Review: Justify Me (Stark Saga #4.5 / Masters & Mercenaries Crossover) by J Kenner

Title: Justify Me
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Evil Eye Concepts 4/10/18
Length:   130 Pages
Series:  Stark Saga #4.5 / Masters & Mercenaries Cross Over

Overview

McKay-Taggart operative Riley Blade has no intention of returning to Los Angeles after his brief stint as a consultant on mega-star Lyle Tarpin’s latest action flick. Not even for Natasha Black, Tarpin’s sexy personal assistant who’d gotten under his skin. Why would he, when Tasha made it absolutely clear that–attraction or not–she wasn’t interested in a fling, much less a relationship.

But when Riley learns that someone is stalking her, he races to her side. Determined to not only protect her, but to convince her that–no matter what has hurt her in the past–he’s not only going to fight for her, he’s going to win her heart. Forever.

My Thoughts

I really enjoy when authors are collaborative and not competitive and that’s exactly what we have here in this novella.  J Kenner and Lexi Blake have teamed up and introduced a cross over of sorts to their series.  What also happened here is that i realized that i only read the first book in the Taggart series….so i’ve got even more to catch up on!

Anyhow, what we have here is a sweet story of two people who have history (as they typically do) with a strong attraction, but one that they never acted on.  Riley and Natasha are linked because of Riley’s past of working with Nat’s father, and when he tried to act on what was a mutual attraction years and years ago, she turned him down.  Once her father passed away, she pushed him away further and there grew the wall between them.  Thankfully her boss needed Riley’s help in protecting Nat, and so they have come full circle.

The tension and anxiety in this novella comes from two directions.  First the initial reason for bringing them back together in the hunt for a stalker.  Riley is alpha and needs to protect her and Nat is strong willed and doesn’t want that.  But of course, the fear for her life makes it an easier pill to swallow and so we see security / bodyguard prowess come out in the search for who’s tormenting Natasha.

Top that with chemistry that they both decide they can act on with guardrails – and they combust.  literally.  It’s hot and steamy and what we have here i think is a bit more Lexi than we usually see from J Kenner in the intensity of the BDSM scenes between the pair.  The safety that they find in the club makes it easier to let down their walls, take advantage of what they want, and not feel like it’s crossing lines.  It starts a relationship i in safe place and explodes in a good way from there.

Since this is a novella, we don’t get terribly deep into anything but that’s ok.  We get to the bottom of our roller coaster ride with the stalker fairly quickly and we get to the crux of the issues in the relationship quickly as well and see conclusions that are valid and fair in both.  So…on that note, i’m going to get back into the Taggart family saga since i’ve been remiss.  Enjoy!

Review: Damien (Stark Saga #6) by J Kenner

Title: Damien
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Evil Eye Concepts 1/8/19
Length:   257 Pages
Series:  Stark Saga #6

Overview

I am Damien Stark. From the outside, I have a perfect life. A billionaire with a beautiful family. But if you could see inside my head, you’d know I’m as f-ed up as a person can be. Now more than ever.

I’m driven, relentless, and successful, but all of that means nothing without my wife and daughters. They’re my entire world, and I failed them. Now I can barely look at them without drowning in an abyss of self-recrimination.

Only one thing keeps me sane–losing myself in my wife’s silken caresses where I can pour all my pain into the one thing I know I can give her. Pleasure.

But the threats against my family are real, and I won’t let anything happen to them ever again. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe–pay any price, embrace any darkness. They are mine.

I am Damien Stark. Do you want to see inside my head? Careful what you wish for.

My Thoughts

i will never ever get enough of this series and the characters that are in it because Ms Kenner does such an amazing job writing each and every installment.  If we thought that we had enough drama in the last installment, well even more is packed here.

We start off getting into the head of Damien, six years ago when he first crossed paths with Nikki at a pageant in Texas.  We’ve heard the story before, that he was a judge and she was competing and there was a spark, but that nothing could come of it for years.  Well, we now get to see what that night was like from his eyes, and then how life has changed for him and by him all for the better…or has it?

we’ve just come off the story line of Anne being kidnapped, and Bree being taken as well, but no one really understanding the motives.  We know who did it (Rory – the boy that Bree was dating) but not the why and how it came to happen.  Just when they think that they’re going to get insight, Rory’s murdered in prison and things are all in the dark again.

Of course, we know that the story line has to become even more complex.  That’s not enough.  Damien is still coping with the feelings that he failed his family by allowing things to happen and not being able to control the world and that pushes another wedge between the couple.  Things are strong between them, unbreakable, that is unless Damien breaks them.

Around them we see that others are feeling fragile as well.  Evelyn, one of our old favorites seems to be going through things, with Blaine and with Frank (Nikki’s dad).  There’s also Abby, Nikki’s business partner who’s going through things with Travis, their co-worker and that all amps up the tension in the story.

Sofia of course is the constant – as a reader, you want to hope that she’s able to change and that she cares more about having Damien in her life than making waves, but she makes it very difficult to trust her.  this story is yet another reason that we question everything.

Then there’s the entrance of Quincey, a guy that we sort of met through Dallas’ story, and again in the last book when Anne was taken, but i think that we’re going to get a dose of him soon since he’s got more secrets than we’re happy to let lay.

Roller coaster of anxiety and tension here right?  so what’s the best way to overcome that?  the traditional and well written steam and passion that only our author can write.  The scenes between Nikki and Damien are dirty, yet so full of passion and heat that you know they are based in love.  There’s something so intense and on fire between them that they use each other to feel better and use each other to survive.  It’s really sweet and makes you want to believe that it can be real…right?

We’re given closure for some of the story lines, and yet so many are left open which means that this series is far from over (or at least i hope).  so….now it’s off to find the next book to read while i wait for more STARK!  enjoy!