Darkest Night – Megan Erickson

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

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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!!

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Zero Hour – Megan Erickson

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Author: Megan Erickson
Series: Wired & Dangerous #1
Pages: 292

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Hacker extraordinaire Roarke Brennan lives each hour – each breath – to avenge his brother’s murder. His first move: put together a team of the best coders he knows. They’re all brilliant, specialized, and every one an epic pain in his ass. Only now Wren Lee wants in too, threatening to upset their delicate balance. The girl Roarke never allowed himself to want is all grown up with sexy confidence and a dark past … and she’s the wild card he can’t control.

Roarke might still think she’s a kid, but Wren’s been to hell and back. Nothing and nobody can stop her – especially the tatted-up, cocky-as-all-hell hacker. But when years of longing and chemistry collide, Wren and Roarke discover that revenge may be a dish best served blazing hot.

This book is about a bunch of hackers that want to avenge the murder of one of their own: Roarke’s brother. One of the hackers is Wren, Erick’s sister (another hacker), the love interest of the team leader (Roarke). This is the first time I have ever read a Romantic Suspense book that is not cramped with soldiers everywhere saving the lady in distress over and over again. Man, being a lady in distress must be so annoying… always being kidnapped no matter how many sleep deprived white knights are to look after her… That was sarcastic, by the way. I’m glad Zero Hour avoids all the clichés of this genre.

Okay, okay. Not all of them. Do not worry. Those hackers are all gorgeous hunks… Hitting a keyboard does wonders to your body!! Or al teast it looks like that… I’m ranting again. Sorry! It wouldn’t be a romance book without the proper eye candy, so I’m not annoyed by the one found in this book. If I have to be honest, although they are not soldiers, the author creates some hackers very closed to that profession. Carrying guns and all. Some face to face action is mandatory… otherwise, the book would have been boring. Actually, hacking is pretty underused during the book; so some reader could feel cheated. I’m not one of them, though.

There are two plots in one. Two acts of revenge: the murder of Roarke’s Flynn and the rape of Wren’s friend. Both of them comitted by the same family. The interesting part is that Wren keeps her mission in secret, so now and then she becomes a “rogue” hacker that endangers the success of the main mission. Why does she keep it a secret? I know there is a reason in the book, but doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, the more the merrier. I have the feeling everything would have been a lot simpler if she would have trusted her brother and friends (the way se claims she does…).

If you are capable of ignoring that, you will find a very enjoyable book with a nice pace and almost a perfect cast of characters. There is a bit of everything thet keeps the plot interesting and the reader engaged. Nothing mindblowing or spectacular, but good enough to leave you with a nice aftertaste. I specially like the spy movie vibe the author uses with the undercover jobs and fake identities and all that.

Which is the worst part of the book, then? Sadly, that “honour” is for the main characters: Roarke and Wren. Their relationship is a mess and unnerving. We kiss, we fight… we kiss, we fight… Over and over the same dance. Such a boring couple… When they finally ended together (it’s not a spoiler… it’s a Romance Book!!), I didn’t care at all. I was waaay more interested in the love lives of other characters like Erick or Jock.

Since the very beginning I knew I wasn’t going to be able to bear Wren and Roarke. Their first sexual encounter happens after Wren runs from Alpha were she was suffering with unrequested groping from one of the book villains. Obviously, she was gross out due to the lack of boundaries. But, what happens when she meets Roarke? The older hacker grope her without asking permission. But that time is hot… yes… of course… why not? In that chapter I couldn’t tell the difference between Roarke and Darren, which was pretty upsetting.

By the way, the book ends with a mild cliffhanger!! I love me some cliffhangers!! The hackers didn’t defeat the biggest baddie, so I guess we’ll see more of him (or her) in future books. Books that, thankfully, are going to be starred by some of the other characters. I can’t wait to read Erick’s book, by the way!!

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Next: A Line in the Sand by K.A. Stewart