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Author: Lexi Blake
Publication Date: 28 August, 2018
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment
Series: Masters and Mercenaries, The Forgotten, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Age Recommendation: 17 and Up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
Six men with no memories of the past One leader with no hope for the future A man without a past
Jax woke up in a lab, his memories erased, and his mind reprogrammed to serve a mad woman’s will. After being liberated from his prison, he pledged himself to the only thing he truly knows—his team. Six men who lost everything they were. They must make certain no one else gets their hands on the drugs that stole their lives, all while hiding from every intelligence organization on the planet. The trail has led him to an unforgiving mountainside and a beautiful wilderness expert who may be his only hope of finding the truth. A woman with a bright future River Lee knows her way around the Colorado wilderness. She’s finally found a home in a place called Bliss after years lost in darkness. The nature guide prefers to show her clients the beauty found in the land, but she also knows the secrets the mountains hold. When she meets Jax, something about the troubled man calls to her. She agrees to lead him to the site of an abandoned government facility hidden deep in the forest. She never dreamed she was stepping into the middle of a battlefield. A love that could heal a broken soul Spending time with River, Jax discovers a peace he’s never known. Their passion unlocks a side of himself he didn’t even know he was missing. When an old enemy makes his first move, Jax and River find themselves fighting for their lives. But when his past is revealed, will River be caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy?
I can not begin to tell you how excited I have been for this spin off series to begin. I have been falling for these 'Lost Boys' for ages it seems and now we finally get their stories, we get to understand completely where they have come from, we get to hopefully learn their pasts, and see their futures laid out before them with women who will love them regardless of who they are or were.
I want to start by saying that Lexi Blake did not disappoint me when it came to this book. There are a few things I miss from the original Masters and Mercenaries but this isn't the original so I need to be like these guys and take a break from 'my past' and just look to the future. So we'll start real quick with what I felt was 'off', just so we can get it out of the way. The quick witty snarkiness of the original guys isn't in these characters. Now lucky for us we have Big Tag in this story so it's not completely gone, but I miss that banter. Secondly the sex scenes, while lovely, are not what I have become accustomed to when it comes to Lexi's writing and with this series in particular. It's a bit vanilla if I am being honest, ha. I realize again that this isn't the same group of people and these guys don't even really know what their 'tastes' are yet, but there are only nods to the original story arc of these guys being Masters....and Mercenaries. Finally, I hate to say it...I really do, but River left me struggling a little. It is hard to go from these stories where the women are as strong as their men, if not more, to basically your every day girl. Now don't get me wrong, she's pretty awesome what with her backpacking and tracking skills etc, but she's a bit wishy washy and she runs more than a greyhound chasing a rabbit.
So what did I like? I loved that this took us back to Bliss, though if you haven't read the entire series that revolves around the town of Bliss, CO you may be a little lost when it comes to a few people and, now I haven't read it so I could be completely wrong, but I think there is a nod to a cross-over with Julie Kenner and her Stark series in there. I just loved getting back to Bliss though, it is such a fun community and while I did get a little spoiled over a book I haven't read yet, I was too happy to see some characters again to care overly much. I love the 'love' between these 'Lost Boys'. They have each others backs, even the ones they aren't sure they can wholly put their faith in yet; Dante dude; What's up with you? I loved seeing Tag, Ezra, (ooooh, now there's an interesting story line!) Henry, Nell, even a little Adam, Faith,Tex and even that jerk Levi (who has to get his on story at some point too right?)...it was so good to see those characters again. I loved the relationship that Jax builds with River, even if it takes him a whole lot of hard work and letting her run away over and over before all is said and done. I kinda wish we got a little news in the end about one moment, but I am hopeful it will come back up in later books. I loved the action moments, all the suspense, and where these guys stories seem to be going. I feel like we're on a crazy wild goose chase and can't wait for it all to come to a head in the end. Who's gonna get the golden egg? My favorite part though, is just the sweetness of these men. They're almost juvenile in their thoughts and actions, very naive...though don't worry they don't exactly stay that way. They whole banter between them about consent made my heart happy for so many reasons, it was funny, it was toughing (no pun intended), and it is important! I love how much they just want to be loved and I want to just hug each and every one of them, with their consent first of course! ;-)
If you have been a fan of the Masters and Mercenaries series I know you have been waiting for this spin-off as much as I have and I think that you will truly enjoy it. Remember, it's not the same series...these characters have and are going through so much more than our original team did so the books have a bit of a different feel but everything you love about the essentials of Lexi Blake's characters is all there!
~ HAPPY READING ~
“This place is beautiful,” he said when she hesitated. She nodded but didn’t move from her seat. “I love it here. I went to college in Denver, but I always missed this place. When I was younger, my dad had a house in Creede. He started the business there, but when he could, he moved us out of town. My dad was a loner, I suppose. Creede has a population of four hundred and Dad thought that was way too many people.” “I know the feeling. I lived in London for a while. That was definitely too many people.” He kept his tone even. It was odd. Now that he was here, that hunger he always felt was tempered by her fear. He’d thought he would take anything offered to him, but he couldn’t having met her. If the blonde had offered herself up, he would have turned her down. Over the two hours they’d sat in the booth, eating fried food and drinking beer, he’d figured something out. Some people were more special than others. River was special. He should be more cynical. He could hear Damon Knight telling him to be cautious, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Perhaps it was the fact that he didn’t have a long well of history to draw from and to teach him that this was likely a mistake. It didn’t feel like a mistake. “Wow. I’ve never been farther than Kansas City.” She still wasn’t moving and her voice had taken on a tremulous tone. His heart constricted, and it was surprisingly easy to not listen to his dick. His dick was pleading with him to get aggressive. His dick was trying to convince him that if he could get inside her, she would accept him. Yeah, he wasn’t going to listen to his dick. “If you’ve changed your mind, I can call my brother to pick me up. I have a phone and so does he. His number is programmed in. I don’t want to scare you. I had a good time talking to you tonight. It was one of the nicest nights I’ve had in a long time.” Ever. It was the best night ever. It was the first night he felt normal, though he wasn’t exactly sure what that word meant. Comfortable was a better one. That tight feeling in his chest had eased as he’d sat in the booth with River and Tucker and Heather. Although he’d hated lying to her. She finally turned, looking at him. Her eyes shone in the moonlight. “You mean that, don’t you?” He wanted to touch her. He’d had to force his hands not to move toward her all night long. The most he’d allowed himself was to have their hips and shoulders touch as they’d sat next to each other. He’d decided it had been a good thing he’d sat next to her because he was fairly certain he had a case of Big Tag’s crazy eyes, and she would have seen them had he sat across from her. “I do mean it. Please don’t get me wrong. I want you. I would like nothing more in the world than to take you into that cabin, lay you out, and make a feast of you. I want to kiss you and when I say that I don’t merely mean your lips. I want to put my mouth all over your body. But more than I want that, I want you to like me.” It was important somehow. He wouldn’t see her after tonight, but he couldn’t stand the idea that she was afraid of him. Everyone was afraid of him. Everyone he knew was waiting for his powder keg to blow, but he’d sworn to himself earlier in the evening that it wouldn’t blow around her. He would protect her even if it was only for one night.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.
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