Title: Ruined with You
Author: J Kenner
Publisher/Year: Martini & Olive 9/19/19
Length: 221 Pages
Series: Stark Security #3
When her high maintenance boss is assaulted, manager Xena Morgan contacts the only person who can help—the sexy, arrogant, incredibly capable Stark Security agent Liam Foster. The former vigilante takes every case personally, and he’s determined to find answers—particularly since he thought he’d cleared this threat already.
Xena had been thrilled when Liam completed his assignment, because he affected her in ways she didn’t want to contemplate, awakening yearnings that threatened her deepest secrets.
But now she needs him, and her body won’t let her forget it.
As their attraction heats to a feverish degree, the web of lies, danger, and passion they find themselves in tangles further. Liam will stop at nothing to protect his client, even if it means sacrificing everything he holds dear…. and exposing the secrets that may destroy him—and Xena—forever.
I love anything that has to deal with the Stark world and this third installment in the SSA series doesn’t fall short in any way. We knew that Liam had a past of sorts and that he was dark and mysterious and now its’ his turn to find happiness, or at least figure out how to move past his misery. We know that he was part of Deliverence, and that he and Dallas & Jane were really close all growing up because he was essentially part of their family. So it’s only late in the game that we see his time come.
In the last book we were briefly introduced to this story line – he was on assignment trying to figure out whether a threat was valid or not against an up and coming pop star named Ellie Love. He thought he had cleared it, after finding out that her PR team was trying to generate more buzz, only to find that something else was going on entirely. Just after he leaves her on tour, she gets attacked. She had taken precautions and even had a disguise but she was attacked anyway. The question that comes is whether it was random or not. Liam thinks not.
In this story we also meet Xena – Ellie’s personal assistant and we learn that she’s not only good at what she does but she’s got a past that’s made her tough as nails. It also makes her jumpy when she learned that the disguise Ellie used made her look like Xena, meaning this is definitely not random.
Liam picks up on a few things that she’s giving off and decides to go down that path. The other nuance to this bit too though is that there’s chemistry between them, but they both have walls up and their guard on high alert so they aren’t willing to give into temptation. Liam knows that his job will get those close to him killed (his last relationship and love is dead because of this) and Xena is running from something and is just afraid to really let anyone in and trust.
The journey here is slightly different than the other stories but still dynamic all the same. We need to know what makes both Liam and Xena tick in order to get to the bottom of what’s going on and we need to hope that they find the answers that they need before it’s too late. The entire stark team is involved in this mission now, pulling in resources from everywhere.
Xena is forced to run, Liam goes after her. They end up being ambushed, and followed even with the best measures possible put to shake a tail. They use the resources from the SSA to throw their attackers off their scent and still they find themselves as the wrong end of a gun. The question that begs to be answered is ‘who’s feeding the opposition information’ since there’s no way that anyone would know what the next move is without an inside mole. (mind you i figured that one out early as i’m sure everyone else did, but we don’t know why)\
On top of all that angst and tension, there’s romance and chemistry. What this couple wouldn’t give into in the past comes to a head here and they both see that there’s no way to stay apart. Even though they are close physically, there’s such emotional baggage that it’s a wonder if they can ever make it. Even with the intervention of family and friends, it seems like it’s a lost cause. Understandably so.
Anyhow – i think that we get the deep intense story that we need for Liam and a great continuation for the Stark Security team. I can’t wait to see what comes next since we don’t really know the guy who’s set to be the next main, but it sounds like it’s going to be juicy. Enjoy!