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    REVIEW: Silent Knight by Layla Reyne

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    Fog City: Silent Knight – Layla Reyne

    I won’t let anything happen to you.

    Fourteen years ago, Braxton Kane’s feelings were forbidden.
    As an officer, he couldn’t fall for an enlisted… no matter how much he longed for Holt Madigan.
    Now—as a police chief in love with a digital assassin—his promise to always protect Holt is becoming harder to keep.

    I’ll protect you.

    Holt doesn’t understand why his best friend has been pushing him away for months.
    But when Brax’s life and career are threatened, Holt refuses to allow the distance any longer.
    The Madigans protect their own, and Brax is family, whether he believes it or not.

    I won’t let anything happen to you either.

    Forced together, Holt realizes his feelings for his best friend have changed.
    His desire to explore the promise their single night together held is undeniable.

    His resolve to protect the man who has always protected him is unshakable.
    But if Holt wants a future with Brax, he’ll have to search and destroy the person who attacked him—before Brax activates the kill switch and sacrifices himself.

    Love and devotion. Friendship and trust. Family. It all comes down to this. Holt and Kane, together at last, in the final book of the Fog City romantic suspense series.


    Saving the last for the best Madigan of ’em all!

    Silent Knight is the most awaited finale of Fog City, a series about the notorious Madigans. I’ve been waiting for Lil H’s story ever since he and Brax had those moments in the Hawes’ Fog City trilogy.

    Holt Madigan, hacker, ex-soldier, dad, and all-around sweetheart, had had it worse in the first books when his wife, Emilia, turned out to be a traitor in their midst. His best friend, Police Chief Braxton Kane, has been his rock for decades. Now, Brax’s life is in danger, and Holt will do anything to save the person who saved his life.

    Their story started 14 years ago when they were in the military. Then-captain Brax first set eyes on the young private stepping off the plane and immediately fell in love. He promised himself he would do everything to make sure that soldier would board the plane home alive.

    Due to military regulations, a relationship was forbidden, and Brax kept his feelings for Holt under lock and key. However, the two became best friends. Their bond remained strong even after returning to civilian life and Brax learning the truth about Holt’s family.

    The first half is told in flashbacks from Brax’s POV. This part made my chest hurt. The pining alone was worth 5-stars. Poor Cap had it bad for the Private. So bad that he forced his way into a mission to protect the young soldier, helped him transition back to civilian life while he’s still halfway across the world, forced to silently endure Holt getting married to another person, moved across the country to live in the same city as him, risk his career to protect him and his family of assassins. Never once letting his best friend know how he truly felt for him. Not even that night he helped the pan/demisexual Holt lose his virginity. Damn the man and his military discipline!

    The second half covers the present and is told from Holt’s POV. This is where most of the mystery and the suspense came in. All the Madigans rallied to Brax’s side to uncover who was behind the threats. I loved how everyone considered him family and pretty much already assumed he and Holt were a given. The only one who needed to realize this was Holt.

    This part lost me at some points. The mystery wasn’t as riveting as it was supposed to be. There was a big to-do with the investigations, where I danced with glee at the cameos from Jamie, Aiden, Mel, and Nic, characters from Agents Irish and Whiskey and Trouble Brewing. There were also some attempts at plot twists. But at the end of it all, everything still came down to the default bad guy. So there weren’t any major surprises. The big showdown, while fitting Holt’s character, also felt anti-climactic.

    The suspense bit might not have been strongly delivered but the rest of the story, and the romance, in particular, was what made this book my favorite in the series. It is a beautifully rendered love story about falling for one’s best friend and a deeply rewarding requiting of a silent and unconditional love. And the way this book was written, which felt more intense and angstier than the rest, hit me harder in the kokoro.

    There is a strong sense of family that ties everyone together, from the Madigan siblings to their significant others to their organization members, and their friends. It is these characters and their bonds that kept me returning to Fog City and its sister series time and time again

    The epilogue wasn’t what I was looking for, not enough Brax and Holt. But it left an opening for possibly another spinoff. And it looks like Brax is going to play a big part here too!

    Overall, Silent Knight might not be as flashy as Hawes’ books or as bombastic as Helena’s, but it is the one that spoke the loudest and the most heartfelt.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: How Can I Protect You
    Artist: Restless Modern
    Album:

    P.S.

    Silent Knight is best experienced after the Fog City trilogy and Queen’s Ransom. The Madigans wouldn’t have it any other way.

    While you’re at it, pick up the equally fantastic partners-to-lovers romance between FBI agents, Aiden Talley and Jameson Walker, in Agents Irish and Whiskey.

    Because these guys are a tight-knit bunch, also check out Aiden’s sorta-ex-turned-friend, US Attorney Dominic Price, and Nic’s partner, FBI Agent Cameron Byrne in Trouble Brewing


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    SILENT KNIGHT

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    REVIEW: A New Empire by Layla Reyne

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    Fog City: A New Empire – Layla Reyne

    Legacies were made to be rewritten.

    Assassin Hawes Madigan wants to do right—by his family, his organization, his city, and the man he’s falling for, ATF agent Christopher Perri. But Hawes’s rules are being challenged by someone willing to kill for the old ways. To save his soul and his empire, Hawes must make an impossible decision: fight from the outside or bend the knee to win back his throne from within.

    Chris is used to being the inside man, the one undercover. Now, he’s on the outside marshaling forces in support of the man and the ring of assassins he was supposed to take down. His mission shifted when he found something that’s been missing for ten long years—a home, with Hawes.

    As Hawes and Chris make a dangerous play for control, the lines between allies and traitors blur. Trusting the wrong person could destroy the legacy Hawes envisions for the Madigans. But not trusting anyone, or each other, could mean lights out on their love and lives forever.

    The King and King Slayer fight together in this thrilling conclusion to the Fog City Trilogy!


    Maybe it was those suspenseful build ups. And those heart-stopping cliffhangers. But my expectations of this final Fog City book was sky high.

    I was, sadly, underwhelmed.

    A New Empire was not a bad book. In fact, we get all the twisty, action-suspense thrills we want. However, none of the surprises shocked me greatly. They were almost to be expected, except for Vivienne Tran’s bombshell.

    I had correctly guessed the mastermind behind Hawe’s downfall in book two, King Slayer. Who else would it be? I also expected this person to have a stronger presence in book 3. They were there, but I didn’t feel the powerful aura of somebody who can take down the king.

    This series is known for being fast and tight. The plot was a somewhat convoluted but with the way it was paced, it certainly kept things from being boring. I enjoyed going from one twist to another with hardly any lull.

    Even the climax was rushed. This part I would have liked to be more impactful given how much time they spent plotting and strategizing. I almost didn’t realize that it was happening because it was over way too soon. Maybe it was respect to the mastermind’s age and status but it wasn’t a comeuppance where the antagonist suffered a slow, painful death,

    As with most Layla Reyne books, the characters are what we are here for. I love that they make me feel like part of their group. Family is the heart of it all. My love for the Madigan siblings and their friends is what kept me coming back to this series despite my mixed feelings about it as a whole. Hawes, Holt and Helena are a solid, unified team even as Hawes played his dangerous game of bending the knee. Aidan, Mel, and Jamie, from the Agents Irish and Whiskey series, dropping by for a visit was a delightful bonus.

    Romance-wise, I wouldn’t say I warmed up to Chris/Dante but he got Hawes’ back so he’s alright, I suppose. The more interesting angle here is Holt and Kane. They’re getting their own book so YAY! Even Hena will get some action because there’s definitely something going on between her and Chris’ sister.

    The best book in the trilogy for me is the second book. However, this finale did a great job finally giving Hawes closure and the rest of the Madigans some peace. More, importantly, it was a really effective set-up for more stories to come. I am definitely here for the spin-offs.

    Time to give Little H some love!

    P.S.

    Review of book 1, Prince of Killer, here
    Review of book 2, King Slayer, here
    Reviews of Agents Irish and Whiskey, here
    Layla Reyne books here

    Rating:
    3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it

    Soundtrack: The Perfect Symmetry
    Artist: Demians
    Album: Building An Empire

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    FIRST LINES FRIDAY 56: It Started Out With a Kiss, How Did It End Up Like This?!

    First Line Fridays” is by Hoarding Books and is all about the first line of a current/upcoming read. Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you turn to page 56 (or 56%) in what you’re reading a find a snippet that jumps out at you. The idea to combine the two came from Kat @ Here There Be Dragons

    I found this meme on The Writerly Way. And I’m doing this on a Thursday just to be difficult.

  • book,  Uncategorized

    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.

    P.S.

    Layla Reyne book here

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

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