Discover the Lexi Blake Crossover Collection
Release Date: April 10, 2018
CLOSE COVER by Lexi Blake
Remy Guidry doesn’t do relationships. He tried the marriage thing once, back in Louisiana, and learned the hard way that all he really needs in life is a cold beer, some good friends, and the occasional hookup. His job as a bodyguard with McKay-Taggart gives him purpose and lovely perks, like access to Sanctum. The last thing he needs in his life is a woman with stars in her eyes and babies in her future.
Lisa Daley’s life is finally going in the right direction. She has finally graduated from college after years of putting herself through school. She’s got a new job at an accounting firm and she’s finished her Sanctum training. Finally on her own and having fun, her life seems pretty perfect. Except she’s lonely and the one man she wants won’t give her a second look.
There is one other little glitch. Apparently, her new firm is really a front for the mob and now they want her dead. Assassins can really ruin a fun girls’ night out. Suddenly strapped to the very same six-foot-five-inch hunk of a bodyguard who makes her heart pound, Lisa can’t decide if this situation is a blessing or a curse.
As the mob closes in, Remy takes his tempting new charge back to the safest place he knows—his home in the bayou. Surrounded by his past, he can’t help wondering if Lisa is his future. To answer that question, he just has to keep her alive.
I’m a huge fan of Lexi Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries series; there’s just something about dominant alpha males who kick bad people’s asses for a living and then let off steam in deliciously decadent and kinky ways.
But what I also like about these heroes is that they aren’t one-dimensional; it’s not all about sex and violence for them…don’t get me wrong, those two things are a significant part of their identity but there’s another side to them and it seems like only their ‘potential’ leading lady can bring it out of them because regardless of their past…their current path in life and their current outlook on what they want in life, once these domineering men allow themselves the one person who seems to be made for them, they can’t help but find a way to claim her, even when they mess up in frustratingly life-altering ways and boy do these guys know how to fuck things up!
I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how Remy Guidry would redeem himself after he messed up so epically when he rejected Lisa Daley’s invitation to play at Sanctum, humiliating her and making any interaction between them extremely awkward. But Blake forces Remy and Lisa to face what happened between them as Remy takes one last job before he heads back to the Bayou, his home, to run the family business, and Lisa just so happens to be his close cover assignment, and while Remy’s a fantastic covert bodyguard, what he feels for Lisa and what he allows himself to get from her spells trouble in very significant ways because not only is he leaving Dallas but he also refuses to accept just how much she means to him, setting both of them up for one hell of a fall amidst the danger that already threatening her.
Despite all of his mistakes and manwhore tendencies, Remy is an extremely likable hero. There’s reasons for the way he has chosen to live his life and Blake helps readers understand Remy’s issues. I really can’t fault Remy for misjudging Lisa’s background and ‘princess’ lifestyle; he thinks he knows her ‘type,’ so his preconceived notions about her are based on stereotypical assumptions, but when he does learn who Lisa is and what her life was like, he admits his mistakes and then finds himself inadequate for her because of where he comes from and what he doesn’t have to offer her that she so obviously deserves.
Lisa may be a submissive in sexual play, but she’s definitely a strong and independent woman outside of Sanctum. She may wear her heart on her sleeve and struggle with demons from her past, but she refuses to be anyone’s doormat, regardless of her attraction to him or her desire to be with him. She’s a sweet, beautiful, and classy woman who deserves the best in life, so when she feels used and burned by the man who initially rejected her, it’s difficult for her to come back from that…to reconsider her anger and give Remy a second chance to make things right, and based on what she endured as a child and the scary situation she’s currently in, she needs to guard herself because everything is too overwhelming and too up in the air for her at the moment, which not only has her at a disadvantage but it also requires her to trust the man who broke her heart twice.
Close Cover is a great read; it has action, suspense, angst, and steam. I loved how Remy and Lisa’s relationship evolved and the way Remy fought for her once he realized just how much she meant to him. The secondary characters complemented the story line well because their insights allowed Lisa to gather much needed information about Remy and find a place where she truly felt she belonged.
4.5 Poison Apples
HER GUARDIAN ANGEL by Larissa Ione
After a difficult childhood and a turbulent stint in the military, Declan Burke finally got his act together. Now he’s a battle-hardened professional bodyguard who takes his job at McKay-Taggart seriously and his playtime – and his playmates – just as seriously. One thing he never does, however, is mix business with pleasure. But when the mysterious, gorgeous Suzanne D’Angelo needs his protection from a stalker, his desire for her burns out of control, tempting him to break all the rules…even as he’s drawn into a dark, dangerous world he didn’t know existed.
Suzanne is an earthbound angel on her critical first mission: protecting Declan from an emerging supernatural threat at all costs. To keep him close, she hires him as her bodyguard. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that she’s in over her head, defenseless against this devastatingly sexy human who makes her crave his forbidden touch.
Together they’ll have to draw on every ounce of their collective training to resist each other as the enemy closes in, but soon it becomes apparent that nothing could have prepared them for the menace to their lives…or their hearts.
I have to be honest…I wasn’t quite convinced that a crossover could occur between a paranormal series and a contemporary romantic suspense series, but I love both worlds separately and Larissa Ione and Lexi Blake are excellent storytellers, so I decided to venture into new territory and see how it goes. And, I have to say, overall, I really enjoyed Declan and Suzanne’s story, and I think the main reason this crossover worked as well as it did is because it was set in Ione’s Demonica World…I’m not sure how readers would have reacted to a paranormal character entering the Masters and Mercenaries world, so it was a good call on the part of the authors to bring one of the McKay-Taggart bodyguards into the deadly, decadent, and devious world that readers have come to know and love.
Not much is revealed about Suzanne D’Angelo, but once her mission and her otherworldly abilities are shown, readers understand why Suzanne hired Declan Burke to be her bodyguard and why this earthbound angel (Memitim) watches his back as much as he watches hers.
It’s quite intriguing to witness how Declan handles the new environment that he enters because there are many attributes that align quite nicely with the dominant man he is, and while he attempts to hold true to his philosophy of not mixing business with pleasure, there’s just something about Suzanne that makes him want to give into his forbidden desires and the fact that she can’t seem to resist herself either makes their need for one another bypass anything sensible and head straight towards satisfying their lustful thoughts.
Because Her Guardian Angel reads more like a novel than a novella, I think readers new to this paranormal world will receive enough backstory to understand everything that occurs, and while there are quite a few supporting characters present that readers may not know, there’s still enough interaction and introductions that keep the focus on the present events and then open up the world to further investigation if readers enjoyed what they read.
Declan fit well into Suzanne’s world, even if he became part of it under false pretense, and the fact that he couldn’t stay true to his separation of business and pleasure speaks to just how in sync these two become and just how overwhelming attraction can be even in the face of adversity.
4 Poison Apples
JUSTIFY ME by J. Kenner
McKay-Taggart operative Riley Blade has no intention of returning to Los Angeles after his brief stint as a consultant on mega-star Lyle Tarpin’s latest action flick. Not even for Natasha Black, Tarpin’s sexy personal assistant who’d gotten under his skin. Why would he, when Tasha made it absolutely clear that—attraction or not—she wasn’t interested in a fling, much less a relationship.
But when Riley learns that someone is stalking her, he races to her side. Determined to not only protect her, but to convince her that—no matter what has hurt her in the past—he’s not only going to fight for her, he’s going to win her heart. Forever.
The combination of J. Kenner’s sensual Stark world and one of Lexi Blake’s McKay-Taggart ’s operatives allows readers to enter an intriguing and suspenseful setting and immerse themselves in a story line that illustrates what happens when a hero and heroine are offered a new perspective on bad memories and finally let themselves give into sexual attraction that’s been building beneath the surface for almost eight years.
Although Justify Me is a short novella, the fact that the main characters have history together helps to set the stage for the actions that occur and the feelings that develop between Natasha Black, Lyle Tarpin’s personal assistant and Riley Blade, a dominant alpha male who has worked as a consultant for one of Tarpin’s films.
Riley has wanted to claim Natasha since their first interaction, but he’s never had a reason to breech the walls that Natasha has put up in order to live a safe and practical life until now and with that justification in place, Riley helps Natasha to let go…to give herself over to the sexual pleasure he provides, challenging her reasons for keeping him at a distance and giving her an outlet for her hidden desires and sexual needs.
Some readers may not like that Riley and Natasha’s story doesn’t ‘completely’ crossover into Lexi Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries series, but from my perspective, bringing the two worlds together, even with only one character, makes for an entertaining and intriguing read, which is exactly what I want when I read romantic suspense.
4 Poison Apples
SAY YOU WON’T LET GO by Corinne Michaels
I’ve had two goals my entire life:
1. Make it big in country music.
2. Get the hell out of Bell Buckle.
I was doing it. I was on my way, until Cooper Townsend landed backstage at my show in Dallas.
This gorgeous, rugged, man of few words was one cowboy I couldn’t afford to let distract me. But with his slow smile and rough hands, I just couldn’t keep away.
Now, there are outside forces conspiring against us. Maybe we should’ve known better? Maybe not. Even with the protection from Wade Rycroft, bodyguard for McKay-Taggart, I still don’t feel safe. I won’t let him get hurt because of me. All I know is that I want to hold on, but know the right thing to do is to let go…
Cooper Townsend is definitely a Corinne Michaels’ hero that readers have been hoping finds his forever girl, and as chance would have it, he actually doesn’t have to look too far in order to realize that the one he’s destined for…the one he’s ready to give his heart to has actually been right in front of him for almost his entire life, and while their lives have taken them in much different directions, when it comes to the feelings that have always been just beneath the surface, there’s nothing either of them won’t do to get a shot at a happy ending.
But Say You Won’t Let Go wouldn’t be a Lexi Blake crossover without a bit of suspense and drama factoring into the main characters’ lives, so when things go down with Emily that Cooper can’t control, he hires one of the McKay-Taggart bodyguards to protect her, and because Cooper has history with Wade, there’s not a better man for the job.
For a rather short novella, there’s a lot that goes down and the two biggest plot lines occur at quite a quick pace, and while it’s clear that the feelings between Cooper and Emily aren’t new, them acting on it is, so part of me needed things explored in a way that gave them a more solid foundation given everything that happens after they reconnect. I guess I just wanted things fleshed out a bit more, but overall, the storyline and the characters had my attention and just like the characters, I needed to know who was making Emily’s life so crazy and the reasons behind their insane behavior.
I also wouldn’t mind Wade getting his own book because I know he has an interesting past and perspective that includes why he wants nothing to do with the opposite sex.
4 Poison Apples
HIS TO PROTECT by Carly Phillips
Talia Shaw has spent her adult life working as a scientist for a big pharmaceutical company. She’s focused on saving lives, not living life. When her lab is broken into and it’s clear someone is after the top secret formula she’s working on, she turns to the one man she can trust. The same irresistible man she turned away years earlier because she was too young and naive to believe a sexy guy like Shane Landon could want her.
Shane Landon’s bodyguard work for McKay-Taggart is the one thing that brings him satisfaction in his life. Relationships come in second to the job. Always. Then little brainiac Talia Shaw shows up in his backyard, frightened and on the run, and his world is turned upside down. And not just because she’s found him naked in his outdoor shower, either.
With Talia’s life in danger, Shane has to get her out of town and to her eccentric, hermit mentor who has the final piece of the formula she’s been working on, while keeping her safe from the men who are after her. Guarding Talia’s body certainly isn’t any hardship, but he never expects to fall hard and fast for his best friend’s little sister and the only woman who’s ever really gotten under his skin.
RESCUING SADIE: A Delta Force Heroes/Masters and Mercenaries Novella by Susan Stoker
Sadie Jennings was used to being protected. As the niece of Sean Taggart, and the receptionist at McKay-Taggart Group, she was constantly surrounded by Alpha men more than capable, and willing, to lay down their life for her. But when she visits her friend in San Antonio, and acts on suspicious activity at Milena’s workplace, Sadie puts both of them in the crosshairs of a madman. After several harrowing weeks, her friend is now safe, but for Sadie, the repercussions of her rash act linger on.
Chase Jackson, no stranger to dangerous situations as a captain in the US Army, has volunteered himself as Sadie’s bodyguard. He fell head over heels for the beautiful woman the first time he laid eyes on her. With a Delta Force team at his back, he reassures the Taggart’s that Sadie will be safe. But when the situation in San Antonio catches up with her, Chase has to use everything he’s learned over his career to keep his promise…and to keep Sadie alive long enough to officially make her his.
Ever since Sadie Jennings, Sean Taggart’s niece, was introduced in the Masters and Mercenaries series, I wanted Lexi Blake to give readers Sadie’s story. Sadie is such a sassy and spunky woman, and I knew that whoever she gave her heart to would be in for a rude awakening since Sadie is such an independent woman who, at times, can be a bit too impulsive for her own good.
So, when I saw that Sadie’s story was going to be told, and it was part of Lexi Blake’s crossover collection, I immediately signed up for an ARC, even though I wasn’t familiar with Susan Stoker’s writing. I thought it would be awesome to get a character’s story I really wanted and also be introduced to a new writer, and while I will say that Susan Stoker’s writing is exactly the kind of writing I enjoy, because I had no background of her Delta Force Heroes’ series, I felt like I only got part of the story because when Rescuing Sadie begins, parts of what’s happened to Sadie have already occurred, and now, the characters are dealing with the fallout of her choices and what that means for not only Sadie but for the hero, Chase Jackson, as well, because it’s his Delta Force world that Sadie’s story occurs.
Sadie and Chase’s story had the suspense, intrigue, and character chemistry that I love to read about, but I couldn’t feel the full effect of all of those characteristics because I felt like I was immersed into the storyline in the middle of things and because the action was already occurring or had already occurred, there weren’t many details offered that would allow me to be on the same page as readers who are familiar with Stoker’s series, so I just couldn’t catch on to everything that was happening in a way that allowed me to fully understand the entire story line.
I will say, though, that readers who are familiar with both series or probably just the Delta Force Heroes’ series would definitely enjoy Sadie and Chase’s book and not feel like they’ve been placed between the end of the rising action/climax of the story line, which would make a big difference to the understanding of everything that had already occurred before the book began.
3 Poison Apples
Say You Won’t Let Go by Corinne Michaels
“Good morning,” Cooper’s deep voice grumbles against my neck.
“Hi there, cowboy,” I reply, nestling into his body a little deeper. “Sleep good?”
I did. We passed out at some point during the night—fully dressed. I’ve never had so much fun doing nothing before. All we did was talk about everything and anything, and of course, I kissed him—a lot. How could I not? Kissing Cooper feels like coming home. It was full of anticipation, joy, and a feeling of safety that I could just fall if I had to. Cooper was there to catch me all night.
His nose rubs up and down the back of my neck. “I did,” he replies.
His arm snakes around me, tightening and holding me secure. I try to remember that I need to keep myself in check. Yes, this is Cooper Townsend, but at the same time, we live worlds apart. It isn’t smart to get caught up in something that won’t ever be anything more than just this.
Feelings lead to heartbreak. Heartbreak isn’t something I can afford right now.
“What time does the bus leave?”
I flip over to my other side so I can look at him. “Not until tonight. Luke likes to travel at night and see the city we’re in during the day. So, I have all day. Why?”
He smiles while resting his hand on my hip. “Spend the day with me.”
“Coop.” I sigh. We had talked about this last night. That we’d say goodbye in the morning and keep things light. No complications. No promises. Not until the tour was over and I was back in Tennessee. Then, who knows, but I’m all too aware of how easy it would be for me.
“It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just a day of us hanging out,” he presses.
My eyes narrow slightly, and I pull my lips to the side. “I don’t know. We agreed…”
“Emmy, we have a very looming expiration date. I’m just askin’ my friend to hang out. Besides, what other options do you have?”
About the Authors
About Lexi Blake
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. She began writing at a young age concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.
About Larissa Ione
Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.
About J. Kenner
Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.
Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.
J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.
About Corinne Michaels
New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.
After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.
About Carly Phillips
Carly Phillips is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.
About Susan Stoker
New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.
She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.