This author is another *new to me* read. Boy, am I ever grateful for midnight 1-clicking at Amazon. I forgot how this title came onto my radar, butam I one happy reader. Not only does the next book come out in April (not too far away), but the third book comes out in June! That makes my reader heart sing with joy. When I was 10% into this book, I couldn’t help feeling a bit euphoric about a new series (and a contemporary to boot) that gave me those warm tingly feelings I had when I first read Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. What I am trying to say and probably not as elegantly as I hoped – sorry!- is this book is cracktastic. It’s over-the-top goodness, wrapped up in a badass alpha, kickass heroine, brotherhood bonding, excellent writing, and with a whole heaping of “When’s the next book out?” Complete reader bliss. While I try my hardest not to be a squeeing moron, I am going to fail to rein it in, I loved this book that much.
Vivienne Moore is trying so hard to erase her past. She has her own business planning events, the townhouse, the right buttoned-up wardrobe, the dog, and one troubled sister who keeps one foot in her newly built world and one foot planted firmly in her past. Viv gets a call on New Year’s Eve from her sister Callie to pick her up from The Crossroads Club. This is nothing new for Viv. She’s been peeling her sister off the floor of many places for a long time. Viv makes it to the club and fights her way through the crowds to find Callie. As she stumbles upon the ladies’ room, the door is locked and she’s just about ready to break the door down. Another door opens and a big, hot guy pops his head out to find out what’s going on. As the door opens she see’s a man lying on his stomach getting stitches with a huge tattoo encompassing his back. His jet black long locks, close cropped beard, his mouth made for sinning, and his dark broody eyes give Viv a pause. I would say if eye-fucking was a sport in the Olympics, Viv would have won Gold. It’s from this moment on that Viv comes on the radar of one Jace Kennedy, owner of several businesses, including the club she’s at, and leader of the Haven Brotherhood.
“Fantasy Man was still locked in place and glaring over one shoulder, the power behind his gaze as potent as the crackle and hum after a nearby lightning strike.”
Jace Kennedy is having a shit night. He’s dealing with a knife wound from breaking up two drug dealers in his club, two customers getting arrested, and the Dallas Police Department up his ass. Not to mention all the bad press in the news. Jace is well aware of Viv checking him out and he’s intrigued by the buttoned-up caretaker. Jace’s brothers (not of blood, but all the ways that count) are all jabbing him over Viv’s reaction to their commander-in-chief. You see, Axel, Trevor, Beckett, Zeke, Knox, and probably very soon Danny live by one creed.
“It’s not where a man comes from, or what he wears, that matters. It’s what he does with his life that counts.”
From this point on Jace is pursuing Vivienne. He hires her to do all his event planning for all his numerous businesses under the Haven Brotherhood banner. He also has Knox check out her background before she actually works for his company. The brotherhood is really militant about who gets into their inner sanctum. Does Jace go over the top? Hell to the yes. He invades her privacy by breaking into her home and rummaging through not only her personal computer but also her panty drawer. I wasn’t on board with his actions and I also knew that he was going to have to grovel big time once he had to confess to doing it in the first place. With that said, I was still on board because Jace is downright intriguing. After Viv gets the all clear, Jace goes and does another bonehead thing. He blackmails her into two dates that was attached to her contract with the Haven. While a dickhead move, I was still on board.
Vivienne is gun shy and, quite frankly, exhausted to the point she just doesn’t realize it. She is such an amazing character that I could totally relate to. It’s Vivienne who makes this book one I will re-read again and again. While she’s really trying to be better than where she came from and hiding who she is and afraid of people abandoning her, and constantly worrying about her sister’s alcohol and drug problem, she’s slowly dying. Jace sees her for who she is and he is hellbent on making her see it too. This is an emotional read for anyone who has/had someone they love deal with addiction. There are no easy solutions or answers. Viv is doing the best she can, even if it’s enabling her sister’s bad behavior. Her sister is truly all she has left in the world. Her father was killed in a bar fight when she was a teenager and her mother abandoned her and Callie years before that. Viv has a lot of emotional baggage. There’s a lot to unpack. It is the journey of this awakening that makes this book so special.
“Good God, if he died in the next five minutes he’d do it a happy man. He’d kissed her enough times he should’ve known what to expect, but something about this one rocked him. Vulnerable, innocent and hungry all rolled up into one. No, it was more than that. This was freedom, and damn it tasted fantastic on her lips.”
You see, Jace is pretty vulnerable himself. He has as many layers and a past same as Viv. He sees a kindred spirit and he’s holding on with both hands. I did say this book is emotional, right?
“My life wasn’t anywhere near as rough as yours. I was never hungry. I never faced the realities Jace did, and my parents never sacrificed for me or Callie like you did for him, but seeing all of you together, I think I’d choose your world over mine. For several seconds, Ninette didn’t move. Just studied her with a scrutiny Viv felt clear to her toes. her face softened and she tossed the sponge into the sink. “All kinds of rough in this world, sweetheart. Rough in the real world or rough in the heart, it’s all hard on the soul.”
Before I sign off on this review – this book is HOT. It’s emotional, it’s raw, and it’s very gritty. But most of all, it’s real. Real in the sense that each character has their flaws, but it’s those flaws that create such beauty. I am going to end my review with this last quote and a huge shout-out to Rhenna Morgan for rocking my book world. Thank you.
“Their lips and tongues tangled, a perfect dance that flowed natural and wild between them. If fire had a flavor, this was it. Bold. Fearless.”
A self-made man with his fingers in a variety of successful businesses, Jace Kennedy lives for the challenge and he always gets what he wants. From the start, he sees Vivienne Moore’s hidden wild side and knows she’s his perfect match, if only he can break it free. He will have her. One way or another.
Vivienne’s determined to ditch the rough lifestyle she grew up in, even if that means hiding her true self behind a bland socialite veneer. Dragging her party-hound sister out of a club was not how she wanted to ring in the New Year, but Viv knows the drill. Get in, get her sister and get back to the safe, stable life she’s built for herself as fast as humanly possible. But Viv’s plans are derailed when she finds herself crashing into the club’s clearly badass and dangerously sexy owner.
Jace is everything Vivienne swore she never wanted, but the more time she spends with him, the more she starts to see that he loves just as fiercely as he fights. He can walk society’s walk and talk society’s talk, but when he wants something, he finds a way to get it. He’s proud of who he is and where he came from, and he’ll be damned if he lets Vivienne go before showing her the safest place of all is in the arms of a dangerous man.
Read an excerpt.