status as “Uncle”.
Get ready to fall in love with this high-heat suspense romance that will sure to keep you on the edge of your seat! Hating My Baby’s Daddy is part of the Alphalicious Daddies series but can be read as a stand-alone in any order. No cheating or cliffhanger. Happily-ever-after guaranteed!
Working with the guy who turns him on and pisses him off has Nick in a tailspin.
Nick’s trying to get everything together—his life, his job, his family. After leaving the military, he joined both his brothers at Hart Consulting, but he can’t seem to get his shit organized. His brother still won’t speak to his father, his dad is willing to go to crazy lengths to see his brother and Nick has to train for his new job.
Just when he thinks he might have everything under a bit of control, he’s assigned to work with Ax, the only operator who’s able to get under his skin. Nick needs to put his head down and make a good impression on his first assignment with HC. Too bad Ax is determined not to make it easy…
Reader advisory: This book is best read as book two in a series. It contains abduction and trafficking of minors, references to torture and medical abuse and violence.
“Look, kid. I got nothing to tell you.”
Bray pulled his gaze from the full lips he’d been watching as the man in the doorway, Sam, gave a flat refusal. He took a deep, calming breath and willed away his body’s response. Maybe he needed to back up a little and explain the urgency of the situation. He didn’t have a lot of time to find Mase, and this Sam guy was his best bet.
The guy blocking the doorway would be hot if his eyebrows weren’t pinched together so tight and his big, full lips weren’t turned down. Hell, he was still hot, even in full intimidation mode.
Sam’s honey-blond hair was longer on top and styled high. His groomed beard was just a few shades darker than the hair on his head and hinted at the tiniest bit of red highlights. Bray lowered his eyes again to Sam’s lips. Both were plump, but the top lip was a little fuller than the bottom one. That was rare, in Bray’s experience, but sexy as hell.
The tic in the jaw next to those lips brought Bray back to the matter at hand. He looked up into Sam’s cinnamon-brown eyes as he considered his options.
“I know you’re working with Mase and I have to find him. I’m—”
“I don’t know what you’re going on about, but I have shit to do.”
Sam tried to close the old, paint-chipped door in Bray’s face, but Bray stepped forward, using his foot as a doorstop. He wouldn’t give up that easily. Bray needed to untie his tongue and keep on task, no matter how sexy the guy was.
“Please, I don’t have a lot of time. I just need to talk to him.”
“I’m not a kid. I know he’s pulled some crazy stunts since he got kicked out—”
“You don’t know shit, kid. If you just got kicked out of the military and you’re looking for camaraderie and a job, forget it.”
As soon as Sam said the word ‘military’, Bray breathed a sigh of relief. Sam swore under his breath. So the guy definitely knew his brother. Sam flexed his huge biceps as he crossed his arms. His head dipped to one side as he leaned forward. Bray swallowed then a tiny breath escaped his lips as he imagined the man before him leaning in to steal a kiss. Was this guy Mase’s boyfriend? If so, his brother was one lucky bastard.
“Move your foot. Like I said, kid, you don’t know shit,” Sam ground out through clenched teeth.
“Just tell me what’s going on. Is he okay? If he’d returned any of my emails over the past two and half years, maybe I’d know more about what was happening.”
“You think I can help you?”
Bray gave one sharp nod of confirmation. Sam blew a breath out between his lush lips and dropped his arms to his sides. The crease between his brows eased a bit as he seemed to really look at Bray for the first time. He looked over Bray’s head down the hallway for a moment before coming to some kind of decision.
“What’s your name, kid?”
“Bray, Brayden Hart.”
There was a pause. Bray assumed it was Sam digesting Bray’s last name, Mase’s last name.
“Well, I’m sorry, but I got nothing for you, Mr. Hart.”
“How’d you know I was in the army?”
“You got it written all over you, from your close-cropped cut to your military stance.” The guy rolled his eyes and shook his head. “I’ve got things to do, kid, so do you mind moving your foot—or do I need to move it for you?”
Bray wet his dry lips as he contemplated his choices. He could call Max for another favor, but if he went that route, he’d need this part to be believable.
“I can just sit out here and wait until he comes home.”
“You’ll be waiting the rest of your life, kid.”
“It’s Bray or Brayden, and I think you have a really good idea when you’ll be talking to Mase again.”
Looking over Sam’s shoulder, Bray took in the shit-hole apartment with its dingy brown carpet and walls so old that the wallpaper was peeling at the corners along the ceiling. A ceiling with tiles that had different-sized brown rings, a sure sign of water damage. Was this how Mase was living now? The thought made Bray’s gut twist uncomfortably.
If Mase needed money… Bray shook his head. Mase would never be the one to reach out, which was exactly why Bray was standing in the hallway that smelled like piss mixed with broccoli farts. Unless the inside of the apartment smelled better, he didn’t see how anyone could even think about putting a morsel of food into their mouth in this place.
If by chance Sam did talk to Mase before Brayden could get to him, he had to figure out a message most likely to get a response. Would Mase come home or even return a call if he knew the truth? Probably not. Bray bit his lip as he waffled. He didn’t like lying, and he especially didn’t like lying to family. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to forgive his father for his ‘little white lie’.
“When you see him, tell him Nickel needs him. Tell him it’s looking like it might be life or death.”
Both those statements taken separately were absolutely one hundred percent true. Nick might deny he needed their older brother, but he and Bray were twins. Bray knew they both required all the support they could get.
When Mase heard those statements together, Bray knew what he’d assume, and he’d have to apologize for it later. For now, he decided it was the best route. He had a feeling Sam would repeat those statements verbatim to his brother.
“Nickel?” Sam asked.
“Nick, my twin.”
“Twins? There’re two of you running around wreaking havoc?”
“Nick wreaks more havoc and we’re not identical, so there aren’t exactly two of me.”
Sam’s only response was a raised eyebrow.
“So you’ll tell him?”
“I’m sorry. There’s no way I can help you,” Sam said with the shake of his head.
Even though Bray was anxious, he hesitated before lifting his foot. He needed Sam to think he was reluctant to leave. Sam was only a couple inches taller than Bray’s five-foot-eleven-inch frame, but he hunched down a little, so they were eye to eye.
“I can’t help you,” Sam said again.
Bray swallowed as energy began to hum under his skin at the man’s direct stare. He couldn’t be lusting after his brother’s boyfriend. Wetting his dry lips one last time, Bray nodded and lifted his foot. The two men stared at each other for a moment longer, until the sound of a baby screaming somewhere down the hall had Bray turning his head. Before he could even suck in another breath, the door in front of him slammed shut and the lock snicked into place.
With a dejected sigh, Brayden looked at the door for another minute. Guilt had his stomach tightening into knots. He couldn’t afford to stand around, though his hesitation to leave would probably work in his favor in case Sam was watching through the peephole.
When he pushed open the door of the building a few minutes later, Bray sucked in some of the fresh air. He didn’t even care that his clothes immediately glued themselves to his body with the humidity Florida was famous for. He was just glad to be out of the stench that had pressed down on him inside the apartment building.
After one last glance at the second floor, Bray walked down the sidewalk toward the parking lot. As soon as he was in his rental car, he dialed Max’s number.
“How’d it go?” Max said.
“He wouldn’t even admit he knew Mase.”
There was silence on the other end. Max had warned him against making contact with Sam. He’d suggested following him until he led Bray to Mase, but Bray didn’t have that kind of time.
“So, it looks like you were right,” Bray admitted.
There was still silence on the other end of the line.
“Look, Sin. I still need help.”
Bray always struggled calling his friend by his pseudonym. Even though it stood for Super Intel Nerd, calling a nerdy guy like Max, Sin seemed funny to Bray.
“Next time listen to me. You’ve now ruined the advantage of surprising him.”
“Fine. Can you find out where he’s going?”
“Of course I can.”
Bray could hear the light click-clack of Max tapping on the keys of his laptop. Putting the phone on Bluetooth, Bray started his rental and pulled out of the parking spot behind Sam’s apartment building.
“Where’s he going?” Bray asked as he pulled out onto the street.
“I have him traveling out of Miami to Kiev tomorrow with a stopover in Munich.”
Bray tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. This had just gotten a lot more complicated and expensive than he’d anticipated. Was Mase undercover or was he in trouble? If he was in trouble, Bray wanted to be there.
“Looks like I’ll be heading to Kiev,” he sighed.
“I’ll book you a flight that stops over in DC. I’ve got something I want to give you if you’re going to Kiev.”
“I just have to check out of the hotel. Give me a couple of hours to get to the airport.”
Max disconnected the call without saying goodbye, but it didn’t surprise Bray at all. Max was always on to the next problem.
Rae has been secretly penning romances since high school. It started with short stories that grew into full-length novels. When she received her first Kindle and had thousands of books at her fingertips, she became a little distracted from writing. Then one day she read a book that she would have written a different way. She began writing again and hasn’t stopped since.
When she’s not writing, Rae can usually be found reading, walking along the beaches of Half Moon Bay, or taking her geriatric dog to the vet, yet again.