Standalone Sunday (6/25/17): Under Locke by Mariana Zapata 

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!
Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. 

BLURB
: He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a widow, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario: If things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before; one more wouldn’t kill me.
After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude and impatient, and he doesn’t know how to tell time. And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
Narrated by: Callie Dalton
Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently listening to this audiobook because I loved The Wall of Winnipeg and Wait For It by the same author. Zapata takes her time with character development so that the friendship, attraction and subsequent love story never feels rushed. I am anticipating a satisfying story today.

Have you read or listened to this book? Did you enjoy it? What about this author, have you tried her before?

#audiobookmonth #standalonesunday 

Wicked Burn (Realm Enforcers #3) by Rebecca Zanetti @KensingtonBooks @RebeccaZanetti

Wicked Burn (Realm Enforcers #3) by Rebecca Zanetti @KensingtonBooks @RebeccaZanettiSeries: Realm Enforcers #3
on June 8, 2016
Pages: 366
AmazonNarrator: Brock Thompson
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Simone Brightston knows she can beat the rap her enemies are pinning on her. An Irish witch is nobody's fool, and she didn't get to her position on the high council without serious power. But her cousins want her to hide out--and they somehow convinced her arch nemesis to play getaway driver.

Of all the men she's known, Nikolaj Veis is the hardest to intimidate. With his demon-dark eyes and his inscrutable beauty, he's as desirable as he is dangerous. And he knows better than to underestimate Simone. So when he pulls up on a roaring bike and tells her to climb on or fight it out, she grabs a handful of jacket and holds on tight. Running from the law may not be the smartest plan. But when it comes to Nick, hot pursuit and a blazing fast ride are exactly what Simone's looking for . . .

Includes the brand new Dark Protectors novella, ‘Talen’!
five-stars

I truly savored this book. Nikolaj Veis and Simone Brighton’s book had it all, suspense, mystery, romance, and all kinds of supernatural creatures. It was definitely the best in the series. I’ve been waiting for Simone Brighton’s reckoning, though I had an inkling she was being set up to take the fall as a bad guy. What I didn’t count on was the redemption of Nikolaj. Between his staunch defense of her integrity, his persistence in regaining her love, Nikolaj showed why he was worthy of Simone. I loved everything about this book. I found the novel passionate and the words just moved me. The narrator Brock Thompson was PERFECT for this story. His voice was smooth like butter and it flowed so well with the story.
Biker guy
These two characters are not new if you have read the Dark Protector series. They appear as far back as book 3, Hunted, but this the first time we get the background story as well as their mission as it pertains to the survival of their race. Simone, a witch, was being groomed to take her mother’s seat as one of the Coven Council’s Nine. Nikolaj is the demon advisor who we later learned protected Zane and now we learned why he played both sides of the fence.

Someone has gone through a lot of trouble to frame Simone as the distributor of the mineral planekite, a drug destroying the supernaturals. Now that she is up on charges of treason, Nick is tasked with protecting her until her trial. Old feelings resurface and Nick has an opportunity to regain the love he gave up in order to fulfill his duty to the Zane and the demon realm.

What I loved about this book is that it felt more like a Dark Protector novel than this new Wicked Realm series. I honestly haven’t warmed to these pretentious witches but I loved the vampire and demon interactions. The action was non-stop; the chemistry between Simone and Nikolaj was intense.

“I mated you because I’ve loved you from the first moment I laid eyes upon you a century ago…many soldiers in war wonder if they have a heart…I’ve never wondered …because you are in it and always have been. My heart is yours and always will be. Everything I have done in this life from the good to the truly terrible has been to make the world a better place for you and for any children we may have. Everything I am and will ever be belongs solely to you. No woman has ever been more loved than you are right now Simone.”

That declaration of love was just everything I had been expecting and more. I felt it in my heart. The feeling those words invoke is exactly why I read romance novels. Fervent adoration and love is so sexy and Nikolaj was very sexy. This second chance romance was so enjoyable because you get to see the growth in the characters from their first go-around with love. Both Simone and Nick have honed their abilities, made a mark with their respective group of people and now it’s time to deal with what broke them up. They are adults now and are clear on what they want. Nikolaj goes right in and took no prisoners.

The secondary characters added meat to this novel, specifically Bear. I can’t wait for more stories about him. This story ended with many things unresolved like the true identity of the antagonist, the distributor of deadly drug and Simone’s status with Coven unresolved. I can’t wait to continue the journey with the Realm Enforcers.

*Special thanks to Kensington via Netgalley for the e-arc.

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

Lawless (King, Book 3) by T. M. Frazier

Lawless (King, Book 3) by T. M. FrazierSeries: King #3
on December 6th 2015)
Pages: 276 pages
AmazonB&NNarrator: Molly Glenmore, Rob Shapiro
Thia is prim and proper.
Bear is leather and lawless.
It will never work between them.
It's a lie they almost believe...

*It is necessary to first read King and Tyrant to fully enjoy Lawless.
three-half-stars

Cynthia “Thia” Andrew was a 10 yr old watching her aunt’s convenient store when a biker gang came in to rob the place. When a biker threatened the young girl, Abel aka Bear protected her. He gave her his biker ring as well a promise to help her in the future.

7yrs later, Thia came to collect the boon after she had a terrible incident at her home. Except Bear isn’t with the MC anymore but soon Bear and Thia are reunited. Bear treats her with suspicion but there is a connection they both deny and soon they can’t fight the pull.

I didn’t love this book and I tried to really understand the characters. The characters weren’t fully developed and I didn’t fully grasp the why of the tragedies. This book was more sensationalism than substance and I wanted more depth. The writing was not as engaging as The Dark Light of Day|18278129. That story was more compelling and had more hope and redemption than I got in this book. There wasn’t enough background given for Bear and Chopper’s relationship. I did like Thia a lot because of her sheer grit and determination. I do like them as a couple better than King and Re even though I enjoyed seeing RE and King. They seem to have settled down now with their family so there was less drama.

I would like to know what happens with Chopper’s MC and Bear but this book ended in a cliffhanger. I am hoping that Book 4, Soulless will provide more insight.


*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the copy provided in exchange for an honest review.