About iscm13

I'm a mom of 3 living in NYC who loves to read. When i'm not at work, or shuttling my kids around the city (since i'm sure you can imagine that it's hard to entertain little ones in a small apartment), i'm immersing myself in all things pop-culture, watching movies, or listening to music. One day I hope that i can get inspired enough with an original idea so that i can join the ranks of some of my favorite story tellers to bring to life a great tale - but so far, i'm more than happy to dive head first into a good story or 2.

Review: Memories of You (Stark Security #6) by J Kenner

TitleMemories of You
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  1001 Dark Nights Press 6/8/21
Length:  111 Pages
Series: Stark Security #6

Overview

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?

My Thoughts

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!

Review: Black Limit (Black Edge #5) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleBlack Limit
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 10/12/18
Length:  205 Pages
Series: Black Edge #5

Overview

Is this the end of us? 

I found a woman I can’t live without. 

We’ve been through so much. We’ve had our set backs. But our love is stronger than ever. 

We are survivors. 

But when they take her from me at the altar, right before she is to become my wife, everything breaks. 

I will do anything to free her. I will do anything to make her mine for good.

My Thoughts

Aiden is hanging on by a thread – in a coma, all because of Blake. Ellie’s distraught and goes home to gather some things, and what happens? Blake. he’s there and he’s got an agenda.

We were left at yet another insane point in the story where we know that Blake’s the cause of everyone’s problems (even though several books before Aiden was convinced that it was all Ellie).

She has to fight for her life since that’s what’s needed to make sure Aiden has a life to come back to. She proves to be just as strong as we knew and that means that we’re seeing Blake’s demise. He broke into her place and attacked her, so this is a cut and dry situation right? We hope so.

The story from here out is a more gentle roller coaster in bits than we’ve seen in the past. What happens though is that we watch Aiden’s parents come and take control of things even though they don’t have a good relationship and they have all these ill sensations towards Ellie. The result is that Aiden is moved to Boston, they won’t give information to Ellie, and so on a scavenger hunt we go.

The remainder of this story takes us to Boston. Watching there be little to no change in Aiden’s case, and the toll that it takes on Ellie. She’s pregnant, sick with those hormones and sick from what’s going on in life. Her sister Brie proves to be a rock for her and that’s something that we would not have expected in previous bits of the story. The distraction that Brie gives us, watching as she discovers who her true self is, well that’s not only really appreciated in the story, but appreciated given the context if current 2021 society.

We have another engagement, a wedding, a realization of what’s true, and an arrest. we were moments away from a happy ending, Aiden is awake, alive and bringing all of the dreams that ellie never knew she had to life. Steps away from the altar and things come crashing down.

The roller coaster takes a sharp turn because from here out we see Ellie fighting for her freedom. There’s evidence that leads the DA to believe Blake’s death was premeditated and that Ellie is behind it all. She’s got lawyers who don’t believe her, her reputation and profession working against her. The start of her. relationship with aiden that makes it hard to empathize with her, and all this added to the fact that there’s nothing that Aiden can do….it’s just a sad sad way to end this series.

All the highest highs don’t prepare us for the path that we go on, and we’ve prepared for the lows throughout knowing that everyone us up against a huge obstacle. Families are brought together to be torn apart. Friendships and relationships are put through trials, and we can only know for sure that if our characters stay true to themselves, then there’s hope that even if things don’t pan out as they want, they can live with the outcomes. I’m sad to see how this series ends, but a lot was crammed into this fifth and final book – leaving me looking for something new to read. So…enjoy the world of Aiden and Ellie and we shall see what’s next….

Review: Black Contract (Black Edge #4) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleBlack Contract
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 9/22/18
Length:  180 Pages
Series: Black Edge #4

Overview

They can take everything from me, but they can’t take her.

Mr. Black is coming back. With a vengeance.

“I need you to sign a contract.”

“What kind of contract?”

“A contract that will make you mine.”

This time she’s going to do everything I say. 

She’s going to hate it and then she’s going to beg for more.

This is the game we play. It’s our game. 

But what happens when others find out? Will we lose everything?

My Thoughts

The summary implies that the biggest concern is what everyone else will think when they find out about what Ellie and Aiden do, but frankly, that’s not the issue at all is it? I mean, we saw the whole world figure out how they met, and what they do when someone leaded information to the press, so really that’s not the issue. It’s trust and broken hearts – that’s where they go awry.

We ended the last book with Aiden breaking Ellie’s heart because he couldn’t handle what was going on and blamed it on Ellie and while that’s not right, that was his reaction. Ellie sees him out at a club with another girl and draws conclusions and lucky for her, Aiden is persistent, and she gives him the benefit of the doubt.

That sets the tone for this next installment of the story. We watch them find a place where they can work back to what things once were. Aiden wants to jump right back into the engagement and Ellie uses the time to think about what things are going to look like in the future.

This story takes us on a healing journey of sorts- watching Caroline try to come to terms with what she went through, and at the same time, watch the evolution of life with Ellie. Ellie and Aiden are in a better place and we want to hope for the best, and at the same time, we get news that Ellie is pregnant and that means that life is happy yet uncertain all over again.

Highs and lows are the balance of the story. Aiden gets the good news that he’s back at Owl, and that means that there’s a bit more certainty out there. He and Ellie seem to be in an ok place and he’s even happy at the idea of a baby. Things crash again though. There’s a death that’s likely a suicide, there’s a case that’s going to get dropped, there’s a fight, a shooting and someone in a coma.

Aside from that – we get a nice supplement to this story in the form of Brie’s situation. Brie is Ellie’s step sister and she blows into Ellie’s life in the middle of all the nonsense. She’s not sure what she wants to do with her life and who she is frankly. And she’s gone to the one person that she feels like she can be honest with and have no judgement.

So, on that note, we end this story on another cliff. While one of our mains is in a coma after a shooting, the shooter is on the loose and we fear that they will never be brought to justice. The other main finds themself in a confrontation of sorts and we’re not sure how to get out of that situation unscathed. So…I guess we’re going to see how things net out in the fifth book. Hopefully there’s something happy to pull out of it all, but things are looking bleak. Enjoy!

Review: Black Bounds (Black Edge #3) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleBlack Bounds
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 10/12/18
Length:  172 Pages
Series: Black Edge #3

Overview

I don’t belong with her. 

Born into darkness, life made me a cynic incapable of love. 

But then Ellie waltzed in. Innocent, optimistic, kind. 

She’s the opposite of what I deserve. 

I bought her, but she she stole my heart.

Now my business is going up in flames. 

I have only one chance to make it right. 

That’s where it happens…something I can never take back. 

I don’t cheat on her. There’s no one else. 

It’s worse than that. Much worse. 

Can we survive this?

My Thoughts

This story really takes us on an uncertain path. We have moments of happiness, and then in the next chapter, things are flipped upside down and we wonder if we’ll ever find a happy solution.

Emotions are all over the place. The future of Owl is looking bleak and that means that Aiden’s future with the company is looking bleak. He has no idea how to get more money to stop the bleeding and that weighs heavily. The news all comments about how it means that the board will kick him out of the company as well and that makes Aiden miserable. The company that he created from scratch in college is going to be taken away from him. How he handles that and how Ellie handles that will show us what this couple is made of.

In this third book, we usually expect to see some type of resolution but there are several more installments to the series. What we get though is a train wreck of sorts. We find that people are not at all what they appeared to be and that those who want the best for our main characters are capable of taking that away in the blink of an eye.

They go to Tom’s engagement party and that ends in a HORRIBLE way. Caroline is there with her new guy Taylor – the one that she met on Aiden’s yacht – but he isn’t a great as he seemed. Caroline finds his flirting with another woman and that leaves her alone. Not for long though as Ellie discovers Caroline unconscious, being taken advantage by someone at the party. Not just someone, but Tom.

So the story is flipped once again here as we watch how this plays out. Caroline sinks into a numbness that’s expected given the experience that she had. Tom’s future in-laws take Tom’s side and that means that all the headway that Aiden made with Carrie’s father to get investment funds for Owl drops to the side.

Ellie and Aiden though seem to be in a good place finally – a united front even though things are going sideways. So great that in fact Aiden proposes. So we’re on a journey watching a couple find their happily ever after.

Until they don’t. Aiden breaks up with her and all on the heels of someone leaking Ellie’s story under her real name and everything that they all worked so hard to keep secret is now out in the open. Aiden tells Ellie that things were all amazing until he met her – and then things started to go awry. He was distracted, he was focused elsewhere and he feels that she’s been the cause of all the scuff ups. So where does that leave us? two heart broken girls, a friend in jail for attempted rape, and a man without his company. A sad place for our story to leave off and it means that I have to dive straight into the next book to see what can be salvaged. Enjoy!

Review: Black Rules (Black Edge #2) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleBlack Rules
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 10/12/18
Length:  164 Pages
Series: Black Edge #2

Overview

We don’t belong together. 

I should have never seen him again after our first night together. But I crave him. 

I’m addicted to him. He is my dark pleasure. 

Mr. Black is Aiden. Aiden is Mr. Black. Two sides of the same person. 

Aiden is kind and sweet. Mr. Black is demanding and rule-oriented.

When he invites me back to his yacht, I can’t say no. 

Another auction. Another bid. 

I’m supposed to be his. But then everything goes wrong….

My Thoughts

We continue on this weird little merry go round with our characters here – getting teased about a world that we know nothing about and yet wanting to know more. Ellie and Aiden seem to have something that could be real, but there really are a few obstacles in their way. When Aiden invites Ellie and Caroline to another Yacht party – even more questions arise

We start off this second book with Ellie uncertain as to why she’s been invited again and Caroline looking to take full advantage of what she missed out on. Lucky for her, her regrets are short lived since she gets to have a redo.

We know that things can’t go the same way this time around – that would make for a dull and boring story. So what we get at this second party is an interesting situation. Ellie isn’t trying to impress anyone so again she’s in jeans and a shirt. Caroline knows the cocktail hour protocol so she’s looking her best and mingling. She meets everyone and makes an impression and at the same time, Ellie runs into a guy named Blake who made some unnecessary comments to her at the first party. If you remember, he told her that she doesn’t belong there, yet tried to outbid Aiden for a night with her.

Well….he’s just a premonition of what’s to come and we know it can’t be good. We move from the cocktail hour to the pre-auction set up. Caroline and Ellie realize quickly that things aren’t the same as last time. Ellie is the only girl who’s been there before, everyone else is new. The girls are all asked to wear lingerie v. whatever they are comfortable in (remember Ellie wore her dress, while others went full nude). The other strange piece is that instead of seeing the entire audience, there’s a row of mirrors keeping them separate so no one knows who’s bidding on them and that adds for tension. Ellie wasn’t going to participate but she’s told that Aiden really wants her to, so she goes against her gut and does it.

What happens next is very different than the first time around. Ellie raises a bit of money from the auction, not at all like last time, but quickly realizes that it’s not Aiden who’s bid but Blake. the Auctioneer – Lizbeth was uncomfortable starting the auction since Aiden apparently wasn’t there and now we know what happened as a result.

The trajectory of the story is a bad/sad one from here. We know that Blake doesn’t have Ellie’s best interest at heart and Ellie wants nothing to do with him. She only came to the party to be with Aiden and when it’s someone else, she wants out. Blake won’t let that happen, and in turn, Ellie has to fight for her freedom, and Blake gets injured from both Ellie And Aiden who finally comes to her rescue.

There are repercussions to all this of course and we quickly see the impact that it has for Aiden. Blake was the first investor of Aiden’s company and because of this feud, he’s taken his money out and the money of all his friends. Owl is failing, and Aiden doesn’t know how to fix things. Ellie can’t help and that makes the dynamic even harder. We really want some calm time for them to find out what they could be to each other – we know that they’ve both admitted to stronger feelings, but if they aren’t given the chance to cultivate it, then we’ll never know right?

Add to that – Caroline met a decent guy she things from the auction and we watch that relationship evolve- hoping for the best but not really knowing what will happen. We do’t know anything about Taylor so we don’t know if he’s got honest motivations.

There’s also Tom – Ellie’s friend who she used to have a crush on, but who’s also engaged to their boss. They had a falling out if you remember in the first book, and things come to a head even more in this second book. Tom invites Ellie, Caroline and Aiden to his fiance’s family’s house for an engagement party and we really don’t know how this is going to end up.

Aside from all the sexy steamy things that we read about from time to time in here, there’s also the similar undertone from the Tangled series that i see here – a budding writer/author who goes it alone. learns the ropes to self-publishing and tries to make it into something great. I think that it’s lovely that our author Charlotte Byrd is trying to give all of those aspirating authors out there the knowledge and tools to do it themselves and I hope for Ellie that it pans out. On that note, i’m off to book three since i’m really interested in seeing what happens to Owl and what that means for Ellie and Aiden. Enjoy!

Review: Black Edge (Black Edge #1) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleBlack Edge
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 10/12/18
Length:  184 Pages
Series: Black Edge #1

Overview

I don’t belong here. 

I’m in way over my head. But I have debts to pay. 

They call my name. The spotlight is on. The auction starts. 

Mr. Black is the highest bidder. He’s dark, rich, and powerful. He likes to play games. 

The only rule is there are no rules. 

But it’s just one night. What’s the worst that can happen?

My Thoughts

Who doesn’t like a good story about sex games right? That’s what we get when we dive into things with Ellie and Aiden. This story starts off with our leading ladies enjoying their lives as most girls do – although they have it a bit better than most of the main female characters that we see in these stories. Ellie and her friend and roommate Caroline met while at Yale, and come from families of privilege. They have the means to do what they want, and don’t struggle like most of the characters that we have. Where it does follow suit is that Ellie wants to make her own way – her family’s money is a result of her mom remarrying – and her step father has a bit of wealth which he shares with Ellie. He pays for her apartment, while Ellie insists on paying her student loans.

Her story’s trajectory changes when Caroline gets the invitation that she’s been waiting for. She heard about this exclusive party and has been waiting for an invite to it, and when it comes, both girls end up on a trip of a lifetime. They are taken to this lavish yacht party where they quickly learn that things aren’t what they seem.

Ellie is immediately given a new dress to wear, courtesy of their host Mr Black. Then they mingle and meet all these young eligible bachelors, where Ellie realizes that perhaps they aren’t exactly her speed. Time and time again she’s told that she doesn’t belong at the party and she questions everything. When the atmosphere changes after a break from cocktails, they are called to the main salon where it’s only women there. Quickly things take a turn for the racy. We learn that the next round of the event is an auction – where the women are up for bid and the man who wins them gets a night of what ever sexual fantasy he wants. The women get to keep the money and are at the mercy of their ‘owner’. Caroline quickly realizes that this isn’t for her and expects Ellie to depart with her but surprisingly Ellie realizes the the idea isn’t so bad and the money that she could make would be worth it.

From then on, the story takes a turn. Ellie perhaps brings the most money in for the night – her gentleman thankfully isn’t an older guy, but instead Mr Black. He’s not at all what she expects, but his preferences are darker and raunchier than she could have imagined. What surprises her the most is how much she enjoys what he does and wants more. The time they spend together seems great but she knows that it’s just one night.

So when she goes to depart the next morning, she thinks that’s the end of things, and yet Mr Black, Aiden – tracks her down before she leaves and gives her something to hope for. What that is, and what that means for her – you’ll only know if you read the story!

There are a few subplots going on as well that make this story a bit meatier. There’s the best friend Tom that Ellie’s had since college – a guy that she’s always crushed on and a guy that broke her heart when he quickly started dating their boss and got engaged. That put the breaks on any emotions and feelings, and thankfully for Ellie, it opened up the possibility with Aiden. What happens in this story though makes us see that Tom isn’t worthy of her devotion. Watching his demeanor and judgement makes us root for Ellie and I can’t wait to see what happens to Tom as a result of his new found rude qualities.

There’s also the bits about Caroline – we know that she enjoys the nicer things in life and that she’s the one who brought Ellie into the world with Mr Black. She now has a bit of jealousy and I can’t wait to see how that plays out for her.

Then there’s all of Aiden’s past and the mystery that surrounds him and his tastes. I’m sure that all the readers here can’t wait to see what it means for the possibility of the future since there are so many dark corners and twists that will be obstacles.

Well…lucky for my eager reader mind – i’ve got the next book already and i’m off to see what comes next. Enjoy!

Review: Tangled Up in Love (Tangled #5) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleTangled up in Love
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 4/9/19
Length:  186 Pages
Series: Tangled #5

Overview

After everything that we have been through, is this finally the end of us?

Our life isn’t like other people’s. 

I crashed into his perfectly ordered world, changing everything. He took my innocence and I taught him that life is better outside the walls of his cloistered mansion. 

But then he came along. Parker Huntington is the man who stalked me, attacked me and kidnapped me. 

No one has heard from him for a while, and I thought that I was safe. But now he’s back with a vengeance. 
He will do anything to tear us apart. 

What happens if he succeeds?

My Thoughts

This is the final bit of our story and it’s an insane one. We left the fourth book with someone getting shot in the head and that changes the trajectory of things a little bit.

That person was Martin – Harley’s bodyguard and Julie’s boyfriend. We knew that they were in love and now that’s been crushed…and Julie blames Harley. So this means that we see a strong friendship torn apart and that’s a tough pill to swallow knowing how much they mean to each other.

When Martin’s killed, Harley finds herself in the hospital as well. She was hit by the assassins bike and now she’s lost her baby. So we really do start this last book on a sad note. There’s really no hope for any happiness for these guys.

So from that point we watch the misery and depression kick in. we watch the uncertainty take hold and wonder if there’s a glimmer of hope to bring things back together.

What we see come out of all this is the starting of something interesting. Harley forces herself to question things that she didn’t think about before. She never thought much about Parker’s background before and now she’s pushed into doing all this research to learn who he is, where he’s from and try to understand why she’s his target. The path that she goes down isn’t a safe one, but she’s still able to learn more on her own than with the help of the police or the PI.

The other story line is Liddell – getting controlling power over Minetta isn’t enough. He forces Jackson to stay on as CEO and then pushes him to make these big shows of romance etc to raise the positive PR of the company so that he can get a good price when it goes public and get out of the business. So that means that he forces Jackson to do a showy proposal and a showy wedding. The challenge becomes that he knew at one point Harley would say yes but now he’s not so sure. If he doesn’t do all these things for Liddell, then we have no idea what will happen.

The journey in this story is one of rediscovery, pain, anguish and trying to find what the future will hold. Relationships that we thought were strong are gone, and relationships that we hoped would be strong are on fragile ground.

There’s fear of the notion Parker is still out there and we don’t know what he’s going to do next – and that means that no one is safe. We also have Aurora as a bit of a loose canon since she doesn’t know what it is that she wants in life, although she’s realized that Jackson probably was it at one point.

The conclusion that we get is a good one for the way that this story evolved. It’s a shame that story lines ended as they did for so many of our main characters, but I think that sometimes we have to accept the bitter sweet aspect of things, and realize that reality isn’t perfect. Now I have to find something else to read- but I do hope you check this series out and enjoy it!

Review: Tangled Up In Hate (Tangled #4) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleTangled up in Hate
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 3/219/19
Length:  186 Pages
Series: Tangled #4

Overview

Epic love requires an epic sacrifice…

A long time ago, I borrowed money from a very powerful family. I paid my debt, but they have come for more. 

They want everything that I have built and they will hurt her if I refuse. 

Harley doesn’t understand why I have to break her heart. She hates me, but at least she’s okay…for now. 
But what happens when sending her away isn’t enough? 

What happens when I lose everything?

My Thoughts

Further and further we go into the turmoil and stress in the world of Harley and Jackson. The last scenes from the last book – the third installment was that of a wedding. One that perhaps would have surprised us two books ago, but one that we should have expected after we saw the results of the kidnapping. Harley’s parents get re-married in NYC with the blessing of Harley which is a nice change of things. At the ceremony, we also learn that Jackson has a ring in his pocket for Harley because even though they’ve only been together a short time, he knows that she’s the one.

So as a reader, i’m giddy to find out when the moment will happen and what will come in between now and then since you know nothing can be that easy. they don’t quite get their happy ending yet because of so many unresolved things with Parker, Sam, the lost money from the Ponzi scheme and so much more. Let’s table this for now….

In this fourth book, we watch Harley come into her own. She’s self-published her first novel and she’s actually seeing success as a result. People are buying her book and that’s giving her so much more confidence and inspiration to continue the story.

Jackson seems to have a bit of a plan on how to help out his company, until the worst thing happens….His past comes back to haunt him. and that doesn’t just break his professional life, he ends up breaking Harley’s heart as well.

We’re taken about ten years in the past to the starting point of Minetta, when Jackson is trying to find funding for his company and gets the suggestion from his mother for a bookie that they’ve worked with in the past as a result of his father’s gambling problems. Jackson gets a loan from a man named Andrew Liddell, and even though he repays the money in two days, he realizes that hes bound to this man forever. And that comes to haunt him in the present, when Liddell wants half of Minetta.

The story from here is bleak. Jackson breaks up with Harley and she doesn’t understand why. All she did was go into the wing of the house that Jackson told her to stay away from, but she thought that given the dynamic shift of their relationship, it was ok. Apparently not. So Harley’s heart broken, and it’s for a reason that she’s left in the dark about.

Jackson knows that she’s become a target for Liddell and pushes her away for her protection. Too bad there’s another target – Aurora, and she’s used as a negotiating tactic for Liddell to get what he wants. He pays Jackson $51M for 51% of the company and that takes us on a trajectory that’s down a black hole but potentially a good thing.

On the other side of this turmoil is Harley – she’s left desolate, not even really with the will to live. While Jackson gave her money after they split up, she’s not willing to take it. She wallows in her misery, not even writing and that’s really the only way that she can get her mind off things. She winds up sick, and learns that there’s more going on than just depression here -and that raises more questions and uncertainty for her and everyone to be honest.

We get another love story that runs underneath the main one now that Harley’s parents are married again. We get to see Julie find her prince charming and interestingly it’s in the form of Martin, Harley’s bodyguard. They start to grow a friendship while he’s in their studio continuing to protect Harley, and it’s the kind of relationship that Julie deserves. A man who is good and honest and wants to give her the world.

Where we net out in this story is a gunshot to the forehead, a relationship that’s on unknown ground and an assailant that we’re still not sure who it is. We thought Liddell got all that he wanted but maybe not? We still don’t know where Parker is and perhaps he’s back stalking Harley. We know that Sam’s out of jail and cannot be trusted….and we have a life in the balance ….again.

I’m going to thank this lovely hurricane that’s bearing down on my area right now for giving me time to read even more installments of this series, so onto the next and I hope you’re all having a good weekend. Enjoy!

Review: Tangled Up in Lace (Tangled #3) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleTangled up in Lace
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 2/26/19
Length:  198 Pages
Series: Tangled #3

Overview

I used to be a recluse, but no more. Harley helped me fight my dark past, and now it’s my turn to help her. 

But she’s not here. I have to find her. I have to show her what I’m willing to do for her. 

She’s not impressed by my money and wealth, and this is one thing I can’t buy. Am I willing to give up everything to have her?

My Thoughts

The second installment of this story left us in a moment of despair – watching Harley get kidnapped by Parker who we have not seen the last of. We know that he’s a loose canon and sadly, Jackson gave him the perfect opportunity for Harley to get abdjucted.

If you remember, in the last installment, we saw Jackson and Harley fall out because Woodward claimed that Harley was an escort and Jackson made a comment to the notion that it was ok if she was one before. Harley of course takes offense to this and they split up.

While they tried to go their separate ways, it doesn’t work, and Harley goes to his house to make amends, only to see Jackson and Aurora (his ex wife) in an embrace, she leaves, and finds herself being pulled into a van at gunpoint.

The path of this book is one of uncertainty. Jackson realizes what’s happened, gets into his car and takes chase of the van. That doesn’t end well as the van has managed to slip through traffic resulting in Jackson getting into a car accident, getting his by a truck and we have to wonder what that means for his health and well-being.

The plot of the Ponzi scheme takes a bit of a back seat in this book while we wait to see what happens with Harley. She’s taken by Parker and another man, she doesn’t know where they are going and really doesn’t know the full depth and breadth of why Parker has come after her. All she knows is that she some how needs to figure out how to escape since that’s her only hope. She figures that if she can convince the accomplice that Parker isn’t the one with a plan to keep even him safe, then she’ll have a chance, but what happens is that Sam, the accomplice, he leaves and that means that Parker and Harley are left alone.

While this is all going on, Jackson is fighting to stay alive. The doctors are having a hard time bringing him back to life, and they even want to call it since they can’t get a pulse. Thank goodness there’s a nurse who won’t give up and they continue to shock him in the hopes that something will happen. Jackson on the other side of things has these dreams, these visions where he’s with Harley again, but she can’t see him or hear him. He knows that he’s basically dead at this point and that’s not something he can cope with in his dreams.

Some how things work out for Jackson and he’s brought back to life, gets his strength back and some how doesn’t have any serious injuries from his accident. He calls Harley’s parents from Montana to come out and help find her since her mom is police, and we see how that dynamic of things changes the trajectory of the story on that end.

There’s so much uncertainty on where Harley is and in what shape she’ll be found if she’ll be found. There’s no real sense of where she is since the police and PIs can’t track her or a vehicle and it’s only once Sam the accomplice is picked up and given a plea deal that they know a town and address of the cabin that she’s being held.

Jackson leaves the hospital and goes rogue to find her and you can imagine that someone that emotionally charged will never have a good end result and everyone tells him that. We can only hope for the best here.

It’s a roller coaster for sure – we were at such a sad place in the last installment watching this couple break apart and just when we thought that they could find their way back to each other, someone takes that all away from them. There’s fear, harm, life is in the balance, but there’s also a glimmer of what could be the future for everyone if things were just a bit different.

We end this installment at a wedding – one that wasn’t expected given what we know of all the relationships in this story, but one that perhaps will be the impetus of something bigger for everyone involved. I can’t wait to see what happens next since we know that a happy ending for our main characters potentially isn’t in the cards. Enjoy!

Review: Tangled Up in Pain (Tangled #2) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleTangled up in Pain
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 2/21/19
Length:  198 Pages
Series: Tangled #2

Overview

Everything comes at a price. What if this one is too high even for him to pay?

Jackson Ludlow, the recluse billionaire of New York, is beautiful and captivating but also damaged and alone. 

He thinks he is the only one with secrets, but he’s wrong. 

My past is coming for me. It’s forcing me back there: the place that ruined everything. 

I don’t want to go. He can’t make me. 

But there’s no way out. 

My Thoughts

When we left off from the first installment, we saw things heating up between Harley and Jackson. Both are damaged and have secrets, and while all were not revealed we see that there’s something deep here that adds to the chemistry. The last bit was a bitter wake up call – Harley’s mom was in a car accident and she’s been asked to come home. Harley left Montana for a reason. the memories haunt her and her relationship with her parents turned sour. She doesn’t want to go, but we all know that it’s the right thing to do right?

The story from here takes quite a few twists and turns. We know that there’s something special between Jackson and Harley, and that’s proven when Jackson offers up his jet for her to fly home and he goes with her. She’s preparing for the worst but the scenario that she walks into at the hospital is not even one of the ways that she thought this would go. Her parents faked it. All because they wanted to reconnect on their terms not hers.

There’s an explosion of emotions at this point, we watch how anger takes over and how there’s no hope for a reconciliation at all since Harley was tricked. I mean, she’s not wrong if you think about it – what parent does that – pretends to be on their death bed just to get face time.

What comes of this forced trip though is something entirely different and more powerful. We watch Jackson develop a new found appreciation for the world and we see that he’s coming out of his shell. He opens up to Harley about quite a few things, and in return, we see that they have something true and real even though it’s so fresh and new. He admits that he’s in love with her and she reciprocates and we think that everything will go smoothly from here on out.

He gives her the freedom to write her novel and in turn, she frees him from his solo existence. At the same time, Jackson works to rebuild the bridge between Harley and her father and we see that start to take shape. There are many conversations that aim to provide clarity on the past few years and while it’s not a perfect reunion, we see hope on the horizon.

That all crumbles when Jackson gets a call that he’s been duped in a ponzi scheme and has lost half a billion dollars. All money that was going to go into his struggling company in the hopes to keep it afloat. That causes a rift between the two yet Harley wants to be there for Jackson. There’s hope that they persevere, yet someone gets in their way.

Woodward – a man who was due to invest in the company – he makes claims to Harley’s reputation and that tears everyone apart. Jackson goes on a rampage, and at the same time questions Harley – she in turn breaks up with him because her character should never have been in question and that means that the last 25% of this story is one fo pain and torture.

We have the return of Jackson’s ex-wife and we see that they are on far better terms than we knew. We don’t know the circumstances of Jackson’s pain, but we assumed that it was partly due to her. Doesn’t seem like that now when she moves into his house.

The other plot here where we’re left off at the end is Parker, the man who was stalking Harley in book one and who’s now out on bail. He comes after her and we don’t know how it’s going to end. So….on the cliff once again and now i’m off to book 3 to see if we survive. Enjoy!