Rough and Ready – Cathleen Ross

rr

star

Author: Cathleen Ross
Series: Outlaw Warriors #2
Release day:  April 15th 2019
Pages: 400

eroticacontemporarybdsmsoldiersbodyguardarcgreat_coverbad_sexlovecliche

Before special ops soldier Hugo Boudreaux can move on, he has one last thing to do–fulfill a wartime debt to the friend who saved his life. He must infiltrate a vicious Louisiana MC club to stop their next illegal weapons shipment and send the president to jail. What he didn’t plan on was ending up an unwilling bodyguard to the man’s daughter–innocent and attractive nurse Alice Kaintuck.

Alice wants a normal life with a nice guy. But her rough-edged bodyguard is the sexiest man she’s ever met. Suddenly she can’t stop thinking about just how hot he makes her. Before she knows it, she’s tumbling into his muscular arms…though she’ll be damned if she’ll fall in love with a man as dangerous as her father. Only Hugo doesn’t make love, he consumes her and turns her life upside down with his carnal, erotic sex. Dreams of nice guys vanish when her enemy becomes her obsession…

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I requested an ARC of this book I had no idea it was the second one in the saga Outlaw Warriors. I hate reading a saga out of order, so I was about to give it back (even though I think it is not possible), but I changed my mind an embraced the weird philosophy of a saga of stand-alones so common in the Romance genre. Yes, this second book can be read without feeling you are missing something. It is also true that this one hasn’t made me the least curious about the first book.

In this book we follow Hugo, a soldier who has just come back from war and wants to pay his friend Troy the favour he owes. He needs to go undercover into a rival biker gang in order to stop the delivery of some weapons to fight Troy’s gang. In the bar of their foes Hugo meets Alice, the innocent daughter of the leader of the gang he has to infiltrate. She becomes the perfect ticket to join the group and his first mission is to protect her…

I was honestly very hopeful for this book after reading the blurb. It looked like it had all the ingredients for a fun story and the perfect drama to rock the relationship. Add to that the undercover mission and the rivalry amongst bikers and the action should be served to keep the reader engaged. Sadly, none of it happens. The story has a weak first step with Hugo’s and Troy’s plan to infiltrate the other gang. They didn’t expect Alice to be at the bar, but without her there wouldn’t have been any chance of getting Glass’ attention. They were lucky. Very lucky. It’s a bit weird, but I could accept that as their lucky day and move on. But after that, the main mission is almost forgotten and the bodyguard job is practically uneventful. What should have been a huge part of the book is put aside and resolved lazily.

It is my fault for expecting more about the story in a book that falls into the Erotica genre. I knew that the romance wasn’t a priority, but I needed some kind of getting to know each other before dropping all their clothes. Zero flirting. Zero banter. Zero chemistry. The main focus is sex and more sex. I could be OK with that, but the sex scenes are just plain horrible. Hugo likes to feed his dominant side and Alice is willing to indulge him (so far, so good). The issue is in the “game” they like to play, where she has to pretend to be taken by force. I know it is just theater, but I found pretty sick that Hugo’s sexual fantasy is raping a woman… It totally made me lose interest about the intimate scenes pretty quickly and made the whole thing unbearable.

The main characters are also a mess. We are sold that Alice is a strong and independent woman, but as soon as a hunky soldier enters her door the whole world becomes about him. I aso dislike very deeply her constant “Momma” and “Daddy”. She sounds like a little kid whining about something she is denied. It was really unnerving. But the top on the worst list is for Hugo. What kind of unbalanced person carries a bag full of weapons everywhere? I think the overall goal for this character behaviour was to grant him a dark aura, but the pieces do not match together and I would try very, very hard to avoid a person like him in real life. He is not OK and I’m sorry for Alice.

When you have an overly unbelievable romance, it is way harder to shallow the classic ending in the Romance novels (you know the one). Yes, I know I have voiced many times my unhappiness about that cliché; but in cases like this one it is even more painful. I do understand the need for feeding the readers a HEA ending and I can go along with that. My problem lies in the blunt supposition that a fast wedding is the same as happiness. Sometimes I would like to read a Romance book where the HEA is something different… Surprise me a little bit, you know?

I don’t want to end this review (rant?) without saying at least one positive thing about the book. The cover is very pretty. It catches the eye easily and it willl make many readers curious about the story behind. That’s me saying the guy is hot.

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

Advertisements

Darkest Night – Megan Erickson

darkest

starstarstarstar

Author: Megan Erickson
Series: Wired & Dangerous #2
Pages: 320

rom_suspensebodyguarddarkgreat_cover

Bodyguard Jock Bosh has one job: keep Fiona Madden safe. Safe from the men who’ve been hunting her. Safe from the bastard responsible for ruining her life. And with the attraction sizzling white-hot between them, that means keeping Fiona safe from him too.

Fiona has spent the past decade on the run. Her survival is the single greatest weapon she’s had against the men out to destroy her. Until Jock. Now, with him by her side, she finally has a chance to bring them down. But when her enemies make their next move and Jock puts himself in the line of fire, Fiona realizes that there’s more at stake than just her life – she’s also risking her heart.

When I finished Zero Hour I was disappointed with the romance part, but very happy with the suspense side of the story. With this second book, the feeling is the opposite. Nice romance, but the rest… kind of meh, actually.

In the last book, Jock volunteered to keep an eye on Fiona due to the threads of Maximus. Fiona was the friend of Wren who was kidnapped 10 years ago to be used as a sex toy by rich men. A throwback party by those same guys put Fiona again in danger, so Jock has to take a more hands on approach for her protection. Both of them are not precisely good at getting close to another person, so their romance is a bit tricky. Add that to inminent threats of kidnap and murder and the plot of the book is presented.

Before diving in the story and characters, I need to point out that these so-called hackers don’t hack shit. Sometimes they look more like hitmen or conmen than hackers. Jock would be the perfect example of the former. I know about his hacking skills thanks to the previous book, because in this one… he is a bodyguard most of the book and a hitman the rest. He is rarely seen in front of a computer… It’s not something bad per se, but I started reading these books due to the hope of reading Romantic Suspense with characters far from the military or law-enforcement lifestyle. I guess I will have to keep looking for something like that. Maybe Jock’s hacking skills are what explain his weird superpower of knowing the genre of the book Fiona was reading in the park. I mean, how could he know if he was spying on her from a fifth floor without using equipment?? (Yes, that is bugging me).

At first the suspense part looked promising. Fiona was again in danger, Jock had to protect her and Maximus’ shadow was getting bigger and bigger. The problem is that it takes too long to develop. And when it does… well… it’s a bit boring and uneventful. In general terms I liked it, but there were enough meat for something with a bigger punch. No surprises, except at the end fo the book. Too late if you ask me. Now a war between the crew and Maximus has started, so I expect more action in the future books.

Luckily, the romance is much better than expected. It’s no secret that I didn’t like at all the romance between Roarke and Wren, so I was a bit reluctant at first. But Jock was there to save the day, the girl and my faith in love. Under his reinforced armor of pure steel (a very, very good-looking, mouth-watering armor…) lays a turmoil of feelings that make the reader sympathize with him pretty easy. Yes, he sometimes behaves like an ox with his monosyllabyc language and his larger than life frame, but deep down you know he is a sensitive guy who is in sore need of a good cuddling. Fiona is the perfect match, because she doesn’t take any of his usual bullshit. Good characters for a nice slow-paced romance that leaves us with a nice aftertaste.

It doesn’t hurt that Jock is a Viking god, detail that the author reminds the reader more often that maybe necessary; but, oh boy, no complaints there. My naughty imaginatiuon was already overworking after taking a long look at the cover. I’m so glad there are not weird photo manipulations to add any kind of tattoo in “Jock’s” skin… The ones in the cover of Zero Hour were a bit… lame.

Next one is a shorter book. If I’m not mistaken, it’s going to be Erick’s book. There is a glimpse of it at the end of this one, so I guess Tarr is going to be the love interest. It could be very fun if handle right, so… fingers crossed!!

paragraph1

2018 – Book Gallery

 

Be Still My Heart – Charlie Cochet

bestill

starstarstarstar

Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: Four Kings Security #2

Pages: 306

rom_suspensemmsoldiersbodyguarddetectivesfunny

Former Special Forces medical sergeant Russell “Red” McKinley knows a thing or two about wounds, like the fact some can take a lifetime to heal, if they heal at all. The scars Red carries run deep, and living with PTSD often means battling the memories of his past. Injuries he received while working an executive protection case with fellow Kings and co-owners of Four Kings Security, have once again forced past heartaches to the surface, but Red is determined not to let it derail his blossoming romance with sweet and sexy fashion photographer Lazarus Galanos.

Laz can’t deny there’s something special developing between him and Red, but Laz has wounds of his own. He’s hesitant to jump into a new relationship after his recent explosive breakup. Experience has taught Laz to doubt his judgement when it comes to men. Guys who seem too good to be true, usually are, and no one appears more perfect than Red.

When an attempt is made on Laz’s life, Red is determined to keep him safe. Laz may not be a client, and Red is still off duty, but Laz is one of their own, and nothing means more to the Kings than family. While an investigation is underway, Red and Laz are growing closer, but can they find a way to help each other heal and take a chance on love, or will their fears and insecurities cost them more than their future together?

Several months ago, I read the first book of Four Kings Security and I really enjoyed it. Not only the book, the author’s style was also almost totally attuned with what I want to find in a book of this kind. So, reading the second book before the end of the year was a must. Charlie is little by little climbing my list of favourite authors.

This time the story focuses on Red and Laz. After the accident in Colton’s party, they haven’t talked to each other again. But Ace is such an awesome friend that he had to bring the two of them together again. Too bad that happens at the same time an attempt against Laz’s life is carried out. Thankfully, Red’s big back was there to cover him and take him to a safe place. During the investigation, Red proclaims himself Laz’s defender against all evil and the romance begins…

I finished the review of the previous book saying that I wasn’t very happy about the relationship snippets the author inserted. Red and Laz looked a bit… boring. I have to admit that every character is boring if you put him side by side with Ace. That character is beyond awesome, so the rest pale in comparision. I knew that, so I read this book with an open mind. Yes, the main couple doesn’t make me laugh as much as the previous one, but they have their own strengths. Red is such a big softie!! I can’t believe he was single until now. The way he invests himself in the relationships, even in the worst moments, makes me want to kidnap him. The other half is a bit… meh. Laz’s insecurity is too big to swallow sometimes. Overall it is a romance I have enjoyed, despite the lack of sparks in some situations.

The story of this second book is better. The execution also has less black holes, but there are still some parts that doesn’t work. The author is very good misleading the reader. I was already gathering the wood to assemble the pyre to burn Bryan, one of the most annoying character I have met in a book. He being the bad one would have been perfect, but I prefer being surprised as I have been with this book. His time will come sooner or later. It is the big revelation that doesn’t fit very well with the plot. I love the unexpected of it, but I’m also struggling to make sense of it. Maybe the final actions were out of desperation and plain stupidity? It could happen…

The supporting characters on this book shine brighter than in the previous one. OK. I’m not impartial there. Ace is one of them. Every time he is on the spotlight the book gets so funny that I can’t stop smiling. I wish there were some kind of spin-off starred by him, because I can’t get enough of him. But he is not the only great character in this book. We get to know a little bit more of Mason and, let me tell you, I have enjoyed every single detail about him. His cocky flexing at the end… That was cruel!! It seems that Lucky and Mason are going to be a thing… So far, it’s a very explosive one (yelling and almost punching each other), so I hope it gets better. I’m not in the mood for an unhealthy relationship…

The book is one step behind of perfection. The romance and the banter is usually spot on, but the mystery needs some polishing. I will obviously keep reading the saga. The next is a short story with a couple of characters that I’m not sure we have met. Maybe a cameo in the previous one, but I don’t remember them.  It looks like I could skip it, but I hate skipping so I will read it anyway.

paragraph1

2018 – Book Gallery

Love in Spades – Charlie Cochet

spades

starstarstarstar

Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: Four Kings Security #1

Pages: 268

rom_suspensemmsoldiersbodyguardfunnybookboyfriend

Ex-Special Forces soldier Anston “Ace” Sharpe is fighting a different battle these days—one involving the world of private security across the state of Florida. As part owner of Four Kings Security, Ace and his fellow Kings tackle everything from armed transport and investigations to cyber intelligence and executive protection. Cocky, fearless, and brash, Ace isn’t afraid to take risks.

After years of working alongside his father, Colton Connolly is ready to take the helm at Connolly Maritime, but his father’s retirement is put on hold when Colton begins receiving death threats. If that isn’t bad enough, his father signs a contract with Four Kings Security to provide Colton with round-the-clock protection, despite his adamant refusal. Colton’s life has been turned upside down, the last thing he needs is a shadow, especially in the form of infuriating, sexy-as-sin Ace Sharpe, who seems to be on a mission to drive Colton mad.

Sparks fly the moment Colton and Ace meet on a sultry night club dance floor. But getting involved with a client, even one as fiery and beautiful as Colton Connolly, is a line Ace is unwilling to cross. Colton might be attracted to Ace, but he’d been burned before. He might be willing to put his life in Ace’s hands, but not his heart.

As the Florida nights heat up, so does their passion, and Ace and Colton are faced with a difficult choice—take the plunge and risk it all, or play it safe and walk away?

If Ace can keep a deadly threat from robbing Colton of a future….

This is my first book by Charlie Cochet and it was about time. As you may have learned by now, I love reading M/M books, and Charlie is one of the biggest names out there writing that kind of books. So, a new saga was the perfect time to jump into the author’s bibliography. I don’t regret it!! I will make sure to put some other books by her into my pending list.

This book tells the story of Colton, the heir of a successful business that is being targeted with some nasty threats. His father takes action and hires the best security company he can find: Four Kings Security. One of those Kings, Ace, is assigned to shadow every move of Colton to make sure nothing happens to him. They are both very stubborn men and the mix is a bit toxic at first. Buuuuut, little by little they realize they are attracted to each other and something more serious starts brewing… Obviously, they need to keep it a secret while Four Kings Security investigates the threats.

Even though I consider this book Romantic Suspense, the suspense part doesn’t have a real highlight until the end. Usually, that would have made the book much worse; but Charlie manages to create an unexpected twist that makes the mystery salvageable. But I also must say the twist per se doesn’t make much sense. Was that all planned or there was a lot of improvisation? Because if it was a plan, they left a lot in the hands of chance… I guess everything was needed to make Ace more heroic in Colton’s eyes. Even though he was already awestruck.

My favourite character of the book is by far Ace. He is so much fun to read!! I LOVE his sense of humor. The way he banters with everyone and his goofy ways that make him so approachable and, I must confess, so much attractive. I always support a good clean sense of humor in Romance and, in this one, Charlie excels at it. I hope that is part of her trademark and it’s present in more of her books. Good job, really!!

I didn’t like Colton that much. That character is a bit confusing and, sometimes, he behaves like a rotten child throwing a tantrum. And other times, he behaves like an incubus throwing… well, other things. I know the true Colton is somewhere in between, but as a reader I couldn’t help yelling at him to get his act straight. I don’t know who I’m tryng to convince… He is really a good guy. I’m just jealous!!

Another fun fact about this book: it’s packed with gay men everywhere!! Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad thing at all, but it’s a bit weird that almost every man in the book prefers dating other men. Where do you say the story takes place? I’m looking for a room… It makes me wonder why the Kings are all single when there are so many and willing candidates…

There is also something I don’t like at all about this book. It presents us too much of upcoming books: Laz and Red? Frank and Joshua? Those pairings are very similar and it looks like they are not going to be as much fun as Ace and Colton. But I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong!! It’s just that I feel I’ve been robbed of the best part in Romance Books: the slow burn of the first encounter.

Next book it’s going to be published this month, so I will put it on my list to read it as soon as possible (this year, if I have time). It’s going to be Red’s and Laz’s story… I’m not feeling very optimistic about those two, but I will keep an open mind.

 

paragraph1

2018 – Book Gallery