A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Trusted (Until You #3) by Karrie Roman

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This starts three days after the events of the previous book and focuses on Zach, the cult leader’s son, who was rescued during an FBI raid on the compound. He may have had a crush on Ben for helping rescue him, but it’s Ben’s brother Cameron who is helping him now by giving him a place to stay. Since he’s grown up in a cult, he really doesn’t know how to deal with the modern world and needs help navigating his new reality. Also, the legal issues are just beginning as the FBI questions all the cult members in order to get evidence on the men they arrested, including “Father” Piper. Many of the cultists are brainwashed and hate Zach for trying to help save them from being killed.

The fun parts of this book are really all of Zach’s firsts: candy, popcorn, movie theater, plane, ocean–yes, other firsts too. This will appeal to readers who like the hurt/comfort trope. Often, it’s Cameron who seems most hurt by some past event. Having Cameron be the one who is scared, unsure, and flustered by Zach’s advances makes it work for me in a way it wouldn’t if Cameron were the aggressor. It would be difficult to get past the idea that Zach was being taken advantage of. It also helps there’s only an 8 year age difference. I like that Cameron trusts his brother Ben enough to talk about his past: that this book can portray a strong, successful rescue pilot without the toxic masculinity. I liked them both as characters, but I felt Cameron was not as well written as Zach. I wanted them to have their happy ending because that’s what you expect in a romance, but I wasn’t really emotionally invested in it. Both Cameron and Zach fight their own demons, which is as it should be–no one can fix everything for you.

Cameron tries pushing Zach away, but when Cameron’s past has come back to haunt him and Zach is in danger all bets are off. In comparison with book two, the action sequences are contained here. The story really splits nicely into three parts: Zach adjusting to the world while Cameron fights his attraction to Zach, Zach’s rescue, and then the conclusion of Zach dealing with his mother and father. This works well and flows nicely. This book also does a better job of recapping in a way that you could read it as a standalone, but it is really a continuation of book two. In fact, at this point book one is the anomaly except that Lucas and Ryan are funding the adventures.

Lucas, Ryan, Ben, and Ethan have started an investigation firm to help find missing children. Zach wants to work with them to help, so I expect Cameron will too. The next book seems like it’s going to feature Alec finally, the now former FBI agent we met in book two. This series seems like it will go back into the action adventure mode previously established, but it was nice to get a bit of a breather here–there was action, but it was a smaller part of the overall story about two men who want to move on with their lives and leave their bad past behind.

The cover art is by Natasha Snow. The models’ pose with the jacket is a little strange but I like the rest of the cover. The bottom has echos of Zach’s nightmares. With Cameron being a helicopter pilot and Zach wanting to learn, it has the look of them flying off into the sunset together.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 29th 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949909081
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Until You #3

A Jeri Review : Hug It Out (Haven Hart Universe #2) by Davidson King

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This book really surprised me. In a good way. I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did for a couple of reasons. The first was total bias- a new author. She wrote one book before this that I didn’t read because new author. I’ll get to the second.

Teddy is a professional companion and hugger. Yes, you read that right- a hugger. Sounds cheesy, but the more I read into his meanings for starting his business, it totally made sense. And it could have been so cheesy- but it wasn’t. He wasn’t this overly optimistic happy guy. He was just a regular guy with an odd profession.

Riordan can safely be called a vehement non-hugger. In fact, unbeknownst to his family, he is a professional assassin. But after a job goes wrong, he takes a hiatus from the job. But he is holed up in his house, no friends, withdrawing more and more. So his sister hires Teddy to move in and help Riordan for a month.

We should not late Riordan. He is mean and nasty. He kills people for a living. He takes a gruesome souvenir from each of his kills.This is the second reason I didn’t expect to like it. I mean, GRUESOME. And yet…you kind of feel badly for him.

There is absolutely no reason that Teddy and Riordan should work. Total opposites. Warm and fuzzy versus cold and hard. But, they do. Color me shocked.

The plot line was interesting, the sex and relationship were hot and I didn’t figure out who the Big Bad (Buffy reference) was until it was almost revealed.

So I know that this author is a huge MM fan. And to bastardize a Quentin Tarantino quote “she didn’t go to book school, she read books”.

And yes, I am definitely going back to read book 1 and I look forward to book 3.

Cover art while dark seems perfect for the story.

Sales Links:

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2GqNjbC

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2GKqrHh

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published March 2018
Original TitleHug It Out
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHaven Hart Universe #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Bone to Pick by T.A. Moore and Michael Fell (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This is a highly enjoyable, very-difficult-to-solve mystery adventure. Both MCs have issues with relationships so though they don’t want romance, they do have sexual chemistry and they act on it.  Plus, there’s a dog—a police dog named Bo—who stole the show, as far as I’m concerned. 

Children have gone missing over the past ten years, not often enough or apparently connected enough for anyone to link them until the recent disappearance of a ten-year-old boy.  FBI agent Javi Merlo is assigned to the case and he’s not particularly happy about working with a dog and his cop handler.  But that’s too bad because not only does Cloister Witte have plenty of experience with his dog, he also has personal experience with the disappearance of his own brother many years ago—a brother who was never found.  But he’s dedicated and committed to his task and won’t stop until he finds the boy—dead or alive.

Javi doesn’t trust Cloister, though, and continually pushes him away from the case, but Cloister plods along following his own leads and his two-plus-two investigation style eventually leads to four. This isn’t a typical romance, and in fact, it ends with the case solved and with the men in bed, but not in love, so it’s a HFN at best.  But it honestly doesn’t matter because the mystery itself is so good. It’s exciting and fast-paced with just the right amount of snarky ’tude from both MCs.  And, of course, the dog is the hero at the end of the story so the dog lover in me was quite happy. 

The narrator was new to me and he did a very good job with the voices, which were definitely different and easy to pick out.  On the other hand, I hated the voice he gave to the mother of the missing boy—I wanted to smack her so bad. She was entitled and bitchy and nasty and the voice he gave her fit her personality like a glove.  So yes, he did a good job—enough to evoke a lot of emotion from me, so that’s a win in my book. 

I highly recommend this audiobook version to those who enjoy an interesting whodunit topped off with two sexy law enforcement MCs and a dog named Bo.   

Cover art:  Anne Cain.  Love the cover. Interesting and it pulls your eye into the character and details.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Length: 9 hrs 

Audible Audio
Published February 22nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 14th 2017)
Original TitleBone to PicksettingSan Diego, California (United States)
California (United States)

Chris E. Saros on Writing, Research, and her first novel Semblance by Chris E. Saros (excerpt and giveaway)

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Semblance by Chris E. Saros
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Buy Links:

DSPPublications  |  Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Chris E. Saros here today on tour with her first novel Semblance. Welcome, Chris.

 

Hello! Chris E. here to say “hi!” and introduce myself. Semblance is my first published work and I am very proud of it, had a wonderful time writing it, and can’t wait to share it with all of you! Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for this wonderful opportunity.

How much of yourself goes into a character?
Basically, all of my characters are at least a little piece of me. How could they not be? They came from the
depths of my imagination. However, it is amazing how much a character can take on its own life. You can write a scene and the character will do something or say something that totally shocks you. That is the true test to prove the character has become their own person.

Character development is hard though, and maintaining individuality is a practiced art. I remember one of the first short stories I wrote, all the characters were just different versions of me. The main character was me but then the secondary character was the me that said all the things I wanted to say but the real me was too cautious or shy to say it. Then the supporting characters were all me in places I wanted to be. After I reread it, I decided there was not enough diversity to take the story further. Every character was essentially the same! It was a learning experience and one I needed to be able to grow into the author I am today.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Basically, I write what I want to read. I have a true love for men with guns (fictional guns – I’d probably faint in real life), a whole lot of confidence, derisive wit, and just a touch of vulnerability. I mean, doesn’t that just seem hot? However, I have zero knowledge about guns. They scare me in real life and I have never shot one. I did a bit of research into them and have a standing appointment with a friend to take me shooting so I can experience the kick and power first hand. I am pretty apprehensive about that research.

The problem with research, or I guess I should clarify, the problem with online research, is that it can, many times, take you down a rabbit hole. I will start researching what kind of drug they use to sedate a patient in a hospital, next thing you know I am signing up to become a wildlife rehabilitator and learning Hindi. Main thodi thodi Hindi samajti hoon. So, I can’t imagine what my writing schedule would be like if I had to rely on research to write, say a historical drama. I try to stick to what I know as much as possible and then research the small questions, this helps keep me on task.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I think everyone to an extent likes happy ever afters and happy for nows to a degree. We like to end with a positive feeling because so many of us read to escape because we don’t want to focus on the bad or end in the sad. However, one of the things I love about books that don’t have HFNs or HEAs is that it comes unexpectedly. We are so used to the happy ending, we go into the story and even though the possibility is there, we don’t expect the main character to die or the love to simply fall apart to some unfulfilling end. We expect the best to happen. Part of the anticipation is the speculation on how the story will work out in the end because there is no way you can see it having a happy ending the way it’s currently progressing. But, what a shockingly wonderful surprise when things end on a completely unexpected note.  And sometimes you need a good tragedy to help you truly appreciate the happy endings.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I have always been a fan of romance, only not usually for romance’s sake. I like romance, but I am much more interested in the surrounding story. I am more of an action girl myself but throw in a sweet love story to go with it and I am hooked.

As a teenager I was reading everything from RL Stein, Christopher Pike, Stephen King, VC Andrews, Norah Roberts, and David Morrell. It is quite the variety. As an adult I have very similar tastes maybe a little more expanded. As an adult I go through romance kicks more often than I used to. That goes for books and movies. Every once in a while, you just have to get a Nicholas-Sparks-style cry on (I can’t be the only one he reduces to blubbering tears…right?).

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I was incredibly skeptical of the ebook format when it came out. My dad had bought me a Kindle for Christmas when it was the big new thing and I returned it. I couldn’t imagine reading something that didn’t smell like paper. I liked to touch the pages in my hands and hold the book, it just felt more personal. But then there were a couple of books that I wanted to read that were only in ebook format. I reluctantly downloaded the kindle and nook apps on my phone and started reading.

What a change. Suddenly paper books felt like 50-pound weights. They are clunky and awkward and don’t have the convenience of a library at my fingertips.

I still have a precious few books that I can’t imagine reading in ebook format because I have such fond memories of reading it for the first time. And, while I still have a large library of paper books but a lot of the time I opt for the easy route and do the ebook. I am also a big fan of the buy the paper book get the ebook free. I think that is a wonderful way to enjoy the reading experience in both formats. You can have the convenience if you want it, but you can also feel the book in your hands and enjoy the words on a complete organic level.

 

Blurb:

Drake isn’t looking for justice. He’s not interested in doing what’s right. He’s after one thing and one thing only: revenge. That means taking down the Boredega drug cartel—and the shadowy, seemingly invincible man who heads it—even if he goes down with them.

Drake plans to destroy the cartel from within, and he uses his nightclub, Semblance, as a front for money laundering and drug trafficking. He’s sacrificed almost everything to complete his mission, and just as he’s getting close, he’s derailed by flirtatious bartender Scotty, who offers Drake a glimpse of the happiness he’s missed by pursuing a personal vendetta. Scotty might be irresistible, but Drake has come too far to turn back now. He’ll have to find a way to keep Scotty safe, fend off persistent prostitute Natasha, feed tips to the authorities, and edge his way closer to the upper echelon of the cartel, where he can finally strike. He’ll need to do it all while keeping his intentions covert—and he’s not the only one at Semblance with secrets.

Excerpt:

He found him in the back room leaning over a shelf, reading the labels on a couple of bottles. Drake took a second to admire the scene, drinking in the long powerful legs and the nice tight ass showcased by the black pair of slacks that pulled snugly in all the right places. It took everything he had in him not to reach out and touch Scotty. The lure to do so was strong, but he squelched his temptation. There wasn’t time for such distractions.

Clearing his throat, he stepped into the room and leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest. Scotty quickly stood at the sound and picked one of the bottles he had been reading.

“Yes, my liege?” Drake asked. He couldn’t keep the amusement from his voice.

Scotty’s brow shot up into his hairline. “Are you really going to act like there isn’t a big problem hanging out behind the bar?”

“Big problem?” Drake said, playing dumb.

Scotty’s glum look didn’t lighten at all with Drake’s humor but instead darkened a degree. He took a step toward Drake and pointed the bottle at him like a large scolding finger. “That kid shouldn’t be behind the bar! He doesn’t have the first clue about what’s going on. He’s never mixed a drink before in his life, and he thinks he’s Jerry Thomas.”

“Who?”

“Jerry Thomas! Blue Blazer? He used to…. No, never mind. It doesn’t matter. The point is, the kid shouldn’t be behind the bar. He should be out waiting tables or something.”

“Aw, give the kid a shot. He’s only been at it a few days. I’m sure he’ll catch on. Besides, I don’t foresee him staying on the job for a long time.”

“Great! So he’s another one that I get the pleasure of training and as soon as they start to catch on, they up and leave? Really?”

Drake shrugged. They always did fine even with Tony’s boys cluttering up space. He made sure to schedule an extra hand while they were working to pick up any slack.

Scotty sighed at Drake’s shrug. “If you were just going to hire whatever crazy wackadoos that wanted a job, why did you take all the time and effort to interview me?”

“Wait,” Drake said, holding up a hand, “can we take a minute to appreciate the fact that you used the term ‘wackadoo’ in a sentence?”

“Drake!”

“Okay! I’m sorry. I am. But I told Frankie that I would give the kid a shot. Besides, he has been helpful on the busy nights at least busing. He’s only broken about six bottles and four glasses. And I took half his tips to pay for those. So, I’m sure he will start to get the picture.”

Scotty let out another drawn-out sigh and grabbed another bottle to go with the first.

“I took so long interviewing you for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I wanted someone who had excellent skills behind the bar and would be able to handle any crazy ‘wackadoos’ that may end up back there with them. I needed someone with both a great disposition and work ethic to handle whatever problems may transpire. You fit the bill. I have faith that you can handle any piece of work that comes trotting into this club.”

Scotty’s face slowly lost the tight lines creasing his forehead as Drake spoke, his glare lessening into more of a frown than a full-on glower.

“Fine, I’ll put up with him for a while longer.”

“Okay, good, because I wasn’t really giving you a choice,” Drake said, a teasing lilt to his voice. He started to head back out front to make sure everything was set for the day but turned when Scotty said his name. “Yes?”

Scotty was looking down, kicking at a piece of paper or some other speck on the floor. He looked like a small schoolboy playing innocent. After a moment of silence, Scotty lifted his head just enough to peer through his bangs with a face that belied any innocence Drake might have seen in him. The look was pure seduction.

“Don’t think that I don’t remember about our unfinished business.”

“Un-uh.” Drake had to clear his throat before continuing. Man, he had the most beautiful eyes. He could get lost in them. Scratch that—he was already lost in them.

What was going on? Oh, right. “Unfinished business?”

Walking close enough to put a hand on Drake’s chest, Scotty smiled. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. You said you had a lot on your plate, so I’m giving you time to work through it, but we’ll finish what we started.”

About the Author

Chris E. Saros lives in the beautiful Mitten State, surrounded by the exhilaration of the Great Lakes. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading, ministering to her cats’ needs, and watching TV. An avid traveler, she loves immersing herself in different cultures, discovering new foods, and meeting new people. Always game for a new adventure, she covets stimulating experiences such as working on locally filmed movies, coaching students in after-school activities, and spending time spoiling and sugaring-up her nieces and nephew to keep her status as “the fun aunt.” Though ideally an optimist, Chris E. is intrigued by the darkness life has to offer. Using writing as an outlet for her darker nature, she loves constructing characters and tossing them into dangerous situations, just to see what happens.

Social Media:

Giveaway

ebook giveaway for Semblance the author’s  first book. Leave a comment  about, “What was the wildest rabbit hole you followed while researching something specific on the web?”.  Make sure you leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Second from The Vault

Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.

The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

I loved the first story in The Vault series, A Day Makes, so I couldn’t wait to see what the sequel would bring.  Late in the Day brings into focus a character we’ve met before in other stories,  not just A Day Makes. Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne, these are all names that Darius Hawthorne has gone by at one stage of his life or another.  In a series of flashbacks throughout the story, much like the first novel, we see the progression of events that lead up to the man Darius is when the story opens.

It’s an effective format and one that pulled me in immediately.

Mary Calmes engages her reader on many levels from the opening scene.  We’re let into a moment fraught with danger, we understand the personalities of the men involved, and the author sets out an explosive start for her tale that pulls us in emotionally and intellectually.  And then starts to explore why this event has so much impact to Darius and his future.

This author also does lovers reunited like nobody’s business.  That would include Efrem Lahm, the one man that Darius fell deeply in love with and never got over.  The  effect on the reader of these two men meeting again is so strong, so vivid it’s almost gut wrenching. I love it when an author can pull that sort of emotional response from me, making me aware of how powerful a ground shift it would be for a character to see this man again. Mary Calmes does it here…over and over.  And not just from Darius.

Along with the romance, there’s suspense, action, and, yes, humor albeit on the darkish side.  Yes, I think this book and series really has it all going for it with fascinating characters, a complicated series foundation, and outstanding cast of characters.  What this book is not is a standalone novel.  Late in the Day exists within a specific universe, that has its own framework of morality, carefully interlocking family of characters, and even other stories that can be joined to this by weaponry.  Don’t miss out on the note at the end for other stories by Mary Calmes that will connect with this one.

At the end of the novel, I was so happy that I was ready to go back to the beginning of the series and read through the two books all over again.  I can’t wait to see where the author is taking this series next.  Until then, I highly recommend you read Late in the Day if you’ve read A Day Makes, and both books if you are new to the series.  If you are a Mary Calmes fan, you are already ahead of me.

Cover art by Reese Dante is perfect for the character and makes a stunning cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635339802
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series The Vault :

A Day Makes (The Vault, #1)
Late in the Day (The Vault, #2) 

In the Spotlight: Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott (excerpt)

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alpha-delta-by-rj-scott

Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott
L
ove Lane Books

This book was previously published with All Romance Publishing. There are no additions to the original story, just a change of cover art but due to the demise of All Romance, if you have already purchased this title and require a copy, please email Rachel (rjscott.team@gmail.com) with proof of purchase and she will send you a replacement.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

The Book 

Officer Finn Hallan has never run from a fight. With Niall’s life and love at stake, he’s not about to start now…

Finn Hallan is a member of the elite Norwegian Emergency Response Unit, code name Delta. When the team is sent to respond to a hostage situation on a Oil Platform in the Norwegian Sea, he has to face demons he thought he had buried a long time ago.

Scottish engineer Niall Faulkner’s skills in oil platform decommissioning takes him to the Forseti platform at the worst possible time. When he’s captured by terrorists, his only thought is that he will never get to tell his lover how he really feels.

Can Finn keep Niall alive? Or will they both die at the hands of hijackers in the frigid waters of the Norwegian sea?

Excerpt

Chapter 1

The call came in just past fourteen hundred hours, Erik beating him to ops by about two seconds, both men pulling on vests and arranging holsters.

Finn had been reading, spending the quiet down time before dinner trying to get his head around some of the shit that had gone down today. Time at the Urskar training facility was hard work but it wasn’t hard physical work that was bugging Finn. He knew exactly what it was.

Niall.

They’d talked this morning; he was working on the Forseti platform in the Heidrun oilfield for the next few weeks. They wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while, and that was fine. Finn was good with that. Of course, he didn’t like the fact Finn was flying in this weather. The storm passing through near the Forseti platform was a big one. And yes, he had to admit to himself he’d checked. And that was the problem. He’d checked the storm, he’d worried about the flight, and he was already missing the feisty, nerdy, sexy engineer enough to have it consuming his thoughts. All the what-ifs and the whens, and mostly the whys. He didn’t usually do serious, but Niall could make him change his mind. One guy with a soft voice and a wicked mouth comes along and suddenly Finn was losing control of his touch but don’t keep policy.

Then, this morning he’d fucked up. Big time.

He hadn’t been paying attention and he’d seriously blown things in training. He’d let his guard down and got a helmet full of pink dye with a spot-on head shot from a crowing Erik. It wasn’t so much the kill shot, it was why Finn had been distracted. He’d been thinking about Niall, and not in the I want to fuck that sideways kind of way, but in an I hope he’s okay and I’ll miss him kind of way.

Then Erik had to go and manage to kill him. It was the first time Erik had ever gotten the drop on Finn in training. It had taken three hair washes and vigorous scrubbing to get the pink out of his hair and off his left temple.

Fucker.

When they reached the briefing room Erik grinned at him, that shit-eating grin that told Finn he wouldn’t be living it down that Erik’s team had taken first blood in the mini war game they were taking part in. The grin didn’t last long, subsiding as soon as Cap walked in. After all, it didn’t matter what had happened this morning; now they were all about whatever had caused them to be alerted.

“About thirty minutes ago four bodies were found at the Grane oil terminal, identified as security assigned to the NorsDev Forseti Platform.”

Cap stared straight at Finn and for a brief moment Finn wasn’t really understanding the words. Then one thing hit him square in the chest. Forseti. That was where Niall was.

Rising to his feet he didn’t know what to say as fear gripped him. “Four?”

“We have reason to believe these four men were replaced so that a team of hijackers could get onto Forseti.”

“That’s being decom’d.” Erik sounded puzzled. “What kind of collateral does an empty oil platform have?”

“Only four?” Finn interjected. “What about the engineers? Niall Faulkner and his brother Ewan?”

Erik looked up at him and Finn could see the moment the information made sense in his head.

“Fuck. Niall is on Forseti?”

“Both of them… Niall and Ewan. Did they go? Does someone know if he…?” The rest of the team all stared at him, Cap included, and Finn realized he was coming off as a mad man. He subsided. No one could get information out if Finn was raving like a fucking lovesick moron.

“The pilots are back, they took one engineer and four security replacements. So, souls on the platform are one engineer, six skeleton crew, and the four security replacements. Eleven souls in all.”

The bottom fell out of Finn and dread stole his breath. Was it Niall or Ewan on Forseti? With who? Terrorists?

“Intel is showing no communications, or demands, but chatter has it that this is an isolated cell connected to the Hofstad Network out of Denmark.” Cap slid his finger on the laptop and the screen changed behind him to show four faces. Three fair-haired, one dark, all in fatigues with long addendums at the bottom of the photo. Ex-Marine, one former SAS. The names a blur. Except for one.

Svein Roberg.

“He’s dead,” Erik said in disbelief, echoing Finn’s thoughts exactly. Roberg had a long history of fighting the good fight for whichever side paid him most. Ex-Special Forces, he had finally been taken down by the ERU two years before, just after Finn joined the team. In fact, it had been Finn who faced him down after tracking him to a small holding in Alta. They’d chased him to the Alta Dam, where the murdering fucker had died.

The bastard had tried extortion in the name of environmental concern and had killed three oil workers in an explosion at one of the dry land containment depots. Finn would never forget Svein’s face. He didn’t even fight when Erik and Finn had him cornered, simply dropped his weapon and raised his hands.

In the best traditions of all grandstanding bad guys he laughed then said, “I live to fight another day,” repeating this over and over as he fell to his knees. There had been madness in his words, and cunning in his silver eyes. Only when Finn had stepped forward did the madness manifest in a blur of motion, the two men grappling for the weapon and a bullet leaving Finn’s gun and carving into Svein’s neck, blood spurting. Time had slowed and Finn had watched in horror and a curious fascination as the terrorist leaped in a grotesque twist of muscles over the dam wall and down into the churning water below.

“They never found his body,” Finn said softly. But Finn hadn’t cared then. The fucker had a bullet in his neck and had fallen over six hundred feet. He had to have been dead.

“Until four weeks ago his file was silent, but chatter indicated there was movement and he was implicated right in the center of it all.”

“And no one thought to brief us?” Finn demanded hotly. “Why the fuck not?”

Several others in the team, Erik included, added their alarm.

Cap held up a hand and quieted the room. “Wheels up in ten,” he said.

And that was it. They knew nothing. They didn’t know why Forseti was the platform involved or why Svein Roberg had shown up. But, whatever information they received, they would be ready for action when they knew what the hell to do.

Erik grabbed his arm as Finn made to leave. “Finn?” he asked. The question was loaded. It was, are you sure you’re okay, do you know the man you’ve been seeing is on Forseti, and can you handle this, all wrapped up in one word.

Finn nodded. Didn’t matter how he felt or what he actually said to voice any of it, he was going with the team and he wasn’t putting doubt in Erik’s head.

“Let’s get this done.”

Author Bio

RJ Scott is the bestselling author of over one hundred romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the partners who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

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A MelanieM Review: Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

alpha-delta-by-rj-scottOfficer Finn Hallan has never run from a fight. With Niall’s life and love at stake, he’s not about to start now.

N.B. Originally published with All Romance, this edition features the same story with new cover art

Finn Hallan is a member of the elite Norwegian Emergency Response Unit, code name Delta. When the team is sent to respond to a hostage situation on an Oil Platform, he has to face demons he thought he had buried a long time ago.

Scottish engineer Niall Faulkner’s skills in oil platform decommissioning takes him to the Forseti platform at the worst possible time. When he’s captured by terrorists, his only thought is that he will never get to tell his lover how he really feels.

Can Finn keep Niall alive? Or will they both die at the hands of hijackers in the frigid waters of the Norwegian sea?

Word Count: 21,000

Alpha Delta by R.J. Scott is an enjoyable action/adventure yarn for all of its short pages.  In short order, Scott sets us  up with the couple, Finn Hallan and Niall Faulkner in meet and set off sparks situation and then waits for the explosives to go off. Literally. Finn, the tough op and Niall, the engineer who decommissions oil platforms is an unusual couple to begin with so I liked them immediately. I don’t know where Scott gets her idea for their professions (and then sticks them together) but I like it.  Both men are skilled and smart and that’s alluring to them and myself as a reader.

I also enjoyed the “green factor” here behind decommissioning the oil platforms, Nice to get some facts and background behind such an huge endeavor even in such a short story.  There are some narrative holes here.  Alpha Delta was a part of a series originally published by the now gone ARe and its other stories presumably carried some of the information needed about the “villain” of this story and the back history with Finn Hallan.  We get some of it, true but more is clearly needed. So while its listed as a stand alone, that’s not entirely true.    This edition does suffer from the same ARe faults that I found as other ARe stories.  A lack of thorough editing.  In one instance, one character name was continually used in a scene in a hospital bed when another was clearly meant.  One man’s name was used throughout the scene instead of bringing in Niall’s when needed.  A good editor or any editor would have caught that, an problem that pops up less here than in other ARe stories but still it rendered what should have been a tender scene into a confusing one.

That aside, there’s some wonderful suspense-filled and thriller moments here.  I wish the story had been enlarged and revised.  Its worth it.  As it is, I enjoyed it but it could have been a terrific RJ Scott book, and maybe even a series.  These two make quite the duo.

Cover art works for the story and character.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 63 pages
Published January 2nd 2017 by Love Lane Books Ltd (first published February 2nd 2015)
ASINB01NBQZ7HE
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Honey Trap by Fyn Alexander

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

honey-trap-by-fyn-alexanderWhen Scarlett and Ronin, two very beautiful individuals, approach Julian May, he cannot believe his luck. Having albinism and being somewhat shy, he doesn’t usually get attractive people approaching him. Being gay, he falls in love with Ronin, only to find out that Ronin and Scarlett are the same person and that they made a play for him as part of a honey trap.

 

All hell breaks loose as an angry and betrayed Julian refuses to have anything more with Ronin/Scarlett. Meanwhile Julian needs to rescue an old lover who is stuck in a prison in Afghanistan and the only person willing or able to help him is Ronin. Despite Ronin’s jealously when he sees Julian and his former boyfriend together, he does not give up on trying to win Julian’s heart. Little does he know, he already has it.

 

This was an intriguing story that kept moving.  MI-6 has been using Ronin as Scarlett as part of honey traps, but he lets his emotions get in the way when he is told to get to know Julian.  Julian is content with his life, hiding who he really is from his family and acquaintances, but starts to see a reason for something more when he is with Ronin.

 

Julian is confused by his reaction to Scarlett; he has never been attracted to a woman before.  He becomes a bit confused when he meets Ronin’s family and they are very similar to how Scarlett described her family.  Ronin isn’t willing to let Julian go after he finds out and puts himself in danger to keep Julian safe.

 

Julian is so sweet and really innocent it’s hard not to love him and know how he feels.  When he finally feels as if he has found what he always wanted his reality comes crashing down around him.  Ronin knows the real Julian and you can feel his determination that he can break through the wall Julian puts up after he is hurt.  We could clearly see how hard being Scarlett and Ronin for Julian was and how conflicted he was with his job.  I love how supportive Ronin’s family is of his gender fluidity, but didn’t really like Julian’s attitude toward it; granted he had been hurt, but he doesn’t seem like he even tries to understand.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is wonderful gives great visuals of the main characters.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages

Published: October 4, 2016 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682521984

Edition Language: English

A Caryn Review: Morning My Angel (Angel Enterprises #1) by Sue Brown

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

e50f3-morning2bmy2bangel2bjpgYou gotta love thrillers with snarky protagonists!  Josh Cooper works for CDR, a security company in Seattle that usually provides bodyguards and such to celebrities, but he and his team have been sent to London for a special assignment.  This job is more of an investigation than what they usually do, and they first have to find their mark, before they can protect him.  CDR has contracted with a London based company to assist them, and set Josh’s team up with an equivalent team there.  From the beginning, there is mistrust and animosity as both teams – as well as various London law enforcement agencies – battle over turf and refuse to share information.

Josh is unapologetically out, gay, and willing to hit on anybody who is attractive – gay or straight – sometimes to get laid, but mostly because he just loves to get a rise out of people.  He is snarky, abrasive, has a massive caffeine addiction, and proud that everyone at CDR knows him as an asshole, but an asshole who gets things done.  About two years prior to the events of this book, after an accidental message, he started up a virtual friendship with a man whom he dubbed “Charlie” who called Josh “Angel”.  Yes, there are mentions of Farrah Fawcett in here and references to the original TV series!  Josh comes to regard Charlie as a close friend, confides in him, is happy every time Charlie contacts him, and realizes that he is falling in love with him.  Now he just needs to find out Charlie’s identity so they can get together in real life.

The pace of the book was fast and exciting, both the investigation and the romance, and I basically read it in one sitting.  Just when I thought that the action was peaking and the book was wrapping up, I’d realize I was far from the end, and the plot would take another twist.  Some of those were very predictable (Charlie’s true identity was pretty obvious to everyone but Josh), but I have to admit the big reveal at the end really surprised me.

There were a lot of loose ends that weren’t completely tied up at the end of the book, which would have been disappointing, until I realized this would be the first of a series.  Josh and Charlie don’t get their HEA, but they definitely have a HFN and the set up for more danger and adventure in the next installment.  This is a series I am going to enjoy reading!  It reminded me a little of the Shadow of the Templar by M. Chandler, for those who enjoyed that series.

The cover art by Meredith Russell made me think of an entirely different story – the model looks like a mild mannered software engineer looking out over Seattle instead of who I imagined Josh to be, and even had a beard that Josh certainly didn’t have.  The book reads like a thriller, and the cover doesn’t convey that at all.

Sales Links

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A MelanieM Review: No Place Left to Run by Zarah Detand

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Rating:  2.75 stars out of 5

No Place Left To RunAfter a lengthy world tour, pop star Samuel Gibbs is looking forward to a nice, quiet break—sleep in, write a bit of music, do his own cooking for a change. He doesn’t want his time spoiled by the constant presence of bodyguards, and he is certainly not willing to have someone tail him each time he so much as goes to the shops. No way, no how. It’s a good thing, then, that his head of security relents on the matter—or so he leads Samuel to believe.

The break is starting to look even better when Samuel runs into his new neighbor. Ryan Halston is smart and hot and, quite possibly, everything Samuel wants. However, he doesn’t know that Ryan is part of the rejected security detail, tasked with protecting him from the dangerous attentions of an unknown stalker.

No Place Left To Run by Zarah Detand  had a promising plot but I found the author’s  characters and lack of continuity kept her story from coming close to achieving the potential it promised.

You can forgive a story many things if you believe in its characters and that’s a hard thing to do here, starting with Ryan.  Ryan Halston, age 24,  is supposed to be an accomplished bodyguard, nerves of steel, best in the business. etc. The author spends time framing out the man’s character and background and then uses the rest of the book to ignore everything they established.  Ryan is acts one way on one page and then can appear to have an entire different persona on another.  And Ryan’s lack of a solid characterization extends to others.  From Gary to the bodyguard Mike, the author spends time and many descriptions “telling” the reader how responsible and remarkable they are at their jobs, then proceeds the demonstrate just the opposite in the events that occur.  Mike seems to act more like a smitten kitten and Gary?  His actions felt the very antithesis of someone trying to protect this client.  One after the other, Detand’s characterizations were so flexible that they became unrecognizable as real or believable.  And don’t get me started on their timelines.  If ever there was an author in need of a storyboard, it is this one.  Ryan is 24, Sam is 20, Ryan said he lost his  parents when he was 13 in the  early 90’s, but the time frame of this story is now.  See the problem?  You can delve further into the dates but it just gets worse.

Samuel Gibbs is a rocker but that aspect of the story is missing.  We get little of the reason Sam is a rock star, his love of music, what drives him. We do get his exhaustion, his age (20), his friends like Sumi.  But again, it all feels as though we are left needing more of his character.

The resolution and the reveal is possibly the worst thing about the story.   Not just the person, but the way it happens and the aftermath.  It finishes off what little is left of several characterizations here, and continues on with an Epilogue which is really just another chapter.  Does the author not understand what an epilogue is?

This is the first story that I’ve read by this author, so I will see what else they have on their shelf.  I try not to judge on one book alone.  I only wish I had liked the story as much as I had liked the synopsis and the cover.

Cover artist Paul Richmond.  I like the cover. It contains an element of the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published March 25th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781632165404
edition language English