Review: Ultimate Sacrifice by K. C. Lynn

ultimate sacrificeTitle: Ultimate Sacrifice

Author: K. C. Lynn

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Bar owner Zoey Anderson

The hero: Firefighter Austin Hawke

The blurb: Hard work and dedication brought Austin Hawke up the ranks at his department, eventually earning him Lieutenant position. He was more than ready to lead his fellow brothers but one fatal call leads to tragedy and a danger they never saw coming.

Meanwhile, his personal life is just as destructive. All thanks to the gorgeous sports bar owner he shared an unforgettable night with only to have her slip out on him before the morning sun. Zoey thought she could escape him without a fight but what she fails to realize is Austin doesn’t give up when he wants something, and he wants Zoey.

Zoey Anderson had dreams of exploring the world, capturing its beauty behind a lens, but all that changed the moment her disabled sister was born. Due to their loveless home, Zoey dropped her dreams and took on the role of caring for her younger sister. A decision she could never regret.

Taking her life by storm, Austin Hawke crashes through all the barriers she placed around her carefully guarded heart. When passion burns and devastation strikes, Zoey quickly learns that love doesn’t come without sacrifice.

Standalone or series: Book one in the Men of Courage series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I read this book in less than 24 hours. There are only a handful of authors with whom I know I’m going to love their books before I even turn a page, and KC is one of them.

Zoey’s life is hard. She owns a bar and works hard to pay the medical bills of her much younger sister, Chrissy, who was born with severe cerebral palsy. Thanks to their dropkick parents, Chrissy’s care has been left to Zoey, who has put her own life on hold to take care of her sister.

Zoey has had feelings for firefighter Austin Hawke for a long time, but won’t even contemplate a relationship with him because of her devotion to Chrissy. Her sister comes first, and everything Zoey wants – a career in photography, a relationship with Austin – comes second. When she bids on a date with Austin through a charity night held at her bar and wins, she allows herself one night with him – and then she walks away, as much as it hurts her to do so.

But Austin won’t give up on Zoey. He’s determined to make something of the spark between them, but is patient and gentle. He makes Chrissy a part of his life, too, winning Zoey’s heart. On the work front, there’s an arsonist who’s setting fires that are taking lives, and he seems to be targeting Austin and his teammates. They’re racing against time to catch this madman before he kills someone else.

Just when Zoey thinks everything is finally starting to fall into place, something happens that tips her world upside down. Austin gives her the space she needs, but then he reminds her he’s right there for her and always will be. He won’t let her run away again, and eventually Zoey comes to realise how lucky she is to have Austin.

This book was both sweet and sad, but hope is always there, even in the darkest of moments. I look forward to reading the next couple in the series.

Justice by K. C. Lynn

justiceTitle: Justice

Author: K. C. Lynn

Year of publication: 2018

The heroine: Waitress Ryanne Lockwood

The hero: Sharpshooter Justice Creed

The blurb: Fate made us brothers, loyalty made us family.

A bond that runs deeper than the Mississippi, my brothers and I might not have the same DNA but what we share is far more powerful. Our loyalty to one another and the man who made us a family is stronger than those bound by blood.

The most sought out sharpshooters in the country, our paths were certain before one woman changed my life and altered the relationship I have with my brothers.

Ryanne Lockwood disappeared without a trace but her memory never faded, torturing me on the darkest nights. Until a twist of fate leads me back to her, sending our worlds to collide once more, and this time, there will be no escaping me.

***
Justice Creed’s bad boy appeal caught my attention from the moment he rolled into town. For years I watched from afar, swallowing up the rumors that surrounded him.

Until we shared a night of forbidden passion. One that destroyed my heart and reshaped my soul, and it sent me fleeing from the only town I’ve ever known.

Now, years later, he’s barged back into my life, uncovering a secret I’ve worked so hard to keep and it’s one that will change our lives forever.

Standalone or series: First in the Creed Brothers series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: What makes a great book? If you asked a hundred readers this question, you’d probably get a hundred different answers. For me, a great book is one that you get drawn into from the first page. One where you don’t want to be interrupted for anything, where the whole world just ceases to exist until you get to the last page… and then you just want more.

K. C. Lynn is one of those authors for me. I discovered her in October when I stumbled upon her Men of Honor series (and if you haven’t read that series, GO RIGHT NOW AND READ THEM). She brings to life characters you can imagine wanting to hang out with; characters you want to hug and cry with.

This new series is about the Creed brothers, three boys dumped in a group home who ran because of abuse and never looked back. They were found by Thatcher Creed a year later, a black man living in a racist white Southern town, who adopted them as his own instead of turning them over to the police. Now they all take his name and call him Dad, and he’s trained them to be the best sharpshooters in the country.

Ryanne Lockwood is the only child of a couple who represent one of the six founding families of Winchester, Mississippi. Her parents don’t give a crap about her, and all she wants is someone to love her. On her eighteenth birthday, the man she’s been crushing on for a long time finally reciprocates, and after their night together Ryanne finds herself pregnant. Scared and alone, she goes to tell Justice, but finds him and one of his brothers with a woman at their apartment, and she flees. She runs into Thatcher Creed, who gives her enough money to leave town. Ryanne knows she can’t stay; her parents will force her to terminate the pregnancy and the Creed brothers have a reputation for sharing women, which means she’ll be scorned and ridiculed by half the town once they know she’s pregnant.

Six years later, Justice finds out why Ryanne took off – they have a five year old daughter, Hannah. Justice is understandably angry, even more so when he finds out that his father knew all along and didn’t tell him (Thatcher felt it was Ryanne’s place to tell Justice, not his). He wants to bond with the adorable little girl who is the only person on the planet related to him by blood. He loves his father and brothers and they are his family, but so is Hannah.

Justice and Ryanne start to rebuild their relationship while Justice gets to know his child. He eventually talks Ryanne into coming back to Winchester, as Thatcher is being threatened and he wants to be near his brothers, Knox and Braxten. A lot of things come to light over the course of the book – how Justice ended up in the group home, how Thatcher came to be scarred and mangled, why Thatcher is being threatened.

K. C. doesn’t shy away from topics a lot of other authors might avoid: rape, violence, racism. She pushes boundaries that might make you feel uncomfortable, but her writing is such that you just have to go along with for the ride anyway. There is one pivotal scene in the book whose topic is not one that normally does anything for me, but the way it was handled and why it was there totally worked for me.

If you love reading about alpha males, lovers whose passion for each other burns hot, adorable children who will melt your heart, and people who aren’t related by blood but are as strong as any family anyway, then this book is for you. I fear that it is Knox’s book, the third in the series, that will really break my heart… and I can’t wait to read it.

So go read Justice, and while you wait for Braxten and Knox’s stories, go and read K. C.’s entire catalogue, starting from the beginning with “Fighting Temptation”. Almost all of her books are set in the same universe so you will see the same characters popping up in different books. You won’t regret it.