The Renegades #4 • Romantic Suspense • Enemies to Lovers • Action • MM
“I’m here, baby. Daddy’s here. Oh God, I’m so sorry.”
The murder in Joel Hayward’s eyes wasn’t merely a reflection of the rage within. It was a promise to the men who had kidnapped his daughter. The one person—this amazing slip of a girl—who showed Joel every single day that there was good left in the world.
He was running on fumes. He was desperate. His closest companion was…Elliott. His ex-wife’s older brother. Okay, once upon a time, the man had been a lot more than that, but somehow they’d become mortal enemies instead. Frankly, Joel didn’t give a flying f— He didn’t care if Elliott made it back alive. Or so he kept telling himself, as the pain intensified with each day he couldn’t hold his little girl in his arms.
As they got closer and closer to their target, one lead at a time, the men prepared themselves to go to war.
Here we go, book 4. The story(ies) get wrapped up.
Sort of spoilery, but come on you know that there has to be a happily ever after or a happily for now. But you’ve been warned.
We start right where we left off. At the cartel’s compound somewhere in the jungles of Columbia. They are in a race to rescue Shay so that they can in turn rescue Blake and Marissa.
I am not going to recap it all. But I will offer some thoughts.
The series brought together 2 couples. But these books were as far from romance novels as you can get. They were action adventure and they were written really well. But action adventure is definitely not my genre of choice. I struggled through some because there are SO many characters, so many bad guys, some bad guys who are good guys, some bad guys who are really bad guys, good guys who were pretending to be bad guys, good guys with boots on the ground, good guys working behind the scenes, etc. It was a lot.
And the mission to rescue Shay was HUGE. So huge that the rescue of Blake and Marissa was a bit anticlimatic. I said what I said.
And then there are multiple epilogues to check in with everyone after. It just felt very disconnected. Joel and Elliott realize a huge betrayal but the consequences of that betrayal don’t seem like much. There’s also a lot we don’t get to see which just left me wanting. I was invested in these guys and the 2 new couples. I wanted more.
I’d much rather read the kinky stories or even the vanilla stories. Maybe new characters that aren’t so intertwined with older characters. Honestly, I am really sick of guns.
3 pieces of eye candy
Three hours—I could work with that. If we were catching a ride through Coach and Hillcroft, chances were we could bring our weapons, and I needed to clean my rifle, both handguns, and—
“Joel, I need a word.” Elliott nodded toward the hallway.
I reluctantly followed him out into the hallway, where we stuck our feet in our boots and stepped out on the stoop.
The sky was a little lighter, though it would be a while before the sun rose.
I let out a breath and sat down on the first step.
The air really was thinner up here.
Elliott sat down next to me and lit up a smoke for me too.
“Thanks.” I took a drag and exhaled skyward.
What were the odds of him admitting what he’d told me when I’d been fucking deaf?
“You gonna lay into me?” I had to ask.
He blew out some smoke and shook his head, then rested his arms on his knees. “No. To be honest, I don’t have a plan here. You’re a grown man, and maybe you don’t care what I think.”
I mean, I did. I absolutely did, but fuck him. Fuck me. Fuck him for getting us to this point. Fuck everything. Fuck, I was tired. Just fuck.
There’s an idea.
I suppressed a sigh.
“But considering how I’ve behaved…” He swallowed and kept his gaze fixed on something on the ground. “You’re not some sidekick in this fight, Joel. You’re hands down the best marksman I’ve ever laid eyes on, and when you silence the worried dad in you—like you did tonight—you’re an incredible soldier.”
Well, shit. Was that really Elliott talking? Was he sick? Dying?
“Are you dying?” I asked.
He exhaled a silent chuckle through his nose and took another drag from his smoke.
I guessed he wasn’t going to answer.
“Thank you.” I cleared my throat and scratched my jaw.
I wasn’t sure I felt anything at his praise, but I knew myself well enough. It’d come later. I’d never been good at hiding my feelings or reactions, so maybe I’d get sucked back in and grieve losing him—even though I’d never really had him—when this was over. When we went back to seeing each other once a year for Blake’s birthday. Maybe not even then, depending on what I could handle. Because suppressing hurt didn’t mean erasing it. Masking it with anger didn’t mean shit either. I still felt the hold he had on me every goddamn day.
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex.
There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly.
Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.
I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write.