Series: Killer Instincts

Guest Review: After the Dark by Cynthia Eden

Posted March 29, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: After the Dark by Cynthia EdenReviewer: Jen
After the Dark (Killer Instinct, #1) by Cynthia Eden
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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four-stars

In New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden's gripping new series, a disgraced FBI profiler must save her reputation by stopping a sadistic killer she knows all too well. 

Former FBI agent Samantha Dark was one of the most respected profilers in the bureau, an expert on the twisted minds and dark hearts of the most depraved criminals. But when her own former lover turned out to be the serial killer she was hunting, Samantha's career was destroyed. Blamed for the FBI's failure on the complex case, Samantha fled Washington, DC, for the quiet anonymity of Alabama. 
Now an all-too-familiar killer is hunting once again. She can catch the sadistic assassin, but that means putting her trust in her former partner, Blake Gamble. Ex-military, Blake is tough, protective, precise. With her entire life on the brink, she knows he wants her back in the FBI…and possibly more. 
But someone else wants her, too. A threat is waiting in the dark, a killer who has set his sights on the ultimate trophy victim—Samantha.

Cynthia Eden has become a pretty reliable author for me. Her books never totally blow me away, but they’re always  very solid, enjoyable reads, and After the Dark was no exception.

Samantha Dark was a genius criminal profiler with the FBI, but she left the Bureau in disgrace after her former boyfriend turned out to be a serial killer. She hides away in a small town in Alabama until her old partner, Blake, comes calling looking for help with a case. Blake had the hots for Samantha from the start, but obviously being partners complicated that attraction, and he never acted on it. Now, he wants her back, both in the FBI and in his own life, but Samantha doesn’t trust herself and certainly doesn’t think she’s good enough for a decent man like Blake. However, she’s the only one who can stop the killer who’s become fixated on her.

I really liked the premise of this book. The idea that a profiler could miss that her own friend was a serial killer was very compelling. Plus, Cameron wasn’t just Samantha’s friend but her past lover and confidant with whom she had shared her deepest, darkest secrets. While it’s not really addressed in the book, it seemed to me that Cameron had probably been emotionally manipulating her for years. He convinced her that there was this darkness in her that only he understood, and even after she’s left the Bureau she still holds on to this idea that she’s got some kind of not-entirely-good core. Couple that with her disgraceful exit from the FBI and it made sense why she would be so reluctant to help Blake and to get personally involved with him. It was a unique twist on a serial killer story I haven’t seen before. I also liked that the case wasn’t quite as simple as it first appeared. There were some big twists and turns, and they made for a fast paced and exciting story.

Blake was kind of a mixed character for me. He was one of Eden’s trademark alphas, bossy and in charge. He is the one who comes to Samantha for help, but then he also tries to edge her out when things get dangerous. That was stupid and unnecessary, I thought. Still, his genuine care for Samantha is clear. He stands up to his boss when his boss doubts her, and he isn’t afraid to go after Samantha once he’s found her again. He insists he too has a “darkness” in him, but I didn’t really feel like that went anywhere. To be honest, this story is more about Samantha and her struggle to overcome her past and her self doubt, which was fine by me.

This was an engaging story with a fascinating heroine, and I’m glad I read it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars

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Review: Midnight Captive by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 28, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Midnight Captive by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Captive by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #6
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge
Published by Signet
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

“For those who enjoy their romantic suspense on the dark and steamy side,”* here’s the blisteringly sexy new novel in the Killer Instincts series by the author of Midnight Action and Midnight Pursuits...
Former CIA agent Bailey Jones has spent months trying to forget her night of passion with mercenary Sean Reilly. An elite and methodical assassin, she has no room in her life for a reckless, rule-breaking Irishman, and she’s vowed to steer clear of the tempting bad boy who lured her into his bed under false pretenses.
When Sean is implicated in the robbery of a Dublin bank, Bailey knows something isn’t right. So what if she can’t trust him? There’s no way Sean would end up on the wrong side of the law. In fact, he’s stuck in the middle of a dark and dirty conspiracy that could put his twin brother’s life at risk with one wrong move. And Bailey’s life too when she agrees to help.
As the stakes are raised and Bailey finds herself torn between two brothers, the fine line between danger and desire is crossed…and it’ll take more than a killer instinct to survive.
*New York Times bestselling author Christina Reece

There is always a character in a series that pisses you right off. Bailey Jones was it for me. What a raging bitch. I have no idea what Sean saw in her. There were almost no redeeming qualities in her. She lied to herself, she lied to Sean, she lied to everyone. She constantly hurt Sean. It was unbearable.

Bailey was visiting her friend and fellow assassin, Paige, when she saw the news about a bank in Dublin being robbed. Even with a mask on his face, she immediately recognized Sean Reilly. She immediately springs into action and leaves London for Dublin, determined to help me. A year ago, she had an unforgettable night with Sean, but Sean thinks that Bailey thinks it was his twin brother, Oliver, she was with. She’s happy to let him think that because Sean is dangerous to her. She doesn’t question why she’s racing to his rescue. She tells herself it’s for Oliver. Because when Sean is in trouble, Oliver is not far behind.

While in the bank, Sean is wondering how he and Oliver let themselves get in this bloody mess. They got out of Dublin years ago and are in the information business now. Him and Ollie are happy with their lives and want nothing to do with their father’s legacy. Unfortunately his former boss, Rabbit, has other ideas. Which include kidnapping Ollie to make Sean get a thumb drive from the bank.

While he’s formulating a plan to get out, who drops in other than Bailey, the woman he’s been after for five long years. It doesn’t surprise him. She’s been in love with Oliver for five years. She would come running the moment that he’s in trouble. He still feels guilty for taking her from Oliver. Not guilty enough to regret the night that changed his life. Bailey on the other hand just wants to get Sean out of there and has no thought to where Ollie is. She just wants Sean safe.

They work together to get Oliver free and to take care of business for Rabbit. Back to their relationship; it’s fucked. Sean is fiercely, obsessively protective of Bailey. Her safety is his number one concern. He knows she can take care of herself, but he doesn’t want to put her in a position where she has to do that. That maddens her. It also reminds her of her former boss, who took over her life and job. So I did understand Bailey in that way, but Sean wasn’t trying to take over her life. She was still a bitch.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars

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Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 27, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #7
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Captive
Published by Signet
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 363
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From the USA Today bestselling author of Midnight Captive, the latest Killer Instincts novel is “off-the-charts-hot”* romantic suspense that takes readers into the heart of an enigmatic mercenary...
Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan's black ops organization, Derek “D” Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D’s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons.
When D lands in Mexico, he’s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor whom D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she’s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission.
Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he's ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child...

Of all the books in the series, this was the one I wanted the most. Well, after Trevor and Isabel.

Derek Pratt has been the most elusive of Jim Morgan’s mercenaries. He’s been a total dick since Midnight Rescue. It’s always been somewhat strange that he’s even on the team. He’s almost an anti-hero. He’s even fucked (there’s no other word for it), Noelle, the Queen of Assassins. Which is strange. I had no idea how Kennedy would write a heroine that could put up with him. He doesn’t make apologies for who he is. He’s there for the rush and the adrenaline. He tells himself that he doesn’t care about his teammates, but that’s a lie.

When his teammate, Sullivan Port, is mistaken for him and taken in his place, D knows he has to make it right. He accepts that his past has finally caught up with him. He doesn’t accept that someone close to him has been caught in the crossfire. He heads to Mexico after he gets a lead to Sully after six months of silence. What happens next is something even D never expected.

Sofia Amaro spent one night with D and she ended up pregnant. She doesn’t want to tell him over the phone, so she chases him down to Mexico. That’s something that I have a problem with. I don’t understand heroines that put themselves in danger. She’s pregnant so she should be thinking of someone other than herself. She knows what D does for a living, but she went after him anyway. It doesn’t really matter that she went with an escort, she still put herself in danger.

Sofia continued to make bad decision after bad decision. She fell in love with D for reasons I couldn’t understand. He was a total dick to her. She obviously saw something in him that I didn’t. Not that he wasn’t amazing, because he was. This couple just didn’t click for me. I don’t know why. I really wanted them to, but they didn’t.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Review: Midnight Action by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 23, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Midnight Action by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Action by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #5
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive
Published by Signet
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

She’s got a broken heart...and a fully loaded arsenal....
Ex–army ranger Jim Morgan leads a team of elite mercenaries, but eighteen years ago in Paris, he was part of a black ops unit whose mission was to hunt down a rogue operative. In order to trap the criminal, Jim seduced Noelle, the man’s daughter—a ruthless act that cost him the love of his life and turned her into a mortal enemy. Now he can’t trust her, but he still desires her. He also needs her help....
Older, wiser, and unwilling to play the fool again, Noelle runs a group of highly skilled assassins. And she’s just been offered the hit of the century: Eliminate Jim Morgan. History gives them no reason to trust each other, but with their lives in jeopardy at the hands of a common enemy, the lines between love and hate are soon blurred. Now Noelle and Jim must face the past if they want to have a future—let alone a future together.

This is probably my least favorite book of the series. Which is surprising considering I was so fascinated by these two at the beginning of the series. By book three, I didn’t want to read their book. By book four, I was actually considering skipping it. But secondary characters run strong in this series and I couldn’t skip it. Liam and Sully. ::sigh:: Love those two. Noelle and Morgan? Not so much. They were okay, but Noelle was not my cuppa. I ended up liking her, but not loving her.

Noelle is the Queen of Assassins. She’s hardcore. A total bitch. She has no feelings. In previous books she was fucking Derek Pratt, one of Morgan’s mercs. I have to use that term because there is no other word for it. She wasn’t doing it to make Morgan jealous because they don’t feel that base of feelings for each other. They feel hate, loathing, feelings like that. Their history is deep and long. When Noelle picks up a job to assassinate a target, she is surprised that the target is Jim himself. What surprises her even more is when she goes to warn him instead of kill him. She always has known that she would one day kill him, but obviously that day isn’t today. See, that’s weird. How can you setup a couple in a book like that? These two literally want to kill each other.

Morgan is surprised that Noelle came to warn him. He hates her with a passion that surpasses everything and anything he’s ever known. He also once loved her with the same passion. Until she was responsible for taking the woman out of his life that was pregnant with his child. She doesn’t know why he’s looked for Ariana for the last 17 years. She thinks he’s in love with the woman and he’s let her think that to hurt her. When he follows her back to Paris to find who is trying to kill him, their past comes full circle.

Morgan finds his child after all these years and finally explains to Noelle that he never loved Arianna. Noelle doesn’t give a crap. She will never forgive him for pretending to love her to get to her father and then ultimately getting him killed. Morgan realizes that he wants it all, his daughter and Noelle. Noelle is having none of that. She’s not the girl that Morgan once loved. She’s ruthless, an assassin, someone that has buried her feelings under layers of ice. Ice that can’t be broken by the man that is responsible for it.

These two just rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t know why. It’s not that I didn’t like their story, because I did. It resonated with me. I felt bad for Noelle. The sex was a good read. Their feelings for each other were open and raw. Morgan really loved Noelle. There was just something off about it. Liam and Sully were my favorite part of the book. This is where their problems started and they sure didn’t end here.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars

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Review: Midnight Pursuits by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 21, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Midnight Pursuits by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Pursuits by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #4
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive
Published by Signet
Publication Date: April 1st 2014
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Her job is to stay hidden.Too bad he can’t take his eyes off her.
Soldier-for-hire Ethan Hayes is the youngest member of an elite mercenary team. While he may be affectionately nicknamed the rookie, the skills Ethan honed as a Marine make him seriously dangerous. But when a sudden distress call puts him in close quarters with a rival, he finds more than his field skills being put to the test.
Juliet Mason stands out as the master thief in a covert group of assassins and spies. Her latest mission is personal—and it’s gone horribly wrong. Juliet may prefer to work alone, but when the rookie comes to her aid in snowy Eastern Europe, she can’t deny they make a good team. But even up against a powerful enemy, their most challenging task yet may be fighting the passion between them...

Still in love with this series.

The Queen of Assassins assassins are dropping like flies for Jim Morgan’s mercenaries. It is quite amusing. Juliet Mason has no intention of falling for Ethan Hayes. The rookie merc is too young, too green, and too innocent for her. She can’t deny the attraction to herself, but she can deny Ethan. Which she has and will continue to do. Then she gets into trouble and finds that Ethan is the one that comes to her rescue.

Juliet is a thorn in Ethan’s side. Since the day he met her, she has rubbed him the wrong way. She has yet to see him as anything but a boy, but he’s determined to prove her wrong. He gets the chance when she phones Isabel for help and gets him instead. He questions why he feels the need to race to her rescue, but still does it. The feelings the Juliet invokes in him are something that he’s accepted.

When he finally is at her side, he realizes that Juliet is in more trouble than he first realizes. She’s on a revenge mission. Her brother has been murdered and she will stop at nothing to avenge him. Ethan can’t do anything but stay by her side and help her. He’s determined to show her that he’s more than “the rookie”.

I love the suspense in this book. Juliet is a badass. She freaking broke the Siberian Wolf who is the assassin that killed her brother. Only Juliet or her boss could do something that awesome. Yet when she’s around Ethan, there’s a side to her that is only for him. Elle Kennedy writes these characters and their relationships in a way that I haven’t read for some time. The heroes and heroines are hardcore, but when it comes to their relationships, they change.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars

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