Source: Publisher

Review: Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward

Posted December 6, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Where Winter Finds You by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #17.5
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine, The Thief, The Savior
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third

Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward is heating things up this winter with a holiday novel featuring some of her most iconic Black Dagger Brothers.

When Trez lost his beloved to a tragic death (The Shadows, Black Dagger Brotherhood #13), his soul was crushed and his destiny seemed relegated to suffering. But when he meets a mysterious female, he becomes convinced his true love has been reincarnated. Is he right? Or has his grief created a disastrous delusion?

Therese has come to Caldwell to escape a rift with her bloodline. The revelation that she was adopted and not born into her family shakes the foundations of her identity, and she is determined to make it on her own. Her attraction to Trez is not what she’s looking for, except the sexy Shadow proves to be undeniable.

Has fate provided a grieving widower with a second chance...or is Trez too blinded by the past to see the present for what it really is? In this sensual, arresting book full of the themes of redemption and self-discovery, two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads where the heart is the only compass that can be trusted...but that may require a courage that neither of them possesses.

I don’t know how I feel about this book. My feelings are all tangled up and I can’t quite work out if I liked it or not. I’m very conflicted and I don’t appreciate that very much.

Trez’s story was told in The Shadows. That wasn’t a good book. I can see what JRW was doing as far as Trez’s story arc now that I’ve read WWFY. That doesn’t mean I liked it.

Trez lost his mate, Selena, at the end of The Shadows. She was a Chosen and she had a degenerative disease that only the Chosen get. Trez had to watch his mate die at the end and if that doesn’t mess a person up, what does?

Fast forward a few years. Therese has left home after being lied to about being adopted. Arriving in Caldwell, Therese gets a job as a waitress at Sal’s. She’s determined to support herself and to show that she can stand on her own two feet.

When Trez first lays eyes on Therese, he is floored. She looks exactly like Selena. Like a carbon copy. The feelings that he has for Therese don’t make sense unless she is Selena reincarnated.

I didn’t really care for Therese one way or another. If there was one way to go, I would say I didn’t like her. She was so selfish when she left her family, not even thinking that they were protecting her. That part just rubbed me the wrong way. I did like her reaction when she found out that Trez believed she was his mate reincarnated. I thought it was very appropriate. Other than that, I just didn’t connect with her.

View Spoiler »

 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

two-half-stars


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Review: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted December 2, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Into the Dark by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Into the Dark by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati #5
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Pages: 608
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger's car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm's length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger. As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it's clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way...

Unsurprisingly, this book packs quite the emotional punch. Karen Rose has such a gift for pulling the reader into the story only to spit you out at the end with all the feels. That was Alone in the Dark for me. Whenever there is a child involved, especially in KR book, it hits me hard. Like really hard. This book was no different.

Michael Rowland has been abused by his stepfather for years. The only reason he hasn’t run away is because he has to protect Joshua, his little brother. When he sees his stepfather inject Joshua with something, the fight is on. Michael gets Joshua away safely. For now. When Brewer comes looking for them, Michael hides in the bushes along the road. He then witnesses something that is hard to comprehend. A man murdering his stepfather. Michael is deaf so he didn’t hear anything that was said. He does feel relief that Brewer is dead, followed by terror that the killer will come after him and Joshua next.

Diesel Kennedy coaches peewee soccer. Joshua is on his team. When his brother, Michael, runs six miles to make sure he is okay, it sends up red flags for Diesel. The only person he can take the boys to is Dani Novak. Dani is not only a doctor, but she is able to do emergency foster care for deaf children. When Dani and Diesel realize the extent of Michael’s abuse, they will not let him out of their site. Diesel has taken it upon himself to protect Dani and the boys, something he takes very seriously. It is hard for him to be around Dani because she’s been rejecting his advances for 18 months. Still, Diesel can only look at the situation as the chance it is to make Dani see that they would be good together.

With Michael able to identify the killer, he is now being hunted by the killer. Who is not just a killer, but a serial killer. Dani, Diesel and all their friends now have to fight to keep the boys safe when it becomes evident that the killer won’t stop coming after Michael. And what a crack team they are together. I loved the dynamic with all the friends and visiting couples that I have read about in previous books.

KR did a superb job here. I was angry at the killer, yet at the same time rooting him on. If that’s not effed, I don’t know what is. KR just has that knack. I loved Michael and Joshua. Their problems were very real and they came out loud and clear through the pages. Dani and Diesel’s love was sweet and passionate. I liked that once Dani decided she was in, she was all in. With Diesel and with the boys. This is yet another book that shows Karen Rose is on top of the romantic suspense genre and not leaving anytime soon.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Cincinnati


four-half-stars


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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward

Posted November 26, 2019 by Casee in Giveaways, Promotions | 4 Comments

Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward is out today! This is book 17.5 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. We are finally getting closure on Trez and Selena(?) or is it Therese? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Here’s a little tidbit to get you as excited as I am.

Blog Tour + Giveaway:  Where Winter Finds You by J.R. WardWhere Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #17.5
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine, The Thief, The Savior, Where Winter Finds You
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: Print
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third

Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward is heating things up this winter with a holiday novel featuring some of her most iconic Black Dagger Brothers.

When Trez lost his beloved to a tragic death (The Shadows, Black Dagger Brotherhood #13), his soul was crushed and his destiny seemed relegated to suffering. But when he meets a mysterious female, he becomes convinced his true love has been reincarnated. Is he right? Or has his grief created a disastrous delusion?

Therese has come to Caldwell to escape a rift with her bloodline. The revelation that she was adopted and not born into her family shakes the foundations of her identity, and she is determined to make it on her own. Her attraction to Trez is not what she’s looking for, except the sexy Shadow proves to be undeniable.

Has fate provided a grieving widower with a second chance...or is Trez too blinded by the past to see the present for what it really is? In this sensual, arresting book full of the themes of redemption and self-discovery, two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads where the heart is the only compass that can be trusted...but that may require a courage that neither of them possesses.

Excerpt

“Holy f–k,” Trez yelled as a semitrailer truck the size of a building went blasting past the front bumper of his brand-new BMW.

Like right past. Like . . . nearly peeling off the hood of the damned car.

As his four-wheel drive, heavily treaded snow tires abruptly grabbed at that which they had been spinning on, and a pedestrian who’d slipped suddenly righted himself out of the way of the truck, Trez decided that the definition of in-the-nick-of time was exactly what just happened. If he’d been able to go when the light had turned, if that pedestrian hadn’t caught himself just when he had, they would both have been filing their termination papers tonight.

Because about a split second prior to the almost catastrophe going down, Trez had been debating whether or not to just drive on. And not merely through the intersection.

Having spent two decades in Caldwell, watching with his Shadow eyes the way a couple generations of humans built up the city, he knew exactly where this particular street in this particular section of town ended up.

At the Hudson River.

So if he hit the gas and kept on a direct, no wavering course until the street ended, he could take a Fast & Furious jump off the concrete embankment under one of Caldie’s two bridges. The BMW would not last long in the free fall, the sleek car having been built to fly over asphalt, not literally fly, and soon enough, both he and all this expensive steel, leather, and plastic would be sinking beneath the cold, sluggish waters of the Hudson.

As his eyes had flashed peridot, his brain had imagined what it would be like. At first, the water would infiltrate through seams and vents, a trickle, not a rush. But that would change as he used the last of the electrical system’s power to lower the windows. After that, he would sit and wait for his drowning to take place, probably with his hands still on the wheel, maybe not, his seat belt remaining pulled across his chest, his clothes dampening and then clinging to his warm body with the clammy touch of the corpse he would soon become.

He would not struggle. He would keep his eyes open. He imagined himself feeling a calmness that had been missing since all the light in his world went out in that hospital room about twenty miles, and some distance underground, away from where he himself would die. He would be so relieved. Even as the water reached his throat, then proceeded over his mouth and into his nose and ears, even as his body temperature tried to rally against the icy submersion and failed to conserve any warmth, even as his air supply dwindled to that which was in his lungs and no more, he would be at peace.

The death throes, when they came—and they would, for his body was, as all were, evolutionarily adapted for survival, the conscious mind in charge only up to a dire point, whereupon autonomic function took over and things went haywire—would thrash him about in the bucket seat, throwing his head forward and back, his mouth opening and drawing in water as a reflex, as a desperate hope that his lungs were merely being denied oxygen as opposed to there being none available to them. He was under no illusions that it would be easy. There would be suffering from the suffocation, burning inside his body, perhaps even some last-moment panic kicked over his mortal transom by the lizard part of his brain.

But then it would be over. Done with. The whole miserable biological accident of his life dusted, in the bin, over and out.

A void, and nothing more.

Which was heretical.

As a Shadow, he had been raised in a slightly different belief system than regular vampires. His people, an evolutionary extension within the fanged species, relied a great deal on the stars in the sky, the traditions of the s’Hisbe a variant of what was accepted as the way the afterlife worked. The core tenets, however, were the same for both. It was like Protestants and Catholics—same essential language, but different dialects—and as such, his kind, too, had the theory that after you died, you went up unto the Fade, and lived out eternity with your loved ones under the benevolent auspices of the Scribe Virgin. Assuming you hadn’t been a total douche down on earth. If you had been an asshole, you were relegated to Dhunhd, also known as Hell, which was where the Omega and his minions hung out. Either way, your conduct over the course of your mortal nights determined your final zip code, and there was something after your last breath to look forward to—or dread—depending on your worthiness.

It was an okay theory, and a construct that he understood was, in its own fashion, to be found on the human side of things as well. Not the Fade or Dhunhd, perhaps, not the Scribe Virgin or the Omega, exactly, but rather other, similar belief systems that covered both how you treated yourself and others while you were mortal, and also considered what happened to you after your coil, so to speak, got popped. Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and countless other religions, they were all efforts to give more of a vista after death than just a coffin and a grave. Or a pyre.

He knew from pyres.

God, did he ever.

What he no longer knew from, however, what he no longer believed in, was all the rest of that stuff. He’d never been particularly spiritual, but man, you didn’t know how much you had been until you were not any longer.

At all.

Anyway, prior to the whole truck/intersection/ almost-obliteration thing, he had been considering what was not exactly a sin, but rather a really, very not-so-hot idea. Assuming you were a believer. In the lexicon of both vampires and Shadows, if you took your own life, that was it. No Fade for you, motherfucker. Now, no one had been able to provide him with a good explanation of what the alternative repercussions were—sure, lore had it you were closed-door’d on the whole Fade thing. But where did you end up? Dhunhd? Worm food? Who knew. Yet everyone and their uncle was damn clear on the fact that you weren’t going to be elbows deep in people you liked for the next jabillion years.

The message apparently being, if you took your own life, well, then, to hell with you if you didn’t appreciate the gift you were given at birth.

Yeah, like this whole breathing/heart-beating thing had been such a fucking prize, these years he’d been upright and walking around such a goddamn joy. He’d been destined for a loveless mating since the night he was born, been responsible for the senseless suffering of both his parents, watched a dear friend get tortured by a psychotic cunt for a good twenty years—that was fun—been a pimp, a drug dealer, and an enforcer.

Real partridge-in-a-pear-tree shit.

And then that heaping sundae of shit-chip ice cream—which he’d self-medicated with an outstanding sex addiction, thank you very much—had been cherry-topped by the granddaddy of all gutwrenchers.

He’d met the female of his dreams, fallen in love . . . and, after what felt like twenty minutes of happiness, had had to hold her hand as she died of a wasting disease right in front of him.

Honestly, he hadn’t just been born under a bad star; he’d been born under one that kicked him in the nuts so badly, he’d coughed them out in his hand.

So now he was here, in this BMW he’d just bought, on this snowy night, during the motherfucking human season of cocksucking joy, contemplating suicide—only to have the GODDAMN ACCIDENT THAT COULD HAVE MADE IT ALL COME OUT ALL RIGHT DENIED TO HIM BY A SET OF ALL-SEASON RADIALS THAT HAD WORKED JUST FINE AT EVERY OTHER FUCKING INTERSECTION HE’D EVER DRIVEN THROUGH.

Not to put too fine a point on things.

But FFS, he couldn’t even have a chance to get dead in such a way that he could both end this bullshit AND not run afoul of the maybe truth that suicide got you, literally, nowhere.

Not that he believed in the afterlife anymore anyway. No matter what he’d thought he’d seen after Selena had died.

Hell, if there was anything that the last three months had taught him, it was that death was a hard stop. Especially if you were the one left behind.

Well, Trez thought, as he sped along in the snow, at least there was still the embankment option.

There was that to look forward to.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

Giveaway

We are lucky enough to have one copy of Where Winter Finds You. Enter using the widget below. The contest is available to US residents only.

Blog Tour: Where Winter Finds You by J.R. Ward

Are you looking forward to Trez and Therese’s book?


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Sunday Spotlight: Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen

Posted October 20, 2019 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite authors, is a stickler on my auto-buy list and she’s got a new book coming out on October 22nd. Her new book is part of a new series that is a spin-off from her Brooklyn Bruisers series and it introduces some new characters while letting us keep in touch with some old friends from her Brooklyn Bruisers world. We’re getting Bayer’s book, you guys!

Sunday Spotlight: Moonlighter by Sarina BowenMoonlighter by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Company #1
Also in this series: Moonlighter
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 370
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Only in my family could a professional hockey player earning seven million dollars a year be considered a slacker.

I’m at the height of my athletic career. Yet my arrogant brother is always trying to recruit me into the family business: a global security company so secretive that I don’t even know its name.

Pass, thanks. I don’t need a summer job.

But the jerk ambushes me with a damsel in distress. That damsel is Alex, the competitive, sassy girl I knew when we were kids. Now she’s a drop-dead gorgeous woman in deep trouble.

So guess who’s on a flight to Hawaii?

It’s going to be a long week in paradise. My job is keeping Alex safe, while her job is torturing me with her tiny bikinis. Or maybe we’re torturing each other. It’s all snark and flirting until the threat against Alex gets serious. And this jock must become her major league protector.

Moonlighter is a stand-alone novel. No cliffhangers, no prior experience necessary. Contains: hackers, hockey players, and a hotel room with only one bed.

If you read Overnight Sensation, Bayer gets hurt and then disappears from that book but in Moonlighter, we find out where he disappeared to and what he got into…and this book was such a delight, which is why we’re spotlighting this book today. It’s a good one and we’re hoping that this excerpt will whet your appetite for another fabulous book from Sarina Bowen. Check it out!

Excerpt

I pass out in the car, too. I don’t wake up until it stops. And then I discover I’m sleeping with my face propped against Eric’s muscular shoulder.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry.” I sit up straight, as if that might help him forget. There’s a little spot of drool near the collar of his polo.

Shoot me.

“It’s fine,” he grumbles. “Just another part of the job description nobody ever gave me. Bodyguard, and pillow to the rich and famous.”

He slides out of the car, and I follow, finding myself blinking up at the entrance to one of Hawaii’s chicest spa resorts. I’m too tired to appreciate the asymmetrical stone facade and the carefully lit water features. But it will be promising tomorrow in the daylight.

Eric already has our two suitcases in hand and it’s all I can do to grab my own carry-on bag and follow him inside the lobby. Luckily, there’s no wait at the check in desk, and all I have to do is hand over my credit card and remain vertical while the desk agent makes two key cards and small talk with Eric.

“There are three pools on the property. The dolphin experience is located down in the cove.”

“Great. Can you tell me where to find the gym?” he asks.

“On the lower level, sir. We have personal trainers, as well. Touch two on your in-room phone to schedule an appointment or a spa treatment.”

“Thank you.”

“Can I show you to your suite?” the woman asks.

“We’d rather just go on up ourselves,” Eric says, holding out a hand for the key cards.

“Certainly. Your suitcases are already on their way.”

“Thank you,” I whisper as soon as the elevator doors close on us. “I can’t handle people right now.”

“I noticed that,” he chuckles.

“Usually I’m a great traveler. Another symptom of pregnancy is extreme exhaustion. Apparently growing an entire human takes a lot of extra energy.”

“Ah,” he says. “Yeah, I’ve never tried that myself, so…” He runs a hand through his hair.

I don’t know why I feel the need to explain myself. It’s the middle of the night back at home. I’m asleep on my feet right now, but anyone would be

Luckily, moments later Eric opens the door to a plush suite. I drag myself inside. And because this is a very nice hotel, our luggage is already waiting for us. I unzip my suitcase and pull out a nightgown along with my toiletry bag. Then I disappear into the marble clad bathroom ahead of Eric. But somebody has to go first, right?

After I’ve changed and brushed my teeth, I take a look in the mirror. My eyes are red, and my hair is messed. I look like a disaster. And when I turn my head, I catch sight of a red indentation on my jaw. Good lord. There’s a Lacoste alligator molded into my face from sleeping on Eric.

There is really no end to today’s mortifications.

After brushing my hair forward to hide the mark, I put on a brave face and leave the bathroom. Eric is in the bedroom, hanging his suit jacket in the closet. My sleep addled brain spends a few seconds remembering how fabulous he looks in a tux. In Florida, when I was trying to figure out why he kept glancing at me, I allowed myself a few glances of my own.

My old friend is seriously hot. As fake boyfriends go, he’s an A-lister.

“You should get some sleep,” he says with a glance over his shoulder. I’m obviously not the only one who thinks I look like a zombie right now.

“So should you,” I point out. Then I turn around and count the beds.

There’s only one.

Oh, dear. I should have seen this wrinkle coming.

The Company

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina's books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.


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Review: Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

Posted September 30, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Lethal Nights by Lora LeighReviewer: Casee
Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh
Series: Brute Force #3
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man―and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But her ex-husband moved among some shady characters, and now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost―one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

Lora Leigh is one of those authors I just can’t quit. I feel like I’ve outgrown her, but it just doesn’t seem to matter. I keep coming back for more. In Lethal Nights, we’re taken back to the Brute Force series. This is the third book in the series and my first of the series. That’s fairly uncommon as I don’t generally read out of order. I didn’t feel very lost while I was reading, so it’s safe to say that you can jump in anywhere in the series.

Brute Force has made a deal with Emma Jane Preston’s in regard to using her house as safe house when they are in need of one. This is a common practice for Brute Force though they don’t generally go looking for people. The situation is different for Ilya Dragonovich who is drawn to Emma Jane from the beginning. He knows that the time isn’t right for Emma Jane as she just started divorce proceedings. He leaves her with a kiss, promising that he will be back for her.

It’s a year later and Emma Jane is in trouble. She’s becoming the target of multiple assassins and no one can figure out why. The trail seems to be non-existent which worries Ilya. Coming back into Emma Jane’s life was what he planned all along, but not because she was in danger.

Emma Jane knows that she will fall for the man with the dragon tattoo on his face. His dragon seems alive to her, which she knows is impossible. What she doesn’t know is that it is alive, but only to the person that is meant for the man.

It took me a long time to read this book. It was very slow moving at first. When it did get going, it really got going. I liked the meat of the story as well as how it concluded. While I don’t generally read very many romantic suspenses anymore, I really ended up liking this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Brute Force

four-stars


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