The Formicary: Cross – S.E. Harmon
I thought getting shot, losing my memory, and being hunted by people I didn’t know for reasons I couldn’t remember was rock bottom. Turns out I was wrong. I found a shovel, dug a little deeper, and found a whole new sublevel of suck.
Apparently, I took something from the Formicary that doesn’t belong to me. The boss, Petar Dobroslav, is willing to do just about anything to get it back. Making an enemy of a super-secret organization of assassins might seem like a bad idea and…well, it absolutely is.
To be honest, it was inevitable that Grayson Laurie would get dragged into my mess. In my line of work, love is a luxury, a vulnerability I can’t afford. But I couldn’t stay away, and now we’re both paying the price.
But I can fix this. I will fix this. Everyone knows the Formicary is a formidable adversary. It’s time to remind them that so is Christian Cross.
Cross is the riveting sequel to the sci-fi amnesia romance series, The Formicary. It picks up after the events in the first book, Chrysalis, where we find the unlikely named assassin, Christian Cross and his doctor boyfriend, Grayson Laurie, held inside The Formicary under the control of Chris’s grandfather, Peter Dobroslav.
The Formicary is a giant hive of scientists, lab techs, and support staff conducting highly unethical experiments, like turning people such as Chris into android super soldiers. Chris was blackmailed by his evil grandpa to find the missing scientist in charge of some high-level super secret experiment. Or else Gray pays the price.
In the first book, I found Chris’s little commentaries superfluous. There were still a few here but now, the idiot has endeared himself. The story is from his 1st-person POV, and boy, is this guy just full of brilliant dumb ideas! He’s actually funny now, though sometimes, not so much.
Chris is the first to admit he’s more a man of action than a thinker of deep thoughts. He’s been planning to kill the evil Dobroslav, and his genius plan is A. get to Dobroslav, B. pull the trigger.
Luckily, he got Gray’s beauty and brains on his side. This sweet, mild-mannered doctor is not only the person who hangs the moon and is the center of the universe, but also the anchor that grounds the Swiss cheese mind and questionable identity of the experimental guinea pig named Christian Cross a.k.a. Chrysalis.
I totally understand why Chris looks at Gray with permanent heart eyes. Gray is perfect! He’s my favorite character. The doctor is a saint for putting up with the doofus’s antics since college. I loved that the prim and proper man has the sense of humor to roll with Chris’s man-child jokes.
And it was the doctor, with the help of their android frenemy, Chaos, and Chris’s best friend, Nick, who came up with a more solid plan to take down The Formicary. Something where the four of them come out alive.
This book is a fantastic example of how to do an established couple romance. The plot effectively created external conflicts highlighting the unbreakable bond between the two MCs. There were flashbacks to younger, happier days juxtaposed against the present day’s precarious circumstances.
The couple was constantly surrounded by danger, making their quieter moments more precious and satisfying. The amnesia fueled Chris’s pining and longing for Gray, even when they were together the entire time. All these feels made the romance more poignant and impactful than if the two were a new couple.
My favorite supporting character is Chaos, Chris’s training teacher, frenemy, and Dobroslav’s loyal guard. His dry humor and blunt statements had me cracking up. I hope he gets his own book. Would love to see him paired with Nick.
I’ve got to say, wow! Cross was one hell of a ride! The plot was very twisty-turny, heading in directions I never even considered. The writing pulled it off smoothly, in a way where it didn’t feel convoluted despite the many twists, secrets, and reveals.
The mystery and suspense leading to an action-packed climax made for a spectacular finale. The epilogue is another thing that completely took me by surprise. It was a sweet, soul-cleansing experience. The peace was so palpable even I felt the cleansing effect!
Androids don’t dream of electric sheep. They dream of anchors and a slice of paradise.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
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Necessary Evils: Moonstruck – Onley James
Atticus Mulvaney is the eldest son of eccentric billionaire, Thomas Mulvaney—a role he takes very seriously. Atticus takes everything seriously. Like his brothers, Atticus is a psychopath, raised to right the wrongs of a broken justice system. Unlike his brothers, he’s not very good at it.
Jericho Navarro is no psychopath, but he is a vicious killer. Like Atticus, he also has a secret life. To most, he’s just a mechanic. But to a ragtag group of social misfits, he’s Peter Pan, teaching them to eliminate those who prey on the weak with extreme prejudice.
When Atticus and Jericho come face to face over a shared enemy, their accidental meeting ends in an explosively hot hookup neither can forget. But they have nothing in common. Atticus is a buttoned-up closeted scientist and Jericho is a man on a mission, determined to find and punish those responsible for the death of his sister. Still, Jericho can’t stay away. And, truthfully, Atticus doesn’t want him to.
As Jericho’s mission begins to bleed into Atticus’s life, two separate but equally brutal families will need to learn how to fight together to take out a common enemy. But no amount of brute force can show Jericho how to scale the walls of a psychopath’s heart. Can Jericho convince Atticus that, sometimes, the couple who kills together stays together?
Moonstruck is a high heat, intense psychopath romance with an HEA and no cliffhangers. It features a fumbling, sexually confused maniac and the dominating, unapologetic gang leader who can’t stop tormenting him. As always, there’s gratuitous violence, very dark humor, more killers than you can count, and enough explosive chemistry to level a city block. This is book three in the Necessary Evils series. Each book follows a different couple.
More Mulvaney madness today. Couldn’t get enough of this crazy family!
Moonstruck is the 3rd book of Necessary Evils, a series about a family of serial killers meting punishment to fellow monsters. The family was founded by Thomas, a billionaire and a genius psychiatrist, who adopted seven boys, Atticus, August, twins Asa and Avi, Archer, Aidan, and Adam. They were carefully selected and trained to be highly accomplished individuals in various fields by day and deadly vigilante killers by night.
Now August might be my favorite Mulvaney, but I have a soft spot a mile wide for my grumpy Atticus. He was the first to be adopted and, therefore, felt pressured to make Daddy Mulvaney proud.
Atticus tries so hard to be perfect but always felt like he’s coming up short. Like his brothers, the man is an over-achiever. He is both M.D. and Ph.D. The thing with Atticus, trained killer that he is, the man actually hates killing (because it’s unsanitary). And by his brothers’ accounts, isn’t very good at it.
On one of his assignments, he stumbles upon another killer, Jericho Navarro, in what was perhaps the most perfect meet-cute for a pair of murderers ever! Bossy mechanic Jericho promptly latched on to the grumpy ginger, recognizing the man’s submissive nature from the get-go. Gives him the most adorable nickname you can give a psychopath, “Freckles“.
“I’m not letting you go, Freckles. I’m just not. You can call it a business arrangement, an affair, a kidnapping, some kind of midlife crisis. But whatever you call it, you’re mine. And I protect what’s mine.”
I’m not a fan of dirty talk and, man, Jericho has a mouth on him! Other than that, it was a lot of fun watching Atticus’ prickly submissive nature meshed with Jericho’s affectionate dominance. It’s not just Atticus’ submissiveness. Jericho was also quick to recognize and appreciate everything good about his man.
“Do you think I want anybody else? Nobody compares to you, Freckles. You are this weirdly perfect combination of impenetrable and vulnerable and I can’t fucking get enough of it.”
The family’s reactions to their relationship were one of the best parts. Atticus’ brothers could be such asshats sometimes, so watching Jericho defend his Freckles gave me great satisfaction. He even called Thomas out for his treatment of his eldest son. Jericho goes declaring he wants to be Atticus everything, including be his proxy killer. And sure enough, he holds true to it. As Thomas puts it, Atticus found himself a good one!
I was so happy for my favorite grumpy ginger getting his HEA. Atticus’ special ability is mimicry. He’s used to mirroring other people, but he rarely gets to be himself. I loved how he took the courage to embrace his truth and proved he could be just as good as his brothers.
The scenes where Atticus eats granola bars while complaining about his paper not being front page in JAMA, and Jericho, fresh from a kill Atticus gifted him with, soothing his prickly man, is most definitely a very Mulvaney brand of endearing. It pretty much screams TRUE LOVE Murder Husbands-style. This is a trope I couldn’t get enough of, and watching these two serial killers falling in love is like the best thing ever!
Atticus slipped his thigh between Jericho’s, snuggling closer to tuck his head against his chest. “I know. I don’t like killing, but I’d kill for you, too.” Jericho’s stomach fluttered. “I know, Freckles. I know.”
Also, Atticus and Jericho cuddled and watched Labyrinth!!! ☆*:.｡. o(≧▽≦)o .｡.:*☆
The story is part romance and part mystery. The mystery involved Jericho’s missing sister. I wasn’t as invested in this as I was with the other books. It wasn’t as strongly delivered compared to the first two books.
Also, the series started dark but is leaning more towards steamy and humorous in this 3rd installment. I would have preferred a bit more darkness to offset that, the way the 2nd book, Psycho, perfectly balanced fluff, steam, and dark.
The case was, however, a great way to bring everyone together. All hands were on deck to solve it, including Jericho’s crew of young killers. These guys are awesome! They need their own spinoff. Jericho’s brother, Felix, will have a thing with Avi. So excited for the twins! Just a teensy bit disappointed they won’t be sharing. The plot also spent time building up Aiden and Thomas’ story. Hoo boy, I am beyond excited to see how this works!
Moonstruck continues the wonderful and worthwhile tradition of giving the Mulvaney brothers their HEA. Atticus and Jericho’s relationship might have started with murder, but it certainly breathed new life to a mimic who learned how to be himself and found his perfect match in a man who was his opposite.
The story is equal parts a very swoony insta-love romance, a riveting found family saga, and a crime procedural handled by vigilantes who love to get their hands dirty. I might not be completely over the moon about everything, but I definitely love this book to bits!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
The Mulvaney tradition starts with the youngest, Adam the supermodel serial killer, and his feisty person, Noah, in Unhinged. It continues with the psycho and the psychic, August and Lucas, in Psycho.
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