Excerpt & Review: Pike by TM Frazier

PIKE
Series: The Pawn Duet #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: TM Frazier
Release Date: March 24, 2020

Pike, the first dark and fast-paced story in The Pawn Duet from USA Today bestselling author T.M. Frazier, is available now!

I was raised by the violent laws of the streets, spilling blood without the hindrance of useless emotions or connections.

Unfeeling. Unloved. Alone.

My life was perfect.

Until her.

While on a manhunt for a mysterious enemy, one hellbent on taking both my business and my life, I find Mickey. She’s covered in mud, rambling nonsense, and clearly out of her mind.

She’s also a distraction I don’t need.

That is until I discover a connection between the girl and my enemy.

Mickey isn’t a distraction anymore.

She’s the perfect weapon.

One I’ll use to exact my revenge.

The plan is an easy one, but there’s something about Mickey that’s making it more and more difficult.

A familiarity I can’t place. A need I can’t explain.

A want I have to deny.

After all, she’s not mine to keep. She’s a tool. My pawn.

My sacrifice.

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I raise the gun in both hands, aiming it at his chest. “I have to go. You can’t stop me,” I say, with all the resolve I have left. “You’re going to trade me and ambush them, but don’t you think they have the same plans for you? I have to go, and that way, fewer people will die. YOU won’t die. So, just let me leave. I have a plan. It will work. I’ll take them down for both of us.”“No.” Pike looks from me to the gun. “And as I’ve told you before, you’re not going anywhere.” His words are dark and menacing. An amused smile turns up the corners of his lips.

It’s infuriating. He’s infuriating.

I straighten my shoulders. “What’s so funny?” I ask, swallowing down the rising fear in my throat. I remind myself of one important fact to keep from choking on that fear.

I’m the one holding the gun.

Instead of freezing or retreating as one would do in this situation, Pike takes a bold step forward, catching me off guard. I stagger backward, but I’m not fast enough. He reaches out, and at first, I think he’s going for the weapon, but he doesn’t. He confuses me as he wraps his hands around mine, tightening my grip around the gun. He lifts my hands and bends slightly at the waist, forcefully pressing the barrel against his forehead. “You wanna shoot me, Mic? Then, fucking shoot me,” he dares, with wild blood shoot eyes.

My mouth drops open, but words don’t come out. I expected Pike to defend himself. To come at me. To step aside and let me leave, even though it was the least possible of all the outcomes. I didn’t plan for this.

I can do this. I have to do this.

“Not what you were expecting?” His tone is both mocking and rage-filled. “I know what that pretty brain of yours is thinking. You want me to attack you and make pulling the trigger easier on that conscious of yours.” He bites out a laugh. “Not gonna happen. If you want to do this, I’m not going to stand in your way, but you’re not fucking leaving either. So, come on. Shoot me. Go ahead. Do what you planned to do.” His eyes narrow with determination. My hands shake in his. “Pull the fucking trigger!”

The air around us is thick and charged. My skin breaks out in a sheen of sweat. My adrenaline spikes and I feel all too alert. Too aware of what’s taking place between us.

I grip the gun tighter and gaze into his dark eyes, his pupils are large and covering every hint of color within them. Behind the anger and determination, there’s something else that I didn’t expect. Something that I’m all too familiar with. Hurt. Pain that mirrors my own. Desperation that calls out to me like a piece of my soul trapped within Pike.

“Shoot me!” he cries, his face red with anger, teeth bared like a wild animal. “Fucking shoot me!”

With those words, my fiery resolve dissolves into ash.

I step back, needing to put some distance between us, but Pike doesn’t have the same thought. He follows me backward, keeping his grip tight on my hands and the gun between them.

“I…I can’t do this,” I whisper, releasing my grip on the gun.

Pike releases his hold on me, catching the gun before it can fall to the floor.

Shit.

I look to the window, but it’s too high, and Pike is directly in front of the only door. There’s no escape. So much for being brave. Instead, I’ve signed my own death warrant. My heart races erratically with the realization that this is it. It’s over.

I’m over.

“This was a really stupid fucking move for someone who claims to be so smart, ” Pike sneers. He raises the gun.

I pinch my eyes shut, waiting for the feel the bullet of his wrath to pierce my skin. I hear a thud, and my eyes fly open and land on the carpet where Pike’s tossed the gun to the floor.

My eyes meet his in silent question. Why?

He answers by charging, a one-man stampede I can’t avoid as he barrels toward me. His chest crashes against mine, and my head connects with the wall with a thud that rattles my bones. I’m dizzy as fear lands in my gut like a ball of fire. My pulse races as his closeness consumes me. The smell of cologne and cigarettes lingers between us—a trace of whiskey on his breath.

“You’re going to regret not pulling that trigger,” he sneers. The darkness in Pike’s eyes tells me that, gun or no gun, I’m not getting out of this unpunished.

Or possibly even alive.

I swallow hard.

He cages me in with his hands against the wall beside me, engulfing me in the heat and rage radiating from his hard body. I feel his heart beating fast beneath his chest now pressed against mine. “What to do with you now?” Pike muses, his breath ragged. His voice full of promise and warning. He brushes his lips over my temple. I tremble at the contact. “You’re going to pay for that little stunt, Mic.”

He’s close. Too close. I’m entirely rigid, frozen in place. This wasn’t supposed to happen. How did I let this happen? I’m the most terrified I’ve ever been, and yet there’s something else I can’t understand. Something else between us that’s charging the air, causing me to shake, and it’s not just from fear. Hatred mixed with need. The yearning I’ve denied for him is no longer lying dormant. It’s as real as the ache growing in my stomach, the wetness between my thighs. If I thought the room felt charged before, it’s damn near on fire now. The flames of desire and hate lick at the walls around us, setting everything ablaze, making the small room feel smaller, closing in around us.

My nipples harden as they brush against his chest. I suck in a gasp.

He doesn’t miss my reaction. He looks to where my nipples are straining against my shirt with heated eyes.

The only sound in the room is our mutual heavy breathing as he slowly pulls his gaze from my chest. His eyes lock on mine. For a few seconds, we just stare at each other—foreheads lined with confusion and anger.

A silent dare.

My mind, on the other hand, is anything but silent.

“Should I kill you or fuck you?” he muses. And I’m honestly not sure what scares me more. His anger or his desire. He brushes the backs of his knuckles against my jaw. “Maybe, both.”

“What do you—” I don’t have time to finish my question because his lips are on mine. He hoists me in the air, and my legs wrap around his waist on instinct.

It’s an angry joining of clacking teeth and biting lips. A war we are still fighting both with each other and ourselves. He growls at me when I pierce his lip, drawing blood. He licks the blood with his tongue then kisses me again, this time harder. A punishing kiss that has me growling at him in return. His coppery blood on my tongue tastes like victory. He licks his way between my lips, pushing his tongue into my mouth, licking and devouring with rough determined strokes. With a jerk of his hips, he presses the massive erection beneath his jeans between my legs, the pleasure that courses through me has me momentary seeing stars. I grind down on him in return.

He hisses in response, baring his teeth against my lips. “You’re going to pay for that, Mic,” he warns, taking my mouth in another kiss that has us grunting and growling at one another like starved animals fighting over the last scrap of food. But neither of us is about to give up. He pushes me back onto the bed, falling with me over my body, my legs splayed on both sides of his hips as he presses his cock again between my legs. I arch my back, needing to feel more. Needing for there to be nothing between us but desire. For each other, and to win. But, this is no longer a game we’re playing. It’s a battle. A war neither of us can win.

But, one in which we will both go down fighting.


Pike (The Pawn Duet, #1)Pike by T.M. Frazier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 STARS


When it comes to this girl, my instincts are at war. One tells me to punish. The other to protect. Only one can win.

It’s been a hot minute since I read a TM Frazier book and I can’t even tell you why. I love this woman’s brand of gritty and she knows how to deliver one deliciously dark romance that keeps you glued to the pages from beginning to finish.


Pike and I aren’t at war. We never were. We are what’s left over after the battle’s already been lost on both sides. We’re not soldiers. We’re carnage.

Pike and Mickey’s story absolutely owned me. Pike is not a good guy by any means. He’s a criminal who’s not above violence and torture to get what he wants. His past has painted his present, and he has no qualms about who he is.

Mickey is a survivor. The more you learn about her the more your heart breaks for everything that she’s been through. But it also makes you appreciate her tenacity and thirst for revenge. This is a woman that’s not afraid to fight her own battles and I loved that about her.

The story itself unravels almost like a movie reel before your eyes. Full of twists and turns it had me absolutely riveted. Pike was an anti-hero that I loved to hate and hate to love. He was perfection wrapped in barbed wire. I loved seeing all my previous faves (Preppy!! How I missed him) and many others make a cameo here.

There’s so much that happens and so much that’s left unanswered. Of course all of it is wrapped up with a killer cliffy that has you begging for more and desperate for the next book.

T.M. (Tracey Marie) Frazier never dreamed that a single person would ever read a word she wrote when she published her first book. Now, she is a five-time USA Today bestselling author and her books have been translated into numerous languages and published all around the world.

T.M. enjoys writing what she calls ‘sexy wrong side of the tracks romance’ with morally corrupt anti-heroes and ballsy heroines.

Her books have been described as raw, dark and gritty. Basically, what that means, is while some authors are great at describing a flower as it blooms, T.M. is better at describing it in the final stages of decay.

She loves meeting her readers, but if you see her at an event please don’t pinch her because she’s not ready to wake up from this amazing dream.

Connect with T.M. Frazier

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Review: Queen of Lies by Whitney G.

QUEEN OF LIES
Series: Empire of Lies #2
Genre: Dark, Contemporary Romance
Author: Whitney
Release Date: February 17, 2020

Book 2 in the Empire of Lies trilogy.

 

The twists and turns in Michael & Meredith’s story continue…

The woman I fell in love with is a walking contradiction…

She’s sexy as hell, yet infuriating.

Hopelessly in love with me, but carefully plotting to get the hell away.

She honestly thinks that I’m the ‘king of lies’?

Well, she f-cking fooled you…

 

She’s the queen.

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She was a mere chapter in my book and this is our final page. No happily ever after included.

I’ll keep this short and sweet. I devoured the first book. I was so sucked into this story, it’s not even funny. It had the delicious vibes of the Whitney G books I fell in love with in Reasonable Doubt: Full Series.

I devoured this too, but it was also missing something. Ultimately, with the short length of these books, I was hoping that each installment would offer more depth. But that wasn’t quite the case here. The story continues to move forward, but it’s too quick paced. I struggled with buying into the connection between Michael and Meredith. There’s simply not enough meat here for me to get fully invested. The bones are there. But it’s missing quite a bit of backstory. I’m hoping the final installment will bring that, but I just couldn’t help but feel this one merely grazed the surface of what it could have been

Review: King of Lies by Whitney G.

QUEEN OF LIES
Series:
Empire of Lies #1
Genre: Dark, Contemporary Romance
Author: Whitney
Release Date: January 30, 2020

The man I fell in love with is a f*cking liar…

I don’t have much time to reveal all the details, but I will say this: The “Woman disappears after wedding” and “Woman flees before honeymoon” headlines are lying.

I’m not missing.

I didn’t run away after my wedding.

I would’ve never run away right before our scheduled honeymoon.

My husband has taken me.

No, correction: He’s kidnapped me because he claims that “it’s what’s best”. That I’m a mere pawn in his twisted game of chess.

Despite the fact that my heart is still tethered to his, or the fact that he’s still the most gorgeous and beautiful man I’ve ever met in my life (he can still make me wet with a single sentence), I have to focus on getting away from him.

I have to accept that he’s no longer the man I fell in love with.

He’s the king of lies

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The man I married no longer exists. The king of my heart is long gone, and he wears a new name. He’s the king of lies.

Heed the warning! The author makes it very clear that this is a different book than what we’re used to from her and ends on a major cliff. She ain’t lying, people. This is certainly edgier than anything I’ve read of hers in the past. And having read her entire backlist, I really do mean that. It also held notes of the vintage Whitney G that I’ve missed since reading Reasonable Doubt and Turbulence.

The story features a mysterious and enigmatic anti-hero with a sexual prowess that practically sparks off of the pages. And you know I’m all about that! This is a somewhat short read and the story is broken into what’s planned to be a trilogy. It doesn’t look like we’re going to have to wait long between books either with the next one releasing in March.

Now what can I tell you without disclosing any spoilers for you? Umm…almost nothing. *sheepish grin*

I’ll tell you that I read this in one sitting. The story seems a bit convoluted at first, but Whitney brings a lot of the pieces together at the end while still leaving you desperate for answers. It’s told in alternating POVs with parts in present and the rest in the past leading up to the current events. The story is fed to the reader in short somewhat hazy glimpses. The anti-hero is deliciously dirty, as only Whitney knows how to deliver. We know next to nothing about him, except for the few small bits that are slowly disclosed.

The heroine is pretty easy to like from the very beginning. Perhaps because she’s so open about her sexuality. She’s been in a bit of a dry spell and isn’t above using Tinder to find a spark that will keep her warm for a night. She’s also an heiress that gave it all up to live a life of her own, until everything as she knows it comes crashing down when a short affair with a gorgeous stranger turns her work upside down.

It’s tough to rate this one with so many questions still up in the air, but it kept me glued to the pages and left me desperate for more. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Review & Excerpt: Mating Theory by Skye Warren

MATING THEORY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Skye Warren
Release Date: March 17

A Trust Fund Standalone Novel by New York Times bestselling author, Skye Warren

Billionaire Sutton Mayfair has nothing left to lose…

My best friend is getting married to the woman I love. They say the nice guy finishes last. So what’s the point of being a goddamn gentleman?

Maybe I should take what I want.

Even that sexy little thing on the street corner.

She needs a hot meal and a place to sleep. Instead I’m taking her home to soothe the savage beast inside me. I was born a bastard, and for the first time in my life I act like one.

Except the more I use her, the more I need her.

I didn’t know I had someone left to lose.

But for a single heartbeat, I had her.

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“Which one broke your heart?”I couldn’t describe the sledgehammer I’d taken to the brain when I met Christopher in a dimly lit private club. Too dark to be called lust or even love. Competitive and all-consuming. I couldn’t describe the desire that slammed through me when I met his stepsister.

There was no way I could choose between them, but it had not been a choice. They wanted each other. Electricity crackled in the air whenever they were in the same room.

Well, I could be happy for them.

That’s what a good man would do. A gentleman, and I’ve worked so fucking hard to pretend that’s what I am. Until the liquor stripped my skin away. Until this girl sat beside me, asking which one broke my heart. She watches me with clear eyes, her gaze impossibly wise. What does she see?

“Both of them.”

A sympathetic sound that feels like a stroke to my cock.

She doesn’t look shocked that I fell for a man, even though it shocked the hell out of me. I questioned my sexuality, fought with it—lost myself to it. Wanting Harper did not diminish wanting Christopher.

There’s something worldly in that dark gaze. Any other day I would find out what.

Tonight, I don’t care. She isn’t a person with wants and dreams and needs of her own. I’m going to use her body the same way they used mine. I’m going to take what they took from me.

“Your name,” I say, though it doesn’t really matter.

“Ashleigh.” She sounds uncertain for the first time tonight, her name drawn out into two parts. Ash, like the soot in a fireplace. And leigh, leigh, leigh. She’s beautiful, and I’m wasted.

“Come here, Ashleigh.” Except I don’t give her a chance to come here. She might use it to leave, to disappear down that metal staircase where I can’t follow.

My hand wraps behind her neck, pulling her close. My lips are harsh against hers, hungry and hard. I want to punish her for the emptiness inside me, except when she makes a little sound of fright, it fills me up with something else. Pleasure like black velvet, the kind of darkness I want to stroke my fingers over, back and forth, to feel the fibers pull against me.

Her shuddery breaths are like water, and I drink and drink. My tongue slides against hers. It’s a graphic act, this kiss. More obscene than actual sex could be. More invasive as I push her head back and explore her mouth, not waiting for permission, not leaving any place untouched.

I must taste like whiskey, but she doesn’t pull away.

I’m the one who breaks the kiss, panting hard. Liquid dark eyes stare up at me.

Surprise. More than that. There’s outright shock in her expression. Is she younger than I thought? More innocent than anyone I ever met? I should ask her about sex, but those aren’t the words that come out of my mouth. “Have you ever been in love, Ashleigh?”

A slow shake of her head. “No,” she whispers.

“Good. That’s good.”

“I can pretend.”

“What?”

“For a hundred dollars.”

There’s a drum in my head, pounding, pounding, telling me I’ve got something wrong. Really wrong. “A hundred dollars,” I repeat, wishing my veins weren’t running hot with liquor.

“For an hour. I know how much that suit costs. You can afford it.”

I pull back, moving careful so I don’t tip over. “What are you talking about?”

A cool breeze skates over us, and she shivers. I want to comfort her, but that’s not what this is about. A fast fuck on an abandoned rooftop while the sounds of a massive block party bounce off the buildings around us. And a hundred dollars, apparently. Jesus. I was about to fuck a prostitute.

What’s worse is that I still want to do it. More, because I know she’ll let me do anything.

For a price.

I want to fall in love. That’s what’s wrong with me, my fatal flaw. The insistent desire to enmesh myself with another human being.

How do you not fall head over heels for Sutton Mayfair? How, I ask you? The man is just so perfectly broken. Not only did he fall hard for the woman that his best friend wanted, but he fell for his best friend too. Now as their wedding day approaches, he’s nursing his broken heart through an alcohol fueled daze.

Ashleigh is barely keeping herself alive on the streets. A teen runaway, she’s turned to the only resort she has to make ends meet; selling her body. When she stumbles across a drunken Sutton on a rooftop, their story begins. Sutton is too broken hearted to look too deep into anything. He sees a beautiful woman that’s come on hard times and he’s not above giving her any cash she needs to find comfort in her body.

This may have been a short read, but it was filled with so much depth. Actually, I’m stunned at just how much depth Skye Warren fit into under 250 pages. It wasn’t a novella, but it read like one. Why? Because I devoured it in the time it would usually take me to read a novella. I couldn’t put it down.

There’s just something so incredibly endearing about Sutton. His unrequited love and coming to terms with moving on from a broken heart. Falling for a woman that’s selling her body to him no matter how much he fights it.

Ashleigh was one of the most endearing heroines as well. She’s damaged but not broken. She’s vulnerable but not weak. She’s this perfect balance of someone you want to shelter and protect while showing that she’s capable of fighting her own battles. I loved the two of them together and I loved this sexy and emotional story of two broken people finding shelter and love with each other.

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance such as the Endgame trilogy. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.

Connect with Skye:

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http://www.skyewarren.com

Spotlight Exclusive Excerpt & Review: Kill For You by Ayden K. Morgen

KILL FOR YOU
Series:
A  Warrior For Her #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural & Interracial Romantic Suspense
Author: Ayden K. Morgen
Release Date: March 17, 2020

I never believed in angels until I saw her standing in the middle of a crime scene, covered in the blood of a girl she knew nothing about. One look and I knew I needed to know more. Turns out, Faith Donovan is the answer to a lot of prayers…and my one shot at taking down Los Zetas, the biggest drug cartel left in Los Angeles.

The way I feel about her has nothing to do with my job though. She makes me want to wrap her in my arms and keep her for myself. Too bad for me, she’s off limits.

Witness protection, they call it.

I call it a sentence in hell.

I’m allowed to look, but I’m not supposed to touch the woman who’s been abused by her mother and imprisoned by a gang for most of her twenty-one years. I’ve never been a rule-breaker…but that’s exactly what I want to do when she turns those big brown eyes in my direction.

When Los Zetas paint a target on her back, all bets are off. I’ll find a way to keep her safe and keep her to myself, even if I have to kill every single cartel member along the way.

My name is Detective Octavio Hernandez, and Faith Donovan belongs to me. Once I claim her, no one will ever touch her again.

Kill for You  is the second book in a series of interconnected full-length novels featuring law enforcement officers willing to do whatever it takes to protect the women who need them most. Each book can be read as a standalone, has no cheating, and a guaranteed HEA.

(This book deals with human trafficking and slavery and gun and gang violence. There are graphic scenes of violence).

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On March 17th, 100% of author proceeds from Kill for You will be donated to Operation Underground Railroad to aid in the rescue of child victims of human trafficking. Post release day, 10% of proceeds will continue to go to Operation Underground Railroad. To date, Operation Underground Railroad has rescued over 3,200 children from slavery and has helped prosecute over 1,800 human traffickers. Learn more about O.U.R. and pledge your support here.


“What is it, angel?” I ask.”I…I just wanted to say thank you,” she whispers. “For today, I mean.”

De nada, conejita.”

She stands there for a moment and then turns to leave, but I don’t want her to go.

“Did you have a good time? At the movie, I mean.”

She pauses, turning those wide eyes back to me. “I did,” she whispers. “The movie was good.” A shadow passes through her eyes. “Sad.”

“You mean Mufasa’s death,” I guess. She cried during the movie when Mufasa died, but I don’t think she wanted me to know it. I ached to dry her tears for her but didn’t. Every expression that crosses her face and every thought in her mind fascinates me. I want to know all of them. I want to be the one she turns to when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Hell, I just want her.

She nods.

“I’m sorry you lost your father so young, Faith.”

“Me too.” She bites her lip. “I’m sorry you lost your sister too.”

“So am I.”

“Can…can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“What happened to her?” she whispers.

“I don’t know.” I glance away from her for a brief moment, steeling myself against the inevitable rush of memories her question brings roaring to the surface. “Alivia was ten years older than me, but we were always close. When she left home for college, she decided to stay on campus with friends. She started dating a guy her junior year, but no one knew much about him. He didn’t attend school with them. They thought he was involved in a gang, but she swore he wasn’t. She left campus to meet him one night and never returned.”

“Oh no,” Faith whispers, her honey eyes swimming with sympathy. “Did…did you ever find her?”

“No.” I shake my head. “I believe the man she was seeing was a Zeta.”

Faith’s stricken eyes widen.

“He took her across the border into Nuevo Laredo. No one in Nuevo Laredo was willing to talk with the threat of the Zetas hanging like a sword over their heads. Leads dried up from there.” I scrub a hand through my hair, expelling a heavy breath. “I accepted long ago that I’d never know what happened to her.”

It’s not hard to guess though. They either killed her or sold her into slavery. It’s a horrible thing to hope your own sister is dead, but for her sake, I do hope it. It’s been twenty years. God only knows the horrors she would have lived as one of the Zetas’ sex slaves in that amount of time. I would wish that kind of pain on no one.

“What happened to your parents?” Faith asks.

“My mom had a fatal heart attack when I was nineteen. My father had a stroke three years later. He passed not long after.” I was a surprise baby, born late in life. Losing Alivia aged my parents considerably. They were never the same after she vanished. They never recovered. Eventually, the grief of loss and the pain of not knowing took them both.

“I’m so sorry, Octavio,” Faith whispers.

“No more than I am.”

“Was your dad a cop too?”

“No. He worked in the IT field. My mom was a pediatric nurse.”

“Is your sister the reason you went into law enforcement?”

“Yeah. I wanted to find out what happened to her, and I guess I wanted to help make sure no one else ever had to go through what my family went through.” I glance at the file in front of me before flipping it closed with a heavy sigh.

As Franklin suspected, our tipster might not have been wrong about Kincaid. I’m not sure where that leaves me, or what I’m going to do about it. Kincaid is a damn good cop, one Roman trusts. Hauling him in on charges is going to cause a lot of problems for this city, and I don’t know what to do about that. We need him on the streets…but can I really leave him there if he murdered three people?

“Can I ask you a question now?” I ask Faith.

“Yes.”

“If a good cop did something wrong a decade ago to avenge his family and you found out about it, what would you do?”

She tilts her head to the side, studying me. “How wrong?”

“He may have killed the people who murdered his family.”

“Was his family innocent?”

I nod.

She thinks over my question for a moment, considering it carefully. “I don’t know what I would do,” she admits, “but I think what you’re really asking is what you should do.”

I sigh. “I have no fucking clue what to do. If I pursue this case against him, a lot of people are going to get hurt. Including some that mean a lot to me. If I don’t pursue it, I’m essentially looking the other way when my instincts are telling me there’s something here.”

“You pride yourself on doing the right thing.”

“I took an oath to uphold the law and do the right thing, even if doing it isn’t the easy thing.” I scrub a hand through my hair, truly baffled. The world isn’t black and white, not even when murder is involved. I know that. I accept it. But this case has so many shades of gray I don’t know what the right thing to do is. “If I pursue this case and find out he did it, I’m not jeopardizing just his future. Roman believes we need him to help keep our gangs in line, and I don’t necessarily disagree with him.”

“Look into it,” Faith says, taking a step into my office. “You can always decide what to do when you have your answers, but if you never even look for them, I think it will always bother you. You don’t strike me as someone who is content to have only bits and pieces of the puzzle.”

“I’m not.”

She nods like she already knew that and takes another step toward my desk. “You’re a good cop, Octavio. You’ll know what to do when the time comes. Until then, follow the clues. Maybe you’ll find out you’re worrying for nothing.”

“Maybe.” I lean back in my chair, folding my hands together on my stomach to study her. “You think I’m a good cop?”

“Yes,” she whispers.

“But you don’t trust me.”

“I tr–”

I cock a brow, daring her to finish that lie, but she doesn’t. Having confirmation that she doesn’t trust me shouldn’t bother me, but it does anyway. It’s also my fault.

“I’m sorry I threatened to take your door off the hinges,” I murmur to her. “I shouldn’t have said that, no matter how frustrated I was. You should know that I didn’t check it. If you want to lock your door, that’s your right.”

She nods but doesn’t say anything.

“I’m going to earn your trust again someday, angel. One of these days, you’ll tell me what you’re trying so hard to keep from me. You’ll let me help you.”

“The only thing I need help with is getting the Zetas to stop looking for me so I can be free,” she mutters, refusing to meet my gaze. “The only thing I want is freedom.”

“You’re free with me, Faith.”

“No, I’m not.” She offers me a sad smile, turning for the door. “You may be nicer about it than they are, Detective, but I’m as much a prisoner here as I was there. My cage is more comfortable, and my captor is less of a brute, but any freedom I have is an illusion, as easily snatched away as ever.”

“That’s not true.”

“No? If I wanted to walk out the front door right now, you’d let me?” she asks.

I grind my teeth together, pissed because she’s right and we both know it. There’s no way in hell I would let her walk out that door. She thinks it’s because I need her help, but she’s wrong. I can’t let her go because I think it might actually kill me if something happened to her. If the Zetas found her or hurt her, it would tear my world apart. I already lost a sister to the bastardos. I won’t lose Faith too. But I can’t tell her that. She wouldn’t believe me even if I did.

“Oscar wants me back so badly because my mom and stepfather stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from him before they fled,” she whispers after a moment. “He’s certain she’ll come back for me someday, so he decided to keep me close to ensure she had to come to him to get to me.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“I know you care about what happens to me, but I’m a means to an end for you just like I was for him, Octavio. I don’t kid myself about that. Maybe you shouldn’t either.” She offers me another sad smile and then ducks out of my office. “Goodnight.”

I sit there for a long time after she leaves, staring into space. Every part of me wants to stomp after her and tell her that she’s wrong. I want her to know that I’m nothing like he is and that the only thing I want from her is whatever little crumbs she’s willing to give me.

My entire adult life, I’ve focused on finding out what happened to my sister. Even after my parents died without answers, I kept searching, hoping to piece together which of the Zetas took her and what happened to her. Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that I’d never know. I started focusing on finding a way to make them pay after that.

I want them out of this city so badly it borders on desperation. But I think I’d walk away from that mission if it meant keeping Faith. She’s been here for two weeks, and she’s already becoming something vital to me. Something irreplaceable.

Too damn bad for me, because to her, I’m just another man keeping her in a cage.

I sigh heavily and flip open the file on Kincaid again, reading through it from cover to cover. By the time I’m finished, I’m almost certain there’s something here. Something I have to pursue. I jot a few notes and then stow the file before opening the one on Faith and the Zetas, flipping through it without really seeing anything.

Why is Fuentes so sure her mom will come back for her?

Nothing I’ve found thus far holds any answers on that front. Her mom was physically and emotionally abusive. Not even Faith has any illusions about the woman having any soft feelings for her. I doubt Fuentes has any either. So what does he know that I don’t?

I have a feeling finding the answer to that question is the key to giving her the freedom she so desperately craves. It might tear my heart out of my chest to watch her walk away…but letting her go is the only way to prove to her that I’m nothing like Fuentes.

Más tira el amor que una yunta de bueyes,” I mutter the old idiom about love being a strong motivator, returning her file to the drawer and climbing to my feet to go to bed. I stop in shock right outside her bedroom.

For the first time in days, her door isn’t closed against me.

It’s standing wide open.

Octavio,” she whispers in her sleep, snuggling closer. I don’t intend for it to happen, but in that moment, she steals a little piece of my heart.

I’m on a mission this year to read as many new-to-me authors as I can. The second I read the blurb to this book, I knew Ayden K Morgen would be going straight on my list. And once I finished? Holy crap balls!!! How have I not read her before?

First of all, if you like gritty romance with plenty of suspense and a hero that’s a balance of swoony and lethal with an edge, you need this book!

Octavio and Faith’s story was utterly addicting. Octavio is a detective working to take down of the most dangerous cartel gangs in LA. A rival gang shootout at a bar lands him the middle of chaos when he spots Faith and realizes she may be his in in bringing the gang down.

Faith is young but what she’s lived through in her short life has been a pure nightmare. She’s been a prisoner of one of the most brutal gangs and her scar covered body tells a tale of horrifying torture and abuse. But Faith, beyond all else, is a survivor. It’s impossible not to fall in love with her character. She’s been through hell and back and even though she’s terrified, she knows she has to do the right thing and try to help the police bring the gang down. Even if it may come at the cost of her own life.

Their relationship quickly progresses from victim/witness and cop to something much more. Octavio is immediately drawn to Faith and knows that he’ll protect her no matter the cost, even if it’s no longer a part of his job.

I loved the gritty and suspenseful tone of this book. I also loved that Ayden is able to build a picture without going into truly gory details and miss none of the effect. I was immediately sucked into this world and know I’ll be going back to read the previous book along with Roman’s story in Devour Me. I already can’t wait for the next book.

This is a true standalone set in the same world and you can definitely see the crossover and interconnections. I didn’t have a problem reading this book without having read the first. But the few glimpses I had of the couple from book one in this one, I know I need to read their story next.

My only (very minor) quibble was with the slight overuse of endearments. It was cure in most parts and in some parts it was just a touch too flowery for my personal tastes. But this is entirely a personal bias. I loved how Octavio treated Faith like he absolutely worshipped her. The man truly looked at her like he wanted to protect her from the world and would die doing it. I loved that!

If you’re looking for something different, fast paced, sexy and completely addicting, you need to check this series out!

Ayden K. Morgen is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of sixteen years, and their furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army.

She graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law.

She puts her education to use as a 911 Dispatch Supervisor, where she’s responsible for leading a team of dispatchers as they watch over police, EMS, and firefighters for her county. Her books feature law enforcement officers, the women who love them, and the difficult cases that drive them.

Ayden has been published by Curiosity Quills Press, Limitless Publishing, Cobblestone Press, and Tirgearr Publishing. She also writes New Adult Fantasy as A.K. Morgen.

Author Links

Email: akmorgen@akmorgen.com

Website: http://akmorgen.com

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/aydenmorgen

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ayden-k-morgen

Facebook: http://facebook.com/akmorgen1

Twitter: http://twitter.com/akmorgen

Instagram: http://instagram.com/aydenmorgen

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/author/akmorgen/

#DGRFave & Review: Creole Kingpin by Meghan March

CREOLE KINGPIN
Series:
Magnolia Duet #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Meghan March
Release Date: March 10, 2020

New York Times bestselling author Meghan March goes back to New Orleans and the world of Lachlan Mount with a dangerous and bold new anti-hero.

The thing about ghosts is they’re supposed to stay dead.

That’s exactly what I am, but I can’t stay away from Magnolia Marie Maison for one more day, let alone another year.

We’ve already got fifteen of those between us.

As it stands, she’ll want to kill me as soon as she lays eyes on me. And knowing her, she’s completely up to the task.

But I’m a man on a mission, and I’ve got everything riding on this.

So, here I come, Magnolia. This ghost is ready for whatever you got.

After all, there’s only one way I want this to end—’til death do us part.

AMAZON

Moses nearly broke me once. I won’t let him do it again.

I CANNOT EVEN RIGHT NOW. I SERIOUSLY CANNOT EVEN. This was…and I just…and all of it was…GAHHHHHH!!!!!!
This has been easily both my most anticipated and favorite Meghan March book to date. And having read the woman’s entire backlist, that’s saying something. Not only do we get the infamous madam’s story that we first met in The Anti-Heroes Trilogy (Mount), but we also get the most sinful anti-hero that was introduced in The Legend Trilogy. And then you put the two of them together and I CANNOT FREAKING DEAL.

If you wanna play, kitten,” a man’s voice says from over my shoulder, “I’ll make you purr.”
I turn around to look at him. “Kitten? Boy, I’m a goddamned lioness. Back the fuck off.” A dark chuckle leaves my lips at the sight of his shocked face, and I exit the club with a smile.

Magnolia Marie Maison is FIERCE. This woman grew up hard and turned into survivor. She’s a woman that learned to use her sensuality to get what she needs and grow an empire. She’ll never let a man define her, especially not the man that walked out of her life 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. There’s just something so incredibly endearing about her sharp tongue and quick wit. She’s hardened, her life made her this way, but you also get glimpses of the vulnerable woman that hides behind the perfectly put together exterior.

I didn’t just come back for Magnolia. I came back for the fight that would come with winning her. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, especially a good woman.

Moses Gaspard. GAH. Just typing his name I get shivers. If you’ve read the Legend trilogy, then you know the mysterious criminal. But nothing prepares you for the full effect of everything that is Moses in this book. OH MY GOD. He was just everything. EVERYTHING. He walked away from Magnolia once, for reasons that remain a mystery. But now he’s back with only one purpose, make her his. And let me tell you, nothing is more delicious than a determined man going after his woman hard.

Because life doesn’t always work out the way you hope, when you hope. But if you’re lucky, sometimes you get a second fucking shot at the one thing you want more than anything else. This is me taking my shot, mama. And I don’t fucking miss.”

I mean, I’m fairly certain I came every single time he called her mama. No even kidding. My nether regions freaking tingled. TINGLED. But I digress.

This book was crack. It was addicting. It was all encompassing. It was completely unputdownable. I read it in one sitting and never wanted it to end. I think I had the shakes when I got to the end because I knew I’d be left a desperate mess in the wait for my next hit of Moses and Magnolia. It was a fast-paced thrill ride full of twists and turns and plenty of action. And did I mention we get even more Mount? Because freaking MOUNT. Suffice it to say I absolutely LOVED this book. I loved every page. I wanted to lick my fingers and my kindle once I finished. I AM NOT OK. NOT OK. I need the next book desperately here, people! If you need me, I’ll be rocking myself in a dark corner somewhere with all of the wine.

Review: In Fury Lies Mischief by Amo Jones

IN FURY LIES MISCHIEF
Series:
Midnight Mayhem #2
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Amo Jones
Release Date: March 10, 2020

She was everything that I wanted.
He was everything that I despised.

Until she wasn’t.
Until he wasn’t.

Killian Cornelii was a walking calamity. He reached inside of me and touched every single inch of my ruined soul, but he didn’t just touch it. He caressed, petted, and captivated it. He tailored me to fit into the palm of his hands. The same hands that possess so much cruelty, were the very same that comforted me.
I thought I knew him.
He thought he knew me.
This isn’t a fairy tale, or some achingly beautiful story about two soul mates who instantly fall irrevocably in love with each other.
This is a story about a love so painful, so rich, that it destroys everything and everyone around it.
Including ourselves.

Midnight Mayhem is the platform to which Killian performs his tricks on, but the greatest trick wouldn’t come from him.
It would come from me.

Tricksters don’t have hearts.
They just pretend that they do.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Killian is the kind of wild you want to run away with, not cage. He’s an untamed animal, turbulent and vicious.

Holy hell! My brain right now! What. Just. Happened?!

I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to Amo Jones books, I need to completely suspend my disbelief, shut off my brain, grab a drink, brace myself, and enjoy the freaking ride. Because holy hell! I have no idea what I just read, but damn if I didn’t enjoy it.

The Midnight Mayhem world is still a bit of a blur to me as I try to wrap my mind around all of the craziness that surrounds it. But what I do know is that I can’t seem to get enough of it and the crazy characters that star in it. The Kiznitch is dark, mythical, and completely fucked up. And this reader just gobbles it up.

I’ve been itching to get my hands on Killian’s story. The trickster and his elusive fire bending beauty, Saskia, totally stole the show here. Admittedly, I’m not big on the dramatics when it came to Killian’s relationship with Maya and Callan, none of it seemed to deter from my enjoyment of this book.

Saskia and Kill were absolutely incendiary together. The two of them seemed to go from 0 to 60 in the span of a chapter, but I loved it. It felt almost weird at times because it seemed like part of their connection happened off the pages, but the more I read, the more things began to come together, and the more invested I was in the story.

There’s so much that happens here and at times it almost felt like my brain would explode. The final 30% of the story was a total and complete mind fuck. And surprise, surprise, but I loved that too.

The chemistry between Kill and Saskia was utterly delicious. I couldn’t get enough of their constant back and forth, push and pull. It should have almost been frustrating, but instead it just got me more sucked into their crazy madness.

Killian was every bit the maniac that King was, but with a bigger edge. I loved his menace that was hidden beneath the sexy smirks and snarky banter. The man was absolutely lethal. Saskia certainly wasn’t a wallflower herself. She gives as good as she gets, and boy did she make him work for it in parts. Did I mention how much I loved their push and pull dynamic of the I want you but I can’t have you? GAH.

I read this in one sitting and was left with my head reeling and desperate for my next fix. I’m completely obsessed with this series!

Amo Jones is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, totally winging this author thing (she’s probably doing it all wrong). She likes cake, loves wine, and her religion is magic (Slytherin). She’s a profound work-a-holic, but when she’s not writing, you can find her chilling with her kids & Husband at the nearest beach, with a cocktail in her hand.

New Zealand is not a state of Australia and rugby is the best sport ever played.

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Review: Kiss The Stars by AL Jackson

KISS THE STARS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: AL Jackson
Release Date: March 5, 2020

A Falling Stars STAND-ALONE NOVEL from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, A.L. Jackson…

A single mother.

An up-and-coming drummer with a sordid past.

Their paths never should have crossed.

But when a senseless crime rocks Mia West’s entire world, she agrees to spend the summer hiding out at her rock-star brother’s mansion in Savannah until the storm blows over.

What she never expected was the gorgeous, brooding drummer living in the guest house.

His darkness a lure.

His gaze a trap.

She knows better than to go after what will hurt her most.

Leif Godwin has two focuses in his life: his band, Carolina George, and seeking retribution for what was stolen from him.

Mia was never supposed to be a part of the equation.

Her eyes an appeal.

Her body a temptation.

Touching her is nothing but a sin.

But will loving her destroy them all . . .

You are the light I stopped believing existed.”

Whoa. I wasn’t expecting this book at all. It took me completely by surprise. In all honesty, rockstar romance isn’t really my thing any more. It’s just not the story I tend to gravitate towards. But being the huge fan of AL Jackson that I am, I decided to take a chance on this one, and I’m so glad I did. Because it wasn’t the typical rockstar romance at all. This story featured some of the characters from her other rockstar romance books which I haven’t had a chance to read yet, but fully intend to. Having said that, this is definitely easily enjoyed as a standalone and if you’re like me, you’ll have no problem being sucked right into this world.

There’s just something about a single mom meets reclusive rockstar that just sounds utterly delicious to me. And this certainly was that. Mainly because Leif is the furthest thing from the usual rockstar. He’s a talented drummer but he’s a recluse. He shies away from the limelight and all of the things that come with it. He’s hiding painful secrets from his past. But when Mia quite literally stumbles into his life, he can’t seem to stay away from her.

Mia is still reeling from the tragic and violent event in her past that has her in hiding on her famous rockstar brother’s estate. Leif is staying in the pool house as he’s working with her brother’s band. And even though he tells her that he’s bad at every turn, she can’t seem to stay away from him either.

There’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye at first. It’s full of twists and turns and a suspense that had me eagerly turning the pages long into the night. My one quibble is that the usual lyrical writing style that I enjoy with AL Jackson’s books just didn’t fit the genre of this one for me. It felt repetitive and a touch too purple prose in parts. There was a dark and gritty feeling to this book and I LOVED it. But the descriptive nature of the writing took a piece away from that for me.

Having said that, I still devoured this in one sitting. It was emotional and unexpected and full of twists I never saw coming. I loved the suspense element and the slightly grittier feel of the story.

Review: The Sinful King by Claire Contreras

THE SINFUL KING
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Claire Contreras
Release Date: March 5, 2020

If you had any ties to Marbella, it was impossible for you not to have heard the stories about Prince Elias and his debauchery.

Every summer he arrived with his security detail and friends in tow and rented out a row of cottages near the water.

Cottages that belonged to my family.

Each of those summers, my parents sent me away – summer camp and later, boarding school. Anything to keep me away from the royals and their partying.

I hadn’t been home in years, but when I finally come back for the summer, I see that not much has changed. Like all the summers I’d been gone, Prince Elias is back, but this time with an incognito security detail and no friends.

This time, there is no partying, no noise, no crowds. No reason at all to even think he was there.
I’m given strict orders not to talk to him, not to even look in his direction, but he makes this an impossible task.

I may be doing everything in my power to stay away from him, but there is no one in the world who can say no to the future King of France.

AMAZON

You don’t curtsy to me,” he said into my ear.
“Are you not my King?”
“Are you not my world?”

If you’re looking for an utterly romantic and swoony royal romance chock full of heart and brimming with passion, look no further. The Sinful King was all of those things. I greedily devoured it in one sitting. It was just one of those sweet, steamy and feel-good type of romances that’s easy on the angst but with plenty of feels.

Say it, Addie.”
“Say what?” I was already finding it hard to breathe and we hadn’t even started doing anything.
“You want to get f*cked by your king.

Adeline and Prince Elias’s story is full of surprises and passion. It’s basically a fairytale for the modern day woman, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Adeline has always lived on the skirts of the royal family. Her father is in the King’s cabinet but has always been vocal in his views on the monarchy and what they stand for. In one night for herself, Adeline meets a handsome stranger and shares a passionate night with him. Only to find out when she leaves that she just shared the night with the future king of France. Years later, she’s back, on the tail end of a personal scandal. The last thing she needs is more spotlight. She’s looking to get her party planning business more successful and stay out of the camera’s flashes. But that’s difficult to do when the prince of France has his eyes set on you.

Gosh this book was dreamy. I loved the two of them together. I loved Adeline’s sweet naivety and Eli’s quiet intensity. I loved their chemistry and the way they just set the pages on fire. This was just one of those wonderfully satisfying standalones that leaves you with a smile on your face.

#DGRFave & Review: Runaway Road by Devney Perry

RUNAWAY ROAD
Series:
Runaway #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Devney Perry
Release Date: March 6, 2020

Londyn McCormack didn’t have a typical childhood. She ran away from home at sixteen, escaping parents more interested in drugs than their daughter. She doesn’t have loving siblings or an adorable pet. Her only family is the five other runaway kids who shared her junkyard home.

Life pulled them all in separate directions, taking her to Boston. For a short time, she thought she’d found something permanent. But after a devastating divorce, she’s running away again, this time to find a lost friend.
She’s driving across the country in her convertible. As a teenager, the rusty car was her shelter. As an adult, it’s her ride to freedom.

Except one flat tire derails her trip. Her life collides with Brooks Cohen. They walked away from the first crash. The second might destroy them both.

AMAZON

There was something fresh about her. Maybe it was her outlook on life or her spirit. Maybe it was that she had gone through so much and she hadn’t become jaded or cynical. Londyn intrigued me. She stirred my blood.

My heart feels so full right now. This book. GUYS. I just can’t. A lighthearted, feel-good romance full of swoons and feels. I devoured this book in one sitting. I kid you not. I sat down, opened my kindle, blinked, and I was already at 80%.

The wind whipped through my hair as I sped along the highway.
Just me and my cherry-red Cadillac.
On a runaway road.

I don’t think there was one thing I didn’t love about this story. The sweet and swoony hero. The slightly damaged but not broken heroine. The charming small town setting. The wonderfully vivid secondary characters. And the romance! OMG the romance! It was one of those things that just sneaks up on you. It wasn’t loud. It wasn’t angsty. It wasn’t quick and mighty. It was a beautiful slow burn full of emotion and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Londyn McCormack thought she had everything she needed. A runaway teen that learned to survive on the streets, she married a rich husband and quickly lost herself. Now divorced, she yearns to move on and find herself. So she leaves her old life and her best friend behind to drive to California to find an old friend, but along the way things get complicated. A flat tire lands her in a sleepy small town where she meets a man that changes everything.

Brooks Cohen is one of the most swooniest heroes I’ve read in a long while. He’s sweet, caring, and patient. He’s everything that Londyn needs and nothing she thought she wanted. He’s unexpected but the chemistry between them is undeniable. They slowly get to know one another during casual dinners by the lake and it’s not long before they each weave their way into each other’s hearts.

I cannot gush enough about this story. I fell hard and fast for these characters and the premise of the series. A group of teen runaways that find themselves to happiness as adults? Yes, please and thank you! If you’re looking for an easy and light-hearted read that full of depth and emotion, this book is not to be missed.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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