Review: No Broken Bond (Secrets of Stone #7) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No Broken Bond
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 6/5/18
Length:  226 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #7

Overview

Rock.

It’s incredible what Fletcher Ford and Drake Newland have done to my world—and my soul—since igniting my desires, answering my dreams and filling every inch of my heart. I am rocked. Changed. Freed. A woman in love…

Paper.

But the adjustment hasn’t been easy, and not just for my orthodox family. Falling for one dazzling, commanding billionaire is complicated enough. But two? Wading through dysfunctions, judgments, and emotional baggage from all sides, we’re searching for the perfect balance of our love. And we nearly find it, when disaster slams again—threatening to permanently cripple us this time.

Scissors?

With our bond in shreds and our spirits in tatters, can we find the glue to keep our bond intact and our love whole? Are we broken…or just bent? Do we have the courage to find out?

My Thoughts

Honestly, i had thought that we were almost finished and resolved with this relationship between Drake, Fletcher and Talia because of the nonsense that they had gone through with Talia’s family and Drake’s running scared. But i guess i was wrong since now it was Flech’s turn to be nuts.

We get to see what his family is like after spending some much needed down time with Drake’s perfect and perfectly accepting brood. The change is like night and day though because there’s nothing that Fletchers family will do to accept them. There are things that are allowed in ‘society’ and being in a non-traditional relationship isn’t one of them.

We are faced with Fletchers worst fears at an anniversary party that his parents are throwing for themselves when they are gawked at, on the receiving end of stink eye and Fletcher gets an ‘undressing’ by his sister. when his anger gets the best of him and he shares some information about her boyfriend, well things go from bad to worse.

After that night, he has a moment of clarity (for himself not for anyone else) that makes him pull a Drake and go emo and decide that he shouldn’t be part of the relationship. Things go south in the bedroom with the three of them and words are exchanged between the men and the night can’t be saved.

This is where life changes. Because of those emotions, we know that the story will take a turn, and when that turn takes us to a trauma center because Fletcher is left in a car accident that has him hanging on by not even ONE thread, we are forced to question whether this relationship can stick. even if he survives.

What our authors are able to do well in this book but also with Killian’s venture into the darkness is that they really go all in with characters who are depressed, miserable and have lost the will to live. It’s depressing for sure but what it also does is show us the strength and power of the other side of the relationship, to really show us when people are devoted to each other.

There are more questions than answers in this book in regards to what really will be their future and what it looks like either healthy or not. Fletcher has severe brain injuries that affect his physical life, his emotional life, his weird unspoken bond with Talia, and his brotherhood with Drake. We even see the depth and heat of their relationship struggle and fall apart and that’s something that was always so powerful and unique. To get through this installment and see how it plays out is a feat of emotion and a test of how much you can stop yourself from crying.

The sweet bit is that we get to see the introduction to Taylor’s story as she’s the last one that we need to know more about. She’s clearly hiding behind something from her past which makes her the firecracker that we love, but it’s still to be uncovered. At the same time, we get to see another facet to Killian in the form of his broken relationship with his cousin Mac – a neurosurgeon that’s called in to help Fletch. there’s a dark backstory there which we never get insight into, but the men hate each other with a passion. It manifests into an intense intro to chemistry with Taylor and i can’t wait to see what that’s all about. Enjoy!

Review: No Simple Sacrifice (Secret of Stone #6) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No simple Sacrifice
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 7/10/18
Length:  336 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #6

Overview

If I could turn back time…

My name is Talia Perizkova, and time has been on my side…until I told it to kiss my ass during a business trip to Vegas and experienced a night for the record books with my bosses—yes, my bosses. But what happened in Sin City refuses to stay there, and time has joined forces with his pal, karma, to exact payback—from the depths of my heart.

Fletcher Ford. Drake Newland. They’re two of the business world’s sexiest, most sought-after bachelors—and I’ve fallen for them both. Their passion is everything I crave, their protection is everything I need, and their love is everything my orthodox family will never let me accept.

The solution, according to them, is simple. One man steps down so two of us are happy.

I could find a way…

But sacrifices are rarely simple, and one plus one doesn’t always equal happily ever after. The three of us have to decide—take a chance on this rare love we’ve discovered…or give in to fear and lose each other forever?

My Thoughts

I had almost thought that we had the happily ever after with this threesome when shocker! We do not have a happy ending. This sixth book is yet another roller coaster and a runaway train all at the same time. Fletcher and Drake have their work cut out for them with Talia for sure.

Where we left off in the last book, we saw these three come to terms with the true nature of how they felt about each other, and agree that there is something special there. So many obstacles still stand in their way and that’s what this book is about.

It’s almost like we’re watching a cat and mouse game although the mouse has sort of been caught. She’s learned evasive techniques though and this puts the men in a position that they’ve never been in before, where they have to outsmart her and tread sooo lightly otherwise it’ll all go to crap.

These two powerful impressive men are also among the most patient men out there as well. They know what they want, they take the steps to get it and make it happen. The distance between San Diego and Chicago isn’t enough to make them stress and they make a temp home base in SD for work and to spend more time with her. She has a tough time though seeing the future with them because chicago is so far away and she doesn’t believe that she’s special enough or the only one.

That’s only one facet of this story though – the fact that she doesn’t think that she’s enough. We can’t forget that she’s from a really traditional family and the idea of being with both these men will bring shame to her family and that’s not going to be an easy hurdle to get over.

Apparently there’s more to the story that anyone knows – because just when it seems like things are going to be ok with the trio, Drake bows out. He sends a letter by courier to Fletcher and Talia saying that he has to choose to step away because there is too much at stake and he needs to give Fletcher and Talia a chance to be something amazing. That’s not what anyone wants and as a result, everyone goes their separate ways. Bad choices are made, hearts and spirits are broken, and King Killian needs to come back in with some wisdom in the hopes of fixing things.

The challenge here is that there’s so much adversity with this situation, that no wise words will fix it. Family tradition and heritage is huge. not blood family is even more. Being honest with yourself is almost impossible. So where we are left throughout the back third of this story is wondering what has to break and be given up since there’s no chance that everything can stay intact.

Add to that anxiety though all the heat and romance that is shared between these three when it’s GOOD. I mean, we’re talking some great chemistry that we haven’t truly seen in other installments. So, i’ll leave you with that thought and then head over to book SEVEN! Enjoy!

Review: No Lucky Number (Secret of Stone #5) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No Lucky Number
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 7/10/18
Length:  184 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #5

Overview

Business trip or trip of a lifetime?

Talia Perizkova has been working toward this moment her entire career. Now she finds herself sandwiched between two of the most eligible bachelors in the country and can barely focus on the task at hand.And that’s fine by Drake Newland and Fletcher Ford.

They’re all business around the office, but when they get Talia to themselves off the clock, things really heat up. Now if they can just convince her a three-way relationship could fit into her world…

Will Talia take a chance on her newly discovered feelings? Or is their weekend of passion destined to end them before they’ve even begun?

My Thoughts

This new spin off taking us on a journey with Talia re-energizes the series for me. I really liked how we left off with Michael and Margaux, but this is a completely fresh perspective, story and level of depth and intensity. Definitely a good refresh.

We knew very little about Talia’s backstory so far. We know that there was a moment in time that she was living in Killian’s apartment in Chicago but no understanding as to why. We got a sense that there was a boyfriend that wasn’t the best to her but that’s really it. So here we get a great intro to that bit.

The nice way that our authors wrote this one is that we get a glimpse into the past by about a year – seeing how things happened to get us to current day. Talia’s from a very traditional family that has expectations about how she is to live, whom she shall live it with and etc etc. So, when that doesn’t work out the way that people want, since she’s not willing to accept being abused, she’s forced to flee. Thank goodness for the Stones right?

Killian’s two buddies that we met in books past, Drake and Fletcher make an appearance in a big way here. They are not just his best friends but they play an important role in his business. This is where the path crosses for Talia as they are all working closely on the cosmetics brand launch.

Drake and Fletcher don’t just have a strong friendship, they are almost the same person. They share the same interests and most of the time the same woman. So, imagine the drama that can and will ensue when they set their sites on Talia.

The journey that they take is one that’s heated, intense, spicy, and full of so much unknown that you have no choice but to read and read quickly. Talia knows that she’s attracted to them but she’s so guarded and shy that there’s a wonder if these men will ever succeed in their goal. The guys are quite possibly two of the most attractive yet sensitive men on the planet and while they have raunchy reputations, they never push too far for anything.

There’s a scene at the beginning of the book that i’m still trying to sort out as whether it was real or a dream, and i think that it’s a dream – but a very hot and intense one. Very foreshadowing to what could be if allowed.

The way they interact is seamless and steamy, but there are so many reasons why it can’t happen. Talia’s family would never be ok with her choices, and there is the concern of the implication to Talia’s professional reputation. She doesn’t want anyone to think that she got to where she is because of their relationship and she doesn’t want to be judged by her friends. The challenge of course is that there’s a chemistry that can’t be denied.

So while progress is made in this fifth installment, i’m not sure that we’ve made enough. Their story is only just beginning now and i can’t wait to see where it goes. Enjoy!

Review: No Magic Moment (Secret of Stone #4) by Angel Payne and Victoria Blue

Title: No Magic Moment
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 4/17/18
Length:  165 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #4

Overview

Abracadabra…

My name is Margaux Asher—and I’m in love.

Crazy, right? Me, the girl who grew up in the lap of luxury and the shadow of cynicism, is now head-over-heels for an apple farmer’s son. He rocks my world and steals my breath, and he loves me for me. Trouble is…he wants all of me. How can I commit that to him if I don’t know who ‘me’ is? There are pieces missing—and not just mine. Unless Michael opens up and shares all of himself, our great beginning won’t ever become a lasting magic tale.

Don’t look at the man behind the curtain…

My name is Michael Pearson—and I’m in love.

Margaux is the fire of my dreams, the fulfillment of my fantasies, and the woman who’s asked the impossible. When your past has been hell, how is it possible to return to it? But fighting this isn’t an option. I have to battle my ghosts or lose her forever. Can I do it? Is love enough to change a person’s soul, or will our magic become a forgotten moment for us both?

My Thoughts

So if you guys all remember, i was a bit stuck on book 3 of this series – it just wasn’t doing me any favors and was a bit hard to get through. Well, book 4 picked things up a bit, and it only took me one day to read it!

What we have here is the continuation of Margaux and Michael’s story, now that they have admitted to themselves and everyone else that there IS a story and that it’s of the LOVE sort. They both have a closet full of skeletons that neither want uncovered, but we all know in the wonderful world of reading, that all secrets come out one way or another.

When we last left off in Book 3, there were glimpses into Margaux’s past. We knew that she had a troubled time post her breakup with baller Doug, and that’s the dirty laundry that Trey was leaking as blackmail. I’m sure that will come back up somehow here…just wait. Then there was the mysterious woman that Margaux kept seeing throughout her life and again at the very end of book 3 that made us wonder. We knew who she was (at least i did) but wondered why she was showing up and how.

Then there’s Michael’s story. We don’t really know all the history – we just know that he’s doing what he can to protect his mom from an abusive person (Uncle Declan at your service) but we don’t know the full history, the beginning of it all and then how that ties into present day.

It’s at an event where hell breaks loose because Declan shows up to cause trouble, and trouble he brings. For himself in the form of some men who he owes money to, and for Michael because well, a fight ensued and he gets arrested.

All of the carefully stacked cards for this couple seem to be blowing over because now we don’t know if Margaux believes everything that Michael says, if she trusts him, and actually she hates that he won’t open up to her with the truth on everything. We are back on the roller coaster with them because there is more pushing and pulling than ever. Michael breaks up with Margaux to protect her and there’s only so much effort that she can put into trying to save something that can’t be saved.

He feels like he needs to get control back when they receive a package on Margaux’s doorstep of a canvas bag….with a beaten and close to death Diana (Michael’s mom) inside. He couldn’t keep her safe so why does he think he can keep the love of his life safe.

The darkness that Michael goes into in this story isn’t quite as bad as what Killian went to and that is actually a bit of the plot line here. Thanks to Kil, we’re able to see light but at a moment when it’s too late.

What i noticed in this installment that’s different to the others is the chemistry and heat that we get with this couple when they’re ‘on’ v what we saw elsewhere. The passion and raw sexuality is more intense with these two than with Claire and Kil and we get to see the skill of our authors come through full throttle at times. It’s what keeps the story moving nicely and what makes the dark and miserable moments that much more tolerable.

The way this story resolves itself is interesting yet not unpredictable. I think there’s more to the story that could have been…but it’s ok. Separately though, we get a nice teaser into what’s coming in book 4 – especially since we had a weird hint at it in book 2 when Talia moved into the Chicago apartment for a while with no more information. So…we get Talia’s story next and it sounds like there may be a bit of menage involved. On that note – enjoy!

Review: No Perfect Princess (Secrets of Stone #3) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No Perfect Princess
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 4/17/18
Length:  187 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #3

Overview

Which came first? The princess or the slipper? And does it really matter?

My name is Margaux Asher. Yes, that Margaux Asher. The attitude icon. The bitch in the hottest heels. The princess of the PR game. At least until Mommie Dearest revealed that my real father is one of the world’s richest men—a secret she’d been hiding from me my whole life. What other secrets were there? Michael Pearson, my six-foot-three golden god, wants to help me reveal them all. But what if he finds out I’m no perfect princess?

Someday, my princess will come…

I’m Michael Pearson, son of an apple farmer. Now I’m working for one of the country’s most prestigious PR firms—and the sap who’s fallen for the boss’s daughter.

The rest of the world may vilify Margaux, but I know she’s just looking to be loved. The problem is, every time I volunteer for the job, she pushes me away. I want to give her that magic kiss. Set her free to finally see the truth. I don’t need her to be perfect. I just need her to be mine.

My Thoughts

Ok – I’m not going to lie – this was a tough book to get through. Like really tough. I understand the need for this branch of the story since Claire and Killian seem to be in a good place, but at times this was really painful.

What we have here is the introduction to a more human side of Margaux – the girl who’s live has been turned upside down after learning that her mom isn’t her mom, that she’s a Stone and realizing that everything she knew was a lie. She’s trying to figure out who she is now that she’s not living that life anymore, and at the same time, hiding from what can be amazing if she let her walls down.

At the same time, we get to learn more about Michael – Claire’s best friend from Asher and Associates. There were moments in the first few books that i wondered why he never made a play for Claire – they seemed so close and yet they never crossed that line. In this installment, we get to see why. He’s had strong feelings for someone else this whole time and has only barely acted upon it in fear of not being enough.

This is where the fairy tale / night mare of Margaux and Michael begins. She seems to think that he’s too sensitive and vanilla for her and yet she doesn’t know his dark past, one that makes him exactly the kind of man she wants. It’s only through a series of events that we get to see that what they think they need is what they have.

There are so many weird turns that this story takes that i get lost. Michael has to go home to take care of some family stuff yet we don’t quite figure out the crux of the history behind it all. We know that he and his uncle have a dicey relationship that’s quite contentious, but i couldn’t figure out why. We also know that Michael’s mother has a restraining order against someone but i haven’t figured that one out either. (maybe i missed it when i struggled with this story).

Then, there’s Trey Stone. A man who just won’t go down without a fight. In this week’s episode of ‘what will he do next’ – we learn that Blackmail is on the menu and he’s after Margaux for that one. Demanding $5 Million Dollars in a matter of days or he’ll go public with her sealed secrets from years past. Margaux of course doesn’t want that to happen, and also wonders how he learned about these secrets in the first place, but as a result, starts the domino effect of ‘the end of Michael and Margaux’

From this point on, i spend much of the book confused, skimming forward quickly to get past some of the ‘on the surface’ romance scenes to find something deeper to hold on to and then wondering if i missed something in between. There are admissions of feelings, pushing people away, secrets and lies that are forced, and unhappiness all around.

Thrown in the middle of all this is a scene or two that have to do with Killian and Claire’s future, but it feels like it’s an island in the midst of the story.

Suffice it to say, I’m not in love with this book. I think there is potential, but it was just missed. The redeeming factor was that there was an interesting/yet semi expected twist of a relationship here that i’m still intrigued to find out about, that perhaps book four will get us there. That and the glimpse of a mystery woman that we KNOW will be a focus for the next book as well. So….yes, i’m going to keep going with this series since i don’t let books beat me…but i may take a quick break to read the latest release of another series first. Enjoy (hopefully)

Review: No More Masquerade (Secrets of Stone #2) by Angel Payne & Victoria Blue

Title: No More Masquerade
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 3/6/18
Length:  200 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #2

Overview

Behind every good man…is the love of an even better woman.

Those were just pretty words before I met Claire Montgomery. Before my fairy queen burst into my life, I wasn’t able to recognize the bastard in my morning mirror. But her love has given me the strength to face the imposter—even embrace him. With Claire by my side, I’m the king I always wanted to be, the Killian Stone I always dreamed of becoming.

Which means, for once, I want the mask guarding my secret to stay right where it is.

If you want the grown-up fairy tale…learn to love the dark side.

Profound sentiment. I wish I could get on board with it, but the prince in pinstripes has other ideas. Life has been a dream since Killian burst into the ball offering the perfect fit—his heart and mine. But the treasures he bestows have become his armor, hiding the man I yearn to know. I refuse to open his little velvet box until he opens himself, letting me see every last dark hallway of his soul.

My Thoughts

I was really excited to dive right back into this series since the ending of book one gave us enough to be happy and have the ‘feels’ but on the same note, gave us just enough to know that the dam was about to break and everyone would have to deal with the fall out.

There’s SO much that happens in this second book that it’s really hard to keep up with things. Everyone’s identity that you thought you knew isn’t the case – every secret possible will be dug up and relationships are tested beyond belief.

We start off this story with Killian and Claire really making an effort to be together – splitting time between Chicago and San Diego because of their respective jobs. It’s been months of back and forth and it’s taking a toll. We know that things will have to change, it’s just a question now of what the impetus will be for that.

Enter Killian’s money and romance and an extended vacation in Europe for Claire’s birthday. Seems like the perfect trip for a number of reasons. Quality time, a chance for Claire to get the answers that she needs from Kil and a chance for them to take their relationship to the next level. Things don’t go as planned when there’s stress between them because of Killian’s internal fears and then the worst happens – a fire at Keystone manner, leaving two men dying, and the story changed forever.

Killian’s real father is the first to pass and all the secrets that he was fighting to hide from Claire come out. Then Josiah Stone passes, and in his last moments, he reveals that Margaux isn’t who she says/thinks she is. This makes for world war 3 and well, more families and relationships torn apart.

The story goes way way downhill from there because everything Killian worked for is gone, Trey goes to the media with all their family secrets, Claire is pushed away and there’s no happiness to be found anywhere.

I’ll admit that while these bits of the story were exciting, there were many many bits that dragged for me and i had to trudge through in order to get to the point where i hoped things would turn around. It takes a lot of misery, some well placed pep talks and a homeless man to make things turn a corner, but where we end this second installment is a place that really isn’t close to where we began. Business is failing, relationships are still unstable and no one really knows who they can consider family and loyal. I honestly can’t wait to see where book three takes us, i just hope that it doesn’t have the same lull this one did which almost forced me to pause reading. Enjoy!

Review: No Prince Charming (Secrets of Stone #1) by Angel Payne, Victoria Blue

Title: No Prince Charming
Author:  Angel Payne & Victoria Blue
Publisher/Year:  Waterhouse Press 3/6/18
Length:  232 Pages
Series:  Secrets of Stone #1

Overview

Once upon a time, a girl attended a big party at the palace, met a prince, and they fell in love…

My name is Claire Montgomery, and I’m no princess. I’m a fighter. I’ve worked hard to earn my place with one of the largest public relations companies in the country, and I’m on the verge of one of the most important victories of my career. We’ve been called to Stone Global Corporation to clean up the family’s filthiest laundry, and I’m on my game. I’m ready. But am I ready for Killian Stone?

They say it’s never too late to live happily ever after…

I’m Killian Stone. They call me the Enigma of the Magnificent Mile. Elite tycoons want into my bank account, and their wives and daughters want into my pants. They’ll do anything for a piece of the enigma—until a crack in our castle is too large to ignore. I’m thrilled. This scandalous fissure distracts everyone’s attention from the bigger secret I’m hiding. But when Claire Montgomery walks through my door, I’m captivated. For the first time in my life, I long to shed the enigma. To share…my secret.

My Thoughts

Well, i came across this first book of the Stone series because i needed something to read post the ending of all those other series that i’ve been posting about. The cover art worked for me, and the story line seemed ok, so why not right?

What we have here is an introduction to a story that makes you want you to believe in fairy tales, but puts you in real life where there’s no reason to be that naive and allows you to see the grittier side of life and just be honest. (or not in this case)

Our leading lady Claire has had a very rough go at life for the past few years – having her heart broken and at the same time, finding herself mixed up in a situation that compromises a lot for her future. At the same time, she’s put in uncomfortable situations with people from school, with one girl in particular having it out for her, and surprise surprise, that girl becomes linked to her in ways that you wouldn’t wish upon anyone. So here we are in present day with Claire, who works at a PR firm, that owned by her soon to be step mother and her soon to be step sister (who is this horrid girl from college). She got the job on her own merit, and is damn good, but of course there are taboos about things like this now.

Anyhow, they are the best PR firm in the country (of course) and find themselves flying half way across the country to fix a mess from the Stone family, a family that has billions and some family members who are apt towards scandal. They need to fix a mess that the eldest Trey has caused, and Killian, the youngest is the one who’s trying to play fix-it man.

That’s where we come to Killian, a man who has so many secrets that we don’t know how they stay hidden, yet we know that it’s probably because he’s so gorgeous that no one really bothers to dig deeper. Claires step sister has her eyes set on him, but from the moment they step foot in the office, there’s this spark between Killian and Claire that can’t be controlled.

We spend the bulk of this story along two story lines. The first is figuring out how to get Trey and the Stones out of their mess, which is no easy task since there are vendettas against the family. They have to be creative, fast working and have faith in god that someone else will cause a bigger scandal to get them out of the eye for a second. The other story line is romance, and heat and chemistry.

There’s no way to fight it and our authors go to great lengths to show that there’s a huge push pull here as well. Claire wants him, but knows that it’s impossible because her step shrew has too much dirt against her. She is also afraid to open her heart again and that makes her beyond gun shy. Killian is a man who’s accustomed to getting what he wants and doesn’t like the idea of no.

The scenes between them are spicy, and hot, and make you really wish that you had a great phone sex partner. (yup, we go there in this book). They make it real, although compared to other series i’ve read, it’s a bit clumsy. Still hot though and honestly, i think that it’s got a lot of ‘realness’ to it.

We are left at a point in the story where they are found out, and claws are out. Claire’s father and Andrea, the owner of the PR firm are getting married, and it seems like everyone else’s path is in a happy and successful direction except Claires. So many questions on what we can expect and what we can hope for. We know that this isn’t fairytale and fantasy, but i think that there’s still the romantic in me that wants the grand gesture. So….onto book 2 to see what happens. Enjoy!