Book Review: The List by BL Maxwell

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Synopsis

Tommy Carter was just minding his own business, taking out the trash from his job at a local bar and grill, when he noticed the man hiding behind the dumpster. He couldn’t get a good look at the guy, and the less he can find out about him, the more curious he becomes. He’d lived through difficult circumstances in his past, and decides if he can help, he will. Tommy doesn’t have a lot, but he has a heart of gold that won’t let him walk away from someone he knows needs a hand up.

Zane Martin was left wandering the streets of Sacramento in a haze after tragedy struck. He’s afraid to trust anyone and suffering from a lack of food and adequate clothing to keep him alive and well against the weather about to hit the area. He’s not sure he can trust Tommy, but he wants to. There has to be one good person out there, and maybe he’s just found him.

A story of helping when you can, and accepting help when it’s offered.

 

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BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082TYNP5Y/ref

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What a GREAT story!

The List is heart wrenching and had me in tears for so many reasons.

The story is about the helplessness and hopelessness of what happens to someone when they’re living on the streets. There’s not only the physical factor of braving the elements and hunger, but the fear and mistrust and loneliness is enough for so many to just give up.

Luckily, Zane has been finding shelter behind the right dumpster when he meets Tommy, who works in the restaurant.

This story revolves around one person’s concern for a stranger’s well-being and in helping him out by being pro-active, somewhere along the way those actions fall into the hands of others who want to do the right thing. If we all just did a little something extra to look out for others, the world would be a better place.

And of course this is a love story:

“I’m pretty sure you were put in my path for a reason. You saved me, Tommy. So many people never even saw me, even though I was right in front of them. But you saw me.” I sat next to him and pulled him close.

“There’s no way I could have missed you,” I breathed out before once more pressing my lips to his. “I think I’ve looked for you my whole life.”

There are some familiar characters who show up toward the end of the book, which made me jump for joy because they’ll always be some of my all-time favorites!

I really can’t recommend this book enough. It’s well-written with so much love and all the feels. Perfect for this holiday season and a fitting reminder of what’s important in life. Five stars for me.

Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan Bourbon, Bikes, and Books Book Blog

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Release Blitz/Review

Title: Edge of Reason (Arrow’s Edge MC Series, #1)
Author: Freya Barker
Genre: Romantic
Suspense
Release Date: December 9, 2019
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Brotherhood and beer meets single mom and apple pie.

I am a riding contradiction.

A scholar, a cynic, a brother, and a biker.

My name is Trunk.

I’m smart enough to recognize the chip on my shoulder, and cautious enough to keep it right where it is.

I am a misguided romantic.

A mom, a daughter, an agent, and a survivor

My name is Jaimie.

I’m strong enough to look after my family alone, and too stubborn to accept I don’t have to.

We make an odd couple—our differences obvious—but when hatred and danger threatens to destroy everything of value in our lives, we only get stronger.

Together.

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Edge of Reason is a fantastic start to the Arrow’s Edge MC series.

As always, Freya Barker doesn’t disappoint.

The storyline revolves around Jaime, a feisty thirty-eight-year-old who has recently moved to Durango with her baby, River, after taking a job to work for Tahlula Rae, a famous author.

Trunk is a member of Arrow’s Edge MC and Tahlula’s brother. He’s a psychologist who helps out troubled adolescent boys the club takes in and mentors, as well as a confidant-slash-voice of reason to Ouray, the MC prez (or chief as they call him) or an occasional member.

Jaime is white. Trunk is black. They’re instantly attracted to one another. Hot damn, Trunk is one tall, muscular, fine-looking man who is uber-alpha and knows his way around a woman’s body … sigh. Together, they’re perfect.

As much as the people they surround themselves with are color blind, the two aren’t naïve as to how some still live in a bigoted, racist world. Unfortunately, that world comes crashing into Durango, aiming its hateful destruction to the places and people it chooses to hurt the most.

There are plenty of familiar faces from Freya’s Rock Point series as the FBI gets involved after things go from bad to worse. The best parts are the side stories within this book, just like all of Freya’s other books; they only enhance the reader’s imagination of the world that she’s created—ordinary folks who do extraordinary things.

Once again, author Freya Barker has managed to knock me on my butt with a story that’s heartfelt, disconcerting but necessary, yet full of promise and love … because in the end, love always wins. I highly recommend Edge of Reason ~ five stars for me.

Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan Bourbon, Bikes, and Books Book Blog

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Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Tweet: Edge of Reason by @freya_barker Is a brand new MC series that is #Live on #Amazon ➜ https://ctt.ec/Y92j6+ #FreyaBarker #KindleUnlimited #MCRomance #RomanticSuspense #Romanticsuspensereaders #BAPpr @buoniamicipress

Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Driven to make her books about ‘real’ people; with characters who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills, and their own slice of happy.
A recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None”, and Finalist for the Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, Freya has not slowed down.
She continues to add to her rapidly growing collection of published novels as she spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!

Book Review of The Sweet Gum Tree

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The Sweet Gum Tree

By Katherine Allred

SYNOPSIS:

Sweet tea, corn bread and soup beans; everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both their lives forever. Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.

Suddenly, Nick is gone, leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she’s content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He’s back, and he’s not alone. Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

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I finished this book last night, and I was completely wrecked, but I did have a smile on my face. The angstometer is high with this one, but again, it was well worth it.

 

Alix French and Nick Anderson were just kids when they first met, only 8/10 years old.  Alix is from a highly respected family, and Nick was the son of the nasty town drunk.   From the very beginning, there was a connection between the two.  A connection that would last decades with twists and turns that will break your heart apart.

 

I adored both Alix and Nick.  Alix was a spitfire of a girl who approached Nick and made him her friend.  They grew up to love each other, but sometimes, love isn’t enough.  There was just so much Alix could take, so when Nick left, she did the best (or so she thought) she could for herself.    Years later, when Nick comes back to town, secrets are revealed.   Alix’s heart is shattered with all the lies and time that has gone by.    Nick is still in love with Alix, but he is also devastated by all that has happened.   Can these two soulmates find their way back to each other?

 

I have had this book on my kindle for years, and if it wasn’t for the TPAM Pick for Me Challenge, I can honestly say, I probably wouldn’t get to it any time soon.  So a big thank you to Judy for pushing me to read this book!

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Reviewed by Diana Murphy ~ a great friend and administrator at Turning Pages at Midnight Reader Group ~ Goodreads ~  https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/125752-turning-pages-at-midnight-book-blog

 

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🏳️‍🌈Lisa’s Reviews of Endless Stretch of Blue by Riley Hart and Imitation of Life by Felice Stevens🏳️‍🌈

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Endless Stretch of BlueEndless Stretch of Blue by Riley Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this one!

What a beautiful story about finding love after a horrible tragedy. The two main characters, Damon Blackwell and Enzo Moretti, both have lost so much and the guilt and emptiness that surrounds them every day of their life is enormous.

Fate steps in and places these two beautiful men in the same place, at the same time, and what they learn from one another is life-changing. Not only do they have each other to lean on, these two “straight” men fall hard. The author handles that with patience and trust and awe, but the outcome is still incredibly hot!

Riley Hart does an outstanding job showing what happens to family in the aftermath and how it’s possible to find clarity and get to a better place when the right person is there to guide you.

Enzo and Damon’s story, individually, is equally heartbreaking. These two are simply perfect for one another. Five stars for me!

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Imitation of Life (Rock Bottom #2)Imitation of Life by Felice Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written

Gino and Benny’s story is heart wrenching—some of the most beautiful ones are though. If I had to pick certain sections or quotes throughout their story, I’d be highlighting the whole book. It’s just THAT good.

After being bounced around the foster system as a kid, Gino does whatever he needs to make his way in life. Gino is stunningly gorgeous but constantly makes the wrong choices when it comes to trusting the right people. Gino has love and sex completely confused. This poor guy thinks by screwing around with so many guys, hopefully one of them will like him and want to stick around. He acts like he’s the happiest guy on earth when inside he’s dying.

~ I ended the call, Benny pleading with me to talk to him. With the pillow rolled under my head, I closed my eyes, hoping I wouldn’t wake up. ~ Gino

My heart completely shattered and it was torture to watch Gino’s path of self-destruction.

Benny is the sweetest and kindest man, but life has also been cruel to him. He takes care of his sister to make sure she’s safe from their wretched stepfather while Benny’s at work. His lack of confidence and self-esteem casts shadows over him every day, but after being bullied, abused, and knocked down his whole life, how could it not?

Benny loves Gino. It physically hurt my heart to feel his love for Gino and how he simply couldn’t express himself. The two of them are so beat up and damaged by their past that they still carry it on their shoulders every day. No one should have to take on such despair.

Felice Stevens is the queen of angst and hopelessness and the power of love. Her readers can’t help but to fall madly in love with her characters as we watch them through voyeur’s eyes suffer, flounder, or are completely at sea when it comes to helping
themselves. The best part, though, every single time, is not only how they navigate their way to a better life, one they truly deserve, but who helps them get there.

Fortunately for Benny and Gino, some of Felice’s intelligent and caring and persuasive characters have thrown them their life preservers to save them and help them find their way.

Jeremy Strauss (Perfect) is the owner of Hard Core Fitness and their boss. He is the most vital influence and support system for Benny and Gino. Jeremy is selfless in his daily attempts to mentor and make the two believe that they matter and they’re so much more if they’d just believe in themselves. He’s also smart enough to know when professional help is needed and suggests they seek out his brother’s help.

Noah Strauss (One Call Away) is Jeremy’s brother, a former model, and a psychologist with his own radio talk show who understands first hand what Gino is going through having been a victim while in the modeling business himself. He’s kind, approachable, and never fails the two with the words of advice he offers. When Benny needs legal counsel, Noah offers the law practice of his husband, Oren.

Oren Leavitt (One Call Away) and Ash Davis (A Walk Through Fire) omg … yes, Ash people—take on Benny’s custody case involving his sister. When Ash opens up about his brutal past in the foster care system, it knocks the wind out of Gino.

My point here is that these men and their experiences throughout each of their lives have several common denominators in some way with Gino or Benny. They have helped Gino and Benny find their happily ever after because they all know themselves the hell they went through to get to heaven. This is magnificent world building within Felice Stevens’ books.

I swear that every new release is better than the last, but in reality, that’s just not true. All of them are equal treasures. Grab a box of tissues and a bottle of wine, then treat yourself to another Felice Stevens’ masterpiece. Five stars aren’t enough.

Both reviewed by Lisa Cullinan Bourbon, Bikes, and Books Book Blog

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Release Blitz/Giveaway

Title: 10- Code (Rock Point #4)
Author: Freya Barker
Genre: Romantic suspense

Release Date: June 17, 2019
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

As a forty-one-year-old mother of three boys, working two jobs, Marya Berger doesn’t have the time or energy to consider a relationship. Especially after a lifetime of poor choices in the romance department. But when the disappearance of a young boy strikes a little too close to home, and a younger man she’s tried to ignore offers his help, she doesn’t stand in the way.

Single father, Dylan Barnes, the junior member of the La Plata County FBI team at thirty-three, has his focus firmly on his job and his son, Max. He’s certainly not looking to complicate his life, when he finds himself at his son’s soccer game, sitting beside the spirited brunette he can’t get out of his mind. Fate, however, appears to have different plans.

When an unspeakable crime draws the attention of the FBI, Dylan finds himself torn between his job and his instinctive need to protect Marya and her boys.

Available in Kindle Unlimited

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10-Code knocked the wind out of me. This story was chaotic, frightening, heart wrenching, and quite important.

Marya Berger is a single mom who is raising three boys ages 8-13. She does the best she can and is lucky to have her mom nearby to give her a much-needed hand. Marya works two jobs and doesn’t have an easy life but truly loves her boys.

Dylan Barnes is an FBI agent who we’ve met in a few of Freya’s other books. He’s a single dad; his son Max is almost eleven years old and as it turns out, Max is also on Marya’s son, Liam’s, soccer team.

The two know each other because she works in Kerry’s bookstore. Kerry’s husband, Damian, is Dylan’s boss.

While watching their boys play soccer, so much is going on: The good stuff? These two are definitely into each other. We also get to meet Dylan’s fabulous mom, Beth, and her husband, Clint. Of course, I couldn’t help but fall in love with those two and how much love they have for Dylan and their grandson, Max.

Now … the rough part of the story stems right from that same soccer field. It’s frightening how something so sinister, horrifying, and evil is lurking around as two boys have been abducted.

There’s a sad but necessary message that shouts loud and clear from pages of 10-Code. I don’t have small children anymore, but those who do should take heed and be vigilant as to what their children are playing on their gaming systems and who they interact with.

This story will leave the reader on the edge of their seat as all the badasses who we love from Freya’s Rock Point series go full out in finding the scum of the earth harming these children. The anxiety and helplessness of everyone is front and center at the very same time Marya and Dylan are forming a brand new … something!

Freya Barker does it again and never disappoints her readers. The storyline blew me away, but the supporting characters bring so much depth that the pages are bursting as one chapter flows perfectly to the next.

10–Code is another gem by the one and only, Freya Barker. Five stars aren’t enough. I can’t recommend this one enough!

Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan ~ Bourbon, bikes, and Books

Freya Barker inspires with her stories about ‘real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy.

She is the author of the Cedar Tree and Portland, ME Series, the Northern Lights Collection and the Rock Point Series. She is also co-author of the SnapShot Series.

To see Freya’s complete backlist, or to find out what is coming down the pipe, visit freyabarker.com.

All Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Release Blitz/Review/Giveaway

Title: Covering Ollie(On Call #2)
Author: Freya Barker
Genre:Romantic Suspense

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Living in Durango, Colorado for the past eighteen years allowed Ollie Rizzo to build her own business and carve out a quiet existence for her and her teenage daughter. She’s used to going it alone. However, their new silver-haired neighbor might present a problem—not only is he handsome—he’s also Durango’s new chief of police; a complication she can’t afford.

For recently widowed Joe Benedetti, the job offer as Durango’s new chief of police came at the right time. With life, the new job, and his two young sons settling into a comfortable routine, he does his best to ignore the beautiful and intriguing woman across the street. Yet when he discovers she’s caught the attention of the FBI, there is no way he can stay away.

Their worlds collide with the appearance of FBI Special Agent Cruz Livingston. The agent has a warning to deliver, one that spins life in Durango out of control, giving Joe a crucial mission—keep Ollie alive.

Freya Barker does it again! Covering Ollie is the second installment from the On Call series and it’s EPIC!

I’m just gonna lay it out there—Joe Benedetti is my new FAVORITE book boyfriend. He’s beyond sexy, bossy, alpha, smart, and takes charge in the bedroom … Well, of course he does; he’s Durango’s new chief of police. If Freya can out do him, I’ll probably pass out.

A widowed father of two boys, Ryder and Mason, Joe Benedetti has an extreme amount of chaos and responsibilities on his plate, both professionally and personally. The way he handles himself, it’s easy to understand why he’s so well-respected and liked. Joe has the perfect mixture of sternness and warmth with his two boys who lost their mom to cancer a little over a year-and-a-half ago.

Joe is lucky that he has Trinny, the seventeen-year-old neighbor who lives across the street as she’s a huge help babysitting his boys. And that leads him to …

Olivia Rizzo is a single mom to Trinny, raising her on her own. Ollie, as she likes to be called, lost part of her leg in a car accident but certainly doesn’t let the disability slow down her life. Ollie is a spitfire and not too much gets past her. If she comes across as bossy, her fiery Italian temper combined with eighteen years of being a sole decision-maker and caregiver to her daughter are to blame. She’s had no other choice, not that she’d change a thing when it comes to her Trinny.

Little does Ollie know that her past is gonna catch up with her and trouble is on its way. Luckily, she has Durango’s chief of police to protect her and Trinny, and boy does he! Joe, along with Cruz Livingston from Susan Stoker’s Police and Fire: Operation Alpha, and the rest of Freya’s Rock Point FBI hotties do what they do best.

Joe and his sons’ lives become entwined with Ollie and Trinny’s, and in doing so, it’s clear they all need one another. All the parts that have been missing in each of their lives are filled to the brim as a new family is created. Joe and Ollie together are as natural as the beautiful gardens she brings to life.

Covering Ollie is another masterpiece. The storyline is so well-written and filled with lots of twists and turns and suspense. There’s the perfect balance of steamy, sexy times, heartfelt family moments, and funny and sassy banter. The supporting cast never fails to make every single one of Freya’s books a literary candy store, adding a kaleidoscope of color and depth that spills from the pages, and this one is no exception.

And … I just have to reiterate … Joe Benedetti ROCKED MY WORLD. He is the ultimate swoon-worthy alpha M.A.N.—just ask Ollie, she’ll tell ya ~

I say it every single time, but Freya Barker is the BEST storyteller of our time. Her books are treasures, sure to be read over and over again. Five stars for me! A must read ~

Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan ~ Bourbon, Bikes, and Books

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Freya Barker inspires with her stories about ‘real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy.

She is the author of the Cedar Tree and Portland, ME Series, the Northern Lights Collection and the Rock Point Series. She is also co-author of the SnapShot Series.

To see Freya’s complete backlist, or to find out what is coming down the pipe, visit freyabarker.com.

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New Release/Book Review

7845D55C-3B87-48C1-A2A3-A595156B1069Murphy: Satan’s Fury MC ~ Memphis

by L. Wilder

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2SHBQti

Goodreads Link → http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44231495-murphy

 

SYNOPSIS ~

Some rules are meant to be broken.

New York Times and USA Today Best Seller L. Wilder brings readers a new addition to the Satan’s Fury Memphis series.

Murphy’s Law- Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

As Satan’s Fury’s sergeant-at-arms, it was my job to stay one step ahead. It was up to me to make sure the club was ready when things went awry. I had to anticipate our enemies’ every move and plan accordingly. I couldn’t let Murphy’s Law bite me in the a*, so I created a set of rules to follow.

•The club comes first.
•Always have your brother’s back.
•Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
•Don’t buy into other people’s bullsht.
•Never let your emotions rule you.

I thought they’d prepare me for anything, but I was wrong. Nothing could’ve prepared me for Riley Nichols—the farmer’s daughter with coal-black eyes and a fiery tongue. She took me by surprise, mesmerizing me with her strength and tempting me with her innocence.

I wanted to make her mine, but having her meant breaking my rules—every last one of them.

Murphy is book four of the Satan’s Fury MC- Memphis Chapter. While this book is a continuation of book 3, it can be read as a standalone. Murphy is a full-length novel is intended for mature audiences only due to the explicit language and violence. Contains no cheating and a swoon-worthy HEA.

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I’ve always loved Leslie Wilder’s books—each and every one of them. This series, Satan’s Fury MC-Memphis, is a spinoff that takes us across the country from Cotton, Stitch, and the rest of the Washington State chapter to another Satan’s Fury chapter located in, well, Memphis, Tennessee. Murphy is the fourth installment and it ROCKS!

First of all, let me just say that Leslie Wilder doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this spinoff series. Each installment is raw, has a bit more violence, and is sexy-as-hell with one common denominator: don’t f%#k with Satan’s Fury and those they love. The outlaw MC life is a tough one, and there’s a reason the Fury reign supreme in the South. 

Murphy is the Memphis chapter’s sergeant-at-arms and takes his job seriously, always worrying and planning ahead when it comes to his club’s best interests. His road name even stems from Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And so it does …

The last installment, Riggs, was a complete jaw-dropping, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, heart-wrenching story that although it wasn’t a cliffy, it needed, no, it deserved more of an explanation as to how the fallout effected the club. Leslie gives it to us with guns ablazin’, perfectly told from Murphy’s POV. Nothing breaks the bonds of the brotherhood of Satan’s Fury MC.

As I mentioned above, Murphy has his own set of laws and puts a lot of pressure on himself to keep them all in check, but if he thinks getting involved with someone and falling in love is one he’ll abide, he’s just wrong—so very wrong.

Enter Riley Nichols. Smart, pretty, sassy, and not very good at handling her Long Island iced teas. Riley lives with her dad and her brother, Hunter, on their horse-breeding farm. Her mom is gone, a cancer victim, and that fact plays a big part in the storyline. In addition to the expenses that come along with breeding horses, Riley’s dad had spent a fortune trying to get the best care for his wife, including experimental treatments—anything to make her healthy. I think it’s safe to say that any one of us in that position would move heaven and earth for our loved ones. Unfortunately, the bills that add up can easily became insurmountable, leaving a huge financial burden on those left behind. 

Maybe selling illegal guns is a lucrative business for cartels, gangbangers, and MCs, but it sure isn’t the kind of trouble that an upstanding farm owner wants to get himself involved with. It’s because of this that Riley and Murphy meet. Boy, do things start to heat up between the two even though Riley’s dad has vehemently ordered his daughter to stay away from Murphy and his MC—Pfft! What twenty-four-year-old woman is going to listen anyway!

 Things go wrong for Mr. Nichols. Very wrong. Murphy has told him from the very beginning how it could all go south. The MC isn’t the only buyer who Mr. Nichols is dealing with, but they’re the first call he makes for help when Riley goes missing. I guess good ol’ Mr. Nichols shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. After all, he himself is a walking contradiction.

So, as the situation goes from bad to worse, the results aren’t pretty, especially when Murphy’s girl, Riley, is in trouble and Satan’s Fury gets involved. 

What. A. Story!! Like the others before it, this segment is also action packed, deeply heart felt, funny at times (the banter between club members is priceless!), with just enough steam. The whole cast of characters are brilliant, each adding so much depth to the storyline. I love that we still can enjoy the guys from the Washington chapter and how they interact with one another. It was so cool to “see” both chapter presidents, Cotton and Gus, taking care of business together. 

~~When I walked in, I found Cotton and Gus having a drink. They were in a deep discussion and hadn’t noticed that I’d come into the room. I stood there for a moment, appreciating the fact that I was in the presence of two living legends as they sat there talking. They were both known for leading their clubs with an iron fist, neither of them backing down when faced with adversity. Instead, they faced it with strength and determination. They both had balls of steel, and never showed a moment’s hesitation when it came to protecting the brotherhood. There wasn’t a brother around who’d ever question their loyalty to the club, and I was grateful for the opportunity to work alongside them. When Gus noticed me standing in the doorway, he motioned me over and said, “Hey, brother. Come have a beer.” ~~

Murphy and Riley are great together. I love when a female lead is strong yet understanding of her role within the MC world. These two truly compliment each other, and I‘m glad Murphy’s laws cracked just enough and allowed him to get the girl! Phenomenal read!! Five stars for me!!!!! 

Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan Bourbon, Bikes, and Books

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