Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Tempted (Masters and Mercenaries, #26.5) by Lexi Blake ~ Book Review with Excerpt

“I think you could break my heart, Rycroft.”
“I know you could break mine.”

Tempted, an all-new page-turning novella set in the Masters and Mercenaries world from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is available now!

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake comes a new story in her Masters and Mercenaries series…

When West Rycroft left his family’s ranch to work in the big city, he never dreamed he would find himself surrounded by celebrities and politicians. Working at McKay-Taggart as a bodyguard and security expert quickly taught him how to navigate the sometimes shark-infested waters of the elite. While some would come to love that world, West has seen enough to know it’s not for him, preferring to keep his distance from his clients—until the day he meets Ally Pearson.

Growing up in the entertainment world, Ally was always in the shadow of others, but now she has broken out from behind the scenes for her own day in the spotlight. The paparazzi isn’t fun, but she knows all too well that it’s part of the gig. She has a good life and lots of fans, but someone has been getting too close for comfort and making threats. To be safe, she hires her own personal knight in shining armor, a cowboy hottie by the name of West. They clash in the beginning, but the minute they fall into bed together something magical happens.

Just as everything seems too good to be true, they are both reminded that there was a reason Ally needed a bodyguard. Her problems have found her again, and this time West will have to put his life on the line or lose everything they’ve found.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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Keep reading for a look inside Tempted!

Soft music was playing. It was folksy but modern. Not at all what he would expect. And she wasn’t in front of the TV. She sat at the dining table which was covered in… Were those puzzle pieces?
“Hey,” he said. “I’m here for the rest of the night and through tomorrow. Was Tessa okay?”
Her head came up, and she damn near took his breath away. She was in pajama bottoms and a tank top, her face scrubbed free and hair piled on top of her head. She was every bit as gorgeous this way. “She was great. I liked her a lot.”
“But you didn’t like Matt?”
Her lips turned down. “Well, now I like Tessa less.”
He set down his duffel on one of the chairs and set the grocery bag on the table away from the numerous puzzle pieces. She’d started working on the edges, and it looked like she was a sorter. “Don’t. It’s literally my job to make sure you’re okay. She’s going to give me any information I need.”
“Did she tell you I thought you were an asshole?”
For some reason, that made him smile. “She did. And I was. And if Matt does anything at all to make you uncomfortable, I expect you to tell me. Ally, I had a job go weird a couple of weeks ago. I know men are supposed to want any pretty woman who comes their way…”
She sat up, her expression turning distinctly sympathetic. “Someone tried to sex you up when you didn’t want to?”
That was one way of putting it. “She was very aggressive, and it bothered me more than I realized. I think I took a little of that out on you today, and for that, I am truly sorry.”
“Did she look like me or something?”
“Not even close,” he said with a huff. “Like she wasn’t as… No, she didn’t look like you. But she was something of a celebrity. She was a European royal.”
“Please tell me it was Kate.” Her eyes had gone super wide like this would be the best gift ever.
She would so get along with his brother and Martin. “It was not. She’s a minor royal but a major pain in my ass. I’m sorry. I hope you’ll give me a second chance.”
She stared for a moment as though assessing the situation. “Are those Flamin’ Hot Cheetos?”
“My brother’s fiancĂ© swears you like them. His name is Martin, and he’s a big fan.”
Her shoulders relaxed, and he would have sworn that girl…woman…glowed. “That’s so nice. If he has any time, he could come up to the set and have lunch with us. And he’s right. Gimme. I love them, but the camera adds five pounds and…”
“You always have four cameras on you.” He handed her the chips and sat down. It would be a much quieter night than he’d counted on, but he kind of liked that.
She opened them and had one of those suckers in her mouth very quickly. She sighed, obviously content. “Not now I don’t. All right, Rycroft, we start again. And Matt’s probably fine. You’ll know he’s done something wrong if he has to go to the hospital because I kicked him in the balls. Pass me that blue piece. I think it goes here.”
He handed her the piece, and they got on with their first night.

There are very few authors that I will pick up their books without even reading the synopsis, and Lexi Blake is one of them so you can imagine my surprise when I started reading TEMPTED and realized that the MFC was Ally Pearson; if you read BAYOU SWEETHEART you'll recall who she is because that was her sister Brynn's story, I was ecstatic because I soooo wanted her to get her own HEA after meeting her.

West Rycroft moved to Dallas to be with his twin brother, Rand, and found himself working for McKay-Taggart as a bodyguard and security expert; unfortunately, some of the clientele thought he was there for more, which has him in a sour mood when he is assigned his next job of "babysitting an actress." I have to laugh because Ally is so different from the person he protected before, but watching him figure that out for himself was fun.

Ally and West were great together, I loved their chemistry, and the way they went back and forth with one another, not letting the other get away with anything, was so much fun. 

Thank you to 1001 Dark Nights and Lexi Blake for making this story happen. I love the premise behind the 1001 Dark Nights Novellas; they give new readers a chance to read an author's work and see if it's for them, and it gives readers of the series a couple that we may not have seen otherwise. Ally was a person I was hoping we would see get her HEA, I even mentioned it in my review of BAYOU SWEETHEART. Hence, I am thrilled this book came to fruition.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy STEAMY Contemporary Romances, Romantic Suspense Reads, Professional/Client Romances, or Forced Proximity Romances.

Happy Reading!!!

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