Title: Memories of You
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year: 1001 Dark Nights Press 6/8/21
Length: 111 Pages
Series: Stark Security #6
Hollywood consultant Renly Cooper is fed up with relationships. His recent breakup with a leading lady played out across the tabloids, and the former Navy Seal is more than ready to focus on his new position as an agent at the elite Stark Security agency. He’s expecting international stakes. Instead, his first assignment is to protect one of Damien Stark’s friends from a stalker. A woman who, to his delight, turns out to be one of his closest childhood friends.
After a foray into online dating puts tech genius Abby Jones in danger, she needs a bodyguard, and her business partner, Nikki Fairchild Stark, enlists help from Stark Security. When the assigned agent turns out to be her best friend from junior high—and her first crush—she’s thrilled to discover he’s even more delicious now. She hopes one sexy night can turn into more, but Renly is firmly in the friends-with-benefits camp.
As the threat to Abby increases, she tries to keep her growing feelings for Renly at bay. But as the sparks between them burn even hotter, can they go from friends to lovers when the first order of business is simply to keep Abby alive?
I love the Stark Security series and I’m happy to get into book six, even if it’s a novella. I’ll be honest thought, the summary doesn’t 100% match up to how the story plays out, but i’ll forgive that since we get exactly what’s needed in this series.
Abby if you remember is Nikki’s partner in the tech firm and we’ve come to really enjoy her throughout all the stories in the Stark world. She’s proven herself to be a great friend, a great professional and because of all this, she deserves happiness. How that pans out, well, we see some of that in this story.
Then there’s Renly – he’s new to Stark and as the summary suggests, he was a SEAL and then worked in Hollywood. We know that he isn’t a relationship guy so while his last one was ‘in the tabloids’ – it’s really not that serious in the grand scheme of things. The woman is one of the most desired women in hollywood but to him, that really means nothing.
What makes this story great though is the shared past that Abby and Renly had and how that manifests itself into the now.
We quickly learn that they were best friends, inseparable until Renly and his twin Red were moved away in high school and Abby lost her best friend and her crush. Little did she know that the crush she had on Renly was kind of the same that he had on her, yet neither one of them was strong enough to go down that path. I think that it’s for the best when you see how this story shakes out.
They come face to face when Abby is concerned that she’s being stalked but doesn’t know by whom. She gets hang up calls on her mobile and on her direct line at work and there’s never anyone talking. It’s not until she walks back to her car one day and finds it covered by blood (fake blood thankfully) that we see Abby and Stark Security merge. Renly is in the office when he hears Nikki share the news that something happened to Abby and he races out of there with her and Damian. When they get to the ‘crime scene’ – it takes just one second for Abby to realize that it’s Renly in front of her and she launches herself at him.
From this moment forward, we watch how they have such intense chemistry and magnetism that even though they know that they want different things romantically in life, they find themselves circling each other in the hopes to get the friendship back. They reconnect on so many levels and it’s like life was meant to bring them back together. Thankfully Stark Security puts Renly on Abby protection and they are together non-stop until things are sorted.
What happens – a night that they thankfully don’t regret, but one that they know can’t ever happen again since their friendship is far more important than a confusing relationship. That seems to work on the surface for them, until a night that Renly takes Abby as his +1 to a Hollywood wrap party and they run into his ex who forces Abby to stand up for herself and lay claim to Renly in the most carnal way.
Their story takes a change in trajectory but it’s one that works for them. What it also does though is it makes everything that Abby’s stalker does even more personal. And while we don’t know who it is for quite a bit, we have suspicions. He finally comes out in the open, poisons Renly and Abby so that he can get her away, and that means that all bets are off on what it will take to bring her back.
So…the novella is jam packed, and we get to see an evolution of relationships both professionally and personally and there’s a good teaser or intro into the next installment to this story – where we get to see Red’s life take center stage. We do’t know much about him, but we know that he was involved in Damian’s world back when his daughter was kidnapped. So, that means that his story – a full length one I believe will be even more exciting. So….onto the next! Enjoy!