• Pros & Cons of Deception

    Title: Pros & Cons of Deception
    Series: Pros & Cons #2

    I didn’t want this book to end! There is so many facets to the story and so many mysteries to solve, I didn’t want to put it down. The story is full of witty quips, but still manages to be surprisingly tender. 5+ stars, I can’t wait for the next one in the series!!

    Megan

    love, love, love this series. In my opinion, this book is better even than the first one and that one was really good. The characters have a lot of depth and there was a lot of laugh-out-loud humor, scary parts, sexy parts, etc. In other words, this book had it all. I loved all the characters, but I think Leo is my favorite. Maybe because I'm older I can relate better to him. He just seems to be more "with it" and more able to keep the group together and focused. (I loved the scenes with him in tiny sparkly shorts.) I'm anxiously awaiting the next in the series and hope the author doesn't take too long, hint, hint.


    Genre:

    There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. And what a group we are: a hacker, a thief, a con artist, a thug, and a Federal agent with an axe to grind. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.

    I’m Bond. Wesley Bond. (I can’t resist saying it that way. Blame my dad, if you can find him.) You could call me a hacker. I redistribute wealth - moving it from rich slimebags to poorer but infinitely more deserving people - and make a tidy profit as I do.  My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to bring down some modern-day slave traders.

    I definitely choose to accept it.

    With the life of the one person in this world I love on the line, I can’t afford any screw ups or distractions. Unfortunately, my biggest distraction is also my biggest asset - Danny Monroe.  Danny is an leftover complication from our first job; a victim of the vicious senator we’d gotten locked up. He’s a smart, funny, gorgeous, ex-prostitute, who can’t seem to keep his clothes on. I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut around him. But I need a fake boyfriend, and Danny is the only option.

    Fooling the world into thinking we’re in love will be easy; fooling myself that I’m not might be impossible.

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    1 – WESLEY

     

    “Hey, can anyone explain why my shirt drawer is empty?” Ridge Pfeiffer demanded, appearing on the patio where the rest of our little band had congregated. Our resident retrievals expert (read: thief) was naked from the waist up and scowling beneath his blue eyes and blond curls like the world’s most overgrown, pissed-off Botticelli angel.

    I pulled down my sunglasses to look at him, then slid them back up so I could focus on my phone screen. Right now, I was engaged in a long-term bout of spear phishing at Campbell Enterprises, and I was about to close the deal. This was way more interesting than anything Ridge was likely to share.

    Janie, I typed, I’m on a plane with Dal Anderson and he wants a four-paragraph summary of Thursday’s press release so we can prepare talking points for the investors!! Can’t access the secure server from here and I’m fah-reaking OUT!! Send me something? – Becks

    There. That ought to do it.

    Becks, aka Rebecca Frankel, Junior Executive Assistant to the VP of Human Resources at Campbell, according to her LinkedIn profile, was adorably naïve and helpful. For example, when a friendly IT man had called the other day and asked for her credentials to verify a “suspicious login” from her site, she’d provided all the necessary info. Hell, if I’d asked for her astrological sign and social security number, she’d probably have given me that too.

    Once I’d accessed her email, I’d had the keys to the castle. It had been easy to copy her writing style – hyper-friendly, with way too many exclamation points for a person over the age of thirteen – to learn that she was going on a business trip with her boss this week, and to find that she was smoke-break buddies with Jane DeVoor, Assistant to the CFO. As soon as Jane emailed back a summary of Thursday’s press release to help her pal out, I’d make a few quick investment decisions like I’d somehow learned to predict the future.

    Hint: Ditch your psychic friends and go phishing instead.

    “Um, would we say the drawer is really empty, though?” Breck, Ridge’s identical twin, asked from the lounge chair where he was stretched out in the sun practically on top of his boyfriend, Steele Alvarez.

    “Close enough. The only things left are a pink tank top that says I Would Bottom You So Hard and this Pittsburgh Steelers t-shirt.” Ridge held it up. “Neither of them is mine, and frankly I don’t feel comfortable wearing either.”

    “Hey!” Carson exclaimed from the shade at the edge of the patio. “That Pittsburgh shirt is mine. I’d wondered what happened to it!”

    “Well, you can fucking have it, dude,” Ridge said, holding it out. “I don’t know how it ended up in my drawer.”

    “Come bring it to me,” Carson commanded, adding the little world-weary British inflection to his voice that seemed to drive all the boys wild. “I don’t want to get out in the sun.”

    “Are you an actual vampire? Or is that just what you’re impersonating this week?” Leo drawled. The FBI-agent-on-hiatus who liked to consider himself our leader barely looked up from his e-reader, which I happened to know contained nothing but dull biographies of politicians and a couple non-fiction books about religious extremism. Ho-hum.

    “Yes, Leonard. That’s it. I’m afraid you won’t be able to resist my dazzling sparkles and century-old penis if I come any closer.” Carson nodded thanks at Ridge as Ridge passed him the shirt. “You know, some of us are concerned about skin cancer.”

    Uh huh. I’d bet my original custom Alienware rig and all the classic games loaded thereon – current value: priceless – that Leo was on the right track. Carson was a con man with a dozen identities that we knew of and probably a dozen more we didn’t. No doubt he was working a gig that required him to be pale as a ghost, though fuck if I could imagine what it was. Not for the first time, I was tempted to peek at the man’s computer – child’s play for any decent hacker, and I was way more than decent.

    I wouldn’t hack Carson, though, even to satisfy my curiosity, because of trust and boundaries and being a team player, and all the other happy horse shit my Aunt Ade had hammered into me. Blah, blah, blah.

  • Pros & Cons of Vengeance

    Title: Pros & Cons of Vengeance
    Series: Pros & Cons #1

    WOW! Terrific plot, awesome characters and great writing create a 5 star read! Intrigue, action and steamy romance created a fun and engaging read that i could not put down until i had read the last page.


    Genre:

    FIVE JOBS. FIVE CHANCES FOR REDEMPTION. One thing’s for sure: these men are no angels.

    There’s nothing like being blackmailed by a dead man to really bring a group of cons together. And what a group we are: a hacker, a thief, a con artist, a thug, and a Federal agent with an axe to grind. The deal is simple, we do the jobs and Charlie’s lawyer wipes the slate clean for each of us, one at a time.

    Since job number one calls for some muscle, it looks like I’m up first. I’m Steele Alvarez, ex-Special Forces Close Protection Specialist (aka, a bodyguard for some not so nice guys).

    After learning what the job is — taking down a seemingly untouchable senator with a penchant for beating up young male prostitutes — I’m in. No questions. A bullet ought to do the trick.

    Then I met Senator Harlan’s latest victim: Breck Pfeiffer, the gorgeous hooker with a heart of gold and the soul of a fighter. One look at him and I’m gone. That kid laid me out harder than any punch ever did. I’ll do anything to protect Breck, even kill for him. But Breck doesn’t want the senator dead, he wants vengeance.

    If we’re going to find a way bring down the slimebag and get the blackest mark on my record erased, I’m going to need all the help I can get.

    Like it or not, we’re all in this together.

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    Thank Christ someone had been bright enough to leave the air conditioning on in Charlie’s mansion. Dead men paid no electric bills, I guess. Fucking Florida. I’d been gone too long and had somehow forgotten how truly miserable the humidity could be. Sure, it could hit a hundred and fifteen outside of Baghdad, but it was dry heat.

    I thought about taking off my suit, or at least my tie, but until I knew what the hell was going on here, I wasn’t going to let my guard down.

    Besides, I looked good in a suit.

    “Nice house, huh?” Wesley said from behind me, as I was busy assessing the layout of the house and cataloging any possible pinch points. Like I said, I didn’t know what I was doing here, and I wasn’t taking any chances.

    “I’ve seen bigger.” In my most recent incarnation, as close protection specialist and hired muscle to some very rich and very bad men, I’d been in mansions that made this place look like a pool house. Not that this place sucked. Not at all. The cabin I’d grown up in could have fit in the foyer with room left over.

    We followed Ms. Miranda Bosley, Charlie’s attorney, single-file down the tiled hallway of the big house like a line of ducklings. Wesley was the only guy I knew and consequently the only one in the group I trusted enough to walk behind me. Even Ms. Bosley looked like she wouldn’t hesitate to stab me in the kidney if she felt she needed to.

    Seeing Wes at the funeral had been a surprise. A quick, stilted conversation had revealed that he was here for the same reason I was – we were both being blackmailed by Charlie.

    I couldn’t imagine what Charlie had on the kid. I’d only worked with Wes twice before, but he was more a gray hat than a black hat hacker; the kind of person who didn’t mind doing the wrong things for the right reasons. A cross between MacGyver and Anonymous, the kid had probably been on an FBI watch list since he was twelve.

    Wesley had triggered my protective instincts from our first meeting, but he’d never really needed much help beyond muscle. Sure, he could take care of himself with that jujitsu or whatever, but sometimes some people just needed their faces punched, and I was more than happy to do that for him. It was satisfying.

    Now Angel-Face, as I’d taken to calling the gorgeous blond kid who’d been sitting a few rows ahead of me at the graveside ceremony, he triggered other instincts in me. Made me think things I probably shouldn’t be thinking at a funeral. But then again, Angel-Face hadn’t seemed exactly consumed with grief either. I hadn’t been completely surprised to see him following Miranda after the funeral along with Wes and me. Very interesting. What had that choir boy done to be in such bad company at such a young age?

    I fingered the challenge coin I always carried in my pocket. A reminder of what I’d survived and the friends who hadn’t, the familiar feel of the raised image soothed the niggling doubts in the back of the mind.

    The fourth man in our little parade was the one who’d been sitting next to Angel-Face. I mentally dubbed him The Fed, because if he wasn’t some kind of agent, I’d eat my hat.  I figured the guy had to be pushing forty, or maybe he’d already humped his way over the other side. If he’d been a forty-year-old cop, he wouldn’t be in such good shape. Guy looked like he could hold his own in a fight or a chase. Everything from his haircut to his body language, not to mention in the bulge of a shoulder holster under his jacket, screamed Fed. Of course, at Charlie Bingham’s funeral, it was likely that more people were packing than not.

    I couldn’t get any read on the fifth man in the group, Mr. Anonymous. He was so amazingly average-looking, he was difficult to describe. He hadn’t spoken once, so there was no accent or speech pattern to discern, and his generic dress pants and J.C. Penny shirt didn’t give any clues to who or what he was. But I figured if he was part of our party, he wasn’t your average, law-abiding citizen.