Monday, April 11, 2016

Review:Manhandled (Hammered #2) by Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliot


My name is Faith Keystone, but my friends call me Keys. 
I’m the piano player for Hammered.
Did I mention I'm the only female in my band? 
That means I technically have five older brothers. 
Can't forget my manager and security team, too.
Alone time is nonexistent.
I escaped an overbearing family to join this happy circus, and most of the time it's awesome.
Except now, because of one teensy little incident at a show.
Now I have this hulking bodyguard shadowing me like a freaking puppy.
Only this puppy is more like a Doberman with an attitude problem.
And he only knows one word—NO.
I hate that word.
And I hate Quinn Alexander. 
The one thing I do like is giving him the slip. Is it wrong that I kinda like when he growls at me after he finds me? 
Because he always finds me. 
Worst of all? I want him so bad that I keep forgetting I hate him.

BEYOND OBLIVION - A Rockstar Romance full of sexy fun set within the world of our Lost in Oblivion series! You never know who you'll see show up in the books.

**Standalone


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What I thought about Manhandled

In this second installment of the Hammered series, a spin-off of the entertaining Lost in Oblivion series, Faith "Keys" Keystone is dealing with a serious issue with an out of control fan.  A seriously, dangerously out of control fan. 

The story opens at the wedding of Hunter and Kennedy, the couple from the first book in this series. Cari Quinn and Taryn Elliot do a great job of transitioning from story to story in their series work and I loved that we got to catch up with manaconda and his woman as they tie the knot.  But things don't go so well for Keys at the wedding, and a foiled abduction is enough reason for the band and her parents to insist Keys has her own bodyguard.

Enter Quinn Alexander.  Yeah, he's not too thrilled about the assignment, but he can't turn down his buddy Noah. So he ends up with a job he hates -- providing security services to Faith Keystone.  To say their introduction is like mixing oil and water is an understatement, and I liked how it took some time for these two to warm up to each other. 

When the tour starts, neither Keys or Quinn can ignore the sexual attraction between them, and the rock and roll lifestyle isn't going to let them off the hook as their carnal feelings for each other explode after being amped up at the rock show. I absolutely adore how Cari and Taryn weave the rock and roll lifestyle into their stories because that really is the heart of a rock star romance, and these ladies do a phenomenal job of keeping the integrity of the rock and roll along with the romance.

Of course the threat to Keys is not over, and things come to a tense conclusion. My only complaint about Manhandled is that it just ended all too quickly for me.  I would have liked a little more of everything at the end!  

Manhandled is a fun opposites-attract story that had just the right amount of drama spice for me.  Great choice for when you are looking for something not too heavy.  Looking forward to more in this series.

ARC provided for review. 

 

Excerpt

“Mom, I swear if you keep pacing I’m throwing you out.”

She stopped at the window. “How can you just lay there reading?”

“Patrick vetoed going outside, and my wrists actually hurt from practicing

the piano.” If I didn’t find something to catch my interest, I was going to go

insane.

My mother pacing all over the house wasn’t helping.

Wringing her hands and staring at her phone wasn’t helping.

Nothing was helping.

It had been one day since the attack and the cops hadn’t even pretended they were going to offer much assistance. The Special K part of the equation had given them pause, but since I couldn’t remember a damn thing about her—and no one else had seen her—well, it was pretty much the definition of moot.

So, I was under house arrest with Patrick turning my place into a security nightmare. Noah had sent equipment ahead and was en route with his friend. Just the thought of someone shadowing me for the foreseeable future was mind-boggling. Why the hell would anyone care about me to this level?

That was the worst part. Wouldn’t this be an escalation kind of deal? Uber fan to Crazytown? Not just straight into Kidnap-Keys-to-keep-as-my-very-own?

I didn’t even know if that’s what it was.

I slammed down the book I was reading. And this book—“1001 Rockstar Deaths” wasn’t exactly the best reading material. Even if they were fascinating in a completely masochistic way.

My mother sat next to me and picked up the book. “Oh, Faith.”

I snatched the book and lifted the top of my coffee table and shoved it in the storage space. “It was something Owen gave me as a joke last Christmas.”

“This is no laughing matter.” She sniffled.

“I know.” Oh, here we go with the waterworks. “Mom, don’t start.”

“How can you be so calm?” she wailed.

I pulled her into a hug and fought back my own wash of tears. I wasn’t calm.

I was going nuts, but crying about it wasn’t going to help anyone. But I also had a case of the sympathy tears. So if she started, then I was going to dissolve into a full-fledged waterworks.

Not good.

I stood up and dragged her over to the sideboard. I opened the tall, crystal decanter with bourbon in it.

“Faith...”

“Don’t argue with me.”

“It’s too early to drink.”

“It’s never too early for a good bourbon.” I splashed a mouthful into two tumblers. I slung the glass over to her.

She wrapped her shaking fingers around the glass and slowly sipped. Her eyebrows went up.

“I know. It’s like chocolate had sex with alcohol.”

My mom huffed out a small laugh. “I don’t know if it’s more horrifying that you talk like your band, or that I find it funny.” She took another drink. “Don’t tell your father.”

I lifted my glass to clink with hers. “Secrets to the grave.”

“I don’t really appreciate this dark sense of humor you have.”

I finished off the glass. “You never did, but if I don’t joke then what the hell am I going to do?”

“Take it seriously?”

I whirled on her. “Of course I am.” I held my arms out. “I have a huge house and it’s never felt so small in my life,” I shouted. My mom’s eyes filled again and I tipped my head back. “Dammit.”

“Keys?”

I jumped at Patrick’s voice and whirled around.

“Sorry.” Patrick stood at the entry of the hallway down to the front door with Noah and another man. His lantern jaw was locked and a scruff of red hair covered his cheeks. His eyes were exhausted, under the worry.

I rushed over to the men and gave Patrick a quick pat on the arm.

He stiffened and backed up. “I’m going to check the perimeter.”

I sighed, waiting until his boots echoed and the door slammed behind him.

“He’s just worried,” I said to Noah.

He dragged me in for a tight hug. “How’re you holding up?”

I pulled away and looked over my shoulder at my mother staring out the window at the mountains. “We’re doing okay.”

Noah frowned down at me. “No, how are you doing?”

I gave him a wry grin. “Going stir-crazy.”

“That’s what I thought.”

I peeked over at his friend. He wore a crisp white shirt and black suit. His hair was military short, but his skin was far more tan than I’d have expected for someone so...suit-ish.

But man, his eyes.

Arctic blue and assessing.

His gaze surveyed every corner of my living room, and he frowned at every damn thing. Before I could open my mouth and introduce myself, he walked away and checked my dining room, then walked into the kitchen.

I stood in my living room watching him, my hands on my hips.

Really?

Not even a “Hi, my name is”?

“Don’t mind Quinn. He’s just thorough. He’s been studying your blueprints on the flight.”

I turned to Noah. “How the hell did you get my blueprints?”

“You don’t really want to know.”

I crossed my arms over my middle and followed Quinn down the hall.

“Keys,” Noah called after me.

I ignored him and followed Quinn into the side bedroom. “Make yourself at home.”

He glanced over his shoulder at me. “Your house is a nightmare.”

“Why, thank you. So glad you could share your opinion.” My house was the one thing I was incredibly proud of besides my collection of instruments. It was the first thing I’d bought on my own, without anyone’s help.

Okay, so the bank helped, but no one had co-signed with me and the payment came out of my personal account every damn month.

And I loved my house.

He ran his hand along the sill of the huge window in the second bedroom.

“These will need to be replaced.”

“Hell no.”

He looked down at me. “So, you don’t mind that anyone could look into your windows from that mountain range across the way?”

I looked out the window at my favorite view. It was the Hollywood Hills, for God’s sake. I could see the Silver Lake Reservoir from my freaking living room.

Suddenly the perfect view seemed a little ominous.

Every window was huge and had a view.

I’d had them lightly tinted against the relentless Los Angeles sun, but that didn’t mean people couldn’t see in.

I backed out of the room and down to my bedroom with my huge sliding door. I’d never wanted to put curtains up, because I loved the natural light that seemed to infiltrate every corner.

This was my house.

My sanctuary.

I loved the road. I loved the venues, and the different places we visited. I loved finding hole-in-the-wall dives with their bar bands, and their sea of strangers who didn’t give a shit who I was.

But when I was home, I loved this house.

Loved the peace.

Loved the space.

Now it felt like a glass box leaving me on display.

I backed away from my huge patio that I’d spent months getting just right.

The patio I spent late nights on with my notebook and a guitar. The ancient upright piano I had in the corner of my bedroom that I played with the door wide open so I could hear the night sounds blending with my music.

I turned to the doorway and he was there.

The sunshine lit his blue eyes and accentuated the crow’s feet at the corners

as he squinted a bit. His face was a little softer. “I didn’t mean to scare you.” His voice was deep and calm.

“Yeah, well, too late.”

He dipped one hand into his pocket and jangled something. “I know of a company that can give you privacy and let you keep your views.” He walked up to the slider and opened it. He held out his arm. “Come on. Come out here.”

“What, so someone can watch me with binoculars?” Or worse? I shivered even though the sun was flooding my room.

He sighed. “I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. I’m trained to look for problems.” He shrugged. “I worked for an ambassador before this.”

Like that was supposed to be the entire reason behind why he was so rude? I crossed my arms and followed him outside. There were a half dozen lemon trees growing around my patio, providing a lot of privacy.

Instead of improving Mr. Brooding’s mood, it only seemed to make him more pensive. He looked over the waist-high fencing to the valley below. One of the best features of my house was the lack of neighbors behind me, just the view.

He frowned at the rough walking path that wound around my property.

“Where does this lead?”

“Down to a small park then out to the main road.”

“How long is the trail?”

I shrugged. “Takes me about an hour to walk it.”

He looked me up and down. “Three miles?”

“I have no clue. I gave up on wearing a Fitbit last year.”

He made a humming sound. “And we have two weeks before you start the tour again?”

I nodded. “We’re heading to the East Coast and into the Finger Lakes region for some summer spots, then inside venues through the third week of October.”

“What happens then?”

“We have our annual charity masquerade for Halloween, then break through the holidays. Start again after the New Year.”

He unearthed his phone and skimmed his finger down the face.

Long fingers.

Blunt ends.

Nails clipped short, a few calluses and a busted knuckle on his right forefinger. He looked down at his finger then at me. “Gun jammed.”

My eyebrows shot up. “Happen a lot?”

He tilted his head. “Never.”

“Well, I guess you can’t say never.”

His nostrils flared. “Wasn’t my gun. My gun doesn’t jam.”

I trailed my fingers over the heated metal of the fencing. “You always carry?”

“Always.”

“Then why did you have to use someone else’s gun?”

A muscle in his jaw flexed. “Because I had to surrender my gun for a political dinner.”

“Of course you did.” I leaned my hip on the post at the corner of my patio.

“Noah said you like boring jobs.”

His brows furrowed. “I like order.”

I smiled for the first time since he’d arrived. “Oh, honey...you’re going to hate me.”

That jaw thingie flexed again and he tipped his chin up, peering down at me like I was a puzzle to solve.

I held out my hand. “Faith Keystone, by the way.”

He tucked his phone back into his pocket and took my hand. “Quinn Alexander.” 



About the Authors


http://cariquinn.com/home/ 

http://tarynelliott.com/

 

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