Thursday, May 31, 2018
The Dark Evoke Series Book 1
by V.L. King
Genre: Romantic Suspense
****CONTAINS AN ELEMENT OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE, AND IS THEREFORE ONLY RECOMMENDED TO READERS OVER THE AGE OF 18****
They say that old habits die hard, and twenty-seven-year-old, Kady Jenson, is about to discover how very true that statement is.
Waking up in the hospital with a complete stranger at her bedside should have caused panic and confusion, but for some unknown reason to her, Kady finds the company of the rugged, and devastatingly handsome man simply irresistible. And that Irish brogue. Oh, my word!
It’s only when she discovers that she has just awoken from a four-day coma, with a three-year void in her memory, that brings on her panic and confusion.
Kady soon comes to realize that things change with time, not only appearances. And if that wasn’t enough the sexual chemistry she once shared with her boyfriend, now so long ago, and she begins to fall back into buried habits unconsciously, each day, the growing sense of foreboding becomes increasingly harder to ignore. Kady is left on her own when her boyfriend goes on a business trip; she takes it upon herself to find her Irish Stranger which sends them on a quest, in a race against time, to piece the puzzle back together.
Seconds passed in a form of salted tears trailing down my face, and over my swollen lip. I tasted the salty residue as I swept my tongue over the cracked flesh between sobs. I have no idea how long I cried. All I can remember is the pressure in my head, directly behind my eyes, and the way it radiated through my cheekbones. Thrown into disarray, my shoulders juddered, sending my body into a mass of constricting, tautening muscles with each tiny gasp as I attempted to halt my cries in the warmth of Liam’s arms.
There was nothing I could do about my misplaced years. There was no magic medicine to administer to help spark something, no matter how trivial it may be. There was no magic procedure that the doctors of MA General could carry out like in some sci-fi movie, hook me up to more probes and wires and have my body zoom through a tunnel of flashing images while they flooded back.
They were gone. At least, they were gone for now. And that was something I didn't truly comprehend how demanding it would be to accept. But I had to accept it. Regardless.
“Mr. DeLaney,” Leviton’s voice shaded my rapid pants as I fought for a lungful of air. “If I could have a talk with you outside please,” he requested.
I unwillingly pulled myself away from the warm crook of Liam’s body, shifting my head from the consoling warmth and rhythmic rising and dropping of his chest, back onto the white cotton pillow. Striving to reassure me, he grazed his thumb over my knuckles as he thrust himself from the bed. “I won’t be a few minutes, baby,” he smiled.
Everything at that point may have been buried in a dense, stifling fog, but the look in Irish’s eyes didn't go unnoticed, as his gaze combed Liam while he was skirted at the foot of the bed, and trailed behind the sympathetic doctor into the hallway, closing the room door gently behind him. That grimace couldn't have gone undetected, totally impossible. It was the lighthouse beaming through my fog, guiding me to a question that I really didn't even wish to contemplate.
Incalculable times I exhaled loudly, ousting all of my frustrations in one simple breath, but it didn't help. My frustrations and alarm was as visible as the flat-cap on Irish’s head. Every fleeting moment which passed alongside a groan, had my agitation escalating, scaling higher and higher like one of those carnival attractions, where you hit the button with the hammer to see how strong you are. And I was very close to reaching the jackpot.
Air was expelled in hefty grunts, while my fingers had become a knotted mass in my lap. Teeth were grinded and temperatures had rocketed as the silence turned into piercing bells ringing in my already aching head.
“How do we…? How long have we…?” I wavered, my attention shifted from my blue woven cover, to the well-defined man at the foot of my cot. “How do I know you?”
Seeing the corner of his lips curl into a smile, albeit a sad one, I felt the atmosphere in the room begin to normalize and adjust. It was no longer suffocating and awkward like it had been with Liam amongst the room’s occupants. With his hands hidden in the front of his dark, denim pockets, his arms pushing his plaid shirt back to showcase his white T-shirt that clung to his torso, he paced leisurely to my side.
“We've known each other for about eighteen months. I work for, Liam.”
“Eightee––” I sighed. Quelling the sense of uprising panic, I breathed in a deep breath, well, as deep as my smarting ribs would allow, and exhaled through pursed lips. Having a void that immense in my mind was too overwhelming. I instantly began to wish I didn't ask such a stupid question, a question which would trigger an immeasurable degree of anxiety that I just didn't need at that point. “You’re an architect, too?” I added.
He sniggered then hung his head for a moment. When he lifted his gaze, his head was cocked; he looked adorable with that shy expression. Shaking his head, he licked his lips slowly. “No, I um…” he hesitated, and I sensed a degree of discomfiture radiating from him. “I’m in construction,” he sighed.
“Oh,” is all I could muster, before he removed his hands from his pockets, and took position on the ugly green seat next to me. “Do you enjoy it?”
Resting on the edge of the chair with his elbows supported on his knees, he rubbed his hands together, making circular motions over each of his palms, opting for nonchalance. “Its work,” he answered simply through an unconvincing grin.
I could understand and appreciate that. Being a stripper was never on my list of desired employment opportunities. The way my stomach knotted, and the shame I felt every time someone asked me what I did for a living, was considerable. People always judge a book by its cover, that’s a fact. And it’s unnerving when you know people judge you because you’re not a doctor, a lawyer, an architect…but work is work.
My attention shuffled from Irish to the door as I heard the click of the handle being pushed down. Liam stepped inside, closing the door behind him.
“Hey,” I breathed.
His soft, loving expression turned cold and hard, as he was welcomed by the sight of his employee sitting beside me, leaning into his arms and only a few inches away from the bed itself. Liam may have been at the end of the room, but his jaw was working like Santa’s elves the day before Christmas Eve. Scowling, he stomped into the room with as much control as he could gather…which wasn't a lot for Liam DeLaney; he was never able to keep a firm lid on his emotions.
Still, Irish didn't even batter an eyelid, let alone shift out of the seat, which made Liam worse.
“What did the doctor say?” I asked, not only out of pure interest, but in an attempt to bring an end to the once again, thickening, hostile atmosphere.
Taking extra caution not to snag my IV, he took a seat on the left of my bed. I watched and blenched as his thumb traced over my cracked, swelling mouth before lingering over my lower lip. I couldn't help but smile when I met his green and blue speckled eyes.
“He said that…” he began but soon trailed off. The man to my right was shot a disdainful scowl. “You can go,” he snapped.
I glance to my right, a V scorched into his dark brown eyebrows, his molded, pale lips hardened into a stubborn, firm line.
“I said, go. There is no need for you to even be here now. Kady doesn't even know you; you’ll get her confused.”
“Very well,” Irish muttered on an outbreath. He pushed himself up slowly, and placed a kind hand over mine. Yes, you knew he definitely worked in construction, because callouses which covered his palm was scrapping across the back of my knuckles. “I’ll be around if you need anything, Kady. I won’t be far.”
I felt the mattress quivering beneath me, as Liam’s body shook frenzied and incessantly. “She has me. She doesn't need your charity,” he seethed.
“Even still,” he lifted his head, his eyes narrowed at Liam in silent warning, before returning them to me. “I’ll be around. Nothing will change that,” he promised with a smile.
“Thank you, that’s very kind, um…”
I remember how his eyes blazed and how a twitch kissed the left corner of his mouth, a tiny dimple making an adorable appearance. It was a look that was both sad and hopeful. And although I have no idea why, it warmed me.
“Walker. My name is, Walker.”
The Dark Evoke Series Book 2
****CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE, AND IS THEREFORE ONLY RECOMMENDED TO READERS OVER THE AGE OF 18****
Three years lost; a body marred and a mission complete.
Waking after a four-day coma, Kady Jenson felt her life crashing down around her. Three years of her memory were missing, and the compelling man at her side was not her years-long partner, but a stranger – a stranger who promised to help her recover what she had lost.
But how did Kady come to such a place?
What dark, mysterious events had stolen her past and threatened her future?
How did her lover become a stranger, and this stranger become so terribly important?
What happened to turn Kady’s orderly life into a terrifying nightmare which would leave her permanently marked, body and soul?
The Dark Evoke Series Book 3
****CONTAIN ELEMENTS OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE, AND IS THEREFORE ONLY RECOMMENDED TO READERS OVER THE AGE OF 18****
tr.v. con·trolled, con·trol·ling, con·trols
1. The power to influence or direct people’s behaviour or the course of events.
2. To hold in restraint.
v. sur·vived, sur·viv·ing, sur·vives
1. To remain alive or in existence.
2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma.
Kady Jenson was a fighter.
For four days, she fought through the darkness of her unconscious, and for weeks afterward she fought for answers as to why her long-term boyfriend was more of a stranger, while she felt so connected to the Irish stranger now at her hospital bedside. The apprehension, fear, anxiety, scars that she had no memories of gaining and an unfamiliar passion which spawned each time she was in close proximity to the stranger, provided a wake-up call.
Receiving something she secretly craved helped regain the memories of the three years she had lost... but nothing could prepare her for the gut-wrenching truth. Kady discovered she had gone from fighter to victim at the hands and from the manipulation of the one person she truly loved - The one person who was supposed to love and cherish her. Beatings, emotional cruelty and mental torture had been an everyday occurrence. This was her life...
Now, she’s back and so are her memories. With Irish steadfast at her side to protect her and maintain any residual fight she has left, can she finally break free of Liam’s hold? What remained of the fighter, fought to discover how she, at the lowest point of her life, was a victim.
I suppose my life could be described as a romance novel itself. Life has many twists and turns, many forks in the road, and numerous bumps. But we learn and we grow.
I am a firm believer in, 'your life is what you make it', And I am greatful for the two important people in my life that taught me that approach. May they be watching me now.
I married my childhood sweetheart, and had he gifted me with a son...everything has a Happy Ever After, you just need to believe in it.
Yes, I ramble, and at times it is a challenge to shut me up.
Apart from the obvious duties in life, writing is the only thing that I can sit and concentrate on without contemplating all the other things I should/could be doing. If I'm not writing...I'm thinking about writing, usually with a coffee in my hand.
I always start the day with a coffee, and a motivational quote. It really does help.
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The Coin Series Box Set
by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra
Genre: Romantic Thriller
The thrilling, complete story of Gabriela Martinez and Richard Harrison, as they try to keep one step ahead from madmen who are trying to kill them.
THE COIN (Book One) - A coin found, a terrible secret, and a psychopath who will stop at nothing to keep that secret safe.
When Gabriela Martinez finds a French coin on one of her outings, she never thought the possession of it could get her killed. Only Richard Harrison, the intelligence operative sent to protect her, can save her from this madman, who will do everything to silence Gabriela. And when the psychological games to terrorize Gabriela escalate, Richard must find a solution, or it may be too late for both their lives and their love.
Set in the exotic French Riviera, The Coin is a story of hatred, betrayal, love and duty--terrible and painful choices that, nonetheless, bring about personal triumph.
THE BOOK OF HOURS (Book 2) - For Gabriela Martinez, psychopaths do hit twice.
Four years ago, when Gabriela Martinez almost lost her life to a sociopath's twisted vision, she never thought she'd be hunted again.
After catching a glimpse of Gabriela's new work, The Book of Hours, Arnold Wickeham has been like a man possessed. Now, he will do anything to claim it, and no one, especially not Gabriela, will stand in his way.
Now that her life is being threatened once more, Richard Harrison will risk everything, not only to protect her, but especially to get her back in his life. However, the stakes are higher this time around and there is much more to lose. Together, Gabriela and Richard must find a way to stay one step ahead of the danger, if not, Gabriela's life, but especially their future together, may very well go up in flames.
Set in California and in London, The Book of Hours is a story about greed, dangerous obsession, family duty, and, especially deserved second chances.
"The Coin is a suspenseful, sexy, romantic thriller...a page-turner -- Kirkus Reviews"
"Dare I say that The Book of Hours may have been better than The Coin? Along with the action, suspense, romance, and murder attempts, who wouldn't enjoy this book? - Books, Reviews, Links, and a Little Extra"
Richard moved in a direct line to intercept Maurice. The skin on the back of his neck crawled as if a cold hand had been pressed against it. Richard’s stomach muscles clenched. What the hell was wrong? He searched his surroundings, his grip on Gabriela’s upper arm tightening. He picked up the pace.
Gabriela tried to keep up, sensing his mounting tension. What was happening that he wasn’t telling her? Nervously, she looked about her. She then searched Richard’s face, saw the tension there, and didn’t question his tight grip, or his hurried pace again.
Maurice stopped, his knowing grin stretching his face like putty.
“You better swipe that grin off your face, mon ami.” Richard spoke loud enough for Maurice to hear, his own lips curled into a self-deprecating smile. He extended his hand for the keys. “Where is—”
The air suddenly howled, ripped apart by a blast that surged forward like a living force, dazzling in its fury. The ground heaved, dislodging its contents, while dust rose in increasing waves like a tsunami. In a split second, the impact of the explosion tossed Gabriela forward as if invisible hands had slammed a sack full of bricks against her back. She rammed into Maurice, his grin wiped clean by a look of stunned disbelief. The force of the shock wave knocked them both off balance and onto the flagstones, with Richard catapulted through the air beside them with the ease of a finger knocking dominos over.
Richard hit the ground with enough of a wallop to knock the breath out of his lungs, but instinct and training took over within seconds. Cursing in all the languages he knew, he rolled on top of Gabriela, shielding her body with his own as fireballs and car fragments began to rain on them like in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption, nicking and tearing at flesh. Behind them, fire ignited explosions, explosions created more chaos. The intense heat sizzled skin, clothes and hair, even made metal sweat.
Before more debris could pelt them, Richard and Maurice each grabbed Gabriela by an arm and quickly disappeared behind the protective glass of the building, now cracked like crushed ice by the shock waves from the blast. Screams and curses filled the air outside, blending with the stampeding noises of humans searching for cover inside. Completing the chaotic symphony was the sound of grinding metal as cars crashed into one another, while smoke belched from the raging inferno outside in the parking lot.
Maurice grabbed an agent as he scurried by and barked out orders. He shoved the man away to do his bidding and shouted at the top of his voice. “Pascal! Attends-moi!”
“I’m taking her out of this,” Richard shouted over the din. “Meet you in your office.”
Maurice nodded curtly. Richard turned and shouldered his way through the living mass swarming the lobby. He pushed and shoved, slowly opening a gap until they reached the elevators, all the while Gabriela burrowed herself deeper into Richard’s body.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she whispered, but a shudder wracked her.
Richard framed her face with his hands, quickly scanning it, taking note that fortunately it wasn’t bruised too badly. The elevator doors opened and Richard shoved people aside as he propelled Gabriela in. One quick look at her pale face had shown him she needed to sit quickly before she fainted.
The passage from lobby, to elevator, to third floor office took on surreal proportions to Gabriela. Sensory messages existed only in a muted reality, with Richard her only focal point, her anchor. She barely noticed his zigzagging her through the chaos of people, yet paradoxically was keenly aware of his frantic heartbeat, the steely strength of his arms wrapped around her, protecting her. She felt his warmth amid the cold that had taken possession of every nerve in her body. Minutes later, when he tried to deposit her on a chair, she resisted, refusing to break contact. Her hold was so fierce Richard was forced to bend over until the seat stopped her descent. And even after she recognized the hard surface beneath her, she didn’t let go.
Richard carefully disengaged her arms. “Sweetheart, I have to assess any damage.” His voice was soft, husky, as if he were experiencing difficulty with it.
Gabriela finally let go. She tried to swallow, but her mouth was dry and her body couldn’t stop shaking. Seconds ago, this building had felt pleasantly cool. Now, it felt like an icebox. Her throat constricted and she tried to hold back tears. She never thought she could feel this frightened.
“Are you—” Her voice came out as a croak. She swallowed. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” he said, but didn’t look up from his gentle examination of her. If he did, he was afraid she would read the horror in his eyes, the anger, and his vulnerability. He had been prepared for anything—but this? Richard concentrated on cataloging her injuries. This had been too damn close.
Gabriela sensed that, despite his words, all was not well with him. Richard’s hands were shaking slightly. His tight discipline seemed to be fraying like a spider’s web against buffeting winds. She had once scoffed at the idea of Richard ever losing control, but now she was aware he was human, not a superhero of comic strip proportions. He could be hurt, and had been, trying to protect her. The back of his shirt sported burnt patches where hot metal had struck him as he’d shielded her body after the blast.
He pried her hands open and studied her battered palms. A shudder shook him. “God, Gabriela.” His voice sounded hoarse. “You could’ve been killed out there.” His eyes connected with hers. They were violently dark, in stark contrast with his ashen face. “If anything had happened to you—” He stared at her lovely eyes and knew he couldn’t have borne it had she died. “I don’t think I could have lived with myself.”
He cupped her face gently, his thumbs roving softly across her cheeks, savoring her softness, her warmth, her life. Gabriela closed her eyes, avoiding the raw pain she read in his, her heart thumping outrageously at each caress. “I—” She lifted her eyelids and held his look for a moment, a deep flush heating her face. “Ditto. To you, I mean.”
Her simple confession destroyed the final barrier that had caged him away from her. His thumbs shifted to her lips, felt the slight tremors there. With a hunger so fierce it practically drowned him, he brought her face to his and kissed her, softly at first, wanting to taste her, to absorb her tremors. When she opened her lips to him in welcome, he dived in, drinking deeply, longingly, wanting to fuse with her.
It was heaven.
It was hell.
Gabriela had never heard her name whispered with such longing, such heat. It snapped her back to reality. She pushed him gently away, hiding her face in shame and shocked at her own response. “No. No more. I should never . . . we can never—” She pressed her palms against her cheeks. They were burning. “This should not have happened.”
“But it did.” He tried lifting her face. “Listen—”
“No.” She got up abruptly. She knew what Richard wanted to say, but she couldn’t allow it. Things that were said could never be taken back. She concentrated on the chaos of agents rushing back and forth outside Maurice’s office. “Please, Richard, let it be for now. Let’s concentrate on bringing this man to justice.”
Richard rose from his crouched position. He knew he shouldn’t press, but what the hell, he wanted her, needed her. He stepped forward.
“You’d better look at this,” Maurice said, rushing in and brandishing a small piece of paper like a sword. He extended it to Richard.
Richard scanned the contents. There wasn’t much, just a single word: Boom! “Did anyone see the son of a bitch?”
“Yes. The security guard at the entrance gate signed for it an hour before the explosion. Pascal is reviewing the surveillance tapes now.”
An hour. While Gabriela was practicing her shooting. “Where was the blast?”
“At the northeast section of wall in the compound.” Maurice speared his hair with such force that the cigarette on his lips wobbled. “Near enough to be felt, but far enough to cause only minimal damage.”
Richard began to pace. He wished he had the bastard’s neck in his hands. “This guy is good at his fucking games.”
Gabriela’s eyes rounded with incredulity. “You call what just happened a game?”
“That bomb had very little blasting power. It was also set off before we even got near the car.”
“He’s right, Madame,” Maurice said, grinding his cigarette into an ashtray. “It was a warning, perhaps a delaying tactic.”
“What I can’t figure out is why,” Richard answered.
Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a romantic suspense author with a unique point of view. Her adventure novels take place in locales across Europe and the United States, reflecting her international upbringing and extensive time as a global traveler. In her duology, The Coin and The Book of Hours, her characters, Gabriela and Richard, walk the same paths as their creator, though her life was never in so much danger.
Her short story collection, The Fish Tank: And Other Short Stories, is an imaginative ride through various genres. One section in particular, “Soul Songs”, delves into the gut-wrenching experience of exile with Ms. Alonso-Sierra’s fictionalized Cuban Diaspora stories, based on her own experience of exile.
The author’s short story, “Retribution Served”, is featured in the anthology Book Dreams: Volume 1, and has been well received by readers.
Ms. Alonso-Sierra’s writing career began circa age thirteen with a very juvenile science fiction short story, but the writing bug hit, and she has been writing, in one capacity or another, ever since. She has worked as a professional dancer, singer, journalist, and literature teacher in both the university and middle school levels (and not necessarily in that order) and holds a Masters in English literature. She loves to hear from readers and, when not writing, roams around to discover new places to set her novels.
She is currently working on her fourth book, a Detective Nick Larson novel, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and her dog, Amber.
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Order of Protection
A Courting Justice Novel
by Lexi Blake
A sexy and suspenseful new contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake where love and law entwine for a conviction of the heart.
To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She's soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She's actually Taylor Winston-Hughes--born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.
When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win's charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.
Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can't reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he's not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.
As the case takes a wild turn and Win's entire life is upended, she must look to the people she's closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves...
❃❃Order of Protection releases June 5th❃❃
Momma Says: 3 stars⭐⭐⭐
Order of Protection opens on the beach and as we meet our main characters, we also get a bit of backstory for each. Henry and Win are both fresh out of rehab - him for alcohol and her for anorexia, and they're both trying to get on with their lives. The scene of their first meeting is witty and fun and there seems to be some chemistry between this sexy older man and the attractive young woman he brings in out of the rain (literally).
From what I read in the opening chapter, I expected a reasonably paced story. Instead, it slows down and a lot of the next several chapters are well, kind of boring, which led me to set this one aside several times. The book does pick up again at about the halfway mark and we begin to get some real suspense going on.
The suspense side of the story was interesting and did keep me guessing, but by that time, I was disconnecting from the romance. Henry's reaction to Win's secret was way over the top, especially considering his past. If anyone should understand the need for anonymity, it should be Henry. Instead, his complaints become tedious. I did like Win's wit and attitude, but when Henry starts acting like a child, I didn't much care if this pair made it work or not. Plus we have the fact that neither of these people, fresh out of recovery, ever feel the need to get help when stress gets high. Even early in the book when Henry wants a drink, he runs instead of contacting a sponsor, friend, therapist, etc.
To sum it up, this first Courting Justice novel left me straddling the fence. There were things I liked and things I didn't, and whether or not I'll continue on with the series remains to be seen.
❃❃ARC provided by Penguin Random House First to Read
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