A Lila Audio Review: Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes and Mark Larchmont (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

An ATF agent who lives for danger finds what he craves from an outlaw biker.

It’s impossible for a one-percenter motorcycle club member to simply walk away—and no one knows that better than undercover agent Bram, who’s almost killed for trying. His cover isn’t blown—yet—but it’s only a matter of time. The Heathens won’t be satisfied until he’s dead, so he decides to lay low and heal.

But when his younger brother’s disappearance throws a wrench into his plan, Bram ends up in Shades Run, a town ruled by the notorious Havoc MC. In less than twenty-four hours, Bram finds himself at the mercy of Sweet, Havoc’s president, as he throws himself into the undercover role of a lifetime: himself. A man who’s never belonged anywhere, and who will do anything to protect his younger brother.

When finding Linc seems impossible, Bram is torn between Sweet, Linc, and revealing his true identities . . . and there appears to be no way out. Once again, he risks it all trying to save it all. Only this time he’s got no backup to save him if he falls.

Running Blind is better than Running Wild, which is not an easy feat for the second book in a series. This has the author’s signature grit, those characters that are lovely, but a bit damage. It has a perfect mix of sweet (no pun intended) and dirty. It shows the reader how good is between the characters, all of them.

The plot is complex but doesn’t take away from the romance between Sweet and Bram. They are electric since their first encounter and do not cut corners to establish their relationship. The end is a little rush but by them, the reader is ready to get to the resolution and the happily ever after.

There’s a slight connection between the books, and we get to see Rush and Ryke again. They aren’t an integral part of the plot, but they help it move forward.

Overall, this is definitely a must listen for this year.

It took me a minute to get used to the characterizations by Mark Larchmont. He did a nice job creating memorable characters. At some points though, some of the voices seem similar. Especially between Sweet and Bram.

The cover by L.C. Chase matches the crossroads in the story. It also matches the first installment.

Sales Links:  Riptide | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Mark Larchmont
Length: 6 hours and 11 minutes

Published:  February 4, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B07N8GYLN7
Edition Language: English

Series: Havoc
Book #1: Running Wild
Book #2: Running Blind

In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: If I Ever (Hell or High Water #4) by S.E. Jakes

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If I Ever (Hell or High Water #4) by S.E. Jakes

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

About If I Ever

Some ghosts refuse to stay buried . . .

Prophet and Tom have been through the wringer more times than they can count, both as partners in the field and in life. Yet despite it all, they’ve built something great together. But now they need to protect it again: Prophet’s old nemesis, John Morse, is back and threatening everything he loves.

Prophet is driven enough to take John down alone, and with a chance to do exactly that on the table, he runs with it, risking himself in the process. But trusting Tom to help him is so much more than mission critical.

It’s the final stand, and with Tom and his team behind him, Prophet’s in for the fight of his life. Then a figure from his past goes missing, and the consequence of an old mission rears its head. As complications and destruction mount all around them, getting out alive becomes the most important mission of their lives.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About Extreme Escapes and Hell or High Water

Extreme Escapes, LTD recruits only the best mercenaries for its black ops missions. Prophet — former SEAL, former CIA, current pain in the ass — has worked there for years, comfortable in his role as a lethal shadow, helping those the government can’t — or won’t — save.

Tom Boudreaux — failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full-time believer in bad luck — jumps at the chance for salvation offered by EE. He’s eager to feel useful again, even if it means partnering with a man like Prophet, who doesn’t want a partner at all.

But as the two men work through missions that mix their personal lives with their professional ones, the lines between good and evil, friend and foe, and enemy and lover all begin to blur.

The Hell or High Water novels are best enjoyed in series order:

  1. Catch a Ghost
  2. Long Time Gone
  3. Daylight Again

3.5 Not Fade Away

  1. If I Ever

And don’t miss the bonus novellas in the Extreme Escapes universe!

Free Falling  | Dirty Deeds

 

About SE Jakes

SE Jakes writes m/m romance. She believes in happy endings and fighting for what you want in both fiction and real life. She lives in New York with her family, and most days, she can be found happily writing (in bed). No really…

SE Jakes is the alter ego of New York Times bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Stephanie Tyler.

Connect with SE:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of IF I EVER one lucky person will win an ecopy of Running Wild, a Havoc novel by SE Jakes! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 26, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Ali Audiobook Review: An Ali Audiobook Review: Dirty Deeds (Dirty Deeds, #1) by SE Jakes and Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Two seasoned operatives finally meet their match: each other.

Cillian works for the mysterious Special Branch 20: an organization that runs black ops commissioned by the British government. His specialty is deep undercover assignments with virtually no support. He’s been alone for so long that he no longer knows anything else.

Mal’s also used to being alone. Wanted in several states and even more countries, he’s not allowed in the vicinity of any of his former Navy SEAL teammates. And his current assignment is to track Cillian in order to discover the spook’s endgame. Except he’s no longer sure which one of them is getting played.

Cillian isn’t about to let the mission that’s consumed him for the past several years crumble because an outsider is poking around where he doesn’t belong. But Mal forces his way through Cillian’s defenses—and into his heart—exposing a devastating betrayal that could destroy them both.

I have enjoyed SE Jakes series that are connected to this one, Hell or High Water and EE, Ltd and I liked this just as much.  But it’s a cliff hanger and no real date in sight of the next book….

Cillian and Mal have both been seen in other books but this is the first focused on them.  These two both have deep pasts that are only partially delved into in this book and I hope we learn more about them.  They are connected far more than they ever though until the end of this book and we can see the connection.  Both of these men have been damaged and I couldn’t help but feel for them and there is no disguising that their jobs aren’t the easiest either.

Dorian Bane did a wonderful job narrating this story as always.  I loved the voices he used for the characters and how easily it helped to understand them.  I could feel their emotions and connect with them easily.

I really like the cover art by LC Chase and I like how it’s just similar enough to the other connected books but different at the same time.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 2 hrs 30 min
Published: April 12, 2018 by Riptide
Edition Language: English

Series: Dirty Deeds #1

A BJ Audiobook Review: Catch a Ghost (Hell and High Water #1) by S.E. Jakes and Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Catch A Ghost AudiobookEveryone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them 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 this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

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

If you enjoy alpha males and need heat in your m/m books, look no further! Grab this series right the heck now! If I had three words to describe this story, they would be “intense” and “flaming hot.”

Prophet and Tom together are like a volcano gouging out steam and flames and hot, sizzling lava. Okay, yeah, sometimes the refractory time is really short and their uh, hardiness borders on unrealistic. But there is no doubt at all about their chemistry, and both are well-realized characters with complex backstories which come strongly into play in this series. A few times the backstory on Prophet got a bit complex for me to follow easily, especially given the often fast pace of the storyline. There were a lot of people and details and twists and turns to keep track of… especially as it neared the end. This ending is left largely unsettled as far as the relationship, so its not a HEA/HFN. But  it totally makes me want to read on in the series and get to know what happens with these guys.

I’d already read the book and rated it four stars, but since I’d purchased but not yet finished reading the whole series, I was intrigued when it came out on audio. The narrator was new on audible, but I decided to take a chance and see if the narration would add another dimension to this previously enjoyed story. It totally did! I adored Tom’s Cajun accent… and both men sounded pretty much as I’d imagined. I had no trouble telling the speakers apart. It’s sometimes hard for me to say whether I prefer the audio or reading experience, mostly because only rarely do I partake of a story in both formats. Overall, I enjoyed the audio and the one small part where I felt the book was a bit better had pretty much nothing to do with the narrator. Near the end, in the parts there’s a part where a lot is going on, it was even harder for me to take in and visualize when heard than when reading. Probably because in print, I can read back over a sentence here or there if there’s a need to ground myself more firmly in the details. Since I’m most often driving when listening to audio, rewind isn’t something I do.

The audiobook cover is basically the same as the book… and it’s perfect for the story. The tattoo is just as imagined and love the nipple bar! Beautiful, sexy, hot cover.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon |  Audible  | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

Audible Audio, 9 pages, 8 hrs 3 mins

Adam North (Narrator)
Published December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published September 7th 2013)
Original TitleCatch A Ghost
ASINB016DW5VUC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHell or High Water #1, Extreme Escapes, Ltd.December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios

A MelanieM Review: No Boundaries (Phoenix, Inc. #1) by S.E. Jakes

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Rating: 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4 stars out of 5

When your past closes in, running isn’t always an option.

No BoundariesCole Jacobs left behind his old life on the streets to make a name for himself rebuilding high-end vintage cars and bikes.  That life had almost cost him his soul, even now Cole’s not sure that he can heal the damage done by selling himself to stay alive.  He’s just happy to be out of the lifestyle and have a job he does well and enjoys.  But Cole’s feeling of safety and contentment is short lived when he’s slipped a piece of paper at work that threatens him and all he has worked for.

A stalker has come to town looking for Cole and now he has found him.  And Cole doesn’t know where to turn for help.

Ex soldier, ex CIA agent Marcus Lowry now works for Phoenix, Inc. Investigations.  The owners are ex agents like himself and the cases are normally quick and easy. Plus they don’t give him the nightmares his days as a CIA operative did. Until Marcus is given Cole’s case and Cole as a client.  Cole pushes many of his issues of trust and betrayal as well as raising feelings of attraction and possibly love that Marcus has tamped down.

Cole sees in Marcus the same type of man that used to buy him on the street and the clashes of temperaments and emotions come quick and fast, as fast as their lust for each other.

Then the first attempt on Cole’s life almost kills them both and its time for all the secrets to come out and issues to be dealt with if Marcus is to stop a killer as well trained as himself.

I love SE Jakes and her pantheon of hardcore, damaged, sometimes lethal men.  No Boundaries is the first in her new series, Phoenix, Inc, a private investigative service run by three lovers, Styx, Law and Paulo whose story is told in SE Jakes’ Men of Honor series.

No Boundaries introduces us to Marcus Lowry, a new agent and ex CIA op.  Marcus is a bundle of issues, including PSTD.  He has nightmares over his last tour, his usually spot on ability to detect those lying to him or cons isn’t working and the stress is burning him out.  So his bosses figure what he needs is to take on Cole Jacobs, another damaged man, as a client, who just might kickstart Marcus back to life.

Law, Styx and Paulo know Cole as the mechanic who fixes their bikes and cars but Styx also recognizes in Cole someone who carries the same pain and scars as two of them.  Jakes writes damaged men especially well.  It doesn’t seem to matter what age her characters are or what injury has been done to them, each of them (whether its 24 years old Cole or seasoned vet 35 year old Marcus)  comes off as a real, albeit troubled, person.

Law, Styx, and Paulo also come across as fully realized, although it certainly helps to know their backstory as I do.  For this series to completely work as a standalone series (outside of the Men of Honor, Hell or High Water and other interrelated series), more of their history needs to be included for the reader coming in without any prior knowledge.

Cole and Marcus’ shift into a relationship is hot, fast, and always on shaky ground.  Each man has so many secrets and issues that make a firm foundation for any relationship close to impossible or believable.  Both spend an inordinate amount of time either running or wanting to run away as much as they want to run towards each other.  Their heated arguments go hand in hand (snicker) with their sexual hookups.   I bought into their relationship completely…up until the end.  That was the only segment that didn’t feel real considering everything that went before.

The only other issue I had here, outside of the unrealistic ending, was what happened with the stalker.  I loved the tension and suspense that SE Jakes brought to the whole stalking situation.  She easily made her case that this person posed a deadly threat to them all, and she kept us on our toes as we waited for the stalker to make the next move, one that was always unanticipated.  Until the end.  Then the story rushes to a quick resolution and then onward to an ending that felt more tacked on then part of the story I just read.  Had this ended more as a HFN, that would have been more in character than the HEA it seemed to be. Some readers will be overjoyed at this ending and wondering what I am going on about, but these damaged men can’t be smoothed out that easily and remain authentic, at least to me.

Those issues aside, this is one hot, sexy story.  And its full of hardcore, experienced men who have had more than their share of pain, regret, and loss.  When they find the one or ones that fulfill them, you can help but get on board and share in the joy, love, and yes, lots of hot sex.   I can’t wait for the next book in the series and see what happens next.  I do know that it will be explosive, sexy and full of compelling men.  That’ll keep me coming back for more and more and more.

Cover Artist Angelique Anderson.  The cover is hot, although that torso is more in keeping with Marcus then Cole.

Sales Links:  Samhain Publishing    All Romance (ARe)    Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 187 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Samhain Publishing
original titleNo Boundaries
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.sejakes.com/books/no-boundaries/
seriesPhoenix, Inc. #1
charactersCloe Jacobs, Marcus Lowry