Friday, April 7, 2017

AotM ~ Vengeance & Protectors Christmas by Sloane Kennedy (Reviews + Giveaway)

AotM ~ Vengeance & Protectors Christmas by Sloane Kennedy (Reviews + Giveaway)

Title: Vengeance (Protectors book 5)
Author: Sloane Kennedy
Published: October 4, 2016
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

At thirty-four years old, ex-DEA agent Memphis Wheland has lived, loved and lost…everything. The ultimate betrayal by the man he gave everything to has left Memphis with no family, no career and a bone deep bitterness that refuses to release him from its icy grip. His work with an underground vigilante organization is the only light in his otherwise bleak existence. That and the occasional no-strings hookup with men whose only focus in that moment, and for as long as Memphis wants them, is him and only him. No clingy exes, no unrequited love, no relationship drama. Period.
Because Memphis has one rule that he won’t break for anyone or anything. He doesn’t share.
Now if only someone had told that to the young man who would come into his life in the most unexpected way…

With his entire life ahead of him, graduate student Brennan Devereaux wasn’t expecting it to change in the blink of an eye. But when a case of mistaken identity nearly costs Brennan his life, it isn’t just his future that’s about to change, but his past too. Because for years he’s been in love with a young man who only sees him as a friend and nothing more. And while he was content to love Tristan Barretti from afar, he hadn’t expected to be drawn to the mysterious stranger who saved his life and changed it with a simple promise.
I’m not letting you go.
They were words spoken in the heat of the moment as the darkness of death had threatened to claim him, but even as Brennan’s love for Tristan refuses to wane, his need for the intriguing Memphis Wheland continues to grow.
But any relationship with Memphis means he has to let go of the one thing in his life he’s always valued above everything else…

At nineteen, Tristan Barretti should have had the world at his feet. His musical gifts have garnered him prestige as well as admission to the famed Julliard School in New York and he has a family that most people would kill for. But the protective bubble his fathers have kept him in has burst and he’s discovered that life outside his unconditionally loving family isn’t as accepting of a kid born with HIV. A poor decision to find answers to questions better left unasked, along with the complications of living with his disease, have Tristan returning to Seattle and the solace of his family.
And to the young man he’s wanted from the time he was barely old enough to even understand what that meant.
But with an uncertain future that leaves him nothing to offer the gorgeous and successful Brennan Devereaux, Tristan knows the best he can hope for is to keep building on the friendship they’ve shared for years and not get his hopes up that Brennan will be the one man who sees him and not his disease.
Except all bets are off when danger follows him home…

Even though a physical relationship with Brennan was supposed to be just that, Memphis finds himself unable to refuse his young lover’s request to help put a stop to the threat against Tristan. Even knowing full well that Brennan’s heart lies with the man he claims is nothing more than a friend, Memphis accepts the challenge of ensuring Tristan’s safety.
But when the quiet music student stops being a “job” and starts being something much more, Memphis is torn between his growing feelings for both young men and the fear that he’ll be facing an even greater betrayal that he’ll never be able to come back from.
Except none of that matters when the threat that Memphis never saw coming puts Brennan and Tristan in the crosshairs.
And the cost of the vengeance he once craved suddenly comes at too high a price…

5 Stars! 

Another great tale in the series, with promises of more, more, more to come.

This is book 5 in The Protectors series, which technically could be read as a standalone, but a couple of the leads 'started' in at the end of Forsaken and therefore it's probably best to read them in order (though there are sufficient mentions of their time together that readers won't have problems getting into the tale). Actually, if you're a fan or have read SK's books before, then you'll already be addicted and will have read them all - I am, and have!

It's a MMM tale, which is not my favourite genre, but this author has a way with words, with her characters and their issues and all three guys grew on me. The differing ages and experience didn't matter to me, as the connection between the guys was clear, and the fact that they'd all been searching for something and yearning for what they thought they couldn't have, made their coming together feel right, cohesive and believable.

In many MMM tales, there's a bonded pair with a third that seems to be a bit of a wheel, but not in SK tales - it always feels as if she writes her MMMs for her characters and for me, and that all the guys are equal participants, love equally and selflessly, and are loved and wanted equally.

There's quite a lot of sex in this, and lots of bonding in this and none of the guys is left out. I loved how Brennan and Memphis bonded, and how the bond that had already existed between Brennan and Tristan simply ended up growing and deepening. I loved how SK made it so believable that Tristan came into Memphis's life and how their connection began and grew. At no point did I feel that any one guy was the 'middle of a Venn diagram', and at no point did I feel that their connections with the others were any less. It was clear that there was no jealousy here, simply honest feelings and desire and that all wanted the same thing, though of course, each initially doubted that they could make it work, often because of Memphis's attitude.

There's a lot of heartbreaking dialogue and heartbreaking events in this and the tale deserves its warning that there may be parts that will act as triggers to some, but SK always ends her tales with the start of a HEA. This tale is perhaps the most violent and painful-to-the-heart that she's written - she does angst so well, but then delivers a HEA that's a given. This one is particularly sweet and bonding, with other characters from the previous/connected tales (this is connected to her Barretti Security series) making an appearance at the end, with some humour and with absolute baring of souls and hearts.

There's a glimpse of book 6 at the end of this, featuring Dante and Magnus (little Matty Travers's grandfather), which promises to be fireworks galore. Dante's a bad boy who needs to be tamed and yes, civilised, and Magnus is the guy to do just that. I know there's more in the series to come, together with a Christmas novella, and I can't wait.

I'm lucky enough to be a beta for the author, but as you can see, I've bought my own copy of the tale - it's just that good. This is an honest review, with payment neither requested nor offered by any parties.

Title: A Protectors Family Christmas (The Protectors, Book 5.5)
Author: Sloane Kennedy
Pages: 232
Published: November 14, 2016
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

It’s the holidays for a group of very special men who’ve managed to become a family in the last year and while all the guys are coming together to celebrate Hawke and Tate’s upcoming wedding, a few of them have big plans of their own…

A change of plans…
Newlyweds Ronan and Seth are settling into married life as Ronan considers his return to medicine and Seth starts dreaming of a future that may include the pitter patter of little feet a lot sooner rather than later.

Building a future…
Knee deep in wedding preparations, Hawke and Tate are celebrating something even more important – Matty’s final round of chemotherapy treatment. As they anxiously await confirmation that their son is finally in remission, both men strive to give their little boy a normal life including a new house, playdates with Matty’s new best friend, Leo, and a new support system of men and women who are starting to seem a lot like family.

An important question to ask…
Meanwhile, Mav is looking to make things official with Eli despite the young man’s busy schedule with medical school. But before he can ask the man of his dreams that very important question, he has to get past Eli’s family first, including a posse of two overprotective fathers, several intrusive uncles and a little girl who just wants to brush Mav’s hair!

Figuring it all out…
With Memphis, Brennan and Tristan settling into their newfound relationship and our favorite threesome from New York visiting for the wedding, there are plenty of chances for old friends to connect and new bonds to be formed.

The best kind of chaos…
And of course, what wedding wouldn’t be complete without a little drama including some white hot sexual tension between a not so old grandfather and a certain cocky bodyguard? Add in some more Barrettis, a couple of precocious kids, several dogs, one spoiled cat and a gaggle of new, hot alpha men and you’ve got the perfect storm for a holiday that only the Protectors could pull off!

5 Stars! 

An amazing 'cheer you up' and early Thanksgiving present for fans of SK & her men. But, Logan & Dom still rule!!!

I'm lucky enough to have beta'd this book and it was EVERYTHING I could have wanted in a catch-up tale and for SK's men, who continue to win my heart with each new release. I'm a massive fan of SK's, a massive fan of her men, a massive romantic and absolutely love HEAs in my romance, and this book delivered on every count.

We get to see SK's men loving each other and living life and living their HEAs. We get to see even more commitments being made. We get to see love, family, caring and sharing, and we get to be party to an amazing wedding with some of the most heartfelt vows I've ever come across. And, we get to see more of a few characters who're scheduled for their own tales, though for one couple in particular, there'll be a bit of a wait, but SK gave us little glimpses to tide us over and to let us see the bond between them that distance and time haven't lessened. We also get to see a glimpse of Magnus and Dante in a scene that takes the latter from being a bit of a d*ck to a guy who, as little Matty puts it, is '...really a good guy, but sometimes he just does bad things.”

And, we get brilliant news about little Matty, who's perhaps the most perfect, sweetest yet most non-obnoxious child ever created in a novel and who's perhaps a bit of an angel here on earth - love that kid and looking forward to his own tale one day. Hint. Hint.

There's a bonus at the end of the tale, featuring my all-time fave SK leads, Logan and Dom, some nine years into their relationship, which I *know* was written just for me, though SK doesn't play faves and hasn't confirmed this. It's sweet, romantic, sexy, loving, a little sad-sweet and very real, very them, very my kind of HEA.

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  1. I think books should featuring HIV Positive characters as long as the author has done the research they can still fall in love, have relationships and get married.

  2. I usually find them to be great stories and realistic. So many people are living with HIV, so why not have MCs with it as well. Everyone deserves a happy ending.

  3. I love angsty books- the more, the better as long as it's done well. I have advanced degrees in psychology so I only like it if it's realistic. I've learned a lot about the most current treatments/practices of living with HIV from reading mm books. I think it is awesome to write about the challenges of living with HIV, but also that people can lead a much more normal life than many people think.

  4. I don't mind reading about hiv as long it is done correctly

  5. I have read romance with HIV characters before and I totally welcome it.

  6. I'm fine with it. I think it's a great way for those who don't know much about it to educate themselves about it. I also feel it provides a positive message that you can live a fulfilling life if you have it. I haven't really read that many books that feature a main character living with HIV. The only one that comes to mind at the moment is Here and Now by Lisa Marie Davis

  7. Congrats. I'm totally positive about HIV positive characters. I had to pause, b/c I just met someone at a gallery opening tonite who was not only in NYC in the 80s, but in the middle of it in Greenwich village working st St. Vincents Hosp. So many sad stories, so many good people lost. My heart breaks. - Purple Reader,
    THeWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  8. Thanks for the post, and good reviews. I'm ok with angsty rather than light reads, but I often prefer other ways to not be "light." Maybe because it can often be OTT. I also, like mmjrg, have psychology degrees, so whether it's angst or anything else, it's best if it's realistic and it tells me the author has done their homework. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com