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    REVIEW: King Slayer by Layla Reyne

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    Fog City: King Slayer – Layla Reyne

    Never fall for a mark. Mission fail.

    Christopher Perri—a.k.a. Dante Perry—infiltrated the Madigan organization with one goal: vengeance for his murdered partner. Falling for the assassin at the head of the table wasn’t part of the plan, but Hawes Madigan is not the cold, untouchable Prince of Killers Chris expected. Everything about the newly crowned king is hot, and every inch of him eminently touchable…and off-limits once Chris’s cover is blown.

    Exposure couldn’t come at a worse time. Hawes’s throne is threatened, and Chris suspects the same person who killed his partner is behind the coup. Working with Hawes benefits them both, but Chris’s employer has other ideas. Dismantling criminal organizations is what Chris does best, and his boss expects the King Slayer to deliver.

    But Hawes is taking the Madigans in a new direction, one Chris can get behind, and the two men form a shaky alliance strengthened by the irresistible attraction between them…until Chris learns who killed his partner. Once he knows the truth, the King Slayer is unleashed, and Chris will stop at nothing to destroy those who betrayed him, including the king who stole his heart.

    Twists and turns—and cliffhangers—continue in book two of the Fog City Trilogy. Read at your own risk!

    King Slayer picks up immediately from the very last part of book one, where Hawes was handcuffed to the bed and Christopher Perri turned the world upside down with his shocking revelations. Plans of working together were proposed but trust was in short supply. Hawes was burned all right but didn’t stop him and Chris from getting into each other’s pants yet again.

    I mentioned before that Hawes wasn’t that badass for somebody who leads a family of assassins. Seeing him from Chris’ perspective, the parts of the King that other people, me included, see as weaknesses only that proved he had a soul (also that his badassery is there when he needs to be, not something he flaunts). Hawes fought hard to keep that part of him. The assassin was always described with sharp edges but there’s a softness to him that makes it easy to see why Chris would fall for a mark like that.

    Still not into Dante/Chris, but I liked the story better from his POV. My earlier impression was that of him being a manipulative bastard so I feel a lot better understanding his motives this time. And he was willing to do more than just blur the lines as he fully committed himself to the mission. Many times, he outright lied to his coworkers about the details of events to protect the Madigans. I was left wondering if he still has a job after this. Then I remembered, this was his last hurrah. The guy had nothing to lose. Knock yourself out, Chris! I have an idea what he’s going to do after all this is over. Can’t wait!

    I liked how Fog City connects to the bigger Layla Reyne universe. Definitely enjoying those little references to the FBI and that SAC with an Irish accent ( ~ _ ^ )b. New characters were introduced including a by-the-book agent, Scotty Wheeler, who turned out to be not so bad after all. I wouldn’t mind reading a book about him. I could see an opposites-attract enemies-to-lovers thing going for this agent. Make it happen, please!

    King Slayer clocks in at 5+ hours, relatively short but very twisty. Major hints of who’s behind the plans to get Hawes out of the picture dropped like a bomb. Who that person was was surprising and in hindsight, made a lot of sense because who else had a vested interest in the future of the business? The most surprising part of it all was that their interest was serious enough to make it worth eliminating someone as closely connected as Hawes. Damn! How would this play out? Can Hawes pull the trigger when the moment of truth arrives?

    Like Prince of Killers, I was swept along by the fast-paced writing. It’s still as tight and suspenseful as ever, but there’s less of a rushed feeling and more getting into the moment. I loved the ending for this book. Still very cliffy but satisfying because some questions were answered and finally, Hawes and Chris are in sync.

    Saw the cover for book 3, A New Empire. Oh-em-gee! I know Chris is retiring but whatever you do, stay in business, Hawes.


    Layla Reyne book here

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: King Rides By
    Artist: Cat Power
    Album: What Would The Community Think

  • book,  Uncategorized

    REVIEW: Can’t Hide From Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge


    Can’t Hide From Me – Cordelia Kingsbridge

    Charles Hunter’s team is on a mission to extract an unidentified ATF agent from an undercover job gone wrong. All they’ve got to go on is the rendezvous location—until Charles recognizes the ex he hasn’t seen in years. Their “simple rescue mission” is about to get a lot more complicated.

    For Ángel Medina, adjusting to life after his cartel nightmare is hard enough without confronting memories of a failed relationship. All he wants is a fresh start. But when a violent stalker lashes out from the shadows, Ángel realizes his nightmare is far from over.

    As the stalker’s obsession escalates and bodies start dropping, Charles and Ángel are thrown together in a desperate search for the culprit. Tempers flare and old passions reignite, drawing them back into the same turbulent relationship that once ended in disaster.

    But the stalker isn’t letting go—and the next strike might hit straight through the heart.

    The thing with mysteries is that whenever a non-spoiler spoiler says, “I guessed the unsub the moment the character was introduced”, I immediately zero in on the suspect. This does not necessarily ruin the reading experience, especially if the writing is engaging but well, I already know what to expect.

    This is the case for Can’t Hide From Me, a standalone novel from the author of Seven Of Spades, Cordelia Kingsbridge. The stalker’s identity became obvious when I got the hint but this book is as gripping as her famous series. She writes suspense with a deft hand and she was able to keep those edge-of-my-seat feels going until the last page.

    Emotions ran high as tension of every kind filled the scenes from page one. ATF undercover agent, Angel Medina barely escaped the clutches of the cartel when his extraction nearly went haywire at the start of the story, then immediately right after, found himself the target of a dangerous stalker. As if he did not have enough problems, he and Charles Hunter, also ATF, had a bitter breakup two years prior and ugly feelings resurfaced after they met again and worked in the same team. At the same time, their attraction remained as strong as ever and both were powerless to resist.

    Charles glanced sideways, watching Ángel curled up comfortably on his couch, barefoot and wearing Charles’s T-shirt. How could he haver ever talked himself into believing this was going to work? He’d never been able to spend any length of time in Ángel’s company without fucking him, fighting with him, or doing both simultaneously. Ángel had set Charles on fire the moment they’d met, and while those flames had banked and flared over the years, they’d never been extinguished.

    There were some unwise decisions from both parties that complicated the already volatile situation. One particularly stupid move was Angel hitting the clubs just hours after his extraction, fully aware he had a target on his back because that’s how badly he needed to get laid. Charles claiming he had self-control when they know he had zero when it comes to Angel. So he just had to invite Angel to stay in his apartment with the intent of keeping him safe (that’s what he told everybody and himself). Both threw professionalism to the wind because they simply can’t keep their hands off each other. So now they’re both targets of the stalker. Fan-fucking-tastic.

    I liked how the author developed Charles and Angel individually and as a couple. Charles is more level-headed, serious and a closeted bi while Angel is more spontaneous, hot-tempered and openly gay. The latter also has a degree on psychology(?) and was not afraid to use psychological tactics when it suits him. For the most part, it seemed that their connection was only sexual but a closer look revealed deeper feelings running underneath.

    I also liked how the issue of Charles coming out as bi was incorporated into the story, not just making it the usual coming out woes, but that it’s something that actually affected the course of events and had serious consequences for the MCs. This revelation came as a bigger surprise to me and made me see Charles and Angel in a different light.

    The chemistry between the two men was undeniable although I’m not sure they’re healthy for each other. One manipulated the other, the other was also a prick and there was too much history between them. It wasn’t until the end when they let it all out that the two of them together finally felt right.

    In keeping with her other books, CK created a diverse and interesting cast with emphasis on giving many important and relatively atypical (for MM) roles for her female characters. And if you have read her other books, you know what that usually means to the story. (^_−)☆

    Narrator Nick J. Russo did a great job as usual. Each character stood out and his female voices were convincing and varied. His Mexican accent for Angel was beautiful! I think that was the best rendition of the accent I’ve heard so far. I’m kind of not sure about the pronunciation of the name though. He pronounced it as ‘an-hel’, I thought it should be ‘ang-hel’. Maybe Mexicans say it differently from us despite similar Spanish influences. Anyhoo…

    I might not love it as much as SOS but overall, Can’t Hide From Me is a well-written and highly entertaining action/mystery story with a tumultuous romantic side plot. Recommended if you’re looking for steamy, suspenseful stories about feds fucking and fighting (crass, I know but that’s what they did)


    Cordelia Kingsbridge books here

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: No One Knows
    Artist: Queens Of The Stone Age
    Album: Songs For The Deaf