Author: Megan Erickson
Publication Date: 30 January, 2018
Publisher: Forever Publishing
Series: Wired and Dangerous, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Hackers
Age Recommendation: 18 and Up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
The Fast and the Furious meets Mr. Robot in USA Today bestselling author Megan Erickson's thrilling new romantic suspense series.
Hacker extraordinaire Roarke Brennan lives each hour - each breath - to avenge his brother's murder. His first move: put together a team of the best coders he knows. They're all brilliant, specialized, and every one an epic pain in his ass. Only now Wren Lee wants in too, threatening to upset their delicate balance. The girl Roarke never allowed himself to want is all grown up with sexy confidence and a dark past ... and she's the wild card he can't control.
Roarke might still think she's a kid, but Wren's been to hell and back. Nothing and nobody can stop her - especially the tatted-up, cocky-as-all-hell hacker. But when years of longing and chemistry collide, Wren and Roarke discover that revenge may be a dish best served blazing hot.
I was really excited to get back into the geeky hacker world with Megan Erickson but I have to say this isn't the same geekiness that we have had from Megan before and while it threw me for a bit of a loop I really enjoyed this story. What makes it different? It's a total suspense novel, a lot grittier than we have seen before and a little darker.
I was a tad concerned that it would go over my head with computer speak but I can say that was not a problem at all, in fact I felt a little torn about the fact that there was not a more in depth description about the hacking the group does. I loved the suspense, I loved the romance, I loved the friendships, but I missed seeing the group in the trenches of the hacker world. Now, I will admit this is probably a difficult place for Megan to find herself in as she writes this series. She can't go so in depth that we the average reader gets lost in the muck and the mire of a world we don't understand and yet at the same time she has to give us a close look into the world so that we can actually feel like we are in there with the characters and maybe learning something along the way. She will likely find herself in the place where she can't please us all sadly, but I mention all of that because for me it is just about the only thing that kept me from giving it a full 5 stars. I just didn't feel as invested in their world as I would have liked to have been.
All that said, I am so curious about all the characters that she has given us, especially about this mystery hacker that we have only gotten a small glimpse at. I have this bad habit of always falling for the 'bad guy' and even though we barely (and I mean barely as in the tip of the iceberg type of barely) I kinda already am hoping for some wild redemption story, haha.
Wren for me stole the show in this book. This is a badass woman who's style, attitude, flair, guts, etc... I wish I could have. She has no problem taking on these boys and showing them that she is every bit as good as they are. On that note before you think I am saying she has to prove herself, she doesn't have to in the sense that they think some in general aren't capable hackers, just that she is the little sister of the best friend of the hero; someone they have tried to keep out of their world so she has to prove to them that she is as good just because they don't expect her to ever be in their world in the first place. There is definitely not a men hackers are better than women hackers attitude in this book so don't be afraid.
Roarke and Wren have basically been in love with each other since they were teens, but there is the whole best friend's little sister issue that has kept them apart all these years. I really enjoyed seeing them work through their issues and find out they have both been pining after each other for years. I will admit it took lame a while to get into the book but once I did I couldn't turn away from these two, especially once they decided that trying to stay away from each other wasn't going to happen.
There is a lot of action in this book and a pretty deep story line that revolves around sex trafficking. I love that through this book Megan is bringing a terrible world issue to the fore front. It's a frightening world out there and Megan gives it to us with brutal honesty. I have to say I would have hated having to do the research for this book, I am pretty sure I would have been in a state of teary anger the entire time I was writing it. It's so worth the anger you may walk away with though and honestly we should all be angry that this is happening all around us everyday.
I missed a little bit of the light heartedness I have come to love from Megan Erickson but I also appreciate that this is out of her comfort zone and that she is bringing us something new. As I said earlier it was a little bit slow for me in the beginning and it took me a while to get into the story but once I did this was a pretty quick read and definitely a series that I will be keeping up for. We've got several romances in our future with this series, possibly several M/F's and at least one M/M and like I mentioned earlier maybe if I am a very good reader a bad boy redemption story, haha!
~ HAPPY READING ~
A sound echoed off the brick building and shoved all her instincts into overdrive. She darted to the side, withdrawing her gun in a quick motion and leveling it on the source of the sound. The figure leaned forward, and she froze when she met the gaze of Roarke Brennan.
He stood with his arms crossed over his chest. And he didn’t look happy. At all. “Put the gun down, little bird.”
Well, now she was just embarrassed. With a frustrated grunt, she shoved the gun into her waistband and tried to act like nothing had happened. She cocked out a hip and waved. “Hey Roarke.”
He didn’t speak for a long moment. “Darren Saltner is the thirty-five-year-old owner of Alpha who is just as bad as his father and is less good at hiding it.”
Roarke wasn’t finished. “He’s been known to funnel drug sales through his club, and several women have brought sexual assault charges against him, only to drop them. And that’s just the tip of the shit sandwich of things he’s involved in.”
She knew all of this. “Look—”
“And after I told you to stay out of it, you drive back down here and go right to his club and cozy up to him? Seriously, Wren?”
“Were you following me?”
“Yes, I sure the hell was!”
She scowled. “That’s rude.”
“I don’t give a fuck,” he shot back. “I am rude. And I can’t believe you put yourself in that situation—”
“I didn’t take the drink he offered me.”
Roarke threw up his hands and turned his back on her, walking a few steps away before stopping abruptly and turning. “You didn’t take a drink from him. God, Wren, I—”
“I got out of there fine!”
Roarke stared at her incredulously. “Sure you did, because I raised an alarm on their security system so you could escape.”
She forced down the growl that was roaring up her throat. Of course he interfered. “I’m not an idiot, Roarke!” She surged toward him. “I researched him, I know what he does and who he is. Tonight he mentioned something to his bodyguards that made me think he knows what his father is doing. And I intend to find out more.”
For the first time, uncertainty crossed his face. “I guess I don’t really know you, do I?”
She shrugged. “You knew me at one time, I guess. And I’m still Wren. I’m just . . . grown up.”
She didn’t miss the way his gaze coasted down her body. His hazel eyes bored into her as he took a step closer. The air between them was charged, and a bead of sweat trickled down her back.
“Did Darren touch you, Wren?” His voice was low, barely above a whisper. “Did he put his hands on you?”
“It was nothing I couldn’t—”
“Yes.” Heat pooled in her stomach as his eyes blazed, and she couldn’t stop the tremble in her voice.
“Why’re you looking at me like that?”
He placed a fist in his other palm and cracked his knuckles, an agitated tell he’d had since she’d known him. “Because Wren . . . fuck.” The curse was a growl. “The thought of him touching you, thinking he can, thinking he has a right”—his hand sliced the air—“it’s driving me crazy.”
Her throat went dry and words failed her. This was a side of Roarke she’d never seen, never thought possible. He rarely deviated from his aloof scowl, and this possessive side—over her—was kind of turning her on.
She wasn’t sure if that was healthy, but fuck it, she wasn’t going to lie to herself. “Look, I know you feel obligated to protect me because I’m Erick’s little sister—”
He turned away with a bitter laugh, flattening his hands on top of his head.
She stamped her foot. “Will you quit interrupting me?”
He whirled around and advanced on her so quickly, she retreated until her back hit the wall. Then he was in her space, all up in it, their chests brushing, his thighs touching hers. He braced a hand on the wall beside her head. “You think this is about you being Erick’s little sister?”
Her head was spinning. She didn’t know what was what anymore. “Roarke, I don’t understand.”
His jaw was so tight that she swore a light tap would shatter it. He was so close now that she inhaled the scent of his leather jacket with every breath. The tension in his body was a tight coil that seemed about to unleash any second. A large vein in his neck cut through the inked rose, and without thinking, she ran a finger down it. His entire body shuddered.
He gave a small lip twitch and then something brushed the front of her thigh. She startled and glanced down to see his fingers grazing her skin. She didn’t move but kept her eyes on that tattooed hand as it flattened on her thigh. “Is this okay?”
Her head jerked up. Roarke’s eyes were wide, pupils blown. She swore she could feel the pulse of his heart in the pads of his fingers where they rested on her skin. What was going on? Whatever tentative relationship they’d had was shifting beneath her, and she couldn’t get her bearings. All she knew was that her entire body was on fire, and it was taking every bit of self-control not to climb that big body and finally see what those full lips felt like on hers.
Get a grip.
She still hadn’t answered his question so she licked her lips, tasting the last of her lipstick on her tongue. “Yes.”
His hand shifted, and four fingers ran up the inside of her leg, dangerously close to where she ached for him to touch. He curled his fingers around her inner thigh so one rested on the seam of her panty line. She balled her hands into fists because it was the only way to prevent herself from reaching for him. “Roarke,” she croaked.
“This is going to be a fucking disaster,” he muttered almost to himself, as his gaze began to roam. Down her neck, across her chest, which heaved with deep breaths, and then down to where his hand was tucked between her legs.
“I didn’t want you in because I can’t be objective with you,” he interrupted, his gaze once again cutting to her. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Not really, but when his thumb brushed ever so lightly over her underwear, she sucked in a breath and nodded.
He dipped his head for just a second, and she thought he was going to kiss her, but then he took a step back. She almost reached for him but stopped herself.
He shoved his hands in his pockets and began to walk past her, as if he hadn’t just rocked her world with a touch. “Better get some rest. We’re meeting at eight a.m. sharp.”
She glanced at her watch. That was in five hours. Shit. “Uh . . .”
He was already in the parking lot. “I’ll have Erick text you the address,” he called over his shoulder.
“Okay!” she yelled back.
She waited until his car pulled out of the parking lot before sagging against the wall, a hand on her chest as she sought to calm her racing heart.
In one night, she’d placed her safety in the hands of a very dangerous man and allowed another equally dangerous but also sexy man to touch her.
She hoped like hell she wasn’t in over her head.
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better.
Her next release is Zero Hour, book one of the Wired and Dangerous series, which releases January 30 with Grand Central Publishing/Forever.