Book Review: Hard To Forget, by Bella Jewel (Alpha’s Heart, #3)

Photo of the cover of Hard To Forget, by Bella Jewel

Hard to Forget by Bella Jewel

Series: Alpha’s Heart, #3

Genre: Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis

Delaney, a professional bodyguard, has spent years trying to prove herself in a male dominated industry. Now she’s facing her greatest challenge yet.

Bad boy billionaire Jax Shields has made plenty of enemies on his climb to the top, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time has put his life at risk. Now he’s putting his life in the hands of Delaney and her team. He demands the best in everything, and he doesn’t think she has what it takes to protect him. He’s also made it clear he’d rather have her on her back then covering his. Will Delaney be able to prove herself to the most arrogant—and devastatingly handsome—man she’s ever met?

Hard To Forget is a full-length standalone romance with a HEA

My Review

       

An irresistible attraction. A passionate connection. A potentially fatal combination. If you like kick-ass heroines, alpha heroes and happy-ever-afters, this is the series for you. Bella Jewel delivers a solid, action-packed, suspenseful, steamy and satisfying read in ‘Hard To Forget,’ #3 in her Alpha’s Heart series.

Delaney is a strong woman, living a life she’s always dreamed of. She’s a bodyguard, tackling her new career with meaning, passion and determination. As a woman in a man’s world – and a relative newcomer to the elite Thorpe Security team – she has to work twice as hard to prove herself worthy of the “big” assignments, competing with her brawny male counterparts who taunt her at every opportunity. She has to appear confident and defiant – an act of sheer will, since underneath it all, she’s consumed with self-doubt and the fear of failure. It’s very relatable and a great set-up for the story that follows.

When Delaney finally qualifies for her first major protection assignment, her client, “Jax,” aka Jackson Shields, comes on like a misogynistic jerk. Knowing this is her one and maybe only chance to prove her critics wrong, she faces him head-on. The results are, among other things, hilarious. And obviously, she gets the job.

Delaney is bright, honest, and charmingly snarky. Her character is a great mixture of intensity, integrity, tenderness, humor, inner strength and resilience. She is consistently true to herself, to her company, her co-workers, and her assignment. With her career on the line and no one other than her boss in her corner, she has to learn to let go, be aware, trust her instincts, and act — regardless of the possible consequences. You want her to kick ass – and she does – sometimes for the best, and sometimes not.

Jax is a powerful man, a true alpha, who craves control and the freedom it brings. Unfortunately, his life has been turned inside out after an unfortunate encounter with the wrong people. He is in imminent danger, something he can’t predict or control. He’s vulnerable – something he hates. To admit that he needs protection from an unseen enemy is an affront to him; but to be forced to depend on a woman to ward off the bad guys is utterly unbearable. Unfortunately, like it or not, he has to accept Delaney, to learn to trust her, and he resents it with every fiber of his alpha self. If you enjoy stories with a love-hate angle and palpable erotic tension, the fiery relationship that follows will satisfy your every craving.

There is precious little time for Laney to falter – and no room for failure. Her attraction to Jax is irresistible – but could be deadly for them both. Distraction is dangerous – and as the thugs close in, Jax is not the only one in danger – everyone who protects him is a target. And let’s not forget that a romantic relationship with Jax could derail, if not end, her promising new career. Getting caught in a compromising situation with him is the last thing she can afford – but, as it turns out, it’s a risk she’s willing to take, and Jax makes it impossible for her to say no. I doubt if any woman could.

You can see it all coming, but you can’t stop it, so you might as well enjoy it. Once the action starts, it feels like an avalanche, playing with your mind as well as your emotions. The principal and supporting characters are believable and relatable – you can feel their tension, their anger, their desperation, and their fear. The situation is plausible – any one of us could find ourselves caught up in a random act that changes our lives. We weigh the risks and possible consequences of decisions every day – even if they aren’t as life-threatening as these. With a relatable premise; intense, erotic, potentially dangerous, forbidden romance; and a suspenseful build-up to an explosive finale, Hard To Forget is seriously entertaining and a lively escape that will keep you guessing along the way.

I found it a bit sluggish in the beginning, and I felt a bit let-down at the end, but all in all I recommend this series and this author for adventurous, alpha-loving readers who enjoy suspense without cliffhangers, and a guaranteed HEA. I’m looking forward to the next book in this intriguing series.

 

A photo quote from Hard To Forget, by Bella Jewel

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Book Review: I Am Atlas, by Ella Emerson

Photo of the cover of I Am Atlas, by Ella Emerson

I Am Atlas by Ella Emerson

Series: Playing God, #1

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense

My Goodreads rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis

Powerful, wealthy, wildly handsome Atlas has it all: successful company, stunning penthouse, and all the women and fun he could want. But when he meets the brilliant, graceful and mesmerizing Gwen, he is thunderstruck and wants to go to great lengths to have her, even if it means breaking his own rules and baring his secret soul.

When his livelihood is threatened by a competing rival, he must prepare for a corporate battle. But, with Gwen at his side he knows he will not lose.

But, what if she isn’t who he thought she was? What if nothing is as it seems?
Will Atlas lose everything?

How far is one man willing to go for the woman he loves?

This is a standalone novel, which can be read by itself. It is part of the PLAYING GOD series and some of the characters will appear in JUST AN ECHO releasing soon.

18+, Not suitable for persons under the age of 18. STRONG SEXUAL CONTENT, MATURE CONTENT, and STRONG LANGUAGE.

My Review

   

I Am Atlas is a contemporary romantic suspense novel that will leave you guessing long after the story ends…and that’s a good thing, if you’re ready for something different to end your year – or begin a new one.

Gwen Medina’s life can best be described as a sort of comfortable complacency. Living with her long-term boyfriend Matthew in a one-bedroom apartment, she finds herself longing for the life she’s always dreamed of – a life full of passion and adventure, with a happy marriage and all the other trappings of success. There’s nothing truly wrong, but something’s missing. Is it passion? Purpose? Commitment? She doesn’t know – and she can’t find the will to bring her fears out into the open. Unfortunately, a sense of complacency – and the reluctance to face it – comes with a price. As you might expect, in a matter of a few short hours everything changes. The world she’s come to expect comes crashing down, and the life she took for granted is swept away -leaving her confused, suddenly hopeless and alone.

Fast forward a few weeks to a gala fundraising event where Gwen meets Atlas, a devastatingly handsome, sexy billionaire and the enigmatic owner of Chimera, Inc., a powerful military technology firm. Dubbed one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, Atlas seems to have it all. In fact, he’s absolutely certain he’s at the top of his game, untouchable, without a care in the world. He loves the life he’s built for himself – the wealth, the power, the fame, the notoriety. He’s fearless. He’s so sure of himself that he isn’t aware of the one thing that’s missing: someone to share it with, a woman who isn’t in it for the fame, the money, or his empire. Until Gwen walks into his life and his world irrevocably tips on its axis.

Their attraction is immediate and intense. Atlas is caught completely off guard, irresistibly drawn to this uniquely beautiful, graceful young woman the moment she enters his line of sight. She is nearly instantly overcome by the power that rolls off of him in waves, consuming everything in its path.Within the next 24 hours, Gwen finds herself caught up in a new life, far from Matthew and their shared past, swept up in the spell of this powerful man’s world. As soon as Atlas learns that she lost her job when the company she worked for went under, he hires her to manage the marketing campaign for what promises to be his company’s crowning achievement – a new technology that will change the future for his military clients. And, despite his rule against fraternization, he can’t deny his feelings for Gwen … so inevitably, she becomes embedded not only in his life, but in his very soul. They are as powerful in the bedroom as in the boardroom. He’s never felt more in command of his life. She’s never felt success so close within her grasp. Their future is full of passion and promise.It’s almost too good to be true.

And therein lies the real story.

From the prologue to the epilogue, there are hints that there is much more to story than it would superficially appear. There is depth of meaning that isn’t immediately apparent. It’s more than a powerful romance – it’s a cautionary tale. And that’s what makes I Am Atlas unique among other current billionaire-themed romance novels.You can feel the build-up, but you’ll never predict the fall.

If you enjoy stories that keep you guessing, that mess with your mind and your emotions, I Am Atlas may be just the book you’re looking for. The characters are well-developed enough that you think you know exactly where the story is going – but believe me, you don’t. You know just enough about them to trust them all – but you can’t. The suspense ratchets up with every twist until you are so far down the rabbit hole you can’t put it down.

That being said, there were a few problems with the story that are worth mentioning. There is a rapid shift in POV at the very beginning that felt abrupt and initially confused me. I think the story would have been even more powerful in either third person or in alternating points of view; but that’s a personal preference for stories with this level of complexity. I also found some of the phrasing awkward throughout – which probably got my attention because I edit for a living. Finally, I felt a bit let down by the ending; not so much in the outcome, but there were a few scenes at the end that just felt out of place. I can see why they were there, but they didn’t move the story forward. It’s impossible to explain without spoilers, so I offer it merely as food for thought when you get there.

Altogether, I Am Atlas is an intriguing beginning to a new series – one that is aptly named ‘Playing God.’ You’ll have to read it to see what I mean. It wasn’t at all what I expected based on the title and the synopsis, but it was a truly compelling read, and I can honestly say that I look forward to more erotic, suspenseful stories from Ella Emerson as the series continues.

Photo teaser with a quote from I Am Atlas, by Ella Emerson

 

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