Tag: Helenkay Dimon

Guest Review: The Enforcer by HelenKay Dimon

Posted March 14, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 5 Comments

Guest Review: The Enforcer by HelenKay DimonReviewer: Jen
The Enforcer (Games People Play #2) by HelenKay Dimon
Series: Games People Play #2
Also in this series: The Fixer
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Security expert Matthias Clarke hunts down people who don’t want to be found. His latest prey: the sole survivor of a massacre that killed his brother years ago. Kayla Roy claimed she was a victim of the carnage. Then she disappeared. Matthias thinks Kayla may have actually been the killer—and he wants justice.

Kayla Roy never stays in one place too long and never lets a man get too close. But keeping Matthias at arm’s length may be impossible. Dark and enigmatic, Matthias draws Kayla in from the start. She knows nothing about his connection to her dark past, or his thirst for vengeance. She only knows their attraction feels overpowering—and very dangerous.

Matthias’s suspicions about the sensual Kayla clash with his instinct to protect her, especially when he realizes her life is in danger. But Kayla’s not looking for a savior—especially one who seems hell-bent on tempting her down a lethal path.

Matthias Clarke owns a security company, and he’s the adopted brother of the hero from Book 1 of the series, Wren. All the brothers had profoundly lousy childhoods, and Matthias’s past comes back to mess with his life in this story. His biological mom, who has shown no interest in him up to now, comes begging for help. She wants to catch the person who murdered a house full of college students, one of whom was the brother he never met. The only survivor of the massacre was Kayla Roy, and Matthias is suspicious that she may have been involved in the murders somehow. He tracks her down and uses false pretenses to get to know her. The more he learns about her, the more he doubts she could be involved, but if she’s not guilty why has she been running away for years, and why is she hiding so many secrets? For her part, Kayla feels drawn to Matthias, but she’s afraid and knows if she lets herself go, it could be her downfall.

This book is full of some pretty dark issues, not least of which is the massacre that began the whole thing. (Trigger warning, there is a pretty graphic description of Kayla finding the bodies at the start of the book.) The plot is fairly fast paced, which I enjoyed. There is a lot going on here, and while sometimes it felt like too much, I thought all the threads were satisfactorily resolved by the end. I also appreciated that while Matthias lies longer than I would have preferred about who he is and why he’s there, it comes out early enough that Kayla has time to adjust. I also liked that Garrett from Book 1 has a presence in this book, because his humor and banter add some light balance to the darkness of the subject matter.

In the end, I didn’t particularly like Matthias OR Kayla, though. They both do some pretty unsavory things, and they both are pretty prickly. In particular, there’s a big twist towards the end that was frankly pretty unbelievable and made me really dislike Kayla. It was just darker than I wanted, and for that reason I wasn’t as invested in the relationship as I should have been. 

I am absolutely down to keep reading this series despite my lukewarm response to this book, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the brothers are like.

Games People Play Series

Grade: 3 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon

Posted January 11, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fixer by HelenKay DimonReviewer: Jen
The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon
Series: Games People Play #1
Also in this series: The Enforcer (Games People Play #2)
Published by Avon
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

He’s known only as Wren. A wealthy, dangerously secretive man, he specializes in making problems disappear. A professional fixer, Wren hides a dark past, but his privacy is shattered when Emery Finn seeks him out—and what she wants from him is very personal.

Some people disappear against their will. Emery’s job is to find them and bring closure. Wren is the only person who can help solve Emery’s own personal mystery: the long-ago disappearance of her cousin. Just tracking down the sexy, brooding Wren is difficult enough. Resisting her body’s response to him will prove completely impossible.

Anonymity is essential to Wren’s success, yet drawn by Emery’s loyalty and sensuality, he’s pulled out of the shadows. But her digging is getting noticed by the wrong people. And as the clues start to point to someone terrifyingly close, Wren will have to put his haunted past aside to protect the woman he loves.

Emery Finn’s cousin disappeared when they were kids, and Emery has dedicated much of her life to finding her. She comes across the name “Wren” in connection with the case and sets about tracking him down, a task much easier said than done until Wren himself steps in to convince her to stop asking questions. He requires privacy because he is a highly sought after “fixer” who makes problems disappear for the wealthy and powerful, but somehow he just can’t stay away from Emery. He starts to help her against his better judgment, and when dangerous things start happening he goes all in!

This book really worked for me, mostly because of Wren! He is domineering, autocratic, and amazing at everything he does, but he’s a little more than your average alphahole. He doesn’t have great social skills and struggles to relate to others beyond a few long-time friends. Even better, he KNOWS he’s kind of weird and autocratic and wants to make better choices when it comes to Emery. Now, he doesn’t always succeed, and he very seriously oversteps at one point, but what redeems him for me is that after he’s done instinctively reacting in the moment, he pauses and checks in with Emery before he goes any farther. He wants to fix his mistakes and respect her autonomy and wishes.  We also meet his good friend Garrett (who better get his own book some day!), and the fact that Garrett clearly trusts Wren but also acknowledges that he sometimes oversteps gives the reader permission to do the same. And crucially, Emery doesn’t let him get away with that shit. Right from the start, she won’t stand for bossiness, but she also doesn’t hold his awkwardness or lack of social skills against him. She brings light and energy to his pretty dark life. I loved them together. They also have some great sexual tension as they circle each other and try to decide how much they can trust the other. Yum!

The relationship is what made this book a winner, because the rest of the book didn’t exactly blow me away. The mystery is a bit of a stretch, and the villain was kind of odd. There also aren’t many details given about Wren’s work. What precisely does a “fixer” do? You get the sense it’s somewhat unsavory but not exactly bad either, but that’s about it. While we find out about Wren’s background, we don’t really get much about his current life. 

I liked this one a lot, and I can’t wait to read more of this series.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

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


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Guest Review: Under the Wire by HelenKay Dimon

Posted June 30, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Under the Wire by HelenKay DimonReviewer: Jen
Under the Wire (Bad Boys Undercover #4) by HelenKay Dimon
Series: Bad Boys Undercover #4
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Bad Boys of the Alliance—a top-secret military security agency—are back for more in HelenKay Dimon’s sexy, action-packed series.

Only one thing could pull Reid Armstrong away from a vacation he’s earned with every muscle in his finely honed body—learning that his former fiancée has disappeared on a top-secret science expedition in the middle of nowhere. Second chances don’t come often in Reid’s business, and he needs to prove his worth to Cara Layne or die trying.

Waking up to find her camp destroyed and her colleagues missing, Cara is a walking target. She can’t trust anyone, least of all Reid. Even if his skills get them out alive, he’s a heartache waiting to strike twice. Yet being in close proximity proves their connection burns hotter than ever.

The body count is rising, the enemy is getting closer, and soon Reid will be right back in the position that cost him everything—forced to choose between the woman he loves, and the job that’s his only hope of saving them both . . .

I’ve been dragging my feet on reading the rest of the books in this series after how much I really disliked Book #1. (It’s the kind of dislike that has only grown over time the more I have thought about that story and how much that hero pissed me off. Grrr.) Something about the blurb on this one grabbed me though, and I generally like Dimon’s voice, so I gave it a shot. Woo, it was awesome!

This is a second chance love story, between Reid Armstrong and Cara Layne. Reid is a member of the top secret Alliance agency. He heads to the Russian wilderness because Cara, a geologist and his ex-fiance, failed to check in with her brother while on an expedition. (Yes, Reid literally flies around the world and illegally sneaks into Russia, dragging his colleague Parker along, to see if she’s ok. It’s a bit flimsy, but just go with it!) When he gets there he finds her (absurdly easily), but the rest of her team has disappeared. When she comes clean about the fact that their expedition was about more than just science, Reid, Cara, and Parker get embroiled in something, though they can’t quite figure out what happened to the science team, who is after them, or why. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, Reid and Cara have some massive baggage between them after Cara abruptly broke off their short engagement a year ago and smashed Reid’s heart to pieces. They have to stay alive long enough to solve the puzzle of what is going on as well as work through their personal issues.

The thing I loved most about this book is the way it balanced the action with the relationship development. Though I love them, romantic suspenses/adventures are not always great at tackling emotional development and character growth, but Dimon does it beautifully in this book. Cara and Reid have so much hurt and mistrust between them. At first, I was 100% team Reid. He obviously loved Cara deeply. They were only together during a short and stressful time, but he never doubted his love for her, which is why he proposed so quickly. As the reader, it was so clear that it wasn’t a whim to him; he was in it for the long haul. He simply grabbed what he wanted immediately because, given his dangerous job and terrible childhood, he knew you have to take your happiness when you find it. When she dumps him, it shatters him, and that didn’t endear Cara to me. But little by little, we get to hear more about Cara’s side of the story, and her reasons for leaving were valid, too. Both of them made mistakes and let their own insecurities and hang ups get in the way of their relationship, but they don’t magically fix it with just one conversation. The two of them slowly chip away at the pain and misunderstandings through the course of the book, and seeing them come to a place of love and forgiveness at the end was a great payoff.

The plot is exciting and kept me guessing too. There are so many players involved, and untangling their motivations kept Reid, Cara, and Parker on their toes. There are tons of dead bodies (but not tons of gore), some explosions, hiding in caves, spies and secret agents, and a doomsday bomb. Certainly Reid and his colleagues are larger than life and do the action-movie heroics, but nothing felt so crazy or unbelievable that it yanked me out of the story. Plus, we spend a lot of time with Tasha in this book. (She’s the head of Alliance and the heroine from Running Hot, the prequel to the series.) To be honest, I’d be happy to read an entire series just of her kicking ass and taking names, so I was thrilled to get so much time with her in this book. Smart and lethal woman who can lead a group of the toughest men on the planet–what’s not to love?

I know this book has some small flaws, but it hit so many of my favorites in one story: a brilliant scientist heroine, a hero madly in love, international intrigue, funny dialog, a snarky friend for the hero, adventure through a remote countryside, and some very steamy moments. It’s definitely the best adventure romance I’ve read in a while, and I’m so happy I decided to give the series another chance.

Grade: 5 out of 5

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


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Guest Post: Whitley’s DNF Roundup

Posted December 21, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 3 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins

So, in the first week of my self-professed “month of only reading Christmas romances” I have read…one Christmas romance.  And I DNFed before I got to the Christmas part. Oops.

In fact I DNFed most of these, but that’s par for the course with me and romances.  I’ll drop them with relative ease because so many things in romance bug me, but at least I think it’s fun to dig through stacks of these things looking for the gems. 😀

Against the Sky
1. Against the Sky by Kat Martin

In America’s last wilderness, there are no limits to what a man can do.

For detective Nick Brodie, that means keeping the perps off the streets of Anchorage 24/7. Nick has never backed down from danger, but after the horrors he’s seen, he’s definitely in need of a break.

Samantha Hollis never thought she’d meet anyone like Nick, especially in a place like Las Vegas. But after one reckless, passionate night, she discovers the charismatic stranger is everything she wants in a man. But can he ever be anything more than a one-night stand?

When Nick invites her to Alaska, Samantha decides to find out, never guessing the depths she’ll discover in him or the tangle of murder, kidnapping, and danger about to engulf them both…

So, right off the bat, I wish the summary for this book had included the KIND OF MAJOR BABY PLOT.  I mean, really, the heroine’s unplanned pregnancy is the catalyst for most of the plot going on, and yet it’s completely missing from the jacket copy.  The murder mystery had promise, but the writing was a bit annoying and the sex was brief and vague.  (Come on, my interest in this genre is not exactly respectable, give me some steamy goodness!)  I quit when the hero decided to go condomless without asking permission first.  (Dude, I know she’s already knocked up, but that doesn’t mean you get to make that call solo!)

Tremain's True Love
2. Tremain’s True Love by Grace Burrows.

Tremaine St. Michael is firmly in trade and seeks only to negotiate the sale of some fancy sheep with the Earl of Haddonfield. The earl’s sister, Lady Nita, is pragmatic, hard-working, and selfless, though Tremaine senses she’s also tired of her charitable obligations and envious of her siblings’ marital bliss. Tremaine, having been raised among shepherds, can spot another lonely soul, no matter how easily she fools her own family. Neither Tremaine nor Nita is looking for love, but love comes looking for them.

Technically I finished this one, but eh.  I don’t know why I picked this book up; I find Burrows’ writing to be very hard to follow.  It’s 95% dialogue and soliloquies, so very little normal narration, so I can’t keep track of where people are in a scene or what they’re doing.  You can be two pages into a scene and not know a character is present until they start talking. But this one in particular irritated me because the ending had the heroine giving up her “passionate” work of being a healer.  And way too easily.  And I’m just not here for that.  I want my historical romances to be full of ladies defying society and doing their thang and gentlemen who gasp at first and then by the end love them for it anyway.  What is this whole stay home and conform to gender bullshit stuff?

The Earl Claims a Bride
3. The Earl Claims a Bride by Amelia Grey.

Harrison Thornwick thought he was safe. The fourth son to the Earl of Thornwick, there was no reason he couldn’t lounge his life away, drinking and carousing in the notorious Heirs’ Club. But when the sudden deaths of his father and brothers leave Harrison holding the bag, he needs a wife in haste, unless he’s to defy the rule of the prince. Unluckily for Harrison, the prince has an entirely different rule for him—his wife-to-be, Miss Angelina Rule. But when he sees the lady in the flesh, Harrison finds her too beautiful and fascinating to resist…Princely command or not, Angelina has no desire to marry Thornwick. Waiting for her sweetheart to return from the army, she’s not about to be paired up with an Earl—especially with an infamous scoundrel like Harrison. But with Thornwick determined to make her his wife in more ways than one, Angelina will have to put up all her defenses if she is to resist being seduced…

I loved the premise of this one, but the hero was just a little too…um, enthusiastic about the heroine’s youth.  (Also, first one of these I’ve read where the girl is legit having her coming out and isn’t a spinster.  Turns out I like spinsters.  I do not have a problem with this.)

Deadly Christmas Secrets
4. Deadly Christmas Secrets by Shirlee McCoy.


When new evidence surfaces that Harper Shelby’s niece is possibly alive, Harper doesn’t expect it to endanger her life. For her protection, she has to put her much-guarded trust in Logan Fitzgerald, the man who unknowingly led a killer to her doorstep. Hired to track Harper down, security and rescue expert Logan doesn’t like that he’s been used to find a woman who someone apparently wants dead. Now he won’t leave Harper’s side until he can guarantee her safety and untangle the truth from the lies regarding her sister’s and niece’s murders. The closer they get to finding answers, the more intent the killer becomes on making sure that there won’t be a family reunion—or happily-ever-after—for Harper this Christmas.

Mission: Rescue—No job is too dangerous for these fearless heroes.

Got this one from Walmart about 75% because I just love the feel of those short slick paperbacks, and 25% because serial killer at Christmas!  I neglected to realize that it was from the “Inspirational” imprint, and I pretty much lost interest when I realized there wasn’t going to be hanky panky.  (I am terrible, I know.)  Shame, since the guy was the most respectful gun-slinger I’ve ever read in a romance.

Facing Fire
5. Facing Fire by HelenKay Dimon.

When his uncle is brutally murdered, Josiah King knows that business just got personal. His uncle’s ties to the Alliance can mean only one thing: Josiah and his black ops team are targets, along with everyone they love. Primed for vengeance, Josiah is determined to unravel the plot–until long-legged redhead Sutton Dahl becomes a dangerous distraction.

Sutton is very good at uncovering other people’s secrets—and protecting her own. When Josiah bursts into her life she’s torn between pushing him away and asking for his help. Mysterious, strong, and much too sexy, he’s a puzzle she longs to solve, and a temptation she can’t ignore.

Thrown together in the face of Alliance’s most lethal threat, Josiah and Sutton become unlikely partners, fighting for their lives even as the attraction between them flares into real passion. Torn between his team and the woman who means everything to him, Josiah will risk it all to save Sutton, even if that decision is his last.

It was a good premise, it really was.  I loved the set-up for getting the hero and heroine together.  He’s chasing a bad guy, she’s chasing the bad guy’s alias.  Her investigation makes her look suspicious, so he swings round to question her.  But it fell into that trap of just being WAY TOO MUCH right off the bat.  He burst into her room with a gun drawn on her, screaming about killing her if she does anything wrong, then asking vague questions, followed by more death threats.  JFC, dude, dial it down.  What even is with all this death talk; do you not realize you can’t interrogate a corpse?  (Which, really, is a big point here if you’re actually trying to catch said bad guy.)  And no further interaction from these two felt real after that.  How do you honestly have a romance after the “hero” makes you shit your pants?  (Didn’t actually happen, but realistically probably should have with that intro.)

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Five Books Everyone Should Read: Author HelenKay Dimon

Posted September 20, 2015 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

We have a first today. Author HelenKay Dimon is here to share her list of Five Books Everyone Should Read, and she’s first guest since we began this mad journey who didn’t cheat at all! No sneaky inserts of other titles, no series, no trilogies. I don’t know how she did it, but she stuck to five. And they’re good ones, too.

It’s almost mean to let me choose only five. Like any good reader I recoil in horror at the thought of narrowing down all those books I love, across so many genres, through all those years, to just five. Curse you! To prevent hours of frustration (and more than a little profanity use) I went with the five romance novels I return to over and over again. These are a few of my ultimate favorite reads.

The BrideThe Bride by Julie Garwood

By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, youngest daughter of Baron Jamison…a feisty, violet-eyed beauty. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her…forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian.
He was everything her heart warned against—an arrogant scoundrel whose rough good looks spoke of savage pleasures. And thought Kincaid’s scorching kisses fired her blood, she brazenly resisted him…until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills, and something far more dangerous than desire threatened to conquer her senses…

I made it to the ripe old age of 30 before ever reading a romance. This was my first. Reading this book literally changed my life. I fell in love with the genre and eventually decided to try to write romance. Alec and Jamie – him all gruff and alpha and “I’m not going to fall in love” and her all feisty and “yes, you will!” Some parts made me laugh and others made me sigh. Loved it back then and still do.

kiss an angelKiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

How did pretty, flighty Daisy Devreaux find herself in this fix? She can either go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has chosen for her. Alex Markov, however, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little featherhead with champagne tastes. As humorless as he is deadly handsome, he drags the irrepressible Daisy away from her uptown life and sets out to tame her.

Except it won’t be as easy as he thinks. This man without a soul has met a woman who’s nothing but heart. Will vows spoken in haste shatter . . . or offer the promise of love everlasting?

This romance has a virgin heroine, Russian royalty and a circus. A circus. No one except Susan Elizabeth Phillips could pull that mix off. And if that doesn’t convince you, let me try this…there is a scene near the end where the unbending hero hits his knees that is sure to please any romance reader looking for a good grovel scene.

Lucky's LadyLucky’s Lady by Tami Hoag 

As wild and mysterious as the Louisiana swamp he called home, Lucky Doucet was a dangerously attractive Cajun no woman could handle.  His solitary life left no room for the likes of elegant Serena Sheridan, but Lucky couldn’t deny her desperate need to find her missing grandfather.  He would help her, but nothing more—yet once he felt the lure of the flaxen-haired beauty, an adventurer like Lucky couldn’t help playing with fire.

Serena felt unnerved, aroused, and excited by the ruggedly sensual renegade whose gaze burned her with its heat, but she did not dare tangle with a rebel whose intensity was overwhelming, who claimed his heart was off limits?  Deeper and deeper they traveled into the steamy bayou, until with one electrifying kiss her resistance melted into liquid desire.  And the devilish rogue found he’d do anything to make Serena Lucky’s Lady.

Maybe it’s the loner alpha hero with the sexy Cajun accent and habit of engaging in dirty talk. Not sure, but this book is super hot. Also, if you ever wanted a sister and you’re mad at your parents because you don’t have one, read this and you’ll forgive them.

after the nightAfter The Night by Linda Howard 

FAITH DEVLIN: A poor, outcast child in Prescott, Louisiana, she’d always adored the town’s golden boy from afar. But he called her white trash that sultry Southern night when his rich, respected father disappeared, along with her pretty Mom. Now Faith wanted to hate Gray Rouillard…not to feel a powerful surge of desire. But she couldn’t quench her passion, any more than she could hide the truth about the past she had waited so long to unravel.
GRAY ROUILLARD: Even when he raised hell, he did it with style. Reckless, charming, and backed by Rouillard money, Gray controlled the town of Prescott — and Devlin was a name he never wanted to hear again. But when he gazed at Faith Devlin, all he saw was a swirl of tangled sheets and her silken flesh beneath him. To care for her was impossible, unthinkable…because Gray Rouillard planned to use all his power to ruin her.

Two words: Gray Rouillard. He’s the grumbly hero. This book shouldn’t work. The open scene is rough but you’ll get sucked in. Really, almost any old school Linda Howard is pure gold. She writes swoony tough heroes and heroines you’ll wish you knew in real life. Buy any of them.

RavishedRavished by Amanda Quick

From the cozy confines of a tiny seaside village to the glittering crush of the a fashionable London soiree comes an enthralling tale of a thoroughly mismatched couple . . . poised to discover the rapture of love.

There was no doubt about it. What Miss Harriet Pomeroy needed was a man. Someone powerful and clever who could help her rout the unscrupulous thieves who were using her beloved caves to hide their loot. But when Harriet summoned Gideon Westbrook, Viscount St. Justin, to her aid, she could not know that she was summoning the devil himself. . . .

Dubbed the Beast of Blackthorne Hall for his scarred face and lecherous past, Gideon was strong and fierce and notoriously menacing. Yet Harriet could not find it in her heart to fear him. For in his tawny gaze she sensed a savage pain she longed to soothe . . . and a searing passion she yearned to answer. Now, caught up in the Beast’s clutches, Harriet must find a way to win his heart–and evade the deadly trap of a scheming villain who would see them parted for all time.

The hero’s nickname is the Beast of Blackthorne Hall and the heroine is basically a Regency archeology nerd. Do I need to say more?

About HelenKay:

HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a…divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over thirty novels and novellas to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Bantam, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin, Samhain, Carina Press and Riptide. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and MiraCosta College. You can learn more at her website: www.helenkaydimon.com

Check out her latest releases:

Tamed by HelenKay Dimon
Tamed by HelenKay Dimon
Facing Fire by HelenKay Dimon
Facing Fire


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