Publisher: Berkley

Blog Tour Review: Monster in the Closet by Karen Rose

Posted October 1, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: Monster in the Closet by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Monster in the Closet (Baltimore, #5) by Karen Rose
Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Series: Baltimore #5
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 498
Length: 15 hours, 25 minutes
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Goodreads
four-stars

Monster in the Closet reunites readers with characters from Karen Rose's bestselling Baltimore series.

A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime...

Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.

Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter's stables so that she can observe the program's security director - her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she's getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne's handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.

But not if the real monster gets to her first...

In anticipation of the release of her new book, Death is Not Enough, I am here to remind you why we love Karen Rose! She is my all-time favorite romantic suspense author. There is no one better than she. I loved her from the moment I read Don’t Tell and she has gotten even better since then. In Monster in the Closet, Karen Rose is at the top of her game.

I listened to this book on audio. The narrator was amazing. The inflection in her voice was simply incredible. If I didn’t know that it was only one narrator, I would have thought it was multiple narrators. This one made it so easy to just listen. I’ve listened to a few that have really made my eyes roll. I’m looking forward to listening to this narrator again.

Let me preface this review by saying that we know who the killer is from the beginning. I prefer mysteries where the mystery isn’t a mystery because I am so incredibly awful at guessing who the bad guy is. I literally have to be hit upside the head with it.

The book begins with Jasmine Jarvis finding her mother’s dead body in their apartment. She soon realize that she has walked in on the killer and immediately hides. It was heartbreaking. She is hiding mere feet from her mother’s unrecognizable, beaten dead body while her killer rummages around in the hall closet. Jazzy sees his face and isn’t surprised in the least. She knows that she can never tell who killer her mother or he will come back for her and her sister. So she doesn’t say a word. To anyone.

Taylor Dawson is an equine therapist at a local stable. She is instantly drawn to Jazzy, a girl she can see so much of herself in. It’s clear that she’s terrified and Taylor knows how fear like that feels. She’s determined to help Jazzy in any way she can. When Jazzy speaks to Taylor, everyone is hopeful as they are the first words she has spoken since she was found by her mother’s body. The police have kept quiet about the fact that Jazzy was found at the scene, knowing they have a leak somewhere in their department.

Taylor has her own reason for being in Baltimore. She is there to see if her biological father, Clay Maynard, is the evil man her mother made her believe he was for her entire life. For as long as she can remember, Taylor has lived in fear that someday Clay would come and take her away, even possibly kill her if he ever found her. She’s lived off the grid, changed her name, had bodyguards, and literally had no life to speak of based on what she now knows are lies. It wasn’t until she was on her deathbed that her mother told her the truth. Even then, Taylor wasn’t sure she believed her mother. It wasn’t until she discovered a box with cards and letters from Clay to Taylor going back years that she decided it was time to seek Clay out.

Ford Elkhart is the son of the owner of the stable. He has his own demons, just as Taylor does. Taylor thinks she’s all stealthy, but Ford sees who she truly is the day that he meets her. Her eyes are unique, exactly as Clay’s are. Although he feels drawn to Taylor, Clay has been his friend for years and he would never keep the daughter he has been searching for for twenty three years from him. When Clay sees Taylor for the first time? OMFG. Talk about feels. It was just devastating. They just lost so much time. Clay lost raising his daughter all because his ex-wife was trying to save face with her parents. Taylor lost her dad because her mom was a selfish bitch. It was just so sad.

In the meantime, the killer has learned that Jazzy is talking to Taylor and has decided it is time to eliminate her. What he doesn’t know is how astonishingly hard it will be to get to her. Taylor is now surrounded by people that will protect her. Taylor herself is no shrinking violet. She was raised by a man that taught her to protect herself if she ever found herself face-to-face with her father, whom she thought was a monster. Taylor is pretty amazing. There is one scene in the book where Ford is intimidated by her, which is actually pretty amusing.

I really enjoy the many POV’s in KR’s books. Because her books are so long, it doesn’t detract from the main characters. I felt that the story was told and it was a good one. I love the sense of community there is in Baltimore. I love all the characters and how characters from other cities pop in and out. I just straight love Karen Rose.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Baltimore

four-stars


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Review: Cross Breed by Lora Leigh

Posted September 24, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Cross Breed by Lora LeighReviewer: Casee
Cross Breed (Breeds, #23) by Lora Leigh
Series: Breeds #23
Also in this series: Megan's Mark (Breeds, #6), Dawn's Awakening (Breeds, #11), The Magical Christmas Cat (Breeds, #17, Psy/Changeling, #3.5, Murphy Sisters, #2), Mercury's War (Breeds, #12), Coyote's Mate (Breeds, #13), Bengal's Heart (Breeds, #14), Lion's Heat (Breeds, #15), Lion's Heat (Breeds, #15), Stygian's Honor (Breeds, #19), Navarro's Promise (Breeds, #17)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author of the Breeds series delivers the novel fans have been waiting for–mixed Coyote/Wolf Breed Cassie Sinclair finally gets her story!

It’s been over a decade since she was introduced as an unforgettable eight-year-old in Elizabeth’s Wolf. Now all grown up, Cassie is unique among the Breeds as a Coyote/Wolf mix. She has long known that her mate was somewhere out there, but he’s stayed frustratingly out of sight and beyond her senses. Cassie has decided to make her move and her mate is ready to make his. The Breed world will be rocked to its foundation as dangerous secrets are revealed.

I was on the fence about this book until about 40% through it. There were things happening that I was not into. I often make fun wonder why Holly takes notes while she’s reading a book, but I was all about it while I was reading this book. All about it. I was furiously highlighting and writing notes, something I have never, ever done. Therefore I was pretty surprised that when I finished reading the book that I actually ended up liking it.

Cassie Sinclair was first introduced in Elizabeth’s Wolf. She was a precocious 8? 10? year old girl. A psychic that was often visited by ghosts. It was a ghost that helped save her and her mother’s lives all those years ago. That was what eventually brought Dash Sinclair to them as well.

The book begins when Cassie is eighteen. She can feel herself in the cross hairs of a rifle and knows she is going to die. She’s had the vision, she knows there is nothing that will change it. That is where Cassie is wrong. What she doesn’t realize at the time is that the man behind the gun discovers that Cassie is his mate. He obviously can’t kill her then. Which was reassuring.

Now we are flashed forward six years. The only Breed Cassie can ask for help from when her sister is kidnapped is the mysterious stranger that was supposed to kill her and didn’t. Over the past six years, he has helped her more times than she can count. She doesn’t know why she is drawn to him, but drawn to him she is. This time there is a catch to receiving his help. One night in his arms. As a virgin, Cassie is hesitant, but at a woman she is far more curious than she should be. Promising him one night, she gives in. Then the unthinkable happens. While in his arms, she discovers that she is his mate. This horrifies Cassie, especially when she realizes that he has known the past six years.

Dog has stayed away from Cassie for his own reasons. Known as a Council dog that does their bidding, Dog isn’t liked among Breeds. What few people know is that he is, in fact, undercover trying to find the twelve people that head the Genetics Council. Dog has an agenda and a mate wasn’t on it. Still, he can’t stay away from her although he gives her six years before he claims her. Six years of freedom for her and six years for him to do his work with the Council.

Dog knows that Cassie is different. As a “halfling”, Cassie is half Wolf, half Coyote. This is something the wolves won’t forgive and the coyotes won’t forget. She’s stuck between two worlds, so she does the only thing she knows how to do. She makes herself invaluable to the Breed Council and Jonas, the leader of the Breeds. She doesn’t realize until it’s too late how fast everything can change. Suddenly she’s cast out, as everyone knows she is the mate of a Council Breed. She herself isn’t sure who Dog is. There’s the man she came to know over the last six years, who came each time she called. Then there is the Breed in front of her. The Breed that is far more intense and passionate than she had ever guessed.

So what was my problem with this book? This stupid as shit law the Breeds have where another person can challenge the mating of a couple. Not only that, but the Breed Tribunal can force mates from each other based on someone coming in from the outside and saying “you might be my mate, not that persons”. It was g.d. ridiculous.

While talking to Dog regarding the Tribunal listening to her argue against the separation:

“But they can force me away from you until that time.”

My note here stated “WTAF”.

Then there were contradictions like this. After Cassie and Dog already talked about how they could be separated (see above).

But it was firmly established the fact that mates couldn’t be separated by order or decree.

Huh???

“Brannigan just received confirmation of the receipt of the peition and was given the go-ahead to have your mate taken to the doctors until the Breed Ruling Cabinet could convene.”

Note: “For fuck sake” Honestly, how can anybody force anyone to do something they don’t want to do?

I really didn’t have high hopes for this book after that, but everything changed. Omgosh, you guys. There’s a scene toward the end where Dog leaves Cassie. When Cassie realizes it, she is broken. It was actually really powerful. Then everything changed and it was awesome. So although I had a few problems with the book (see above), I still really enjoyed it and think that LL did right by Cassie.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Breeds

four-stars


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Review: Dark Sentinel by Christine Feehan

Posted September 20, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Dark Sentinel by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Dark Sentinel (Dark #28) by Christine Feehan
Series: Dark Series #28
Also in this series: Dark Nights (Dark #6.5, #9.5), Dark Wolf (Dark, #25), Dark Promises (Dark, #29), Dark Carousel (Dark, #30), Dark Legacy (Dark, #31), Dark Slayer (Dark, #17)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
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Goodreads
three-stars

In an explosive novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan, a human woman ignites the desire of her Carpathian lifemate--and of an ancient vampire with a score to settle.

After the devastating loss of her entire family, Lorraine Peters heads to the woods searching for peace of mind and anything to quell the anger in her soul. Instead, she stumbles upon a scene of horrific violence, as one man lies helpless in the face of three attackers.

Andor Katona's existence has been a harsh one, living for centuries as a monk in the Carpathian Mountains. Unable to find his lifemate, he almost welcomes his release from a colorless and unfeeling world at the hands of the vampire hunters who have mistaken him for their prey. That is, until a whirling ball of fury bursts onto the scene, determined to save him.

In one glimpse, in one breath, Andor recognizes Lorraine as his lifemate, but it will take more than their telepathic connection to convince her of their immortal bond. Lorraine is a lethal combination of cunning and courage. So much so that she captures the attention of a master vampire, one who has already lost what was once irreplaceable to him. One who will strike with deadly precision at Andor and his ancient Carpathian comrades in a war to end all wars. . .

This book was unusual in comparison to the other books in the series. I’m not sure how I feel about it. There were certainly things that bothered me, but for the life of me I can’t remember if anything like it has happened in a previous book. I can’t imagine it hasn’t.

Lorraine Peters is like few of Feehan’s heroines. She literally exploded onto the page with a saucepan and kicked some ass when she found someone trying to murder Andor. She didn’t know who he was, she just knew that she wasn’t going to stand by and allow murder if she could help it. Lorraine had no reason to think that Andor was different, but she finds herself stuffing his mortal wounds with soil instead of cleaning them out like she would on a human. She knows something is different, but all she can focus on is that she can’t let Andor die.

Lorraine is in the mountains trying to come to peace with what her life has become. After her parents, uncle, and aunt were murdered by her beloved brother, he turned the gun on himself. There was no explanation, no reasoning, nothing to think that Teddy was going to do what he did (or so she thought). After the murder-suicide, Lorraine’s friends started dropping out of her life one by one until she has no one. No friends and no family. Going up into the mountains alone is her gift to herself. She knows that she can’t continue on with the anger she has in her heart. She has to find a way to forgive Teddy for what he did and forgive her parents for not telling her that her brother was on steroids.

Andor is one of the few Ancients left of the Carpathian race. He and his fellow Ancients locked themselves up, away from humans and their own people in a monastery with no intention of every leaving. They are Ancients that have too much honor to meet the dawn or turn to become the undead. Now one of their own has found his lifemate, giving the Ancients hope that their own lifemates might be out there in the world, though not too much hope.

There is something afoot with the vampires that are now under the rule of Sergey Malinov. They come after Lorraine like a tsunami, sacrificing themselves for a reason that Andor, nor the other Ancients know. What is strange is the way the vampires have organized themselves. Along with Tariq and Gary, the Ancients are determined to find out why there has been such a sudden interest in Lorraine when she is virtually unknown.

My biggest problem with this book is that Andor tied Lorraine to him with the Carpathian ritual without her permission. I know that has happened before, but this time she was actively trying to stop him. He just ignored her. WTAF is that about?????? After that, all is not well between the two of them. Which I imagine made the whole thing easier to swallow. Honestly, I’m not sure.

The best part of the book was the setup for what I hope is the next book. Of course it’s too soon to tell if I’m right. Which I probably am not.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dark Series

three-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted September 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Holly
Satisfaction (Lawless, #2) by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction, Satisfaction (Lawless #2), Revenge, Revenge
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
one-half-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.


Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.   Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

Satisfaction is the second book in Lexi Blake’s Lawless series. The series features four siblings who are on a quest to avenge their parents’ death and clear their father’s name.

Twenty years ago their father was accused of murdering their mother, then killing himself after setting fire to the house while the kids were inside it. Drew Lawless, the eldest, was able to get his siblings out, but he couldn’t save his parents. He knows his father didn’t kill himself or their mother, and he’s spent 20 years working to get in a place to prove his father’s innocence, and exact revenge on his four partners, who Drew believes murdered him and set him up. Bran, the youngest brother, got placed into foster care. Unlike his sister, Mia, who was adopted, Bran got shuffled around from place to place. Before Drew could get to him, something tragic happened and a girl lost her life. Bran holds himself responsible and, since then, has played knight-in-shining armor to down on their luck women – mostly strippers.

Drew’s latest focus is Patricia Cain, a formidable executive who runs a home and garden type magazine and cooking show. Drew’s plan is simple – seduce Patricia’s assistant, Carly, so they can get access to her home where her private files are stored. Only Bran has other ideas. After his sister-in-law was used, Bran wants to bring Carly in on their plan instead of pretending to be interested in her. He takes Drew’s place and tells Carly the whole story, hoping she’ll be willing to help.

Carly is stuck working for Patricia. Two years ago her now ex-husband embezzled a million dollars from Patricia’s company. He also set her younger sister up as a patsy. Patricia has been blackmailing Carly ever since. Because Carly isn’t just her personal assistant, she’s also the creative genius behind all of Patricia’s recipes. Carly can’t quit without Patricia having her sister arrested, but she can help the Lawless family get the proof they need to convict her.

Unfortunately, her ex-husband ran up some debt with the mafia before he went to prison, and they’re trying to collect from her. They make a deal – Carly will help Bran get access to Patricia if he’ll help her deal with her current situation. As they try to find proof of Patricia’s culpability and clear his father’s name, while trying to keep Carly safe, they also have to battle their attraction for one another. Carly isn’t interested in another relationship after she got so royally screwed the last time and Bran knows he isn’t worthy of more than a short term affair.

The first couple chapters of the book really pulled me in. Drew had set it up so he and Carly were matched on a dating site and Bran took his place at their first date. He was upfront and honest with her about why he was there, and I really liked how quick he was to bring her into the family fold. Unfortunately, it fell apart shortly after that. The suspense plot was weak, and both Carly and Bran made so many rookie mistakes it was like watching my six-year-old investigate a twenty year old murder. That wasn’t even the worst part, though. It was how immature, insecure and emotionally stunted they both were.

Bran doesn’t feel like he belongs with the family. He isn’t worthy to be a Lawless or have a relationship with his siblings – or anyone else for that matter – because of something that happened to him in one of the foster homes he was in. Despite everyone telling him they love him and want him around, he spends the entire book feeling sorry for himself and like no one wants him.

“He would never do that and you know it.” Because he felt guilty. They all did. Bran had gotten the short end of a shitty stick, and his siblings all felt bad about it. It was why they put up with him.

The.Entire.Effing.Book.

“Don’t worry about it, Bran. It’s going to be okay.” No, it wasn’t. Eventually everyone would get sick of putting up with his shit and he would be on his own again.

He’s either lashing out at everyone, getting into fist fights to “work out his anger” or feeling sad that no one wants him. He’s not 12, y’all. He’s a grown ass, 30-something man.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Carly was just as insecure and whiny. Her go-to was how everyone took advantage of her. Every time Bran looked at her, it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending. Conversely, every time he didn’t look at her (or pay attention to her), it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending.

“Did you think flirting with the fat chick was a public service? Is that how you view it?”

She does things like push him away, the try to kiss him. When he rolls away she throws a massive hissy fit because he doesn’t want her anymore.

“I tried to get you to make love to me and I got hurt when you pretty much jumped away as soon as you could.”

Uh..you kissed him once after you told him to leave you alone. That isn’t exactly trying to get him to make love to you.

“You haven’t touched me in a week. I get it. The physical part isn’t something you want anymore. Maybe you never did.”

She’s an adult, ffs. Yet she keeps jumping to all these conclusions and saying all this stupid shit. I swear I wanted to karate chop her in the throat.

And let’s not even get me started on how she kept thinking about him as a puppy. “Puppy needs some affection.” “Puppy needed to be domesticated.” WTAF?!?! Like he’s not a person?

The suspense plot surrounding the parents was predictable and, as I mentioned above, very poorly handled. They thought they were being sneaky and clever, but trust me. They weren’t. The plot twist at the end came as no surprise to me. I saw it coming from a mile away.

I’m low key curious about Drew and Shelby, a reporter Carly befriended who is also trying to take down Patricia Cain. But I have a feeling their story would frustrate me even more than this one did.

I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t committed to finishing the book for our Summer Reading Challenge, I would have DNF’d it less than halfway through.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 because I liked some of the secondary characters)

Lawless

one-half-stars


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Review: Order of Protection by Lexi Blake

Posted September 14, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Order of Protection by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Order of Protection (Courting Justice #1) by Lexi Blake
Series: Courting Justice #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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Goodreads
three-stars

A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart.

To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.

When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.

Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.

As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves...

I really wanted to love this book because I adore Lexi Blake. Have I said that before? I adore Lexi Blake. She only has two series that I haven’t read and I need to rectify that. Stat. So I was really excited when this book came out. I loved the Lawless series so I thought this would be along the same lines. It was and wasn’t. It started out super, super slow. It had promise in the beginning, it really did.

Henry Garrison (I totally just drew a blank on his name and had to look it up on GR) is at his grandfather’s beach house on Martha’s Vineyard getting it ready to sell. After an acrimonious split from his now ex-wife, Henry has to sell his grandfather’s beach house to pay her off. Henry has been on the wagon for six months or so, but packing up the house has him ready to hit the bottle. Then he sees woman take a spill right outside the house. He heads to her rescue, which is laughable considering he can’t even rescue himself. She is Win Hughes and Henry is immediately intrigued although she is substantially younger than him. The problem is that Henry doesn’t know who she really is. If he did, he would have never let her through the front door.

Known as the Billion Dollar Baby, Taylor Winston-Hughes can’t get away from the spotlight. She can’t deny that she put herself in it when she went on a reality show. That went badly when she ended up in rehab for anorexia. When she meets Henry she’s not in the best place she’s ever been, but she is drawn to him nonetheless. She can tell he feels the same. Conveniently a bad storm hits and they are stuck at Henry’s.

So what ends up happening is Win and Henry end up spending two glorious weeks together and then they go their separate way with Henry not knowing Win’s true identity. Win texts Henry a few times, but he doesn’t return the texts. He finally decides to return her texts and he gets a bomb dropped on him. Win is the Billion Dollar Baby. She travels in the same world as his ex-wife. The world that nearly destroyed him. The world he will not return to for anyone or anything in the world. The problem is that Win has been arrested for murder. A case like this could make Henry’s new firm.

Henry was so annoying. He just couldn’t get over who Win was. It’s not like it was her fault. She couldn’t help who she was or who her parents were. He would not let her forget that he would never forgive her. He just wouldn’t let up on her. It got really old. I really liked how Win handled it. She didn’t cry or beg. She just let him feel the way he felt. Of course when push came to shove, Henry couldn’t leave her alone. Still, he didn’t think it could work out in the end so he would sleep with her while she was a suspect but as soon as she was cleared and moved out of his house, he was going to cut her loose. What an ASS. Seriously. Ugh.

I’m honestly not in a rush to read the second book. It’s about one of Henry’s partner. I don’t even know if I’m intrigued. I will read it eventually, but probably not right when it comes out. I’m sad that this book disappointed me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Courting Justice

three-stars


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