Friday, April 30, 2021

Shadowed Steel by Chloe Neill

The vampires in Elisa Sullivan's world are out for blood… She'll need to keep a clear head, and a sharp blade, to survive all the supernatural strife.

In the third installment in the USA Today bestselling Heirs of Chicagoland series, the vampires in Elisa Sullivan's world are out for blood.

Elisa Sullivan is the only vampire ever born, and she bears a heavy legacy. After a sojourn with the North American Central Pack of shifters in the wilderness—where she turned a young woman into a vampire to save her life—Elisa returns to Chicago.

But no good deed goes unpunished. The ruling body of vampires, the Assembly of American Masters, is furious that Elisa turned someone without their permission, and they want her punished. When an AAM vampire is found dead, Elisa is the prime suspect. Someone else is stalking Chicago—and Elisa. She'll need to keep a clear head, and a sharp blade, to survive all the supernatural strife.

Don’t miss our reviews of other books in the Heirs of Chicagoland series!
For book one, Wild Hunger, click HERE.


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Shadowed Steel by Chloe Neill

Book 3
Buy Links

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Berkley (PRH)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Shadowed Steel is the third installment in the Heirs of Chicagoland series. Cannot be read as a standalone. Additionally, even though this is listed as the third in the series, it is a spin-off of the Chicagoland Vampires. I suggest new readers start at the beginning, with Some Girls Bite, to experience the events that created Elisa, Connor, and Lulu.

To preface this review, I will not be speaking of the plot whatsoever. Why? It's the third novel, we readers should be well-versed in the world building at this point. Mostly, I don't wish to reveal things that might spoil the experience.

Merit and Darth Sullivan (the vampires), along with Mallory and Catcher (the witches), and their shaky alliance with Gabriel (the shifters), their actions are still impacting the future through their children, Elisa, Lulu, and Connor.

To be honest, I wasn't invested in the main plot (Elisa being who she is puts a target on her back, no matter what), because Chloe Neill shines when it comes to relationships between romantic couples, but most certainly the relationship built between family and friends. It's real, and sometimes it's raw, but it always resonates with me.

On the personal angst front, there are mysteries and issues stemming from the fact that Elisa is the first of her kind, born not made/created by one of her master vampire parents.

Shadowed Steel was a homecoming for me, a few stolen hours to spend with well-loved favorites. All it does is make me wish to go back to the beginning yet again and experience it with a different perspective.

Highly recommend this series and the author to those who seek Urban Fantasy. Always at the top of my recommendation list.

I’m feeling slightly disloyal at this point in Elisa’s series – I might actually like Elisa more than I liked her mother. Born into her world, Elisa is more at home in her skin and more confident in her place in the supernatural world than Merit was at the start of her series. Merit’s books were almost paranormal romance at times while Elisa is all urban fantasy.

This third book sees Elisa take a stand against the powerful Assembly of American Masters – the vampires’ governing body. Unwilling to compromise her independence, Elisa’s choices divide her friends, family, and allies. With some great action scenes and escalating threats from a stalker, this story moves quickly. Elisa’s interactions with the Assembly of American Masters are a fascinating mix of chases, battle scenes, and mind games.

I really love the way Elisa’s friends come through for her in this book. Even when her alliances are shaky, her friends remain loyal – and highly entertaining. This series is a fun mix of action, snark, camaraderie, and romance – and I’m loving it.



Author Bio

CHLOE NEILL was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires series, the Heirs of Chicagoland series, the Dark Elite series, and the Devil’s Isle series.

Connect with Chloe

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads



“Don’t let them push you. Show the monster if you have to, but no FEAR.”


Berkley Romance

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Shadowed Steel (Heirs of Chicagoland #3) by Chloe Neill to read and review.

Wild Dreams by Mari Carr Blog Tour

Dream big. Dream wild. Wild Dreams by Mari Carr Blog Tour.

Dream big. Dream wild.

Oliver has always longed for a love just like his parents have—all three of them. He’s certain he’s already halfway to that happily ever after. His foster brother calls it wild, but Ollie knows they can find the woman of their dreams.

Gavin has always accepted that life is just one disappointment after another. Growing up in the foster system taught him that. Oliver is one of the few people he can trust, so he prefers they stay a two-man band.

Erin is a curvy, spunky brunette neither of them saw coming. But fate has another wild card in store for the three of them, one that will test everyone’s faith in their very different dreams for the future.


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Wild Dreams by Mari Carr

Book 12
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“Sometimes I wonder…” Erin said, pausing. She bit her lower lip, and Oliver got a sense she regretted what she’d just started to say. “Never mind.”

“You wonder what?” he pressed.

“I wonder if you and I had never met… if you and Gavin would have…”

Oliver sighed. There were no secrets between him and Erin. He’d fallen for her just as quickly as her roommate Jordan fell for her flavors of the month. Layla had introduced him to her cousin shortly after Erin had landed a nursing job at Johns Hopkins in the E.R., making the move from Philly to Baltimore. Oliver had taken one look at the curvy brunette with chocolate-brown eyes and known he’d met his soulmate.

Well… one of them.

Erin’s hot-blooded Italian mother had met and fallen madly in love with her hard-working and hard-playing Irish husband, and the result had been Erin Cafferty. Like him, she laughed loudly and often, spoke her mind, rarely flashed her fiery temper—but when she did, watch out—and once they’d committed to this relationship, she’d been all in, holding back nothing.

As such, she knew all about Ollie’s wild dreams, his desire to find a relationship just like that of his parents. Erin was as open-minded and adventurous as they came. Unlike the Moretti brothers, Erin had been quick to accept Layla’s relationship with both Finn and Miguel, confiding to him early on that she’d thought it was “very cool and totally hot,” and how she couldn’t imagine anything better than finding true love with not just one person but two. She’d told him she would be open to that kind of relationship if it was what he truly wanted.

If Oliver hadn’t already fallen for her before, that would have sealed the deal for him.

Erin had also heard all of Oliver’s “past lovers” stories, just as he’d heard hers, so she knew about his one night with Gavin and how it had ended. Why it had ended. Oliver had tried to convince her that he’d since come to realize that dream of a threesome relationship was just that… a dream.

But every now and then, like tonight, he’d slip up and reveal more than he should, and once more, she’d be left to wonder if she truly was enough. He hated doing that to her.

He’d let his dreams keep him and Gavin apart, so how could he expect her to believe the same wouldn’t hold true in their relationship? While he’d sworn to her that wouldn’t happen, it was clear she didn’t believe him.

“You know Gavin and I…” He started to say hooked up, but that felt too impersonal, especially given his feelings for Gavin.

“Slept together,” Erin finished when he stumbled. “I know that, but—”

“But nothing. It was just one time and we both knew afterwards that… it wasn’t enough. That something was missing.”

The truth was his night with Gavin had been fucking amazing. The only other lover he’d ever taken to bed who’d rocked his world like that was Erin. But Oliver had fucked it up when he’d misread the entire thing with Gavin, planning a future out loud for the two of them and some unknown woman.

“Nothing was missing in Gavin’s mind,” Erin softly reminded him.

He knew that. But it didn’t change the facts. “It wouldn’t work, Erin. I want a wife and babies.”

“And a husband. Gavin.”

Oliver hadn’t planned to add anything else to that list because he’d made that mistake once before. Lost someone he loved because his dreams were too big, too wild. But Erin wouldn’t let him lie. Not even to himself. Because she was right.

He didn’t just want a wife.

He wanted it all.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the twelfth book in the series, and it was very much like coming on a visit to a group of good friends – but actually even if you had never read one of the Wilder Irish books before, this would be a fabulous read, and I would expect you to be searching out the earlier installments.

Oliver and his foster brother, Gavin, have been pretty much inseparable since Gavin arrived age 15. It did not start off well, as he truly had been seriously abused by his mother, and had no trust to give, and certainly no true understanding of love. But Oliver and his trio of parents are all patient and consistent, and eventually Gavin settles into the family. Oliver's dream is to have a husband, a wife, and children, and though Gavin loves him, he considers himself to be gay not bi, and most definitely never wants to bring up children. Both working in the family construction business, they share the flat above the family pub.

A fire changes everything, and Gavin learns that maybe he is wrong that he is only attracted to men when he walks in on Oliver and his girlfriend, Erin, together. Thus follows a really lovely love story, which brings the reader along, utterly invested in the trio and the bright future that they can have, once all the ties to the past have been resolved.

I really enjoyed how this story dealt with some difficult issues in a very careful way, and also gives us the chance to see how the relationship between Oliver, Gavin, and Erin develops. We also get a lot of family times, which brings backs great memories of previous relationships.

Oliver has always longed for a love like the one his parents have had. It is not conventional, he has a mother and two fathers, it works for them and the love they share is what Oliver wants. He knows he wants Gavin and they need to find the right woman.

I have only read one other in this series and I have to say that I had tears in my eyes at the beginning, it was so emotional at the loss Oliver's parents were going through that it hits you right in the feels. Then it starts at the present day with Oliver and Gavin. And Gavin's past will break your heart too. So this story will tear your heart out, but Pop Pop will put it back with his heart of gold.

I will go back and read the other books in this series because I want to know more about this family and see what I have missed.



Author Bio

Virginia native MARI CARR is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance novels. With over one million copies of her books sold, Mari was the winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Passionate Plume award for her novella, Erotic Research. She has over a hundred published works, including her popular Wild Irish and Compass books, along with the Trinity Masters series she writes with Lila Dubois.

Connect with Mari

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Mari's Minxes


Hosted by

Social Butterfly PR

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wild Dreams (Wilder Irish #12) by Mari Carr to read and review for this tour.

Up in Smoke by Annabeth Albert

Are they playing house... Or making a family of their own?

Three Men and a Baby meets Backdraft with explosive chemistry and heartfelt feels.

Freewheeling smoke jumper Brandt Wilder thrives on adrenaline. He’s never met a parachute he can’t repair or a dangerous situation he couldn’t wrangle his way out of. He’s popular and fun-loving and not at all looking to settle down or form lasting relationships. It’s a lifestyle that’s served him well… right up until the day he finds a baby on his doorstep.

Shane Travis is used to putting his country music career—and his own happiness—on hold after his sister rolls through his life. Like last spring when she convinced him to try skydiving for his birthday—and she walked away with the hot parachute instructor.

Now he gets to deliver the piece of news that will upend Brandt’s carefree life: he very well might be a dad.

Shane’s niece is safe in Brandt’s strong, capable hands, but too many questions remain unanswered. Co-parenting while they sort it out leads to late-night talks, and soul-bearing confessions lead to a most inconvenient attraction. Still, Shane can’t leave this makeshift family behind—even if it means playing house with the one man he can’t resist.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Hotshots series!
For book one, Burn Zone, click HERE.
For book two, High Heat, click HERE.
For book three, Feel the Fire, click HERE.


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Up in Smoke by Annabeth Albert

Book 4
Buy Links

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Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)
Carina Press (HQN)




Brandt’s deep chuckle rumbled straight through Shane. Damn. This was torture. Then the other man wrapped an arm around Shane, positioning his muscled forearm where Shane could see his fancy-looking watch gadget. “Now this is my altimeter. It tells me when we’re at five thousand feet and ready to deploy the chute.”

“Got it.” Shane wasn’t about to study that meaty arm any more than he absolutely had to.

“Okay, it’s go time.” Dallas’s voice echoed though the room. Brandt quickly unclipped them, but as soon as he stepped away, Shane’s pulse kicked up. Maybe he couldn’t do this. Jump out of a plane? Who was he kidding? He was a ground dweller, through and through.

Right when he was about to turn away, though, Brandt grabbed his biceps. “Nerves hitting you? Trust me. You’ll be just fine. I haven’t lost a jumper yet.”

Shane barked out a laugh. “Not exactly making me feel better.”

“Listen, I can tell you all day about how awesome this is.” Brandt looked him dead in the eyes, gaze serious for once, all his charm turned to raw intensity. “But until you do it, you’re gonna think it’s all BS. Sometimes you gotta take a leap of faith.”

“Not very good at those,” Shane admitted quietly as he stepped free of the other guy’s grip. He couldn’t keep meeting his eyes either. Too much power there, like a shot with an extra kick.

“Okay. You want me to tell Dallas you want out?”

A yes was right there on the tip of Shane’s tongue, but then he heard Shelby’s laugh ring out. She’d love it if he chickened out. Not only would she get bragging rights for all of eternity, she’d get what she’d wanted and get to go with Brandt. And for whatever reason, Shane hated that most of all. “Nah. I’m going.”

He white-knuckled his way out to the small plane, spared a nod for the female pilot, and squished his eyes shut until Shelby jostled him into looking at the valley underneath them, the green canopy of the national forest contrasting with the pristine blue sky. Random snippets of lyrics danced through Shane’s head, ways that he might try to describe this view. But then, right as he was settling into something resembling comfort, everyone started shuffling around, getting ready to go. The wind rushed in as the hatch opened, and a full-body shiver raced through Shane.

Then Shelby gave him and Brandt one last coy grin before she and Dallas were away, her whoop echoing across the sky.

“Ready? Here we go.” Brandt nudged Shane closer to the open hatch. Shane wanted to say no, wanted to drag their clipped-together bodies back inside the plane, wanted to both hurl and yell. But in the end, all he could do was nod. Only one way down.

His knees had locked up even as his thighs trembled. Behind him, Brandt was sure and solid. He could push Shane out the hatch pretty easily, but he didn’t. He was letting it be Shane’s choice. And somehow that patience and restraint gave Shane a jolt of courage. One step into nothingness. That was all it took.

Brandt was right behind him, smooth as if they were on a dance floor, not open sky. And now they were fall¬ing. Falling so fast. Faster than a car on the interstate with the windows all down, faster than a dirt bike on a steep incline, faster than the whoosh down a water slide. There was no describing the feeling of the wind on his cheeks, the roar in his ears, the shout that probably be-longed to him, the adrenaline that crashed through him as he tried to remember what they’d practiced about po¬sitioning. Damn. Hard to think.

Which was funny because that was the one thing he was good at. Shelby was forever teasing him about overthinking. But now, his brain couldn’t even pull two words together as they rushed through the air. Brandt yelled something, but Shane was too busy hurtling through the sky to focus on it. And then he was pulled backwards, a hard yank as the parachute deployed. No more freefall. And the oh-my-God-about-to-die adrenaline quieted enough that he could look down, really look.

“Oh my word. It’s…”

“Beautiful isn’t it?” Brandt’s voice was deep and rich, like warm honey over Shane’s still jangling nerves. Now that the air wasn’t rushing so fast, he could hear him better. Almost too much better, because it felt like they were soaking up each other’s awe and wonder. Sharing something warm and tender and perfect.


“Nothing like it.” Brandt whistled low, a sound that hit Shane somewhere soft. “Never gonna get tired of this view.”

“Me either.” Shane almost didn’t recognize his own voice, up this high, this far removed from everything that usually weighed him down.

“Hey, Superman. You want a turn steering?” Brandt didn’t wait for Shane to reply, grabbing his arms, guid¬ing his hands.

“Whoa. Wow. I’m doing it. Look at us.” They swooped gently from side to side, and it was quite possibly the best feeling Shane had ever experienced.

“Look at you. Didn’t know your smile muscles even worked.”

“Screw you. I can smile.” Shane was feeling so good that he had to laugh.

“Well, then get ready. The landing crew will snap your pic as we land. It’s your rock-star moment.”

“Feels like it,” he said right before Brandt took over and set them down softly in a clearing, barely even jarring Shane’s knees. “Damn. That was…”

“It was something.” Brandt was looking right at him, like he could see straight through Shane’s layers, strip him bare. And Shane held his gaze, held the moment as long as he could.

Copyright © 2021 by Annabeth Albert




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Up in Smoke is the fourth installment in the Hotshots series. It can be read as a standalone without issue.

Brandt and Shane met previously when Shane's sister takes him tandem skydiving for his birthday. He notices Brandt and the way he feels while they are strapped together. Shane knows nothing is going to come of the encounter considering the way his sister is flirting with Brandt.

When Shane's sister skips town almost a year later leaving a newborn with a birth certificate with the father's name. Brandt is shocked when Shane and a baby show up at his doorstep. Brandt's a fire jumper and knows he can't do this one his own. Luckily, Shane decides to stay, at least until they get the DNA test results.

I loved watching the slow burn between Shane and Brandt. I really enjoyed these characters and was so invested in their journey! I can't wait for more from this series!

This is the fourth book in the series, and this one is a slight outlier to the others, and so could be read as a standalone I think. Each book deals with forest firefighting, but each is unique in its setting and style, so they have all been engaging reads.

In this installment we meet Brandt, who loves to being a jumper, and who has a nomadic lifestyle, staying wherever he is posted and then next season moving on. He didn't have a stable home as a child, and so has no real understanding or need of steady. Then Shane comes to his door with his sister's baby, claiming Brandt is the father. It was so well written that I could feel the shock coming off the page!

As the story unfolds and we get to see how it may have transpired, we get a sense that Brandt will do the right thing by the baby and by Shane, although the errant sister is inevitably going to cause more drama. That said, the drama levels are thankfully low (compared to earlier books) and even these are enough to make Brandt rethink his lifestyle now he has responsibilities.

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of hotshot and not yet famous country singer, both having to care for a small baby who always came first, and had the very worse timing when it came to them thinking about making out!

A good addition to the series, and a reminder of just how quickly things can go wrong, or right!

I was so excited to read this book; then once I started reading it, I found myself to be skimming and bored. The burn was too slow, and I couldn't connect with Brandt or Shane. I honestly kept skimming hoping it would get steamier or less boring, no such luck. Miss for me but I'm sure some will love it.

Up in Smoke is the fourth installment in the Hotshots series. It can be read independently as a standalone with little to no confusion.

Brandt and Shane meet briefly nearly a year before, when Shane's sister takes him skydiving. Brandt was using his off season as an instructor, when his main profession is putting out wildfires on a smoke jumper team.

I need to be quite honest here. The beginning portion truly threw me off of their budding romance. Had I not read that at all, learned of Brandt and Shane's connection versus saw it firsthand, I might have enjoyed the story more.

Why was I thrown?

Brandt met Shane and his sister on the same day, felt sparks when helping Shane skydive, and still he chose Shane's sister for a night of fun. Nothing like reading a couple hundred pages in a novel when I felt as if Brandt saw Shane as second best. If he liked him so much, he would have chosen him from the get-go. I realize this takes away the entire reason for the novel to take place, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

A musician, Shane hunts Brandt down with some precious cargo, needing to pass his niece off to her father, after his sister took off and left the baby with him. This is a good setup for an angsty romance. As I stated above, had Shane and Brandt never met until he shows up with an unexpected baby, I would have enjoyed it more. The fact that Brandt chose Shane's sister, someone who wasn't quite mentally stable, I ended up feeling as if he truly wasn't into Shane nor was he perceptive or responsible enough to raise the baby if he would sleep with such an unhinged woman.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate when a writer in the MM genre doesn't vilify the female characters. Had that prologue not occurred, I wouldn't have batted an eyelash nor been so focused on the fact that Brandt picked Shane's sister over him. Just annoyed me.

I need to state that I am not an MM reader who cannot abide by a woman in the story – this isn't a case of that. I just wish Shane and Brandt didn't meet until Shane showed up with the baby, that's all. Meeting both siblings on the same day and choosing the sister made it difficult for me to see Brandt as actually wanting Shane versus being with him because he was "there." Convenient and helping to take care of the unexpected baby that was related to both of them.

Two single men and a little lady. The romance is centered around raising the baby. If you adore a child taking center stage, then Up in Smoke is for you. If you enjoy kids in the novel for a realistic vibe but need the main characters to control the story, then you may find the vibe too far into the baby fever realm. While I adore children in novels to round out the realistic feel, I never got into the headspace where I gushed over the "Diva."

That drove me bonkers, calling the baby Diva because she is demanding, when she is no different in her needs than any other infant. It's not demanding – it's survival. While empathetic when it came to the baby's mother, I thought calling her Diva was in poor taste, as if all women are demanding and spoiled for asking for their needs to be met.

As you can see, the book just rubbed me wrong in all directions because I took it too seriously. Probably my mood, no doubt. I do believe fans of MM romance, particularly single dad romances, will enjoy this warm and fuzzy story.

I need to warn that this doesn't have the same vibe as its predecessors, not truly having much to do with smoke jumping and firefighters. Another warning, Shane isn't the most likeable character, difficult to warm up to for the reader. I felt his serious personality belied what I envisioned for a country musician, which I saw as more of a go with the flow personality.

On the romance front, slow-burn featuring close-proximity situations. Shane and Brandt make the baby their focus, where she is the one who brings them together. I never felt as if their personalities were a good balance, never felt a spark (perhaps because it was stuck in my head how I saw Brandt as being more into Shane's sister after the beginning). Everyday situations, where they learn to take care of a baby, roommates turned friends turned lovers with barely a spark. I felt as if they were merely choosing to be together versus feeling the desire and drive to "need" to be together.

Overall, this was probably my least favorite of the series. I'm glad I read this installment, but it won't be on my reread list.

Avid Reader☆☆☆
2.5 stars
M/M Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Brandt loves his job as a smokejumper. He has always looked for adrenaline challenges and this is right up his alley. When he is helping a buddy out with regular old skydiving, he meets Shane. While Brandt is sexually fluid, he doesn't advertise that much.

Shane is an up-and-coming singer who wants to make it big, but also has a troublesome sister and a career that isn't taking off like he hoped. When his sister shows up with a baby in tow, Shane isn't quite sure what to do.

As Brandt and Shane figure their new reality out, they also have to see if their attraction is something they want to pursue.

This was a VERY slow burn. So slow that sometimes, it felt backwards. I didn't really feel that they had great chemistry, nor did it seem like they were more than just friends who happen to be lovers. The baby aspect was good, but it felt that it was what held the couple together.

Overall, I was underwhelmed with this book.



Author Bio

ANNABETH ALBERT grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Connect with Annabeth

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Annabeth's Angels


ARC provided by

Carina Press

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Up in Smoke (Hotshots #4) by Annabeth Albert to read and review.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Insiders by Tijan

They tried to kidnap me. They failed. The Insiders by Tijan.

The Insiders is the first in a brand new, page-turning romance trilogy from New York Times bestseller, Tijan!

Bailey is as normal as could be, with a genius IQ and a photographic memory. But still, normal for her. Then, things happen—a guy breaks into her house in the middle of the night to take her hostage. She finds out her father is actually billionaire tech genius Peter Francis, the same guy she’s idolized all her life. She learns all this when she meets dark, mysterious, and electrifying Kashton Colello. He’s an associate of her father’s, and he gives Bailey two choices—go with him and meet her father or survive on her own because those kidnappers are going to try again. It’s a no-brainer.

After this, three things become clear for Bailey:

1. She’s living at her father’s sprawling estate, complete with bodyguards and the best security that money can buy.

2. She’s no longer an only child. She has three siblings and has no idea what to do with them and vice versa.

3. She is being guarded by Kash himself. Personally guarded. And there is a lot of guarding going on there and some of it is going to drive her crazy.

A complete outsider in a world of wealth and decadence, Bailey has to find her way within a family that has more secrets than she could have imagined. One of these secrets could be deadly…


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The Insiders by Tijan

Book 1
Buy Links

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B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)
St. Martin’s Griffin




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Bailey has known that she's different all her life. With her intelligence, she knows more than most. But when she finds herself scared and nervous after an attempt to kidnap her, she is not sure who she can trust.

Kash is not someone you want to cross. He is alpha male plus some. He wants to be able to protect Bailey, but he also knows that he is also a danger to her. His family is dangerous and while he wants nothing to do with the family business, he knows there will come a day when it comes knocking, regardless of what he wants.

As Bailey adjusts to learning her new truth, meeting new people, and trying to integrate the old with the new, both she and Kash will have to decide if they have a future or if this is all they can ever be.

Tijan really knows how to write the spoiled rich kid well. Bailey's new brother's behavior reminds me a lot of the Fallen Crest High boys. I really enjoyed this story and can't wait to see how they navigate what's to come. I hope we get to see them again soon!

4.5 stars

With a photographic memory, Bailey is a hacker by trade, fangirling over the world's most infamous hacker turned billionaire, wishing to intern at his company while she finishes grad school. With a flighty mom, Bailey has always been the parent figure in their little family of two, loyalty and love all directed at her mom.

It all goes to pot from the get-go, an attempted kidnapping bringing all the lies and betrayals and evasions to light. Strong and intelligent, with rare bursts of vulnerability, Bailey is thrust into a life she never imagined. Her deceased veteran father was a lie, her true father was unfaithful, her parents creating her during an indiscretion.

After being lied to her entire life, Bailey must now lie to the siblings she discovered, the dirty little secret living amongst them for her own safety. As one of the eldest of a billionaire, the one most like her father, she now has a target for ransom on her back.

Then there is Kash. I won't describe the intensity Kash releases, nor the connection he shares with Bailey, nor who Kash is to the family, because you need to read it to truly appreciate the love-hate, push-pull, raw intensity between the pair, along with all the mysteries it reveals.

Parents of many flavors and siblings of different age groups. The elder sibling brings the melodrama, while the little and middle bring the precociousness and heart-clenching love. The parents range across the gamut of emotions of situations, putting Bailey through the wringer.

Secrets are revealed, betrayals are dealt, panic and terror are felt, all strengthening Bailey from the inside out.

I have no idea if this is a standalone or a duology or series. There is a slight cliffhanger but not necessarily for our narrator. I'm beyond satisfied after reading such a wild ride but eager to learn more about Kash's family ties.

Odd commentary: the term Outlier was used numerous times and I kept thinking that ought to have been the title of the novel, while I don't remember ever spotting insiders. Just something I kept thinking as I read the novel.

4.5 stars of crazy goodness

This is a fabulously complex and detail intense novel, which is full of drama and tension. The romance is raw, hedonistic, and fraught with danger. I absolutely loved the level of crazy, all wrapped up in the illusion of wealth and status.

Daughter to a single mum, Bailey is a hacking genius, who has fangirled over the owner of Phoenix Technologies since she was little. It is her ambition to work there, but although she has been awarded scholarships, she never gets an internship. Suddenly, a kidnapping attempt which she survives pushes her into the world of the figurehead... who it turns to be her father. It is decided that she needs full time security and Kash takes on the role.

With such a wild start, one might think that we will then get to see how and why this situation arose, and why she was a target, along with some sparks flying between Bailey and Kash – but instead we get so, so much more! It turns out that Bailey has half-siblings and a stepmother, a whole lifestyle that she has no understanding of, but finds herself pitched into, but without being allowed to reveal her identity. And if that is not all challenging enough, she is without her beloved laptop.

As the layers peel back, and we think we understand more, and then we realise maybe we don't, the pages demanded to be turned late into my night. It is most definitely unputdownable, and I was so hooked that I was in that state of not wanting it to end, and yet desperate to know what happens next. I am very keen to read on as soon as possible, as I was fascinated by the level of crazy, of disfunction, and of inter-relationships which seemed to turn and turn about. It was quite easy to identify with Bailey, but Kash is a big mystery, that is for sure!


This is an addictive soap-style family drama with some fabulous villains and unexpected twists. It is also a sexy romance between genius hacker Bailey and her sexy new bodyguard.

There’s not much that’s realistic or plausible about this story of billionaires, tech companies, and high society family drama. And that’s the fun of it. It’s an exciting but predictable romp. A nasty stepmother. Rich and spoilt adult siblings. A criminal subplot that I still don’t understand. Airport bookshop gold, this is easy entertainment.

I enjoyed Bailey and Kashton’s story and I’d recommend it to fans of Dallas, Dynasty, and Danielle Steele.



Author Bio

TIJAN is a New York Times bestselling author who writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing later in life and once she started, she was hooked. She's written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and Ryan's Bed among others. She is currently writing to her heart's content in north Minnesota with an English Cocker Spaniel she adores.

Connect with Tijan

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Tijan's Crew



St. Martin's Press

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Insiders by Tijan to read and review.

How to Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

How to Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey Available Now!

A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How to Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He's already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the First Comes Love series!
For book one, The Earl Next Door, click HERE.
For book two, Gone With the Rogue, click HERE.


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How to Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Paperback (US)
St. Martin’s Press




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

How to Train Your Earl is the third installment in the First Comes Love series and can easily be read as a standalone with little to no confusion.

Brina is the widow of a hero, given the same respect and admiration as a man within society. Brina's charitable efforts and decorum have made her someone all look to as a good example, from the gutter to the cream of the crop. Brina is content in her life, happy to remain unmarried, as to remarry means to lose all of her independence and autonomy.

Zane unexpectedly became an earl, his entire family mourning while also fearful on whether or not Zane can be responsible enough to take good care of the family and its holdings. He's a gambler and a rake, refusing to follow the rules of polite society.

Zane needs a wife, one society respects, because he truly adores his family and wishes to make them proud, hopes to be a good earl and keep their family name respectable. Rake that he is, Zane traps Brina with a bet at White's, and that isn't something that puts him in the best light.

The angst and conflict: Brina may wish for some excitement here or there, but she is not willing to lose all her hard-earned independence, especially to a man she doesn't know, especially when he wants to marry her to satisfy a bet and his family. Then there is Zane, experiencing infatuation at first sight, willing to do anything to win Brina as his wife.

With a delightful balance of humor, romance, and banter, Zane and Brina dance around their attraction. Sweet, a little bit angsty, warm and fuzzy, How to Train Your Earl is sure to please Amelia Grey fans.



Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author AMELIA GREY read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she's been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter, and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the Heirs' Club trilogy and the Rakes of St. James series. She's been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

Connect with Amelia

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“You’re the one I want, Brina. I want your hand in marriage. Not just the afternoon in your bed.”


St. Martin's Press

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of How to Train Your Earl (First Comes Love #3) by Amelia Grey to read and review.

Bad Intentions by Ella Frank Blog Tour

Bad Intentions by Ella Frank Blog Tour

My name isn’t Logan Mitchell, but Marcus St. James doesn’t know that…

When I showed up at my roommate’s work party, the last thing I expected was to find a man straight out of my dreams. But when the crowd parted and the fates aligned, there he was, waiting for me. Marcus St. James, president of ENN WorldWide News.

Sexy and powerful, with a stare that could freeze you in place, Marcus was the perfect reward for securing a job at Mitchell & Madison, the best law firm in Chicago. To play with the big fish, however, one must become a big fish, and that’s where my little white lie began.

It was one night. I was never going to see him again, and from the second we spoke, I knew he was interested. It was there in his eyes, the same fire in my veins. It was there in his voice, whenever he said my name.

The only problem? It wasn’t my name, and now I wanted more—much more.

But how can anything good come out of something that started with such bad intentions?



Bad Intentions by Ella Frank

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Paperback (US)
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~



“This is a mistake.”     “If it is, then it’ll be one damn good mistake.”



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Holy crap on a cracker!!! I loved everything about this book, except that it ended, and I have to wait until June for the next one! I don't want to give anything away, but you MUST read this. If you love Ella Frank books, this will be another one you love too! Gabe and Marcus are just amazing! The sassiness is strong, and I love it. I'll admit, I even teared up a bit. When the book ended, I thought, "Oh boy, game on." June can't get here soon enough! I just might read this one again before Good Intentions comes out!

This is book one in a duet, but is absolutely grounded in the wonderful world started in Try and that has had me enthralled ever since. The minute that this book reached my Kindle, I knew that I was in for a fabulous journey amongst friends old and new. Ella Frank most definitely delivered, and even the romantic cliffhanger was forgivable, especially as the concluding part is promised in June, and even I can be that patient!

Marcus St. James is Alexander Thorne's boss at the TV news company ENN. We met him in Xander's Prime News trilogy. He is all about work, so what happens when he meets Gabe (who introduces himself as his new boss, Logan) is completely out of character. Infuriatingly it won't leave his mind, and fate chooses to favour him with a second encounter... when the fake name issue comes to light. And now we have poor Gabe, desperate to keep his job, having to roll back his badly timed change of identity. It is such fun watching on and seeing how Gabe has to right his wrong, and the pleasure that ensues. But can it last? Do look out for a really amusing little cameo with Tate and Logan.

Gabe has another surprise to deliver, which hints at depths which Marcus is not entirely sure he can resist, but with his contract under negotiation we are not entirely confident of a happily ever after, at least not just yet!

Steaming hot, sexy, fun, and utterly unputdownable – perfection!

Bad Intentions is the first book in the Intentions Duet.

Reading this is like walking into a party with old friends. It's a party I never want to leave!

Gabe just landed his dream job working for Logan Mitchell (yes, THAT Logan from Try). Gabe's roommate works at the news studio ENN and asked Gabe to be his plus one to a company party. Gabe sees the sexiest man he's ever seen across the room he knows he has to meet him. When Gabe meets Marcus, he knows Marcus is out of his league so when Marcus asks his name, he introduces himself as his new boss, Logan. After a steamy encounter neither of them will forget, Gabe's lies come to a head when Marcus walks into Mitchell and Madison for an appointment with the real Logan.

Marcus St. James is the President of ENN. He devotes himself to his job. Letting his guard down when he meets Gabe was out of character. He can't stop thinking about the man; even if he lied about who he was in the beginning, Marcus needs more.

I absolutely loved being back in the world that Ella Frank created. Marcus and Gabe are ridiculously hot together. Bad Intentions left me wanting so much more. I can't wait for the final installment!!



Author Bio

ELLA FRANK is the USA Today bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite erotic serial, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction.

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.

Connect with Ella

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Brooke & Ella's Naughty Umbrella



I was on a mission, and that mission was to make Marcus St. James fall at my feet.


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Social Butterfly PR

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Bad Intentions (Intentions Duet #1) by Ella Frank to read and review for this tour.