Hot Pursuit (Black Knights Inc. #11) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

HOT PURSUIT (Black Knights Inc. #11) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hot Pursuit

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 3, 2017

He puts the hot…
Christian Watson, a former SAS officer and current BKI operator, never thought he would return to England after a terrible turn of events forced him to abandon his homeland. But now he’s back on British soil where old enemies are determined to do him in. Fighting for his life is pretty much SOP for Christian. Doing it with the beautiful, bossy Emily Scott in tow is another matter entirely.

In hot pursuit.
Emily lost her coveted job at the CIA because of a colleague turned rogue, and now she has just one rule when it comes to men: they’re for recreational purposes only. But when she and Christian are thrust into very close quarters while evading two mysterious men who want Christian dead, she can’t help but question all her ideas about love and life lived on the edge. Battling the bad guys is hard enough, battling her feelings for Christian just might prove impossible.

••••••••••

REVIEW: HOT PURSUIT is the eleventh installment in Julie Ann Walker’s contemporary, adult BLACK KNIGHTS INC romantic suspense /military, action series focusing on an elite group of ex Navy SEALS, FBI, CIA and military heroes headquartered at a custom motorcycle shop in Chicago known as Black Knights Inc. The men and women of Black Knights Inc. are so far under the radar that they are blacker than Black Ops. This is former British SAS agent Christian Watson, and former CIA employee Emily Scott. HOT PURSUIT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Both Christian and Emily were introduced in earlier installments.

Told from several third person perspectives including Christian and Emily HOT PURSUIT picks up immediately upon the events of book ten FUEL FOR FIRE, and follows Christian, Emily, Jamin ‘Angel’ Agassi, former Navy pilot Colby Ventura, and former CIA operative Rusty Parker through Europe as they continue their search for the mysterious and elusive ‘Spider’ whose illegal business operations and ties have endangered the BKI team members both in Europe and back home. As the group endeavors to stay off the radar, the team becomes embroiled in a personal vendetta against one of their own. What ensues is the struggle to stay one step ahead of someone gunning for our story line hero; and the building but acrimonious relationship between Christian and Emily.

Emily and Christian have been dancing around one another for a sometime but our heroine is reluctant to get involved with Christian Watson. Christian’s past is darkened by memories of an abusive childhood, as well as time spent as a prisoner of war where he faced torture, and threats from his captors. Emily’s childhood and her parent’s numerous marriages have become the barometer against which she bases all of her own relationships and interactions, a barometer that refuses to allow our heroine to fall in love. Christian is a sexy, tattooed, and brooding well-dressed Brit who pushes all of Emily’s buttons- buttons she pushes back against Christian in return. The $ex scenes are limited, seductive and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

There is a building story line and relationship between Colby Ventura and Rusty Parker. Both men are attracted to one another but Rusty has yet to come out of the proverbial closet and in this Colby struggles with his attraction to a man who is unwilling to admit the truth. A history of love and loss forces Colby to reveal the how and why of his battle with the man to whom he is attracted but Rusty’s reasons are in direct conflict to Colby’s previous loss.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Angel, Colby and Rusty; police officers and brothers Ben and Lawrence Michelson, as well as several members of the BKI Team-Samantha Tate and Ozzie Sykes, Mac and Delilah McMillan, Penni (Dan) Currington, and Frank ‘Boss’ Knight and his wife Becky.

The world building continues to follow the latest assignment as the BKI Team in Europe searches for a dangerous businessman and possible killer.

HOT PURSUIT is a story of friendship and love; heartbreak and painful memories; revelations, the truth, intrigue, betrayal and revenge. The premise is exciting and entertaining; the characters are colorful, charismatic and dynamic-there is plenty of sexually charged back and forth banter; the romance is provocative. The story line involving the person known as ‘Spider’ was virtually non-existent but new revelations and information reveal a possible connection to one of the BKI heroes. Julie Ann Walker’s BLACK KNIGHTS INC. is an addicting series with great character interactions that humanize the heroes and heroines we love to follow.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Hot Pursuit promo

excerpt

What was he doing?
What the bloody hell was he doing?
Emily didn’t realize it, but all her acts of caring, her selfless moments of kindness—from waking him from his nightmare to pulling him into the cab of the pickup truck—had torn open his chest, ripped out his heart, and served it up on a platter.
Then, when she had stepped in front of him, ready to take a bullet that was bloody well meant for him, he had stopped pretending that what he felt for her was lust mixed with a heavy dose of vexation. Stopped pretending that he wasn’t completely arse over teakettle about everything she did, everything she said. Each smile. Each laugh. Each witty quip.
In that moment, he had known. Heart. On. A. Platter.
All she had to do was take it.
Unfortunately, he was the one taking.
Taking a kiss she hadn’t granted. Taking a taste she didn’t return. Taking advantage of a beastly situation.
Had he lost his mind? Had he forgotten the unwritten rule? The one that was bold, underlined, and all in caps?
Not to mention, he’d lost control of himself, of the moment. He blamed it on the memory of Emily in that bastard’s grip. The sight of her there—a pistol to her head, her eyes wide with fear, but her jaw gritted tight because she refused to give in to it—was forever tattooed onto the backs of his eyelids. He knew he’d see it when he closed his eyes at night.
It took effort, but he ripped his mouth away from Emily’s and dropped his hands. Curling his fingers into fists, he locked his jaw until his molars begged for mercy.
“Whaaa?” She blinked up at him through the rain in confusion.
“Sorry.” He ground out. The word was guttural. Hard. “I shouldn’t have…” He shook his head, water flying from the ends of his hair. “Just…sorry, okay?”
Her mouth opened in a bewildered little O. That mouth that tasted like mint toothpaste with a lingering hint of buttered toast. His favorite flavor used to be Welsh cakes, but now it was Emily. Emily and her mint toothpaste with lingering hints of buttered toast.
“That won’t happen again,” he assured her before grabbing her hand and towing her toward the others.
He had thought for sure the man in the black pants and the white shirt was dead. Ben’s shot looked as if it had drilled the bloke directly in the heart. Which meant Christian felt like a total prat for stopping to ask Emily why she had stepped in front of him—for stopping to kiss her—when they arrived in time to hear the decidedly alive man whisper his name. “Philippe Dubois.”
“You’re Boss’s friend,” Ace said, applying pressure to Philippe’s wound. “You’re the former Armée de L’Air commandant.”
“Oui. C’est moi,” Philippe managed, water dripping from his chin and earlobes. He wasn’t wheezing. That was good. Meant the bullet hadn’t collapsed his lung.
“Don’t try to talk, Philippe,” Ace told him. “Rusty, call airport security.”
Christian was already pulling his mobile from his soaking hip pocket. The rain had let up. No longer a deluge, it was now more of a steady drip. “We don’t need security. We need an ambulance. This man needs to go to hospital.”
He dialed 999 without hesitation and waited for his call to connect. Dropping his free hand back to his side, he was startled when Emily grabbed it, threading her fingers through his. They felt dainty, delicate. And freezing wet. He desperately wanted to kiss them warmer, kiss them dry.
Glancing at her, he blinked the water from his lashes but couldn’t stop the questions in his eyes. So you forgive me? For taking without asking? For kissing you when you’ve given me no indication you were interested?
Before she could answer, an operator’s voice sounded in his ear, all efficient and bored. After explaining the nature of Philippe’s wound and what had happened in the vaguest of terms, he gave the operator their location. When she asked for his name, he growled, “That’s not what’s bloody important. What’s bloody important is a man’s been shot and needs help. Hurry!” He abruptly hung up. “Help is on the way,” he announced.
Philippe’s white shirt was soaked with blood despite the pressure Ace applied.
“Damnit,” Christian growled, looking around for something to stanch the bleeding. Nothing else for it, he decided, dropping Emily’s hand—he really, truly hated doing that—and shrugging out of his coat. Next came his sweater. He tossed both pieces of clothing to her.
His white cotton undershirt was wet and sticking to his skin, but it would have to do.

About the author

Julie Ann WalkerFOLLOW Julie: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: http://julieannwalker.com

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Hot Pursuit (Black Knights Inc) by Julie Ann Walker- Excerpt & Giveaway Promotion

Hot Pursuit (Black Knights Inc) by Julie Ann Walker-Excerpt and Giveaway Promotion

Hot Pursuit Banner

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Amazon / Amazon.ca / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

He puts the hot…
Christian Watson, a former SAS officer and current BKI operator, never thought he would return to England after a terrible turn of events forced him to abandon his homeland. But now he’s back on British soil where old enemies are determmeland. But now he’s back on British soil where old enemies are determined to do him in. Fighting for his life is pretty much SOP for Christian. Doing it with the beautiful, bossy Emily Scott in tow is another matter entirely.

In hot pursuit.

Emily lost her coveted job at the CIA because of a colleague turned rogue, and now she has just one rule when it comes to men: they’re for recreational purposes only. But when she and Christian are thrust into very close quarters while evading two mysterious men who want Christian dead, she can’t help but question all her ideas about love and life lived on the edge. Battling the bad guys is hard enough, battling her feelings for Christian just might prove impossible.

excerpt

 

So many questions buzzed through Emily’s brain that she felt like she’d shoved her head in a beehive. She had to grit her teeth to keep from asking them.And why the hell wouldn’t he stop rubbing her hip? Warmth had spread from the skin beneath his hand, and now her whole body was suffused with it.

“Is she the reason you stayed in England after Boss invited you to join him at Black Knights Inc.?” she asked.

The look he shot her had her lifting a brow. “What?”

“That’s the second time today I’ve thought you were either a mind reader or else practicing witchcraft.”

“Really?” The thought delighted her. “When was the first time?” Then reality sank in. Shit, that was question number three. “Never mind!” She slapped a hand over his mouth. “Don’t answer that.”

His eyes sparkled mischievously. He’d tried using her own technique against her, piquing her interest so she’d use up her truths.

“I’m not the only one who fights dirty,” she accused.

“And don’t you forget it,” he parroted her words back to her. Then he placed a hot kiss in the center of her palm.

She snatched her hand away, dropping it into her lap. If he noticed that she curled her fingers, trying to hold on to the heat of his kiss, he gave no indication.

“So out with it,” she demanded. “Is your mother the reason you stayed in England after Boss invited you to join him at BKI?”

“Yes.” His nod was perfunctory. “After I was let go from the SAS, when I was trying to make my way as a civilian, I moved back in with Mum. After Dad died, she didn’t only get soused on the weekends. She did it all day every day. Held on to the bottle like a lifeline. She was self-medicating, of course. When she was pissed, she could forget she’d been the one behind the wheel that night. But miracle of miracles, with me back home looking after her, suddenly it seemed like she was trying to pull her shite together. She stopped spending all her government support checks at the pub and instead started buying decent food for the flat. She even went ’round to the local Jobcentre offices and applied to be placed in a position.”

From the tender age of six, he’d lived with a drunk mother and a dead father.

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

That wasn’t Rice Krispies. That was the foundations of Emily’s walls. Because she got it.

Her parents might not be drunks, but she knew all about addiction. Her mother and father were both addicted to love, addicted to the high it brought them. They’d sought it with single-minded determination, and their searches had, more often than not, left Emily all alone.

“Then one night, about three months after I got back, I found her in an alley,” Christian continued. “She was half frozen, half dressed, and totally piss drunk. And that’s when I knew.”

He stopped there. Didn’t say another word for a full minute, simply stared into space.

Even though she’d used up her three truths, Emily posed a question anyway. “What did you know?”

Christian turned to look at her. There was so much sadness in his eyes that her heart lurched toward him, and her arms were around his neck before she could stop them.

“That I couldn’t change her,” he said, his voice deep and husky. “That I couldn’t help her, couldn’t save her. And she was too far gone to have any hope of saving herself. So, I trundled her off to the best rehab facility in the country the next morning. It cost all my savings to get her in a six-month program. Then I bought a one-way ticket to America. Got on that plane with nothing but a change of clothes in my rucksack and a paltry roll of pounds secured by an elastic band.”

Emily desperately wanted to know what had become of his mother, if she had ever sobered up, how she’d died. But she’d already pushed her luck and gotten one more truth than he’d agreed to give her. So she bit back the questions poised on the tip of her tongue and said simply, “I’m so sorry, Christian.”

Although sorry didn’t come close to describing what she was feeling for him in that moment. She wasn’t sure there were words in the English language that could do her emotions justice.

Then, because he had given her one more truth than he’d agreed to, and because her emotions were running high and she felt she should do something, she decided to answer the last question he had posed. After all, turnabout was fair play. She prided herself on being an equitable woman.

“I can’t imagine what it was like to lose a father so early in life,” she said, playing with the ends of his hair where it brushed the back of his warm neck. “Or to know what it was to grow up with an alcoholic mother. But like you, I’m sort of the collateral damage of my childhood.”

His dark eyebrows slashed into a vee. “What do you mean?”

“You asked me to explain to you what I couldn’t explain to Richard. Why I couldn’t fall in love with him.” Part of her mind was on the ugly truth she was about to reveal; the other part was distracted by the feel of his hair between her fingertips. It was so soft. Strange for a man who in all other respects was the epitome of hardness. Hard body. Hard head. Hard…ahem. “I’m willing to give it a try.”

The look he sent her was guarded.

“But I want to make another deal with you,” she said.

“I’m listening.”

“I want you to let me go back over to the sofa.” His pretty green eyes narrowed. “What I’m about to tell you is important, and I need to be able to concentrate to get it right. To explain it right. I can’t concentrate when we’re like”—she motioned between them—“this.”

One corner of his mouth twitched. “Why not?”

Her pursed lips told him you know why without having to say the words.

Indulge me, his twinkling eyes answered.

She blew out a windy breath. “You’re distracting, okay? You’re all…” She waved a hand to indicate his entire form. “And it’s distracting.”

Not to mention destructive. As in, sitting on his lap, his arms around her, her arms around him—when had that last thing happened exactly?—was destroying her emotional fortifications, ripping them apart brick by brick until it was hard to remember why she was so determined to keep him at arm’s length.

“You do want me.” A satisfied grin kicked up the corners of his mouth. That mouth that she now knew from experience was magic. If she was a witch, then he was definitely a warlock. A sexy, tattooed English warlock.

She clucked her tongue. “Ah, ah, ah. Your arrogance is showing again.”

“Admit it,” he demanded.

“Okay, I admit it. You, sir, are arrogant.” Devilment had her fighting a grin.

“Admit that you want me, woman. I’m not letting you go until you do.”

“Fine.” Her frustration had her raising her hands and letting them fall back into her lap. “I want you. What red-blooded heterosexual woman wouldn’t? You’ve got that whole unholy trifecta thing going for you.”

“Unholy trifecta?” He looked genuinely confused.

“Tall, dark, and handsome,” she explained, touching his chin dimple. She couldn’t get enough of it. “Plus, there’s the accent.”

“I’m not the one with an accent, darling. You’re the one with an accent.”

“Whatever. The point is that it doesn’t matter that I want you; I can’t have you. And I’ll try to explain why if you’ll let me go back over to the damned sofa!”

She clamped her mouth shut, heat flooding her cheeks when she realized he’d gotten under her skin and made her lose her shit. Again. He had an unnatural knack for it.

“Fine.” He opened his arms, letting them come to rest on the arms of the chair. “You win. Your freedom for an explanation. Although, in truth, I’m hardly sure this is a better deal than the last one.”

That Emily should feel so bereft without his strong arms around her, without that thumb drawing maddening circles on her hip, was completely absurd. Which was why she scrambled off his lap and flounced over to the sofa. She didn’t want him to see the truth of her feelings on her face.

Only after she had settled into the corner, drawing her feet up onto the cushion and hugging her knees to her chest, did she dare look at him. “Like I said earlier,” she grumbled. “You wouldn’t know a good deal if it—”

“I’m warning you, Emily.” His expression was so fierce, so focused that she found herself fighting for breath. “If you mention the words bite and pecker in the same sentence again, I can’t be held responsible for what I’ll do. Likely bite you and then try to use my p—”

“Okay!” She screwed her eyes shut and covered her ears. It felt as if someone had tossed a bucket of scalding water over her head. “I get it!”

When she blinked open her eyes, it was to find him reclined back in the chair, a smug half-smile plastered over his irritatingly attractive face.

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Click HERE to preorder your copy of HOT PURSUIT by Julie Ann Walker and receive another BLACK KNIGHTS INC novel of your choice

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Julie Ann Walker’s publisher-SOURCEBOOKS- is graciously offering a paper copy of HOT PURSUIT to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Fuel for Fire (Black Knights Inc #10) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

FUEL FOR FIRE (Black Knights Inc #10 ) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

Fuel For Fire

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo / BAM / Indiebound / ibooks

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

A brooding covert operative and a spunky CIA agent discover a burning passion in the next installment of Julie Ann Walker’s red-hot BKI series

Dagan Zoelner has made three huge mistakes
The first two left blood on his hands.
The third left him wondering…what if? What if he had told the woman of his dreams how he felt before his world fell apart?

Spitfire CIA agent Chelsea Duvall has always had a thing for bossy, brooding Dagan. It’s just as well that he’s never given her a second look, since she carries a combustible secret about his past that threatens to torch their lives…

••••••••••

REVIEW: FUEL FOR FIRE is the tenth installment in Julie Ann Walker’s contemporary, adult BLACK KNIGHTS INC romantic suspense /military, action series focusing on an elite group of ex Navy SEALS, FBI, CIA and military heroes headquartered at a custom motorcycle shop known as Black Knights Inc. The men and women of Black Knights Inc are so far under the radar that they are blacker than Black Ops. This is former CIA agent Dagan Zoelner, and current CIA counterterrorism analyst (on loan to BKI) Chelsea Duvall’s story line. FUEL FOR FIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Dagan and Chelsea’s relationship begins in TOO HARD TO HANDLE #8.

Told from several third person perspectives including Dagan and Chelsea FUEL FOR FIRE takes the BKI team to Europe as they search for the mysterious person known as the ‘Spider’. Along with former British SAS agent Christian Watson, and one time CIA operative Emily Scott, former Navy pilot Colby Ace Ventura, Dagan Zoelner and Chelsea Duvall embark on a mission to ferret out the true identity of a man whose illegal and business ties reach around the world. But when their plan begins to crumble, and Chelsea is identified as the source of stolen computer information, the group find themselves on the run from the SAS, Scotland Yard, and numerous ‘men in black’. What ensues is the building romance, between Chelsea and Dagan, and the fall out when Chelsea reveals the truth about a former mission that went horribly wrong.

FUEL FOR FIRE is a friends to lovers story line that sees Chelsea and Dagan’s worlds implode when Chelsea confesses to sins of the past. As former colleagues in the CIA Chelsea has access to information that if revealed may have saved Dagan years of guilt and shame. With Chelsea’s revelations Dagan’s reaction to the woman he thought he loved is heartbreaking and sad. The $ex scenes are limited, seductive and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. The palpable sexual energy does not go unnoticed by the other members of the group including Emily and Christian, whose own back and forth verbal bickering is fraught with angry sexual tension.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including the previously mentioned BKI agents as well as the addition of another potential member of the Black Ops team- Rusty Parker-another former member of the CIA currently running a fishing trawler in the English Channel. The requisite evil has many faces including British businessman Roper Morrison, and Morrison’s head of security Steven Surry whose love for his mother proves desperation comes at a cost.

The world building takes the BKI team through Britain, France and back to the USA but their search for the elusive person known only as the ‘Spider’ is fraught with too many dead ends and bodies.

FUEL FOR FIRE is a fast paced story of action, suspense, romance and heartbreak. The premise is engaging and energetic; the romance is provocative; the characters are lively, spirited and emotional. The majority of the story line covers less than 24 hours in the life but there is plenty of activity to push the team forward towards the next installment. My only issue, once again, are the inner monologues and thoughts filled with euphemisms, colloquialisms and figures of speech meant to add humor but I found myself cringing one too many times.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt 2

 

Tell us!” Surry demanded again, giving her head a hard shake. Her brain banged around inside her skull, making her see stars. Since she was tied with a length of electrical cord to one of the chairs in front of Morrison’s desk, her hands duct-taped behind her back, there was little she could do to defend herself.
Then again, she still had her smart mouth. “Screw you, buddy,” she snarled. Those three words were all she allowed herself before she clenched her teeth and sealed her lips shut.
The violence that clouded Surry’s face and glinted in his hell-black eyes made her want to curl into a protective ball. He leaned down so that his nose was an inch from hers. His hot breath smelled of coffee and buttered croissants, and the thought of him actually eating struck her as weird. She had assumed he sustained himself by devouring the souls of Morrison’s enemies.
“You will bloody well tell us what we want to know, Miss Duvall.” When he spoke all low and menacing in that thick English accent, she got the unsettling feeling that something dark moved in the shadows just out of sight. “Or I will jab this letter opener into your carotid.” He pulled back to wield the weapon he had taken from Morrison’s desktop. The sterling-silver letter opener glinted in the golden glow cast by the overhead chandelier.
Releasing her face, Surry cocked his head. “So, what shall it be? The truth? Or the knife? The choice is yours.” There was an emptiness in his voice when he asked the questions. Like he didn’t really care what the answers would be. Like he was tired or bored or maybe…resigned?
Oh, that doesn’t bode well.
Of course, the truth was out of the question. She would never rat on the Black Knights. No telling what Morrison, a.k.a Spider, with all his power and connections, could do with that information. So that left…the knife.
But there’s still so much I want to do!
She had never learned to make her mother’s she-crab soup. She had never tried her hand at writing fiction like that of Tolkien or Rowling or Martin. She had never married the love of her life and given him two bouncing, chubby-cheeked babies.
A cold finger of terror dragged up her spine, and for a second she considered spilling her guts and saving her hide. But then, from somewhere deep inside, a well of strength erupted, filling her with determination and the will to do what must be done.
Her mind briefly touched on her mother, and a great sadness weighed down her heart. Grace Duvall would be devastated by the death of her only child. But Chelsea took comfort—cold comfort, but comfort all the same—in knowing that her life insurance policy would be enough to pay her mother’s debts. That was something. Something to hold on to.
“Well?” Surry demanded. “What will it be?”
Chelsea licked her lips. Fear was a living thing inside her, crawling through her chest like a centipede on prickly legs. She squashed it and sealed her own fate. “Do your worst, you sorry, low-life sonofagun!”
Surry’s beard-stubbled chin jerked back as if he couldn’t believe the choice she’d made. Then his eyes narrowed, and grim determination transformed his face.
Closing her eyes, Chelsea waited on the inevitable. That centipede was going crazy inside her, making her chest ache and raising the hair on her head. She braced herself for the deathblow as a million regrets, a million joys, a million memories flittered through her brain.
Funny how many of those regrets and joys and memories feature Dagan.
She held her breath, savoring it, knowing it was her last and—
“Drop. The. Knife.”
With a cry, she blinked open her eyes and craned her head around to see three figures dressed from head to toe in black. Each of them wielded a weapon as if it were an extension of himself.
The Black Knights…
Even had Dagan not spoken the three most beautiful words she’d ever heard in that smooth moonshine voice, she would have known the trio anywhere. There was no mistaking those broad shoulders or those defiant, cocksure stances.
Her eyes homed in on Dagan. He was in the middle and slightly forward of the other two. It wasn’t his height or carriage that gave him away. It was his stillness. Ace and Christian seemed to vibrate with barely leashed power. But Dagan was a statue. Not a muscle quivered. Not a tendon or ligament cracked. Chelsea was reminded of a pair of tectonic plates under intense pressure. She knew what came next. The earth would rip open, and hell would spew forth.
Surry must have felt the doom behind Dagan’s stillness, because his voice sounded wheezy when he demanded, “And who the fuck are you?”
“Worry less about who we are,” Dagan snarled, “and more about what we’ll do if you don’t drop the knife.”
Proving he had more balls than brains, Surry spun Chelsea’s chair around and palmed her forehead to wrench her head back. The sharp tip of the letter opener nicked at the skin pulsing over the large vein in her neck. She hadn’t had time to scream, and now she didn’t dare breathe.
“Ring up the police, sir,” Surry said. From the corner of her eye, Chelsea saw Morrison/Spider make a move toward the desk.
“Take one step in the direction of that phone, and you’ll be eating a bullet for breakfast.” There was no mistaking Dagan’s words or his tone. He meant what he said.
Morrison must have come to the same realization. The old man stopped in his tracks.
“Good man,” Dagan acknowledged. “Now, there’s one thing you both need to understand. We’re leaving here with Chelsea. That can be over your dead bodies or your live ones.” Even though his words were calm and his body as motionless as a mountain, rage burned inside him. It was there in his eyes, glowing red like the fires of Mordor. “So what will it be? The choice is yours.”
It was the same option Surry had given her, spoken in the same words. How long had the three of them been outside listening?
“You have no bloody idea who you’re fucking with,” Morrison snarled, his chest heaving with every furious breath. “I have—”
That’s all he managed. In a flash, the statue, a.k.a. Dagan Zoelner, came to life. He moved faster than the human eye could follow, certainly faster than Chelsea could track with her head angled back in Surry’s grip. One second he was staring at her and Surry, and the next he aimed at Morrison and pulled his trigger.
The gunshot was oddly muffled and Morrison stumbled back, hitting his hip on the edge of the desk. Surry bellowed his outrage and released her head. Free from his brutal grip, she turned to Morrison and understood the strangeness of the weapon’s sound.
It wasn’t a bullet that had exploded from the end of Dagan’s gun. It was a dart. She had just enough time to catch a glimpse of the fuzzy yellow end protruding from the center of Morrison’s chest before Dagan fired again. This time the dart whizzed over her head. Surry made an awful gurgling noise. When she pulled her chin back, she saw the projectile sticking from his neck.
He reached for the dart, stumbling into her chair. His hand hit the back of her head, looking for leverage and forcing her chin into her chest as every vertebra in her neck threatened to crack under the pressure. She couldn’t see what happened next. But she heard it. Heard the boots that pounded against the tiles as the Black Knights raced into the room.
Surry released her head when Christian tackled him. From the corner of her eye, she watched Ace catch Morrison right before the old man toppled face-first onto the floor. And Dagan? Well, Dagan knelt in front of her.
She gasped when his big, warm hands cupped her cheeks, gently lifting her head. Her neck ached, but it wasn’t broken. All her fingers and toes still worked when she gave them an experimental wiggle.
“Chels… Christ. Are you okay?” His stormy eyes searched her face.
She nodded her head. That’s all she could manage because a giant lump was centered in her throat. She had put on a brave face throughout the entire ordeal, but now that it looked like she was saved, all her shock and terror rose to the surface, crumbling her mask of courage.
“Thank God.” He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close.
It was the first time he had hugged her. The first time she had been in his arms. Oh, how she wanted to hold him tight in return. But with her hands still trapped behind her back, the only thing she could do was turn her face into his warm neck and breathe him in.
She had always loved the way he smelled. A mixture of worn leather, dryer sheets, and shampoo. All clean and healthy and…male.
“I was afraid m-maybe I didn’t press the button long enough to send out the Mayday,” she said in a rush, her lips moving against the rough fabric of his ski mask. “And th-then they found the thumb drive. But they were so quick to stop questioning me and…and…” She had to stop. “Thank you. Thank you for coming for me.”
His wide palm cupped the back of her head, holding her close. Was it trembling? “Always, Chels. Never doubt it.”
Oh great. Now the lump in her throat had grown to the size of a Carolina pine.
She wanted the moment to last forever, to stay just like this, safe in his arms. But all too soon, he pulled back. “What were you thinking, telling them to do their worst? You were baiting them, egging them on. You stupid, stubborn, self-sacrificing fool.”
And just like that, happiness and relief morphed into incredulity that slid quick as a whistle into anger. Seriously? He was going to stand there—er, squat there—and call her names?
He may be hotter than the door handles of hell, but when he gets all Me Tarzan, You Jane, I want to dump his limp body in the River Thames and feed him to the fishes. After she’d killed him with mind-blowing sex and multiple orgasms, natch. And she could probably cop to his last two accusations. She was stubborn, and in that instant she had been willing to sacrifice herself. But the first one?
“S-stupid?” she sputtered. And good news! The lump in her throat vanished. “Screw you, Dagan! In case you’ve forgotten, I pulled off this op w-with…”
She stumbled to a stop because he’d ripped off his mask. And there it was. The Beard.
Looking at him dressed all in black, shoulders as broad as the Lowcountry, she couldn’t help but think he resembled a god. One of the mythical beings she read about in her fantasy novels. Formidable. Powerful. Gorgeous.
And here I am, a mere mortal.
The look he pinned on her was one she recognized. She liked to call it his Clint Eastwood gunfighter squint. He tended to whip it out right before he laid into her for something. She braced herself, mentally running through her standard list of comebacks. But he didn’t give her a tongue-lashing. At least not a verbal one. Instead, he took her face in his hands and sealed his lips to hers.
She was so surprised that her mouth formed a startled O. Dagan took advantage, his tongue surging between her teeth. His lips were firm yet amazingly soft, and his beard abraded the tender flesh of her cheeks.
Holy mother! Dagan Zoelner was…kissing her!
Oh. My!


 

 

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Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: http://julieannwalker.com

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Wild Ride (Black Knights Inc #9) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

WILD RIDE (Black Knights Inc #9) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

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WILD RIDE
Black Knights Inc #9
by Julie Ann Walker
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, military, romantic,suspsense

Wild Ride

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / ibooks /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 4, 2017

The hero we’ve all been waiting for…

Ethan “Ozzie” Sykes


Former Navy SEAL


Underground operator for Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop.

In a black-on-black international mission that went seriously sideways, Ozzie was badly injured—now he’s stuck at BKI headquarters in Chicago, champing at the bit to get out into the field again. To his disgust, he’s tasked with distracting Chicago Tribune ace reporter Samantha Tate, who’s been trying to dig up the dirt on BKI for years. Turns out Samantha’s beauty, intelligence and sense of humor are a seriously big distraction, and Ozzie’s losing his desire to keep her at bay.

Ozzie’s tired of hiding, and Samantha may be the best-and worst—person to share his secrets with…

••••••••••

REVIEW: WILD RIDE is the ninth installment in Julie Ann Walker’s contemporary adult BLACK KNIGHTS INC romantic suspense/military, action series focusing on an elite group of ex Navy SEALS, FBI, CIA and military heroes headquartered at a custom motorcycle shop known as Black Knights Inc. The men and women of Black Knights Inc are so far under the radar that they are blacker than Black Ops. This is underground operator /computer hacker Ethan ‘ Ozzie’ Sykes, and journalist Samantha Tate’s story line. WILD RIDE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story lines is revealed where necessary. Ozzie has been present throughout most of the series but falls into trouble during FULL THROTTLE (BKI #7) wherein our story line hero almost lost his life during a rescue mission that went to h*ll.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Ozzie and Samantha) WILD RIDE follows journalist Samantha Tate as she endeavors to uncover the truth behind the Black Knights Inc connection to a local MC involved in a series of crimes and unsolved murders including an informant who went missing and was found dead. As Samantha struggles to gather information about the men of BKI, our heroine finds herself targeted by the same MC she has been hoping to expose. Enter Ozzie Sykes, the man who calls to Samantha’s heart, and the man who risks his life for a woman out to destroy his family and friends. What ensues is the building relationship between Ozzie and Samantha, and Samantha’s battle between her heart and her head.

Ozzie is a man used to rejection and losing Samantha was something Ozzie never expected the day she walked away without a backwards glance. Struggling with his slow healing injuries, unable to go out into the field as before, Ozzie finds himself at odds about his future and the woman that calls to his heart. Samantha Tate is determined to get her story; to uncover the truth about the secrets hidden behind the walls of BKI but a truth that when revealed is a secret that she must take to the grave.

The relationship between Samantha and Ozzie begins six years earlier when our heroine first lands a story about BKI. Fast forward to present day, and Samantha’s fascination with Ozzie is fractured when she believes he may be responsible for the death of her friend. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of sexually graphic language and text.

A small number of the previous story line characters play secondary and supporting roles as most of the members of BKI are on assignment over seas. We are reintroduced to Becky, Michelle and Delilah, as well as newcomers former British SAS agent Christian, and one time CIA operative Emily Scott, BKI’s new secretary and the woman who may or may not have more than a passing interest in the former British intelligence agent. There is plenty of sexual tension between Christian and Emily, something not missed by the members of BKI.

WILD RIDE is a story of family, friendship, heartbreak and love. The premise is riveting and intense; the characters are charismatic and colorful; the romance is provocative and emotional. WILD RIDE is awash in 80s pop culture from song lyrics to movie line quotes making for a ‘wild ride’ into the past as Ozzie and Samantha banter back and forth making for some humorous moments.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

It was half past eight on a Wednesday night, so pickings were slim. Most of the patrons were single dudes looking to tie on a buzz before heading home to fall into bed, catch a few z’s, then wake up and start the daily grind all over again. A few couples were snuggled into the booths or sitting at the high-tops having a nightcap before calling it a day. And then there was the foursome of ladies playing pool. In their late twenties and dressed to the nines in business attire, they seemed the answer to Christian’s prayers. Except for the fact that they were hooting and hollering, kicking off their high heels, and doing their best to get sloppy.
Girls’ night out.
Ozzie knew better than to intrude on that.
“You might be out of luck,” he lamented to Christian, eyeing one of the pool players as she stumbled toward the jukebox. “And worse still, this one looks like a Taylor Swift fan.”
Christian glanced over his shoulder at the woman as she drunkenly studied the jukebox’s screen. “If she plays sodding ‘Shake It Off,’ I grant you permission to un-holster my Walther and shoot me in the face.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”
They waited, shoulders tense, as the jukebox loaded the woman’s selection. It was “Shake it Off.”
“Right-oh. Never mind the shot to the face,” Christian declared. “I have a better idea. Let’s get good and pissed and then ring up a cab to take us home. Delilah, luv, fetch us two vodka shots, yeah?”
“You’re both pathetic,” Delilah declared after plunking the vodka down in front of them. “It’s not like they wanted to leave either of you behind.”
And by they, she meant the Black Knights. The most select, most secretive group of covert operators ever to sign up to do Uncle Sam’s dirty work. They were Ozzie’s teammates. His friends. And they were all now half a world away, disrupting the Islamic State’s supply lines in order to weaken the group’s defensive and offensive capabilities.
Well, except for Zoelner. He was in London helping to hunt down a mysterious underworld crime lord aptly named Spider.
But that’s just splitting hairs. Because whether it was chasing ISIS or shadowy international figures, it all came down to one thing. Every Black Knight was engaged in making the world a safer place. Every Black Knight except for Ozzie and Christian. And Christian would be heading into the field again soon. His burst eardrums, courtesy of a recent mission when he’d been forced to fire a 50-cal. in an enclosed space, were mostly healed.
And there they were again, the self-pity and remorse. Ozzie tossed back the shot and welcomed the burn of the liquor, hoping it would pickle those stupid pits in his stomach.
“It’s not that we feel sorry for ourselves,” Christian said after downing his shot. “It’s that we’re sharks. If we stop swimming, we die.”
“Oh, for the love of tequila.” Delilah’s expression was unsympathetic. “Neither of you needs to do anything but what you’re doing, which is healing up. Besides, we like having you around, Christian. You brew a freakin’ mean cup of tea.”
“God save the Queen.” Christian winked and saluted her with his beer.
The we Delilah mentioned were the wives and girlfriends of the Knights—Delilah being one of the former. All the ladies had taken to gathering in the big warehouse in the evening, because at precisely seven p.m. local time, one of the guys in the field would make an encrypted satellite call back home to say a quick hello to his better half and let the other better halves know that everyone in Syria was A-okay. The tension in the shop in the minutes leading up to that phone call each day was palpable. Just one more reason he and Christian were sitting at a bar in the middle of the workweek. Just a little nip to take the edge off.
Ozzie lifted his beer to wash down the bite of the shot. No sooner had he set his glass on the bar than the front door burst open and a Tasmanian devil, otherwise known as ace reporter Samantha Tate, came barreling in. Her right shoulder drooped under the weight of one of her giant oversized handbags, which was stuffed full of the myriad piles of crap she carried around.
Christian took one look at her, turned to Ozzie, and started whistling the tune to “Me and My Shadow.”
Ozzie elbowed him.
“Watch yourself, wankstain.” Christian pretended to reach beneath his jacket for his Walther.
“Please. You wouldn’t shoot me. I’m the only one who’ll go to Fadó’s to eat bangers and mash with you.”
“True,” Christian admitted. “Still, remind me why you think it’s a jolly good idea to go mucking about with a reporter? I cannot wrap my mind around you knowingly shagging someone who could blow your cover. You off your trolley, or what?”
“First of all,” Ozzie assured him, “I’m not shagging her.” Although every time I see her, I’m damned tempted.
“Well, that is a first,” Christian said.
“And second of all,” Ozzie went on as if Christian hadn’t spoken, “you have nothing to worry about. I treat her like a mushroom.”
“Pardon?”
“I keep her in the dark and feed her shit.” Which is really starting to bother me. I fucking hate lying to her. Of course, Ozzie kept that to himself.
Christian narrowed his eyes. “You filched that line from a movie.”
Ozzie feigned a playfulness he hadn’t felt in a long time. “Movie quotes and song lyrics, home slice. They’re my bread and butter. Besides, you know that old saying.” Ozzie saw the moment Samantha spotted him and started heading in his direction. The woman had a way of walking that reminded him of female sailors. They had hips so they moved like women, but their naval training taught them efficiency of motion. That was Samantha Tate in a word. Efficient. And beautiful. Last weekend, when they met in Lincoln Park for a picnic on the grass, the sunlight had dappled through the leaves of the trees, bringing out the auburn and gold highlights in her curly, mink-brown hair, and he had been so stunned by her simple loveliness that he hadn’t been able to breathe.
“Which old saying would that be?” Christian asked.
“‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’”
Christian narrowed his eyes again. “You expect me to believe she’s your enemy? That all these lunch dates and coffee dates are…what? A smoke screen?”
They had started that way. But it’d quickly become…more.
“So you got me,” Ozzie admitted. “I like her. The woman burns words the way a magician burns flash paper—quickly and with a lot of show. It stimulates my brain.”
“I’m certain it stimulates something,” Christian scoffed, the end of his sentence a bare whisper as Samantha closed in on them.
“I see you have your boyfriend with you tonight, Ozzie.” She hopped onto the barstool beside him. Her soft, powdery-smelling body lotion reached out to him, filling his nose and triggering a cascade of goose bumps. It happened every damned time she got close. He’d scoured the shelves at Walgreens, sniffing every bottle of body butter and balm they sold trying to find out which brand she used so that he could…what? Use it to whack off with? For the love of Spock’s ears. He was pathetic. “Good to see you again, Christian.” She waved across him at the Brit.
“Ah, Christian’s not gay,” Ozzie assured her, ignoring his body’s interest at her nearness and focusing on the lively banter she had come to expect from him. “He’s just really pretty. But I can see how you’d make that mistake, what with the hair product and the tailored clothes.”
Christian grunted.
Samantha nodded, waved her hand through the air, and was on to the next subject. “Well, gents, it’s official. The zombie apocalypse has started. On my beat today, I covered a police-on-police shooting, a ten-car pileup on the Kennedy Expressway, an outbreak of salmonella brought on by a restaurant knowingly serving tainted sushi, and a string of B and E’s where the perps turned out to be two thirteen-year-olds who claimed to be in love”—she rolled her eyes at this—“and fancied themselves the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.” She signaled Delilah. “Make Momma one of your specialties, would you, please? Extra dirty with three olives.” Then she turned back to Ozzie and Christian. “But you two have nothing to worry about. Zombies eat brains, so you’ll both be fine.”
See. Verbal flash paper. Crackle! Poof! Ahhhhh! Ozzie felt a smile—a real smile—tug at his lips.
Christian harrumphed. “I shouldn’t think you know me well enough to judge my mental acuity.”
“Maybe not. But you have to be a little lacking in the IQ department to willingly pal around with this one.” Samantha hooked a thumb toward Ozzie. The sparkle in her dark eyes was positively mercenary.
“That’s a bit like the pilot calling the hippie high, yeah?” Christian raised brow.
“Oh, you think I want to spend time with Mad Scientist Hair here?” Samantha pretended incredulity. “No, no. I feel sorry for him. I mean, who wouldn’t? Just look at him.”
Ozzie made a face and gifted her with a terse hand gesture that used his third digit.
“Spoken like a true scholar,” she said.
A crack of laughter blasted out of him. And when Samantha turned to thank Delilah for the martini, he took the opportunity to study her profile.
She was beautiful. Her brown eyes glowed with intelligence, and she had one of those faces that drew you in. No one feature stood out as terribly arresting or unique, but all her features fit together to make an enchanting whole.
And then there was the gap between her two front teeth. It was small. Just a sliver of space. But it was totally, wonderfully her.
Samantha tipped back her martini glass and took a giant sip, eagerly sucking down the gin and olive brine like it was a gift from on high. When she lowered her glass, she wiped the back of her hand over her mouth and let loose with a dainty, feminine-sounding burp. “I am woman. Hear me drink.”
Another bark of genuine laughter shot out of him, and all he could think was… God, that feels so good. Most of his jocularity was forced these days. But when she was around, he felt…more like his old self.
Then it occurred to him. Samantha Tate, the woman he and the rest of the Black Knights had avoided for years, the woman he should probably still be avoiding, had somehow wormed her way into his life, under his skin, and in so doing had become…his friend.
Who’d a thunk it?

About The Author

Julie Ann WalkerFOLLOW Julie: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: http://julieannwalker.com

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Devil and the Deep (Deep Six #2) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

DEVIL AND THE DEEP (Deep Six #2) by Julie Ann Walker-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Devil and the Deep

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / ibooks / Indiebound / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 5, 2016

Six men. One sunken Spanish galleon. Millions in gold and silver coins lying on the ocean floor. And a past that refuses to let the guys of Deep Six Salvage forget the Navy SEAL motto: the only easy day was yesterday…

Cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events are Maddy Powers’ way of life. But the daring man who appropriated her father’s yacht a couple of months ago is still out there, somewhere, and she wants to pay him back for the scorching kiss they shared.

Behind his suave smile and ladykiller eyes, Bran Palladino carries a dark secret that keeps him from pursuing Maddy… even though he can’t get her out of his head. But when Maddy is kidnapped as part of a grand scheme, it’s time to put up or shut up… because Bran can’t live without Maddy now.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: DEVIL AND THE DEEP is the second installment in Julie Ann Walker’s contemporary, adult DEEP SIX romantic, suspense series focusing on a group of former Navy SEALs who currently own and operate a civilian marine salvage business. The DEEP SIX series is a spinoff from Julie Ann’s BLACK KNIGHTS INC series. This is former Navy SEAL Bran Palladino, and heiress Maddy Powers’ story line. DEVIL AND THE DEEP can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. There is a running theme throughout the series as the Deep Six team set up business on Wayfarer Island to search for a five hundred year old sunken treasure and the missing Santa Cristina purported to sit on the ocean floor.

Told from several third person perspectives DEVIL AND THE DEEP follows two paths: the friends to lovers romance between Bran Palladino and Maddy Powers; and the attempted abduction of our story line heroine- an heiress whose family is worth billions of dollars making Maddy a prime target for kidnappers and ransom demands. Maddy and Bran have been emailing one another since Bran’s rescue of Maddy three months earlier (Hell or High Water #1) from a group of international terrorists but Bran believes he is not worthy of love, and is unable to give Maddy what it is she wants. Maddy, in the meantime, is escorting three scholarship winners to a nearby island, and is hoping for some one on one time with the former Navy SEAL. What ensues is the rescue of Maddy by the man that she loves when she is once again targeted by an unknown assailant, and several more attempts to take down the people responsible for threatening their lives.

The relationship between Bran and Maddy began three months earlier when Bran rescued Maddy from marauding terrorists. In the ensuing time, Bran and Maddy have kept in contact with another adding friendship to their list of relationship goals. When Maddy offers Bran something more, Bran continues to push Maddy away believing his dark and dangerous past will rear its’ volatile head. The $ex scenes are intimate and steamy; Bran will only accept a friends with benefits relationship from the woman with whom he has fallen in love.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including the three young women Maddy is escorting through an historical tour of the Dry Tortugas Island. We are re-introduced to one of Bran’s partners at Deep Six-Mason-who may or may not have an interest in Alex-the team’s new historian and translator of ancient scripts-their building story line took up quite a bit of page time in the book. The requisite bad guys are numerous, as well as a couple of familiar faces to our story line heroine.

I did have some issues with the author’s continuous, non-stop use of metaphors, movie line quotes, innuendos, euphemism, southernisms, and clichés. Julie Ann Walker has used these types of ‘descriptors’ and clichés in her previous books and series (including the Black Knights Inc) but the copious references, cliches and comparisons to movies, metaphors, and books was overwhelming, and I quickly lost interest. It was a distraction and felt more like filler than actual conversation or story. The humor was lost in the repetition and redundancy.

DEVIL AND THE DEEP is an interesting story line but a bit scattered and uneven. I would have liked more focus on the leading couple but the author chose to divide the focus between two couples, which in and of itself is fine, but I wanted more time with Bran and Maddy. Also, the hunt for lost treasure is virtually non-existent in this installment. The premise is entertaining; the characters are a bit hapless and lost; the romance is a slow build to love.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

6:23 p.m.…
“They’re on the island. My guys are in position, advancing slowly and waiting on your signal to go in strong,” Tony Scott told Gene Powers.
Sitting on the sofa beside Gene on the small, sixty-foot motor yacht they’d rented under a false name with false identification, Tony watched the older man try to swallow the lump in his throat. And not for the first time, he wondered if Gene had the stomach to go through with their plan.
Just keep your shit together a little while longer, he thought, impatience gnawing on his backbone like a junkyard dog.
“Once we cross this line, there’s no goin’ back.” There was a tremor in Gene’s voice. It matched the one in the man’s hands as he absently picked at the stitching on the edge of the blue pillow tossed into the corner of the molded seating area at the back of the vessel.
Tony had always respected Gene for his courage and sense of adventure when it came to business—and to living life, for that matter—but the old fart was proving to lack the intestinal fortitude to get down and dirty when the occasion called for it. And this occasion definitely called for it.
Which is where I come in.
“I know there’s no going back.” He reached out to squeeze Gene’s wiry shoulder. “I’m ready. Are you?”
“No,” Gene spat. “I can’t help but think there’s got to be another way.”
Tony bit the inside of his cheek, girding himself to have the same argument they’d been having for the last week. As patiently as he could, he said, “Gene, we’ve been through this a million times. No venture capitalist will touch us. We’ve exhausted all our reserves and the reserves of our investors. We need cash.”
“Maybe I could ask him again,” Gene said, something close to desperation in his eyes. They both knew to which him Gene was referring.
“He’s already told you no three times,” Tony reminded him. “He thinks it’s a bad investment. He’s grown risk adverse over the years. Too risk adverse. And he’s pushed you to this.”
“No.” Gene shook his head. “It wasn’t him. It was OPEC. Goddamned OPEC!” Gene cursed, taking off his Stetson to run a hand through his gray hair. His droopy handlebar mustache quivered when he glanced out at the open ocean, hoping to see a way out. But Tony knew that nothing but endless, undulating waves surrounded the vessel. Certainly no other solution to their problem.
If they wanted to save the oil business, this was it. A Hail Mary pass in the final minutes.
“Goddamn OPEC,” Gene said again, pounding his fist on the arm of the molded fiberglass sofa before replacing his cowboy hat. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries—made up of the twelve most oil-rich and least American friendly nations—was a cartel that kept a stranglehold on the world through its control of the majority of the earth’s crude oil reserves. And right now it had a stranglehold on their company. “I don’t know why we didn’t bomb the shit out of all of them when they first incorporated sixty-five years ago.”
Tony snorted. “We didn’t ‘bomb the shit out of all of them’ because leveling entire nations just to make sure they couldn’t profit from their own natural resources would’ve been frowned upon by…well…pretty much everyone,” he explained, noticing the time on his gold GMT-Master Rolex and getting increasingly antsy as the seconds ticked by.
“Well, now they’re tryin’ to stop us from controllin’ and profitin’ from our natural resources,” Gene snarled. “How’s that fair?” Before Tony could respond, Gene answered his own question. “I’ll tell you how. Plain and simple, it ain’t.”
“That’s why we have to see this through,” Tony said. “If we do this, we’ll have enough cash to get a couple of new ventures up and running. Once they are, they’ll fund the rest. And then when everything is online and we’re pumping out hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude a day, the United States will be safer than it’s ever been. And that’ll be thanks to us. You and me, Gene. Just imagine it.”
The only reason Gene had finally agreed to this scheme was because Tony had couched his arguments in a bunch of flag-waving hoopla. It had worked like a charm then. It worked liked a charm now.
“You swear to me no one will get hurt,” Gene demanded. His bottom lip, visible beneath his ridiculous mustache, quivered. His eyes misted.
Oh, for God’s sake. If the man started crying, Tony would be hard-pressed not to slap his face.
“My guys’ plan is sound and every scenario has been accounted for.”
“Your guys.” Gene shook his head, sounding so much like Foghorn Leghorn that Tony was surprised he didn’t start his next sentence with I say, I say. “You keep callin’ them that. Where did you find them anyway?”
“You’d be amazed how many ex–armed forces types are willing to sell their services for the right price.”
Gene grimaced.
Poor Gene. Always thinking the best of people. It was genetic. Everyone in the Powers family suffered from the same affliction.
“Come on, Gene.” Tony sighed. “It’s just three girls, one woman, and a wet-behind-the-ears park ranger. It’ll be a breeze.”
“A breeze, huh?” Gene smoothed his mustache and wet his lips with his tongue. “Then tell me again why there are guns involved.”
Tony smiled, but the expression held no humor. “Surely, since you’re a born-and-bred Texan, I don’t need to explain that to you.” When Gene scowled his impatience, Tony elaborated. “Shock and awe, my man. Shock and awe. Besides, we need to make this thing look legit if we want him to pony up the cash and do it quickly.”
“Shock and awe better be all it’ll be.” Gene pressed a hand to his chest as if his heart was hurting. That’s all Tony needed. For the waffling old cuss to have a heart attack. Although, on second thought… If Gene keeled over with a coronary, Tony would be left at the helm. Which would make things so much easier.
“If anything happens to Maddy,” Gene said, shaking his head, “I’ll never—”
“Nothing is going to happen to her,” Tony assured him. When Gene searched his eyes, he made sure his expression reflected one-hundred-percent sincerity.
Gene turned to stare out at the ocean again, a muscle ticking in his jaw. Tony simply sat and waited. Gene had donned his decision-making face, and Tony knew better than to intrude. Finally, Gene blew out a breath. “Okay. Let’s do this.”
Tony flashed Gene a reassuring wink before lifting the satellite phone in his hand and barking two words: “Go time.”

About The Author

Julie Ann WalkerFOLLOW Julie: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: http://julieannwalker.com

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Devil and the Deep (Deep Six #2) by Julie Ann Walker-Promotion and Giveaway

Devil and The Deep (Deep Six #2) by Julie Ann Walker-Promotion and Giveaway

Julie Ann Walker Giveaway

In anticipation of the July 5, 2016 release of DEVIL AND THE DEEP (Deep Six #2) by Julie Ann Walker,  Julie Ann’s publisher is offering a paper copy of HELL OR HIGH WATER and DEVIL AND THE DEEP exclusively to ONE (1) member at The Reading Cafe.

Devil and the Deep

DEVIL AND THE DEEP
Deep Six #2
by Julie Ann Walker
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, military, romance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N /

The former SEALs of The Deep Six return in a sizzling series from New York Times and
USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker.

A COVERT MISSION
Maddy Powers’s life revolves around cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events – but she can’t forget the daring former SEAL who appropriated her father’s yacht a few months ago … or the scorching kiss they shared before he disappeared into the deep blue sea.

SPARKS A FLAMING DESIRE
Bran Pallidino carries a dark secret behind his lady-killer eyes – one that keeps him from pursuing a serious relationship with Maddy. But when she’s taken hostage during a trip to the Dry Tortugas, the men of Deep Six Salvage drop their treasure hunt for a sunken galleon and embark on a dangerous mission to save Maddy.

WITH EARTH-SHATTERING REPERCUSSIONS
As they fight her merciless kidnappers, they discover this isn’t a simple hostage situation, but something far more sinister. Passion boils between Bran and Maddy, but what good is putting their hearts on the line if they don’t survive the dawn?

________________

Hell or High WaterHELL OR HIGH WATER
Deep Six #1
by Julie Ann Walker
Release Date:
Genre: adult, contemporary, military, romance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository

In a world on the brink…

Six men. One sunken Spanish galleon. Millions in gold and silver coins lying on the ocean floor. And a past that refuses to let the guys of Deep Six Salvage forget the Navy SEAL motto: the only easy day was yesterday…

There’s more than one kind of treasure…

The nation’s security has always been CIA agent Olivia Mortier’s top priority. But a mission-gone-wrong has begun to make her wonder if there’s more to life than risking hers.

And more than one secret at the bottom of the sea…

Only two things could make Leo Anderson abandon his hunt for the legendary lost ship, La Santa Christina, and return to the world of weapons and warfare he swore to leave behind: a capsule of enriched uranium, lost on the ocean floor, and a plea for assistance from the one woman he can’t seem to forget..

about the author

Julie Ann WalkerFOLLOW Julie: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: http://julieannwalker.com

Giveaway Black and Orange

Julie Ann Walker and her Publisher are offering a paper copy of HELL OR HIGH WATER and DEVIL AND THE DEEP to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE Julie Ann Walker on Facebook.

4. Please LIKE Sourcebooks Casablance on Facebook.

5. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

6. LIKE The Reading Cafe on Twitter for an additional entry.

7. Giveaway is open to USA and CANADA

8. Giveaway runs from May 28 to June 2, 2016

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Hell or High Water (Deep Six #1) by Julie Ann Walker-Review & Book Tour

HELL OR HIGH WATER (Deep Six #1) by Julie Ann Walker-Review & Book Tour

HellorHighWaterGraphic1

Hell or High Water

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 7, 2015

In a world on the brink…

Six men. One sunken Spanish galleon. Millions in gold and silver coins lying on the ocean floor. And a past that refuses to let the guys of Deep Six Salvage forget the Navy SEAL motto: the only easy day was yesterday…

There’s more than one kind of treasure…

The nation’s security has always been CIA agent Olivia Mortier’s top priority. But a mission-gone-wrong has begun to make her wonder if there’s more to life than risking hers.

And more than one secret at the bottom of the sea…

Only two things could make Leo Anderson abandon his hunt for the legendary lost ship, La Santa Christina, and return to the world of weapons and warfare he swore to leave behind: a capsule of enriched uranium, lost on the ocean floor, and a plea for assistance from the one woman he can’t seem to forget.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: HELL OR HIGH WATER is the first full length installment in Julie Ann Walker’s adult, contemporary Deep Six military, action/suspense romance series focusing on a group of former Navy SEALs who currently own and operate a civilian marine salvage business. This is Lieutenant Leo ‘The Lion’ Anderson, and CIA operative Olivia Mortier’s storyline. The DEEP SIX series is a spinoff from Julie Ann’s BLACK KNIGHTS INC series. There is an introductory novella HOT AS HELL that can be found in the May 2015 anthology-WAY OF THE WARRIOR.

Told from several third person perspectives using present day and flashbacks, HELL OR HIGH WATER follows three intersecting paths. Along with his former team of fellow SEALs, Leo Anderson has retired from the Marines and has taken over his father’s marine salvage business on Wayfarer Island. Their latest quest finds our heroes searching the ocean depths for the lost ship La Santa Christina, where it is purported to have sunk to the ocean floor, close to five hundred years earlier, with a vast treasure of silver and gold. But a visit from CIA agent Olivia Mortier places the former SEALs back in the action when a powerful chemical weapon, ‘given’ to the enemy, is reported to have been lost at sea and the team is asked to help in the rescue and recovery. What ensues is the search for the missing weapon; a private yacht falling victim to terrorists; and betrayal from within the CIA aka The Company.

HELL OR HIGH WATER is a story of second chances for our leading couple. While on Middle East deployment eighteen months earlier, Olivia and Leo began a relationship that ended too soon when a double cross found Leo’s men in a fight for their lives. Olivia has shouldered the blame for the entire mission that went horribly wrong, and in this she has yet to come to terms with her role in the death of someone close. Working together to retrieve the missing weapon finds our leading couple rekindling their relationship and taking it to the next level. But guilt and grief continue to follow Olivia throughout the story, as we are witness to the events leading up to the present day. The $ex scenes are inventive and provocative. Our couple get caught with their ‘pants down’ on more than one occasion. 😉

We are introduced to Leo’s team of former Navy SEALs (Bran, Wolf, Doc, Romeo and Mason), as well as a cameo appearance by Michael ‘Mad Dog ‘ Wainwright- first introduced in Julie Ann’s BLACK KNIGHTS INC series: Michael and Harper’s story can be found in the novella HOT AS HELL (Way of the Warrior-May 2015). Leo’s Uncle John, a cross between a ‘crusty sea dog and slack –ass hippie’ –as per the storyline description-finds respite with the heroes under the auspices of helping Leo search for the missing treasure. Not sure if Uncle John has a story to tell, but he is a fount of information when needed. There is plenty of friendly teasing and ego bashing, along with the camaraderie found with a friendship forged through mutual understanding and loss. We watch as another potential romance builds between one of Leo’s team members and a woman they helped rescue from the unruly band of terrorists who had all but destroyed Leo’s salvage business. The requisite evil comes from two different but conspiring sources that could have been ripped from today’s newspaper headlines.

HELL OR HIGH WATER is an action packed and intriguing storyline that focuses on the secret mission to retrieve chemical weapons, and the ensuing struggle to stay one step ahead of a mangy group of terrorists that will eventually reveal a mole within the CIA. There are moments of friendship and betrayal, romance and love, adventure and a little bit of suspense. Julie Ann Walker’s use of ‘punny’ comments leads to a few groans and rolling of the eyes; I am not sure if some of the humor using military jargon was appropriate.

The DEEP SIX series follows a similar outline and genre-type to that of Julie Ann’s BLACK KNIGHTS INC series- former military or special ops agents who, upon retirement, set up their own business running secret missions behind the scenes.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

guest post

A Message From Julie Ann Walker

Hi everyone! My name is Julie Ann Walker and I’m tickled pink to be here today talking about my BRAND SPANKING NEW romantic suspense series, Deep Six! It revolves around six newly retired Navy SEALs who just can’t seem to shake their past and the Navy SEAL motto that “the only easy day was yesterday.” Set in the Florida Keys, the series is filled with sun, sand, danger, intrigue, adventure, and plenty of half-dressed alpha hotties. LOL! Sound like a good time? I guarantee it is! And I guarantee you’re going to fall in love with these six men.

Take Leo “The Lion” Anderson. With his sun-streaked, sandy blond hair and perpetual tan — not to mention those hazel eyes and beard stubble — he’s sure to win your heart. And that’s before you get to his no-bullshit, take-command-of-any-situation attitude and the fact that he’s trying to fulfill his father’s dying wish.

Then there’s Brando “Bran” Pallidino. A native New Jerseyan, Bran grew up on the mean streets of Newark. He’s rough. He’s tough. And his Italian-American heritage means he comes complete with soulful brown eyes, a face that belongs on billboards, and a love for good food and good wine. (That last part means his beer-loving teammates give him a lot of grief. *wink*)

You won’t be able to resist Mason “Monet” McCarthy. As a boy from Beantown, Mason learned to use the F-bomb in really colorful ways. He’s big. He’s burly. He’s not the kind of guy you’d like to meet in a dark alley. Yet his thick black hair and crystal blue eyes soften what would otherwise be an entirely intimidating appearance.

Who doesn’t love a country boy? Dalton “Doc” Simmons was born and raised in Montana. He’s a lean, mean, fighting machine, with a face that’s all angles as if it’s been carved down to its barest essentials by a hot, stinging prairie wind. Doc has a tragic past. And he’s fighting to come to terms with it.

Next up is Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse. Wolf’s Cherokee heritage makes him strikingly handsome, with a blade of a nose, high cheekbones, flashing black eyes, and a lush, beautifully-shaped mouth. Born into poverty on a reservation in Oklahoma, Wolf has more than himself to worry about. He has his whole family depending on him. But if anyone can shoulder that burden, it’s Wolf.

And last but certainly not least, we have Spiro “Romeo” Delgado. Romeo likes to play up that whole Latin-lover thing. And with his swarthy skin, precisely trimmed goatee, and honed physique, he does a pretty good job of it. But that’s just what’s on the surface. Underneath it all, Romeo is desperately trying to make up for the mistakes of his past.

See? What did I tell you? You love them already, don’t you? Read on for a bonus scene from HELL OR HIGH WATER where you get to meet all of the Deep Six heroes!

Family isn’t only determined by blood, but by those who stand by you, fightin’ for you. By those you stand beside and fight for… That was the thought that drifted through Leo “The Lion” Anderson’s head when he looked around the warped wooden table at his men. Correction-the minute those five wild-ass SEALs snapped their final salute to the Navy and followed him to the Florida Keys to join him on his quest for high seas adventure and the hunt for untold riches, they stopped being his men. But they would never stop being his family. If they all lived for a hundred years, the bonds of the blood, sweat, and tears they’d shed together would never come unbound. They were too strong, forged in the fiery crucible of too many wars and missions to count. “Yo, man!” Brando “Bran” Pallidino leaned close to be heard above the twanging voice and guitar licks of the singer on the stage. The six of them had spent the day in Key West, gathering supplies and finishing up some repairs on Wayfarer I-the leaking, rusty salvage boat Leo had inherited from his father. And now they were enjoying beers and dinner at Schooner Wharf bar, the open-air establishment that saw more than its fair share of revelers, crusty sea captains, and miscreants who’d come to the end of the road in a bid to fall off the map completely. “That brunette in the yellow bikini top and flowery skirt over by the taps keeps giving you come-and-get-me-big-boy looks.” Leo glanced at the woman and sure enough. Slam! Her gaze collided with his and there was a definite suggestion glowing in her big, dark eyes. “I think she wants you to poke her hontas,” Bran concluded. Leo scowled at his best friend as a subtle breeze drifted in from the water, mixing the smells of fish and marine fuel with the sweeter aromas of boat drinks and barley hops that continuously flowed from behind the bar. “How long have you been keeping that little gem in your pocket?” he asked Bran. “Came up with it just this minute.” Bran grinned, wiggling his eyebrows. “My mind,” he continued, “is as nimble and as fertile as a…” Leo held up a hand. “Don’t finish that analogy. I can already guess what your mind is as nimble and as fertile as.” “Personally,” Doc said from Leo’s opposite side, twirling the ever-present toothpick in his mouth in a wide circle, “I would have gone with, ‘I think she wants you to engage her in a little gland-to-gland combat.'” Dalton “Doc” Simmons had one of those tough Midwestern faces. But right now it was split in a gleeful grin that made him look almost boyish. It was damn good to see Doc smiling. For too many years he hadn’t. “She wants you to rock her casbah!” Spiro “Romeo” Delgado piped up from across the table, never one to miss an opportunity to toss in his two bits. “Churn her butter,” Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse added after plunking his Budweiser bottle down on the table. He turned and slow-winked at the bird in the yellow bikini. Leo watched the brunette’s eyes widen, her head cocking like a cat considering a canary. With his Cherokee heritage, Wolf was the embodiment of the original American warrior. His visage equally fierce and-according to the lady at the hardware store this morning-beautiful. She’d breathed the word while staring all googly-eyed at Wolf. “And you?” Leo turned to the last remaining man at the table. “What ridiculous euphemism have you come up with tonight?” Mason “Monet” McCarthy was as big as a mountain, and just as silent. Usually. But even he couldn’t resist joining in. “She wants you to rumble in her jungle,” he said. His south Boston accent making it sound more like rahmble inna jahngle. And that’s the thing about family, Leo thought with a shake of his head as he slid on his aviator sunglasses despite the fact that the sun had slipped beneath the western horizon. One minute they’re standin’ with you against the world. The next minute they’re bustin’ your balls. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Especially since the good-natured ribbing, immature as it might be, was proof positive they were all slowly crawling out from under the thick blanket of mourning that had descended over them, heavy as a death shroud when- “Yo, man,” Bran interrupted his thoughts. “You better stake your claim. If you don’t, Wolf’s gonna stake his.” “He’s welcome to it,” Leo said, leaning back in his chair and picking at the label on his Budweiser with the edge of his thumbnail. “‘Cause I’m takin’ a pass on this one.” Bran groaned and took a long slug of his beer. “What?” Leo demanded, frowning. “What’s that uuuugh for?” “Just that I coulda guessed as much.” Bran shrugged a shoulder, his holey tank-top accentuating the strength and sinew of his bare arms. According to Bran, if the sun’s out, the guns are out. Bran’s unending supply of tank tops had become a running joke between all of them. Leo’s balls weren’t the only ones that received a regular busting. Every man’s in the group were fair game. “And why would you have guessed as much?” he raised a brow. Bran leveled him with a look that called into question the validity of his IQ tests. “You’re kidding me, right?” “No,” Leo shook his head, feeling his temper flicker to life. What the hell was Bran getting at? Luckily-or unluckily?-he didn’t have to wait long to find out. “It’s just that this seems to be your new modus operandus,” Bran said. “What does?” “Eschewing the soft ministration and willing company of bar bunnies,” Doc interjected. Leo scowled over at him, then swung his gaze around to each man at the table. They all wore the same expression of agreement. Okay, and this is one of those times I wish these assholes weren’t my family. Because he could certainly do without them being all up in his goddamn business. “First off,” he said in his own defense, “after all that runnin’ around today, I’m too tired to sweat, much less do anything else. Secondly, when you start talkin’ bar bunnies, I only have one thought.” “What’s that?” Wolf asked, only giving him half his attention. The other half was securely focused on Miss Yellow Bikini Top who, having quickly picked up the disinterest Leo was laying down, was now giving Wolf all her come-and-get-me-big-boy looks. “Hippety hoppety herpes is on its way,” Leo said, his lips twitching when Wolf blanched and swung around to attempt to fry his eyebrows off with a look. “You really know how to spoil it for those of us not currently hung up on…” Wolf trailed to a stop. The hair on Leo’s head tried to crawl off his scalp. Wolf didn’t need to finish. Leo knew where he was heading. “I’m not hung up on anyone,” he insisted, disgusted to realize he was trying to convince himself more than the guys. An image of Special Agent Olivia Mortier flashed before his eyes. Black hair. Blue eyes. A slightly crooked front tooth that never failed to make his dick twitch. There was just something about that tooth. That tiny imperfection amidst so much beauty only seemed to enhance her appeal. Maybe because it made her real. A real, live, hot-blooded woman with a mind like a steel trap, a wit that was as sharp as a tack and- Fuck. Maybe he was hung up on her. The wall he’d built up in his mind, the one that was supposed to keep memories of her at bay, was proving frustratingly weak. “If that’s what you have to tell yourself, cabron,” Romeo said. Leo sat there, a muscle twitching in his jaw. He refused to respond for nearly thirty seconds. He knew it was thirty seconds because he calculated that for every two seconds that passed he came up with a new way to assassinate the men at the table. He’d totaled out at fifteen. “You should see your face,” Doc said, the salty sea breeze causing the ends of his shaggy hair to riot. “You look like someone shoved a cactus up your ass.” “And yo, man,” Bran slung an arm around his shoulders, “there’s no reason to get all hot under the collar.” “The only reason my collar is hot is ’cause your sweaty arm is around it,” Leo grumbled, shrugging off Bran’s brotherly embrace and taking a hasty swig of beer. Thoughts of Olivia always made him feel punchy. Talking about her, even obliquely, made him feel…something. It was like if horny and confused got together with uncomfortable and had a threesome his current emotional state would be the unholy offspring of the encounter. “I was born on a farm where we used lots of fertilizer,” Doc said, seemingly apropos of nothing. Leo turned to him. “And that’s relevant to this because…?” He made a rolling motion with his hand. “Because it means I know bullshit when I smell it.” Bran grabbed his belly, crowing like the idiot he was. “You shoulda known better than to ask, bro.” Leo was considering the most painful way to wipe the grin from Bran’s face when Mason said, “You fuckers need to back the fuck off and leave him the fuck alone.” The man rarely spoke, but when he did his sentences were littered with F-bombs. Mason once told them that was the Southie way. The word fuck could be used as every part of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs… “Of course you’re the one to jump to his defense when it comes to rebuffing the babes,” Bran scoffed. “Now what the fuck’s that supposed to mean?” Mason demanded, the vein running up the center of his forehead beginning to pulse. “How long has it been since-” Leo figured he better cut Bran off before he went any further. Number one, because Leo could see the bull’s eye was about to slide off his chest and attach itself to Mason’s. And since Mason had come to his rescue…well, then turn about was fair play. And number two, because Leo knew just how much talk of Mason’s past-and the effect Mason’s past was still having on his present-bothered him. “Gentleman,” he said, “I think it’s best of we table this topic of conversation.” To his great delight, right at that moment their waitress appeared with a tray laden with chicken wings and conch fritters, two of Key West’s official delicacies. “And speakin’ of tables, wait ’til you see what’s about to be laid on ours.” With a flourish the waitress unloaded the tray. She’d barely stepped back before the feeding frenzy began. As the flavor of buffalo sauce mixed with hops and barley on Leo’s tongue, he once again looked around at the five men who’d been with him through thick and thin. The five men who’d bugged out of the Navy with him after they all made that soul-shaking promise to a dying brother to start living life. Ones that weren’t filled with death and destruction. These meatheads might be a constant pain in Leo’s ass, but they also happened to be a constant comfort and an unending source of entertainment. Like family, his mind circled back to its original topic. And it gave him a sense of peace. A sense of contentment. A sense of…urgency. Because they were all depending on him to come through with the big score. He felt the weight of that responsibility as surely as an anchor chain around his shoulders. They’d all made that promise, and now it was up to him to help them make good on it. Letting his gaze skim out over the marina, he watched as the boats bobbed gently with the tide. Their metal fittings caught the rays of the full moon and glinted as sweetly as the treasure Leo and the guys were ready to start hunting. The Santa Cristina, that legendary ghost galleon, the holy grail of sunken Spanish shipwrecks…she was out there. Somewhere. And come hell or high water, we’re goin’ to find her…

about the author

Julie Ann WalkerFOLLOW Julie: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Twitter

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Be sure to sign up for Julie’s occasional newsletter at: http://julieannwalker.com

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Full Throttle (Black Knights Inc #7) by Julie Ann Walker-a review

FULL THROTTLE (Black Knights Inc #7) by Julie Ann Walker-a review

Full throttle

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 2, 2014

She Needs a Hero…

Abby Thompson didn’t sign up to be the daughter of the President of the United States. The position was forced on her by the small matter of her birth. Preferring a quiet life of study, she’s content to leave the politics and the international intrigue to her father. Unfortunately, the most powerful man on the planet is sure to make enemies. When a group of armed thugs takes her hostage half a world away, demanding the U.S. government release prisoners in exchange for her safe return, she fears her father’s policy of “not negotiating with terrorists” means she’ll never see the shores of the Potomac again. Luckily, there’s one glimmer of hope. His name is Carlos Soto. And though she abruptly ended things with him years ago, she knows now he’s the only man who can save her…

Black Knights, Inc. to the Rescue…

Carlos “Steady” Soto has taken part in his fair share of dangerous missions working at the covert government defense firm of Black Knights Inc. But nothing prepared him for the emotional rollercoaster he faces when he’s tasked with rescuing the only woman he ever loved—who also broke his heart. Racing against time and outmaneuvering a group of trained terrorists will take everything he’s got. Plus there’s the heat simmering between them which is threatening to ignite into an inferno. While ruthless enemies stalk them, they must learn to trust each other again. Even if they do make it out alive, will Abby turn her back on him…for the second time?

••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: FULL THROTTLE is the seventh installment in Julie Ann Walker’s contemporary, adult Black Knights Inc romantic action/ suspense series focusing on an elite group of ex Navy SEALS, FBI, CIA and military heroes headquartered at a motorcycle shop known as Black Knights Inc. The men and women of Black Knights Inc are so far under the radar that they are blacker than Black Ops. This is Carlos ‘Steady’ Soto and Abby Thompson’s storyline- a friends to lovers trope with a slight second chance at love.

Abby Thompson is the twenty seven year old daughter of the President of the USA, a botanist and currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on assignment. Eight years earlier Abby’s best friend was killed in a coffee shop explosion that was intended to take out the President’s daughter. With her security detail in place, Abby believes she is well protected from any personal threats against her life. Enter Carlos Soto, her best friend’s brother and one of the men hired as part of Abby’s protection team. Within a matter of minutes, most of the Secret Service Agents will be killed and Abby will be kidnapped and held hostage in places unknown.

Told from several close third person points of view, the storyline finds Carlos going solo into the jungles of Malaysia searching for the woman that he loves. Eight years earlier, the then twenty five year old Carlos believed he was too old for Abby and now that her life has been threatened Carlos is determined to bring her home-at any cost. The relationship between Abby and Carlos is fraught with sexual tension, desire and lust. A good portion of the storyline finds Carlos is desperate need of sexual release and our couple takes the opportunity to explore one another while on the run.

FULL THROTTLE takes the reader through the sweltering jungles and underbrush of Malaysia. Our couple will encounter charging elephants, fire ants, local tribesman and frequent gunfire. No place is safe; everyone becomes suspect; and the kidnappers are never very far behind.

The secondary characters include a new team of Black Ops soldiers (or Alpha Platoon Boys) who quite possibly are the subject of future storylines or a possible spinoff series. We will be introduced to several friends and former soldiers whose job it is to protect and rescue those in need. Some of the previous storyline characters (Boss, Ozzie and Rock) play a small role in FULL THROTTLE but most of the focus is on Abby’s rescue and her relationship with Carlos-in this I missed the friendship and intimacy of the Black Knights Inc team. There is a possible romance developing between one of Abby’s Secret Service Agents Penni DePaul and Black Knights’ operative Dan ‘The Motor City Madman’. Dan’s story may be next when he volunteers to help bring in a former CIA agent who’s gone rogue.

I did have a small issue with one particular aspect of the storyline and that was the continuous use of a juvenile like figure of speech and euphemisms. When our heroine cursed she would substitute words and phrases that made no particular sense or have anything to do with their current situation-e.g. Shitpickle/Sonofabiscuit/What the Friggin Sticks. She had no issues or problems using the proper terminology during sex, but she was adverse to using graphic language when trying to make a point-whether this particular style of language was intended to add humor, I am not sure, but it was distracting in an adult storyline and I felt disconnected whenever word substitutions were used.

FULL THROTTLE is an action packed, suspense filled story about terrorism and extremists threats against the President’s family. There is intrigue, mystery and romance; secrets and anticipation; betrayal and loss. Julie Ann Walker adds another exciting storyline and sexy hero to the Black Knights Inc series with Carlos and Abby’s story.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

HELL ON WHEELS
(Black Knight Inc #1)
by Julie Ann Walker

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Click HERE for our review of HELL ON WHEELS

Hell on WheelsABOUT THE BOOK: August 7, 2012

He’s the bad boy she’s always wanted…

Nate “Ghost” Weller has loved Ali Morgan nearly half his life. But he’s done something so heinous he’s convinced she’ll never forgive him if she discovers the truth, so he keeps his feelings and his secrets to himself. Then she blows into town with a mother lode of bad guys on her tail and Nate can’t deny she’s in serious trouble. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who can help her.

She’s the good girl he’s kept at arm’s length…

Ali knows Nate as the most solemn, aloof man on the planet. Sadly, he’s also the sexiest. For years she’s avoided him, unable to stomach his dark scowls and brooding silences… especially when she secretly yearns for his touch. Now she must rely on him to save her from the malevolent shadows ghosting her every move. When the bullets explode, so does their passion. But can love really conquer all? Or are some things just too terrible to forgive?

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IN RIDES TROUBLE
(Black Knights Inc #2)
by Julie Ann Walker

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Click HERE for our review of IN RIDES TROUBLE

In Rides TroubleABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 2012

Rebel with a Cause

Becky “Rebel” Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys-she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.

Man with a Mission

Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank’s way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants is for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it’s just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back-whether she says she needs him or not.

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REV IT UP
(Black Knights Inc #3)
by Julie Ann Walker

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Click HERE for our review of REV IT UP

Rev It UpABOUT THE BOOK: October 2012

He’s the heartbreaker she left behind…

He Never Misses a Target

Jake “the Snake” Sommers earned his SEAL code name by striking quickly and quietly—and with lethal force. That’s also how he broke Michelle Carter’s heart. It was the only way to keep her safe—from himself. Four long years later, Jake is determined to get a second chance. But to steal back into Michelle’s loving arms, Jake is going to have to prove he can take things slow. Real slow…

She Aims to Make Him Beg

Michelle Carter has never forgiven Jake for being so cliché as to “love her and leave her.” But when her brother, head of the Black Knights elite ops agency, ticks off the wrong mobster, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in Jake’s hands. No matter what they call him, this man is far from cold-blooded. And once he’s wrapped around her heart, he’ll never let her go..

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THRILL RIDE
(Black Knight Inc #4)
by Julie Ann Walker

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Click HERE for our review of THRILL RIDE

Thrill RideABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 2, 2013

He’s Gone Rogue

Ex-Navy SEAL Rock Babineaux’s job is to get information, and he’s one of the best in the business. Until something goes horribly wrong and he’s being hunted by his own government. Even his best friends at the covert special-ops organization Black Knights Inc. aren’t sure they can trust him. He thinks he can outrun them all, but his former partner—a curvy bombshell who knows just how to drive him wild—refuses to cut him loose.

She Won’t Back Down

Vanessa Cordova hasn’t been the team’s communication specialist
very long, but she knows how to read people—no way is Rock guilty of murder. And she’ll go to hell and back to help him prove it. Sure, the sexy Cajun has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good, because they’re about to get very tight…

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Born Wild
Black Knights Inc #5
by Julie Ann Walker

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Click HERE for our review of BORN WILD

Born WildBORN WILD (Black Knights Inc #5) by Julie Ann Walker

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 5, 2014

She’s got three rules:

1. Trust no one… Eve Edens has been abandoned, used, or manipulated by almost everyone she’s ever met. Born into ridiculous wealth, she’s dealt with the petty jealousies and sordid little resentments for nearly thirty years. But after three botched attempts on her life, she can no longer ignore the truth. Someone wants her dead.

2. Avoid the bad boys at all costs… William “Wild Bill” Reichert, the wonderfully sexy boy who abandoned her years ago, is back in town. Only he’s no boy. Now he’s a covert operative – and he’s all man. When Eve hires Bill to help her discover who is behind the attacks, Bill soon comes to suspect it’s someone much closer to Eve than she dares to believe.

3. And never fall for the same ruse twice… The search for the killer takes Bill and Eve deep into the dark secrets and strange world of the rich and famous, and into the heart of red-hot passion re-ignited by the peril that threatens to consume them both. But does Eve dare risk her heart on Bill a second time?

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Hell For Leather
Black Knights Inc #6
by Julie Ann Walker

Click HERE for our review of HELL FOR LEATHER

Hell-FOR-LEATHER-COVER.may 14jpgAmazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

HELL FOR LEATHER (Black Knights Inc #6) by Julie Ann Walker

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 6, 2014

Only the most urgent crisis could force Delilah Fairchild to abandon her beloved biker bar and ask the surly Bryan “Mac” McMillan for help. Her uncle—the man who raised her—has vanished into thin air, and Mac is the only person with the right connections to help her find him. What the ex-FBI agent has against her is a mystery…but when the bullets start to fly, Mac is her only chance of finding her uncle alive.

Mac knows that beautiful women can’t be trusted, but he has to put his natural wariness of Delilah aside in order to help her. With the clock ticking, Mac and Delilah find themselves holding on to each other in the wildest adventure of their lives.

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