Review: Broken Vow (Broken #2) by Stella Gray

TitleBroken Vow
Author: Stella Gray
Publisher/Year:  Paige Press 10/5/21
Length:  194 Pages
Series: Broken #2

Overview

I thought the past was behind me… but becoming Mrs. Bellanti put a target on my back.

My husband isn’t a gentle man.
And God knows he isn’t the sharing type.
Rico’s announcement has dropped a bomb into my marriage.

I never thought I’d see Rico again.
Never thought Dante would ever have to know.
Seeing the way he looks at me now, as though I’m just another problem to be handled?
It’s breaking my heart.

I thought I was in love once before.

I swore I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

But falling for a Bellanti was far worse than a simple mistake…

My Thoughts

We ended book 1 on the worst note – seeing things start to get amazing for Dante and Frankie – they really did seem to have a true and real relationship, one that had love in it regardless of the means to the beginning, and then Rico shows up. We didn’t know who he was, but we knew that there was a reason that Frankie was avoiding his calls in book 1.

She was married. To Rico. And he left her. On their Honeymoon and never came back. She was heartbroken, then angry and then she went home.

Fast forward to the present when she’s truly happy with Dante and he with her, and then Rico appears. Perfect timing right? He makes Dante lose trust in everything, and we see Frankie lose everything. She is kicked out of the house, out of Dante’s life, out of the vineyard. She watches Jessica the conniving assistant come back and sink her claws into Dante. On the other side of things, we also watch her non-Dante life fall apart. Her father sells off all of the horses that Livvie loves so much and we watch Livvie get shuttled between Charlie’s house in SF to school every day since they deem it unsafe for her to stay at the house with their father anymore.

There’s so much despair happening – we don’t know what else can go wrong. Charlie and Frankie are trying to be strong – Charlie’s husband is still away and he’s been away longer than ever so she’s nervous. There’s really nothing good on the horizon and really all that Frankie wants is for Dante to give her a chance to explain.

He’s not having it. He wants to hear nothing that Frankie has to say – he just wants to cut his losses with her, take over the winery that he got when he married her and be done with it all so that his family’s reputation doesn’t get hurt any more.

Little does he know that there’s more to the story than anyone knows. Frankie goes searching in her father’s office and finds the contract that sells her to Dante. What is included are the clear words that the Abbot vineyard goes to Frankie and her legal husband. which is not Dante – so she goes in fighting, knowing that Dante only wanted the grapes. She thinks that she’ll be able to convince Rico to leave and give her his piece of a failing winery but vindictive Jessica lets Rico know the full value of what he has.

This makes the story take a frustrating turn. Rico doesn’t want to let Frankie go because he wants the money from the vineyard – and Franke really doesn’t want to sell her family history. Rico never wanted anything from Frankie even when they were married if it wasn’t tied to money. When he realized that her father wasn’t going to be able to buy them a house in Italy, that’s when he left her, so we know that his money driven.

On the flip side, Dante hates Frankie and hates Rico, and really just wants to get everyone out of his life. What’s nice for Dante though is that he has a brother Armani who’s not going to leave any rock unturned and will get to the bottom of what’s going on with Rico – and what we learn is not surprising but it’s a way to end things.

The turn that we see happen in this story – throughout the uncertainty is the notion that love can conquer all – and that sometimes even the hate that you have for someone is firmly rooted in love. Dante wants to hate Frankie and wants her out of his life but what he realizes is that she’s gotten under his skin. He wants to get her out of his system physically but when he does that, when they come together with intense heat and passion, it’s not enough for him. He wants more. On the same note, Frankie has never stopped loving Dante – she only wants to make him realize that what they had is real and what she had with Rico was an illusion.

We’ve made it over a hill of sorts, but there are lies and there are untruths being told that have broken trust all over again. The end of this story leaves us on another cliff where we thought life would be happy and move in the right direction but the discovery of information makes that impossible. Our happy bubble is shattered and it’s going to take quite a bit of effort to get it back on track. Now I have to wait 3 weeks -ish to get the final installment of the series – so i’ll try to be patient. Enjoy!

Review: Broken Bride (Broken #1) by Stella Gray

TitleBroken Bride
Author: Stella Gray
Publisher/Year:  Paige Press 9/7/21
Length:  200 Pages
Series: Broken #1

Overview

I was sold to him to settle a debt… but Dante Bellanti never settles.

My father was always a gambling man.
Unfortunately, he never could pick winners.
When the wolves closed in, he chose himself, like always.

He traded his freedom… for mine.

He forced me to marry.
Now Dante Bellanti owns my body.
I’m just another possession for a man who already has too much.
So I won’t let him have my heart.

But you know what they say about gambling.

The house always wins.

And I’m at the mercy of the Bellantis…

My Thoughts

Well….I read through this book in a matter of hours last night, could not put it down because I really needed to see what happened between Frankie and Dante. Frankie was on the precipice of something great – coming home from Italy after spending a few years learning how to improve her family business and what does she learn when she walks in, it was all for nothing

Down the road there’s the Bellantis – who are mourning the death of their patriarch and Dante finds himself at the head of the family. Trying to alleviate the family of the ownership of some debts that people owe them, ensuring that territory that is theirs remains safe and giving space where they can afford to in order to keep the peace. As part of that, he takes on the debts of Frankie’s father and with that, he takes her as part of the payment.

The story from here on out is watching Frankie come to terms with a life that she never wanted, for reasons that she’s not sure of, and with a man that she wants but doesn’t want to want. Her older sister is able to give her some guidance on how to life with a ‘made man’ since her husband is part of a crime family and together they try to protect their younger sister.

Dante on the other hand has to manage his two brothers – each of who has a different motivation in the family business if any at all, and we hope that there’s something that can come out of that family.

There’s an adversary in the form of Dante’s assistant – a woman who clearly wants Dante as more than a casual bed partner, and when she meets Frankie and sees there is something building between husband and wife, well, we know that it’s not going to end well for anyone.

There are several unknowns in this story. One is how Dante’s father died. We learn that perhaps Frankie’s father knows more about it than he let on, so we see if that plays out. Then there’s the notion of wondering if Frankie and Dante will ever find a common ground. She wants to be an equal – she wants love and she wants to work. She’s given an opportunity to help the vineyard and we have to be patient to see how that plays out. There’s also a man named Rico that Frankie clearly doesn’t want to have any contact with and of course that means that he will show up at the wrong moment.

We have a roller coaster with this couple – there’s chemistry and a spark between them that’s unexpected and they slowly come to have more than hate towards one another. They are celebrating the First Press of a new wine that bonds their families together and then the unimaginable happens. A spouse turns up that no one expected…..end scene.

You can now understand why I couldn’t put the book down last night so now thank goodness book 2 is out and i’m going to read it tonight! Enjoy!

Review: The Cult (The Cult #1) by Penelope Sky

TitleThe Cult
Author: Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Hartwick Publishing 9/14/21
Length:  268 Pages
Series: The Cult #1

Overview

I see his wicked smile in the theatre. I see it in the apartment across from mine.

I see it everywhere.

Before I can run, I’m taken.

And when I wake up…I’m in the middle of nowhere.

The man who’s taken me claims to be a demon.

And claims I’m his angel.

What happens when he finds out I don’t have wings?

I’m not the only prisoner in this forest. There’s a little girl too. Her name is Claire. She’s beautiful, happy, wonderful. It’s my responsibility to protect her–and I will give my life to accomplish that.

She says her father will save us both.

She says he’s powerful, formidable, that he’ll burn this entire forest to get to her.

I hope she’s right.

My Thoughts

WOW – that’s all I can say about this one – it’s a sick and twisted version of all that we love from Penelope Sky and i’m here for it. If you remember back to the Chateau series – we were in the Alps in a camp that was used to package and distribute drugs. Women were kidnapped and kept there to do the dirty work because they came at no cost- and their lives were held solely in the hands Fender and his brother.

Once they abandoned the camp, someone came in to take the land over. Someone who believed in all that was good and perfect and beautiful in the world – Angels. Because they themselves were demons. The worst form of Hell and they needed Angels for redemption. And so, the history of kidnapping women and bringing them to the camp continues, in a new form, because Forneus and his men kidnap women that they believe are angels who can help get them forgiveness for all they’ve done.

We start this story with our leading lady Constance – she’s a ballerina and she’s just finished a performance when a man, Benton, walks in – holding up a picture of another ballerina who has gone missing. We don’t know the story there – but we know that he’s in despair. This is the night that Constance’s life changes forever.

Benton’s ex-lover has been kidnapped along with his daughter Claire and he’s trying to hunt them down. No one can help him find her and while he wants to find Beatrice, he wants his daughter more. Constance has this memory in her mind when she performs the next night and discovers a man, all in black, staring at her with a smile that is so creepy that she’s scared out of her mind. She goes home and discovers him in the apartment across the way staring at her, and then when the police won’t take her seriously, we know her moment is about to come. The next night at her performance, the man is there again, with an entire team of men dressed in black, with horns on their heads. The police won’t help her so she tries to find Benton, knowing that he knows she’s not lying.

She goes to him to try to get protection and that’s not enough – she’s captured and we now have no idea what her fate will be or the fate of Beatrice and Claire.

We then learn that Benton is connected to a man from The Chateau. Bartholemew and the Chaussers. The group that tried to overthrow Fender and Magnus and destroyed the camp in entirety. He’s able to find out about The Cult and what they are doing, and where they are. Be barters to get Beatrice and Claire’s freedom, by trading distribution help for Forneus and his team. (they deal in LSD). When Benton goes to retrieve his daughter, he’s told that she’s dead and handed a bag of bones. Once they realize that they’ve been crossed, the story takes another turn.

On the inside of the camp, the women learn that the cult, the demons believe that they are truly angels who will help save them from hell. Each demon has an angel and each demon has their own method of getting forgiven for their sins. Constance has Forneus who’s the leader – and he’s not resorted to harming her in any way which is a plus, but we haven’t figured him out yet. He’s terrifying and he even gives her the pill (LSD) in the hopes that she can lead him to being saved, but that doesn’t work.

Beatrice’s demon on the other hand is dark and mean. He gets angry when she’s not able to make her true wings come out and he cuts her back open to force them to come out. He allows another demon to try to do the same with Beatrice’s young daughter and Constance comes to her defense and kills the demon that goes after her.

we watch a transfer of power and authority here – the men are afraid of the angels, but they are even more afraid of Constance. She has a knife and she’s killed a demon, and for that, they cower. She’s not afraid of them and she protects Claire in that sense because she knows that she can’t be hurt. The question now becomes how can they break out and how can they get their freedom. We know that Benton tried and failed since he believes they are dead, but the tide will turn once he knows they are alive.

The story for the back half is a roller coaster. Benton some how manages to get Beatrice and Claire free and Claire won’t leave without Constance. Beatrice is on the brink of death after being tortured some more by her demon, and yet Constance has managed to keep Claire alive, happy and protected. So Benton has no choice but to bring her with them but he wants nothing to do with her once they are back in Paris.

Forneus believes that Benton has something that’s his – Constance. And he’s not willing to give it up. He finds her in Paris, hunts her down, and scares her even more. The only safe place for Constance to go is Benton’s house but he wants nothing to do with her. We are left at a point in this story where we know that Constance means quite a bit to a lot of people, but will she mean enough to the people who can save her. We just don’t know yet and that’s where we have to wait until November when book 2 comes out. So…on that note – please read this one. it’s sick and twisted in a way that none of Penelope Sky’s books have ever been and it’s a treat. Enjoy!

Review: Crash & Carnage (Blue Angels Motorcycle Club #2) by Emma Slate

TitleCrash & Carnage
Author: Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 9/5/21
Length:  328 Pages
Series: Blue Angels Motorcycle Club #2

OVerview

Adderly “Boxer” Ford is nothing like the men of my past.

He’s an outlaw.

A criminal.

My opposite in every way.

I save lives.

He takes them.

I’m makeup and mink.

He’s leather and ink.

I’m a fan of monogamy.

I’m not sure Boxer knows the definition of the word.

It’s a bad idea to get mixed up with him and his motorcycle club.

But when his lips meet mine, and his fingers plow through my hair, my desire for an orderly, safe life goes out the window.

In his bed, I discover passion.

With his club, I find a family.

In his arms, I am safe.

I don’t belong in Boxer’s world.

But when you fall for a Blue Angel, you get a lot more than you bargain for.

My Thoughts

I loved the first book in this series where we got to know about Mia and Colt – their story was hot and intense and the club was just the same. Now we get to have the same with Boxer and Linden and there’s no want to chaos here!

We start the book with Linden who’s a surgeon in Dallas. What we learn is that she’s got a bit of a complex past, she’s moved away from the east coast to get away from a man who just wasn’t right from her and a family that she didn’t fit into. She’s thriving in her new life in Dallas, and of course all that takes a new turn when a man walks into her ER with an appendix that’s about to burst.

Enter Boxer – a sexy Blue Angel, and a man that leaves all the women in the hospital without words. Linden treats him and gets to know him a bit, his quirks, a bit of his addiction past and learns that there’s more under the surface with him. While Boxer flirts with all the nurses, he’s got a special spot in his heart for Linden and it’s a delight to watch this situation unfold.

What we remember from the last book about the Blue Angels, they have an interesting love/hate relationship with Waco and other MCs or Cartels. There’s a code that they live buy – women and children are off limits, but we’ve see that combust in the past and that’s what we find happening here as well. There’s a cartel who’s trafficking both and that leads to a more complex story.

There are a few themes in this books that we get to enjoy as the Blue Angels try to deal with that other mess. There’s family. What we learned in the first book is that this is a VERY tight knit family – they will protect you and do anything to keep you happy and safe. Linden reveals that her family life is quite the opposite and she’s not really a believer of the happy family notion. Her mother has this hate relationship with her because she’s chosen to be s surgeon (like her father who left them) instead of living up to the societal expectations of their world. Linden also shares that her father who had an entire different family that was secret has been calling her a lot lately, yet we don’t know why. Personally, i’m actually interested in the purpose of the calls but it’s a matter of time for us to find out what that’s about. (if we do at all).

The Old Ladies, all the women tied to the club take Linden in with open arms and the men, the bikers, they are very appreciative and protective of Linden because not only did she save Boxer’s life, but she also brought him back as a man with a new perspective on life. He’s no longer the play boy that he was and he understands a bit more about his own mortality. They owe it all the Linden and that means that she’s welcomed into the fold quickly.

Things seem to be going well in general. Work is work for Linden, she loves it even though her boss is a prick, she’s got a new relationship and family that seems to be doing things for her that she’s missed out on her entire life. We watch her open up to Boxer after a few instances of ‘walls up’ that share more about what happened to her in the past to shape her, and we learn of her connection to Quinn/Sasha from one of the other series that we’ve enjoyed by Emma Slate.

All that comes crumbling down though when Linden is kidnapped as revenge against what the Blue Angels have been doing to the Cartels money flow and she’s tortured and left so damaged physically and mentally that she’ll never be able to go back to her old life. She holds Boxer accountable for things and really wants nothing to do with him. It transforms her outlook on life and watching that evolve is again another highlight of this story.

There’s a mixture of happy and sad in the ending of this second installment of the story. We see some aspects of the story come to a close with a resolution that we were hopeful for, but at the same time we know that a full happy ending especially with a biker club is not possible, and that’s what we have. There’s death, there’s destruction, there are families and hearts broken and there are things that have been linked and seen that can never be unlinked and unseen. So the biggest question is what impact will that have on everyone in the future and how will that play out in the next book that we’ve seen teased at the epilogue of this one. So, on that note, I guess I have to be patient AND find something else to read. Enjoy!

Review: Ravaged With You (Stark Security #7) by J Kenner

TitleRavaged With You
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive 9/7/21
Length:  324 Pages
Series: Stark Security #7

Overview

Retired from the military and finally free of the demons of past missions, former Special Forces soldier Charlie “Red” Cooper leads a blissfully calm life running his successful distillery. At least until the day he finds his partner and best friend drowned in one of their best barrels of whiskey. Now he must dredge up old skills and memories to not only avenge his friend’s death, but to protect the one woman who has always made his pulse race-his friend’s grieving widow.

Shocked by her husband’s death, Josephine Swift should be mourning, but instead she’s terrified and…pissed. Turns out the husband she’d fallen out of love with was into some seriously bad business. Even worse, he’s dragged her and his partner into his web of deceit and danger. Now his mistakes could get them both killed.

Jo is glad to have the benefit of Red’s skills to keep them safe. She shouldn’t be interested in him-especially not now-but there’s no denying the white-hot attraction that smolders between them. Red’s far too honorable to sully his best friend’s memory by giving in to his desire for Jo. But when their lives hang in the balance, all bets are off. And as the depth of their passion grows, Jo dares to hope for a future. First, though, they have to survive…

Charismatic. Dangerous. Sexy as hell.

My Thoughts

Here we are in book seven of this series – and it’s really nice to see the new members of the team that we get introduced to in each installment. Last time we got to see Renly’s story and now it’s time for his twin brother Red’s saga.

This story takes us on a twisted path that we should have figured out at the very beginning yet the way that the story is told, it’s round about and we don’t figure it out as a reader until about 2/3 of the way through. (at least that was me).

So, to take a step back, Red is our leading guy in this story – he was part of the Special Forces and has had quite a bit of trauma coming out of it. We know that he’s got these tells of sorts of things that trigger him, but we don’t really know the full back story. Then there’s Josephine (Jo) – she’s our leading lady. Red, Jo and her husband were all fast friends back in college and that carried over to their adult life. They opened the whiskey distillery together and that’s where our story takes it’s dark turn.

Red received a text to meet his partner at the distillery and when Red gets there, he discovers that things are not as they should be. Alerts and alarms have been turned off and the worst thing imaginable, he finds his friend, face down, dead in one of the vats.

The story from here on out follows several paths. The first is trying to find out what Mitch had gotten himself into and what that means for Red and Jo. The people who murdered Mitch quickly get in contact with Red and tell him that they know there’s a package stolen and if he and Jo don’t find it quickly, then people will slowly die.

The next path is the one with Jo and Red. What we learn throughout this story is that not only were these guys all the best of friends, there was chemistry between Jo and Red before she even got with her husband. There was a moment one night that Red forced an end to and that left them both wondering, but also made Red realize that he couldn’t have the one perfect thing in his life since he had his own demons.

We know that any person who goes to work for Stark has a haunted past and it’ll be a process to dig under the skin and figure out what are the triggers and how to get past. Red is exactly following that same situation and it’s nice that he’s got someone like Jo that can read him and a twin in Renly that cares so much.

The story takes us on flashes of the past, but uncertainties of the present. Every step that Red and Jo make is met with someone trying to do them harm, in the hopes that it’ll get the result that they’re looking for. Stolen goods. Each time that Stark believes they have the upper hand, something goes wrong.

We see people come back from the presumed dead, we see lies and mysteries revealed meaning that we never really knew the people that we thought we knew, There’s a kidnapping, several deaths, a few breakthroughs and an ending that was unexpected, but appropriate none the less.

What we got here as well is what our author J Kenner is known for. A tease throughout the book of what’s to come next in the series. There’s a new recruit named Simon that really makes us scratch our heads. He’s referenced from Devlin Saints series (which was really good if you haven’t read it yet) and we know that Devlin was all about trafficking and bringing that industry down. He had his own dark side because of his family ties and that means that Simon has to be complex as well if he was a recommendation. I can’t wait for that one to come out but in the meantime, now I have to find something else to read. Enjoy!

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!