Borrow the bike. Win the race. Collect the cash. It should’ve been an easy job. Ran out of town with a broken leg and a lawsuit, my mother’s latest flame swoops in like a knight in gilded armor. Blackwood Keep is a place I don’t belong, and I’m not the only one who knows. To the boy across the hall, my savior’s only son, I’m a stray looking for a bone.
He’s lord of the manor.
King of the academy.
And number one on my shit list.
I have no intentions of becoming a happy family with the social climber and her wild daughter. A bottle of Jameson and a cracked skull gets my problem shipped to reform school, but I didn’t bank on her returning.
Four’s out to get even, and she almost had the perfect plan: expose the privileged kid moonlighting as a gangbanger. She’s smart, but she’ll have to be smarter. Sending her away won’t be good enough this time. I’m going to have to tame the little troublemaker. To the girl across the hall, the one without a name, I’m nothing without my silver spoon.
She’s lady of the trailer park.
Queen of the swamps.
And my new favorite pastime.
The romance can be read as a standalone, however, the series is one story. The plot introduced in The Peer and the Puppet will continue in the following novels. Content suitable for 18+.
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Before The Peer and the Puppet, I hadn’t had the privilege of stepping into one of B.B. Reid’s worlds, but with the one I entered in the first book of her new series, When Rivals Play, I’m already hopelessly lost to the feelings it evokes and the emotional torment that occurs due to her characters’ antics, misdeeds, and conflicting emotions. The over-the-top angst, the melodramatic situations, and the love/hate relationships between the main and secondary characters kept my head spinning and left my stomach in knots, anticipating when everything would turn to shit once rumors became realities and promises that were meant to be kept were broken.
Reid does a great job of building this extravagant and pretentious world that is Blackwood Keep, Connecticut, and she contrasts this setting with a darker and more dangerous world of illegal road racing and a set of deadly situations with the Exiled, and it’s this juxtaposition that drives the story line in both the setting and the differing situations that play out among characters.
The title of Four and Ever’s story speaks to the dynamics that are at play when Four enters, not only Ever’s world but also his home. There’s no love lost between them from the very beginning, but Ever’s hatred really has nothing to do with who Four is since he knows nothing about her, his judgment stems from the fact that his father has taken up with a woman and moved her and her ‘hick’ daughter into their house, forcing him to face some significant truths regardless of how unwilling he is to accept them.
But somewhere along the way, Ever and Four’s relationship becomes more than just a game to Ever, more than just a way to control his puppet, but because of a set of promises made, he’s forced to continue his Jekyll and Hyde demeanor, causing inexplicable hurt and anguish to a girl who deserves more than Ever can seem to give her and definitely more than her mother has shown her for her entire life.
The Peer and the Puppet is one heck of a frustrating read, but that’s what makes it an addictive one as well. I can’t believe Four doesn’t have whiplash with all of the back and forth that occurs between her and Ever. It makes sense that he nicknames her his puppet because he is constantly pulling on her strings, making sure that she knows who’s in control and how much she’ll regret not following his commands. But what’s even more interesting is that Four and Ever’s relationship is not the only one that gets upended several times throughout the course of the story. There’s a constant back and forth between a number of different characters and the ups and downs that occur illustrate that none of them seem to be in total control and with the number of secrets that still remain undisclosed, it’s still unclear where all of the characters will end up and who they will end up with, but one thing is for sure, it’s going to be one hell of a ride to get to a resolution for everyone involved in B.B. Reid’s When Rivals Play series.
4.5 Poison Apples
I was having a dream. A very good dream. A dream I’d never in a million years admit to having under any circumstances. Not even torture.
Sadly, my dream ended, and I was jarred awake drenched in sweat. The T-shirt I’d worn to bed was bunched around my waist, showing off my cotton panties. I blushed when I recalled in vivid detail what caused such disarray.
And then I froze when I realized I wasn’t alone.
A quick glance at the foot of my bed showed a figure in dark clothing leaning forward with his forearms casually resting on his knees. The scream that tore from my lips was silenced when the figure leaned over and calmly rested his palm over my mouth.
“My father is a light sleeper,” Ever calmly warned. “And I’m sure you don’t want to explain to your mom why I’m in your bedroom at three in the morning.” My heart continued to race even after he lifted his hand, but I didn’t scream. “Good girl.”
“Why are you here?” I hissed while scrambling to pull down the T-shirt still bunched around my waist. I lifted the comforter I must have kicked away in my sleep and covered my lower half.
Oh, God, he’d seen everything. I felt like I had been caught red-handed considering he’d been the one I’d—
Fuck my life.
“You told my father I went to the store for deodorant.”
“And?” I sounded as exasperated as I felt.
“He didn’t buy your story.”
I could imagine considering he was sitting in my room fully dressed at three in the morning. It didn’t take seven hours to buy deodorant.
“Not. My. Problem.”
“But it is. We made this deal together, and we’ll honor it…together.”
I sighed. “So, what did he do to your highness? Take a spoon?” I mocked.
“Grounded,” he grunted.
I didn’t expect his smile. It was soft. Indulging. My overly large T-shirt had slipped from my shoulder, so he trailed his finger over my skin. “I’ll have to punish you, Four.”
“Punish me?” That was laughable. “I’m not your child.”
“No, swamp girl. You’re a puppet. My puppet.” He stood from my bed and headed for the door. “If I’m grounded, so are you.”
I told myself I was still dreaming and that he wasn’t actually saying these words. “What does that even mean?”
“It means I’ll have fun anyway.”
Too exhausted to argue, I sighed and met his gaze. “Get out of my room, McNamara.” I thought there was nothing else he could say or do until his parting words.
“You sound lovely when you come, Archer.”
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