Hot Picks for Fall
by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Despite the 80 degree days here in New Jersey, Autumn is definitely beginning to creep its way in, thank sweet baby Jesus. I actually lowered the two kitchen windows yesterday because the nights have been too cold to keep them open. (Other windows will stay open till the first frost. What can I say? I like a cool house.)
Those of you with children have already been through the hell that is September back-to-school. I heard more whinges about school forms and activity sign ups from my parented friends in the last three weeks then I can ever remember hearing before. I gather email has made things worse, not better, on that front. Bless.
Being child-free, my September angst has taken the form of parenting my parents in various, fluctuating ways. Such is the course for this era of my life, as it often is for many people. In these times of angst and declining temps, we need something to heat up the home fires and keep us burning in the right ways. Can I get an amen?!
Fear not! I am here for you with a pair of hot reads for the fall.
This is the first book in Crane’s new biker series for Loveswept, The Devil’s Keepers. Rooted deep in the Louisiana bayou, the Devil’s Keepers biker gang first had a cameo in Crane’s novel, Make You Burn, part of The Deacons of Bourbon Street series, and one of my top picks for 2015. I’ve personally been hot and heavy for this series ever since (this may have included some author nagging), mostly because I’m a sequel bait whore, but also because my biker book jones is motoring on hard and strong (much like those bikers), fueled by such excellent fare as DEVIL’S HONOR. It’s a reunion romance too, so I’m essentially in Romancelandia hog heaven on multiple fronts.
Look! A blurb!
Merritt Broussard grew up knowing she had two choices if she stayed in Lagrange: run with the outlaws or get left in their dust. So she got the hell out, leaving behind a bad-boy biker and scorching memories of their summer fling. Now Merritt’s back, with trouble on her tail, and the sergeant-at-arms of the Devil’s Keepers is the one person she can still trust. But Greeley isn’t the boy she remembers. He’s harder now, more dangerous—and even more alluring.
Joseph “Greeley” Shaw loves two things: his bike and his club. At eighteen, he escaped a rough life, found the Devil’s Keepers on the wrong side of a bad weekend, and never looked back. Greeley swore to live and die by their code: Devil’s Keepers first, Devil’s Keepers forever. No one comes between him and his brothers—except for the tantalizing woman who touched his soul. Greeley’s the kind of man who honors his commitments . . . and Merritt is one promise he’s determined to keep.
Merritt returns to Lagrange after the death of her father, a man who’d spent most of her life as the back-door doctor for the Devil’s Keepers–and sheltering Merritt from the same. She still managed to fall in love with Greeley one hot summer after college ended and before leaving for an east coast law school and life far from home. Now that she’s back, she’s desperate to avoid Greeley, now sergeant-at-arms for the club, and the ex-lover who’d promised that if she returned to the parish after leaving him wounded and broken-hearted (that very much not being typical biker response) he’d either claim her or kill her.
Faced with a major crossroad in her life and pursued by a man who refuses to comprehend the meaning of “no”, Merritt has come home despite knowing what will happen should Greeley discover she’s there. It’s not long before he does just that. Cue the sexy hijinks and emotionally wrenching self-discovery, all of which makes DEVIL’S HONOR typical Crane fare. Once again, as in her EDGE series, her world-building is spot on. The sultry Louisiana environs may seem drawn with familiar strokes, but Crane makes them feel freshly painted with a tangible feel so that you’ll want to swim in all that sticky bayou heat.
One of the things I love that’s a staple in Crane’s books is how the hero softens without losing a hint of his badass-ness (I swear that’s a word). Greeley starts the book knowing full well how much Merritt means to him–and then she destroys him. He hates that he let himself be so vulnerable to anyone, much less to a woman, talking about a future together while she was planning her escape. He’s not about to let that happened to him again just because she’s run home with trouble on her bones and grief in her heart. Despite his deep resentment and simmering anger, faced with Merritt in the flesh, Greeley can’t resist that same pull she wrapped him up in the first time around–and this time, he’s not letting her go. The journey he takes to be what they both need so they can become the unit they were meant to be is one you shouldn’t miss. DEVIL’S HONOR is super sexy hot and emotionally wrenching with moments of humor sprinkled like sips of Jack D, and enough sequel bait to make you wish the calendar would hurry the eff up and so you can get to the next one. I mean, just look at the covers for the books yet coming our way!
Strewth. DEVIL’S HONOR will be released November 1, 2016, Devil’s Mark on January 3, 2017, and Devil’s Own on May 16, 2017 (*MAY?!*), but you can pre-order all three of them now.
Trading the heat of the bayou for the cool of New England brings us to Robert’s dark romance, Irish mob series, The O’Malleys. INDECENT PROPOSAL is the latest installment of the series, and, as usual, Robert delivers with a twisty, layered, story of what happens when the Irish and the Russian mobs butt up against one another–and when two of their children inconveniently fall in love.
Look! A blurb!
Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the “values” Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O’Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can’t stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian’s own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she’s falling for him.
Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at “hello,” even if she’s more inclined to say good-bye to an O’Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn’t, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying-and dying-for . . .
First of all, THAT COVER. Cillian wears those tight vests in the story too, so this is definitely a case of the cover reflecting the goodness within. And, hel-lo goodness!
Olivia is the bastard child of the now dead head of the Russian mafia. Her scary half-brother wants her (and her daughter) back in the familial fold to fulfill his deathbed promise to his father while keeping them under his control–whether Olivia likes it or not. And she really doesn’t like it at all. The last thing she needs is to tangle with the brooding son of the Irish mob, with his sexy vests and rolled up sleeves out of which glimpses of his many tats can sometimes been seen. But Olivia is losing her battle to resist the charmer who makes dirty alley sex seem somehow pure and special. All this while she tries to keep her enforcer ex from laying claim to their daughter–and falls deeper and deeper into the lure of Irish eyes.
After the death of his younger brother, Cillian has done an about face in his life–not that his family has noticed. Gone from drunken, brawling lout to tortured, loner accountant, Cillian has slowly been taking up maintenance of his family’s legitimate enterprises–and those books less open to the light of day. His only solace are the hours he spends at the local pub sipping apple juice and sparring with Olivia. He’s seen her hard veneer crack, revealing the soft, welcoming woman who is the real draw to Cillian’s guilt-ridden soul. But the wrong marriage of mob families has already ripped The O’Malley’s apart and hooking his future with an enemy’s sister is a sure way for Cillian to find himself equally ejected from the family.
Like Crane, Robert uses her setting as it’s own character, wrapping Cillian and Olivia’s story in the dark alleys and mansions of Boston, it’s unforgiving streets offering both succor and jeopardy whether it’s the open lawns of the Boston Common or the opulence of Beacon Hill or the shadowy nooks of Southie.
Olivia and Cillian have been sparking since they first clashed in The Wedding Pact. Olivia knows all too well the dangers of being deep with a mob family and is not eager to jump feet first into another one, buy Cillian is unlike any man in her experience, treating her with gentleness and affection when she least expects it. Cillian’s demons haven’t let him rest since he watched his brother bleed out in the street. The only quiet in Olivia’s presence and that makes her worth any risk she might bring with her–be it from her family or his.
An Indecent Proposal is currently available and there’s more dark, twisty romance goodness coming in the new year as Forbidden Promises, The O’Malley’s Book Four, is scheduled to release next May (again with the May?!) sporting a cover that drove me to ask Robert where her Forever Romance publisher was finding these guys and, more importantly, are they single?!
Forbidden Promises will feature a runaway O’Malley as Sloan O’Malley flees her father’s machinations for her future to a cottage by the sea…never knowing her new, surly neighbor is a hit man (named Jude. How awesome is that name?!) with a vendetta against all things Sheridan, the competing Irish mob family whose queen is married to Sloan’s brother Teague (of The Marriage Contract).
So settle in, cozy up, and keep hot and bothered with these prime choices from a pair of authors burning up Romancelandia this fall.
Follow Lady Smut. We’ll promise to keep your home fires burning.
Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel Wild on the Rocks is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.
All titles reviewed in this post were provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.