Fast Burn (Body Armor #4) by Lori Foster

For the woman who’s his perfect match, he’s willing to break the rules…
The moment Brand Berry meets beautiful, driven Sahara Silver, the connection between them is electric. It’s also something he can’t pursue. Sahara wants him, sure—to join Body Armor, where his MMA skills, size and cocky attitude make him perfect for her elite crew of bodyguards. For Sahara, the agency always comes first, and Brand needs more. Yet when she’s kidnapped by men searching for her missing brother, he doesn’t hesitate.
Somewhere along the way, flirting with Brand for the sake of business turned very personal. Despite his refusal to join Body Armor, it’s Brand who steps up when Sahara needs him most. Now there’s no more time for games, and no point denying the hunger they both feel. They’ll escape together or not at all. But if they survive, can Sahara finally surrender control to claim this blazing passion?

I’m always sorry to know that a series is ending, especially one of Lori Foster’s. I felt that way when the Ultimate series ended, but the Body Armor series softened the blow a little since there was a connection between the two. I suppose if the series had to come to an end, Brand and Sahara’s story was the perfect way to wrap things up.

Both Brand and Sahara have been around for a while. Sahara has been front and center since she ran the Body Armor company. Brand’s been the one man she’s wanted to bring in for a while, but he’s always balked. Even though she knows his reasons, she still wants him on her team and in her life. When Sahara becomes a target, Brand won’t leave her side whether he’s an official body guard or not.

There’s plenty of danger, mystery, heat, intrigue and that family connection that I’ve come to not only expect, but look forward to from this author in Fast Burn. Honestly, both Sahara and Brand took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to feel as connected to these two as I did. It’s not that I didn’t like Sahara, but she was the boss, so it was hard to really get to know her. It was obvious that she cared about all the guys she employed, as well as their families, but she was so strong and independent, it was hard to feel a closeness to her. Her personality really came through in Fast Burn. Brand’s character was the same, but readers knew even less about him until this book. I ended up falling in love with them both.

So, yeah… I’m sorry that the Body Armor series has come to an end, but I’m sure whatever Lori Foster has in store for readers next will be worth it. There’s at least one character from Fast Burn that I hope gets a chance to redeem himself, but only time will tell. 😉

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Fatal Shadows (The Adrien English Mysteries #1) by Josh Lanyon

One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening.
Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien’s shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself.
Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer’s list.

I hesitate to label this “Romance” but it’s there, all be it, very little. I guess that’s where my eclectic reading style comes in handy, because when the story is good and the characters draw me in, I don’t miss the heat between two characters. Especially when they are just getting to know each other.

I also have a teensy weensy confession to make, Fatal Shadows has been sitting on my Kindle just chillin’ away for quite some time. Don’t even ask why it’s taken me so long to finally pick it up, because I have no idea. Now that I have though, rest assured I will be seeking out the rest of the books in the Adrien English Mysteries. Sooner, rather than later. I loved Adrien’s “voice” in Fatal Shadows. He was witty, smart and funny. I really like characters who don’t take themselves too seriously, and Adrien definitely fell into that category.

It also should be mentioned that this was my first Josh Lanyon book, but it will not be my last. As a matter of fact, I just picked up another ARC, so stay tuned. 😉

 

When Love Comes Back (When the Mission Ends #5) by Christi Snow

He was her biggest mistake.
She was his biggest regret.
Once upon a time Felicia Parks and Gage Winston were each other’s everything. But one drunken night, Gage ruined it all and broke Felicia’s heart.
That was a long time ago and they’ve both moved on, never expecting to see one another again.
But as the new wing commander at the local Air Force base, Gage finds something on this assignment that he never expected…his first love.
The problem…she’s in love with someone else.
Fate can be a lover’s best friend, but karma can be a vengeful enemy….
And a dangerous obsession threatens it all.

Oh, this was a scary one going in. From the description I just knew that Felicia and Gage needed to be together. I was prepared to be all in and want their HEA from the beginning… it would have been so much easier if Steve had been a jerk and all Felicia needed to do was see the light and dump him – but he wasn’t. He was a great guy and he deserved to be loved, he just wasn’t the right guy for Felicia… and that kinda sucked. So, in case you’re wondering, Christi Snow gets to hold onto her #EvilAuthor title just a little bit longer.

Actually, all the characters in When Love Comes Back were great. I loved Gage’s kids and having Felicia’s best friend around to bounce her feelings off gave an alternate perspective that really added to the story. Getting POVs from both Felicia and Gage helped a lot as well. There were also flash backs that shed some light on what happened in Gage and Felicia’s past. It also proved that as much as Gage screwed up, he wasn’t the only one who made some mistakes and hasty decisions.

When Love Comes Back had everything that I’ve enjoyed in the other books in the When the Mission Ends series. Romance, a little bit of danger and characters who are really easy to fall for. It can most definitely be read as a stand alone, but I’ve been a fan of this author’s writing since prologue in the first book in this series, so of course I’m going to recommend that you start at the beginning with Operation: End Game – you can thank me later 😉

When you finish When Love Comes Back, make sure you read the author’s notes at the end. There are a couple of characters in this one that I really want to see more of. You know those characters that kind of jump off the page and demand to be heard? Or the ones that really need an HEA of their very own? Yeah, I’m really looking forward to what comes next 😉

Hard Bitten by M.K. York

Rule number one: hands off the witness
As a newbie public defender, Mark Eliades is stuck defending DUIs. But when his latest client gets charged with felony arson, the result is a career-making case he has to win. The last thing he needs is to fall for his key witness. Any hint of impropriety and his credibility will be shot, along with Mark’s case. But the more time Mark spends with the jaded private investigator, the more the rules began to blur.
Tired of endless nights chasing people who don’t want to be found, private investigator Lukas Nystrom needs a change—and a guaranteed paycheck. When a high-profile contract with the state falls in his lap, he can’t screw it up. Even if it means ignoring his growing desire for the hotshot attorney who hired him.
Convinced their client is innocent, Mark and Lukas team up to investigate the crime. With the trial looming and every lead gone cold, they work relentlessly to uncover the truth. But keeping things professional while searching for evidence they need might just make this the hardest case they’ve ever taken on.

I’ve only read one other book by M.K. York – actually I think that Necessary Medicine and Hard Bitten are her only two books. I liked both, but I feel the need to warn anyone who is thinking about picking either of these books up that they were each a super slow burn romance. If you’ve read Necessary Medicine, you know that the romance between Eli and Neal spanned years. The time span of Hard Bitten wasn’t nearly as long, but for a lot of reasons, the romance between Mark and Lukas had to wait – but it was worth it 😉

I really liked both Mark and Lukas. They were both trying to make a difference in their own way. They also worked well together. In some ways, too well. The attraction was mutual, but neither one of them wanted to risk the case. Watching these two work through the growing attraction while keeping each other at a not so comfortable distance kept the pages turning.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this author. 😉

 

Where Death Meets the Devil by L.J. Hayward

Jack Reardon, former SAS soldier and current Australian Meta-State asset, has seen some messy battles. But “messy” takes on a whole new meaning when he finds himself tied to a chair in a torture shack, his cover blown wide open, all thanks to notorious killer-for-hire Ethan Blade.
Blade is everything Jack doesn’t believe in: remorseless, detached, lawless. Yet, Jack’s only chance to survive is to strike a bargain with the devil and join forces with Blade. As they trek across a hostile desert, Jack learns that Blade is much more than a dead-eyed killer—and harder to resist than he should be.
A year later, Jack is home and finally getting his life on track. Then Ethan Blade reappears and throws it all into chaos once more. It’s impossible to trust the assassin, especially when his presence casts doubts on Jack’s loyalty to his country, but Jack cannot ignore what Blade’s return means: the mess that brought them together is far from over, and Ethan might just bring back the piece of Jack’s soul he thought he’d lost forever.

Just a quick FYI – I have one really, really big complaint with Where Death Meets the Devil… I want more… I would most definitely not object to a sequel (or 2 or 3 😉 )

I honestly have no idea where to begin with this review. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book in the beginning. There are a few unique twists to Where Death Meets the Devil, the most notable is the fact that the chapters alternate between “Then” and “Now” and that’s exactly how they were titled. At first, I wanted to hurry up and get through the “Then” chapters to get back to where the previous “Now” chapter had left off… then, it got to the point where I didn’t want the “Then” chapters to go by quite so quickly. It was like an entire book full of mini cliff hangers and that’s not an exaggeration.

Those “Then” and “Now” chapters were more than just a way to give readers a glimpse into the past, they built the suspense. There were times that you thought you were missing something, only to realize that you weren’t supposed to know everything. Where Death Meets the Devil wasn’t only hard to put down, it kept you on your toes.

Even though I’m a huge fan of books that give readers more than one POV, that wouldn’t have worked with Jack and Ethan. Having Ethan remain a mystery throughout the book made it more intense and in many ways brought the reader even further into the story.

Where Death Meets the Devil is one of those books that will stay with you for a while. I’ve read a couple of really good suspense books in the last few years and this one is pretty close to the top of my list of must reads that I want to recommend to everyone. It’s also one that I’m sure I’ll probably re-read. Especially since the author recently revealed that we’re going to be getting more from Ethan and Jack. ❤

The Wolf at the Door (Big Bad Wolf #1) by Charlie Adhara

Hunting for big bad wolves was never part of Agent Cooper Dayton’s plan, but a werewolf attack lands him in the carefully guarded Bureau of Special Investigations. A new case comes with a new partner: ruggedly sexy werewolf Oliver Park.
Park is an agent of The Trust, a werewolf oversight organization working to ease escalating tensions with the BSI. But as far as Cooper’s concerned, it’s failing. As they investigate a series of mysterious deaths unlike anything they’ve seen, every bone in Cooper’s body is suspicious of his new partner—even when Park proves himself as competent as he is utterly captivating.
When more people vanish, pressure to solve the case skyrockets. And though he’d resolved to keep things professional, Cooper’s friction with Park soon erupts…into a physical need that can’t be contained or controlled. But with a body count that’s rising by the day, werewolves and humans are in equal danger. If Cooper and Park don’t catch the killer soon, one—or both—of them could be the next to go.

My initial thought when I first finished this book: I love it when a new author blows me away with the first book in what promises to be an amazing series. ❤ That pretty much sums it up! So, yeah… you probably want more, right?

It’s already been established that this book blew me away – I hate to repeat myself, but this is a new author and Charlie Adhara’s first book. I find that simply amazing because this book was so much more than I expected. Especially since the plot took readers places that I never expected and the twists and turns were intricate, but never slipped. Not every revelation was a surprise, but some of them were. Even though the plot was at times complex, this author never lost me, not once.

I loved both Cooper and Park. Even though I’m a huge fan of getting both characters’ POV, this story wouldn’t have been nearly as good if readers would have been in Park’s head as well. Cooper had a lot of reasons not to trust Park. It was no surprise that Park gained my trust a lot sooner than he gained Coopers, but… well, you’ll have to read the book and experience it for yourself. Trust me, it is so worth it.

I have to admit that what initially drew me to this book was the PNR aspect – especially since it included werewolves. The Wolf at the Door was so much more than a PNR book though. There was intrigue, mystery, danger, suspense woven right along with the romantic tension between Park and Cooper.

One thing’s for certain, I’m extremely happy that this book is part of a series. I for one can’t wait for the Big Bad Wolf to continue. 😉

Trick Roller (Seven of Spades #2) by Cordelia Kingsbridge

It’s the height of summer in Las Vegas. Everyone believes the serial killer Seven of Spades is dead—except Levi Abrams and Dominic Russo—and it’s back to business as usual. For Levi, that means investigating a suspicious overdose at the Mirage that looks like the work of a high-class call girl, while Dominic pursues a tough internship with a local private investigator. The one bright spot for both of them is their blossoming relationship.
But things aren’t so simple. Soon Levi is sucked into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, even as his obsession with the Seven of Spades intensifies. Dominic knows that Levi isn’t crazy. He knows the Seven of Spades is still out there, and he’ll do anything to prove it. But Dominic has his own demons to battle, and he may be fighting a losing war.
One thing is certain: the Seven of Spades holds all the cards. It won’t be long before they show their hand.

I know that you are used to me recommending not to skip books in a series, especially one that centers on one couple and the story builds from book to book. Trust me when I say that Seven of Spades is most definitely one of those series. Trick Roller starts pretty much where Kill Game took off and if you haven’t read the first book, you will not appreciate the other… like I said, trust me.

So much happened in Trick Roller that I don’t want to give anything away. The mystery and suspense in this book is just as important as the relationship between Levi and Dominic. Levi has secrets and Dominic is fighting demons, but they have to overcome all of that to stay one step ahead of the latest threat and the Seven of Spades, even though he’s been suspiciously quiet.

One thing’s for sure, Cash Plays, the next book in the Seven of Spades series can’t come soon enough. Can you say cliff hanger? Yeah, Trick Roller most definitely went there…

Romantic Behavior (Bad Behavior #4) by L.A. Witt & Cari Z

Detective Andreas Ruffner is no fool—he’s found a man who loves him, puts up with him, and has stuck with him through hell and back, and it’s time to put a ring on it. Darren Corliss is the love of his life, and he wants the whole world to know it.
Now the fun part—the wedding!
Well, after the not-so-fun part of planning the wedding in between dealing with overbearing and impossible-to-please family members. With future mothers-in-law driving them both up a wall, the guest list growing out of control, and the wedding getting ever more complicated, Darren and Andreas have to wonder if they’re in over their heads.
But they’re going to make it to the altar if it kills them . . . and at this rate, it just might.

I admit it, I’m never really happy when a series comes to an end. However, if it does have to end (which most of my beloved series eventually do) Romantic Behavior is a perfect example of how it should be done (in my opinion anyway 😉 )

Andreas and Darren have been through so much, it’s about time they get their HEA. Nothing comes easy for them though, not even something as deceptively simple as planning a wedding. There are in-laws, outlaws and everyone in between. I was beginning to wonder if they could actually pull it off.

These two were determined though and with the love and support of everyone that mattered, they finally reached their well deserved HEA. I’m still sad to say good-bye to one of my favorite romantic suspense M/M couples, but I have no doubt that this dynamic writing duo will be bringing us more amazing couples (either together or on their own) to fall in love with in the future. 😉

Kill Game (Seven of Spades #1) by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.
Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.
The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.
This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

What a beginning that promises to be an amazing new romantic suspense. This is my first read by Cordelia Kingsbridge, but it will most definitely not be my last – not even including the rest of this series.

That word ‘prickly’ that’s used in the description? That’s exactly how I’d describe the interactions between Levi and Dominic. Prickly sparks that were almost tangible. I loved the back and forth between the two of them – especially the denial. Others around them saw it too. That made things even more interesting.

There was so much to love about Kill Game. I loved the strong families that both Levi and Dominic came from. I loved the relationship between Levi and his partner. I also loved the way Levi and Dominic used their gut instincts and tenacity to try to stop the Seven of Spades. They both had their secrets and weaknesses but together they were a force to be reckoned with. They were also beyond hot together – but not immediately. The slow burn between these two was as intense as the suspense.

There were also many things that weren’t so great … the Seven of Spades was ruthless, smart and cunning. He had a warped sense of justice and he stayed one step ahead of everyone. He also used both Levi and Dominic in creepy, stalker like ways. *shivers* There were a few times that I thought I might know who he was, but by the end of Kill Game I still wasn’t sure. Truth is, given the name of the series is Seven of Spades, it may be a while before readers find out. I wasn’t a fan of some of Levi’s co-workers either and don’t get me started about his boyfriend. Although the reasons behind my dislike are probably not what you think.

So yeah, I know that this review was rambling and vague, but I honestly don’t want to spoil anything for anyone else. There is much more to come and I really can’t wait until Trick Roller is released so readers can spend more time with Levi and Dominic. 

Deathbrew Affair (Lethal Webs #1) by Nancy Northcott

He’s the King of Control Freaks.
I’m the Queen of Winging It.
Together, we’ll save the world….
Unless we kill each other first.
I’m Casey Billings, an American operative in the London office of a covert, multinational agency. I’m working with an MI5 officer, Jack, Lord Bainbridge, to bring down a bioterrorist who plans to unleash a pandemic. We’re posing as newlyweds to infiltrate the community that’s a cover for the bioweapons operation. Unfortunately, we don’t play well together, and not only because of Jack’s distracting, off-the- scales hotness.
I grew up poor in a mill town, and he’s an aristocrat with more money than a third-world country. Besides that, I fly by the seat of my pants while Jack lives by his plans for every contingency and takes charge of everything. Including me. Or so he thinks.
Basically, we’d like to strangle each other. But we have a pandemic to stop first.
Then all bets are off.

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve been a fan of Nancy Northcott since I read her first book, Renegade, in which she created an amazing world filled with intrigue, magic and romance. She didn’t have to twist my arm to give her new romantic suspense series a try. Especially since I had already gotten a taste of her contemporary writing in her novella, Danger’s Edge, which was included in the Capitol Danger anthology – which has a loose tie-in to The Deathbrew Affair.

Let me just start off by saying that The Deathbrew Affair is the beginning of what promises to be an amazing series. The story is told entirely from Casey’s POV. There are times that I really enjoy getting into each character’s head and I admit, I would have liked to know exactly what was going on inside Jack’s more than once. In this case though, not knowing was a part of the suspense. It actually provided an additional layer to the mystery.

Although The Deathbrew Affair was a great romantic suspense, it wasn’t necessarily a ‘who-done-it’ because from the very beginning, the ‘who’ was pretty obvious. The real challenge for Jack and Casey was to prove that the bad guy was the mastermind – but his possible accomplices came a little too close to home.

I absolutely loved how Jack and Casey were ‘thrown’ together. The attraction was immediate for Casey, but she knew better than to get involved. Sometimes the head and the heart don’t cooperate and that was definitely the case between these two. They were so much fun, plus they worked well together. Their personalities meshed even though on the surface they seemed worlds apart.

I absolutely can’t wait for the next book in this series. The Deathbrew Affair came to a satisfying close, but there is definitely (and thankfully) much more to come.