NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy

Killer Instincts Book Eight; Not a standalone

Purchase:  Kindle ($7.99) | Mass Market($5.98)

♦BLURB♦

Four years ago, Cate’s entire life changed when she discovered she was the daughter of a supersoldier. But Jim Morgan’s overprotectiveness has pushed her away. These days, she’s working as a freelance photographer and living the dangerous life Jim never wanted for her.

When Cate snaps a photo linking a corrupt South American politician with the leader of a notorious drug cartel, her mercenary father leads a team to rescue her—only to get shot and critically wounded in the process.

As Morgan’s operatives rally together on a revenge mission, they’re faced with new alliances and old heartaches. Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton, the man who broke her heart two years ago, while Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port resurface after years apart to finally try to deal with everything they’d left unsaid.

Soon it’s all-out war between the cartel and the mercenaries—with two couples caught in the middle of the blood feud. Love and redemption are within their reach…but first, they have to make it home alive.

 

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

Midnight Target brings an explosive end to a beloved Romantic Suspense series with two different love stories that tie up all the loose ends. This book, as with the rest of the books in this series, brings intense action and romance together to tell the love stories of mercenaries and their feisty, badass counterparts. Kennedy created one final villian for Jim Morgan’s team to battle and in it we get both Cate and Ash, and Sully and Liam (whom we’ve been looooong desperate for) as they risk everything for one another.

One thing I have admired about this series is the way that Kennedy has mixed, with such ease, the two couples in each book, easily playing and teasing one while showing us the full story of the other. It has constantly given us something to look forward to even while we’re still in the current story. Even without that here, because it’s the end, the interweaving story lines were done so well. And these final two are important enders. Sully and Liam, both fighting their inner demons, have been denying an intense attraction since dang near when the series started. Theirs is most bittersweet; the soul-deep kind of love that has suffered for too long and is dying to be released. Repressed and forgotten, it is not without its bitter spikes. But the main story really lies within Morgan’s daughter, Cate. Stifled and overprotected, her yearning for freedom has quite the dire consequence. While you may want to throttle her at times, Kennedy expertly depicted her character and found her perfect complement, the guy to soften her edges and set her free, in Ash.

My one concession was that, maybe because the Sully/Liam lead-up had been coming for so long, I really wanted more of the story with them rather than with Cate and Ash. But I think that’s a personal issue that not every reader will experience, mainly because I was so invested in them and didn’t feel completely satisfied with their screen time… but they did get a lot of screen time in other novels, so, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m very selfish when it comes to those two men. Nothing against Cate and Ash, of course, because I still really loved them.

With the entire crew back together and a whole host of deadly problems, it felt like coming home upon opening the pages of Midnight Target. Kennedy, with her suspenseful twists and turns, managed to blend not only romance and suspense together and two very different love stories, but she brought a bittersweet and beautiful end to a great series. It’s the kind of story that refuses to be put down and I expected nothing less.

 

♦SERIES♦

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My Review

My Review

My Review

My Review

My Review

My Review

My Review

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Elle Kennedy

A USA Today bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently publishes with Signet Eclipse, Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Samhain Publishing and Entangled Brazen. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

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NEW RELEASE & EXCERPT: 72 Hours by Bella Jewel

Purchase: Kindle | Mass Market

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♦BLURB♦

A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH.
It’s all part of his sick game. A game he’s been planning for an entire decade. Now everything is perfect: One woman and one man have been selected. They used to be a couple—and they can no longer stand one another. They are the perfect victims. He doesn’t intend for the game to be easy. He wants to push them to the brink of insanity, to make his hunt real. . .

A DESIRE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. . .
The couple has been captured and dumped into a massive wooded area. There’s only one rule in this fatal game: They will have 72 hours to find a way out before the sadistic serial killer begins his hunt . . .But what he never could have expected was the explosive passion that ignites between the two ex-lovers—one that makes them strong. Fierce. And determined to do whatever it takes to escape—and to survive. . .

♦EXCERPT♦

“Lara, can you please put my mug under the coffee machine and press start before you go for your run?” Rachel calls out.

“Already done,” I call softly, leaning down to lace up my shoes.

Rachel took me in after Noah and I broke up and I moved out. I do as much as I can to help her out, including making sure she’s got hot coffee every morning before I go out. She saved my ass. It’s the least I can do.

“You’re a gem.” So I’ve been told.

“I’ll be back in an hour.”

I grab my water bottle and move to the front door, checking that I’ve got my phone before heading out. The weather is warm in Orlando today, a soft breeze trickling through the trees.

After pulling my long chestnut hair into a pony- tail, I step out onto the path in front of my apartment and put my earbuds in, starting my usual morning jog. I move down two blocks and then cross a road to a local park. It has a path running beside it that goes into some thick forest before coming out close to downtown.

My one hour of peace each day.

I sing softly to the music, pounding harder and faster as my body warms up. Crossing the road, I move past the park and into the trees. The weather instantly cools without the warmth of the sun breaking through, and it dries up some of the sweat forming on my brow. I think about Noah and how much it hurt to see him at the bar last night, let alone with another woman.

Will it ever stop hurting?

A hand taps my shoulder and I scream, spin- ning around to see Noah standing behind me, sweat running down and soaking the front of his tank. I press a hand to my heart, studying him, then pull out my earbuds. Only he would find a way to be on his run at the same time I’m on mine. Can’t this man just leave me alone? “What are you doing here, Noah?”

“I recently moved into an apartment in the area and was jogging when I saw you. I see you still enjoy running?”

“Why did you move into this area?”

He shrugs. “I liked it.”

This is too much. “Why now?”

“For a while I was traveling for work. I volunteered to train some other recruits. Considering you wouldn’t talk to me, I needed a distraction.” He shrugs again. “Now I have a little time on my hands and it felt like time to relocate.”

I take a step back, my mind reeling. “I want to finish my run,” I say. “And you’re going to leave me alone.”

“Lara, come on,” he sighs. “Let’s talk about this.”

I take a drink from my bottle, ignoring his pleading. My eyes focus on anything but him.

“Are you seriously still doing this?” he grunts. “I’ve been tryin’ to call you for months with little success. You ignored me without a word and you’re really not going to give me five minutes to explain?”

“Explain what?” I ask, crossing my arms. “The fact that I walked in and found you with a woman on your lap in your office?”

He jerks, and his face grows tight with frustration. “You read it wrong.”

“I can’t imagine how,” I mumble.

He uses the back of his hand to wipe the sweat from his brow. It takes all my inner strength not to stare at his big, muscled form. Mostly to avoid remembering how good it felt to be tucked into his arms, how secure and safe he could make me feel. He just had that way. He made me feel like nothing in the world could ever touch me when I was in his arms. And then he took that all away in one moment. The only feeling of safety I had left was gone in an instant.

“Is Noah in?” I smile to the young girl sitting at the front desk of the firehouse.

“Yeah, he’s in his office.”

“Mind if I go through?”

“No, go for it.”

I walk down the hall, heading toward Noah’s office. I thought I’d bring him lunch, spend some time with him. Things have been rough in the last few months, and he’s been by my side through it all. He’s seen me at my worst and picked me up when I fell. After Nan died, I have felt like noth- ing is enough, like I’m not enough. I feel like I’m not being the girlfriend he deserves. He deserves me to try, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying.

I open the door and step in, opening my mouth to greet him when I see her. She’s on his lap, long blond hair flowing around her back, pretty as can be. The kind of woman that looks like his per- fect fit. She’s kissing him. Their mouths, connected, touching—it’s all I see before my vision blurs, tears clouding it. I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I stumble back, gasping for air.

How could he do this to me?

I already know how. Because I’m an emotional, broken woman who got her nanna killed because she couldn’t control her loud mouth. Then I became this weak, pathetic mess who spends most days crying and trying to figure out who I should be and who I am now. Of course he’s with another woman. Why the hell wouldn’t he be? This is exactly what I deserve.

I turn and leave, but not before I hear Noah call out my name.

I run, tears flowing down my cheeks. “Lara!” he calls. “Lara, wait!”

He catches me at the door, hand curling around my upper arm. He spins me around but I shove at his chest, causing him to stumble backward.

“Dont touch me!” I scream. “Don’t touch me.”

“Lara, it isn’t—”

“Get away from me.”

I turn and keep going, darting straight across the road. I reach the park and drop to my knees, sobbing with agony, and pain, and regret. Maybe this is my karma. Maybe this is the universe’s way of punishing me for what happened with my nanna. Or maybe, just maybe, Noah is better off without  me.

Of course he is. I’m worth nothing.

“Lara, fuck, how could you throw it all away? We were together over two years.”

His question brings me back to the present. “Seriously?” I ask, eyes wide with shock. “You think I’m the one who threw it away?”

God, if only he knew how much it meant to me. I wanted to marry this man, to have kids with him, to be with him for the rest of my life. Walking in and seeing him with another woman ripped my heart out. It sent my whole world crashing down. Leaving him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure in my life. How he could think it meant nothing is beyond me. He was the one who hurt me.

He grunts. “Yet you won’t talk to me, you just broke it off and ran.”

I flinch. “It was what I had to do.”

He shakes his head, jaw tight. “God, you’re a pain in the ass.”

That hurts. He’s acting as if all this is my fault, when it was he who cheated on me.

“I don’t need to listen to this, Noah. I don’t deserve it.”

“That’s just the thing,” he yells. “You’re not listening. You’re refusing to listen.”

The familiar sting of anger bubbles in my chest, but I push it down. Be calm. Don’t react. It isn’t worth getting upset over. “I don’t want to hear your excuses.”

He makes a frustrated noise in his throat.

I shake my head. I can’t listen to any more of this. I can’t take any more of this. “I have to go.” I turn my back to him and start walking away.

“Fuck, Lara,” he barks. “Let me talk to you.”

I pick up into a jog and disappear out the other side of the trees, but not before I hear his angry curse. I run until I’m out of breath, but I could swear he’s still behind me. I stop and turn every now and then, glancing into the trees, but nobody is there. Yet it feels as though someone is. He’s probably following me—he’s protective like that, always wanting to know I’m safe. He doesn’t need to worry anymore—I’m no longer his burden.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

BELLA JEWEL is a USA Today bestselling author of over 18 e-books, including the popular Alphas Heart eOriginal series with St. Martin’s Press. She lives in North Queensland where she’s working on her next novel.

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NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: Wild Ride by Julie Ann Walker

Black Knights Inc #9; Interconnected standalone

Purchase: Kindle | Mass Market

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♦BLURB♦

The hero we’ve all been waiting for…

Ethan “Ozzie” Sykes
Former Navy SEAL
Underground operator for Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop

In a black-on-black international mission that went seriously sideways, Ozzie was badly injured—now he’s stuck at BKI headquarters in Chicago, champing at the bit to get out into the field again. To his disgust, he’s tasked with distracting Chicago Tribune ace reporter Samantha Tate, who’s been trying to dig up the dirt on BKI for years. Turns out Samantha’s beauty, intelligence and sense of humor are a seriously big distraction, and Ozzie’s losing his desire to keep her at bay.

Ozzie’s tired of hiding, and Samantha may be the best-and worst—person to share his secrets with…

 

♦4.5-STAR REVIEW♦

I’ve been out of the BKI gang since the second book and jumping in to Wild Ride reminded me of how much I love Walker’s writing and it made me regret having not kept up with this series. This book had a great suspenseful element that married perfectly with a budding, sexy romance. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun or sexy novel than I got with this one.

Ozzie and Samantha were so very fun to read. They had such animosity between one another in the beginning due to career choice and circumstance that it became the seed that blossomed into this powerfully strong romance. I think what I enjoyed the most was Samantha, though. She was so hungry for success, but inherently blind to truth. As a journalist one could see where that would hurt her, but it just went to show how driven she was to become something. And when she was wrong, she wasn’t afraid to be graceful in her way to fix the mistakes she made and admit to it. It was impossible not to become enamored by her strong character, and how that made her so endearing to Ozzie. As a man so used to his life, taken down by injury and struggling to overcome both the physical and emotional aspects, I adored how raw he was. Walker blended masculinity and vulnerability so well with him and I fell for him in every way. They had fantastic banter and humor that came across so easily on the pages and that created a great romantic connection on its own.

Walker’s writing and perspective are refreshing and enjoyable to read. I read this book with such ease and speed because I couldn’t–didn’t want to–put it down. If you’ve never read this series before, you can start here, but be prepared to need to read the rest of the series because you’ll want to know every BKI guy. Wild Ride was just that: a wild ride. It wove a sexy love story with suspense and sprinkled in great wit and playfulness in order to make an amazingly well-rounded novel. I can’t wait to go back to read the ones I haven’t read and read the new ones as they come out.

 

♦SERIES♦

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find Julie on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

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