Title: Justify Me
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year: Evil Eye Concepts 4/10/18
Length: 130 Pages
Series: Stark Saga #4.5 / Masters & Mercenaries Cross Over
McKay-Taggart operative Riley Blade has no intention of returning to Los Angeles after his brief stint as a consultant on mega-star Lyle Tarpin’s latest action flick. Not even for Natasha Black, Tarpin’s sexy personal assistant who’d gotten under his skin. Why would he, when Tasha made it absolutely clear that–attraction or not–she wasn’t interested in a fling, much less a relationship.
But when Riley learns that someone is stalking her, he races to her side. Determined to not only protect her, but to convince her that–no matter what has hurt her in the past–he’s not only going to fight for her, he’s going to win her heart. Forever.
I really enjoy when authors are collaborative and not competitive and that’s exactly what we have here in this novella. J Kenner and Lexi Blake have teamed up and introduced a cross over of sorts to their series. What also happened here is that i realized that i only read the first book in the Taggart series….so i’ve got even more to catch up on!
Anyhow, what we have here is a sweet story of two people who have history (as they typically do) with a strong attraction, but one that they never acted on. Riley and Natasha are linked because of Riley’s past of working with Nat’s father, and when he tried to act on what was a mutual attraction years and years ago, she turned him down. Once her father passed away, she pushed him away further and there grew the wall between them. Thankfully her boss needed Riley’s help in protecting Nat, and so they have come full circle.
The tension and anxiety in this novella comes from two directions. First the initial reason for bringing them back together in the hunt for a stalker. Riley is alpha and needs to protect her and Nat is strong willed and doesn’t want that. But of course, the fear for her life makes it an easier pill to swallow and so we see security / bodyguard prowess come out in the search for who’s tormenting Natasha.
Top that with chemistry that they both decide they can act on with guardrails – and they combust. literally. It’s hot and steamy and what we have here i think is a bit more Lexi than we usually see from J Kenner in the intensity of the BDSM scenes between the pair. The safety that they find in the club makes it easier to let down their walls, take advantage of what they want, and not feel like it’s crossing lines. It starts a relationship i in safe place and explodes in a good way from there.
Since this is a novella, we don’t get terribly deep into anything but that’s ok. We get to the bottom of our roller coaster ride with the stalker fairly quickly and we get to the crux of the issues in the relationship quickly as well and see conclusions that are valid and fair in both. So…on that note, i’m going to get back into the Taggart family saga since i’ve been remiss. Enjoy!