Dramatic suspense romance kicks off new series from Megan Erickson

Zero Hour (Wired & Dangerous #1)Zero Hour by Megan Erickson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

Full review when I’m at the laptop.

ETA: Right, I love Megan Erickson’s work, especially the Cyberlove Series with Santino Hassell. I’ve also enjoyed her MF stories, particularly her recent paranormal Blood Guard and The Gamers Series (a mix of MF/MM).

This one’s a romantic suspense thriller type hacker adventure. The tag line of The Fast and the Furious meeting Mr Robot’s not far wrong. But I wasn’t as enamoured of this one as I have been with others.

Roarke is all alpha male and there’s a lot of “you can’t do this because you’re a woman” tropes sent towards Wren. In this instance it’s because he’s always been in love with her but thinks he’s not worthy, but I find the back and fro-ing between two people who both fancy the pants off each other to be really annoying, no matter how well written.

This is, in essence, a revenge story with a romance attached to it, and while the romance was a fairly slow burn, the hacktivist part of the book did work well to an extent.

There was never really any explanation given for how a team of hackers and (essentially geeks) doing jobs like investigating dodgy companies and looking into criminal activity computer trails, also ended up with shit hot weapons skills.

I liked the banter between the team though. There was another strong female character in Marisol and Wren herself wasn’t a pushover, although again there was too much of the “I want him but I can’t have him” arsing about for my liking.

There’s also second hidden secret missions involving the same targets and the – lack of communication leading to mistakes and mix-ups – is another trope which needs handling with care. I get why authors use the “lone gun” element and, in this instance, it mostly paid off.

The ending sets up the rest of the series and I am looking forward to finding out more about the rest of the crew and I believe there’s at least two others planned (another MF and an MM).

#ARC received from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Review Tour: Holding On by Sarah Hadley Brook

Length: 96,300 words approx
Publisher: JMS Books
Blurb
 

Eighteen-year-old Aaron Pickard is dealing with a lot: he’s falling for his straight best friend, his mother has ended up in the hospital after a violent assault by his father, and he’s trying to decide when to come out. Tack on the stress of an upcoming prom and graduation, a part-time job, and the possibility he could lose his best friend, and he’s an emotional wreck.

Aaron’s best friend Jeff Leaton provides a soft place for him to fall when his life is thrown into chaos, literally holding him each night as they fall asleep. As Jeff helps Aaron navigate through the mess that has become his new normal, Aaron’s feelings for Jeff intensify.

Aaron’s pretty sure it’s all going to end badly, but he’s holding on to hope.

November 27 – Bonkers About Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, Reading Is Our Satisfaction, Nerdy Dirty & Flirty, BooksLaidBareBoys, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Millsy Loves Books

November 29 – OptimuMM, OMG Reads, Dog-Eared Daydreams

December 4 – MM Good Book Reviews

December 6 – Bayou Book Junkie, Jim’s Reading Room, Wicked Reads, Words Of Wisdom From The Scarf Princess, Boy Meets Boy Reviews 

Author Bio

Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the nonprofit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go.

When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have costarred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity.

She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.

 

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Release Blitz: Texas Gift by R.J. Scott

Length: 50,000 words approx
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Texas Series
 
Book #1 – The Heart of Texas – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Texas Winter – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Texas Heat – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Texas Family – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Texas Christmas – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Texas Fall – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Texas Wedding – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 

Blurb

 

A gift for every single reader needed to know what happened next for to Jack and Riley…

When Hayley arrived on the steps of the D, Riley and Jack knew life would never be the same.

Told through Riley and Jack’s eyes, this is ten years in the life of their family and watching Hayley grow up, fall in love, and start her own life. Hurricanes, illness, babies, happiness, sadness, work, play, the barn, the office, horses, friends, enemies, and above all love.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Riley needed to apologize. Right now.


He’d fucked up big time, and he should have seen it coming, because everything he did went in cycles. He and Jack hadn’t argued in so long and maybe the tension that had been building inside Riley had needed an outlet; he’d provoked the argument. He’d pushed and prodded and sulked and shoved at Jack until Jack had snapped.

Not in loud, shouting temper, or anything like what Riley deserved. No, Jack had gone deathly quiet.


Absolutely. Utterly. Quiet.

Riley shouted at him, got everything out of his system, felt the weight of it all lessen by throwing it at Jack and what had happened? He’d stood there at first, confused, and then steadily calmer. Weirdly calmer.

They argued; no normal marriage went without arguments over things as important as the kids and as trivial as picking up wet towels. But they resolved things, Jack/Riley was a unit that worked. They sometimes bickered and teased, they shouted rarely, and on the odd occasion there would be sulking. Mostly from Riley. He considered it as thinking time but Jack just called him on his sulking like a child.


Their arguments always ended in love; talking, kissing, complete forgiveness that could only come when two people understood and loved each other.

This morning though, he’d made Connor cry, Lexie scowl, and Max hide under the table with Toby. Jack hadn’t even stayed for that. The crying, scowling and hiding had happened after he’d left.


“Why are you shouting at Pappa!” Connor shouted back at Riley. “Stop shouting.” Then he’d started to cry, and Riley’s heart had broken into a million pieces. He’d sat between a crying Connor, and a sullen, angry Lexie and tried to explain that he had a bad headache and he didn’t mean to shout. For headache, read migraine, tight painful migraine that blurred his vision and made him feel sick. He’d taken meds and the sharp edges of the glass in his head were easing, but he couldn’t think straight. Connor stopped crying.


“You were so mean,” Lexie summarized, but she did give Riley a hug and kiss him on the forehead to make it all better.

Max on the other hand, while not angry with Riley and the shouting, was still under the kitchen table with Toby. The black lab, Riley’s black lab, was between Max and Riley in a protective furry wall.

“It’s okay Tobes, I got this,” Riley tried to fold all six-four of himself under the wood. He got caught on a bench, his neck burned, his stomach was in knots, but nothing was going to stop him from getting to Max. Toby did eventually move to one side but not too far. Toby may well have been Riley’s dog at the start, but he and Max were inseparable now.

“Max, buddy?” he began, and Max at least looked up at him for a split second. “You okay?”

“M’okay,” Max said. “You’re noisy.”

At least he wasn’t rocking, or stimming. He was just sitting with his dog in his favorite place under the kitchen table.

“Is everything okay?” Carol said from behind him. He scrambled back and brushed himself off. “Riley?”

“I shouted,” Riley explained simply.

“At the kids?” Carol asked, aghast, as if that was the ultimate sin in her eyes. Which, to be fair, it was in Riley’s as well. He and Jack didn’t shout, they cajoled, and bargained, and ran a happy house. Most of the time, anyway. Just not this morning.

“No, at Jack.”

“Is Max okay?” she peered under the table and smiled at Max. He adored her, the kids all loved their nanny, probably quite a bit more than they loved their dad today.

“He seems fine.” Riley peered out of the window at where Jack had gone. The damage had been done, but Connie and Lexie were chatting to each other, Max was with Carol and he needed to go and make things right with Jack.

“I think we’re okay in here,” Carol said, “Go find Jack.”

Riley shot her a grateful glance, and as he left the kitchen he heard Lexie telling Carol that her Pappa had a headache and that she’d kissed it better. When he closed the door it was just him and the ranch and finding Jack. It didn’t take him long; he was outside their barn, looking up at the siding, with his feet apart and his arms crossed over his chest.

Riley inhaled the fresh morning air and pulled back his shoulders. He could do this; he could ignore the pain in his head now it had lessened a little, he could push back the nausea, and he could go and apologize to Jack for being a fucking idiot.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured, coming to a stop next to Jack, only a few inches separating their arms. Jack didn’t move.

“It’s okay.” Although it didn’t sound okay at all. Okay was one of those words that meant nothing in the context of an argument, it was a word that plastered over cracks in a relationship. Okay was quiet and tight-lipped silences and Riley recalled okay from when he was a kid.

He hated okay.

“It’s not okay, I have a headache and I didn’t mean any of what I said.”


“You didn’t mean to say that life would be easier if you didn’t have to listen to me?” Jack’s voice was low and serious, and Riley winced.

“You were saying too much, and I couldn’t think.”

Their discussion had started in the bedroom.

“I asked if you’d made an appointment to see someone about the headaches.”

“I know—”

“And why you were limping again—”

“Jack—”

“And why you weren’t sleeping, and why you spent so much time at the office, and why the fuck have we not used the barn in over a month?”

The barn wasn’t just the barn, it was a euphemism for sex. They hadn’t been together in a month, over a month now. How did Riley explain that he’d been at the office, sometimes with the blinds shut, closing out the light, sleeping? How did he explain he didn’t want to see a doctor because the headaches scared him? And how the hell did he tell Jack he was limping because every single one of his muscles hurt, because he was tired, because it was all too much?

“Jack, I’m sorry.”

“You’re not, Riley, because you won’t listen to me.” Jack pointed at the barn. “I’m thinking we turn this into a games room for the kids.”

Riley gripped Jack’s arm. “No, what the hell?” His tension fled and in its place was panic. This was their space. Sometimes they came out here to talk, to hide away from the world, but it was also the one place they had the hottest sex he’d ever experienced. He wanted that again, but he was so tired, every time he turned over in bed his neck hurt, and his head pounded, and his leg ached, and he was fucking tired of it all. “Jack, I’m sorry, don’t…”

Jack turned to face him, and his expression wasn’t angry. “Either you go to the doctor, right here, right now, or I start clearing the place for a pool table.” He looked deadly serious, and Riley couldn’t tell if this was an empty threat. Then Jack softened, cradled his face and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Riley, please.”

Just those two words pierced the fear in Riley, he couldn’t stop the pain, or the threat of being sick, or not sleeping, but whatever was wrong, Jack would be there for him.

“I’m scared,” Riley murmured.

Jack gathered him close. “You think I’m not?”

“Please don’t,” Riley said against Jack’s neck. His words sounded slurred and fear made him sway. What the hell? “Please don’t let me chase you away.”

“I won’t.”

And that was the last thing he heard as his world went to black.


Author Bio

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk

www.rjscott.co.uk/
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www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott
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Far more enjoyable with less angsty stuff

The World As He Sees It (Perspectives #2)The World As He Sees It by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this one, the drama and angst levels were so much more manageable compared to book one in the series.

I absolutely adored Gabe, he was perfect for Tristan, supportive without being patronising and willing to work with his short term memory issues.

The email correspondence was a clever way of getting the relationship development needed without the difficulties involved with Tristan’s disability.
Shane also was much improved in this one while Noel had a brief period of being a dick but it was good to see them still together and thriving.

The sex was also lovingly crafted as Gabe found ways for Tristan to keep the feelings of their love making even when he couldn’t find the memory.

I liked the way the medical trial was handled too with encouraging development not a miraculous recovery and how Gabe was giving Tristan hope for the future no matter what happened.

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Oh my word the angsty in this one is unending!

The Truth As He Knows It: (Perspectives #1)The Truth As He Knows It: by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s an awful lot of angsty in this one, it just racks up and up until you reach a point where you wonder how much more one guy can take. . . and then another tonne is dropped.

However, in spite of all the angsty, this book isn’t an uncomfortable read, it has lots of sweet romance at the heart of it alongside some smoking smexy times and it has a lovely ending which feels like a genuine start of something pure and true.

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Return to form for the Marian boys

Delivering Dante (Made Marian, #6)Delivering Dante by Lucy Lennox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this one, it had all the things I’ve come to expect from Lucy Lennox and this series – two well definitely MCs, a lot of humour, low angst and lots of hot sex.

There’s a couple of funny side plots involving the crazy Marian senior members, the President’s politician father and a possible Vegas wedding, some sex toys and an order of homophobic preachers to keep things ticking along.

Another gorgeous cover to add to the rest of the almost rainbow. I’m hoping we get Simone’s story too and round out the Marian siblings, plus perhaps a step back in time to Pete and Ginger’s courtship. I love this family and I want more of their stories please.

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Not for me sadly

The Fourteenth LetterThe Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

DNF*

I have rated this as it was okay because the quality of the writing is absolutely fine, the piece evokes Victorian era London well but unfortunately, the subject matter is simply not for me.
I’ve got seven chapters in and nothing really cohesive has happened within the book, it’s like a series of vignettes about different people and, while I’m sure it’ll eventually come together, the subject matter isn’t interesting enough to me to want to continue reading it.

*An ARC of this was provided by the publishers through NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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