Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Felix by RJ Scott & Meredith Russell Release Blitz

Boyfriend for Hire. Felix. RJ Scott & Meredith Russell.

Hiring a fake boyfriend for a school reunion seems to be the only solution, but love was never part of the equation.

Felix has enough on his plate looking out for his parents, let alone agreeing to being hired for a date with the friend of a friend. His instant attraction to the scatter-brained scientist has him making impulsive decisions he hopes he won’t regret. But, somehow, he’s agreeing to more dates, and more time with sexy Ethan and his non-stop talking. When stolen wintry kisses turn to love, and Christmas works its magic, Felix knows he’s losing his heart.

The science of chemistry makes more sense to Ethan than connecting with potential boyfriends, and he’s wary of romance. Unsettled by a string of failed hookups, he knows it’s on him when everything goes wrong and he can’t help but wonder what has made him this way. His friend Jared says that Ethan needs to close metaphorical doors on past hurts—whatever that means—and that the school reunion might just be step one. Determined to show himself as confident and happy, he hires Felix to be his date for the night, but a kiss to make up for the one he missed at prom, and abruptly, it’s not the past that is consuming his thoughts.

Now all Felix has to do is show Ethan that it’s okay to love and be loved in return, and that chemistry can lead to a happily ever after.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Boyfriend for Hire series!
For book one, Darcy, click HERE.
For book two, Kaden, click HERE.
For book four, Jared, click HERE.
For book four, Gideon, click HERE.


Add to Goodreads.


Felix by RJ Scott & Meredith Russell

Book 5
Buy Links

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




“So what is it you wanted to talk about?” He clasped his hands together.

Jared shrugged. “It’s nothing much. It’s just a small, tiny favor.”

“What kind of favor?”

“Like I said. Small.” He held up his hand, his index finger and thumb close to each other. “The thing is”—This is going to be something I don’t like, isn’t it?—“Ethan is going to his school reunion next week.”

Felix narrowed his eyes. “Uh huh?”

“I am,” Ethan stated. “With a plus-one.”

Am I supposed to care? He vaguely remembered Jared telling tales of his roommate’s numerous boyfriends and the ridiculous antics he got up to. Felix’s favorite story ended with a purple-dyed police officer. He didn’t know who Ethan was dating now, but good for him if it was going well.

“And you’re telling me this because?”

“Well…” Ethan bit his lower lip, rolling his eyes upward as he seemed to process his words before speaking. There was something more sexy than cute about the way he tugged on his soft pink lips with his teeth.

He should stop doing that—he’ll end up bruising them, and they’re too pretty to be bruised.

Unless it’s me kissing them and…
the fuck?

“The thing is Ethan’s plus-one kind of did him dirty.” Jared answered for him. “Ethan got dumped. Again,” he added straight-faced.

“I dumped him,” Ethan said in a strained voice.

Jared met Felix’s eyes and shook his head. “He didn’t,” he mouthed.

Felix snorted a laugh, but his smile faded as the favor Jared had in mind hit him front and center. “No,” he said.

“I’ve said nothing,” Jared said, blinking with all the innocence he could muster.

Felix ran his hand back through his bangs. “I know what you’re going to ask, and the answer is no.” He leaned back, side-eyeing Ethan. “Why don’t you ask Caleb? He’ll take anything you can throw at him.”

“Well, of course I tried him first, but he’s already booked. But we all know you’re the best person for the job, and you owe me one.”




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the fifth book in the series, and I would suggest that you read them all, as there are references to prior couples and events in the book – that said, you could definitely still enjoy this as a standalone.

Felix has had to curtail his escort work as he helps look after his parents. No more trips, ideally early evenings, etc. So, when his friend/colleague, Jared, asks him to be a fake date for his roommate Ethan's ten-year school reunion, he is somewhat reluctant to fit in more work. Luckily, he and Ethan have a slow-burn attraction, which we get to enjoy watching playing out.

There are some issues in the background which remind us of how times have changed since these guys were at school, and how they still affect relationships and expectations today.

Sweet read, with a seasonal edge, which makes it excellent pre-Christmas reading.



Author Bio

RJ Scott

USA Today bestselling author RJ SCOTT has written over one hundred and fifty romance books. Emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, single dads, hockey players, millionaires, princes, bodyguards, Navy SEALs, soldiers, doctors, paramedics, firefighters, cops, and the men who get mixed up in their lives, always with a happy ever after.

She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing, she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a box of chocolates she couldn’t defeat.

Connect with RJ Scott

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  TikTok  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: RJ Scott – Special Secret Group
Facebook Group: MM Hockey Romance


Meredith Russell

MEREDITH RUSSELL is an author, cover artist and vampire slayer. Okay, she may have made that last one up, but that’s what she loves about writing—the possibilities. No matter where her stories are set—from fantastical worlds of zombies and werewolves to the ambling life of an English village—she strives to write about romance and the tales of men searching for their happy ever after. Meredith writes the stories she loves to read—complex, emotional, a journey, and sometimes unexpected.

In 2012 Meredith had her first novels published, as well as being commissioned to do her first cover design. She now splits her time between populating fictional worlds with characters she adores, and helping other authors bring theirs to life through cover art. She has had a number of popular releases, including Dead Things, Just Jack, and both the Sapphire Cay and Boyfriend for Hire series written with RJ Scott.

Connect with Meredith Russell

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Hosted by

Love Lane Books Promotion.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Felix (Boyfriend for Hire #5) by RJ Scott & Meredith Russell to read and review.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Storm Echo by Nalini Singh

I’m with you. No matter what. Always and forever and back again. Out Now. Storm Echo by Nalini Singh.

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into the hearts of two fractured people in a world on the brink of a psychic Armageddon...

Silence has fallen. The Psy are free to feel emotion. Free to love. But Silence was never a prison for Ivan Mercant. The biggest threat to his future lies dormant in his brain—a psychic monster that wants only to feed. And now, the brutal leash he’s kept on that monster is slipping. He prepared for this day, for the end of Ivan Mercant... but that was before he met Lei.

As primal as she is human, this wild changeling brings color into his life, laughter to his soul. Then the dream shatters in a rain of blood, in silent bodies in the snow. Lei is gone. Vanished without a trace... until he meets strangely familiar eyes across a busy San Francisco street.

Soleil Bijoux Garcia is a healer who has lost everything. She exists in a world of desolate aloneness... till the day she finds herself face-to-face with a lethal stranger. The animal who is her other half knows this man, but her memories are tattered fragments. Sorrow and a need for vengeance are all that drive her. Her mission? To kill the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack.

But fate has other plans. Soon, a deadly soldier who believes himself a monster and a broken healer might be all that stand between life and death for the entire Psy race...

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series!
For book one, Silver Silence, click HERE.
For book two, Ocean Light, click HERE.
For book three, Wolf Rain, click HERE.
For book four, Alpha Night, click HERE.
For book five, Last Guard, click HERE.


Add to Goodreads.


Storm Echo by Nalini Singh

Book 6
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Audiobook (US)  ~  Hardcover (US)
Berkley (PRH)



“I. Am. Not. Grumpy.”     “Okay, cutie pie. Now think happy thoughts.”



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
Ivan Mercant believes himself to be a monster. The spider hiding deep within himself does nothing but want to take and take until there is nothing left. That's why he must keep the spider caged at all times. He must keep his shields strong at all times, ever vigilant against the evil that grows stronger within him day by day.

Ena Mercant saved him both from the streets and from himself. She believed in him when he didn't believe in himself. She gave him a family that is both a blessing and a hindrance – especially since the fall of Silence. His cousins are well-meaning and protective of him, as he is of them. If they only knew of the spider within him.

Lei Garcia is broken in similar ways. Losing her loving parents at a young age left her in the care of her paternal grandfather and his ocelot pack. Her grandfather was openly hostile towards her and made it known that she was less as her mother was human. She has never felt at home with the pack, leaving her feeling alone when being a member of pack should have meant being with family.

As the PsyNet seems to be imploding upon itself, an island has formed in which Psy minds are trapped. The physical bodies are comatose, and their vital signs are failing. Ivan somehow manages to bridge the divide and only Lei was able to bring him back, thanks to her cat's bond with him. Ivan can see the chaos on the island, there is no order, no net mind, and it seems that the Scarab queen is draining the psychic energy from the Psy who are trapped on the island's psychic plane.

Lei believes that her bond with Ivan will allow him to return to the Psy Island to rescue the Psy minds that are trapped there and to help cage the Scarab queen. Ivan is afraid to set loose the spider but knows that Lei's faith in him is stronger than his fears.

I'm amazed at everything we have learned in this book and where we will go next.

Storm Echo is the sixth installment in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series, as well as the 21st installment in the Psy-Changeling series. I would strongly advise against reading as a standalone or out of series order.

From the get-go, I was apprehensive. Amnesia plot lines mixed with insta-love are not my cup of tea, nor is the depressive fall of PsyNet, but after 21 novels, I'm invested in the characters and the universe where they reside. Drug-use and drug-abuse are plot devices.

On the plus side, a handful of our past favorites have cameos, as they're connected to the new characters being showcased. Another plus for me is second-chance romance.

Ivan has a painful past, suffering several abuses as a child. This darkness told from the perspective of a child may be difficult for some readers. Nalini Singh has never shied away from the darker sides of human nature, and this book is no exception when it comes to Ivan's past.

Ivan and Lei come into contact, and the connection is instantaneous, only for it to be ripped apart by tragedy. With the absence of a year, the vibe of insta-love is lessened. In this time, the romance takes a backseat, allowing character growth, along with some complex world building to be spun, so complex that most of the time I just rolled with it, otherwise I'd be confused. Once they reconnect, Ivan's amnesia means he doesn't recognize Lei anymore.

A member of the Mercant family, as their security specialist, Ivan was a complex character, ruthless yet beneath an injured child who doesn't believe he deserved kindness, intimacy, or would ever find a mate. Lei is a healer, the perfect counterbalance to Ivan's struggles.

Lei has her own past struggles. Protective and fierce, Lei has gone so long without a pack, she'll never let go of anyone she deems hers.

The romance and connection between Ivan and Lei takes a backseat when they're drawn into the battle to keep PsyNet from falling.

While I enjoy this longstanding series, the romance and conflict are a bit wash-repeat from book to book, and I find the eruption of new world building to often times be confusing and convoluted, like rushing from A to Q without truly connecting, where I just roll with it to avoid frustration. At this point, all these new Psy types, all super rare and finally revealing itself. While I want current narrators to be unique and special, their rareness just feels similar to the last rare trait, and so on.

A good addition to the Psy-Changeling Trinity and Pay-Changeling series. Recommended to fans of the author, the series, and paranormal romance.



Author Bio

New York Times bestselling author NALINI SINGH is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the Highlands of Scotland, and the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer. Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand. You can contact her directly through her website. While visiting the site, Nalini invites you to join her newsletter for up-to-date news about both the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series, as well as fun exclusive extras, including free short stories set in her worlds.

Connect with Nalini Singh

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads



I would rather have a single perfect day with you than a lifetime without you.


ARC provided by

Berkley Romance.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Storm Echo (Psy-Changeling Trinity #6) by Nalini Singh to read and review.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Winning the Season by Beth Bolden Release Blitz

Release Blitz. Winning the Season by Beth Bolden. December 5 – 9.

Asa might be the head coach, but he’s a man first.

Coach Asa Dawson has fallen wildly in love only twice in his life.

First with football.

Then with Scott Callaway.

But Scott isn’t just the one who got away.

He’s the one person—the one man—Asa hoped might finally show him how all-consuming passion could be.

Instead, fate (and football) intervened and they never got the chance to explore their attraction. Their friendship ended in ruins, Scott left, and Asa’s been torn between hating him and loving him for the last seven years.

Asa doesn’t think he’ll ever see him again, but when his bad habits catch up to him and he doesn’t have a choice but to accept help, he’s horrified—and exhilarated—to learn Scott’s been hired to assist him.

With the final stretch of the Piranhas season falling during the holidays, maybe what Asa and Scott have needed this whole time was a little Christmas magic to remind them the most important job isn’t to win the season—but to finally win each other’s hearts.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Miami Piranhas series!
For book one, Playing for Keeps, click HERE.
For book two, Playing the Player, click HERE.
For book three, Playing by the Rules, click HERE.


Add to Goodreads.


Winning the Season by Beth Bolden

Book 4
Buy Links

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




Scott’s hands were still trembling.

It was like being plugged back into a socket, after so long without electricity, being in Asa’s presence again.

Since he’d gotten the call from Beau, he hadn’t really let himself consider what it would mean. What it would feel like.

He’d only allowed himself the worry.

Asa was sick; he was struggling and in the goddamn hospital. Beau had reassured him, more than once, that he’d be fine, that the doctors weren’t particularly worried, they only wanted him to change his lifestyle.

Sleep more. Eat better. Work less.

That, Beau had said, was where he came in. He didn’t know anyone else who’d be able to convince Asa to relax the reins.

Scott had agreed, because after how things had gone seven years ago, how could he not? How could he not be there for Asa when he needed him, more than anyone else?

But he didn’t tell Beau that he wouldn’t be able to convince him of jack shit now.

Asa was, understandably, still pissed.

Scott couldn’t even blame him.

He was still pissed at himself.

He’d known the moment he landed in Washington that it was all wrong, that he’d made a mistake, that instead of trying to be so fucking noble, he should have just taken Asa’s hand and kissed him and learned how to be happy.

No matter what that meant.

But he’d committed to leading Washington’s program, and he’d done that, for six years.

Then a year ago, they’d let him go, and he’d gone home, not to Tennessee, because Asa was still there, and the whole damn state didn’t feel big enough for the two of them, but back home to Alabama, to the small town he’d lived in before he’d gone to college.

“You alright?” Beau asked as they lingered at the front of the conference room, the rest of the coaching staff taking their seats, grumbling all the way.

It was deep into the season, it was the Monday after a game, and they were all tired.

Scott remembered exactly how it had felt, on those Mondays, even though he’d only ever coached in college, never in the NFL.

“Yeah, fine,” Scott said automatically.

He was not fine.

Not even remotely.

He’d thought... well, he didn’t know what he’d thought, exactly. But he hadn’t imagined that he and Asa would meet again like this. He’d imagined running into him—sorta, kinda, on purpose—on the Tennessee campus. He’d imagined making things right.

The part of the imagining he’d purposefully forgotten was that Asa was going to be justifiably pissed at him.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Winning the Season is the fourth installment in the Miami Piranhas series. I think this could be read as a standalone, but I don't think it should be. You need all the past stories to really fall into this one.

Asa is a determined man. Determined to make it as an NFL coach. He hasn't quite learned the gift of delegating and loves to work hard. When a cardiac event shows him, and everyone else, he isn't superman, they get him help. That help comes in the form of his best friend, Scott. This should excite Asa, but how they left things all those years ago has Asa not grateful but angry.

Asa was married and divorced to a woman and always considered himself straight. But one moment with Scott changed everything. He now saw him differently and couldn't stop the feelings that were developing. Scott had always known he was in love with Asa, but he always checked those feelings, never letting them out of that box until he saw the change in Asa. Did he want the man? Absolutely, but for both of their sakes he could never give in. When he was approached by Washington to coach there, he jumped on it. Maybe time and distance is what they needed... maybe not!

I love everything about seeing Asa get his happily ever after. Out of everyone, he deserved it the most!



Author Bio

Fun, Flirty & Fluffy Romance. Beth Bolden

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, BETH BOLDEN has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.

Connect with Beth Bolden

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Beth’s Boldest






Kissing Asa wasn’t an impossibility, it was an inevitability.


Hosted by

Gay Book Promotions.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Winning the Season (Miami Piranhas #4) by Beth Bolden to read and review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Midnight Realm by Sawyer Bennett Release Blitz

The Midnight Realm. New York Times Bestselling Author. Sawyer Bennett. Available Now.

Even kings who serve at the whim of gods break the rules every now and then.

As the newly anointed king of the Underworld, I’ve worked hard to clean up the mess left behind by my predecessor. The realm is in relative peace at the moment, my main focus now on deciding the fate of recently departed souls. It’s a tediously boring task, and honestly, one I despise doing. But just when I think I can’t stand another moment of the monotony, one soul changes it all.

Nyssa McKnight earned her ticket to Hell. She made her choices and even at the prospect of eternal damnation, she doesn’t seem to regret the actions that led her here. I can tell by her utter defiance that life has hardened her, a trait that has carried over to her in death. She should be begging me for mercy but instead calls me a “big old winged bat”. I should toss her right into The Crimson River for her insolence but instead I think I’ll keep her in servitude.

While I struggle to reconcile the intrigue—and attraction—I have for this human, I am forced to spend my days investigating rumors of an uprising in the Underworld. Unfortunately, my desire to keep Nyssa has provided a weak spot for the rebellious Dark Fae looking to gain control, one they’re quick to act on. Now, with Nyssa in danger and my throne threatened, I will stop at nothing to restore order, even if it means letting her go.

Can Amell, the king of the Underworld, find true love, or is he destined to rule alone until the end of days?

The Midnight Realm is a standalone romantic fantasy novel about unexpected redemption within The Chronicles of the Stone Veil series.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Chronicles of the Stone Veil!
For book one, The Revelation of Light and Dark, click HERE.
For book two, A Discovery of Secrets and Fate, click HERE.
For book three, The Evolution of Fae and Gods, click HERE.
For book four, A Battle of Blood and Stone, click HERE.
For book five, The Rise of Fortune and Fury, click HERE.
For book six, The Shadow Princess, click HERE.


Add to Goodreads.


The Midnight Realm by Sawyer Bennett

Book 7
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Paperback (US)
Big Dog Books (Sawyer Bennett)



Christ, this little dead human with a blackened soul and a complete lack of fear of eternal damnation has made my body react in a way no other creature in my existence ever has.



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the seventh book in the series, and I have to admit I am a little behind, but the last couple ensured that I was very excited to get my hands on this new release! I definitely would recommend that you read them in order, as the ongoing storylines build and develop in each installment. There is, however, a sufficient, cleverly intertwined recap on the story to date at the beginning of the book which just prompts the memory as to what the state of play is in the series to date!

Nyssa has had a pretty rubbish life to date, and it is about to get a whole lot worse as she is standing on the bridge in hell, waiting to be pushed into The Crimson River... game over! Instead, thanks to her feistiness and the King of the Underworld, who is attracted to her verve, her life (or rather death) changes in ways she would have never imagined!

Drawing from the adventures of the previous book where Amell goes to the rescue of his daughter, Thalia, we find this has caused the displeasure of the gods. Now he will reign in the midnight realm, and how he acts proves him to be dark, yet good. It takes Nyssa a little longer to understand what is going on in the Underworld, and much longer to trust – but it is fun to see the world through her eyes, and to give Amell a reason to go on, now that his planned life has taken a different turn.

The chemistry between the two of them is based not just on carnal lust, but also a meeting of their minds and humour. Amell soon knows what led to her arrival in hell, but gives her the space to explain and the chance to rise above her past and remember the transition she had already started to a new life.

Sexy, fun, intense, and conducted in a world of magic which has rules and ways which she does not understand, Nyssa and Amell light up the page – and the epilogue is everything any romantic could want.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Paranormal Romance

This is the seventh book in this series and they are all amazing. You won't want to miss them.

While you don't necessarily have to read them in order to know what's going on, I would recommend it so that you can better understand the nuances between the characters.

Nyssa is a human who has had a difficult life. While working, she runs into someone from her past. With no remorse, she takes action. What she doesn't expect is what comes after. Nyssa is not truly afraid of death and knows that she deserves everything that happens to her, but what she isn't expecting is to find the King of the Underworld so fascinating.

Amell is the King of the Underworld. While he isn't there by choice, he knows what his job is and how to do it well. When he meets Nyssa, he's immediately intrigued by her. She isn't a soul that is afraid of him or what is to come. The fact that she has a snarky attitude is icing on the cake.

While Amell and Nyssa navigate the Underworld and their chemistry, forces outside of them will fight to take over.

Amell and Nyssa never thought the hope for love or a connection, and when they find it, it will take all of their trust to truly figure out if this is something they can sustain.

You won't be disappointed in this book and you'll stay up late just to finish it. While it's not as action packed as the previous book, it still has a lot going on.



“Are you afraid of me?”     “No. Just what you make me feel.”


Author Bio

Sawyer Bennett. New York Times Bestselling Author.

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author SAWYER BENNETT uses real life experience to create relatable stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From contemporary romance, fantasy romance, and both women’s and general fiction, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

A former trial lawyer from North Carolina, when she is not bringing fiction to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to her very adorable daughter, as well as full-time servant to her wonderfully naughty dogs.

If you’d like to receive a notification when Sawyer releases a new book, click HERE to sign up for her newsletter.

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.

Connect with Sawyer Bennett

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  TikTok  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Sawyer Bennett's Never Ending Party



“You should call it The Midnight Realm.”     “You’re quite the romantic with a name like that.”

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Midnight Realm (Chronicles of the Stone Veil #7) by Sawyer Bennett to read and review.

Monday, December 5, 2022

A Dirty Business by Tijan

She was torn between the job she lived and the man she needed. December 6th. Kings of New York. Kindle Unlimited. A Dirty Business by Tijan.

From New York Times bestselling author Tijan comes a raw, tempestuous romance between the criminal underworld and a parole officer that paints a thin line between right and wrong.

When Jess Montell meets Trace West at a hockey game, she doesn’t know his name or occupation. What she does know is there’s an instant attraction that’s impossible to ignore—or forget. And forgetting is exactly what she wants to do when she learns he’s not just a successful Wall Street suit but the heir to one of New York’s biggest Mafia families.

The last thing Trace needs is a romantic anything with law enforcement, and parole officer Jess has trouble written all over her. Too bad he likes trouble. Especially when it’s a brunette bombshell with attitude and legs for days.

She’s an absolute spitfire, and he wants to stoke that flame.

Trace didn’t ask for the Mafia life. Jess doesn’t want any part of it. They both know it’s safer to stay away, but the temptation is too hard to resist—no matter how great the danger.


Add to Goodreads.


A Dirty Business by Tijan

Book 1
Buy Links

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




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

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

Jess loves her job. She is a parole officer and is good at what she does. She is also a bartender at a popular bar and she's just as good at that job. Jess has not had an easy life. She has a brother who did an unthinkable thing, but she still loves him. Her dad was not the best person either, but he's gone. Her mom, the most abusive person in her life, is someone who Jess can't seem to let go of, despite the abuse she endures.

Jess' boss is a family friend who has loved her since she was small. He has helped her look after her mom too. Also, Jess has a friend who runs a bar who has also helped her with her mom. They have been her surrogate dads. With things turning up the heat, everyone around Jess is suspect.

Trace is a businessman who is incredibly successful. When he first meets Jess, he's intrigued by her ability to be tough and feminine at the same time. She isn't afraid of him. She doesn't know him. Trace gets information on her and is even more intrigued.

Trace's family life is less than ideal too. Family comes before everything. That also means that when someone threatens the family, it's Trace's job to "take care of the issue." With Trace needing to take over more of the family, his uncle, who Trace sees as more of a father, is relying on Trace to keep the family safe and solvent.

Trace and Jess have an uphill battle. Tijan makes the characters interesting, relatable, and complex. I couldn't put the book down and am really looking forward to seeing more. You won't be disappointed in how this story develops.

A Dirty Business is the first installment in the new series, Kings of New York, by Tijan.

Cliffhanger warning.

Jess and Trace have a clandestine meeting in the stairwell at a hockey game, changing the trajectory of their lives. Jess, who daylights as a parole officer, carries her badge even when she's off duty to keep the parolees on the straight and narrow. In her free time, Jess bartends to barely scrape by to take care of her alcoholic mother. By day, Trace works on Wall Street. By blood, Trace is high up in one of the most notorious crime families in New York.

With the glint of her badge, Trace goes from interested in Jess to disgusted. Let's be honest, Trace – you ought to direct that disgust inward, instead of being upset that there are those out there who catch you in the act. Just saying. Weariness of law enforcement would make sense. Disgust is another beast. It's not as if the entitled, privileged Trace is an innocent party being targeted for things outside of his control like many demographics. Eye roll.

As you can see, I wasn't a fan of the loathing aspects. Not pro or con anything, just felt it was unwarranted. Weary, yes. Loathing, no. As the novel unfolds, moral lines blur, just as Jess was afraid would happen, while it has the opposite effect on Trace.

Annoyed with himself, Trace cannot stop thinking of Jess. Do I believe Jess could have moved on after a few stray thoughts toward Trace? Yeah, I do. But Trace was instantly obsessed to stalker degrees. I mean, it was creepy shenanigans to read, and the pages turned at a rapid rate. But it did make me feel empathy toward what Jess was going through too.

Time after time, their lives intersect. Jess is struggling with her uncles (parents' best friends from back in the day) and her mother. Jess's mother is a drunk, but it's the mental instability that takes a toll on Jess. The mental, emotional, and verbal abuse was hard for this reader to stomach. While I felt this dynamic was realistic, there were parts of Jess's backstory that were never explained, as if there was this huge twist that was going to drop out of the air at any moment, but it never happened. So while there was a resolution between Jess and her mother, there was no closure for the reader, since the rage and abuse, along with all the things said and that which was left beneath the surface, was never explored let alone explained. Perhaps in the next installment, but it felt right to give it closure now. The momentum was built, only for it to die out with little to no explanation. Furthermore, the responsibility was accepted by other parties, and I cannot see where Jess's mom would think Jess should shoulder it. I still have no idea why Jess's mother treated Jess as she did, after an entire novel.

The dynamic Trace had with his uncle and their family, his father and sister, and his best friend and his family, along with the strife with the other families was intriguing to unravel. This part of the story took the forefront, thoroughly developed and intriguing, leading to a fast-paced novel.

I was able to spot the main bad guy from the beginning. It would have been more exciting had I not, and less frustrating as well. I just kept thinking how Trace and Ashton were all-knowing yet beyond dim when it came to the bad guy – it was all laid out for them. The other bad guy was a slight twist that I had a gut feeling about, so I enjoyed how that unfolded.

Ashton. Ashton. Ashton. Yes, I cannot wait to read your point of view, but at the same time, I hope there is closure and resolution over an incident, because what was put on the pages wasn't good enough.

The main reason I couldn't give a five-star review is on the character development front. There were times they acted out of character, or far more immature than their age group/education/upbringing/profession, or they acted/reacted to things in a manner that should destroy relationships. A punch isn't enough, let's just put it that way, making Jess go from strong to doormat, be it with her family, Trace, or those in Trace's orbit. Same with Trace, decisive and action-forward in one regard, yet lets things go in the next, things that bite them later.

There were snippets introduced, shown as if important, that were eventually just lost in the shuffle to be forgotten about and never brought up again. These snippets may or may not come up in other installments, but they were written as if they were to be mysteries or twists. Since they were left dangling and barely mentioned, I'm not sure why they were added at all but to distract the reader with a false narrative, same goes with Mom's rage toward Jess.

While I loved every minute of this chaotic story, reading it from cover to cover. Had I read it slower, the issues would have revealed themselves and taken away the entertainment value. I'm a sucker for an angsty trainwreck of a novel, with equally trainwrecked characters – A Dirty Business delivered that in spades.

It doesn't matter how amazingly or poorly plotted, written, and edited a novel is, the true test is if I would do just about anything to get the next installment. In this case, gimme more. Now.

This is the first in a new series – and I really would appreciate book two appearing very soon as I am hooked!

What is really clever about this story is that we know that Trace is not someone that we should like, not in any way, and we are encouraged to see his darkness, and his utter unsuitability for Jess... but it is almost impossible not to want them to work out the many layers of complication. Jess's career as a parole officer excludes her from his orbit – he knows this immediately, and it makes him incredibly angry.

I found the fact that Jess could work in a bar and wear her badge slightly jarring – I am convinced that in the UK that would just not be allowed – but it was quite a clever way for her to keep an eye on her parolees, even if inappropriate to be moonlighting. I found her relationship with her 'uncles' and their dealings with her alcoholic mother very messy and confusing, but I guess it took a level of shine off her character which made it easier for her to be considering Trace at all.

I enjoyed the twists and turns, which are done as always with style by Tijan, and I just love the point where things become clearer, and unexpected plotlines find their way to resolution – at least partially. That moment when Trace becomes potentially a suitable boyfriend for Jess is when you know that your mind has been messed with again by this talented author!

Enjoy, I certainly did!



I needed to forget meeting him, forget talking to him, forget touching him, forget his kisses, forget how I felt with my body over his in his vehicle last night. All of it. Done. The end.


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 after college, and once she started, she was hooked. She's written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, Ryan's Bed, Enemies, and others. She is currently writing many new books and series with an English cocker she adores.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Dirty Business (Kings of New York #1) by Tijan to read and review.