Impossible Choice is out! I’ve talked up Impossible Promise (Unchecked Book 1) (here) by Sybil Bartel, and the sequel was equally rave-worthy! Read on for my 5-star review, all book details, and info on how to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of No Apologies by the same author. This tour was brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.
by Sybil Bartel
Book two of Unchecked
After her parents were murdered, Layna Blair spent three years on the run—until Marine Sergeant Blaze Johnson stepped in and saved her. With him, Layna knew safety for the first time…but two weeks after shipping out for another tour in Afghanistan, Blaze comes home early.
When Layna sees the jagged wounds covering his body, every truth she thought she knew is destroyed. Blaze is distant and angry and though her heart is shattered, Layna desperately tries to keep their relationship together in the face of another tragedy. When the tenuous bonds holding them together are ripped apart by a revenge-hungry maniac, Layna must trust her survival instinct and bury her past for good.
But the enemy is two steps ahead, and before she can take action, Layna’s hand is forced by his deadly demands—save herself or save the man who risked his life for her freedom. Blaze saved her once. This time it’s her turn to protect him.
She: Layna, 19, lost everything, including her sense of self when, at 16, she (audio) witnessed her parents’ murder. She was recently freed from the mobster who ruled her existence for the past three years by one devastatingly sexy marine and his military-trained friends. Life should be back to normal, but struggling to find herself inside a schorchingly intense relationship (not only between the sheets) with said marine, proves to be Layna’s biggest challenge ever.
He: Blaze (Buck) is an all or nothing guy. He used to be all marine. Now, he’s all marine (once a marine, always a marine) plus all Layna. Not good with big words or showing emotion (outside the bedroom), he smothers her. And then he leaves for the warzone.
The conflict: Love between two young people who’ve dealt with deadly danger and loss, and are then torn apart can be destructive.
The setting: Sunny Miami, sweltering heat, sea-front villas and fast cars.
The heat: Mind-numbingly hot! You don’t see much originality in sex scenes these days, but the steam in this one will set your fire alarm off.
The good stuff: The characters. They are not 3-D; they’re 4-D! I could not only feel but smell them (heat, sweat and coconut). All romance heroes are supposed to be hot, but Buck is scorching hot. Still, his domineering side got to me more than once, but then gradually he grows (not over his 6.4) and the author with masterful strokes (the operative word being “strokes”) turns him into the purrr…fect man.
Some reviewers of the previous book called Layna whiney and too angsty. Angst is a vital component in NA stories, and if Layna’s past coupled with the intensity of a relationship that asks too much too soon didn’t turn her into a hot mess, then she would have been a cartoon, not a character. Still, I’d like to see her less apologetic and gaining assertiveness through her actions.
The writing is stellar. Sybil Bartel draws full-fleshed characters that pop out of the book and greet you. After you’ve ended the book, you’ll know them … intimately. She’s a master at portraying emotion. This book will touch you in more ways than one.
The other stuff: Just some minor plot issues of the “didn’t he already know that?” type that didn’t take away from my reading pleasure.
Bottom line: I said in my review of Imporssible Promise that it was one of the best books I’ll read in 2015. Impossible Choice comes really close in that list. For an emotional ride you won’t easily forget, go get a copy!
About the Author
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about me.
I grew up a faculty brat. I can swear like a sailor. I love men in uniform. I hate being told what to do. I can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks me out. My favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—I can’t decide. I have a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on me for driving directions, ever. And I have a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell my husband.
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