Nothing Special VII: Ex Meridian – A.E. Via
Police Lieutenants, God and Day are under intense pressure from the chief to take back control of Atlanta’s streets.The last thing their task force needs is a pair of trained killers in town with a personal score to settle.
Take a man and strip him of his ability to feel compassion, empathy, remorse, or any of the emotions that make him human, but leave the ones that ignite rage and aggression and you have the perfect killing machine—now imagine two of them.
Code names Ex and Meridian are synonymous for ‘guaranteed death’ to international terrorists. Two broken men from the same crooked streets, recruited into an unsanctioned government program that few know about. Trained to operate most efficiently—lethally—together.
When Ex returns from an op in Bolivia to learn his little brother has been accidentally killed in a feud between drug gangs, he’s stateside before he can consider the rules he’ll be breaking, and of course Meridian is right beside him. There’s mayhem on the streets of Atlanta and the police are losing control. If Godfrey and his elite team of detectives can’t get the job done then they’d be happy to lighten their caseloads for them. And Ex nor Meridian care about doing it quietly.
“I know who you are.”The man grunted when Ex turned to leave.“You’re the fucking devil.”
Meridian walked past, glaring one final time.“Say that loud enough… maybe God will save you.”
But after their first run-in with the big lieutenant and his protective husband, Day, Ex and Meridian start to reevaluate their own relationship. Wondering if they could be even deadlier if they let loose the feelings for each other that they’ve been forced to suppress for years.
Meridian’s dark eyes stayed locked on his, “A man who can fight beside the one he loves doesn’t make him weaker, Ex—it makes him more dangerous.”
No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. Ends with a HEA.
Note: This title focuses on two new characters in the series. And while it can standalone, there are appearences from prior main characters.
Note: This is a partners-to-lovers, out-for-you, action romance.
Note: There are depictions of violence in this novel.
A grieving brother out for revenge.
A killer whose blood is literally cold.
An assassin who kills with a whisper.
The Devil in the house of God.
A most compelling partners-to-lovers romance that slow-burned for eight years! Squee~!
OTT action and suspense that’s perfectly balanced with the rest of the plot.
God and Day’s boys coming together with their bounty hunting friends.
Some of God’s most vulnerable moments!
Day still winning and annoying everyone with his mouthy ways.
The King brothers’ most painful memories coming out in the open.
Ruxs and Green are tested as they have never been before!
Ex seeing Meridian in the truest light.
Meridian giving Ex the world. Ex doesn’t even need to ask. ♥(ˆ⌣ˆԅ)
The baddest, toughest alpha pair of ’em all!
Meridian’s dark eyes stayed locked on his, “A man who can fight beside the one he loves doesn’t make him weaker, Ex—it makes him more dangerous.”
Okay, so I’m addicted to this series and I’m sticking around for good or bad. Luckily, it’s mostly good. The last two books showed huge improvements. My thoughts on the rest of the books here.
Ms. V’s books here.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
I found this tag on Chelle’s Book Ramblings . It’s simple and fun. I thought I would put my own spin on it and make it a weekly thing.
The Bounty Hunters: Promises: The Next Generation – A.E. Via
Duke Webb has run the most successful bail recovery agency in Atlanta for over twenty years. That’s because he has a team of trained, competent hunters backing him up to keep his name feared on the streets. But Duke knows that nothing can go on forever. His hunters are in committed relationships and ready to settle down, and so is he. That’s what leads him to start his new training program.
“That’s the new vision for Dukes. Veterans operating and tracking behind the scenes with a new powerhouse apprehension team on the streets.”
Brian and Quick are the first to offer up two new recruits.
Kellam Knight has studied martial arts under his sensei, Quick, since he was eight years old. A tossed-out reject from high-society, Kell has a problem fighting on the right side of the law. If he sees an injustice, he has to correct it. He doesn’t have to run and cower from his enemies anymore, he’s a fighter who can protect himself and others. When Quick offers Kell the opportunity to join Duke’s training program, he’s all in. Except he’s not prepared for the straight, over-confident, extremely disciplined, sexy man Brian has recruited to be his partner.
Tyrell Jenkins’ world was flipped upside down when his father never returned home from his last deployment. He’d been Ty’s teacher, mentor, his guide to living a righteous life as a good man. His father didn’t raise him to be like every other young, stereotypical male in Atlanta. Instead, he’s been taught to be respectful, to speak the language of real men. When Brian King – his father’s most trusted comrade – finally comes to him with the truth, he doesn’t come alone. He comes with trained men hidden in the shadows… and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a brotherhood unlike any other.
This installment is a part of a series and contains previously mentioned characters, but CAN standalone. Each book centers around a new couple.
This book ends in a HEA. NO cliffhanger.
I dropped everything for this book. Tyrell Jenkins nearly made me drop it all together.
At first, I thought, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I was not getting it. Then when I read the other reviews, I knew I wasn’t alone. It was indeed Tyrell who ruined the whole thing. This review echos many of the observations pointed out by other reviewers on Goodreads.
First, the the whole thing read like a YA book. All along I thought Kell and Ty were in their early twenties. Turned out they were pushing thirties. This is okay. I think Ms. Via was going for that pure, virginal vibe that was one of the major themes of the story.
Unfortunately, the book also read like MF. I remember when I first started out with MM, I was wary that the stories were just gendered-switched MF stories. Well, the fifth installment of Promises did exactly that. I couldn’t believe Kell went from a fiery, hot-tempered martial arts master to what other reviewers say “50s housewife/hijabi woman” complete with his own version of a burka.
I thought it was such a waste of character. I liked Kell a lot. The author built him up as a modern day mo fo badass ninja and I actually liked his outfit. Heck, I would like to wear a hood+beanie+scarf combo that hides half the face myself. It’s what the cool characters wear in anime. Unfortunately, there was this whole schtick about wanting to hide the hair because it oh so fabulous that people won’t take him seriously. I understand this is a nod to the Muslim side of Ty’s family but it was further cementing Kell’s status as a woman-substitute.
Now to Tyrell. The man was raised by a Muslim father who instilled in him moral lessons that were quite frankly double standard. Ty is in search of a woman that would pass his stringent criteria to become his Queen. Criteria that backward, chauvinistic males like to impose on women. Like being a virgin in one’s wedding day, exposing oneself only to one’s husband and so on. He expects his woman to keep herself covered while he struts around in designer clothes.
Tyrell likes to slut-shame many of the women he comes across in his daily life. He is also very critical of the poor people in his neighborhood. He goes on and on how he is better than everyone else which was funny because he had no real job apart from delivering packages with suspicious contents. He justifies that he doesn’t know what’s inside so his conscience is clear. He also goes on and on about respect but disrespects his boss and co-workers when he became part of Duke’s bounty hunters.
I appreciate arrogant, uber-confident alphas but Tyrell had none of their charm. I wished Kell had a different love interest.
On the plus side, all the other bounty hunters were there. They were the reason I hung on. Yay for Brian’s many appearances! Too bad Sway didn’t make it on page.
I’m not giving up on this series. I love these bounty hunters too much. I’m hoping this is a fluke and the next one’s better.
2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book
Bishop: A True Lover’s Story – A.E. Via
At only thirty-two, Bishop Stockley has lived a hard-knock life. His gang was his family, the streets his home. Until the crew he’d always called his brothers betrayed him. After doing five years in a federal prison, Bishop is back at his dad’s trailer and working for his landscaping company, thrust into a legit world where he’s no longer the alpha—a world where a criminal record is the least of his disadvantages, because Bishop can’t read or write. Illiteracy had never been an obstacle for him on the streets, he didn’t need to know how to read Moby Dick to survive, he needed to know how to read people… and that was a hustle he’d learned hard and fast. Now, he had to change his life.
Bishop’s only support system was a young, inexperienced dad who’d insisted he call him Mike all their life—since they looked more like brothers than father and son. And his hot-tempered, childhood, best friend from ’juvie, Trent. Bishop already had the deck stacked against him, but he wasn’t afraid of hard work to change his situation, and he did want to change. Especially after he encountered Edison Scala, a kind-spirited office manager who didn’t hesitate to come to his defense… a man that saw past Bishop’s grass-stained coveralls. A man who wasn’t intimidated by his stern features and his silence.
Edison hadn’t grown up the way most of his peers had. He’d been raised by a single father who’d owned an old-fashioned barber shop where Edison was taught how to not only shave with a straight razor, and shine shoes, but also how to treat others, to not judge, to be a gentleman, to be respectful and speak without profanity. But, the biggest lesson he’d learned, was to always be himself. His lack of friends and a social life wasn’t his fault. No matter how much weight he gained, no matter how many times his staff called him a square, Edison did not need to change.
Bishop knew Edison was off-limits. He’d made personal vows to himself when he was released from prison, ones that he never intended to break. But, when Edison asked him about providing landscaping services at his home, there was no way he could refuse. He hadn’t expected Edison to feed him, praise him, encourage him, and look at him the way he did—as if Bishop was somebody. Mike and Trent warned him not to mix business with pleasure and he didn’t intend to.
No multiple pairings.No cliffhangers. Ends with a very, very HFN.
This book is a M/M contemporary romance, a hardened man’s struggle to find real love.There are no police chases or doors being kicked in, in this one. But, don’t worry.Bishop is still intense enough to keep you on the edge.
Bishop: A True Lover’s Story is a moving story of one man’s struggle, not only to find real love, but to rise above and become a better person. This is different from A.E. Via‘s usual offering of law enforcement bad boys and shifter alphas. This is a true blue contemporary romance but with the same intense alpha males she does best.
The two main characters couldn’t be more different from each other on the surface. Bishop is rough around the edges. He’s an ex-gang leader and ex-con who couldn’t read and write. He grew up with a dad who was only 15 years older than him and wasn’t much of a father figure. Bishop was in prison for 5 years for armed robbery along with his best friend, Trent. Meanwhile, Edison was an executive at a law firm at only 26. He’s slightly overweight, cooks like a master chef and is a veritable bookworm. He has no social life at all.
Right off the bat, I connected with Edison with his weight woes, love for good food, lack of friends and capacity to devour books. It was easy to dismiss Edison as spineless at first glance. He lets his subordinates walk all over him, especially that giant prick, Skylar. But I think Edi is really just a well-mannered man who chose to be polite because he has class. He’s also genuinely kind. I loved how he makes old-fashion charming rather than backward.
Bishop is strong and vulnerable at the same time. I couldn’t imagine the kind of struggle he has gone through in a world where we take knowing how to read for granted. It was impressive how he was able to survive and adapt. He also is a talented artist who created magnificent landscape designs. I liked how he wanted to improve, not because he’s in a relationship with a wonderful man but because he owed it to himself. He’s one of the best leads Via created.
The story took its own sweet time establishing the characters and their backgrounds. Some might find the going too slow. Even I who like slow burn found myself wanting to hurry things along especially at the first parts. But I was happy I stuck around. As I got deeper into the story, I was rewarded with a beautiful portrait of a relationship between two people who fit together perfectly.
The secondary characters were also outstanding. Bishop’s dad, Mike, Trent and even Skylar the villain were all effective in their supporting and antagonistic roles. Skylar was a hateful piece of shit who liked making Edison’s life miserable because he really wanted Edi for himself. Mike is that cool dad who tried really hard to make up to his son for his lack of proper guidance while growing up. Trent was the brother from another mother who always got Bishop’s back. Trent was a favorite, he needs his own book. And I just know it’s happening!!!
Overall, Bishop: A True Lover’s Story is one of Via‘s best written books. Recommended if you’re looking for a story where love is pure and food is good.
A.E. Via books here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bit
The Bounty Hunters: Promises Part 4 – A.E. Via
Men found him attractive, interesting even.He was like a fascinating experiment gone wrong that men liked to investigate.He’d get a date – or two, if he was lucky – but it wasn’t long before Brian’s darkness showed, and the men were running from him.
Brian King was honorably discharged from the United States Navy five years ago. He’d left with the highest honors a man can receive in his country, but he’d paid the ultimate price to earn them. He was considered one of the best; an Intelligence Officer in a Joint Special Operations Delta team that’d been a twelve-man wrecking crew. They’d thought they were invincible… until they weren’t. Brian was the only member that survived the ambush. He survived ten months of pain, of torture, only to emerge on the other side a warrior. A POW survivor. He’d returned home with all his limbs, his right mind, and with his only brother Ford, at his side. But, one thing had been lost, maybe for good… his voice.
Now, being a bounty hunter is Brian’s only means to satisfy his need to calculate, track, and capture. His only outlet to the stress caused by his silence. He was good at what he did. But, all work and no play for a forty-four year old man was taking its toll. Brian wasn’t a faulty experiment. He missed companionship, he missed communicating. So, when he met Sway Hamilton – in the most unconventional means – he’d been surprised at his special way of understanding Brian’s every look… and touch.
Sway grew up in the rough part of ATL, trailing behind his twin brother Stanton and his best friend, Dana. He and his brother had a bond only twins could understand. So when Stanton’s life was taken during their sophomore year in college, Sway didn’t think he’d ever recover. He finally finished school, got his masters in nursing, worked hard, and focused on taking care of his mother. However, Sway knew there was more to life than heartache, and caring for others. There had to be. But he didn’t know what any of those things were until he met a dark hunter that blew his mind… and the intense man had never uttered a single word.
Brian and Sway can feel the powerful connection between them. It was there from the start—but both of them have battled with loss and anguish for so long, neither understand that love can ease all of it. Do they have the courage to battle through it together? Sway has to learn to trust in love, and Brian has to believe that Sway will always understand him even if he never speaks again.
Sway held him tight around his neck, “I don’t need you to talk Brian. I can hear you just fine,” Sway whispered softly, kissing his throat.
This novel is a part of a series but can be read as a standalone.No cliffhangers.
Trigger Warning: This story contains acts of bond recovery agent violence. Mention of war zones and descriptions of war prisoners. This story DOES NOT contain overly-described acts of torture.
I knew it!!!
This is the best book!!!
Ms V outdid herself and pulled off everything to perfection!
I know she loves all her boys but I could tell she had a special fondness for Brian and Sway. I loved the way she brought the two men together. I loved the way their instant hookup blossomed into a deeper, more beautiful connection. I loved the way they fit together perfectly. They’re two of her best characters.
Brian’s loneliness was palpable. My heart went out to him. He has mutism as a result of his PTSD. I was super impressed with the way this was handled in the story. There were no magic dicks, miracle cures or cheesy resolutions. It was a heart-wrenching struggle that exploded in a heart-stopping climax that ended in a very satisfying resolution. This part alone made the book 5-stars for me.
Sway was a joy! He’s not only a healer but a fighter. Squirt was hesitant to take things further at first but when he realized Brian was a keeper, he firmly stood by him through panic attacks, flashbacks and nightmares. Loved his sass too!
The story was big on communication. The two had their doubts and insecurities. I loved that they took time to talk and listen. They were goals!
The story was also about brothers, dead and alive. The close relationship between Brian and Ford was one of the things that drew me to the King brothers. There’s Dana who has sworn to look after Sway after the latter’s twin died. He really loves to play the annoying, protective big brother. There’s also the brotherhood between the bounty hunters and memories of fellow soldiers long dead. This theme ran throughout the series. Here, they all came together so well.
The author’s books always had one liners that made me chuckle but this one had many genuine laugh out loud scenarios. The two ladies in Sway’s life, his mom and her nurse, were a riot! Brian’s fellow bounty hunter and Ford’s boyfriend, Dana, rhapsodizing about the trick of using boxed meals as gourmet dishes was freakin’ hilarious!
Most of all, in this trying times of panic and fear, Promises Part 4 succeeded in making me smile and giving me pleasant things to think about the next day at work. This book will always be special to me.
(♡ˆ ω ˆ)っ♡♡♡♡ Sway seeing Brian in his dress uniform for the first time!!!!
5 Stars – absolutely perfect