Friday, December 30, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: The Englor Affair by JL Langley

Reading Assignment Challenge: Then Englor Affair by JL Langley

In hiding who he was, Payton found himself and the man he would grow to love.  After his brother is kidnapped, Prince Payton Townsend masquerades as an Admirals assistant in order to track the culprits through the tangled mysteries of the planet Englor.  He finds way more than he bargained for in the form of Marine Colonel Simon Hollister.  Simon is no ordinary soldier.  He's heir to Englor and his life is mapped out for him: throne, bride and eventually an heir.  He never expected a dalliance with Payton to blossom into love, or that the organization that taught him to lead would threaten that love and their lives.  Danger and intrigue abound as they learn more about their shared enemy, and about each other.  What they learn could help them rise above to an enduring love or pull them apart.  

What fun!  I really loved this one from start to finish...Payton and Simon are great characters on their own, but together they really shine.  Payton has accompanied Nate to Englor to try to break the encryption on a message retrieved from those believed to be working against the Regelence royal family.  There are a lot of questions that Payton and Nate are trying to answer: Who on Englor was working against Regelence?  What do they want?  What are they going to do next?

Payton takes on an undercover disguise as a Lieutenant in the Intergalactic Navy and his job is to break into the secure computers on the Naval base and retrieve any data that might give them answers.  He is nervous and excited about his role...being in line for the royal throne on Regelence means that Payton has always had to have a chaparone and his freedoms on Englor are both eye-opening and nerve-wracking.  When he first goes to the gym to try to get gossip on the heir to Englor's throne (and an officer in the Englor Marines who work with the IN) he can't believe that there are naked men just walking around the locker room...and then he spies a red-headed Adonis and has a new "rising" problem, ahem.

Simon is worried because the spy he had placed on Regelence has been out of contact for a very long time.  He knows there are problems going on and he believes his mother to be in the thick of them...he just doesn't know exactly who wants what or why.  To add to the stress, he is a gay man on a planet where it is frowned upon and his mother is also leading the charge in Parliament to establish morality laws targeting homosexuals.  When Simon first lays eyes on Payton, he is intrigued.  He determines to find out more about the man and soon the two are working out together and then as they begin to trust in each other, they realize they are both investigating the same people and they begin working together.

Simon has a lot of stresses as both the heir to Englor's throne and Payton is one of the few who can really understand what the position entails (even though Simon is unaware of who Payton is for a very long time--even after they start working together).  The demands on him as a royal increase partway through the book and then he and Payton get caught in a compromising circumstance.  With all of these pressures on both men, how can they sustain a healthy relationship?  Watching them figure that out was both wonderful and heart-wrenching.  At the end of it all, I really believe that the two of them will successfully lead Englor while enjoying each other and their friends and family.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Earth Bound

Reading Assignment Challenge: Earth Bound by Christine Feehan

After escaping from a cult, Lexi found refuge with her sisters on the farm that more than sustained her body--it nurtured her soul as well.  But she never forgot the terror she left behind or the always present fear that the cult would find her again, and claim her.  Then her nightmare came true. 

Lexi was discovered and threatened--only to be suddenly saved by a stranger.  He is Gavriil Prakenskii, and he's awestruck by the woman he has rescued.  She is destined for him.  He can feel it in his soul.  But how can Lexi find happiness with a man steeped in secrets and shadows, one intimately acquainted with violence, and whose very love could be the death of them?

Another amazing entry in the Sea Haven series!! While I didn't love it as much as I did Air Bound, I still thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Lexi and Gavriil.  I have been intrigued by Lexi since I first read about her, the youngest sister of the heart has always seemed fragile and yet she would do anything to protect those she loves.  I wasn't let down!  Lexi is out tending her beloved farm, the first place she has felt safe since she was eight years old, when she decides to take another peek at the adjoining land her brothers-in-law are in the process of buying.  It is there, away from the safety of the farm, that her horrendous past revisits in the form of Caine, the man who kidnapped her as a child and "married" her in a cult which used the twisting of God's word to get away with heinous crimes.  Lexi freezes in panic but is able to use her connection to the earth to trap Caine.  It is at this point that Gavriil Prakenskii glides in and helps Lexi escape.

Gavriil has been another object of interest to me; the brother that was stabbed viciously seven times while protecting an important Russian physicist.  He endures pain every moment of his life but has learned to coexist with it in order to continue to do what he does best: kill those who would harm the ones he protects.  He has a violent past and doesn't expect anything from his future until he sees Lexi.  The itching no his palm signals that his plans have just changed and for the first time he gives in to impulse and ties Lexi to him with the Prakenskii brand.  It turns out that this broken man is perfect for Lexi who has spent much of her adult life putting the broken pieces of herself together as well.  

Lexi and Gavriil have both had everything taken from them in violent ways: their families, their innocence, their sense of safety.  And yet Lexi and Gavriil both coped in incredible different ways.  Together they shore up each others strengths and weaknesses in surprising ways.  While Air Bound felt like one long non-stop action adventure, Earth Bound is much quieter with the main focus being on Lexi and Gavriil's budding relationship.  All of the story takes place on or near the sisters' farm emphasizing the quiet intensity of the story.  While there wasn't as much external action, the internal conflict of two souls who are trying hard to build a relationship when their only common ground is heartbreaking history keeps the tension strung tight and the pages turning fast.
Lissa also stepped into the limelight in a way she hasn't up to this point, and I am beyond relieved to get her story next!  I can only hope that Casimir is as amazing and sexy as the rest of the Prakenskii brothers.  Another delightful book that I am sure to reread again.   

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Air Bound by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Air Bound by Christine Feehan

For as far back as she can remember, Airiana Ridell has always been aware of her extraordinary gift.  She can intuit revealing and illuminating "patterns" in the air around her--whether in a spray of mist, in billowing clouds or in the dense swirls of an impenetrable fog.  her abilities led to her placement in a secret government training facility when she was a child, but everything changed after her mother was murdered.   

Airiana fled the program , but she couldn't outrun the desperate members of a shadowy cabal who want her, who need her, who will kill to get her.  Kidnapped and held aboard a ship bound for dangerous seas, her only chance for rescue is Maxim Prakenskii.  He has his reasons for helping her, but he isn't about to reveal them to Airiana.  Not yet.  Not as the two are drawn together as moth to flame.  Not when there are so many secrets yet untold that could shatter the quaint community of Sea Haven and all who reside there...

Wow!! This just might be my new all-time favorite Feehan novel...It is for sure my favorite book in the Sea Haven series and it is all due to Maxim.  He is a wonderful hero!! I love Airiana, too, but Maxim really stole the show for me.  The things he would say to Airianna made me swoon at times and laugh out loud at others.  His absolute belief that he was meant to be alone took a hard beating when he kidnapped/rescued Airianna from her farm in Sea Haven.  When he saw her courage, strength and trust once he had her aboard a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean his lone-man past was a dead man walking.  And watching him interact with the children he rescued from a human trafficking ring was the last nail in his coffin.  

This book has a lot of action but throughout it all the strong romantic thread never got lost.  It was, for me, the perfect balance and I both couldn't turn the pages fast enough and wanted to slow down to savor every word in the first read of a book that I know I will reread again and again.  Maxim grew up without anyone to count on, trusting only himself, and being forced to do horrible things to stay alive.  He is most comfortable in the shadows and spends the majority of his time rubbing shoulders with the scum of the earth.  When he is given the mission of protecting Airiana, he sees everything he has been missing from his life.  Even knowing that three of his brothers have made marriage work, he doesn't think that his future can hold love.  But the more he is around Airiana, the more he is intrigued and impressed with her as a beautiful woman who earns his respect when few ever have.  

Oh, watching Airiana consistently breach Maxim's defenses without event trying was the best entertainment and Maxim, who is NOT used to being defenseless has no idea what to do in response.  And once he decides that she is it for him?  Holy hotness, Batman!!  I buckled in and enjoyed one of the most romantic stories I have read in some time.  And while the romance between him and Airiana was beautiful, watching Maxim take on four children whose lives have been shattered by violence beyond their imagining was also heart wrenching and heartwarming at the same time.  It was its own love story of sorts as these four brave souls placed their absolute trust in this man who would die before he let them down.  Soul melting stuff!  

Friday, September 9, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Wild Cat by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Wild Cat by Christine Feehan

It was a simple request for Siena Arnotto: deliver a gift to her grandfather's friend.  One look at Elijah Lospostos, hard bodied and stripped to the waist, and Siena succumbs to a feline stirring she never felt before--and to Elijah's reckless and pleasurable demands.  But when that pulse-throbbing moment ends in the murder of an unexpected intruder, Elijah accuses the shaken and confused Siena of setting him up.

Then Siena discovers the truth of her leopard heritage, of the secrets in her grandfather's inner circle and the sinister plot of revenge that has put her in jeopardy.  When Siena's grandfather is assassinated, she realizes the only man she can trust is Elijah.  Now, as her leopard rises from within, Siena and Elijah share not only an animal instinct for survival--but a desire so raw and wild it may be the only thing that can save them.

Whew.  I'm still now completely sure how I feel about this book...

Siena has spent the majority of her life at boarding schools and university since her beloved grandmother passed away when she was six.  Her parents had already died and her beloved nonno feared for her safety--a concern that turned into more of an obsession after not one but two kidnapping attempts.  Siena wanted nothing more than to be normal but she always felt apart from others, isolated at school and constantly surrounded by bodyguards.  She became determined to learn everything she could about wine making so she could take over her grandfather's vineyards and finally prove that she was worth having around.  When her father's right hand man, Paolo, starts to act strangely around her and her grandfather hints broadly that he would like nothing more than for them to share a future, she finds comfort in her university sanctuary.  Finally, however she has all the degrees she needs and she heads home to take her place in her grandfather's businesses.

One of the first tasks her grandfather asks of her is to drop off a case of wine to family friend, Elijah Lospostos, for his birthday.  Siena remembers Elijah from a couple of dinners she attended while home from school on break.  She developed a strong crush on Elijah, whose taste in women was always clearly the opposite of her, leaving her with a compromised sense of self esteem.  When she arrives at Elijah's mansion, sparks fly (along with clothes) as they share a quick, violent coupling on his foyer floor.  Before Siena can get her wits about her again, Elijah has grabbed a gun, shot an intruder, spat vile, vicious accusations at her, and thrown her, naked, out of his house and his life.  Siena, stunned after her first sexual experience leaves her witnessing a murder and being assured that she is the worst sexual partner in the history of sex, fumbles her way home only to be physically assaulted by Paolo, who apparently really expects to marry her and who is infuriated that she slept with another man.  When Siena picks her bruised and battered self up to inform her grandfather of Paolo's assault, her grandfather calls her a whore.  

In the midst of all of this, Siena is getting ready to go through the Han Vol Dan when her female leopard will emerge.  AND, frosting on the cake, her grandfather is shot and she is pretty sure she knows exactly who did it and she has no plans to stick around so he can kill her as she inherits everything her grandfather was involved in and it is quickly becoming clear that much of he activities were both illegal and carefully hidden from Siena's eyes.  She now has a large target on her back as many criminals wanting the Arnotto territory need only to take Siena out to gain control.  When Siena seeks help from Drake Donovan, a man she has been assured is above board, she runs into Elijah and suddenly the one hope she had is gone.  She runs and is promptly grabbed by Paolo putting her in danger once again.  

And that is all within the first 56 pages.  The action is this book was jam packed and I loved that aspect of it.  What I wasn't quite so sure of was the over-the-top dominance exhibited by Elijah. I am all for Alpha males but Elijah was ALPHA-going-on-asshole and while he showed tenderness and sweetness at times, I never did feel that he groveled for the harsh (SO HARSH!!) things he spat at Siena in their first interaction.  He pretty much told her that she knew he didn't mean it and she needed to get over it.  NOT AN APOLOGY JACKASS!  And, there was a lot of him stating that Siena needed to "get this" or "get that" (seriously, at times it seemed that every conversation involved him telling Siena to "get" something through her head).  I won't lie, I had been looking forward tremendously to Elijah's story and his behavior really took a lot of enjoyment out of things for me.  I am hoping that future rereadings will allow my feelings to mellow but this first read had me feeling uncomfortable and kind of hoping Siena would leave Elijah and hook up with Alonzo instead.  Alonzo is very intriguing and I am hoping that his character doesn't turn out to be quite so over the top as Elijah.  


Friday, August 26, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: My Fair Captain by JL Langley

Reading Assignment Challenge: My Fair Captain by JL Langley

Talk about a compromising situation!
A storm of political intrigue, murderous mayhem and sexual hungers is brewing on planet Regelence.

Swarthy Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins ran from a past he had no intention of ever reliving.  But when his Admiral asks him to use his peerage, as an earl and the heir to a dukedom, to investigate a missing weapons stash, he's forced to do just that.  As if being undercover on a Regency planet where young men are supposed to remain pure until marriage isn't bad enough, Nate finds himself attracted to the king's unmarried son.

All Prince Aiden Townsend has ever wanted was to be an artist.  He has no interest in a marriage of political fortune or becoming a societal paragon.  Until he lands in the arms of the mysterious Earl of Deverell.  One look at Nate's handsome face has Aiden reconsidering his future.  Not only does Nate make a virile subject for Aiden's art, but the great war hero awakens feelings in Aiden he has never felt, feelings he can't ignore.

After a momentous dance at a season ball, Aiden and Nate find themselves exchanging important information and working closely together.  They have to fight their growing attraction long enough to find out who stole the weapons and keep themselves from a compromising situation and certain scandal.

Why did I wait so long to begin this series???  I have had this on my Kindle for a very long time and have even begun reading it several times but never got past the first few pages...this time I settled in determined to get into the book far enough to give it a fair shot and I ended up finishing it in one evening.  Nate is from Englor where M/M relationships are not encouraged and to protect his paramour he engages in a duel with no intentions of harming anyone, however, when he is shot as he is pulling the trigger, his arm jerks and he ends up killing his opponent.  When his family disowns him (the man he shot was his father's best friend's son) he joins the Navy where he climbs the ranks for the next twenty years.

Aiden is an artist and one of five sons of the King of Regelence.  Regelence, like Englor, is based on Regency England.  One major difference from Englor, is that Regelence not only recognizes M/M relationships, all the offspring of those with titles are genetically engineered to be male with a preference for their own gender.  And all of the restrictions that Regency England put on young women are put on young men in Regelence.  Until the age of 25 (or until Aiden takes a consort), he is expected to always go about with a chaperon, to stay sexually pure, and to observe the rather strict expectations of society.  Aiden is lucky in that his fathers are happy to let him marry for love rather than pressuring him into a relationship for political gain.  

When Aiden and his brother cause their castle's computerized butler (think security system that serves) to turn off so they can escape to pursue their own interests without anyone tagging along, they open the door for the theft of weapons.  Aiden also lands in trouble when he is caught alone sketching the docks and three men attempt to kidnap him to be raped and sold.  His father saves him in time but the incident (along with the theft at the castle) underscores the need for extra protection.  They ask the Intergalactic Navy for help in discovering the perpetrators of the crime and Nate is chosen to go undercover.  He might not use his title from Englor anymore, but it gives him the perfect excuse to live with Regelence's King and to go about in society looking for the culprit.  Nate's adopted son will act as his valet and be of use in interrogating the servants.

Aiden and Nate meet when Aiden falls out of a tree.  It is a very cute meet and they are both smitten from then on.  Nate is both relieved at the acceptance of same sex relationships and worried about his need to be extra vigilant in not allowing himself and Aiden to be caught in a compromising situation.  Nate knows his future lies in the Navy and Aiden's lies in Regelence.  Aiden is surprised when something finally interests him as much as his fact images of Nate soon take over all of Aiden's sketchpads.  These two quickly begin getting closer and closer together, and when Aiden realizes there is more to Nate's presence than just an Earl visiting they both discuss it like adults and Nate, understanding the help that Aiden can offer, brings him into his confidence and they begin working together.

I loved this book...something about the juxtaposition of science fiction space travel and technology alongside Regency England values, architecture and fashions really made for a fun combination.  One of my favorite details were the thumb-print dance cards...the men interested in a dance would scan their thumb and voice record which dance they wished to claim.  Aiden and his friends meanwhile had a fun competition to see who could lose/destroy/hide their cards both the fastest and in the most original way in order to avoid the marriage market.  Nate "saves" Aiden's card knowing full well what Aiden was trying to do in order to claim a waltz and that is really the turning point where they went from dancing around each other (pun intended) to actually engaging in a relationship they can't deny they want any longer.  

This book has some action but is primarily focused on the relationship between Nate and Aiden and their investigation into who has committed the theft and why.  The resolution at the end of the book implies that we have only begun to see the tip of a very deep iceberg that will be fleshed out further in later books.  I know that there are only three books in the series and neither of them are about the couple I really want to know more about which causes me to worry that at the end of the series I will be left with unanswered questions...however, I loved this book enough that I can't see that stopping me from reading them anyway.  As far as I know, JL Langley hasn't published anything since 2012 but that doesn't mean I can't hope that she won't return to the series at some point!  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Cat's Lair by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Cat's Lair by Christine Feehan

Cat Benoit has finally escaped the past--and the man who was the source of her nightmares.  She's off the grid, underground but watchful, and creating a new life for herself in Texas, far from the torrid dangers of her native New Orleans.  She's safe.  He'll never find her this time.  Cat has to believe that.  It's the only thing keeping her sane.  

Yet she can't escape the attention of Ridley Cromer, the instructor at the martial arts dojo where Cat take lessons.  She arouse the animal in Ridley--and something feral comes to life when their body heat rises.  Cat is in no position to let her guard down with anyone, especially someone who could be endangered by her past.  But Ridley has secrets of his own--secrets only Cat would understand.  If she dares to trust him.

Classic Feehan!! Tough, domineering male fighting to protect his mate against evil so dark and twisted it is almost unimaginable.  Sweet, smart female doing everything she must to survive a horrific past that is always waiting to pull her back into the darkness she barely survived.  Alpha male finds himself shaking his head trying to figure out how the quiet, small female has come to rule his heart and his life.  Manly man retaliates with rules and lots of dominate sexy-times while loving woman simply does what she wants knowing that she is the most important part of his life.  This book felt so reminiscent of Burning Wild which up to this point has been my favorite book in this series.  Cat's Lair now ties with Burning Wild for my favorite...

I don't want to tell too much of what happens because this is definitely best read with no spoilers!  I will say that this has one of the hands down sweetest and best beginnings of any book I have read in a long time.  Watching Ridley Cromer carefully, gently, slowly draw Cat out of her shell was pure pleasure!  I loved his quiet confidence and his absolute devotion to watching out for her.  He knows she is running scared from something and he wants to be the one she trusts in her new future.   Seeing Cat slowly let down some of her walls was beautiful--and Ridley's absolute adoration at the sass that slips through Cat's barriers was a hoot.  And then...well, that is best read on your own so I am ending my review here.  Please just trust that if you haven't read this entry in the Leopard series, you need to go get it RIGHT NOW!  

Friday, July 8, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Leopard's Prey by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Leopard's Prey by Christine Feehan

From a tough stint in the armed forces to stalking the unknown as a bayou cop, leopard shifter Remy Boudreaux has been served well by his uncanny gifts.  And right now, New Orleans could use a homicide detective like Remy.

A serial killer is on the loose, snatching victims from the French Quarter with pitiless rage and unnatural efficiency.  But something else is drawing Remy into the twilight--a beautiful jazz singer bathed night after night in a flood of blood red neon.  

Sultry, mysterious, and as seductive as her songs, she's luring Remy deeper into the shadows than he ever imagined.  And as their passions swell, his keen instinct for survival will be challenged like never before.  By a killer--and by a woman.

Bijou is the daughter of one of the most famous rock singers of all time.  He could have been a contender for World's Worst Father up to the point of his death four years prior.  Bijou has spent much of that time following dreams that weren't hers and she is ready to put her foot down and live the life she wants to live--regardless of her manager's anger, her fan's possible desertion by her switch to jazz and blues, and despite many threats from her father's fans who take obsession to new levels.  Add in a tabloid photographer with a personal vendetta against Bijou and a prison thug who is always with her manager and it makes sense that Bijou isn't sure who, if anyone, she can trust.  

Remy is dismayed to find a serial killer from four years earlier killing in his city again.  When the first victim is someone he has known all his life it becomes personal.  The killer is both audacious and torturous in his murders leaving few, if any clues, behind at his macabre death scenes.  Remy is determined to stop the killer regardless of what it takes.  The problem is an abundance of suspects and a lack of solid evidence.

When Remy finds that Bijou has returned to the bayou, he is quick to lay his claim on the beautiful singer.  One of Remy's biggest regrets was not rescuing Bijou from her horrendous childhood with her father and he has carried that regret heavily on his shoulders for sixteen years.  Now that he sees the amazing, courageous woman she has grown up to become, he is more determined than ever not to repeat past mistakes and quickly works his way into her life to protect her from the many different people who would harm her.

The plot in this book is jam packed keeping the pacing fast and wild.  I loved almost everything about it, even (or perhaps especially) the over-the-top action that takes place at different points throughout the book.  One thing that I didn't love was how crazy dominant Remy is with Bijou when her leopard is first emerging.  I felt he crossed a line and never quite adequately groveled enough.  However, by the end of everything I was still quite satisfied with the HEA.  I also am not completely in love with who the serial killer turned out to be...I almost feel that Feehan was trying too hard for the reveal to be a complete surprise for it to be completely believable, but I wasn't so dissatisfied that it affected my overall enjoyment of the book.  While it isn't my favorite title by this author, I certainly zoomed through it at breakneck speed and was quite happily immersed in her leopard world for the duration.   

Friday, June 24, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Locke and Key by Sandrine Gasq Dion

Reading Assignment Challenge: Locke and Key by Sandrine Gasq Dion

Werewolf Locke Renfro has spent most of his life hunting and killing rogue werewolves--vicious murderers who take pleasure in causing misery and destroying lives.  Including his own when they slaughtered his parents.  After a rogue bites his lover, it triggers the process of turning him into a rogue also and Locke must kill the only man he ever thought he'd love.  Years later, the fates have finally given him a mate--smart, funny and sexy Mitch Devan.  Locke is afraid to seal their bond, though, terrified that it will make Mitch a target of rogues who despise him--who would love nothing better than to murder his soul mate.

Mitch Devon has spent so long waiting for Locke Renfro to claim him as his own that he's not sure everything will work properly wen the time finally arrives.  But Locke has slain more than his share of rogues; he is convinced that mating with Mitch will put the human at the top of the rogues' revenge hit list.  Mitch isn't sure that would be any worse than his platonic existence with the man he adores.  When a simple business trip lands him in grave danger, Mitch finds out exactly how far Locke will go to retrieve the key to his heart.

Loyalties are tested and enemies revealed, as the Skull Blaster team comes together to rescue their own.

The last Assassin/Shifters book I read, Savage Love, felt incredibly convoluted and too busy.  I am happy to report that Locke and Key was much more enjoyable as it revolved mainly around the main couple and only towards the end did a lot more of the cast join in the fun.  

Locke has not had an easy time of it and when he finds his mate, his past causes him to fear the worst: losing Mitch to the rogues.  He keeps Mitch at arms length and refuses to listen to his friends who assure him that keeping Mitch close will keep him safe.  What I didn't get is why Locke was so worried--Mitch was made immortal in an earlier book.  Wouldn't an immortal man be fairly safe from rogues?  Maybe even safer than a werewolf?  Regardless, Locke is committed to his keep-Mitch-safe-and-at-arms-length plan.

Mitch is an incredibly patient man.  He knows that man he loves him loves him back but he is not allowed to show his love in any way.  They aren't even roommates for the longest time.  Then Mitch and Locke travel to Boston to refurbish a house that Locke owns and Mitch is finally able to wear down Locke's resistance.  They get closer as a couple and Mitch finally gets some of the happiness he has desired for so long. And then it all hits the fan...

The bad guys and the good guys all came out in force in this one (except for the Olympians)...we also added in yet another facet of evilness and the good guys discovered that those leading the rogues were closer than they ever imagined.  The end of the book left me with the knowledge that the war between good and evil has gotten even more intense--it feels as if we are not at all close to an end and I have to admit I am wondering if there are any more mythologies or paranormals that might be added into the mix.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series--but I worry that not all of the good guys are going to make it out alive.  Odds would suggest that we will lose at least one of them before this whole thing is over!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Viper Game by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Viper Game by Christine Feehan

GhostWalker Wyatt Fontenot knows the price he paid for the secret military experiments that gave him his special catlike abilities.  After all, he left his bayou home a healer and came back a killer.  While Wyatt and his GhostWalker brother Gator may have known exactly the sort of game they were getting into, Wyatt never anticipated where it would lead--or to whom.

The swamps hold many mysteries, but few as sinuously seductive as Le Poivre de Cayenne.  The woman the locals call Pepper is every bit as enigmatic as the three little girls she's desperately trying to protect.  From what, Wyatt is soon to discover.  Right now Pepper needs a man like Wyatt.  Passionately.  But her secrets are about to take them both deeper into the bayou than either imagined--where desire is the deadliest poison of all. 

Wyatt feels guilt that he let himself believe he was heartbroken by a woman he thought he loved since he was his desperation to get away from the bayou and all of its bad memories, he allowed himself to get involved with the GhostWalker project--something he should have known better than to do based on his brother's experiences.  It is too late to reverse the changes in his body, but it isn't too late to go back to the bayou and help his Nonny.  He brings with him friends who are more like brothers after the experiences they have shared.  I loved the newest members to be introduced as Ghostwalkers, especially Malachai with his bottomless stomach!!  

Nonny has called Wyatt back to the bayou because of some strange doings centered around a plastics plant situated on the site of an old asylum.  When Nonny is accosted by a guard while harvesting plants for medicine, she decides to get reinforcements.  Wyatt is PISSED that any man dared lay hands on his beloved Nonny and he makes it very clear in a hands on way that the guards will not make that mistake again.  It is after this altercation when he returns home that he meets Pepper and one of the three babies she is desperately trying to protect from elimination.  The other two are still being held within the confines of the plastic plant which is a front for another of Dr. Peter Whitney's experiments.  

There are, as always, a lot of machinations happening on the part of Dr. Whitney, but he seemed to take it a whole nother step further in this book.  I was both surprised and not by the revelation about the babys' parentage.  This book seemed to take a step back from the start-to-finish, action-packed plot lines of the last couple of books and instead focused a lot of time on the developing relationship between Pepper and Wyatt as Pepper recovered from injuries sustained during their first meeting.  I loved the relationship between Wyatt and Pepper up until one particular scene when Wyatt just went WAY TOO FAR in his possessiveness over Pepper.  His over the top reaction to a scene that just didn't even seem to be that romantic or sexy really affected my feelings for Wyatt over all, especially as this scene takes place close to the end of the book and he never really is given a chance to recover all the points he loses during that incident.  He all but calls Pepper a whore and it really jarred me and colored my overall enjoyment of the HEA.  I just don't know that I feel sure he won't jump to outlandish conclusions again in the future and he never grovelled much at all when MAJOR grovelling was called for.  I still liked the book, but don't know that it will be one I reread often as so many others in this series are.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Savage Love by Sandrine Gasq Dion

Reading Assignment Challenge: Savage Love by Sandrine Gasq Dion

Six years ago, Chaz Savage was on top of the world: Beloved NFL star, filthy rich, great friends--and a man he was close to falling in love with.  Lev Chirkoff was smart, funny, sexy, and freaking adorable.  Then, one night he was gone with no explanation.  Chaz is devastated, left wondering what happened to the only man who ever had his heart.  Eventually, hurt turns to anger and then to rage.  If he EVER sees that man again...

Lev Chirkoff has an impossible job forced on him by the mob boss his father works for.  It involves a professional athlete he has worshiped since the first time he saw him, and the very thought of it sickens Lev.  He meets Chaz and they seem to be made for each other.  Soon, his only plan is falling in love.  When a traumatic night forces Lev out of Chaz's life, he disappears.  But Chaz Savage never leaves his heart.

Six years later, Lev returns to Seattle, makes new friends and finds a purpose in life.  A Halloween party puts him in Chaz's orbit again, and unsportsmanlike conduct doesn't begin to cover the big man's reaction.  With the mob after Chaz, Lev is assigned to protect him as they go into hiding.  But Chaz Savage isn't about to make it easy for the man who devastated him.  Once old feelings stir, he finally has a chance to discover the truth about Lev's betrayal.  Lev falls even more deeply for the man who is so much more than just a football star---but surely his secret will cost him Chaz's love forever.

They say it takes a village, but in this case it's a reservation--and as Chaz and Lev come to an uneasy peace, they discover that the people around them are more than willing to give their lives for the safely of their family.

Whew--this was one of the more confusing entries in Gasq Dion's Assassin/Shifters series.  Part of it is my fault, I think I accidentally read it out of order but part of it is the fact that the cast of characters is getting HUGE and it seemed like almost all of them showed up at one point or another in Savage Love.  AND...several incidents that happened in previous books were referenced in this book but I didn't always remember the details clearly enough for everything to make sense.  As a result, I spent much of the books understanding 75% of what was going on.  I also felt that Lev and Chaz's personal story was rushed and somewhat sacrificed so that the larger overall battles and continuation of the Assassin/Shifter world at large could move forward and even expand.  This book saw the addition of at least two more factions into the already huge cast of characters and realms.  As a result, my enjoyment of this particular entry was not as strong as it has been for previous books.  I am hoping to go back and reread two or three books that take place right before this one and then reread Savage Love and hope that it clarifies the bits I was a bit fuzzy on.  If you are new to the series, you absolutely CANNOT begin with this book...if you are up to date, give it a go as it is one action scene after another from start to finish. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh

Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John.  Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness...until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart.

Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he'd rather she hate him than learn his deepest secret.  All he has left is his music.  It's his saving grace, but it doesn't silence the voices that keep him up at night.  Chasing oblivion through endless one-night stands, he earns a few hours' sleep and his bad boy reputation.

When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new "it" couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave.  Wanting--needing--to give Kit this, even if he can't give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend.  Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful...and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

Whew--this book is one emotional ride.  The heartache that both Kit and Noah feel at different times throughout the book (and the reasons behind the brutal emotions) felt like a fist in my gut and after the second or third literary punch, I felt myself tensing any time it seemed like Kit and Noah were approaching anything even resembling a hitch in their complicated relationship.  And even then, I knew, through and through, that I was only feeling a tenth of what Kit and Noah were actually experiencing.  And yet, like both of them, I couldn't just walk away--I had to stick it out because if these two could figure out how to do it, how to make their relationship solid enough to weather the very real storms that came from Noah's past.  Because if they could do that, it would be an HEA for the ages.  And oh, when things finally came around and Kit and Noah were able to not only experience, but believe in and trust their future together, to enjoy what they had both worked so hard for, it was beautiful.  I had the sappiest grin on my face when I finished the book.  But the road to that HEA...oh lordy, was it a rough one! 

Kit has worked hard to get where she is, on the cusp of making it as one of Hollywood's A-list actresses.  She is up for a meaty part with a multi-Oscar winning director when she and Noah are mistakenly reported as a couple do to a friendly "date" which in reality is Kit going with Noah to a charity do his Aunt is hosting.  When photos imply something more personal than friendship is between them, the media coverage threatens to undo Kit's progress.  If it comes out that the relationship isn't real, the fallout could harm Kit's standing with fans which in turn could cause the director to steer clear of any negativity from the media touching his film.  Noah is pleased that he has a chance to redeem himself after hurting Kit multiple times, both purposefully and accidentally.  Being around Kit is as wonderful as he always knew it would be but his past makes it almost impossible for him to believe in any kind of future.  However, he never realized how determined Kit would be or how their friendship would come to mean so much to him that he would take chances that would have seemed impossible before he met her.

Kit and Noah's story was by far the toughest one for me to read but it was also, in the end, the most rewarding.  While I personally still found myself enjoying Rock Hard the most of the four stories I have read so far, this one made me feel the strongest.  And it wasn't always because of the angst or the drama.  There were many times that both Kit and Noah made me laugh, smile, wince, giggle, just plain feel a wide range of emotions and I truly believe that they will make it long term but I know that there are still going to be landmines that they will have to work over, under, or around.  The fact that they will turn to each other when these unpleasant blasts from the past arise is a very hard-earned but very much deserved victory for both Kit and Noah. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Samurai Game by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Samurai Game by Christine Feehan

In an underground club, a high-ranking public official spends his secret nights indulging in fantasies as exciting as they are depraved.  For a seductive employee of the Dungeon, it's her job to fulfill them.  But she's playing a far more dangerous game--one of blackmail, politics, and murder that reaches into the shadow world of the Ghostwalkers, and the creation of a spectacular, one-of-a-kind new weapon of defense.

But when a dictator makes his own catastrophic moves, the Ghostwalkers have no choice but to bring in two major players--a man and woman both driven by passion and revenge.  Both expendable.  Both with nothing left to lose.

I pretty much loved everything about this book!  Azami Yoshiie and Sam Johnson are so perfect for each other.  Azami and her two brothers are going to the Ghostwalkers compound in order to set up one of their company's satellites--although she is really there to see if Peter Whitney's daughter Lily is working with her father and if her son Daniel is being used for experimentation like Azami was as a young child.  

Azami is so strong and Sam allows her to be her own woman and his equal in every way.  Sam has his own difficulties as he is being set up to die by his own government and perhaps even by the man he considers his father.  He knows there is something more to Azami than meets the eye the moment he meets her, although the other Ghostwalkers don't seem to feel anything amiss.  Soon after meeting they are forced to trust each other with their very lives and quickly bond on multiple levels including mentally and emotionally.  

Azami's past history with Whitney, when she went by the name of Thorn, was absolutely horrific and seeing the wonderful, full life she has built for herself and watching her discover love with Sam really was watching the best revenge possible.  Sam has always been a trusted member of the Ghostwalker brotherhood and seeing this wonderful man find a woman who is his perfect match in every way was fabulous.  I don't want to say too much about this book as it is best experienced firsthand.  I am very much looking forward to seeing if Viper Game can live up to the high level Christine Feehan hit with this one.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monthly Key Word Challenge:A New Leash on Life by C. Callenreese

Monthly Key Word Challenge: A New Leash on Life by C. Callenreese

The US Recession of 2007 stole Orion Hathaway's job, his property value, and his savings.  With nothing left, he lost something even more important: his mental health.  No longer able to afford the fees to his favorite BDSM club, he becomes a hermit, retreating further into depression and the cocoon of his bed until his friends stage an intervention.  They have the perfect solution to get Master O back on his feet.  Despite his initial reservations, Orion discovers canine therapy might be just what he needs to become human again.  

Roan Matthews is used to flaky Masters weirded out by by his pup fetish.  Deep down, he desires what all dogs want--a forever home.  Unwilling participant Orion Hathaway seems an unlikely candidate at first, but Roan realizes if he can help pull Orion out of his depression , perhaps they can make a new home together. 

What a wonderful novella!  Orion Hathaway is trapped inside his huge house that he can no longer afford but which he is unable to financially get free from, sleeping away his days and sinking further and further into depression.  His days consist of living in a fog, trying to find a job, and sleeping when it all gets to be too much--which is often.  When his friends from the club he can no longer afford to attend (and at which he had a psychotic break landing him in the hospital), he is in no mood to entertain their ideas or to engage their pity.  What he doesn't know, is that their visit will be the best thing that has happened to him in a long time and the first step on the path to lead him to a future in which he can truly live and not just exist.

When his friends present him with Roan, or as he is knows as a puppy, Pepper's, leash, Orion is not interested and is actually almost afraid.  But Pepper knows a good man when he sees one and pretty soon he has wormed his way into Orion's life.  Before Orion knows it, he is thinking about Pepper and what is best for him, allowing Orion to finally get outside of his head (and bed) long enough to begin regaining his energy and interest in the world around him.  Pepper and Orion are super cute together but more than that, they are very necessary to each other.  Pepper gives Orion a purpose while Orion allows Pepper to sink into his pup head space.  By being able to trust Orion to meet his needs and keep him safe, Roan is able to live the simple life of a pup which he desperately needs to balance out his high-stress job of assisting pediatric surgeons with operations that don't always have a happy outcome.  

While this novella leaves us with an HFN, I truly believe it will grow into an HEA after watching these two change from two individuals with very specific needs to a unit that is supportive, loving, and balanced. I will be on the lookout for more by C. Callenreese because the writing drew me in right from the beginning as it was sharp, emotional, and not a single word was wasted.  This is the type of story that makes me want to immediately start all over again from page one as soon as I have finished it.  I can see this going on my list of comfort reads to reread again and again.     

Friday, April 15, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Reading Assignment Challenge: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

From the "alpha author or paranormal romance" comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career--one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.

WOW!!  To anyone who has not read the Psy-Changling series--PLEASE, PLEASE do yourself a favor and go get Slave to Sensation.  Make sure you clear your calendar for a bit, once you get started, you won't want to stop...not just the first book but the entire series.  The build up to this book, the Ghost's book, was intense...intense enough that I worried there would be no way this book could live up to the expectations that I had built so I put off reading it...for a few years.  Now that I have read it, I can reassure any other nervous nellies out there, this book really is all that a bag of chips!  I don't want to give any spoilers here so I will keep this short and sweet: this book is amazing, the hero is one of the darker that I have read in a while and I loved his interactions with the one who owned his heart, and the heroine was one of the strongest in the series to date and if you have read them, you know that is saying something!  No wilting flowers from Ms. Singh, no ma'am!  This book took the events that have been simmering for a while and kept them right on the edge of boiling over.  New directions and major challenges await this world and the amazing characters who inhabit it and I can't wait to see what is coming next!  

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field.  He knows what he wants, and he'll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.
Charlotte knows she's a mouse.  Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invincible as possible.  But the new CEO--a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake--clearly has other plans.  Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex.  Game on.

Wow!!  This is my favorite book in the Rock Kiss series so far (and it would take something truly magnificent to knock it out of first place! although this is Nalini Singh so it could definitely happen...) by far.  And I really loved the first book and the novella, but this entry, just yum!  I knew from the hints we received in book one that I would love Charlotte and that her back story would be heart wrenching.  And T-Rex?  Just as growly and sexy as advertised!

Charlotte experienced a horrible relationship in college and the emotional scars still impact her life everyday.  She is often fearful and timid, only really letting her true personality out around those she loves (which isn't very many people--really just Molly at the beginning).  When Gabriel takes over the company Charlie works for, she is overwhelmed by his forceful personality.  However, it isn't long until she is letting a little of her snark out at him.  She even throws things at his head on more than one occasion.

Gabriel is a sexy beast--yummy, yummy, yummy and while he isn't a fan of Charlie at first, she is way to intimidated and mouse-y for his tastes, there is something about the small woman that pulls at him.  When she starts to give as good as she gets, even just a little, he is intrigued and determined to pull her out of her shell.  The more the true Charlie comes out, the more determined Gabriel is to have her for his own.  

What I loved about Gabriel is that right from the beginning he was serious about Charlie.  He didn't want her just to say he'd had her or for a one night stand or even for a short while.  When he laid eyes on her, he wanted her in a serious relationship--meeting family, dating, long-term plans, the whole-nine-yards.  He held a lot of himself back in the beginning in order to give Charlie a fighting chance against his dominating personality.  And every time she shot back a comment, silently insisted on her way, or otherwise made her point clear in spite of his attitude he loved it.  

Over the course of the book, Charlie fights to reclaim bits and pieces of herself and her life.  She hates ordering red roses after Gabriel's dates with women who are her physical opposite but figures that she would never be his type, even without the baggage that she is trying to shed.  However, the more time she spends around Gabriel, the more the real her begins to come out and it feels good.  She loves who she is able to be which only makes her recurring panic attacks all the more frustrating.  She has made up her mind to heal so why won't her mind let her?  

There are so many things to love in this book: Gabriel's family (please let there be a book for Jake!!! PLEASE!!), the sexy banter, bitchy character's getting their comeuppance, fun, sexy banter, two people who fight for what they want but also know how to compromise when necessary, and some really sexy banter.  I loved it from start to finish and am really sad it's over, I can only hope I get glimpses of Charlie and Gabriel in future books.  They overcame so much for their HEA and I want to see it play out, plus I want more sexy banter!    

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

Blaze knows who killed her father, and she has merciless plans for payback--until she hears from a seductive stranger who pleads with her to wait.  Retribution is in his blood too.  Now, he and Blaze will be united in the blood of the guilty.  Tonight, vengeance is theirs.

Blaze is out to kill those who tortured her father before throwing his dead father at her feet as if her were garbage.  She has a plan, she is fully aware that she might die bringing down her enemies, but with the guilt she is feeling, that might actually be a welcome blessing.  However, before she can follow through with her plans, she meets him.  Maxim.  A Carpathian hanging onto his honor who cannot allow Blaze to harm herself now that he has found her and discovered she is his lifemate.

This novella in the dark series has a great, action-packed beginning and one helluva crazy ride at the end that leaves all kinds of tantalizing story threads hanging for future installments.  It is the middle that was lagging.  As soon as Maxim and Blaze meet, it is chapter after chapter of sex and lusting, interspersed with a little bit of plot then more sex.  It's hot and well written, but there was just too much of it compared to the rest of the story.  I would have preferred the ratio to be more vampire-hunting action especially as this novella sets up the Carpathians to have yet another huge curve ball thrown at them just as they are on the brink of maybe tipping fertility and birthrates in their favor.  

I am happy with where Christine Feehan is taking the Carpathians and this series, but this entry was not a favorite.  The ending totally made sticking it out worth it, but I don't see a reread in the future...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Ghost by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Dark Ghost by Christine Feehan

He wasn't civilized or tame.  He had his own code and he lived by it.

Monk.  Bounty hunter.  Vampire slayer.  Andre Boroi has spent centuries battling the undead, holding out against the dark with honor.  But now, gravely wounded by master vampire Costin Popescu, Andre will be easy to track--his spilled blood marking the killing trail for Popescu and his hungry band of underlings.  Andre's only chance is to disappear into the gray mist of the Carpathians.  To wait.  To hope.  

She had a healing touch and a scent that was his lifeblood.

In the mountains in search of a precious crystal, geologist Teagan Joanes suddenly finds herself hunted by those she once trusted.  Then she comes across the warrior--wounded, wanting and irresistible.  Andre has been craving her for an eternity: his lifemate.  Her warmth envelops him.  Her scent pulsates.  And with every beat of her heart, Teagan surrenders to a passion she can't possibly comprehend.  

Now they are bound by destiny, but is it enough to keep them safe from a stalking, relentless darkness that threatens to swallow them alive?

This book was a disappointment (and yes, that was painful to write considering how much I usually enjoy Feehan's Dark series).  After the non-stop action of Dark Lycan, Dark Wolf, and Dark Blood, PLUS the inclusion of the Lycan's to broaden the overall Dark series world, Dark Ghost seemed very quiet and very small.  The vast majority of the book takes place in a single cave and the only action is against a human serial killer (who goes down pretty easily), three vampire pawns and one master vampire.  The battle scenes were minimal and at the very beginning or very end of the book.  This left a VAST middle section that contained a very-rehashed-feeling human conversion (seriously, it felt so reminiscent of several of the earliest Dark books) and a lot of sex.  

I was so looking forward to Andre, the ghost's, book and it felt like such a let down.  He has been built up as having all of these amazing skills, at being a ghost who can hide from even the most skilled Carpathian's and this book never (NOT ONE SINGLE TIME) showed us any of these skills! Maddening.  Plus, his lifemate Teagan, who is in the Carpathian mountains to find a healing crystal for her grandmother starts out as a fairly kick-ass gal and then just morphs into someone I could have cared less about.  She left me thinking she was fairly immature and that Andre kind of got the shaft in the lifemate department.  Not only that but we are told all about this intriguing Grandma Trixie character and just as she is on her way to the Carpathian Mountains to confront Teagan, the book ends.  Seriously?  We don't get to see the fallout? Is she going to stake Andre?  Is she not?  Don't build up one of the VERY FEW threads of conflict and then just leave it unaddressed.  NOT COOL!!!

But worse than that?  At the very end (like five pages from the end) this cool character named Fane is introduced and Teagan is convinced she can help him and his brethren and that too IS LEFT UNDEVELOPED.  Aargh.  So frustrating.  I can only hope that the next entry in this series is not so small as this really felt like this book was phoned in;  like a deadline was approaching so the author simply reworked one of her earlier entries and called it good.  After all of the developments in previous entries, this title really suffered in comparison.  And considering how intriguing Andre was built up to be it was a true disservice to his character.  Thank goodness I borrowed this title from my local public library--if I had spent my money on a hardcover copy I would have been SO upset.  I won't even by buying a paperback to keep my Dark series complete.  I don't see myself wanting to read this entry again.  Please, PLEASE let the next book be better, I really want my faith in the overall series to be restored!  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hot Point by ML Buchman

Hot Point by ML Buchman


The elite firefighters of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can't penetrate.


Master mechanic Denise Conroy--with a reputation for being as steel-clad as the aircraft she keeps aloft--shuns useless flyboys who don't know one end of a wrench from the other.

Firehawk pilot Vern Taylor--known for unstoppable charm and a complete lack of mechanical skills--proves his talent for out-of-the-box thinking with every flight.  He's a survivor and a natural-born heli-aviation firefighter.

When Denise and Vern crash together in the Central American jungle with wildfire on one side and a full-fledged military coup on the other, their newly forged partnership is tested to the max.  They have each other, but not even their formidable skills combined can protect Denise and Vern from the conflagration sweeping the jungle...and their hearts.

First thing--the above blurb is really misleading and in some cases wrong.  First: Denise doesn't shun flyboys but she is newly out of a relationship where she was emotionally manipulated at best and abused at the worst making her hesitant about starting a new relationship with anyone not just a pilot.  Due to her ex, she is convinced that she is not feminine or womanly enough and that she is better off alone.  Second: Vern is not known for a lack of mechanical skills and at one point actually works with Denise to keep the birds flight ready.  Third: there is never a crash into the jungle...and by the time they get to the military coup Vern and Denise are extremely committed to each other.  

If you are looking for a great romantic adventure with really likable characters, this is the book for you (it stands alone well in the series but I am glad I had read the other two only because it gave me great insight into the secondary characters and added another layer of richness).  Denise has always felt different, she is a master mechanic who lost her mother to violence as a child and whose father never really recovered.  Add in relationships that never really went anywhere until the latest which went to hell and she is fine keeping to herself and not joining in with the other members of MHA.

When Vern brings in his new firehawk trailing black smoke on his second day flying it, he is sure that Denise is going to skin him alive.  She is very protective of her helicopters and he doesn't want to piss her off by breaking one.  For the past eighteen months that Vern has worked for MHA, Denise has been intimidating despite her slight stature and Vern is sure he is about to get it...what he gets instead is a brief glimpse behind the shields that Denise has gotten used to hiding behind.  And Vern wants to see more...As new facets of Denise's personality are revealed, Vern finds himself more and more intrigued and pretty soon both Denise and Vern are totally committed to finding out how much more they can be together.

Denise and Vern really compliment each other while also continuing to surprise each other.  I loved watching their relationship develop--Denise is more complicated but while Vern is extremely easy-going in most ways, he would continually surprise me (and Denise) with his emotional depth.  Add in great secondary characters from the first two books (as well as from the NightStalkers series) and you have one great book.  Like the first two books, the actual amount of page space dedicated to the more covert CIA-type work was rather slim and happened at the tail end of the book, but it doesn't matter because once again, the storyline revolving around fighting fires was fascinating and has yet to feel repetitive or old, but instead is as fresh and fun as it was the first time I read about the MHA.  Another recommended read by ML Buchman.