Review: Captivating (Elite Protection Services #2) by Onley James

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

This is the second book in this bodyguard series, written like the first with alternating points of view for each chapter. You could read it as a standalone or read it first, and then go back and read the first one if you want to know more about Linc and Wyatt’s story, even though this happens afterward. Elijah is damaged by past abuse and a Hollywood stage mom. Luckily his grandfather helps shield him for a few years before his death. The studio hires the security agency to protect Elijah after he’s attacked by a fan at a red carpet event. Enter Shepard as Elijah’s new bodyguard.

The book has something to say about actors as commodities, powerful people who act above the law, and mental health–although please know Shep’s diagnosis as a sociopath is a fictionalized version and not true to life. A conversation between Mac and Shep really illustrates how wrong in the head Shep is…so is it bad that I am on team Shep? Both of them are actors trying to blend in for their own survival, but the key to knowing why they work is that Elijah is a narcissist and hates uncertainty; once they are together, Shep makes sure he is certain of everything and is the center of his attention. I liked that the reader is never allowed to forget Shep is a sociopath. His pretending to be normal is always there. Elijah is sometimes surprised to be reminded life isn’t all about him and his dramas. He’s lucky to have Wyatt and Charlie as friends, but I wonder how well they really know him.

What I liked the least was the premise that Shep had to extract information from Elijah in order to help him. They are already exploring their sexuality together to find out what they like and don’t like. There seemed no need to make up this type of scenario just for the sake of a kinky scene with a child victim of rape. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t super hot though. The secondary characters didn’t add much here except for Lucifer, who though used as a foil, could have been more nuanced. I would like to see more of Shep’s twin brother. What I liked the best was Elijah taking back his agency and moving on with his life, letting the expectations of others go to do what he wants to do. Be prepared that this security agency all of the sudden turns into a vigilante group, so if you like your heroes wearing white hats, this might not be the book for you. This sets up the couple needed for the next book. There are many tropes here to enjoy: age gap, voyeurism, first time, and hints of Daddy with some topping from the bottom. Really it’s more that Shep runs everything except the bedroom, which is left to Elijah. This is an entertaining, over the top, revenge story that has sexy, albeit dark moments.

The cover design by We Got You Covered Book Design matches the first in the series. It shares the shattered glass image, signaling the books are about damaged lead characters, but adds the film to be a representation of Elijah and the industry he works in. The colors are bright and eye-catching.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition
Published December 4th 2019
Original Title: Captivating
Series: Elite Protection Services

via A Chaps Moondrawn Review: Captivating (Elite Protection Services #2) by Onley James — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services #1) by Onley James

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

I like my erotic romances with some depth and this fit the bill. There are many triggers in this book so please pay attention to the tags: past and present abuse, off page rape, self harm, flashbacks, alcohol, drugs, and suicide attempts. Of course, this all means the hurt/comfort trope is quite strong. Wyatt is full of pain from parents who don’t know what love means; he is acting out recklessly in his hopelessness. Lincoln is hired by Wyatt’s father as a babysitter for him during the Senate reelection campaign.

Much of this story takes place in a fish bowl of forced proximity. The attraction is immediate for both of them and while a misunderstanding keeps them apart for a little while, once that is gone there is no stopping the lust from boiling over, even if it all seems like a horrible idea, bound for heartbreak all around. As an erotic romance, the sex scenes are plentiful and smoking hot if light Daddy play is your thing. My heart hurt for both of them pretty quickly. Linc’s usual scenes and after care haven’t prepared him for actually caring for a boy of his own. He is in denial about his PTSD from the service and glosses over his own childhood abuse. Wyatt’s never had a man care for him at all, in any capacity. This is completely dysfunctional, but at least Linc understands that. Linc is an intimate witness to Wyatt’s life without his consent; it is Linc’s choice to share his life with Wyatt in return. With this dynamic, I wonder if anyone who showed Wyatt affection would have sufficed. Still, the moment that it becomes less about play and more about making love, the sex is real including the fear, communication, and humor.

The pacing is fast due to the feeling of racing against the clock. This has an expiration date, not just because of the senator’s campaign, but because this bubble is not sustainable. There are thankfully some interesting supporting characters involved: Linc’s boss and former service buddy Jackson, Graciela the housekeeper, Charlemagne or Charlie as Wyatt’s best friend, and Wyatt’s grandmother Violet. Charlie has the largest, much needed role as support for Wyatt when he can’t support himself. Some might criticize her for not doing more, but I think she did what she could whilst not humiliating and outing Wyatt against his will. When he makes the choice to change his circumstances, she protects them all. I admit Linc and his sister’s circumstances make no sense to me: caring for someone who hurt, neglected and abandoned them over someone Linc is falling in love with seems like a fake box to put him in. Neither does Wyatt’s situation make a lot of sense: if at 22, Wyatt is so abused and mentally screwed up that he can’t get out of the situation with his father, then he is not fit to be anyone’s partner. There are two scenes where Wyatt shows he can be supportive of Linc also–enough to give me some hope. With all the angst I had to wade through, I would have liked to see the epilogue expanded to show more of the happiness a romance brings to the table. Their kinks and childhood traumas match enough for them to bond, but I do wish there had been a bit more as to why they would work as a couple in real world circumstances for a more believable HEA.

The cover design is by We Got You Covered Book Design. This doesn’t have anything to do with the story. This model is a bit more built than I pictured Wyatt and less built than I pictured Linc. The tagline makes this seem more about discipline or BDSM, which doesn’t match the flavor of this book at all.

Sales Links: Amazon | Universal Link 

Book Details: ebook
Published July 12th 2019 (first published July 8th 2019)
Original Title: Intoxicating
Edition Language: English
Series: Elite Protection Services

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Intoxicating (Elite Protection Services #1) by Onley James — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Fox Hunt by J. Leigh Bailey, Shifter U 4

Fox Hunt
Cover Art © 2019 Aaron Anderson aaronbydesign55@gmail.com

I would rate this 4 stars.

This is the fourth book in this series, but can sincerely be read as a standalone. I haven’t read all the series in order, but didn’t feel at a disadvantage at all. In fact, this is a great example of how to blend pertinent information into a story without awkward or wordy recaps. In the course of doing a favor for a friend, David hacks something that brings him to the attention of the Moreau Initiative, a group of scientists researching and experimenting on shifters. He mother assigns him a bodyguard, Buddy aka Theo, he doesn’t think he needs, as he goes on a three week cross-country road trip for a college campus tour before he starts graduate school for journalism.

This is a great road trip story featuring a slew of tropes: age gap, forced proximity, fake boyfriends, gentle giant, and bodyguard crush. Since Buddy is a bear shifter, there is some humor thrown in during a leather night at a LGBTQ+ Irish pub. David’s skills match his foxy, inquisitive nature, lending him maturity when he could fly off the handle and derail things. I like that he stops and thinks. His family plays a large part as his mother is the head of the Western Division Shifter Council Headquarters, his older brother Aidan is her aide, and his mother’s fiance Darren is a member. I liked that there is a strong female leader who can direct the shifters, even in battle. Although Buddy’s family is not highlighted in this book (I think his brothers are in previous books), he helped raise his brothers. His patient and nurturing way is just what David needs. David’s fierce loyalty and consideration is just what Buddy needs. Though fast, they grow close by being honest and sharing confidences. The action throughout the book was always leading to a violent conclusion. It’s a shame the bad guys here, at every step of the way, are quite one dimensional, and none too clever. Also, the emotional exchanges with and between the other characters are not as rich as those between David and Buddy. This was an enjoyable ride, with an interesting plot, likeable leads, and a fast but realistically compact romance in intense situations. I think I’ll go back and read the ones I missed.

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Review : Royal Guardian (Rise of the Symbionts #1) by Jo Tannah

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Lando is a man genetically bred by machines for security purposes. By the age of 12, he is one of the top 20 security specialists on the planet Oryon based on his intelligence and skill. He is training to be a Royal Guardian assigned to Prince Kallen, a powerful technomage. Prince Kallen was born sickly and is dying. When unknown inhabitants of the planet Nigul sent a distress call to Oryon, they arrive too late to save anyone while the planet is destroyed. Lando finds an egg with a sentient being inside that seems to have empathic abilities. The symbiont, Bobik, attaches itself to the Prince after it hatches, healing him.

There is an eight years age gap between the Prince and Lando. While Lando is in love with his prince, he never thinks anything will come of it. Kallen has other ideas–though he waits until his 18th birthday to make his feelings known. When Kallen names Lando Prince Consort, Lord Commander Militant Cheol, unhappy with the union and the symbiont, resigns his position and leaves with fifteen thousand guardsmen. While Lando hunts Cheol, Kallen leaves for Vespa to study magical protocols for two years. Lando becomes Lord Commander Militant, security and advisor to the King. When the Prince is kidnapped and Bobik is not with him, they fear the worst. Is Cheol involved? Are there other enemies they don’t know about? Many fear the alien Bobik and Kallen is such a powerful technomage already.

Although this was slow to get going, I actually enjoyed this. The love scene is strange as Bobik is involved. Part two will undoubtedly take up the search for Cheol. Lando also found a new egg as part of a mission assigned him by the King. I expect this is how the rise of the symbionts (the subtitle) will happen. I would have preferred this to be a long novel rather than having the story broken up into three novellas. Now I have to know what happens. This was an easy enjoyable read with likeable characters, low angst, and palace intrigue.

I like the cover art by Angela Waters, which communicates the story is science fiction and shows Lando.

Sales Links:       Amazon

Extasy

Book Details: ebook, 76 pages
Published March 31st 2017 by eXtasy Books Inc
ISBN 1487412029 (ISBN13: 9781487412029)
Edition Language: English
Series: Rise of the Symbionts

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review :Royal Guardian (Rise of the Symbionts #1) by Jo Tannah — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words