This review is based on a complimentary book I received from B&B Promotions. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Beautiful Deception by Ember Raine Winters
Series: Pride and Honor #3
Also in this series:Beautiful Delusions, Beautiful Sacrifice
Also by this author: Beautiful Delusions, Beautiful Sacrifice, There's Something About Vegas
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 30, 2017
Publisher: Independently Published
Format: ARC, E-book
Source: B&B Promotions
Purchase at: Amazon
He knows. He knows what I did and there is no way he will ever forgive me, but that’s the least of my worries. Now, that secret, that little boy that holds my heart in his hands has been stolen from us. I’ll do whatever it takes to get him back. Even if it costs me my life.
Marcy had always been mine. I thought she always would be. A misunderstanding ruined that. Ruined any chance for us to be happy. She stole that chance… that life. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive her. The truth is I never stopped loving her, and I’ll do whatever it takes to save her.
Beautiful Deception is the third book in the Pride and Honor series. This series follows a band of friends who once served together in the military. They all came home affected in one way or another and it propelled them in different career directions but their careers all focus around helping others.
Finally! Finally, we get Mac and Marcy’s story. Since book one there has been tension between these two characters. They had a history that started even before their service days. Mac has never stopped loving Marcy but they had been separated over ten years for what Marcy thought was a betrayal.
No matter what Marcy thought Mac did in the past, her betrayal is far, far worse and in this story, you get all the brutal details. I was shocked and a little like “what??” and “why??” The revelation shatters not only Mac but it makes the entire crew feel betrayed. Mac and Marcy have to find a way to move past the lies, hurt, and betrayal in order to find their way back to each other.
At the end of book two Marcy had been taken on the orders of Roger Barnes, who also happens to be the father of Tasha, the fiancé of Twitch. It was unclear why Marcy had been targeted but it had been assumed that her abduction was related to her connection with the GTT security firm. GTT security has been trying to track down Rogers Barnes in order to put an end his reign of terror.
As more is revealed it appears that Marcy is more important to Barnes’ scheme then anyone ever knew. Barnes will stop at nothing to end the team’s meddling ways and the influence that he has is absolutely staggering. There is also more information discovered as to why Mac and Twitch’s parents were targeted by Barnes in the first place. The ending will absolutely blow your mind. Such a great read.
The romance angle in this story was quite steamy. The only issue I had was that several times the characters were quite wounded but engaged in sexual encounters anyhow. If this was a paranormal romance it would have been a non-issue for me but these are normal people and that type of scenario did not feel real. That may be because I can’t imagine being turned on after sustaining burns, wounds that required stitches, and head injuries, all while fleeing for my life. Yep, I can’t say that I would be up for sexy times. but to be fair these characters have been aching for each other for a long time. To me, those types of scenes pulled me from the story but it was really easy to get back in to it.
Whenever I finish a book in this series I always send the Author an email telling her that she better be chained to her desk writing the next installment for me. The endings are such that I am left on a cliff just waiting for the next story and I wait most impatiently. I need to know where things are going with the hunt for Barnes and I can’t believe how he managed to pull off what he did. I want him to finally pay for his crimes!
That is why I love Author Ember-Raine Winters, she engages me and makes me care about the characters. I am deeply invested in the overarching storyline in this series and each book brings me a little closer to the answers that I have been seeking. That there are some happily ever afters for each of the characters is just an added bonus. This is a book and series that I highly recommend to all readers.
*Thank you B&B Promotions & Ember Raine Winters for this eARC of Beautiful Deception*
Excerpt from Beautiful Deception:
Twitch was doing his nervous twitchy thing and it had me on edge. “What’s the matter, brother?” I asked warily.
“I got a bad feeling about this.”
“Shit. Really?” I got up from my seat. I knew better than anyone what Twitch’s feelings resulted in. He had an uncanny sixth sense when things were about to go bad and fast. I couldn’t sit still any longer.
“Mac, it’s going to be okay, we will get him back,” Tasha said vehemently.
I nodded but continued pacing. There was nothing else I could do until we landed and saw what the situation was. Tasha was upset too. Marcy was her friend and Tasha’s dad, Barnes, was responsible for this mess. We all knew he was behind it, but we didn’t have one fucking detail yet.
The worst part of this whole shit show? That I was still pissed at Marcy, and I was feeling completely guilty about that. How could I be so angry with someone and still love her at the same time? It had been twelve years since she left me, and yet I still thought of little else. I should have fought harder. I should have stayed in Baltimore and made her talk to me.
The flight attendant came out and told us to put our seat belts on in preparation of our descent, so I sat down next to Tasha. I never stopped moving though. My knee was bouncing up and down burning off my nervous energy.
“You still love her don’t you?” Tasha placed her hand on my knee.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Sure it does.”
“No, Tasha. It really doesn’t. She made her choice. She knew what her decision would do to me and she did it anyway. She knew how important having a family was to me and she stole that from me. So, no, the fact that I still love her makes no difference because she obviously never loved me.”
Tasha glared at me for all of five seconds before her tirade began. “That’s bullshit Mac and you know it. I could tell when you all rescued us from Doug’s basement that she was still in love with you. I could tell the day that Twitch proposed to me and she screamed in my face about Twitch ruining everything that she felt guilty for what she had done. I had no idea what it was at the time, but I could see it. You both need to get over your hang ups, stop being stupid, and just be together because everyone can see that’s what you both want.”
“Okay, babe,” Twitch said softly, seated on the other side of her. “That’s enough.”
She looked angry and I had no idea why. I had heard Marcy had freaked on Tasha that morning but I wasn’t sure why.
Even if I hadn’t found out the way I did, I would have found out eventually, especially now with all the craziness. I thought about that in silence the whole drive to Brock’s compound.
“Shit, is that smoke?” Griffin asked when we were about a mile away. Everyone started yelling at once.
“Go, go, go. You have to go faster,” I yelled at the same time Tasha said, “Holy fuck, holy fuck, that’s Brock’s compound.”
“Tasha, it’s okay. I’m sure they are fine. Brock has cameras everywhere. They saw it coming.” Twitch attempted reassurance while rubbing her shoulders. “They had to have seen it coming.”
He added the last part mostly to himself, but he looked at me with a grimace. I knew he was as worried as Tasha, but I was jumping out of my skin. Marcy had to be okay. She just had to be. There was no other option. I was not losing them both.
The gate was a twisted pile of burning metal and I thought the worst. The thick column of smoke got thicker and hung heavier in the air the closer we got to the house. Griffin was driving as fast as he could, but there was very little visibility. If we weren’t careful the smoke would cause an accident and we might never make it to Pix.
The bright orange flames engulfed the house. My heart nearly beat out of my chest when I saw it.
“Shit, what do we do?” Trey asked, panicked.
“Get on the phone with emergency services and leave an anonymous call about the fire. We will search the surrounding area for any sign of them,” Griffin commanded.
“If they were in the safe room, there is a possibility they are still in the house. How do we get in there to check?” I asked completely irrationally.
“Fuck that. I’m going in there and you’re not stopping me, Griffin.”
I jumped from the SUV and went around to the back. Grabbing my bag, I rifled through it and found a small hand towel and a bottle of water. After pouring some on the towel, I dumped the rest on my head.
“Bro, you can’t go in there,” Twitch said from behind me.
“Yes, I can, and I am.” I shoved past him towards the house.
“Mac, you can’t.” Tasha attempted to get in front of me.
“Don’t. He popped his shoulder out of place trying to get to you when you were locked in that basement.” I pointed wildly at my cousin. “He was a mad man when it came to looking for you. I will move you out of my way if I have to, Tasha.”
Thankfully, she stepped aside after that. The closer I got to the house the hotter it got. It looked like whoever had set fire to the house had busted the door down first. I got down low and held the towel over my nose and mouth and went inside. It was like a horror show in there. The heat was so bad I felt like my blood was boiling and my skin was searing off.
“Marcy,” I yelled through the towel over my mouth. “Marcy.”
Please God, let her be okay.
That was when I heard a slight tapping. A support beam had fallen and held the door to the saferoom closed from the outside. The tapping was faint, and I prayed that the room was air locked. If not she would have smoke inhalation by the time I was able to get to her.
The beam was on fire and blocking the door. Removing my jacket, I wrapped it around my hands and grabbed the only part of the beam that wasn’t burning and pulled. I used all my strength, but it refused to budge and I knew that I couldn’t continue my heavy breathing, or I would be dead in minutes.
A hand came out then, and grabbed another part of the beam. Trey and I lifted it together and moved it away from the door.
I pushed the door open and that was when I saw her. All five-foot-two beautiful Pixie laying on the floor. Her face was ashen, and I could tell she was barely hanging on. Picking her up, I cradled her to my chest and silently prayed.
Trey and I tried to move quickly, but the house was falling down around us. Every few steps, we had to dodge a board or a beam. The floor beneath was losing its integrity as well.
“Hurry Trey, or we’re gonna be buried alive,” I shouted just as the floor gave way beneath my foot.
“Mac,” Trey bellowed, not realizing what had happened. “Come on, man. We gotta go.”
“Take her and get out of here. As soon as I get my leg out I will be right behind you.”
Trey started to argue, but the look I gave him was lethal. He grabbed Marcy and headed stealthily to the door.
When they cleared the front door, I covered my mouth with the edge of my shirt to get a breath of air and then attempted to get my foot out of the floor. Every time I pulled, a searing pain shot through it. I gritted my teeth and tried again, but I was already coughing from the lack of oxygen in the room. I laid my head down to give myself a moment and try to catch a breath, but it was useless. Just before everything went black, I felt a pair of hands pulling me back towards the flames.
Book 1 in Pride and Honor Series: Beautiful Delusions
One night was all it took. One accident and I could no longer outrun my past. The terror I’d escaped was hot on my trail and the only person I could turn to was the man who’d hurt me the most.
One moment was all it took. One wrong word and she was gone from my life. Fifteen years later, I had a chance to make things right. I could even make Kaylee mine…
If the monster didn’t destroy her first.
Book 2 in Pride and Honor Series: Beautiful Sacrifice
Being a cop, I didn’t have any choice, but I really wish I hadn’t got mixed up in this case. My dark past is catching up to me ever since he barreled into my life without a care. It terrifies me that he sees right through me. He could be the one to save me . . . or break me.
It was just a job. Until it wasn’t. By then the sexy little redhead had her claws in me. Now, she’s in my life and I’m lost. How am I supposed to keep the demons from her past from eating her alive? I don’t know, but I will do whatever it takes to make her mine.