Lethal Balance (Sons of the Survivalist 2)

lethal balanceHis name means hunter.

Once the best assassin in black ops, Cazador is now the best at saving lives. His path has changed from seeking bloody vengeance to running a health clinic in Rescue, Alaska.

He will never again risk loving someone he can’t protect.
His mother and sister were murdered in front of him, his fiancée slaughtered in a war zone. Despite his popularity with women, he’s determined to remain unattached. His heart can bear no more loss. Unfortunately, the universe isn’t listening.

First, his brother hires JJ, a fiery-haired, tough cop who lives on the edge of danger and has the biggest heart of anyone he knows. And then, his disreputable past returns in the shape of an adorable, foul-mouthed nine-year-old daughter. Now he has two loved ones to protect. An impossible task, because…

Life is dangerous. Especially in Alaska.

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Lethal Balance is the second book in the Sons of Survivalist series by the amazing author Cherise Sinclair. She been a one-click author for me since I read her first book many years ago, and I continue to love her work and look forward to each novel she writes.

This series is sent in the Alaksan wilderness, and features rugged, alpha, ex-military heroes. Caz is strong, sexy and dominant, even though no BDSM play takes place. His backstory has a huge impact on his ability to develop a relationship with police officer JJ, an Alaskan newcomer, and is something that he has to work through throughout the story.

JJ is amazing. I love how Ms. Sinclair balanced her personality; she can be a tough-as-nails cop and a sensual woman, and a caring surrogate mother to Regan.

One thing that I have noticed is that the main characters in this series seem to be too …. perfect? complete? one-dimensional? There is very clearly a us versus them mentality with the H/h and bad guys which doesn’t reflect the conflicted, impersonal people we all are and simplifies plot lines. In all, I think this world seems a little flat, with everything always tied up in a neat little bow, and the main characters never making mistakes.

Lethal Balance was a solid read and clearly sets up the following two (and presumably final) books in this series. While I can’t put my finger on what it is, this author does seem to be struggling to find her stride in a traditional romance book. I cannot put down her erotic / BDSM series, and yet both “Sons” books I had to push myself to finish reading. I will still read the following two because I like this author and want to finish it out, but they don’t draw me in.

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Not a Hero (Sons of the Survivalist #1)

Sons of the survivalist #1

In the Alaska wilderness, four streetwise boys became men—and brothers

Now the crazy ex-military survivalist who plucked Gabriel and three other boys from an abusive foster care home has died. But the sarge leaves them a final mission–to revive the dying town of Rescue.

Gabe is done with being a hero.

Wounded in body and soul, the retired SEAL simply wants to remain holed up in his isolated cabin. He sure doesn’t want to be chief of police in some defunct town. But he has his orders.

Audrey needs a place to hide

After the Chicago librarian discovers a horrendous crime, she wakes to an assassin in her bedroom. Injured and terrified, she flees, covering her trail every inch of the way. New name, new ID. New home. As Audrey learns to survive in Rescue, she begins to fall for the town…and the intimidating chief of police who protects it.

Can the shy introvert and the deadly police chief find a life together?

Despite the discord in town, Gabe is finding his own peace…with the quiet young woman who seems to have no past. She’s adorable and caring and so very lost. But how can he trust someone who lies to him with every breath she takes?

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Not a Hero is the first book in a new series by Cherise Sinclair. It is set in Alaska and features 4 alpha male hunks who stumble across their true loves.

It is the first book of Ms. Sinclair to not feature BDSM (to my knowledge). I have always been a huge fan of hers and every series or standalone that she has written to date.

This one wasn’t a hit for me though.

Audrey is every book nerd’s alter ego I think. She goes from quiet, shy, introverted librarian with little self-confidence and social skills, to a kickbutt survivalist at the heart of her newfound community in Rescue, Alaska.

Gabe was also a great character, but I didn’t warm up to him as much. He is extremely measured and controlled. And not that dominant personalities have a stranglehold on those traits, but it reminded me of Ms. Sinclair’s Dom characters so much that I found it difficult to separate him from the lifestyle.

It just felt like something was always missing in this story, and I am pretty sure that it was the BDSM. Maybe it is because I am so used to this author writing alpha male kinkster heroes that I couldn’t accept it wasn’t meant to be in this series, or maybe it is the author who cannot separate her characters from that mindset, but I couldn’t quite fall into the rhythm of this love story.

I still plan on reading the following stories, although I hope the author keeps writing her existing series as well! Maybe you will like this book more than I did 🙂

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Defiance (Masters of the Shadowlands #13.5)

defiance

Z’s day begins with sadness
A phone call from a dying friend leaves psychologist Zachary Grayson determined to fulfill the old survivalist’s request–a send-off that will comfort his grieving sons.

And then turns deadly
The death threat is only the beginning…because the letter isn’t a hoax. Z walks out of his office into a barrage of bullets. He can take being shot at, but when the second shot splinters the empty child-seat in his car, he’s shaken to the core. The horror of what would have happened if his little girl had been there spurs him to action.

Master Z is a Dom, a husband, a father—every instinct drives him to protect those under his care. When the police can’t catch his stalker, he must take matters into his own hands.

He must keep danger far from those he loves.
Secrecy and distance is the key. The funeral in Alaska is the perfect location, especially since Z won’t be alone. The survivalist’s sons have grown into men with lethal skills. With their help, he can trap the shooter and keep his family safe.

As long as his impetuous and all-too-observant wife, Jessica, doesn’t discover he’s using himself as bait.

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Defiance is a novella in the Shadowlands series. It serves to give an update on original couple – and fan favourites – “Z” and Jessica, and also to introduce a new contemporary romance series the author will premiere in January. I really like that she is starting her new series in this manner. Even if I wish she was writing certain other books for characters desperately in need of a HEA!

This short story is listed as #13.5 in the Shadowlands series, but I think it should also be listed as 0.5 in the new series. The style of writing is much more romance than erotica. There are sex scenes between Z and Jessica, but nothing like we’re used to seeing in the Shadowlands.

Defiance is a contemporary romance with military themes. It was enjoyable and I think it will flow well through both series, although regular readers might not be prepared for the lack of steam. Ms. Sinclair is one of the few authors I know who can take the short word count necessary in a novella and still produce a cohesive, nuanced story with character development, emotions and background characters.

There is a secondary character, DeVries, who pops up. He is from Mrs. Sinclair’s Dark Haven series. It was nice to see these universes blending again… I had a dark satisfaction throughout the story, knowing that DeVries hates the cold and got stuck working in Alaska to protect Z.

I am still devastated that my favourite author is moving away from the BDSM scene – at least in her books. However, I am looking forward to following up with these new characters in her upcoming Alaskan series. They might not be Doms, but they sure are alphas!

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