Review: The Queen (Masterpiece Duet #2) by Skye Warren

TitleThe Queen
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Amber Shah 9/15/17
Length:  294 pages
Series: Masterpiece Duet #2

Overview

I have one chance at a new life. A college education. A future outside of Tanglewood’s dark walls. For a breathless moment it seems like I might actually escape.

Then I get a phone call from home.

Damon Scott is my own personal dragon, the fight I’ve always lost, the secret hope of my heart. And he needs my help right now. Only my mind can solve the puzzle. Only my presence can keep him sane as the city fights against him.

Only my heart can unlock a man with such a tragic past.

This is my final gamble, with everything at stake. One last game to win a future for both of us.

And a love strong enough to break the city apart.

My Thoughts

It’s nice to see how this story resolves itself, especially know that the dynamic between Penny and Damon is so intense, and the mystery behind where Jonathan is, is quite compelling. There’s so much fear and worry about what else is going to happen in order for everyone to have a happy ending.

What happens in this book is that there’s a lot of collateral damage. We think that things are moving ahead in their lives, that Penny is able to find her footing, but what happens instead os that she’s being watched, she’s being taunted, and she’s being used as bait. We want to believe the best in the people around her, yet what we know and what we’re seeing makes us second guess everyone, and their motives and their actions.

Penny is living her life at school, trying to live her best Mathematics grounded life, but the attention from her teacher makes us itch, and the fear that Jonathan is still out there and that means that no one is safe makes our skin crawl. What is nice though is the relationship that Penny has developed with Avery. They spend a lot of time together, realizing that their shared experiences with the loves of their lives puts them in a unique space that no one else can understand.

It’s that friendship though that takes this story on a wicked ride – watching Avery go missing, along with Penny’s father and now its a race to see if they can be found before it’s too late. We saw Penny and Damon separate at the end of the first book for her own safety (of course) yet we see that he’s really the one that can help – so back to him she runs.

Penny is protected by Damon in a way that speaks volumes, but he’s still keeping her at a distance, not allowing himself to feel what he does for her, and not allowing Penny to discover what it is to be loved and desired. What happens though is that they work together to solve the puzzles of where everyone is and where Jonathan is, and that takes us to the culmination of things.

The future that we once hoped for is within reach, and the hope that there’s safety and protection is something that we can truly believe in. I think that what’s always nice about books by our author is that we watch a struggle that seems to difficult to overcome, so painful to watch that we really want to hope for the best but would be ok if it’s not sparkly and clean. That’s what we get here, and the epilogue puts things into a new perspective. So on that note, off to find another story to read and i hope you guys enjoy!

Review: The King (The Masterpiece Duet #1) by Skye Warren

TitleThe King
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Amber Shah 6/27/17
Length:  308 pages
Series: Masterpiece Duet #1

Overview

The highest stakes…

My father gambles every night, falling deeper and deeper into debt. When he hits the bottom, he places a new bet: his daughter. I’m his entry bet to the biggest underground poker game.

Every kind of danger circles the velvet-covered table, but only one man makes me tremble.

A trailer park princess.

The son of a criminal king.

We don’t belong together, but I’m caught in a twisted game.

His eyes meet mine with dark promise. And when he puts down his cards, I know I’m going to lose more than my body. I’m going to lose everything.

My Thoughts

I love this continuation of things from the Castle series, seeing the story around Penny since we met her in the final bit of the last installment. We know that these men, the Scotts are an interesting bunch, with Jonathan being deranged and Damon being exactly what you don’t expect of him given his upbringing. We met him through Gabriel, and we saw the dark side of him but when he saved Penny, we realized that there was so much more.

This first installment of the duet takes us back in time with a young Damon and a young Penny met under difficult circumstances, Penny needed to survive the life that she was forced to live, and Damon needed to survive his father. In order to protect penny from his father, he had to go back into the grasp of the devil.

We watch as the years progress, how there was clearly something between these two even though Penny was just a little child when they met, and how over time, there’s this connection that wasn’t severed. When their paths cross again, and when we know that Penny truly is in danger, it’s Damon who wants to protect her but is afraid to knowing that if he does, she will once again be on his father’s radar.

This series is a story of poverty, gambling, trying to hide the abilities that you have because you know that they will draw the wrong attention, survival and then hope. Each of the characters in this story have some element of each, and the way that they manifest are unique. The nuance in this story though is that Penny is still quite young, even when we get through this first book, but the power that she yields, what she’s able to do and what she’s able to compel is more powerful than women twice her age.

What’s nice though is that we have the overlap from Castle – we see how Avery’s relationship with her started and how it manifests into something necessary. It allows Penny to see things through a different lens and that’s also what propels this story forward. There’s a security and safety that is brought to the forefront, and yet there’s a danger that their friendship creates since both are in a position where they feel trapped, stifled, and they want to take control back of their lives.

We’re left in an interesting place at the end of the first book where we see a power shift, we see eyes open, but we don’t know what it’s going to take to push each over the edge. There’s something brewing and we’re not sure the details and the implications, but there’s this rumble of passion and something more that keeps us engaged and intrigued as readers. So on that note, i’m off to read The Queen and see how this duet ends. Enjoy!

Review: Youngbloods (Imposters #4) by Scott Westerfeld

TitleYoungbloods
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year:  Scholastic Inc 4/5/22
Length:  432 pages
Series: Imposters #4

Overview

IT’S TIME TO

COME OUT OF HIDING

Frey has spent her life in a family of deceivers, a stand-in for her sister, manipulated at her father’s command. Free from them at last, she is finding her own voice — and using it to question everything her family stood for.

Tally was once the most famous rebel in the world. But for over a decade, she’s kept to the shadows, allowing her myth to grow even as she receded. Now she sees that the revolution she led has not created a stable world. Freedom, she observes, has a way of destroying things.

As the world is propelled further into conflict and conspiracy, Frey and Tally join forces to put a check on the people in power, while still trying to understand their own power and where it belongs.

My Thoughts

It’s been a minute since we’ve been with this series but it’s so easy to slip back into the series. Getting back into the world of Tally and Frey really leads us down an exciting path, and throughout this fourth book, we don’t know who to trust.

The journey here is one to watch how Frey tries to get over the loss of Col, the one person that she loved, knowing that it was her twin sister who murdered him. Frey doesn’t know who to trust since she knows that her sister isn’t loyal and is moral missing, so she has to tread carefully.

We get to watch the relationships grow with the Youngbloods and all the other cliques that were once part of the city – especially now that laws and dust aren’t a thing, an everyone’s got the chance to reinvent themselves. It’s a reliance on some of those old ‘friends’ that gets us through some of the trials in this storyline.

We see a ‘come to terms’ between Boss X and Frey and the realization that they are more similar than they thought, but have the same scars to get through life which make things harder. These similarities make it that much harder to predict what the future will hold with them since the dynamic is tough.

There’s a quest to uncover an destroy the old dust files that Frey/Rafi’s father had saved – knowing that there’s a lot there that the AI of other nations can use against them. Part of the issue of course is that they are radioactive so it’s harder to get to, and once they discover the hiding place, they learn that they’re not the only ones on this same quest. just for different motives.

Rarfi has made a trade, a deal with another nation without thinking through the repercussions and that means that we’re on the backfoot throughout the quest to save the world.and then when we realize that she perhaps made deals with multiple people, well that means that we have even more to worry about.

Even within the Youngbloods we see that there’s a power struggle on who’s making the right choices for them and for mankind that we don’t know who’s going to be on the right side of things.

There’s strife, stress, fear, angst….everything with the exception of romance since that’s been killed. But…all in all a great next chapter in their journey and in this series. Enjoy!

Review: The Castle (Endgame #3) by Skye Warren

TitleThe Castle
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Amber Shah 4/4/17
Length:  230 pages
Series: The Endgame #3′

Overview

FINAL BOOK IN THE TRILOGY!

Safe in the ivory tower…

Gabriel Miller swears he’ll keep me safe. Enemies lurk outside, waiting to strike. An army held back by these walls.

Except some animal instinct warns me the danger is much closer. It’s already here. Is Gabriel my protector or my enemy? Is this house a castle or a cage?

There’s nowhere for me to go, no one left for me to trust.

No escape from a past determined to capture its prize.

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest, it took me a few days to get into the final installment of this series, and i’m not entirely sure why that’s the case. Probably because of life since this story is still very exciting. We know that Jonathan Scott is out there, yet to be discovered and we know that he’s got a vendetta not only against Avery, but the world in general. Gabriel is doing his very best to keep her safe and that means keeping her locked up in the house and when she plays with fire to negotiate time away, we see what the compromise is.

This third and final installment takes us on a path of watching this relationship grow from one that started on false pretenses into one that became something serious and solid, into one that opened up their eyes to how much they were willing to give up for the other in order to survive.

There’s a lot of discussion around who has the power, and of course it ties back to Chess. Avery even chooses to write her paper on the historical role of women and how It ties to the game of chess to show the evolution of who help the power and what the notion of checkmate really means. The idea of the Castle itself, that’s something that holds an important meaning in solving the whereabouts of Jonathan Scott and how they can get to him.

We see Damon Scott as an entirely different person in this story. We know that his relationship with his father isn’t one that is great, so to see another side of him comes out when a woman’s safety is compromised is a sweet evolution. There’s also an interesting twist related to Damon that we get to see as this story evolves and it makes so much sense once it plays out.

There’s death, destruction, lies and anxiety, all on top of passion, heat, sensuality, personal growth and discovery. I’m sad to see this series end, but we know that the story Avery and Gabriel have coming ahead of them has a single minded direction and the closure in the story gives hope. Next up is a spinoff of sorts and I cant wait to dive in. Enjoy!

Review: The Knight (Endgame #2) by Skye Warren

TitleThe Knight
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Skye Warren 1/31/17
Length:  250 pages
Series: The Endgame #2

Overview

The power of pleasure…

Gabriel Miller took everything from me. My family. My innocence. My home. The only thing I have left is the determination to get back what’s mine.

He thinks he’s beaten me. He thinks he’s won. What he doesn’t realize is that every pawn has the chance to become a queen.

And the game has only just begun.

My Thoughts

So many lies in such a short amount of time. When the relationship between Avery and Gabriel started based on less than ‘legal’ means, we knew that things were going to get dicey, but of course as we saw what Gabriel was truly capable of, we really started to despise him.

The naiveté that Avery has is something powerful and throughout this second book, both she and her mother are likened to Helen of Troy – the historical woman who’s beauty brought down countries and empires. It seems as though Helen, Avery’s mother is that woman, she had a power over so many men (and women) that she likely saw her death as a result of that, and the power that Avery has in her youth and allure is just as strong.

We left off the first book with Gabriel throwing Avery away essentially and when Avery is out on the street, she learns that her father has a heart attack, yet another set back as well as learning that her house is now no longer hers and it’s up for auction. The path that this second installment is one of watching how this all plays out, knowing that holding company that has the deed to her house is one that’s owned by Gabriel.

There’s so much uncertainty driving the motivations, and throughout this story we realize that perhaps Gabriel isn’t as evil as we wanted to believe. He’s protective of Avery, even though it seems as though their relationship is doomed. He continues to provide the care for her father even though things are going awry.

Avery learns more and more about her mother’s past and as a result, there are questions that people keep telling her not to search for that she doesn’t listen to. She finds a diary from her mother in the attic and learns some of the sordid past that was just ahead of her parent’s wedding. She searches out her mother’s best friend who reveals unexpected secrets that I think we all should have expected.

Throughout this story as well, we watch Avery stand on her own two feet. She moves into a seedy motel since that’ what she’s able to afford, and we watch her survive. There’s a protector for her in the form of a homeless man named Will who makes an impact on her life in the motel. Harper, the friend from college who’s stuck around continues to provide support and we see what that means for Avery especially when she needs a friend the most.

All this helps her deal with the emotions and feelings that she continues to have for Gabriel. She has this connection with him that’s deeper than her sole physical and sexual experience, and she has a sense that it’s the same for him. How he behaves and what he says makes her wonder if there’s more than meets the eye.

Where this story nets us out is a fire, a lost house, and a future that’s unknown. We have a name, and an identity but this person has gone into hiding and we don’t know when they will strike next, and we have to be prepared. What we do know is that the relationship of ALL our characters and how they are intertwined has changed and we can only hope for the best in how it plays out. On that note, i’m off to find book 3 and see where they go! Enjoy!

Review: The Pawn (Endgame #1) by Skye Warren

TitleThe Pawn
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Skye Warren 10/28/16
Length:  312 pages
Series: The Endgame #1

Overview

Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.

There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.

My virginity.

A forbidden auction…

Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.

Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.

My Thoughts

I have to feel just a bit impressed that there’s a book from years ago that I haven’t read (or at least I don’t think i’ve read it before) by an author that i’m a fan of. So that’s what we get with the first installment of the Endgame series. You have the beginnings with Avery, a girl who’s grown up with the means to maintain a specific lifestyle but it seems like there are things taking place behind the scenes that has the chance to jeopardize it all.

We start our story with her at her graduation party, where she’s wearing the right things, and talking to the right people until she goes to find her father, and walks in on a conversation that makes her rethink all that she knew. She goes to run and almost falls down the stairs to be saved by a man that exudes power, and has this appeal that makes her stop and think. Little do we know the role that he will play in her life in the future.

Fast forward a few years when the world has come crashing down on Avery. Her father’s poor business choices have resulted in them losing all their money, and then her father getting beaten to an inch of his life, leaving Avery to take care of everything and herself. Her dreams are dashed and she needs to figure out how to keep her father alive.

Enter Gabriel and the men from the Den. She knows that while unsavory, they can give loans for the right payment terms and she goes in knowing that she has nothing to offer, and learns that perhaps herself is the best thing for her. The agreement ist hat she’ll be auctioned off to the highest bidder for a month and then she’ll get the money that she needs to survive. Gabriel is the #2 in The Den and to watch how he orbits around Avery, how he’s drawn to her and to protect her, well we all know how this will end.

What happens from here is a story that really takes us on quite a few twists and turns. We can only assume that the objections that they have overtly will slowly change into a chemistry and relationship that neither expected. There’s revenge on the part of one, and naiveté on the side of another, and all together, that means that we’ll see combustion, heat, passion and most likely hatred.

Secrets come to light and bonds of trust are broken. What ever path we thought this story was going to go down is dashed when there’s a trade made at the end and that leave us wondering if there’s more revenge than even Gabriel and Avery we’re aware of. So on that note, i’m off to get book 2 and get back into their world. Can’t wait to see who outsmarts whom, and what it means for the other.

Review: The Baby Clause (The Contract #1.25) by Melanie Moreland

TitleThe Baby Clause
Author: Melanie Moreland
Publisher/Year:  Moreland Books 1/16/22
Length:  100 pages
Series: The Contract #1.25

Overview

Richard VanRyan can add another line to his resume—Daddy.
How does he handle the new addition to his life?
The Baby Clause is a short continuation of Richard and Katy’s story, containing humorous glimpses into his life as a father, and how his world has changed.

My Thoughts

This was a cute novella of sorts to continue the story that we got sucked into in book one. If you’ll remember, we ended the last installment with Katy sharing the news that she’s pregnant with Richard. A man who had a horrible upbringing and was certain that he’d make a horrible father. We all know the influence that Katy has on him, so it’s no surprise to see that the story took a turn.

In this novella, we get to start off with Katy in labor and watch how concerned Richard is for her and the baby. This already shows us that he’s going to be over protective and very involved, and that comes to fruition. We watch how the Gavins are also a huge part of their life, the extended family from work has turned into a true family and what everyone experiences, EVERYONE experiences.

This short story shows us what life has become for them with a new born and getting back to life. Richard has a struggle getting back to work and finding his balance while also wanting to spend as much time at home and with Katy and Grace. It’s sweet to watch and it’s a lovely way to show the evolution of what a person can be with the right motivation.

We see the struggles and complexities that come in the workplace when he’s forced to choose between being a professional and a father, and we see the implications and results of that as well when the time comes for one to take priority.

Life has changed and no one could have imagined what things would look like a year or two in the future. We do see another curve ball though come up in the midst of all this and that’s the ending note of this novella that takes us into the next. So, i’m off to find another book to read and see what’s next in the world of Katy and Richard. Enjoy!

Review: The Contract (The Contract #1) By Melanie Moreland

TitleThe Contract
Author: Melanie Moreland
Publisher/Year:  Moreland Books Inc 12/23/21
Length:  200 pages
Series: The Contract #1

Overview

A tyrant by day, a playboy by night. That is the reputation that precedes Richard VanRyan. He lives life the way he wants, no concern for the opinion of others. He cares for no one, is completely unrepentant, and he has no desire to change his ways.

Katharine Elliott works under Richard as his PA. She despises him and his questionable ethics, but endures all the garbage he sends her way, because she needs the job. Her end goal is far more important than the daily abuse and demands she tolerates from her nasty tyrant of a boss.

Until the day, he asks her for something she never expected. A new role with a personal contract— fiancée instead of PA.

What happens when two people who loathe each other, have to live together and act as though they are madly in love?

Sparks.

That’s what happens.

Can the power of love really change a person?

Will they survive the contract?

What do you do when the one person you hate the most becomes the one person you can’t live without?

My Thoughts

Well, the first thing to note is that I discovered this book through a new app called RADISH that gives you serialized access ‘for free!’ to new books. i’m hooked, although I may have to admit that I read faster than Radish allows me to.

Anyway – back to this story. It’s one of those power dynamics meets the need to change your life in the form of a woman who is underrated. We start this story with Richard, an ad exec who is passed over for the promotion that he felt he deserved because some other guy in his office took a client from him. That puts a plan into action where Richard decides that he’s going to get an offer from their top competitor in the market, and then force the boss to give him what he deserves.

This other agency though is where the trajectory of our story changes. Richard is at the agency he’s at because it fits his personality and reputation. He’s a bit of a shark, lacks the emotional connection to just about anything and is a playboy. This other agency is all about collaboration, family values, and teamwork. Richard’s reputation precedes him and this means that he needs to put up an image of something that he’s not, convince them somehow that he’s not what he seems, in the hopes of getting a job.

What happens though flips his world on his axis. Richard builds this story where he’s leaving his current role because he’s fallen in love with his assistant – perhaps the ONE rule that his current agency has, and that means that he needs to leave, as does she. He’s a changed man because he’s found the woman who was worth changing for, and that’s why he wants to work for Graham Gavin.

Enter Katy – the assistant. A woman who Richard despises because she’s clumsy and yet she takes everything he throws at her and does her job to perfection. He beats her down and berates her, and he doesn’t even know the backstory to why she is how she is and why she subjects herself to all this, and frankly he doesn’t care. until he’s forced to when he brings her into the lie in order to get this job.

Katy has a challenging past as we often find in these stories. Her parents died when she was a pre-teen and she was bounced around from home to home until she was finally taken in by a woman who had just lost her husband. They loved each other as true mother daughters would, but it’s when Penny was diagnosed with alzheimers that Katy realized that everything she had was all to take care of Penny now.

The Contract. This was the solution for both Richard and Katy. Richard needed Katy to agree to terms to stay with him, pretend to be his fiancee, live with him etc, in order to land this job. Katy needed the money and what he could give her so that she could provide for the care that Penny needed.

They got more than they bargained for. Richard realized that there’s so much more to Katy than he knew, and there were aspects that he even appreciated and liked. Katy saw that there were walls up that made Richard into the man that he was pretending to be, and that with a bit of work, she could make him into a better man.

What happens throughout this story though is that we see lies grow and grow, but we see relationships grow at the same rapid speed. There’s so much good mojo happening here that we know it will crash and burn in epic style. There’s no way that they can put up this farce of being engaged for 6 months a year even, and when Richard realizes that his job is based on a trial 6 month period, it means that their fake relationship has to go longer. They have decisions to make. When do they get married so that it doesn’t look fake. How do they manage their lives knowing that they will be linked together for quite some time in a relationship that’s not based on anything good. What will happen when family tragedy hits, and when the other shoe drops professionally that causes the house of cards to crumble?

With all that ‘what happens next’ talk, what we do see Is the development of something real that we wonder if it’s strong enough to last. There’s new emotion, there’s new knowledge and there’s new self realization that makes you want to root for everyone even when you know it’s a lost cause. So, on that note, i’m excited to jump into the second book in this series and see where their path will take us. Will it be hot and sexy, will it be wrought with stress? no one knows…Enjoy!

ARC Review: Lucifer’s Sin (Walker Security: Lucifer’s Trilogy #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleLucifer’s Sin
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 3/22/22
Length:  200 pages
Series: Walker Security: Lucifer’s Trilogy #1

Overview

About the series: Tall, dark, and deadly, these men run Walker Security. Each is unique in his methods and skills, but all share key similarities. They are passionate about those they love, relentless when fighting for a cause they believe in, and all believe that no case is too hard, no danger too dark. Dedication is what they deliver, results are their reward.

Meet Lucifer, one of those men…

A man with demons that run deep and dark…

The only woman who can bring him to his knees…

As one of the newest members of Walker Security, Lucifer lives up to his name. He’s a man with demons that run deep and dark. A man with secrets. A man betrayed by a woman, and that betrayal has shaped every part of his life moving forward.

He lives on the edge with fast cars, faster women, and some might say a death wish. That is until he crossed paths with Walker Security and one of their own pulled him from the bowels of his self-created hell.

But his own personal devil is about to show herself again. That woman from his past is back, and nothing is as it seems.

My Thoughts

I must start off by thanking our amazing author Lisa Renee Jones and I think our friends at Netgalley for getting me this pre-read copy. Mind you, i’ve already pre-purchased it as well, so while I was able to get the first installment at gratis, i’ve still happily contributed to the revenue stream and the books success!

Anyhow, what we have here is nothing short of an INTENSE next installment to the Walker Security family. We have spent quite a bit of time with so many of the characters over the years, and what we get for Lucifer doesn’t pale at all in comparison to the others.

What we learn is that Lucifer has this past where he was in the military like most of the others, and he came out of it and tried to make something of his life so that he could cope with the demons that he gathered over the years. In doing that, his path crosses with our leading lady Ana – an FBI agent and a woman who was trained to be on guard from a young age at the hands of her stepfather. A man that has many enemies but the power to keep them at bay. He’s trained Ana to protect herself, to be on guard and to be able to take down any opponent, and its’ when she puts Lucifer to his knees that we see the world’s axis pivot.

One night is all that it took – she was reacting to a crime that was happening and Lucifer was in the same place at the same time. She doesn’t take chances, and forces him to the ground, and it’s not until he learns who she is. the stepdaughter of the man he works for that we know things will get interesting.

Sparks fly and we know that there is a happy ending coming for this couple, until the world falls apart.. cause that’s usually how things go.

Fast forward a few years and we’re back together with these two. Lucifer gets a call from a guy named Jake who he worked with – and Jake tells him that there’s a hitlist, that he’s running for his life and then the line goes dead. someone picks up the phone and tells Lucifer that if Lucifer doesn’t want Ana to be next, he better figure out how to protect her. So back into the past we go.

Lucifer needs to keep Ana safe and yet she wants nothing to do with him since we learn that he killer her brother. there’s more to the story of course but that’s what we know. So the heat and passion that these two shared before is something that we know we’ll have to deal with, especially with the hate layered on.

There’s so much back and forth with these two – the tension is insane, and yet we know that they both want to get past it, and just don’t know how. While that’s the under-current, we know that ti’s imperative that we find out who’s behind the hitlist, and what they want. There’s clearly someone that’s close to them that wants something from them but we don’t really know that whole story.

So where we net out is a place where we know Ana and Lucifer have been lied to, and we know that there’s an adventure ahead to uncover the secrets of the past. We hope that it will lead to more hot and sexy times between them and it’s inevitable because well…Lucifer is Lucifer and he’s HOT. I don’t know how i’ll be able to wait for the next installment to come out but somehow i’ll work on my patience. On that note, if you haven’t pre-ordered the book yet, do so, and it’s out on MARCH 22, 2022 so get your copy and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Review: Dark Reign (The Collector Trilogy #1) by Amelia Wilde

TitleDark Reign
Author: Amelia Wilde
Publisher/Year:  Dangerous Press 11/9/21
Length:  328 pages
Series: The Collector Trilogy #1

Overview

Wealthy. Reclusive. Dangerous. Emerson LeBlanc doesn’t enter society much. He only ventures out in pursuit of new art for his collection. It starts with a haunting painting. Then he meets the artist…

Innocent Daphne Morelli is more exquisite than anything he’s ever seen. He becomes obsessed with her. It doesn’t matter that she’s a living, breathing person with her own hopes and dreams.

​​​​​​​She’ll be the perfect addition to his collection.

My Thoughts

The summary here led me to believe that it was going to be slightly different than the story turned out to be, and frankly it took me a long time to get through it. I don’t know if it’s me, or the story – so I guess we’ll see if i pick up the next one.

Just like the synopsis says, we start our story with Emerson, he’s The Collector. and he’s known for being able to make or break an artists’ career. He finds himself in Motif, a gallery that he doesn’t usually go to and discovers art by DM, someone that he didn’t know before, but becomes obsessed with.

what we learn of DM, Daphne is that she comes from a family that is ‘connected’. They have been in a business that isn’t necessarily on the up and up, and they have a family rivalry with the Constantines, another family that’s in a similar position. What we know is that because of a tenuous relationship between the families, Daphne is beyond protected by her brother and his bodyguards. She wants to live her own life, and while he allows it, he also buys out a building across from where she lives and works so that Daphne can be protected.

What he doens’t know, is that he can’t protect her from everything.

Emerson is obsessed and we don’t get the true backstory on why he gets like this. We know that he’s a recluse and we know that he’s got a very bad relationship with his own family and the outside world, but we dont know the causes. What we do know is that he’ll venture out to find Daphne, to endear himself to her, and then hope to make her his.

What happens throughout this story is a bit of a wild ride. We see horrible things happen to Daphne’s family and we watch how that impacts the choices that Daphne makes. She is intrigued and that puts herself at risk, but the attraction that she has to Emerson makes her throw caution to the wind.

We’re left at the end of something that sounds like the demise of the freedom that Daphne has known. Will it be at the hands of Leo her brother, or at Emerson the Collector? we don’t know yet, but i’m sure more will come to light in the next book. Enjoy!