Monday, May 26, 2014

ARC Review: Hunt the Darkness

Hunt the Darkness (Guardians of Eternity #11)

by Alexandra Ivy


The vampire, Roke, is raw, sensual, always in control. Yet somehow he's allowed the unthinkable to happen: a nymph-like witch named Sally has used her magic to trick Roke into mating with her. The pair will remain bound for eternity unless Sally breaks the spell. The trouble is, she has no idea how. . .
Mating with Roke was an accident; at least that's what Sally keeps telling herself. She's on the hunt for her demon father, whose identity holds the key to releasing the spell. The search won't be easy with Roke shadowing Sally's every move. As they mate with a ferocity that leaves them both aching for more, Sally isn't sure if her world is more dangerous without Roke—or with him. . .
Themes: vampires, witches, paranormal
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Well this series has certainly taken some interesting turns over the years, but if you’ve been a fan from the beginning like I have you will probably have enjoyed the journey as much as I. Picking up right where Darkness Avenged left off, Roke and Sally’s story is full of revelations, emotional vulnerabilities, and the love that can develop between the most unlikely of individuals. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to a lot more in the future, but I gotta say I wish they were released much closer together because the wait in between books about kills me.
Sally has spent all her life trying to find contentment but it has always eluded her.  She’s been abused and used by her mother, looked down on by other witches, used and discarded by a seriously bad demon, held captive by vampires, and finally escaped only to find herself pursued by the vampire she accidentally mated.  While she is insanely attracted to Roke, she’s not willing to give up her quest to find her long lost father and try to understand her own heritage.  She never imagined he would chase her down so quickly and demand that he accompany her.  As her powers grow, the world around her begins to make less and less sense, but Roke is an anchor in her ever-changing world and she finds herself clinging to him and becoming more emotionally attached with every minute they are together.  When a long forgotten enemy comes after Sally, only by overcoming her insecurities and trusting in her own blossoming powers can she kick his ass and keep her mate, the man she has fallen irrevocably in love with, safe from harm. I loved seeing Sally kick some serious ass and the true nature of her magic and identity was a fun twist I never saw coming, but am looking forward to exploring more in coming books.
I think Roke is one of my favorite vampire characters in a long time.  He is definitely an alpha male of the highest order, a clan chief that expects others to fall in line, but when he’s faced with the unexpected he is able to flow with the changes like water over rock.  He’s been insanely attracted to Sally from the beginning, but when she accidentally casts a spell that mates them, he is at first reluctant to have her as a mate, but as his instincts flare and force him to chase her down, he begins to suspect that maybe it wasn’t an accident after all. I would have to say I was surprised by Roke’s ability to compromise in this story.  I fully expected him to fight Sally every step of the way, and though they certainly had their arguments he was surprisingly flexible and trusted her abilities much more than I thought he would. He takes obvious pleasure in taking care of his mate, but as he gets to know her and understand her more, he sees the woman she truly is and finds himself even more intensely determined that she is really his mate and it wasn’t just a freak magical accident that had them mated. I loved seeing how Roke challenged Sally at every  turn to accept her new role as his mate, but never tried to force her into a corner to get his way—or at least almost never.  I also have to say that I loved his willingness to give up everything he’s ever fought for, his clan, his friends, and even his world, if that’s what is necessary to keep Sally as his mate.  Honestly what girl could turn down that kind of dedicated?
Hunt the Darkness was a great read from start to finish, fast paced, full of action, drama, love and surprises, and written with all the flair I expect from Alexandra Ivy.  The story takes you more deeply into another culture, or class, of demon, the Fey, and we get to learn more about them and their powerful hierarchy.  Sally is on a quest, determined to find her father so she can learn about the demon portion of her DNA, initially in the hopes of reversing her mistake in mating Roke to her, but soon she finds her quest leading into new and unexpected directions.  Roke begins his journey believing he is chasing after Sally just to make sure that she stays safe long enough to remove her spell, but soon he begins to believe that the spell is the least of his reasons for chasing after her.  When they both begin to fall, there is no denying the intensity of their emotional connection and the expression of that passion will leave the reader reaching for ice just to cool down.  There were even some interesting new creatures introduced that expanded Ivy’s world of Guardians and the demons that share their world. I loved reading Sally and Roke’s story, one that reminds us that even the most unlikely of matches are sometimes made in heaven and the heart wants what the heart wants.  There was, as always, a bit of a cliffhanger in this story (something Ivy is famous for) and I am looking forward to finding out what happened in the next book with Cyn and Fallon.  Keep the awesomeness coming, Alexandra, but maybe just a little faster would be greatly appreciated so my fixes aren't so far apart.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Blessed Memorial Day

Being a member of a proud military family, I understand the importance of the men and women who work every day to protect our freedoms.  Most national holidays in the US are becoming more and more just free days for people to get together and party, with many never even understanding the true importance of the holidays.   Veteran’s day is biggie in my family as my brother is currently active duty, my sister-in-law is in the reserves, and we have several retired members as well.  But I am one of the lucky ones in that honoring Memorial Day for me remains distanced compared to most families.  Through the several wars, from Vietnam, to the gulf war, Korean conflict and even the more recent conflicts, my family members have all returned to us.

But for those whose families are not as blessed as mine, I honor your service and share my thanks for your sacrifice so I might be free to express my personal beliefs where in many countries there is no such choice.

Honoring those that have left us behind, on Monday there will be a national moment of remembrance at 3:00pm (1500 hrs).  In that moment take a chance to offer your thanks and silence to honor those that gave the greatest sacrifice that anyone can give.

So as you enjoy your barbecue, hot dogs & burgers, and visiting with friends and family, keep in mind those that will never again have that chance and the reason behind that.  

For more information and a perspective from a US marine on the reason one should never wish anyone “Happy” Memorial Day, visit the following link.
And from us here at Romance Witch reviews we send our thanks to those friends and families of the fallen and share or blessings with them in their time of memorial.

Remember "all gave some, but some gave all".

Have a Blessed day,
The Romance Witch

Sunday, May 25, 2014

ARC Review: Once Tasted

Once Tasted (Silver Creek #2)



Three siblings, an extraordinary family, a lasting heritage—in the irresistible Silver Creek Ranch trilogy, they’ll fight for the land and the people they love.
 Everything has come easily to Reid Knowles, the middle son of a California ranching family. But his charmed life is suddenly complicated when his good friend and neighbor asks him to help run the winery next door. His neighbor’s niece, Mia Bodell, is in charge—and she has made it clear that she’d rather be roped to a steer than to Reid Knowles. Never one to back down from a challenge, Reid vows to win her trust.
 Her life marked by loss, Mia knows that nothing comes easily—love included. In high school, her heart was crushed by Reid, and even though years have passed, the hurt lingers. Mia is achingly aware that the teen heartthrob has matured into a devastatingly handsome playboy, and the budding winemaker refuses to let down her guard. But one taste of unbridled passion changes things. From Reid’s first intoxicating kiss to his unexpectedly tender seduction, Mia is swept into a passionate affair that could tear her heart to pieces . . . or give her everything she has ever wanted.
Themes: cowboys, contemporary
Rating:  4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Well a hot cowboy who’s got a heart of gold and the determination of an angry donkey… what could make for a better hero? I was granted the honor of being able to read both of the current stories in this series in advance of their release and am thrilled to say that I loved both novels.  This family is extraordinarily dynamic and obviously loving, but their impact on their community is just as great and seeing how loved they were by their friends and neighbors reminds me of the way people can come together in the true sense of community to be a family. Seeing the second brother in the Knowles family fall under the spell of his sweet but terribly shy neighbor, Once Tasted takes you on a journey through the creation of wine from start to finish,  teaching you while entertaining you and sharing the power of love. I hadn't read anything by Laura Moore before this opportunity but I can honestly say she has made it to my favorite authors shelf and I will be looking forward not only to what’s next for the Knowles’s, but also whatever new worlds she might invite us into in her imagination.
Reid is my favorite kind of cowboy, one who rides steel horses as well as he rides his flesh and blood ones.  Riding back into town on his Harley he instantly causes a stir and is completely oblivious of all the attention he gets or the wake of hearts he leaves pattering. While is he definitely gorgeous, he’s not arrogant with it, instead he is as down to earth as can be for a dedicated bachelor always looking for the next woman to bring fun into his…life. Dealing with the fallout from the deal his parents made with their neighbor, Reid is determined to be there for Mia in every way as they embark on a partnership in their business and an all new unexplored relationship territory.  I loved seeing that he could look past the underplayed exterior Mia portrays to the world to the wildcat beneath her armor and the vulnerable heart buried deep.  He uses his not inconsiderable skills of seduction and persuasion to bring Mia out of her shell, never imagining that he would lose his heart to her in the process. When Mia’s world comes crashing down around her, though she tries to push him away, Reid knows that only by being there for her in every aspect will he ever stand a chance of proving his love to her and having a chance for a future with her.
Mia was a bit more difficult to peel down the layers to her true personality.  There are so many layers of insecurity wrapped around her after years of being beat down by her cousin and others that her own light is deeply hidden from the world.  She is obviously a very intelligent woman, with skills that could bring her business far into the future and make it shine, but her fears have always kept her from achieving her true potential.  When her uncle leaves her in charge, abruptly moving on with his life, Mia is left floundering like a baby bird kicked from the nest.  But with Reid’s help and the support of her team, friends, and Reid’s family she begins to trust in herself and spread her wings to fly.  Her feelings for Reid begin to deepen, making the crush she’s always had on him into something much deeper and more robust, like a finely aged wine, and when she begins to accept that love, her fears are thrust to the forefront of her mind making her question their relationship.  When tragedy strikes, her fears and worries lead her to push Reid away, hoping to protect herself and him from danger, while keeping her feelings hidden allows her to keep her heart form being broken.  Only when she sees just how dedicated Reid really is to her, she regrets every hurtful thing she has said to him and determines to share those feelings, even if the love isn’t reciprocated, showing her development into a woman of true strength and character.  
I really enjoyed learning about all the aspects of wine-making that were shared in this story.  The first book in the series focused more on the ranch and the animals that were the Knowles’s livelihood, and though there was plenty of that here, the focus was on the vineyard, allowing for an all new and exciting settling while still keeping things close to home.  Getting to see both Reid and Mia come into their own as they fell in love was a great example of love making a person better even if you never realize it is happening.  Mia was a great character as she blossoms into a strong and sensual woman, willing to do anything to make her business succeed and to find her place in the world, as well as becoming a woman that Reid can love. Getting to see Reid come into his own was exciting too; he was able to branch out a bit from his family and use his learned experiences, applying his business know-how to the vineyard to help Mia and also give himself pride in meeting and exceeding at a challenge.  The love between Reid and Mia takes them both by surprised, even though readers can see they are meant to be from the beginning.  They fight their attraction to one another and each carry heavy regrets about their past together, but when their forced interactions quickly turn to passionate exploration, the heat burns the pages up and leaves you breathless with anticipation to see what passionate adventure they’ll get up to next.  I enjoyed every minute of this story and am very much looking for to what’s coming next, which I suspect and hope will be Quinn’s story, but whoever it might be, returning to Silver Creek Ranch and the beautiful landscape it inhabits will certainly be no hardship. Brava, Ms. Moore, Brava.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: Blind Faith

Blind Faith (Sin Brothers #3)



A betrayal he couldn't forget . . .
For Nate Dean, love is a four-letter word. As part of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be ruthless soldiers with an expiration date. They were loyal only to one another . . . until Nate laid eyes on the woman who stole his heart and blew his world apart. Now, years later, his family is still paying the price for his mistake. But as time runs out, there's only one person who can save his family: the very woman Nate swore he'd never trust again.
A love she couldn't deny . . .
The moment Audrey Madison spies Nate across a crowded ballroom, she can barely breathe. He's just as undeniably sexy as she remembers, yet there's an edge to him now that's as irresistible as it is dangerous. When he asks for her help, Audrey can't refuse. But she has secrets of her own-secrets that, if Nate ever discovers them, may cost them both their lives. .
Themes: paramilitary, contemporary
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
The third story in the Sin Brothers series was full of ups and down, surprises, betrayals, and the love of two very damaged, confused, and ultimately perfectly matched people on a quest to keep evil from continuing to spread darkness over their lives. I have enjoyed the previous books in this series very much but Nate’s story gives so much more depth to the emotions of these trained killers and I found myself rooting for him every step of the way.   I will admit this book got a little bit more complicated in terms of villains, but it was done so well that it just seems to flow and make perfect sense. The little glimpses of the other brothers and their women was interesting as well, and finally finding out the truth about their youngest brother made the story perfect. I am looking forward to where the series heads next.
Nate is a wonderfully dangerous man, one who lives his life determined to never make the same mistake twice and to protect his brothers—and now their women—at all costs.  He never imagines that he is fit to have a woman of his own, and really the only one he’s ever wanted is Audrey, the daughter of the woman he has hated all his life with everything in him.  She once broke his heart, but he never imagines he would find her working with the enemy and the truth of that shakes him up quite a bit.  As they get to know one another again, Nate learns that his instincts are not to be ignored and Audrey is more than willing to remind him of her true nature.  I liked Nate for the most part, though he annoyingly jumps to the worst conclusion about Audrey every time something that looks bad happens, but thankfully he gets over that near the end.  He is obviously a gorgeous man, but his arrogance comes from his skills and abilities more than from his looks or innate charm. It was interesting to see him interacting with his brothers and their wives and to see how his changes when the thought of impending fatherhood hits him.  There was a gooey softness at the center of that hard and thick shell surrounding Nate’s heart to be sure.
Audrey was my favorite type of heroine: a compassionate woman on a mission to save the world.  Or at least the portion of the world she had her life wrapped up in.  She is determined to bring down the commander for his horrible experiments without putting her mother, or the Dean Brothers into danger.  She is finally ready to enact her plan when things start to go terribly awry.  First Nate explodes back into the life, then she is placed into mortal danger when someone discovers her connections to the commander, and finally by the commander himself when she is forced back under his thumb.  Really Audrey just had a bad couple of days! But she never once lets herself lose focus on her goals, protecting herself, her new family, and bringing down the bastard who caused it all. Her love for Nate is obvious from the very first second and I loved how she forced him to accept that love and admit to his own feelings for her.  She is sweet and na├»ve in some ways, but worldly and dangerous in her own right in other ways.  Her very determination to not accept defeat is what makes her ingenuity and craftiness so much sharper. I liked how well thought-out her plans were, though I felt like she should have just cut ties with her sociopath mother a long time ago, but when those plans are turned completely upside down, she is able to roll with the punches (literally in some cases) and find a way to win every time.  An undefeatable woman on a mission to keep her loved ones safe—heady stuff!
Overall this series has caused me a few tears, especially the glimpses we get into the terrible “childhoods” (and I use that term very loosely here) that the dean brothers lived through. Even though Nate was trained almost from birth to be a killing machine—as were his brothers—he never stopped looking for a better, more normal life, including falling in love with Audrey at a young age and never being able to move on.  While Audrey may have given up Nate the first time to keep him safe, neither of them are willing to let their love go a second time, instead determining that only together can they defeat the commander and find a way to be happy and safe, together, forever.  Audrey was a great character, one of those women that you can hold up as a role model.  Overcoming the ghastly beginning to their lives, both Nate and Audrey show that the nature of love cannot be trained out of the heart, no matter how hard someone tries to change you.  Their ability to love was remarkable under these circumstances, but never for a minute did I doubt they would find their HEA and defeat the commander, one way or another.  I cannot wait to find out what happens in the final book in the series coming soon (I hope). Another hit series for Rebecca Zanetti as far as I’m concerned.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

ARC Mini-Review: Tamed

Tamed (Dark Protectors #6.5)

by Rebecca Zanetti


Caleb Donovan was never meant to be a prophet. At heart he's a conqueror, his appetites far more carnal than spiritual. He's not inclined to repress his passions and surrender to fate. After all, that's what cost him Lily—three centuries ago. She married another, because it was ordained. Now that he's in the same benighted calling—and forced into proximity with her—all the old desires are roaring back to life. . .
After widowhood and centuries of celibacy, Lily is eager to explore the wild side of life, except now she's vulnerable to another forced relationship, with an enemy. But this time she's determined to choose her own path. And if hot, furious Caleb comes charging to the rescue, it might just change both their destinies. . .
Love is about to start conquering. . .
Themes: vampires, paranormal
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
The end is coming soon, but in the meantime we have a short but steamy story of two former loves that are getting another chance at love after three centuries apart. This story is one that I wasn’t expecting to feel any connection with, since I wasn’t overly invested in either the hero or the heroine from them being in previous novels. Surprisingly I found myself enjoying this story, though I certainly didn’t love it as much as previous novels.  The story takes place shortly after book 6 which was one that blew all previous books out of the water, so maybe if was just unable to live up to that greatness. I am looking forward to seeing where the war takes us in the next novel; though it will be sad to see the series end, even if it will hopefully end in peace.
Caleb lost the chance to love Lily three centuries earlier when she cut their courtship short to marry for duty. Through the years their paths have crossed, but only recently was there any chance for them to be together.  With her being infected with the virus created by their enemies, Lily is finally able to take a lover, but she knows to stay far, far away from Caleb.  He is the one man that has always stirred her desire, but his intensity and the anger he has always displayed when around her, leave her a bit terrified of him.  When he arrives to her rescue just as she decides to branch out and try her hand at sex, Lily never expected him to offer to fulfill all her desires.  Caleb has waited all these years for a chance to be with Lily and when he finds out that she is going to take a lover, he immediately decides he’s done waiting for her to come to him.  He is determined to claim her as his lover, his wife, and eventually his mate, but making her believe in him and accept his feelings is more of a challenge than he ever expected. But when the danger surrounding them intensifies there is no time for Caleb to focus on anything but keep them both alive and safe if they’ll ever have a chance together.
This story was one that provided the bridge between Jase’s book and what I believe will be the final in the series, Jane’s book. As such there is a lot of plot building with battles, changes in their world, and unveiling of truths leading to the final battle. While the connection between Caleb and Lily was blistering, their love affair was more of a reason for them to be involved in the peace talks than anything else.  Seeing them rediscover their connection was wonderful and watching Lily blossom and stop hiding behind her old-fashioned persona made the whole story even more important. Caleb was the ultimate alpha male, being a vampire in mating heat makes him even more intense, but he was sweet and understanding too. Lily, while a bit old-fashioned in public, was a wildcat in private, full of passion, determination, and strength.  Though she seems a bit timid at first, she comes out of her shell and shows herself to be a woman to be reckoned with and one that will do just about anything to keep her people safe, but only when she is true to her heart and morals when making those choices.  I liked the overall feel of this story and loved both the H/h and it seemed to blend well into the full series while providing fun twists and turns that lead to interesting changes in their world. I CANNOT WAIT for the next book and to finally find out the truth about the triangle of Jane and the two men that have haunted her childhood dreams and adult visions.  Sad to see the series ending, but I'm looking forward to new things from Rebecca and have no doubt I will ultimately love whatever comes next.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ARC Review: Her Perfect Mate

Her Perfect Mate (X-Ops #1)

by Paige Tyler 


Their attraction is more dangerous than any weapon of mass destruction
When Special Forces Captain Landon Donovan is chosen for an assignment with the Department of Covert Operations, he's stunned to find his new partner is a beautiful woman who looks like she couldn't hurt a fly, much less take down a terrorist.
Ivy Halliwell isn't your average covert op. Her feline DNA means she can literally bring out the claws when things get dicey. She isn't thrilled to be paired with yet another military grunt, but Landon is different. He doesn't think she's a freak-and he's smokin' hot. Soon they're facing a threat even greater than anyone imagines... and an animal magnetism impossible to ignore.
Themes: shifters, covert ops

Rating: 3.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
As a frequent reader, I love trying new authors and new series, and getting to share my feelings and thoughts about these books is one of my biggest joys when it comes to reading. I have read just about every permutation out there of shifters, mercenaries, covert ops and any combination thereof, but this was an interesting take on all of the above. I have no experience with this author’s writing, but I enjoyed this story well enough to give a second book a try and see if she might be worth adding to my favorite authors list.  This story has quite a few twists and turns in the plot, lots of heat, and just enough sweetness to keep the story from being too intense or becoming dry. If you are a fan of Cherry Adair, Lora Leigh, and Katie Reus will find yourself enjoying this new series very much.
Landon Donovan is a man determined to do right by his Special Forces team, after a mission cost one of his good friends his career and almost his life. When he is pulled from the field and given new orders he never imagined just how much his reality was about to change. His new partner is a sexy and irresistible woman that has more than a few secrets and is one of the few who could match him in the field—or the bedroom. Ivy is a shifter, with feline grace and abilities that make her the ultimate predator in their world. When she is forced to take Landon as a partner, she never imagined just how well matched they would be, in all portions of their lives they just seem to fit. Soon they are find themselves caught up in a dangerous plot, hatched by a madman, and with the goal of starting the next world war.  Only by trusting each other completely will they stand a chance of stopping the plot and staying alive, but will the feelings they bring out in each other make them stronger as a team or prove their ultimate weakness.
I love Ivy; she is a sexy badass with trust issues, but under it all just a woman looking for a man to love her for her and be someone she can lean and count on through the good and the bad. Seeing her kick butt and take names was fun, but I loved even more when she jumped in to save Landon from his own arrogance even more.  She is obviously the type of woman that protects those she loves with everything in her, and there is just enough extra in her to do it well.  So let’s discuss now the special feline portion of Ivy and how much I didn’t think that was written to its full potential. In the story there is a brief, almost vague, explanation of what makes her a shifter and what it means.  Can I just say this is the first “shifter” story I’ve ever read where the “shifter” doesn’t “shift” into anything. While her feline DNA (and other shifters personal DNA type) allows her to tap into the special abilities inherent in her shifter species, the only part of her that actually shifts is her eyes, fangs and claws.  I think it would have been even better had she and her counterpoints actually fully shifted into their animals, but maybe that’s just me. But overlooking that little pet-peeve, Ivy is still a great character and a woman I would love to have on my side in any fight.
Landon is one sexy beast, even if he’s completely human. While he is willing to do his job to the best of his ability, only when he begins to connect with Ivy do his real abilities come out.  His protective instincts, linked to his passion for her, come to the fore even more prominently once he gives into the desire for her as a woman. He is obviously the type of man that gives his all in his work and also in his relationships, whether with his woman or his friends.  He’s sweet but intense, strong but vulnerable, and willing and able to do whatever it takes to keep Ivy safe and make her his. His past was brushed on briefly and was more than a little sad, but instead of it making him into a bitter bastard, it instead makes him more determined to make something of himself and find his place in the world. Overall I would say that Landon is just the type of man I look forward to finding to settle down with, which is the highest praise I can think of.
While I enjoyed Her Perfect Mate, I will say that I can’t imagine myself coming back and rereading it again and again like some similar books I have read.  There were just moments I found my attention wavering and while I can say I liked both characters a lot and the overall plot was good, there were a few parts that just bugged me.  There were some serious issues with the organization that employed Ivy and Landon, the issues with Shifters than can’t shift, and the lack of depth for strong supporting characters was just enough to keep me from hedging into love with this story.   Ivy is a wonderful character, a strong, no-nonsense warrior, who maintains her femininity and desire for love, while still using her unique feline abilities to keep her and her friends and loved-ones safe.   Landon is a man after my own heart; sexy, alpha without being obnoxious about it, strong, deadly and unwilling to let any danger go unanswered.  But at the same time he’s sweet, compassionate, caring, and gentle when it comes to Ivy and that balance and depth is what makes him the perfect guy.  The passion that Ivy and Landon both feel, and both try to deny, is so strong I could feel myself heating up right alongside them. The villains’ evil plot was well thought out and developed, even if I figured it out long before Landon and Ivy did.  In the end I will say that I liked this book well enough to keep it on my shelf and give the second book in the series the chance to make me a believer, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for these teams.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ARC Review: Hell for Leather

Hell for Leather (Black Knights Inc. #6)

by Julie Ann Walker 


Only the most urgent crisis could force Delilah Fairchild to abandon her beloved biker bar and ask the surly Bryan "Mac" McMillan for help. Her uncle—the man who raised her—has vanished into thin air, and Mac is the only person with the right connections to help her find him. What the ex-FBI agent has against her is a mystery...but when the bullets start to fly, Mac is her only chance of finding her uncle alive.
Mac knows that beautiful women can't be trusted, but he has to put his natural wariness of Delilah aside in order to help her. With the clock ticking, Mac and Delilah find themselves holding on to each other in the wildest adventure of their lives.
Themes: bikers, mercenaries  
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating:
 The mysterious men of Black Knights Inc (BKI) are back in the story of Mac and sexy bar owner, Delilah, who has been a part of the BKI world for a few books now, though she only recently learned the truth of the sexy bikers that frequented her bar. This series is full of sexy, alpha, and dangerous men and the women that bring them to their knees with sass, strength and sweetness.  I’ve followed this series since the very beginning and am thrilled with each new addition to the series, but I of course have my favorite knights.  I enjoyed reading Mac and Delilah’s story, though I didn’t love it as much as some others in the series.  There were beautiful twists and turns, dangerous situations, and the ultimate love that develops between two people that seem so different but are ultimately more alike than either ever would have believed. If you haven’t read previous novels in the series you won’t be too lost with the plot and relationships in this story, but you won’t be able to appreciate the subtle references to previous stories or the intensity of the BKI men and their missions.  
This mission begins with Delilah enlisting the help of BKI to find her missing uncle, Theo.  Though he’s only been gone for a while, Delilah’s gut won’t allow her to let his disappearance be pushed to the side and her heart won’t allow her to lose another person she loves.  When she arrives at her bar to find Mac and his friends there she knows that fate is telling her to trust them and work with them to find him, but she has no idea just how deep his secrets go or how dangerous a situation she is going to find herself in. After a bit of research, the BKI team discovers that the truth of Theo’s disappearance is a deadly game that could cost him his life, as well as Delilah’s and perhaps even the lives of the knights if they’re not careful. As the danger surrounding them intensifies, so does the passion that Mac has been denying from the very beginning, but Delilah is determined not to let this sexy man slip through her fingers.  When Mac’s past threatens to keep them from having a future, Delilah’s strength and stubbornness is the only thing that can keep them from sabotaging their chance at happiness.
Delilah is the type of woman I want to be when I grow up. :) She is sexy, passionate, determined, smart, and adventurous. When tragedy struck at her bar, costing her the life of one of her oldest patrons and a good friend, she veered a bit off course, desiring more and more to get away from the bar. When she finds herself in need she turns to her friends at BKI to find her uncle and bring him back to her safely. She has desired Mac for a while now, but his repeated rejections make it harder and harder for her to keep putting herself in his path.  When the danger around her leaves her floundering, she naturally turns to Mac for comfort and to keep her mind off her troubles.  Giving in to that passion though is more dangerous than the killers after them, dangerous to both her heart and her mind. I loved seeing her corner Mac again and again and force him to deal with the attraction between them and when that attraction and heat ultimately turns to love there is no denying they are perfect together, even if Mac fights it 'til the very end.
Mac is a bit of an ass for the majority of this book and I wanted so many times to kick his ass and make him see the beauty of the woman right in front of him. Though the women in his past have made him wary, they have made him terrified of having a true meaningful relationship; I think he could have easily overcome those issues if he’d just used some of his inherent determination to get over it already.  Those hang-ups keep him from looking deeper into the true woman that Delilah is and seeing that she is not the same as the woman that hurt him in the past.  While he is definitely a great operator, as a man he is a jerk and one that is closed-minded and unwilling to embrace the life he could have.  I loved seeing him working and the times when he does open up and embrace the heat generated by their attraction, there is a sexy man underneath all that fear and arrogance that is obviously hurting and terrified of living happily ever after.  When Delilah confronts him and forces him to get over it already, he pulls her into his heart and you can tell that they will have a bright and loving future.
Hell for Leather is a great story of a woman’s determination to get her man and a man’s hurt preventing him from seeing the greatness right in front of him. Delilah is a sexy, sassy, smart and interesting character, a motorcycle riding, drink-slinging, and trouble-starting woman, but with a depth and sweetness that keeps her from crossing into bitch territory.  Mac is an alpha man, sexy as hell, and badass to the bone, but his determination to keep himself from repeating past mistakes keeps him from seeing the greatness that will be found in a relationship with a good and trustworthy woman. The passion between these two slightly broken characters is palpable and undeniable even when they are fighting it and each other.  While there is certainly danger all around them, the feelings they stir in one another are deep and the kind of love that develops between them is what all women are looking for in their lives, the kind of love that last lifetimes.  The only real issue I had with this story was Mac’s repeated denials of their mutual attraction and his continued rejections of Delilah’s love. I have a feeling I know whose book will be next and I am very much looking forward to reading it.  This is a sexy series, but only if you like bikers, sexy men, and dangerous operators—and really what woman would deny that!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

ARC Mini-Review: Copper King

Copper King (Takhini Shifters #1)

by Vivian Arend 


Three things make billionaire Jim Halcyon’s to-do list: women, work…and more women. It’s a perfect agenda for a rich shifter who has no problem letting his inner grizzly out to play. From the bright lights of Vegas, to the sophisticated action of New York—he’s got the money and the power to do anything he wants.
Anything, except resist the lure of Lady Luck, an ancient copper coin he gambles yearly to possess. Jim is determined to regain control of the pretty penny, and damn if he’ll let any bit of eye candy distract him from his goal. Not even the mesmerizing woman in the middle of the casino floor with the shimmering hair and enormous green eyes.
With a life-changing move ahead of her, Lillie’s finagled a temporary layover en route to her future. She’s got five days to soak in new experiences, and while Vegas is too big and shiny and loud for her shy bear self, she’s eager to do this up right. It’s the last chance she’s got to let her hair down.
Until his challenge begins, Jim is more than willing to oblige Lillie’s wish for a final fling. Only Lady Luck has some twists of fate planned for them both…
Themes: shifters
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Well-written, sweet and sexy, Copper King is another great story by one of my favorite authors. Though I wasn’t sure what to expect with this spin off that seems to be interwoven with the other series in this world, I enjoyed every second and am looking forward to where this series goes.  The story takes place in sexy fast-paced Las Vegas and involves two very sexy shifters that come across each other and change each other’s lives forever. I will say that usually I am easily able to figure out just where a story is going, but this time I had no idea what was going to happen until almost the same time the characters did.  I loved the connection between Lillie and Jim, the friendship between Jim and Damon, and the way the two relationships blend together to bring Lillie into their lifelong friendship and make them a family.  I have never read an Arend novel I didn’t enjoy and Copper King was no exception.
Lillie is on her last foray before she has to fulfill her duty to her family and settle down.  She decides to spend her last hurrah in Vegas, gambling, seeing a few shows, and just living life to the fullest.  But she never expected to come across someone like Jim, much less to have him rescue her just when she needs a knight in shining armor. The second Jim catches Lillie’s scent he is determined to make the sexy little bear into his lover, but just until it is time to get to work beating the pants off Damon in their yearly contest.  As they explore their attraction and the passion becomes all-encompassing, it becomes harder for them both to deny that their connection might be something more than a fling.  When it comes time for Lillie to fulfill her duty, she decides she’s not willing to give up Jim and leaves him behind just long enough to set things straight so she can be with him forever.  But a twist of fate will show Jim and Lillie that sometimes even a bear’s best laid plans can go awry.
This story of two people, fighting fate and trying to make their own choices is full of passion, laughs, and sweetness.  Jim is a tall drink of water to be sure, one with an intensity and sexiness that is undeniable, but he is so determined to keep himself separate form Lillie that when she sneaks in and steals his heart, I couldn't help but laugh.   His strength and character keep his arrogance from overwhelming the goodness of his nature, but seeing how he treats his friends and lovers show me that no matter how arrogant he is, he is a good man that will take good care of Lillie and make her an eternally happy woman. While Lillie is obviously a bit naive and mostly sheltered, when she comes out of her shell and embraces the relationship with Jim it is a wonder to see.  I loved watching Lillie experience Vegas with Jim and even Damon, and learn more about herself while falling in love with a man that could make her happier than anything or anyone else in the world.  I loved the twist in this story and never saw it coming, which is beyond rare.  Beautifully plotted, with passion, fun, laughter, and love, Jim and Lillie show us the lighter side of falling in love while reminding us that sometimes the hand of fate is not to be run from but instead to be embraced. I’m hoping that Damon gets his own story soon and cannot wait to read it.  Wolves, cougars, and bears oh my! The wilds of Canada will be undeniably hot with more of Vivian’s stories coming soon.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.