Under Locke

He’s not really an asshole…

What an amazing rollercoaster of fierce emotion and tangled need.

Dex is an asshole. But Iris is determined to make a new beginning. He can criticize her clothes. He can give her the meanest glower on the planet. When she overhears him calling her a useless idiot and a bitch, she decides her imprisonment under his thumb will last only long enough to add something to the measly $76 in her bank account. Then he can kiss her lily white, because she’s finding another job. One where she doesn’t have to tiptoe, or avoid looking her wildly attractive yet bastard of a boss in the eye.

And then he lets his armor crack. Sly humor, unwavering loyalty, stubborn protectiveness and irresistible hugs infiltrate her defenses. Suddenly she loves it when he mutters Ritz. When his hand curls around the nape of her neck. He’s everything her mom wanted her to avoid. He owns a motorcycle, he’s tatted up and he’s an ex-con. But he takes care of everyone around him. He’s a successful businessman. He’s addictive and layered, and gets under her skin.

She turns to him when she can’t trust anyone else, and he would sacrifice everything to keep her safe.

This is my favorite Zapata novel yet. It’s an absolutely intoxicating, unparalleled slow burn, enemies to lovers, bad boys with hearts of gold, taming of the beast. I loved every second of it.

Warning: The intimate scenes are very explicit, and the level of steam is off the charts.

The Devil in Her Bed

Childhood friends find one another after years of loneliness and desperation.

She loved him from the first moment she saw him. A hungry, beautiful, broken boy. She nurtures her dreams and affection in secret as they grow because she is acutely aware the depth of her feelings is unreciprocated. He only has eyes for her best friend.

Unspeakable tragedy obliterates their home and their safety – and they are the only survivors. They make an anguished escape into the forest. But the villains who have stolen everything are determined to erase all evidence of crime. Their pursuit ends in separation.

When they meet two decades later, neither bears any resemblance to the child the other knew. Pippa has assumed an identity that has ensured her financial security and her survival. And the only person alive who can refute her identity and thwart her plans for revenge is the boy who left her sheltered beneath a tree in a long ago, far away wood. They share a cold-hearted desire to exact vengeance. They both want to expose the monsters that hide behind gilt masks of civility and propriety.

As they grow closer, their deceptions and their secrets build walls between them. Even as they fall inexorably, irrevocably into one another’s arms, they are aware that one word can destroy the fragile foundation between them. This is a gorgeous slow burn love story about learning to lean on someone else and trusting them to protect both your heart and your future.

There are many instances of Byrne’s lush, evocative writing. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“Trust mirrors life, I’m coming to understand. Some get to build on pristine new ground, and others…have to sift through the ruins and the rubble.”

Experience the wonder and magic as Pippa and Declan sift through the shards together.

5 Stars