Review: ‘Noble Hops’ by Layla Reyne

41081538Published February 11th 2019
320 pages

Everything Dominic Price has worked hard to uphold is about to come crashing down on everything he holds dear.

So much for the quiet life. Just as assistant US attorney and brewery owner Dominic Price is settling into a comfy new chapter with his partner, FBI agent Cameron Byrne, the sudden death of Nic’s father puts their happily-ever-after in jeopardy. Nic immediately suspects foul play, his prime suspect a notorious gangster his father was indebted to—only now the loan shark is out for blood.

Cam has been longing for Nic to finally let him in on this very personal case. But when Nic’s belief that he’s the sole Price heir is upended, the line between personal and professional starts to blur, leaving Cam unsure of where he stands.

Nic is depending on Cam’s kidnap and rescue expertise to save his recently discovered family member before it’s too late. But with a dangerous threat closing in, the ghosts from Nic’s past cast long shadows. Any relationship could crack under the pressure, but for Nic, finding his family might mean losing the love of his life.

Another gorgeous series from Layla Reyne comes to an end. And I can summarise the whole thing by calling it the epitome of the word family. It’s my favourite thing about all the books, but especially this one. Yes there is romance, real soul-warming romance because Nic and Cam are so damn perfect for each other, but their relationships with their family and the friends that are their chosen family are just as integral as their relationship with each other.

It wouldn’t be a Layla Reyne novel without action and drama and suspense, and this series finale provides plenty of that. Duncan Vaughan is at his villainous worst, but that means Cam and Nic are at their heroic best in trying to bring him down. Nic’s secrets are laid out for all to see, but despite the small waver of doubt, there really is no question of Cam’s loyalty to him. Their love for each other emanates from the pages, and it’s true that together they can do anything.

And to top it all off, the whole gang from the Irish and Whiskey series are right in the thick of things. There’s no breaking the bond these guys all have with each other, it’s hard not to want to be a part of it. This strong foundation, a wall of defence, a united front. A real family.

It’s a rollercoaster of emotion; with ghosts from the past, old loves and new family; it was a story that I couldn’t put down and I didn’t want to end. Here’s hoping this isn’t the last we see of these characters… (Eddie’s story, anyone?)

4.5/5 stars

Review: ‘Craft Brew’ by Layla Reyne

40242605Published October 8th 2018
304 pages

Assistant US attorney Dominic Price is staring down the barrel of his father’s debts. The bull’s-eye on his back makes him a threat to everyone he cares about, so when his lover wants to go public with their relationship, he bolts. Not because he isn’t in love—he can’t stomach the thought of putting Cam in danger.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne is determined to figure out what trouble Nic is running from, but devastating news from home brings him back to Boston and to the cold case that has haunted his family for two decades. Shoving aside his pride, he calls Nic for help.

Together they search for answers, navigating the minefield of Cam’s past. But when they get too close to the truth, Cam must use every skill in his arsenal to save the man he loves…before it’s too late.

In my review of Imperial Stout, I was struggling to decide if I loved Cam and Nic more than Aidan and Jamie from the Agents Irish and Whiskey series…well, it’s official. Cam and Nic have taken top spot!

I adored this book from start to finish. The two MCs are so much part of each other’s lives now, their chemistry is undeniable, and they feel like they’ve been together for years. Even though Nic is resistant to any kind of formal commitment for fear of dragging Nic into the danger of his family drama. But the universe just keeps on pushing them closer and closer together and it’s impossible not to will it to succeed.

It’s another case of the romance taking a little bit of a back seat to the suspense, but the action we’re following in this instalment is so much more personal and therefore it all holds a lot more meaning. Cam is going through some emotional trauma within his family, and then he goes on the hunt for his little sister who went missing so long ago. Something he’s carried around with him for so long, the guilt that has always tortured him and pulled him away from his family, and a case he’s bound by responsibility to solve.

It’s heart-wrenching, it’s gripping, it’s a difficult journey to follow Cam on, but we get to learn so much about him and his family along the way. A beautiful family hurt so deeply by such a tragedy. And the way that Nic is Cam’s anchor through it all is stunning. Nic is far away from the drama in his own life, although we gets glimpses of the progress on that side of things, and he just wants to be there to hold his man up. Even when that man is struggling to let him.

This book has the same thrilling feel as Layla’s other romantic suspense novels, but it has so much more depth. So much emotion and passion, I couldn’t get enough of it. Add in the explosive electricity between Cam and Nic and you’ve got yourself a masterpiece. I cannot recommend this book and this series enough.

5/5 stars

Review: ‘Imperial Stout’ by Layla Reyne

39672580Published July 23rd 2018
272 pages

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.

You guys…this is amazing. I loved the Agents Irish and Whiskey series, and this is just like getting another helping of that. The drama and suspense, the mystery, the romance that almost takes a back seat. But the plot and the romance intertwine wonderfully and it makes it a hard book to put down.

I honestly can’t decide whether I might like Cam and Nic even more than I liked Aidan and Jamie…and that’s really saying something. They’ve both got their baggage that brought them to where they are, but they fit together like a dream. The crime-solving may be the driving force of the story, but I didn’t feel shortchanged when it came to the relationship building between these two. There is an undercurrent of sexual tension running throughout the book which constantly keeps you on your toes without ever getting frustrating. There’s a fine line between the two, and Reyne does an excellent job at keeping on the right side of it.

The case comes to a fairly satisfying close, but the relationship between Cam and Nic is only just getting started. There’s the obvious good and bad guys, whilst leaving clues behind as to what might come to light later on in the series. I’m just so into it. Imperial Stout was thrilling. It was sexy. I’m completely invested in these characters now and I can’t say I’m going to be all that patient in waiting for the next instalment. I’m hooked.

4.5/5 stars

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Giveaway:

Win a signed set of paperbacks from Layla Reyne: Imperial Stout and Blended Whiskey!

Winners in the USA will receive paperback copies of the prizes; winners from outside the contiguous USA, will receive Amazon gift card of equivalent value. Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0362/

Review: ‘Medley’ by Layla Reyne

39684953Published April 30th 2018
207 pages

Sebastian Stewart was never Mr. Dependable; he was more the good-time guy who only wanted to swim, party, and ink tattoos. Until he cost his team the Olympic gold four years ago. Bas is determined to do right this time around—by his medley relay team and his rookie mentee.

Jacob Burrows is in over his head. The Olympic experience—from the hazing, to the endless practices, to the unrelenting media—makes the shy nineteen-year-old’s head spin. He’s trying to be everything to everyone while trying not to fall for his gorgeous tattooed teammate who just gets him—gets his need to fix things, his dorky pirate quips, and his bisexuality.

When Jacob falters under the stress, threatening his individual races and the medley relay gold, he needs Bas’s help to escape from drowning. Bas, however, fearing a repeat of his mistakes four years ago, pushes Jacob away, sure he’ll only let Jacob down. But the only path to salvaging gold is for Jacob to finally ask for what he needs—the heart of the man he loves—and for Bas to become the dependable one.

The follow up to ‘Relay‘ is here! I was waiting for this one. Although Alex and Dane’s relationship was wrapped up nicely in the last book, there was so much story left to tell when it came to the team heading to the Olympics. And, of course, we’d been given a tease of something happening between Bas and Jacob, and I needed to know where that ended up.

So here we are. The team are deep into Olympic training and thankfully dealing with a little bit less drama this time. Although only marginally less. Bas and Jacob, mentor and mentee, are dancing around each other. Hopelessly attracted but each burned by past events that keep them from even trying to be together.

Jacob is adorable, he’s young and sweet, but he carries a lot on his shoulders. He idolises Bas, he wants him badly, but he won’t ever ask him for more because he’s been left before and he can’t go through that again. Bas is jaded and tortured with guilt, and won’t let himself have Jacob no matter how much he wants him, because he doesn’t want to end up hurting him. (Bas is also absolutely bloody gorgeous, all tall and built and tattooed with his blonde dreads. I am all about that man.) They’re an unlikely pair in the best kind of way. I loved their connection and their chemistry, every interaction was always simmering with potential.

There is so much build up with these two. For the majority of the book there’s not even a hint of them getting together. To the point that I feel like I didn’t actually get the best idea of what they’re actually like as a couple. There was a lot of pining, and almost giving in to temptation. Their friendship was a wonderful thing, but it was always tinged with longing and holding back.

But the story kept on moving, with excitement and competition and a villain in the form of Bas’ ex, so there was still always something happening. I got the closure plot-wise I wanted, and the MCs found their way to each other in the end when they broke through the wall they’d built between them. I genuinely really enjoyed this book, probably more than the first one because I connected with these characters a lot more. I think I just wanted a little bit more romance between them.

4/5 stars

Review: ‘Relay’ by Layla Reyne

35918522Published January 8th 2018
237 pages

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

I love me a sports romance. I don’t even need to know a whole lot about the sport involved, I just always really enjoy them. Which is helpful in this case, because I can’t say I know anything about the world of professional swimming. But this book was full of all the things I love about sports romance; mainly passionate, fit, competitive, talented athletes. It’s hard to go wrong with those.

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Best of 2017!

bestof

I managed to hit the 300 book mark this year, which is a little bit crazy. A lengthy commute to and from work every day has helped me out in that regard. And reading that many romance novels has made it a struggle to narrow it down into a handy little list, so this isn’t all that short, but that can only be a good thing! This post will be about 2017 releases, I’ll try and get a post up about the pre-2017 releases that I read this year soon, because there’s some seriously incredible books that need a mention. So let’s get into it!

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