Saturday, September 24, 2022

Bounty (Brantley Walker: Off the Books Book 8) by Nicole Edwards ~ Book Review with Excerpt


From New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Nicole Edwards comes the eighth installment in her Brantley Walker: Off the Books series.

Recently engaged and moving forward, Brantley Walker and Reese Tavoularis are enjoying a bit of downtime with friends and family. But anyone in their line of work knows that sitting idle never lasts long.

When Reese’s brother, Z, asks for their assistance in finding a man who skipped bail and is now on the run from the law, as well as a few unsavory characters, the pair find themselves on a mission that’s a little outside of Reese’s comfort zone. No, make that way outside his comfort zone when he learns that the man they’re looking for is one of his mother’s former lovers.

As is usually the case, nothing is as it seems, and Brantley, Reese, and the rest of the Off the Books Task Force find themselves mixed up with the mob as they try to uncover the truth.

Excerpt from Bounty

(unedited excerpt ©Nicole Edwards)

“Whose ridiculous idea was this anyway?”

Brantley Walker glanced over at his cousin Sawyer, a slow smile forming. “The guy who said he’s never bowled before.”

Sawyer’s dark eyebrows popped up toward his hairline before he dramatically looked over at Reese, then back to Brantley. His voice was pitched higher when he said, “The guy who’s kickin’ all our asses right now?”

Brantley took a long pull on his beer, let his smile widen. “That’d be the one.”

“He’s a swindler,” Sawyer accused. 

“I think you mean a hustler,” Kaleb corrected.

“A fraud,” Sawyer griped, his smile bleeding through despite his efforts to pretend he wasn’t amused.

Kaleb laughed. “No, I still think hustler’s the right word.” 

Brantley shot a smirk at Reese. Six feet five inches of prime alpha male, wearing dark jeans and an untucked charcoal gray T-shirt was standing with his hands on his hips, looking like sin on a stick. Reese Tavoularis, the man who claimed he didn’t know how to bowl, had just gotten his sixth strike in a row, and the way his eyes glittered told him Reese had more hidden talents than he was letting on.

“Beginner’s luck,” Reese quipped, his lips twitching as he glanced between the others.

“My ass,” Sawyer countered, putting his hand above his eyes as though shielding them as he craned his neck and peered around the bowling alley. “Where’s the rest of your PBA league hidin’, huh? That them down there? They recordin’ this for TikTok? I bet they are, the fuckers.”

Brantley barked a laugh. His cousin certainly hadn’t lost his dramatic flair over the years. As far as bowling went, Brantley didn’t care one way or the other who won. He’d come because Reese had suggested it. Since their Fridays were usually spent at Moonshiners, he figured it was good to change things up a bit. Not to mention, when the man he was going to marry made a request for a date, Brantley damn sure wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity.

Granted, Brantley hadn’t realized it was going to be a group outing, but that didn’t bother him either. When Kaleb had mentioned needing to get out of the house, they’d invited him to come along. Kaleb had then passed the word on to his brothers, which was how Sawyer had come to join them. From there, word traveled like wildfire, and the next thing he knew, two of Brantley’s brothers, Cal and Griffin, as well as their brother-in-law Killian, were signed up. And to balance things out, Luca Switzer had jumped on the bandwagon. 

And here they were, taking up space in one of the lanes, surrounded by others who were out to have a good time. The place smelled like talcum powder, chicken wings, and cheap beer, the air thick with laughter and conversation and the occasional thunk of a bowling ball hitting the pins. It was what Brantley considered a perfect night out.

“Sawyer, you’re up,” Kaleb announced.

“Might as well call the game now,” Sawyer grumbled. “That or let me use the gutter bumpers. This shit’s startin’ to get embarrassing.”

“And a grown-ass man usin’ the bumpers wouldn’t be?” Brantley retorted with a snort.

“Did he do it again?” Cal, Brantley’s youngest brother, asked when he returned from the snack bar carrying a plate of nachos, his eyes on the screen overhead. 

“He did,” Kaleb answered. 

“Son of a bitch.”

Brantley noticed Reese’s crooked grin, and he was damn tempted to drag the man to a storage room so he could kiss that smirk clean off his handsome face.

“Next time, he’s on my team,” Luca stated as he moved toward the steps. “Anyone else need another beer?”

“I’ll take one if you’re offerin’,” Brantley told him, his gaze never leaving Reese.

“Me, too,” Sawyer hollered.

“Me, three,” Killian said.

“I’ll go with you,” Kaleb offered.

When the crowd had thinned, and Reese approached, Brantley crooked his finger to urge him closer. “Tell the truth. You were on your high school bowlin’ team, weren’t you?”

Reese chuckled softly. “I’m from the same small town you are, Navy boy. Coyote Ridge doesn’t have a bowlin’ team.”

“Good point.” He leaned in close to Reese’s ear, lowered his voice. “Just fair warnin’. You bowl seven in a row, I’m gonna blow you in the parkin’ lot.”

Reese’s surprised swallow was loud in his ear.

I have been loving this series and I have to say that I am sooo grateful that this story was a bit lighter than the previous ones. I found myself laughing out loud so many times while reading BOUNTY I lost count. Poor Reese, I have a few gallons of bleach he can use but unfortunately I don't think it's safe to bleach your eyes and you cannot bleach your mind. But it sure did make for so many LOL moments whenever his mother was mentioned...and that is all I will say about that.

In this installment we have Brantley, Reese, and all of the guys and gals that work for Off the Books Task Force out looking for Toby Land, an old friend of Reese's parents who has found himself in a bit of trouble with the Mob. During this time we also have JJ meeting Baz's parents, and some other fun things are happening within the crew.

I would recommend reading this series in the order it has been released since it does follow each of the members of the Task Force and if you were to start now certain things wouldn't flow as nicely as they would if you had the backstory of some of the main people.

I would recommend this book/series to those that enjoy Steamy Romantic Suspense, MM Romances, or Office Romances.

Happy Reading!!!

About the Author:

Nicole lives in Texas with her husband and their youngest of 3 children. The two older ones have ventured out in the world on their own. She has a beautiful granddaugther and a rather spoiled grand-puppy.. Oh, she and Colt  also have four dogs. Most of the time, you can find her hiding in my writing cave. If she's not there, she's probably hanging out with the family, reading, or watching hockey and football. One thing for sure... Nicole is always trying to have fun. 

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*Book Teasers and Excerpt are property of Nicole Edwards

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