Thrive

Reviewed by Lost in a Book

4 Stars

I’m a fan of this Guardian series Aly Martinez. She’s one of the very few M/F authors where I’ll read whatever she writes (bonus points because she can write a damn good M/M, too). We just click and this next book in the Guardian series isn’t any different.

This angsty, suspenseful, and sexy second chance romance is set up with a long separation period. A lot of life happens in the 17 years that the MCs were separated and unfortunately for Lark and Mira, it wasn’t filled with happiness.

Seventeen years ago, Lark and Mira were in love, with stars in their eyes, and plans of a future. There was just one teeny tiny problem… Mira’s actual boyfriend, Kurt. They were young, dumb, and dysfunctional. When it came time for Mira to pick, she chose Kurt.

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It was completely evident that Kurt was a cheating (I know, pot/kettle) jackass and she STILL chose him. *Grrrr* Anyway, fast forward time and Lark is a successful badass/Mira hater working with a private security firm while Mira is living in the slums, divorced, and now scared for her life. Good thing Mira is a little Lark stalker because she knows just where to find him when her life and her friend’s life is in jeopardy.

What starts as a hesitant phone call for help sends Mira and Lark on rollercoaster of danger, action, clarity, crime, drug lords, shootings, and kidnappings. And sex. And arguing. Lark taking on Mira’s case brings them in close contact 24/7 while they piece together the reasons behind her new danger. They have a truck load of old hurts to wade through while forging a path for the future. They are hot together. Smoking. But, Mira also argued or had a “snit fit” A LOT. Luckily for her, Lark got off on all the attitude. Unfortunately for me, Mira drove me bat shit crazy when she went off. *shrug* I believed their connection and chemistry. I felt their hurt from 17 years ago and how they hadn’t *really* moved past it even as the years passed them by. I fully appreciated the road they took to get their HEA. They moved fast but they also didn’t hide the hurt, hate, frustration, confusion, and most importantly, love.

The secondary characters were awesome in this one as well as the first. The Guardians are a bunch of gossiping biddies who are quite efficient in their jobs because they have a bunch of time to interfere. At least their interference was comical and I can’t wait for the other guys to get their stories. Especially Johnson *dreamy sigh* because I just know it’s gonna be an epic M/M (or MMF). Another thing I absolutely love about Martinez’s writes is the ability to include past characters from previous books without being awkward or gratuitous. There’s a purpose as they are mentioned/connected and a new reader to her writes wouldn’t feel lost at their inclusion.

This book won’t leave you wanting as the epilogue is *very* thorough. I definitely recommend this and will wait not so patiently for the next man up.

 Copy provided for honest review.

 

Broken Sun

4 Stars

I think I came close to overdosing on antacids while reading this book. The angssssssst, Holy Hell. I’ll go ahead and warn you now that there is also angst by separation. I’m not a fan of separation periods in books that I read because if they didn’t stay in relational mourning long enough you get the whole…

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Not a fun situation. But, the gritty, harsh reality in this book prevented it from blowing up and becoming an issue.

So, now that I’m coming down off the Tums high, we can talk about Luc Sinclair and James Morgan. Both men are in the Bastard Legion Motorcycle Club but haven’t had many interactions. The club is ruthless, heavy handed, with higher ups all the way to new recruits that operate with the M.O. of violence first; except Luc and Morgan. This environment doesn’t provide a safe landing for a gay and bisexual man to be open with their identities. In fact, it could be a death sentence and forces them to hide who they are. Both men grew up in the life but Luc has never been cut out for the violent world of a motorcycle club.

Luc and Morgan haven’t really been in close proximity until they meet up in a pub. The heat-filled exchange they have provided some valuable information about their preferences. It’s right after this exchange that trouble follows. Luc gets cornered and Morgan steps in to manage the situation. Morgan is a higher ranking member and diffuses the fight and saves Luc’s life. From here on, Morgan and Luc slowly and secretly explore their relationship. It’s full of heat, angst, fear, pain, and ultimately love. Trouble follows Morgan and Luc without provocation. Morgan is forced to make decisions that will save Luc but have the potential to wreck Morgan’s sanity and break their hearts.

Now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t get their connection at first. Hell, I didn’t even understand what was so heated and epic about the exchange in the pub. The pub scene was such a profound moment for both men that set up the course of the plot and yet, it went over my head. Luckily they grew on me. Morgan and Luc’s connection made much more sense to me the second half. They worked well together and I appreciated how far they had come when they FINALLY got their HEA.

The ending. Hmmm… IMO it was anti-climactic. I get why, I understand the events leading up it.But we I mean they went through hell to get there and I wanted a little more lethal-swoony-Motorcycle Club badass- tattooed knight in shining armor action. *shrug*

This is the second in a series but can definitely be read as a standalone. I never felt like I was missing pieces, events or characters from a story that already took place. It’s a decent length and read lonnnng. But, I enjoyed reading this angsty AF morsel. Recommended.

P.S. I wouldn’t complain if Kade got a story. *wink* He has his own brand of yummy badassery that I could definitely get on board with.

P.P.S. There needs to be a trigger warning for cutting.

Copy provided  by author for honest review.

Layla Reyne New Release & Giveaway

A brilliant return to the Irish & Whiskey universe with nonstop excitement and a badass heroine. It was so gratifying to see a fearless character like Mel who didn’t sacrifice love and tenderness toward a significant other just for the sake of being strong and powerful. —Nora Sakavic, author of the All for the Game series

Tequila-Sunrise-by-Layla-Reyne-300.jpgAbout Tequila Sunrise:

Release Date: 11/13/17

Publisher: Carina Press

Series: Agents Irish and Whiskey

Blurb: True love perseveres in this Agents Irish and Whiskey spin-off novella from author Layla Reyne

Former FBI agent Melissa “Mel” Cruz spent years skirting the line between life and death, knowing the next assignment might be her last. Back from overseas and eager to enjoy life outside the Bureau, she’s ready to give Danny Talley a Christmas Eve he’ll never forget. 

A proven asset in high-stakes missions, Danny’s known for having the skill and brains to get the job done. When the Talley flagship is hijacked during the company holiday party, he’ll do anything to save his family, his love and everything they’ve all worked so hard to build. But their enemies have a secondary protocol—leave no survivors—and that plan is already in play.

Navigating through a tangled web of lies and betrayal, Mel and Danny race against the clock to retake the ship before their future goes up in flames. As the seconds tick down, they’re forced to face their greatest fear—losing each other.

 

Teaser #1:

Danny finished knotting his bowtie and snagged his phone off the desk. Dark still. No more texts from Mel. He hit the call button. Straight to voicemail—not Mel’s recorded voice—automated instead, reciting a random number generated by Jamie’s embedded kill switch.

He turned the device end-over-end in his hand, giving himself reasons not to worry. Mel was on US soil, the most dangerous part of her job done. She had all the necessary paperwork and permits, never leaving for any gig without them. She could out-interrogate anyone, especially a couple of customs agents. She’d serve them their balls for dinner, and if things got physical, he had no doubt about her combat skills. He’d witnessed her take down multiple mercenaries at once, single-handed, without ever drawing a gun.

But the fact she’d activated the kill switch, the fact she’d had him phone Nic Price at the US Attorney’s office, and the fact that sixty minutes had turned into ninety and now bordered on one-twenty, meant he was worried, regardless of all the reasons not to be.

Teaser #2:

This had to be karma, retribution for sleeping his way through his teens and twenties. Don Juan Danny, Mel had once called him. Then of course he’d fallen for her, the resident badass who could break his neck as easily as she could break his heart. Which almost happened last spring when she’d nearly died, twice.

He could still remember her unconscious form, thrown against the wall and hair singed off by an explosion. And not twelve hours later, her blood, her life, pooling under his hand and staining her white sweater, bleeding out from the gunshot wound she’d taken to save his brother and their niece.

Miraculously, she’d pulled through, both times, and so had they, but Mel refused to be caged, and Danny knew they’d never last if he tried to put her in one. Granted, he got a stomach ulcer for it, no matter how calm he seemed on the outside, but if that was the price he had to pay for being with her, so be it. Having come close to losing that love, to losing her, he didn’t want to experience that awful feeling again for many, many years.

Years. They’d have years together, a lifetime, he reassured himself…


About Layla Reyne:

Layla Reyne Photo.jpg

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Connect with Layla: Author Site | Twitter | FB | FB Group | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

Giveaway: any back catalog ebook by Layla Reyne + a secret swag pack full of Agents Irish and Whiskey goodies and gift card!

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