Thursday, June 28, 2018

Built to Last by Julie Ann Walker Review, Excerpt and Giveaway


Built to Last
(Black Knights Inc #12)
Julie Ann Walker
Release: June 26, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Masterful, mysterious, and completely ruthless, Jamin “Angel” Agassi joined the Black Knights Inc. after a mission-gone-wrong forced him to undergo extensive plastic surgery and change his name. He's going to bring down the world's worst crime syndicate, and hopefully keep Sonya Butler, a love from his past, from discovering who he really is...

When a dark-eyed stranger gets caught up in Sonya’s latest mission, she starts to question all her hard-won instincts. Something about Angel tells her he's more than he seems, and sometimes, when she least expects it, he reminds her of a man she used to know. As the bullets fly, she realizes that in love and war nothing is ever what it seems...

Built to Last is the series finale for Black Knights Inc. so it had a lot of expectations to live up to. And it did not disappoint! The chemistry between Angel and Sonya is scorching and it's such an interesting twist on a second chance romance. I liked finally getting to know the enigmatic Angel. And I found Sonya quite entertaining with her cursing in foreign languages. I wished she were a little more cop-like in some situations, especially given her job at Interpol, but she explains her skill set well.

Ace and Rusty's relationship finally gets addressed as well. Though I might have liked to see them get their own book, it was a satisfying end. We also got to see some of the characters that haven't been around much in recent books, mostly Ghost and Rock. There's also some Boss and Becky, who are always fun. The rest of the team gets at least a mention since not only this their last book, it's also their last mission before the team disbands. (Though I'm seeing some spin off possibilities.)

I haven't always loved the villain POVs in this series, but the Spider was well done. I actually would have liked more of him since we've been building up to him over the last few books. But I did love the action scenes, though they're not as flashy as some of the other books have been.

I thoroughly enjoyed Built to Last. I feel like it's a satisfying end to the series, though I'd certainly be happy to spend more time in the Black Knights world.

4 1/2  stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
Wild Ride (Black Knights Inc #9)
Fuel For Fire (Black Knights Inc #10)
Hot Pursuit (Black Knights Inc #11)


 “I am going to hug you now, Sonya.”
Breath shuddered from her lungs. “What? Why?” That wasn’t what she’d expected him to say, especially not after the way he’d been eyeballing her lips.
And, yes, it hadn’t escaped her notice that his words were incredibly similar to the ones Mark had spoken that rainy night while they’d been crowded into that dark Parisian doorway. How could two men be so different and yet so much alike?
“Because you need it.”
And then…oh, and then he stepped forward and wrapped his big arms around her. It was like being hit with a live wire. A current blasted through her, burning her from the inside out. As if that wasn’t bad enough, some sorry sucker chose that moment to pull the rug out from under her feet, and she was falling, flailing, head pinwheeling.
She balled one hand into a fist so tight her knuckles cracked. The other squeezed her water glass so hard she was surprised it didn’t shatter.
“Relax,” he instructed.
“Why are you always telling me to do that?” She tried not to turn her head into his neck and snort in his spicy aftershave like an addict with a tempting line of cocaine. Memories of Mark tried to intrude, memories of how he’d eschewed cologne and aftershave in preference for lilac soap, but she shoved them away.
“You are strung as tight as piano wire. It cannot be healthy.”
Wow. Great. The almighty Prince of Shadows was lecturing her on her health. All while hugging her. How bizarre was her life right now?
Then it registered. He was hugging her.
It wasn’t one of those half-hearted hugs either. It was a full-on hip-to-hip, chest-to-chest hug, arms tight and big, wide hand splayed against the middle of her back. Angel might be all aloof and untouchable, but when it came to a hug, the man committed completely.
Sonya's heart threatened to pop like a balloon. A hiccup of anguish slipped from her throat. She couldn’t help herself; she melted against him. Soaked up his odd affection and let it fill all the cracks in her armor that had developed over the last six months.
She hadn’t realized it, but Angel was right. She needed a hug. Needed it almost as much as her next breath. Needed to feel human connection to remind herself she wasn’t alone in this.
“Shh,” he whispered, soothing a hand down her hair as she fought tears.
The hug went on for a few more dreamy, melting minutes. Then she realized how self-indulgent she was being. How…weak.
Pulling back, she whispered, “Thank you. That’s enough.”
His brow pinched as he stepped away, breaking the connection of their bodies. She shivered as the room’s cool air rushed in to replace his body heat.
The pity she saw in his eyes had her grumbling, “When you look at me like that, I want to go crawl into bed and throw the covers over my head.”
“How do I look at you?” he asked.
“Like I’m pathetic. Like I’m a thing to feel sorry for. Like I’m a disappointment to you. But that’s crazy because you don’t even know me.” Her insides, which a minute ago had been so soft and gooey, were now crawling with tension.
“Is that the only way I look at you?” He canted his head. It caused the moonlight to silver the short ends of his black hair. His laser-like focus made her feel like there were two red sniper dots on her face.
Those sniper dots moved down as he let his eyes travel past her mouth and shoulders, over her breasts, down to her hips, and finally back up again. He didn’t try to hide the heat in his eyes. He let her see it for what it was.
Heaven help her, he wanted her like she wanted him. The difference between them was that he wasn’t trying to hide it.
“No.” She swallowed. “It’s not the only way you look at me. There’s that too.” She pointed to his face.
“Damn right there is.” His gravel-road voice had gone guttural, and she wondered what he’d sounded like before the vocal cord scouring. Had his voice been deep and smooth? Rich and resonant? It saddened her that she would never know. “And now I am going to kiss you, Sonya.”
Her thighs quivered as heat coalesced between them. She should have told Angel to keep his gorgeous mouth to himself. She should have told him she had a headache…or head lice. But instead she heard herself ask, “Why?”
“Because you want me to.”

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