'Olivier' is book #7 in the series 'Order of the Black Knights' and it's by T. J. Nichols. I'm really enjoying this series so far and while I haven't had the chance to read all of the books I've liked the ones that I have read and have hopes of going back to read the one's that I've had to miss.
'The Order of the Black Knights is very much a series that allows for the books to be read as standalones. There is one character that is a constant in each book and while he is the thread that ties the stories together each story gives a more than sufficient explanation of his connection.
Olivier works for organized crime. Essentially he's a hitman who refers to himself as a problem solver. But for as simple as this might look...appearances can be deceiving. Becoming a hitman was never his goal or ambition for him it was more about circumstances and circumstances are that he has a sister and a niece whom he loves dearly and will protect at any cost and if that cost is doing what he's told to without asking questions...he'll do it.
He's never questioned this or really thought about it. Guilt and fear are foreign concepts for him until the day he meets the twin brother of his latest victim. Suddenly he's having dreams about the past...about lives long gone, where history seems to repeat itself over and over again and he's finding that he seems to care about more than the well being of just his sister and niece, but still putting them at risk isn't an option.
Cody walked away from his family fifteen years ago when his father rejected them and he's never looked back. All it takes to disrupt his well ordered life is an e-mail from his twin brother's wife telling him that his brothers dead. The coroner says 'overdose' but his sister-in-law says murder. Cody wants answers and without really giving things a second thought Cody heads back to New York a place he swore never to go back to.
While 'Olivier' didn't work as well for me as 'Gideon' or 'Jaeger' there was still a lot about this story that I really liked. While the attraction between Olivier and Cody was strong. Initially it felt more like a physical thing and the subsequent emotional connection came as they spent time together and the story progressed.
I also liked the conflict that was essentially always there as a result of Cody and Olivier's objectives being at odds with each other.
While I liked the ending it also felt a little too abrupt for me and while 'Gideon' and 'Jaeger' felt like they ended with an HEA this one felt like we were being left with an HFN, with strong potential but still not the HEA that these two men really deserved.
'The Order of the Black Knight' is not a romance series...these stories have a strong mystical element to them and they are definitely second chance stories about finding and giving forgiveness, seeking redemption and ultimately finding love.
An ARC of 'Olivier' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
it did take a toll on my heart...
'All Wheel Drive' is book number 18 in the 'Bluewater Bay' series and like the third book, 'Hell on Wheels' it's written by Z. A. Maxfield, an author that I'm kind of partial to. So of course I was all grabby hands for this one because 'Hell on Wheels' is one of my favorite books in this series so far.
If this is a series that you're reading than you'll remember that 'Hell on Wheels' was about Nash Holly and in this book, we get a closer look at Healey Holly, Nash's twin brother and seriously can we talk about that name? Healey, really? I have to admit it just wasn't working for me, but, aside from the name, I really liked Healey. While Nash and Healey may look alike on the outside it's inside where the differences really begin, although both of these men are good and decent people who love their family and are loyal to the extreme with those they care about. Healey is crazy smart and has spent most of his adult life in the world of academia unlike his brother Nash.
The last thing that Healey expects when he knocks on the door of his childhood home broken, battered and bruised on the outside and just wanting to rent the apartment over the garage so that he can let his shattered heart and body heal is to be greeted by a man in a wheelchair who recognizes the look of helpless anxiety that he sees in Healey's eyes after all Diego's seen that same look often enough in the mirror in the days following the accident that put him in a wheelchair and again after losing his mother it's become a familiar sight as he tries to piece his own life back together.
For me 'All Wheel Drive' was as much a book about learning to live with a new reality and forgiving yourself as it was about finding someone to love. Both Healey and Diego have issues…lots and lots of issues.
Healey’s come back to his childhood home in Bluewater Bay more as an emotional reflex reaction to his recent experiences than any kind of practical or even logical decision. He’s hurting physically and emotionally following a car accident and the end of his long-time relationship with ‘Ford’ the man he loved and the man who nearly cost Healey his life.
‘All Wheel Drive’ was for want of a better word at times a bit convoluted. Especially the part that dealt with Healey and the circumstances surrounding his relationship with Ford and why he returned to Bluewater Bay and while I’m not often a fan of stories that twist and turn the way Healey’s does, in this instance I don’t honestly think that there was a direct path to take with his story. His relationship with Ford was complicated to say the least because of Ford’s circumstances and his family. The dynamics between Healey and Ford were…well let’s just say ‘it was complicated’ and truthfully from the information we were given it never really seemed that they were meant to be, but we don’t always get to pick who we love and when that love ends sometimes it takes a while for the heart to understand what the head already knows and this seemed to be part of what Healey had to deal with in letting go of his relationship with Ford.
As well Healey and Diego definitely had issues when it came to communication but given how emotionally fragile both men were…especially Healey. I’m not sure I would have believed anything different. I certainly would have found it a bit of a fairy tale if the author had given us an ‘insta-love, all-my-problems-are-solved-now-that-you’re-in-my-life’ kind of story. Healey didn’t even trust himself anymore much less trust someone else and Diego because of his accident believed that there were things in his life that were lost to him forever…especially the physical aspects of an intimate relationship and both men were trying to protect themselves from further heartache…so communication at best between these two was guarded and putting everything out there when neither of them had fully pieced themselves back together was a scary concept and often times done in a very roundabout fashion.
‘All Wheel Drive’ is by no means a typical romance story, it was complicated and as I said at the beginning it was often ‘convoluted’, but for me it was also the epitome of second chance stories and finding love when and where you least expect it. There was definitely some sexy times between these two, that on more than one occasion turned out to be funny and messy and so very fragile as both men tried to guard their heart and still be what the other man needed.
Just like real life ‘All Wheel Drive’ was complicated, messy, frustrating, funny, awkward, sexy, full of love and kindness and in the end worth the effort.
An ARC of 'All Wheel Drive' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.