10 November 2014

Brody Tour Stop!

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Brody “Brutus” Jackson isn’t your average small-town mechanic. The shop where he spends his days doubles as the headquarters for the mercenary group he works with. They jokingly call themselves the Bang Shift because the government contracts they take are the less savory ones, and they’re all just shady enough to do what’s necessary to get the jobs done. As far as Brody’s concerned, it’s the perfect arrangement for a man with no memory of his past, and no hope for the future.

Under FBI protection, Alexandria Collins and her son have been in hiding for ten years. When it’s time to move again, her piece of crap car breaks down and the man giving her a tow is the biggest, hottest guy she’s ever seen. She is determined to ignore the need her long-neglected body hungers for. After all, the last man she showed interest in put a gun to her head.

Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs … even if what she needs protection from most is him.
My name is Sara Squared and am attracted to books with words like “bang” in the title or subtitle.  I have also apparently never matured past the age of 12. “Brody: The Bang Shift Series” pushed all my little immature 12 year old buttons.  Tee-hee.
This book proved to be way more serious than the bang in the title had me thinking at first, but that wasn’t a bad thing.  Alexandria (“Xan”) is on the run from her mafia past.  In the witness protection program, she’s been trying to keep her and her son safe for the past decade.  When she ends up needing a tow, she meets Brody, her sexy as sin tow truck driver.  In reality, Brody is a mercenary who takes jobs from the government on the DL.  Brody is as attracted to Xan as she is to him, but something about her seems familiar and in his line of work, that is not a plus.  Not to mention Xan has pretty much sworn off all men.  But can they deny the attraction or will they risk everything and act on it, creating a possibly dangerous situation for them both?
Brody was in a little bit of a Bourne Identity situation.  Super-hot and apparently very dangerous and skilled with a bit of a blotchy memory, I found him to be both badass and endearing.  I love it when big strong men have exposed soft spots.  And Xan was such a fierce mama!  As a mama myself I found her character to be badass in her own right, and the perfect match for Brody.
As for the banging, it’s not the banging that is really meant to be conveyed in the title, but you better believe there is BANGING people.  The chemistry between Xan and Brody is awesome, and I thought it really added to the book. 
This book also had a lot of great action.  It’s one of those books that you just fly through.  I could not put it down.  Overall, I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to be banged by more books in this series.  4 stars.

Now THAT was a seriously action-packed romantic suspense. Brody starts almost immediately with a literal bang, the prologue setting the stage quite shockingly and effectively. You know a romantic suspense novel is good when the mystery and storyline are so interwoven that almost everything is a freaking spoiler (which I’ll do my best not to reveal in my gushing). And that holds true for Brody, both the book and the man.

If you’ve read the blurb, you know that Xan meets Brody during her and her son’s most recent relocation with the Witness Protection program. As a member of a mercenary group that does government contract work under the cover of a small-town garage, Brody will soon learn everything about Xan. But none of the information tells him why he reacts so strongly to her and why he knows her from before his amnesia, especially when she shows no sign of recognizing him. And when I say Brody reacts strongly to Xan that is a mild term for the chemistry between the two of them. Because what little bit of info they’ve been able to discover about his past isn’t pretty, Brody is more of a “hit it and quit it” kind of guy – not wanting to develop attachments. But he can’t stay away from Xan and he is surprisingly cold and cruel toward her in the beginning as he tries to keep his distance from her. Thank goodness that mindset didn’t last. All of the sex scenes are hot, but once Brody accepted that he couldn’t avoid Xan, the physical and emotional intensity of the sex escalates and several scenes left me squirming and in need of a cold shower or two.

For the record, Xan freaking rocks as a heroine. With everything she endured at her husband’s hand, it’s amazing she gave Brody a chance, much less the second and third chances he needed when he messed up. Being so invested in Brody and Xan’s relationship made the revelations about Brody’s past devastating – I felt awful for both of them – and yet the hits kept coming at them. The conspiracies that abound in Brody are both mind-boggling and believable. I loved the manner in which Ms. Harbin resolved the storyline, while setting up the Bang Shift crew for future books. Although the first book in the series, it feels as though Brody and Xan’s story is complete – no unexpected cliff hangers here. That said, I do hope that future books in the series will provide updates about them. Either way, I am looking forward to reading about the other sexy mechanics/mercs of the Bang Shift team and cannot wait for the next book in the series. 

Her lungs locked, seeing Brody sitting in the waiting room with a bloody towel wrapped around his hand. She should be grateful for the needed distraction, but instead she felt a sense of panic. She looked at the chart and numbly called out Ms. Roger’s name, never taking her eyes off him. He was hurt, and she wanted to run right to him and see if he was okay.
She quickly got Ms. Rogers in room 4, taking her vitals and noting the reason for her visit, before rushing back out into the lobby.
“What happened?” she asked before she even reached him.
He stood slowly, towering over her, but she was too concerned with his well-being to feel uncomfortable with his size. “Sliced my hand working on your car.”
“Oh shit. How bad?” She gingerly took his hand and unwrapped the towel. “Does Dr. Peters know you’re here?”
“Yeah, Colonel called him as I got into his car. Couldn’t take my bike like this.”
She winced when she saw the cut. “You need stiches. Hold on, I’ll be right back.”
She rushed into Dr. Peters’ office as he was finishing up recording his notes on his last patient for the transcriptionist. “Ms. Rogers is in room 4 and Bro—er, Brutus from Sheppard’s Garage is here.”
“Ah, put him in room 3. I’ll check him out first.”
Xan walked back to the lobby to gather Brody and escort him to the exam room. He followed closely behind, his body heat radiating off him in waves that crashed over her back. She tried to ignore the electrical sparks tingling up her spine, but she wasn’t doing a very good job. She felt weak in the knees, hoping she didn’t fall on her face right here in front of him. How long was this hall, anyway? It didn’t seem this long this morning.
“Here we are. Take a seat and the doctor—”
“Is right here,” Dr. Peters said as he stepped around her and into the room. “Let’s have a look.”
Dr. Peters unwrapped the blood-soaked cloth and grabbed some cotton swabs to wipe away the excess. “You need some stitches.” He looked at her. “Do you feel comfortable taking care of him, Xan?”
“Yes sir.”
He smiled and nodded in approval. “She’ll stitch you right up, Brutus. I’ll leave you a prescription for some pain meds. Keep an eye on it. If it swells or smells, give me a call.”
“You got it.”
God, that voice. So deep and sexy, just like the rest of him. Get your shit together, she chastised herself. Good grief, the man was bleeding and in pain, and all she could think about was how sexy he was now that she knew it was just a cut. She quickly grabbed the rubbing alcohol and some cotton swabs. She didn’t look at the doctor as he left the room or at Brody as she started to work. She had to stay focused. If she thought about the male musk seeping out of his pores, she wasn’t sure she could stop herself from licking his skin. Yeah, that’d be professional. She needed psychological help. She just had to keep her mind on her job and get him out of this office.
And she was doing a good job of staying in the zone until she heard him wince. Her head jerked up and she saw a hint of a blush tinge his cheeks. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen a grown man blush, and she had to admit, it was a little adorable on him.
“I haven’t even started,” she said playfully.
He grunted and looked away and she felt bad for her remark. This was her job. She needed to remain aloof.
“I’m sorry if I hurt you. I have to get it nice and clean before I begin. The shot will numb it up before I start, though.”
He nodded, looking at her through his lashes, and her heart raced. Why did she have to be attracted to him? She gave him his shot, set about administering the stitches. Standing this close, she could feel his breath hitting the crook of her neck. She shuddered and saw her hands shaking. She did not need to botch this up. Besides the fact she needed this job, she didn’t want to screw up his hand. She renewed her focus and got busy, blocking out the feel of his skin beneath her fingers, the way his knee bushed her outer thigh.
He cleared his throat. “How, er, do you like livin’ here so far?”
She glanced up at him and smiled. “No complaints. How long do you think it’ll take you to finish my car?”
He laughed and she smiled brighter. She got the feeling not too many people heard that out of him. “Not sure, but I’ll let you know as soon as we have an estimate.”
She finished her work on his hand and bandaged it before taking off her rubber gloves and discarding them. “Sounds good. And you’re good to go. Pick up your prescription at the front and call the doctor if you see any signs of infection like he said.”
She tried to step back so he wouldn’t brush up against her when he stood, but she stumbled in her attempt. She would’ve been embarrassed if given the opportunity, but he reacted too quickly. He grabbed her with his good arm and yanked her up against him to keep her from falling. With him still sitting, they were at eye level.
Her breath picked up as she watched his pupils bleed into his irises, turning his blue eyes black. He’d had the same reaction the first time she saw him, and she wasn’t sure what to make of it. Her experience with men was lacking, to say the least, but if she were a betting woman, she’d think that the attraction was mutual.
Just that thought made her lose all sense of self-preservation and self-control. She stepped close, and his hand flexed on her arm. She didn’t know what to do, her inexperience confusing her, but she knew this level of contact wasn’t enough. She had to do something, touch him, or—
Her lips hastily brushed against his, and for the briefest moment, he hesitated. It was just long enough for her to panic and start to draw away at his rejection, but he clutched her to him, stealing her breath and taking the kiss with a guttural groan. Her insides rioted in elation and nervousness, joy and trepidation at the feel of him consuming her. His injured hand pressed against her back, forcing her flush against him. His hard cock speared into her belly as he angled his head for deeper penetration. His tongue massaged hers as his good hand tangled in her hair, directing her movements.
She should feel scared at the sudden control he exerted, but fear was not the prevailing emotion right now.
She moaned as she threaded her own fingers through his soft hair. His fist tightened his hold on her hair, and he growled into the kiss, his tongue plundering her mouth, teeth nipping at her lips.
And it still wasn’t enough.
She thrust her hips forward, rubbing herself against his cock. He grabbed her ass and forced her to do it again, groaning at the contact.
She knew she was at work and her boss could walk in at any minute, but she just couldn’t muster up a reason to care right now. She had to touch Brody. Nothing else mattered. She let one hand slip out of his hair, caress his face, and trail shamelessly down his chest to his jeans-clad cock. She rubbed it tentatively, and he kissed her harder. She squeezed it, and he stilled.
He grabbed her arms and pushed her away. His eyes were blue-black fire, eating her up as he panted, his chest heaving with effort. He stood suddenly, staring down at her with a look of lust, then panic, then what she could only describe as resolve.
“Stay away from me,” he rasped, before opening the door and stepping out, slamming it behind him.
She gasped, covering her kiss-swollen lips, staring at the closed door. Oh God, had she read him wrong? Did she just take advantage of a man, who’d done nothing but help her, because she couldn’t separate her fantasies of him from reality? Surely she wasn’t so rusty in the man department to have forgotten how to read a guy’s interest, though that really didn’t matter now.
Stay away from him? Not a problem, because after what just happened, she wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
5048225 Mandy Harbin is an award-winning, bestselling author of several books across multiple romance genres ranging from contemporary to paranormal erotic romance. She is also the number one bestselling author in teen romance under the pen name M.W. Muse with her popular Goddess Series. She is a Superstar Award recipient, Reader's Crown and RWA Passionate Plume finalist, and has received Night Owl Reviews Top Pick distinction many times. She studied writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, earned several degrees, and even pursued an MBA until she realized becoming an author did not have to remain an unfulfilled dream. Mandy is a PAN member of the RWA and lives in a small Arkansas town with her non-traditional family, and although she is a direct descendant of British royalty, they refuse to call her princess. When she's not penning her latest book, you can find her hanging out online where she loves to connect with fellow readers or stalking Mickey Mouse at Disney World.  


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