I want lots of things out of life, but this… this is what I crave most. And with a dead-end relationship in my rearview mirror and a new business ahead, that freedom is finally within reach.
Of course, fate is an evil bitch.
People I have nothing to do with expect me to settle my brother’s debt— and if I don’t pay with cash, I pay with my life. I’ll be dead very soon… but not if a certain sexy-as-sin fighter with a Prince Charming complex has a say in the matter. One who’s decided to help me out of this mess, whether I want him to or not.
I might escape all of this with my life. But I already know it won’t be so easy to hold on to my heart…
The dynamic duo of Lauren Hawkeye and Tawny Stokes are back with another serialized read full of sensuality and suspense that will leave you wanting more. As a companion piece to The Other Stepbrother we're reintroduced to Tristan, the strong, sexy, and supportive friend to Seth and fight coach to Allegra (both of who make a brief appearance in this book too). He may be strong in the cage but after meeting the strong-willed Zoe he'll be brought low as his heart quickly becomes involved with her and the problems of her family. Zoe's a tough girl who finds herself equally drawn to him and soon finds herself battling her emotions over his need to protect her and her need to protect her wayward brother. It all makes for an exciting yet sweet and steamy read that feels more polished than their previous work.
I found myself enamored the moment I met Tristan in the previous book and had hoped to see more of him. The wait was well worth it as he's a true White Knight protective of women with a delectable kink where he likes his passion with a bit of pain. He's an intense man loyal to those he cares about who wants to succeed on his own, hence his continuing to fight in unsanctioned bouts to keep his gym open. He can be intimidating one moment but then show a sweet, shy, and funny side when bantering with Seth and Allegra. He can be a true gentleman too as seen by his opening of doors and commendable behavior when arguing with his hormones. He's all-around delightful and it's an enjoyable and entertaining start to what promises to be a steamy and sensual journey to HEA for him and Zoe.
Zoe's always been the successful sibling, the one with a bright future because of her self-assured nature. She's smart, strong-willed, and more than capable of taking care of herself through her ability to fight using words and actions. Though her brother frustrates and disappoints her she'll still stand up for the family she loves despite the danger to herself. She's ultimately a great match for Tristan when it comes to fighting, loyalty, and by the intensity of their physical joining and I'm looking forward to their combustible connection gaining even more steam as danger pushes them closer together. As their lives become more intertwined while keeping her brother safe, their connection will only deepen and I can't wait for all the twists and turns to come.
While the first collaboration between these authors was well done, this work feels more mature and polished. The balance between the romance and suspense is more equal to keep readers fully entertained. The main characters are immensely likable and on more equal footing to make their relationship richer and I feel more invested in their HEA as I find myself drawn to both Zoe and Tristan. Though I'm a bit frustrated by the popularity of book serialization lately, I found myself completely consumed by this installment and am left greatly anticipating the next book as will other readers too.
My rating for this is an A-
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.