4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jenna Byrnes, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: VanDoren’s Vice by Jenna Byrnes

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Title: VanDorens Vice (Kansas City Heat: Book Seven)

Author: Jenna Byrnes

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 115 Pages

At a Glance: Murder, Danger, and lots of suspects makes for a fast-paced read.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A detective and the head of security at a casino have something in common, don’t they? Perhaps more than one thing.

Detective Mike VanDoren isn’t much of a gambler, but the ongoing embezzlement at Kansas City’s newest casino definitely has his interest. So does handsome Cole McKinney, the head of security at the Time and Tides. Mike dives head first into the case and a relationship with Cole, who can’t believe that any of his trusted employees and friends could be guilty. Mike knows differently, and it’s up to him and his team to figure out who’s behind the elaborate scheme. When a casino employee turns up dead, the case takes a bizarre twist, leaving Mike scrambling to save the people he cares about most.

Dividers

Review: VanDorens Vice is the seventh book in the Kansas City Heat series by Jenna Byrnes, where the author takes us into the interesting and fast-paced world of the casino and security operation. Murder, danger and lots of suspects, along with the creative use of the looping technique from Speed, are all built into an embezzlement scheme.

The two MCs, Detective Mike VanDoren and Cole McKinney, hit it off quickly and the attraction between them is powerful. They both have strong feelings about the jobs that they have to do, and hit some bumps along the way as the embezzlement scheme becomes entangled with murder. Cole’s character is trusting of certain staff members and believes no one would commit such crimes, but Mike has to consider everyone a suspect, even Cole. Eventually, doubt and suspicion start to take a toll on their relationship.

As supporting characters go, Ms. Byrnes developed a great partner for Mike in Lisa Chen. She’s not only smart but has a really fun sense of humor. There is an abundance of characters in this story, as many of the characters from the Kansas City Heat series are brought back, which I really enjoy.

VanDorens Vice can be read as a standalone, but the author does give enough tidbits about the other characters that it may tempt you to read the previous books in the series.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Jenna Byrnes, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann, Totally Bound

Review: Rainey’s Release by Jenna Byrnes

Title: Rainey’s Release (Kansas City Heat: Book Six)

Author: Jenna Byrnes

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 108 Pages

At a Glance: Jenna Byrnes’ writing is entertaining and keeps you wanting more.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A madman targets gay drug addicts. Can the KCPD track down the latest serial killer before more blood is shed?

Detective William Rainey is the newest man assigned to the KCPD’s Homicide Division, having just relocated from St. Louis with his life partner, Joshua Wolf. When a murder with the same MO as several St. Louis crimes takes place, the similarities are hard to ignore. The investigation turns personal and soon hits close to home. A suspect comes to light and Will finds himself in a battle to solve the most important case of his life. Enlisting the help of Detectives James Dixon and Nick Peyton is tricky when the men don’t feel like they know him yet. Can he earn their trust before it’s too late?

Dividers

Review: William Rainey and his partner Josh Wolf have made the move to Kansas City. Will has gotten himself a new job as detective for the Kansas City Police Department. Josh has a new job too, at the Bright Horizons Treatment Center, as a therapy counselor. He also has plans to look for a Narcotics Anonymous group that fits his needs.

Will starts his job at the KCPD feeling nervous about his being gay, he’s still unsure of how others will react to it, and unfortunately for him he’s temporarily assigned to James Dixon (aka Dix—he won’t answer to anything else). Their first homicide assignment is that of a young man found dead in an alley, with all the signs that he’d been a drug addict.

But what really has Will upset is Dix. Dix not only refers to him as “rookie” but tends to make homophobic statements. Will gets a chance to work some cases with Peyton and Laura ,and notices how much easier it is working with them than Dix. Will approaches Peyton and brings up the issue of Dix’s gay bashing. Peyton doesn’t hold back and shows a picture of his better-half to Will. Will is totally surprised. Peyton then calls Dix into the break room and confronts Dix about the gay bashing. Will is then stunned when Dix admits to being gay and married.

Will doesn’t know how to react, he doesn’t admit or deny to being gay, and this leads to a devastating turn of events. Will he lose his job? Or worse, loose Josh? Will the killer be found? How does Will make things right?

I have been totally sucked into the Kansas City Heat series since the beginning. The series name fits too: there’s a lot of heat in these stories, and Josh and Will are hot, hot, hot! Jenna Byrnes’ writing is entertaining and keeps you wanting more, she creates characters you want to keep tabs on, so it’s nice to hear about them in other books in the series. I think you could read Rainey’s Release as a standalone, but if you want to learn more about the other characters, here is a list of books in reading order: Dixon’s Duty, Peyton’s Pursuit, Cameron’s Cove, Taylor’s Task, and Gage’s Gift. I recommend them all.

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3 Stars, Anthology, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Reviewed by Angel, Totally Bound

Review: Hard Riders – An Anthology From Totally Bound

Title: Hard Riders Anthology

Author: Jenna Byrnes, L.M. Somerton, Morticia Knight

Publisher: Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count:

At a Glance:  If you like the Sons of Anarchy show and lots of sexy times, then this book is for you.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurbs: Clear Blue Sky by Jenna Byrnes

Respect all, fear none is the Rebel Riders Motorcycle Club’s motto. Will the Riders step up when the Demon Outlaws go after one of their own? 

Sky Warren doesn’t let the screen door smack him on the way out of Kansas. When his former abusive partner Duke is arrested for selling drugs, Sky takes off. He’s ready for a clean start and a change of scenery. Moving to Lakewood, Colorado, with his cousin and accepting a job in Billy’s bike shop seems like just what he needs to start over. In Billy’s riding club he meets Task Rivers, a handsome, sexy biker, and they hit it off immediately. Task is edgy, yet he shows Sky how a respectful and considerate man treats his partner. The two fall into a lusty, passionate relationship.

Death before dishonor. The Demon Outlaws have another way of looking at life. When Duke Lessing comes after Sky and is rebuffed, he joins the Outlaws in their troublemaking ways. With the Demons spoiling for a fight, Task calls on a few of the more hardcore Rebel Riders. As the night heats up, Sky is determined to avoid what seems like inevitable bloodshed. He wants to leave and lure the Demons away, but Task and the Rebel Riders have other ideas. Sky knows Duke doesn’t give up easily and learns that neither does Task, who’s fighting for what he wants. But will it be a fight to the death?

Mantrap by L.M. Somerton

Not all cages have bars.

The Wyverns Motorcycle Club has a reputation as fierce as its dragon emblem. Its enigmatic leader, Rogue Hellaby, has a police file so thick you could prop up a table with it. The qualifications for membership are a reckless disregard for authority and the attitude of a spitting cobra. But The Wyverns MC is not quite what it seems. All the riders have dubious histories in the military or the police—now they just serve and protect their own interests and those of Horatio Trap, the manipulative bastard who recruited them.

When Rogue receives an instruction to kidnap and hold hostage the son of a powerful drug lord, he doesn’t bat an eyelid. But Rogue has never had to deal with a captive like Orlando de la Pena. Orlando is furious—not because he’s being held prisoner, but because he’s prevented from partying at his favorite BDSM club. Rogue discovers that the only way to deal with Orlando is to become the Dom he so obviously needs. But Orlando’s father wants him back, and The Wyverns must face a battle that could cost them their lives.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of light BDSM.

Biking Bad by Morticia Knight

When Dylan, a young wannabe investigator, stumbles into the Mojave Sidewinder’s MC bar, he finds all kinds of trouble—especially in biker Luc ‘Zero’ Villarojas.

The Mojave Sidewinders is the largest gay MC club in Southern California. They’re also one-percenters, which makes them alluring to those looking for trouble and a danger to those making it. Luc ‘Zero’ Villarojas has been a brother ever since the club’s prez took him in as a runaway. At thirty-four years of age, he’s content to ride his hog, chase tail and run his tattoo and piercing parlor, Zero to Sixty.

Dylan has had to take care of himself since his aunt died when he was still a teen. Even though he’s barely twenty-two years old, the small spitfire has made his way in the world as best as he can and has even started his own would-be investigative agency. He’s proud of himself, even if his agency is on the edge of town in a ramshackle building.

Working his first big case involving a missing young man, Dylan barges into Road Rage, the Mojave Sidewinder’s exclusive bar, and starts asking questions. When it looks as though he’s about to get beaten up, a large, muscled biker covered in ink comes to his aid. Dylan’s incredibly attracted to him—even if Zero is pretty scary and Dylan’s still a virgin. But is there something Zero knows about the missing man that he’s hiding? And is Dylan in more danger than he realises?

Dividers

Review: I will say this about the Hard Riders anthology: the stories were well written, sexy and exciting. I don’t know what it is these days about the 1%ers that has become such a fascination, but I just didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started reading the book, but it wasn’t a gay version of Sons of Anarchy. Not that there is anything wrong with that, and I am most likely in the minority here, but I think everything was over the top.

Motorcyclists have always been subjected to scrutiny and disdain, but I think Hollywood has added too much hype on what was once considered a way of getting back the comradeship of the trust built in the trenches by the soldiers returning from war in the 40’s, and an overabundance of military bikes. History shows us that all it took was one drunken incident to paint those who ride with a tar and feather brush, and I think sensationalizing the lifestyle doesn’t do anyone any good.

Anyway.

I enjoyed the mystery aspect of Morticia Knight’s Biking Bad; the story I liked most of the three. Jenna Byrnes’ Clear Blue Sky troubled me. I didn’t like the fact that Sky continued to put up with what I considered abusive behavior after promising himself not to fall back into that lifestyle. Realistic, but disappointing. L.M. Somerton’s Mantrap was pure smutty goodness, BDSM parts included, despite the improbable outcome of the MC overcoming a drug lord’s thugs. Fun premise, though.

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