#BookReview: Knightqueen by Anna Hackett

#BookReview: Knightqueen by Anna HackettKnightqueen by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Oronis Knights #3
Pages: 221
Published by Anna Hackett on May 2, 2024
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

A queen and her battle-scarred guard are on the run on an alien planet…with a relentless enemy hunting them.
Knightqueen Carys of Oron lives a life of duty to her people and planet. After the murder of her parents, she worked hard to become a fair and dedicated leader. She never expected to be abducted by the vicious Gek’Dragar and locked in a mountain prison, but having her head knightguard at her side makes it bearable. Older, scarred Sten is duty personified, the one man she’s always been able to trust.
He’s also the only man she’s ever loved, not that she’s ever told him that.
Knightguard Thorsten Carahan has sworn to protect his knightqueen, and lives and breathes her safety. He works hard to keep his mind on his duty, and not on the too young, too beautiful, and too kind queen who is way out of his league. But now they’ve escaped their enemy’s prison and are on the run on a dangerous planet. When they learn that the Gek’Dragar have created a lethal weapon to use against the Oronis, Sten knows he must get Carys home. But with danger at every turn, lines get blurred.
With only each other to depend on, Carys and Sten’s bond of duty and respect tangles with forbidden desire and need. As passion flares, they can no longer deny their connection, and they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people…and each other.

My Review:

When last we left our heroes – actually, in this particular case, it’s more like “when first we met our heroes” back in the first book in the Oronis Knights series, Knightmaster. In the first story, the Oronis had just welcomed a delegation from Terra, our very own Earth, in the hopes of forging an alliance to fight the rapacious Gek’Dragar.

The Terrans had already formed a similar alliance with the Eons, in spite of a somewhat rocky beginning, as part of the stories told in the marvelous Eon Warriors series. The Eons are long-standing allies of the Oronis, and now all three planets face the same enemy, the Gek’Dragar.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” as that saying goes. Not that this alliance was EVER smooth sailing, as it began back in Knightmaster with the Gek’Dragar kidnapping the Oronis Knightqueen and her Knightguard, and framing the Terrans for the crime.

But once that misdirection got straightened out, the Oronis and the Terrans have been on a joint mission to rescue the Knightqueen – assuming that she and her Knightguard don’t manage to rescue themselves, first.

Which is where we left those heroes at the end of the second book in the series, Knighthunter. That hunter team blew open and blew up the prison where the queen and her bodyguard, were being held, and Carys and Sten escaped in the chaos.

Meaning that they unknowingly ran away from their rescuers, jumped out of the frying pan into the fire – sometimes literally – and have spent the past several days outrunning their Gek’Dragar pursuers, throwing off the effects of the drugs they were injected with that suppressed their normally formidable powers, and generally running themselves into the ground.

Because the monsters on this hellhole planet are just as deadly as the Gek’Dragar – if not maybe a bit worse – and Carys and Sten have no weapons or armor until their powers return.

All they have is each other. Which has always been more than enough – even if neither of them has ever admitted that to themselves – let alone each other.

It’s not right, it’s not proper, for a Knightqueen to fall in love with her Knightguard. But this time, it’s inevitable.

Escape Rating B+: Knightqueen is the culmination of the whole, entire Oronis Knights series – which is only three books long. Meaning that, on the one hand, you really do kind of need to start at the beginning with Knightmaster, while on the other hand, three novellas is just a lovely amount of reading for a rainy spring weekend – of which there are PLENTY this time of year!

Knightqueen is a bodyguard romance. Maybe not exactly like the movie – certainly the SFnal setting if Knightqueen is literally light years away from the movie – but the trope is the trope is the trope – and it’s ALL here in Knightqueen.

Except the music, so you’ll just have to bring your own. I kept hearing Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You” in the back of my mind as I read – and it took the longest time to figure out why.

Unlike the movie, the ending of Knightqueen results in a resounding HEA. That may seem like a bit of a spoiler, but all of this author’s stories end in either an HEA or an HFN depending on just how FUBAR the world they are set on happens to be.

It is part of why I enjoy her work so much.

But this particular entry in the series hit one of my less than favorite tropes pretty hard. The relationship between Carys and Sten does have its questionable aspects, she’s queen, he’s her bodyguard, he’s over a decade older which isn’t itself enough to make things squicky but he watched her grow up which is at least on the border of questionable.

As it’s usually not so much the years as the mileage, it’s not the age difference per se so much as it is that Carys is inexperienced with romantic relationships – which is not a surprise as she’s been queen from a very young age and it would never have been politically safe for her to go on dates or experiment with either love or sex.

Nevertheless, the trope that this fell into that put me off a bit was that Sten had a really bad case of the “I’m not worthy’s” that was a whole lot more personal and ingrained in his psyche than just the difference in their respective stations. This is a “me” thing and may not be a “you” thing.

Putting it another way – I did love the bodyguard romance but wasn’t thrilled with how little the bodyguard thought of himself in it. Your reading mileage obviously may vary.

That being said, I still had a grand time with the entire Oronis Knights series and am a bit sorry to see it come to end even though I’m happy to see the Gek’Dragar put in their place – a grave.

As this series has come to a close – and doesn’t end with teasers for a spinoff, it looks like the author will be turning back to contemporary action adventure romances for most of this year. Leaving this reader looking forward to the next book in her Unbroken Heroes series, The Hero She Craves, coming next month!

#BookReview: Fury Brothers: Burn by Anna Hackett

#BookReview: Fury Brothers: Burn by Anna HackettBurn (Fury Brothers #3) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Fury Brothers #3
Pages: 274
Published by Anna Hackett on March 13, 2024
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

I have one goal—arrest billionaire businessman Kavner Fury.
I’m dedicated to my job as a Treasury agent, and taking down crooked financial criminals. Just like the one who destroyed my family.
Kavner Fury is wealthy, powerful, and ambitious, a combination I know too well. He’s New Orleans’ favorite billionaire. Sure, he’s also handsome, charming, with a hard body no man who sits behind a desk should have, but I have no plans to let that distract me.
He’s my enemy, my nemesis…and pure temptation. I won’t let our scorching attraction derail my investigation. But as my money laundering case leads me into dangerous territory, I find myself under attack.
Injured and betrayed, I’m shocked that there is only one man I can turn to. One man who can keep me safe.
Now I’m working with Kavner, side by side, and I uncover a protective man who’s taking a blow-torch to my icy defenses. I get to see the real man beneath the gorgeous exterior, and I’m having trouble keeping my hands off him.
Suddenly, the only man I trust is my enemy, and we’re both caught up in a fiery attraction that could leave us both burned.

My Review:

Treasury Agent London Coleman investigates white collar crimes. She’s back in her hometown of New Orleans on the trail of someone laundering money for the cartels by buying expensive works of art with dirty money, shipping that art out of the U.S. to sell, and returning the ‘cleaned’ money to the cartel to do more of whatever terrible things they do with their money – which is mostly drugs.

London is happy to be back home, not just because she gets to spend time with her sister Lexxie, but because she honestly loves the city that made her who she is. Literally as London looks like the Creole descendant that she is, while the genetic gumbo that made her and Lexxie gave them completely different skin tones as well as looks.

As this third entry in the Fury Brothers series opens, the person of interest, both in her case and personally – even though she’s not ready to admit the second part even to herself – is billionaire businessman Kavner Fury.

His name has come up more than a few times in her investigation. She thinks it’s because he’s dirty and she hasn’t found the evidence yet. In reality, it’s because Kavner’s rich, he likes art, and he especially likes donating art to museums and galleries where kids just like the ones he and his brothers used to be have the opportunity to view beautiful things in just a little bit of peace and safety to help them hold on and survive until they can live their own dreams.

Just as he and his brothers did when they were all in the foster system and all too frequently at the mercy of neglectful, abusive or just plain violent caregivers.

London may not be willing to admit it, at least not yet, but keeping Kavner in her sights does put her in the places where whoever is hiding in the shadows is doing their dirty business. And he’s much too easy on the eyes, and too smooth in his business dealings, not to raise a few red flags.

That those red flags have more to do with her past than anything Kav has actually done is another secret that London is doing her damndest to keep to herself and out of her investigation. Something that proves utterly impossible when the cartel starts gunning for her, directly and literally – and Kav is the only one standing at her side and watching her back.

Escape Rating B+: Burn is a quick, hot read that is a whole lot of fun – for both parts of the category ‘romantic suspense’ into which this book and its series most definitely fit.

Like the first two books, Fury and Keep, this one is told in alternating first-person viewpoints, meaning that first we see inside London’s head and then we get Kavner’s take on what happens next.

Her head is a bit of a hot mess. The case has been long, drawn out, and utterly frustrating. The powers-that-be are hammering her boss hard. London has more than a bit of tunnel vision, seeing Kavner as a stand in for the fraudster who suckered her own father in and ruined the family’s life. She’s fixated on him being in this scheme up to his neck, when really it’s that she’s in the River DeNial up to hers.

Kavner isn’t worried about London’s investigation because he knows there’s nothing to find. He may hide the darker details of his origin story in the foster system before he and his brothers met, he may have taken on a much more polished veneer than he’d prefer because it’s good for business, but his money was legally earned, all his businesses are completely legit as well as profitable, and he really does give back a tremendous amount of money and effort to the city he loves.

And he has all the money he needs to get himself out of any ‘manufactured’ trouble. That’s what money and the lawyers it can buy are for, after all.

Which means that while London is focussing on Kavner as a suspect, Kav is keeping his sights on London as a woman – in ways that make him think, not just sexy thoughts, but also romantic and protective ones. The kind of thoughts he’s been avoiding all of his adult life, too busy being focused on buying and creating financial security for himself and his brothers, and their whole extended family.

What made this story work well for this reader is the way that London and Kav worked against some familiar tropes. He does not have a case of the ‘I’m not worthy’s’ that happen entirely too often. He’s just been too busy to think about settling down. London is definitely in distress, but she’s no damsel. She stands her ground and maintains her own boundaries even in the face of Kav’s protectiveness. She doesn’t get rescued by Kav and his brothers – she gets assistance in her own rescue.

There’s a whole lot of push-pull between these two workaholics and it’s fun – and filled with sexytimes – to see them work towards each other and their happy ever after. Often in spite of themselves. Making Burn the kind of read that will make any reader burn up the pages in one sitting.

There are two Fury Brothers left, Reath and Beau. Currently neither of them are even thinking about looking for an HEA of their own but that’s about to change. Their stories are coming in the fall, in Take (probably Reath’s story) and Claim. In the meantime, I have Knightqueen, the climactic final book in the author’s science fiction romance Oronis Knights series to look forward to. And I most definitely AM!

A- #BookReview: The Hero She Wants by Anna Hackett

A- #BookReview: The Hero She Wants by Anna HackettThe Hero She Wants (Unbroken Heroes) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Unbroken Heroes #2
Pages: 220
Published by Anna Hackett on January 25, 2024
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

The last thing he wants is to trek into the jungle to save the President’s daughter.
Shepherd “Shep” Barlow left the military behind. All he wants is to stay on his Colorado mountain—alone, with no interruptions, and no people. He especially likes to avoid people.
Then his former commander arrives, asking him to risk his life on a deadly mission to Central America. A mission to rescue the archeologist daughter of the President of the United States.
Once a member of a covert Ghost Ops team, Shep has the skills to get in quietly and rescue Ms. Sinclair. And as much as he wishes otherwise, he can’t leave an innocent woman in danger.
Hayden Sinclair loves her work. It keeps her far away from the liars, cheats, and phonies in Washington D.C. But when she’s abducted from her archeological dig in Nicaragua, she’s plunged into a life-or-death situation. Her captors plan to use her as a bargaining chip, and Hayden knows she has to escape.
What she never expected was to collide with the world’s biggest, grumpiest rescuer.
On the run in the jungle with six and a half feet of rugged, muscular, scowling man, she finds Shep rude and annoying. But as her captors ruthlessly hunt them, she also discovers a man who’ll risk his own life to protect hers.
Neither of them are looking for love, especially when they have to fight to survive…besides, there could never be a happy ending for the daughter of the President and a grumpy, battle-scarred soldier, could there?

My Review:

Archaeologists make the best protagonists – because there are just SO MANY WAYS they can get into trouble. Just ask Indiana Jones – or better yet, his father, Professor Henry Jones.

That rule certainly applies to this author’s work, as her very first heroine, in her very first book, At Star’s End, was an archaeologist among the star-scattered human diaspora. It’s a theme that has cropped up again and again, not just with the entire Treasure Hunter Security series (distant ancestors of the crew in that first book, but, also in this latest work with Dr. Hayden Sinclair, expert in pre-Columbian Central American history.

An archaeologist who also happens to be the daughter of the sitting President of the United States.

Hayden was determined to go on this dig, and determined to do it as a working archaeologist and not as a visiting dignitary or show pony or whatever. This is her job, and she’s determined to do it well and more importantly without a whole squad of Secret Service agents guarding her every step.

No matter how much, as it turns out, she might need them. Or, at least her teammates and fellow archaeologists do. Or did.

After all, the kidnappers plan on keeping her alive so that she can be auctioned off to the highest bidder looking for leverage on the U.S. President. The rest of her colleagues are merely…collateral damage.

Hayden Sinclair, is tied up and held captive in the middle of a compound full of the men who just killed her team and her friends. She should be at her lowest ebb – and she kind of is. But that doesn’t stop her from rescuing herself.

Only to walk straight into the arms of the one-man rescue team that has been sent to take care of that job FOR her.

Shep Barlow may be just a bit behind on Hayden’s jailbreak, but he’s EXACTLY the man she needs to walk beside her every step of the way home. No matter what it takes. No matter what he has to give up.

Because he’s the hero she wants, and she’ll do anything and defy anyone to keep him. Even her own father. Even Shep himself.

Escape Rating A-: This whole, entire series so far gives me a giant earworm. Everytime I even think about either of the books in this series so far, I get the chorus of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” playing in my head. Or even better – or worse depending on persistence – the scene from Shrek II.

Although Hayden doesn’t actually NEED a hero. She’s already rescued herself. Not that she can’t use Shep’s help and survival skills, because she certainly can. But she’s no delicate flower and doesn’t need anyone who will treat her like one.

The title of this entry in the series says it all. Hayden doesn’t NEED a hero, but Shep Barlow is certainly the man she wants – precisely because he knows better than to treat her like she needs rescuing. Not even her father is able to figure that out.

What makes the story in this one such a compulsive page-turner is the way that Hayden and Shep jump together out of the frying pan and into yet another fire, over and over again, as her kidnappers do their damndest to close off all avenues of escape.

What makes the romance in this one sing and zing is that this is a romance of equals in spite of the heroine-in-jeopardy start, a romance that has to carry both partners’ heavy baggage until they finally figure out they can drop it all and hold onto each other for dear life. For the rest of their lives.

The Unbroken Heroes series has been terrific so far, beginning with The Hero She Needs and continuing with this second book, The Hero She Wants. The third book in the series, The Hero She Craves, is coming in June and I expect that terrific streak to continue. What I’m loving about this series so far is that, although the link in the series is through those heroes, it’s the heroines who stand up, take charge, and participate oh-so-actively in their own rescues.

There are no delicate flowers here, and that’s the way I like it. One of the other things I like is that this particular set of heroes has interesting friends in some very high and dangerous places, like Hayden’s father-the-president, and the stories have high stakes that extend beyond the mutual rescue and the heart stopping romance.

Which is reminding me quite a lot and very much of M.L. Buchman’s romantic suspense series(es), particularly his Miranda Chase series, where smart civilians find themselves walking the halls of power to find the loves of their lives and keep the country safe along the way. So if you’re looking for something to tide you over between Anna Hackett’s heroes, consider this a recommendation for M.L. Buchman’s books as excellent readalikes with lots to explore.

Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting for Anna Hackett’s next entry in her action/adventure romantic suspense Fury Brothers series, Burn, coming in March.

Review: The Hero She Needs by Anna Hackett

Review: The Hero She Needs by Anna HackettThe Hero She Needs (Unbroken Heroes Book 1) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Unbroken Heroes #1
Pages: 223
Published by Anna Hackett on December 7, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

The last thing he expects to catch in his river is a billionaire heiress.
Loner Boone Hendrix left the military with ghosts that haunt him. He lives with his dog Atlas on a farm in Vermont. Alone. Just the way he likes it. Until he rescues a half-drowned, beautiful brunette from his river.
Gemma Newhouse is the daughter of the richest man in America, and from the abrasions on her wrists and her drugged state, she’s on the run from someone dangerous. She’s nothing like Boone expected—sweet, smart, and likes baking—and she ignites a fierce need inside him.
Being a member of a covert Ghost Ops team taught him deadly skills, and he’ll use them all to keep her safe.
Gemma can’t remember the last twenty-four hours. All she knows is that someone abducted her. Someone dangerous. Her only goal is survival and she’s used to taking care of herself. She’s a constant disappointment to her driven, successful parents. She doesn’t want a brilliant career, all she wants is to bake and make people smile.
Finding herself in Boone’s strong arms wasn’t on her plan. Nor was his rugged face, hard body, and gold-brown eyes. She sees how much he’s cut himself off from life, how he believes he’s broken.
Thrust together, she realizes this quiet hero will do anything to protect her. Despite the danger around them, they can’t resist their growing attraction, but her captors are hunting her…
And Boone is the only thing standing in their way.

My Review:

When Gemma Newhouse runs away from her mysterious captors in the middle of densely forested nowhere, she doesn’t have time to hold out for a hero, she needs one right NOW. She doesn’t know there’s one just down the river – literally – so she does her damndest to get herself out of her kidnappers’ hands.

She doesn’t merely find one hero, she finds two. Or rather, one of those heroes pulls her out of the river that has been carrying her away from whoever grabbed her off the street in Los Angeles – just not as far or as fast as she would have liked.

If she were still conscious, that is.

But Atlas is a Very Good Boy, so he alerts his human that there’s something in the water that needs to be rescued. Which is exactly what Boone Hendrix does. Because that’s what he does – even if, or especially because – there was no one to rescue him when he needed it the most.

But, maybe that’s now after all, and maybe Gemma is that rescue. If he can just keep her alive long enough to deliver her to safety and figure out who is after her and why. While somehow managing to keep his hands off of her – even if that’s exactly where she wants them to be.

Unless, just maybe, she’s his rescue too.

Escape Rating A-: I always love it when the heroine rescues herself or is an active participant in her own rescue. Which is EXACTLY what Gemma Newhouse does. Everything that happens in this action adventure romance happens because first and most importantly, Gemma Newhouse put on her big girl panties and escaped from her captors.

She’s not a badass agent, she’s not a cop, she’s just a more-or-less ordinary woman that a bunch of asshole men believe is at their mercy for reasons she doesn’t even know yet. But as soon as she can get her feet under her after the drugs she was injected with even start to wear off – she’s off and running.

Boone – and Atlas – are her reward for taking care of her business. She just doesn’t know it yet.

The romance between Boone and Gemma is sweet and hot and funny, all at the same time. (Although a lot of that fun is that Gemma doesn’t want Atlas to witness any of the human’s ‘funny business’.)

Speaking of Atlas, he is a very good boy and is every bit as fine and good at the end of the story as he was at the beginning – if not a little better because he has two humans to spoil him instead of just one. So don’t worry about Atlas.

There’s more than enough to worry about between Gemma and Boone. Gemma is a combination of poor-little-rich-girl and bird-in-a-gilded-cage, but again, she’s doing a damn good job of filling her own well of purpose and happiness and kicking the door off the gilded cage. (OTOH, if she’d kept the bodyguards her dad wanted her to have she probably wouldn’t be in her present fix. OTOH, that might just have resulted in a couple of dead bodyguards as the stakes in all this are pretty high.)

It’s also excellent and different that Gemma’s relationship with her wealthy parents is still a loving one even though that relationship has a bunch of sharp edges in it. They’re not terrible, she’s not a misbehaving fuck-up, it’s just that they are not remotely on the same wavelength and everyone gets a bit hurt by it. Except for her parents’ megabucks, that relationship feels grounded in the real, which made it more interesting and all the better to empathize with.

Boone is one of the author’s classic too-damaged-to-think-he’s-good-enough heroes. He used to be a member of Vander Norcross’ Ghost Ops team (Vander’s book is The Powerbroker), and those ops left plenty of scars that may never heal. So Boone’s got a bad case of the I’m-not-worthies when it comes to a relationship with Gemma, but he’s all in on saving her life and is absolutely the right man for that job.

So, soft and sweet but with a core of steel goes head to head with hard and brittle with a core of marshmallow. The sweet treat that gets baked in that fire means that a good time is had by all the characters and absolutely for the reader as well.

I had a great reading time with this first entry in the author’s Unbroken Heroes series, and I can’t wait to see what happens with her next hero early next year.

Review: Fury Brothers: Keep by Anna Hackett

Review: Fury Brothers: Keep by Anna HackettKeep: A Grumpy Single Dad Romance (Fury Brothers Book 2) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Fury Brothers #2
Pages: 250
Published by Anna Hackett on October 19, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

My boss is a tough, grumpy bounty hunter—and a hot single dad—and now he’s sworn to keep me safe, whether I like it or not.
My name’s Macy, and I always look on the bright side of things. Life’s too short not to. Super grump extraordinaire Colton Fury is the total opposite. Luckily for him, along with the muscled bod, tattoos, and rugged face, it works for him.
When I start getting creepy calls at the office and someone breaks into my house, it becomes clear I’m a target, and Coltsort of…loses his mind. He turns even bossier and more protective.
Now I’m living with him and his super cute daughter, and trying very hard to remember that I can’t let myself fall for him.Before long, there’s kissing, touching, and a whole lot more. Colt tells me—okay, more like growls at me—that he doesn’t do relationships. And I promise him no strings or complications.
Every day that passes, the complications are growing and I’m starting to realize I want them. All of them.
But soon, it’s not only me in danger, and it’s not only Colt who’ll risk it all to save the people he loves.
The Fury fierce, loyal, and live by their own codeFive men who grew up in foster care and became brothers by choice. They vow to always have each other’s no questions, no doubts, no hesitation. They protect their own…always.

My Review:

Colton Fury and Macy Underwood are each firmly of the opinion that they have their lives together all by themselves. Separately, that is.

Neither of them does relationships – at least romantic relationships. Macy’s certainly all in on her job as Colt’s office manager, wrangling the arrangements for his frequent trips to capture the latest escaped criminals while coercing him to deal with the resulting paperwork as often as needed.

Macy feels needed, the job pays well, and the problems she left behind in San Francisco are well back in her rearview mirror. Or at least she believes they are. And believes that big, tough successful bounty hunter Colt Fury – along with his equally fierce and protective brothers – take care of their own when anything goes wrong.

As evidenced by the way they all gathered around Dante Fury and HIS bartender turned love-of-his-life Mila when her past troubles came calling for her in the first book in the series, Fury.

Colt, on the other hand, doesn’t do relationships because the way he sees it his life is already full up. Not with romance, because he doesn’t think he deserves that, but with the loyalty of his brothers and the heartwarming and heartstopping love between Colt and his niece-turned-adopted-daughter, seven year old Daisy Fury. Making sure that Daisy has everything she needs is a full time job all by itself, and he thinks he can’t afford to split his heart’s focus to find a more adult kind of love.

When Macy starts receiving prank calls she assumes it’s nothing that needs anyone to handle it besides herself. Just like her free-spirited mother taught her.

At least until the pranks escalate to life-threatening accidents, and Colt Fury can’t stop himself from stepping in and taking over Macy’s security and a bit more of her life than either of them ever planned on. Not that they haven’t both had entirely too many seriously hot daydreams about all the delicious possibilities.

But Macy’s ex didn’t take no for an answer then, and doesn’t plan on taking one now that he’s chased her down to New Orleans. Unless the Fury Brothers take him down before its too late for both Macy AND Daisy.

Escape Rating B+: I liked Keep better than Fury because I was able to get inside Macy’s head in a way that I wasn’t Mila’s or even Dante’s. I also enjoyed Macy more as a character because she was getting on with her life and living her best one in spite of the EvilEx™ lurking behind her in San Francisco. She’s not focusing on him, she’s not constantly looking over her shoulder at him, she’s not even thinking much about him until he turns up like a bad penny and puts himself back in her life.

One of the fun things about this series so far is that the romances haven’t been insta-love. We enter the story at the point where the relationship turns so fast on its dime that it almost seems that way, but Colt and Macy have been working together for months when their story begins. They are already part of each other’s lives – and part of each other’s daydreams even if neither of them is willing to admit that.

Well, Macy is willing to admit to the occasional sexy daydream, but recognizes that it’s not a good idea to go there because they work together. Colt, on the other hand, has a bad case of “I’m not worthy” that he’s only able to start getting over when Macy needs him to protect her.

There’s also a bit of ‘Kidfic’ mixed in, as Colt is an excellent dad to Daisy, and part of the whole Fury Brothers brotherhood is wrapped around taking care of little Daisy Fury. When Macy goes all in on being another one of Daisy’s caregivers it gives the story a gooey center that just worked for me. (I’ve been reading a whole lot of 9-1-1 fanfic recently, in spite of having never watched the TV series, and a whole lot of that fandom is kidfics – which are awesome if the kid is awesome and Daisy so is!)

Of course Colt gets over his stupidity in thinking that he’s a) not good enough for Macy and b) gets to make that decision for her. Meanwhile, Macy, in spite of a bit of stupid decision making over a threat to Daisy, manages to rescue the little girl and sets up her own rescue quite handily in the process, proving to herself and the reader that she’s the perfect addition to the Fury Brothers’ family.

One final comment. This series so far has books with VERY long subtitles. The subtitle for Dante’s book, “a fake dating workplace romance” was only true for a little while. Not that it wasn’t a workplace romance, but the fake part of their fake dating didn’t last very long at all.

Very much on the other hand, Colt is a grumpy dad from the very first page of his story until the last. Grumpy is part of Colt’s core personality. That grumpiness hides a heart of marshmallow when it comes to his family, but he’s a grump through and through. That gets to a place of being considerably happier in his grumpiness over the course of this story adds just that extra bit of sweetness – albeit still covered in a crusty – but delicious – exterior. (Come to think of it, Colt is a bit like a s’more – or at least Macy certainly thinks so!)

Ending this entry in the series on a high note, at least for this reader, it looks like business mogul Kavner Fury will be going head to head with Treasury Agent Coleman in the next book in the Fury Brothers series, sometime next year. I always love it when the heroine is able to kick ass and take names alongside the heroes, so I can’t wait to see Coleman do her level best to take Kav down – one way or another!

Review: Fury Brothers: Fury by Anna Hackett

Review: Fury Brothers: Fury by Anna HackettFury: A Fake Dating Workplace Romance (Fury Brothers Book 1) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Fury Brothers #1
Pages: 286
Published by Anna Hackett on September 3, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

I’m not looking for a hero, and definitely not a fake relationship with my new boss, nightclub owner Dante Fury—over six feet of dark, hot, and dangerous.
But he isn’t taking no for an answer.
The plan was to run, live under the radar, survive. My life’s been destroyed by some very bad people and everything I know is gone—career, friends, family. I thought I could hide as a bartender at New Orleans’ hottest new club, Ember.
I can’t trust anyone, but after I’m attacked, Dante is determined to play protector by claiming me as his. No one would dare touch the woman of one of the Fury brothers. Suddenly, I’m living at his place, and he’s touching me, kissing me, taking care of me…
Dante makes it very hard to remember this relationship isn’t real. He makes my heart race, but he’s way out of my league, and he’s protecting his own broken pieces.
Nothing this fake should feel this right.
The bad guys won’t give up, but I’m starting to think the biggest danger to me is Dante Fury.
The Fury fierce, loyal, and live by their own code. Five men who grew up in foster care and became brothers by choice. They vow to always have each other’s backs; no questions, no doubts, no hesitation. They protect their own…always.

My Review:

In spite of the subtitle, the ‘fake dating’ between Mila Clifton and Dante Fury doesn’t last very long at all because there is nothing fake about their attraction to each other even before they attempt to ‘fake date’.

The only people they are really ‘faking’ are each other, as Mila is on the run from some very bad people who have left a trail of dead bodies behind her in their pursuit of a woman who worked too hard and heard too much on one dark night she wishes she could get back.

Dante Fury doesn’t seem to believe in love – or at least doesn’t believe that it’s for him and his four brothers, men who survived foster care by sticking together and protecting themselves from anyone and everything.

Now the Fury Brothers protect their corner of New Orleans from anyone who thinks they can bring bad shit onto their turf. Cleaning up ALL of NOLA is WAY beyond even the Fury Brothers’ capacity, but keeping their own territory secure is right up their alley.

At first Dante does his level best to convince himself that he’s only looking after Mila because she’s ‘one of his’, a bartender who works at his nightclub, Ember. But he’s only fooling himself and it doesn’t take him long to realize it.

Mila, on the other hand, has seen every person she’s turned to while she’s been on the run get murdered, one after another. She trusts herself, and fears for anyone that her pursuers might believe she’s gotten close to. So she doesn’t.

Not until Dante Fury wraps his protection around her and refuses to let go – or to let her slink off into the night. No matter who or what stands in his way. Not even Mila herself.

Escape Rating B: It’s no secret that this author’s science fiction romances are my favorites, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get a lot of reading pleasure out of her contemporary, action-adventure romances, sometimes in spite of myself.

Fury is one of those ‘in spite of myself’ kinds of reads. Which means that any negatives I bring up are a ‘me’ thing and quite possibly not a ‘you’ thing.

Except maybe this first one. Fury is told in alternating first-person perspectives that switch between Mila Clifton and Dante Fury – which makes sense because at the beginning they aren’t on the same page with each other. Come to think of it, at the beginning they aren’t even on the same page as themselves!

But I didn’t really feel like I was in either of their heads, so the ‘I’ voice didn’t quite work for me. It’s also not the author’s usual style and I wasn’t expecting it. I DO like first-person narratives, even dual or dueling ones, as you’ll see in my review of Prophet later this week, but I couldn’t get into either Mila’s or Dante’s heads in spite of being, well, in their heads.

I do have to say, and this is completely a me thing, that being in Mila’s head was particularly uncomfortable because of the ‘heroine in jeopardy reacting by running’ trope isn’t one of my favorites, although I was grateful that this time it didn’t go all the way into the trope by having Mila on the run from a stalker or an abusive ex. Still, it makes for a reactive rather than a proactive heroine, and that’s just not my jam.

Which means I liked the whole thing a LOT better once Mila started standing up for herself and standing her ground. Especially because she was totally, completely and utterly in the right – it just took the Fury Brothers standing with her to get her to take back her life and I was absolutely there for that part.

Two things I do love about this series so far are the setting AND the vibe between the Fury Brothers. I always love a story set in New Orleans, and even the glimpse we get of the city in this first outing has me itching for more.

And the Fury Brothers themselves are fascinating, both in their origin story and in the way they’ve pulled together and pulled themselves up in spite of their rough starts in life. The whole concept of them creating a solidly bound family of choice and the way they maintain it and even add to it is fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of them.

Which means I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Keep, which is looking like it will be Colt Fury’s story about raising his niece while running away from the paperwork involved in his own business – along with the determined woman who will hunt him down and make him take care of ALL his business – including, most definitely, herself.

Review: Knighthunter by Anna Hackett

Review: Knighthunter by Anna HackettKnighthunter by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Oronis Knights #2
Pages: 258
Published by Anna Hackett on July 26, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

She vows to bring her abducted queen home…even if she has to work with the man she hates.Knightmaster Nea Laurier is tough, dedicated, and lives to be the best Oronis knight she can be. All her life, she’s worked hard to live up to her prestigious family name. She will do whatever it takes to rescue Knightqueen Carys from their enemy, the vicious Gek’Dragar…she just wishes it didn’t involve the most cunning and dangerous man she knows. A man she detested when they were at the Academy, and a man she still detests—Knighthunter Kaden Galath.Now she’s headed deep into enemy space, and the only person guarding her back is a man she’ll never trust.Knighthunter Kaden Galath was born in the darkness and came from nothing. Being a knighthunter—a spy for his people—is the perfect job for him. He uses all his unique and deadly abilities to keep the Oronis safe, even the beautiful, perfect, do-gooder Knightmaster Nea. He’s vowed to always stay alone in the shadows…but Nea might be the weakness he never expected.As Kaden and Nea embark on a mission to some of the deadliest enemy planets, they fight side by side, and uncover each other’s darkest secrets. Following the trail leading to their captive queen, Nea and Kaden will face their most dangerous battle yet, and a fiery passion that will engulf them both.

My Review: 

Knighthunter is a story about not one but two concurrent chases – one of which is definitely more successful than the other.

The Knightqueen of Oron was kidnapped by the Gek’Dragar in the first book in the Oronis Knights series, Knightmaster, which was all wrapped up in the investigation into that catastrophe as well as the romance between Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor and xenoanthropologist Kennedy Black from Earth. In Knighthunter, Knightmaster Nea Laurier and Knighthunter Kaden Galath have been tasked with hunting down the Knightqueen and her dedicated and bonded Knightguard Sten before the Gek’Dragar complete whatever dastardly plans they have for Knightqueen Carys in specific and most likely the Oronis in general.

It’s not like the Oronis and Gek’Dragar haven’t been bitter enemies since pretty much forever. And as the Oronis are allies of the bands of heroes in both the Galactic Guardians series AND the Eon Warriors series, they are the ones on the side of the angels.

The Gek’Dragar, on the other hand, are in league with (probably loosely and with intent to betray at some point) and certainly in the league of the rapacious Kantos, the dastardly enemies of the Eon Warriors.

So we all know where we stand – or fly – in not just this heinous act but also in the war that this is clearly a prelude for.

But, there are also enemies, of the much closer and more intimate kind, closer to home. Nea Laurier and Kaden Galath attended the Academy together. Well, not really together-together, but at the same time.

Each was the thorn in the other’s side for all the years of their schooling, and can’t seem to stand to be in the same room, let alone stuck with each other in a series of cramped two-person ships on the hunt for their kidnapped Knightqueen.

But appearances can be deceiving, and, in the spirit of the best defense being a good offense, Nea and Kaden have been defending so hard against their feelings for each other that it’s looked like a whole lot of being offensive. For nearly a decade of bristling hostility.

Howsomever, the longer they spend together in the here and now, the more occasions when they just miss their quarry, the more they realize that the masks they have been wearing with each mostly serve to hide their true feelings from themselves.

In the heat of that race, even as they chase down a ship that hides from them at every turn, they stop hiding from themselves. And each other.

Escape Rating A-: In terms of the overarching story of the Oronis vs. the ‘Big Bad’, in this instance the Gek’Dragar, Nea and Kaden’s pursuit of a series of fleeing Gek’Dragar ships through Gek’Dragar space gives the reader a tour of the galaxy and a whole host of reasons to understand why the Oronis have such a huge and justified hate-on for their scaly enemy.

Meanwhile, the sheer volume of true enemies that Nea and Kaden have to wade through in their hunt for their missing Knightqueen puts their personal enmity into sharp relief. They’ve never really hated each other, particularly not in comparison to what true hatefulness looks like.

But the heat of their enemies into lovers relationship burns away any misunderstandings between the two of them – and are there ever plenty! Many of which can be laid at the feet of Nea’s snobby, relentlessly demanding douchecanoe of a father. He may have had his reasons, or his own griefs, that created the mess of a relationship he has with his only remaining child, but his treatment of Kaden even all the way back in the younger man’s Academy days has no excuse.

It was also a whole lot of painful fun to watch Nea whack dear-old-dad with a big clue-by-four, but he clearly needed more applications of that  device before he gets the point. I hope we get to see those whacks delivered in a later book.

But seriously, the way that Nea and Kaden keep JUST missing Carys and her kidnappers ratchets up the dramatic tension in this one from the first page to the very last, as the hope that keeps getting snatched away comes back into view yet again.

This was great fun both as an adventure and as a romance, and I really loved being along for both rides. It also makes an excellent setup for the next book in the series, Knightqueen, coming early next year. In romances, I tend to find the chase much more interesting than the catch. And this one really kept me going through one ultimately successful chase – and one I hope to see turn successful soon!

Review: Hex by Anna Hackett

Review: Hex by Anna HackettHex by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Sentinel Security #6
Pages: 256
Published by Anna Hackett on June 13, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

She’s the genius hacker known as Hex.
He’s a ghost—the deep-cover spy known only as Shade.
They generate a dangerous level of white-hot sparks, but he needs her help on a deadly mission.
Jet “Hex” Adler loves being a goddess of all thing tech. She provides her team at Sentinel Security with intel and comms, and she’s good at it. No, brilliant. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to be stuck in the office while her guys are in the field, but computers, tech, and drones are her thing. If only she had the same luck with men.
And that does not include a certain hot, cocky, annoying spy.
Cain aka Shade is dedicated to his country. He does the hard, dangerous work so others don’t have to. He came from nothing, he’s alone, unattached. A man like him has nothing to lose. For Cain, life is always about the mission. It can never be about a certain small, smart, feisty hacker.
But now he needs Jet for an important assignment to stop high-tech drone schematics falling into enemy hands.
Of course, Jet will do anything to help save the world…okay, not the entire world, but a lot of innocent lives. Even if it means going undercover with the man who knows how to push every one of her buttons. But as they work together, dodging danger and bad guys, their scorching attraction explodes…and Cain will realize that for the first time in his life, someone is more important to him than his mission.

My Review:

This last book in the Sentinel Security series has been teased – as has its heroine Jet “Hex” Adler – from the earliest days in the series when she, and we, were introduced to CIA undercover operative Shade, as he gave the occasional assist to his former CIA colleagues Killian “Steel” Hawke and Devyn “Hellfire” Hayden on their way to their HEA in Steel.

When her story opens, Hex is the only member of the Sentinel Security team who hasn’t found somebody to love. She’s been burned more than once by too many men who only seem to be interested in her for the ways they can change her, with Brandon the douche having been the worst of the lot.

Brandon left her psyche with a few scars, and left Hex with the uncompromised desire to find someone who will love her exactly as she is, smarts, sass, petite cuteness and everything else in her sometimes contradictory package.

She doesn’t think Cain Cavanaugh, AKA Shade, could possibly be that man. Which doesn’t explain why, in spite of his dark codename, he lights up her hormones every time they cross paths or even just exchange annoying texts.

But there’s a job to do, as there always is for Sentinel Security. And for once in her career, both with the CIA and now with Sentinel Security, Hex is going to be the one going undercover instead of staying safe and managing all the tech that keeps the rest of her team and found family as safe as she can make them.

She’s off to an international tech conference to exchange a stolen data chip for a high-level sting on the evil broker who plans to sell it to the highest – and equally evil – villain. With Shade as her partner keeping her safe from everyone who is out to get her – especially himself.

A job at which he is both not exactly successful and utterly unsuccessful at the same time. But that’s OK because Hex is perfectly capable of rescuing herself from the bad guys – and doesn’t feel any need whatsoever to protect herself from Shade.

Escape Rating A-: The previous book in this series, Excalibur, just wasn’t the tropes I was looking for, for reasons that I don’t need to get into here.

Very much, and very happily, on my other hand, Hex turned out to be EXACTLY what I was hoping for, with its badass hacker heroine who rescues herself, and the even more badass man who is certain that he’s got too much blood on his hands from too many dark places to be remotely worthy of her.

Of course, he’s right and wrong at the same time. He might not quite be worthy of her, and possibly no one is – I really loved Hex – but he is a worthy man and he’s what she wants and he should definitely know better than to stand in her way. It was terrific watching him figure that out – finally – so they could both take a chance on love. Just like the rest of the members of the Sentinel Security team have done through the course of the series.

Now that Killian Hawke (Steel) and his handpicked team have finally found their HEAs, the action shifts to the Fury Brothers in the author’s next action-adventure romance series, coming in September.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to her next science fiction romance (always my personal faves), Knighthunter, book 2 of the Oronis Knights series, coming OMG NEXT MONTH! Squee!

Review: Knightmaster by Anna Hackett

Review: Knightmaster by Anna HackettKnightmaster (Oronis Knights #1) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Oronis Knights #1
Pages: 240
Published by Anna Hackett on March 16, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

She was sent to forge an alliance with the deadly Oronis knights…and instead finds herself framed for abducting their queen.

Xenoanthropologist Kennedy Black loves exploring new cultures with Space Corps. Everyone in her life has left her, so she happily fills the void with exciting adventures. When she’s assigned to escort the new ambassador to the planet Oron for an opulent ball, she’s thrilled to get an up-close look at the Oronis knights, and their culture of honor and duty to their knightqueen. But she never expected her reaction to cool, controlled Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor, head of the Oronis Knightforce.

And she really didn’t expect a savage alien attack that leaves the knightqueen missing and Earth fingered as the culprit.

Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor lives to protect his planet, his people, and his knightqueen. He came from nothing, and the code of knighthood is the cornerstone of his being. When Knightqueen Carys is abducted by their mortal enemies, the ferocious Gek’Dragar, he’s icily enraged, especially when he finds evidence that Earth, and the far too enticing Sub-Captain Kennedy Black, are involved.

But Kennedy vows to clear Earth’s name by helping Ashtin and his knights find the queen. As she and Ashtin embark on a risky mission to a dangerous jungle planet, they’re forced to rely on each other, and their sizzling chemistry is soon undeniable. But love can’t be an option, not for a knight bound only to his duty and a woman whose heart already has too many scars.

My Review:

We first met the Oronis Knights in Conqueror, the final book in the author’s totally awesome Galactic Kings series. That series ended with a big bang of a battle when Conqueror Graylan Taln Sarkany called on every single one of his friends and allies to finally bring his nemesis to heel. Among those friends and allies were a contingent of the Oronis Knights, and it’s here in the first book of this new series that we pick up the thread of their story.

And it’s a humdinger, as all of Anna Hackett’s stories are.

Earth needs allies. Its introduction to the wider intergalactic universe was a rough one, as the planet was targeted by the rapacious Kantos. But Earth eventually found common cause with the Eons – after a series of fairly rough starts as portrayed in Edge of Eon and the rest of the Eon Warriors series.

After the rough start to that alliance, Earth is being a bit more proactive, and sending diplomats to possible allies instead of kidnappers as they did in Edge of Eon. It’s been a bit of a process that has not always run smooth – to say the least!

The Oronis are allies of the Eons, the Eons are Earth’s allies, so there are high hopes riding on a diplomatic mission from Earth to Oronis under the aegis of the Eons. Space Corps zenoanthropologist Kennedy Black is guiding, guarding and shepherding a diplomatic mission that goes completely pear-shaped when the welcome ball is invaded by Oronis’ historic enemy, the Gek’Dragar.

The Oronis’ knightqueen is kidnapped, along with her bodyguard. The evidence left behind points to a plot between the Gek’Dragar and Earth. Tensions are high, suspicions are higher, blood is on the ground and in the air, and the Earth delegation is furious at being used by a people they’ve never even met.

The Oronis aren’t ready to see reason – not until Kennedy puts her own life on the line to help the Oronis follow the trail. That she’ll be working closely with an Oronis Knight she can’t seem to resist – and very much vice-versa – is only one of the many reasons that she is determined to see this mission through.

Whether her heart can handle it or not.

Escape Rating A-: Their hunt for the knightqueen’s kidnappers lead Kennedy and Knightmaster Ashtin Caydor from scummy space stations with even scummier information brokers to a jungle planet that seems designed to eat them both alive before they can discover the next clue. They’re in a race against time while not knowing their enemy’s true purpose or how much time they have left. If it isn’t already too late.

Both believe that the lives they have led up to this point mean that it’s too late for any relationship they might have had – no matter how badly both of them want it.

Ashtin is duty-bound to serve his knightqueen and his people. Kennedy is an officer in her own world’s Space Corps with her own duty to serve as well as a drive to explore the universe her people have just barely reached at such a high cost.

This is a quest story. Ashtin is searching for his knightqueen and her bodyguard – who is also his friend. He is praying for vindication of his initial trust in Kennedy and her people. Kennedy is searching for that same vindication, to prove to this man she has just met that her people are worthy of their trust. And that she is worthy of his.

They both believe that a relationship between them is impossible – even as they give into the temptation to taste what they cannot have. Or so they believe.

Not all quests are successful – and they never reach success easily. So even though Knightmaster comes to a close with hope for Ashtin and Kennedy’s personal future, everyone’s hope for the knightqueen’s rescue hangs in the balance.

The search continues, but Ashtin has responsibilities on Oronis in the knightqueen’s continued absence. His best friend, and that friend’s most implacable enemy, will have to work together, however reluctantly, to bring their knightqueen home. If they don’t kill each other first.

We’ll all see what happens in the second book in the Oronis Knights series, coming in July.

Review: Sentinel Security: Steel by Anna Hackett

Review: Sentinel Security: Steel by Anna HackettSteel (Sentinel Security #4) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Sentinel Security #4
Pages: 272
Published by Anna Hackett on January 26, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

His skills and ruthlessness made him a legend.

The dark, dangerous former spy.

Now the operative turned billionaire known as Steel collides with fiery agent Hellfire when they discover they’re both on the kill list of a deadly assassin.

CIA agent Devyn “Hellfire” Hayden came from nothing and made herself into one of the CIA’s best deep-cover agents. She’s dedicated to her country. She’s always on the move. She’s a loner. Just the way she likes it. Letting people close is a weakness and she’ll never be weak again.

But when she finds herself under attack by an assassin targeting the world’s best intelligence agents, it sends her straight into the path of the only man who tempts her. The dark, lethal Killian “Steel” Hawke.

Killian Hawke rose through the ranks of the CIA, and knows his name is whispered in fear by his enemies. But when his sister needed him, he left and started Sentinel Security. He protects all those he considers his: his sister, his friends, his employees, and his clients.

But there is one stubborn redhead he also wants to claim.

As Devyn and Killian work together to unmask the assassin hunting them, they are forced to confront their white-hot attraction and their violent need to protect each other. Killian is tired of dancing around what he feels for her. Now that she’s in danger, he’ll do whatever it takes to make her safe, claim her heart, and possess her soul.

My Review:

Lovers of the Sentinel Security series have been teased with the inevitability of this story from the very beginning of the series, every bit as much as Killian “Steel” Hawke and Devyn “Hellfire” Hayden have been teasing each other from the first time they met. Back in the day when they were both among the CIA’s best agents.

But when they first laid eyes on each other, Hellfire was an agent on the rise, and Steel was all too aware that he was on the edge of burnout and that his days with the agency were numbered. He didn’t need the temptation, and she couldn’t afford the distraction. Or the other way around. Or both.

Definitely both.

So he turned away and went on his way, out of the CIA and into building his own top-flight, high-end, security business, Sentinel Security. While she continued her rise through the ranks of the CIA to become the best of the best – just as he once was. And still very much is, just in a slightly different and frequently adjacent sphere.

Every time they’ve run into each other – occasionally just about literally – since the Sentinel Security series began, they’ve drawn the kind of sparks off of each other that were bound to lead to one hell of a fire.

If they can just get out of their own ways. As long as they can get themselves out of the sights of an assassin who only thinks he can claim to be the best by taking down the best.

He thinks he can prove he’s in their league. Hellfire and Steel are about to show him just how much he’s not.

Escape Rating A-: First and foremost, I adore this author and her work and am always thrilled to have a new story in whichever series she happens to be working on.

Second, I always love the romance that features the leader of whatever group that series happens to be featuring, so I’ve been waiting for Killian’s story since the series began. (I’m just grateful I didn’t have to bite my nails through quite as many stories as in some of her previous series.)

Third, while I was always intending to read Steel this week I had one book absolutely disappointingly fail, so I was both thrilled and grateful to pick up Steel and dive right in. I knew I would enjoy it, but it turned out to be the perfect book at the perfect time.

Just as Killian Hawke turned out to be, not the perfect man but the perfect man for Hayden. Someone she could trust to have her back in a firefight, who would pull her up when she needed it instead of beating her down when she was already there. Someone who loved her and appreciated her for the kickass woman she was instead of trying to make her be less than in any way, shape or form.

Because she’s perfect for him just as she is. If she was anything less or anything different, she wouldn’t be the woman, the person he needed at his side.

But it isn’t ever going to be easy – and neither is this operation. Someone has a list of the top agents for every spy agency around the world and is planning to assassinate the “Top Ten” on the list. A list that Hellfire and Steel are both on.

The assassin has already eliminated two of their colleagues, had a go at a third, and now they are next. Which means that they are following the trail of their would-be assassin while he’s trying to pull them into his trap. The stakes are the highest, the tension is off the charts and the pages are turning as fast as the reader can flip them.

It’s a race to the finish; either his – or theirs. But together they can conquer anything. Even each other’s doubts, fears and demons. It’s a wild ride from beginning to end. Yet another terrific action adventure romance from an equally terrific author.

As always, I’m already looking forward to her next book, Knightmaster, the first in the Oronis Knights series. I’m always up for good science fiction romance and I know that’s just what I’ll get in March. And Sentinel Security will be back in April, and I’m sure it will be another pulse-pounding romantic adventure!