She's loved him since he saved her from her evil stepmother all those years ago. He's sworn to never love her for fear of tainting her innocence with his criminal past.
What do you do when the one person you love is the one person who can’t have?
Broken Rebel is an intense, ultra-sexy standalone novel set in the world of the Lawless Kings. Sherilee Gray’s raw, hard, beautiful, deeply-emotional voice will leave you breathless long after the last page.
"Smokin’ hot, the chemistry is volatile, and the plot diabolically clever. Broken Rebel is an exhilarating thrill ride and oh, so sexy! Don’t miss it!" - The Librarian's Corner
"So damn good." - iScreamBooksBlog on Broken Rebel
“Shattered King is a sexy, beautiful second chance love story... a truly enjoyable read.” - Sawyer Bennett, New York Times bestselling author
"Raw, gritty, and full of supercharged sexual tension...SHATTERED KING will break you into pieces right before it stitches you back together again." -Diana Gardin, author of SWORN TO PROTECT, Rescue OP's Series
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"Good class tonight, guys!"
I clapped with everyone else then headed to my bag, grabbed my towel, and wiped the sweat from my face. I'd been coming to this self-defense and close quarters combat class for three months. It was good, really good, but I was ready for more, for the next step. I wanted to learn holds and some kick-ass defensive moves. I wanted to be able to disarm a hostile skip during a fugitive recovery and then immobilize his or her ass so I could take them in. I wasn't going to get that here. I needed to find a new class, something more advanced.
If Neco wasn't such a goddamn control freak, I could ask one of the guys from the King Agency — the P.I. firm where I worked as a receptionist — to train me. But he was a control freak, completely unbendable, and I couldn't see that changing any time soon. So, that ruled that out.
I enjoyed my job. I was grateful that Van and Hunter King, brothers who had grown up in the same neighborhood as me, had been willing to give me a shot behind the desk, but now it wasn't enough. I needed more.
Becoming an agent was something I'd wanted for a very long time. Van knew, and had made rumblings about training me, but nothing ever came of it. I knew Neco was behind it.
It hadn't been easy, not after the shit I'd been though, but I knew who I was, what I wanted out of life. Yes, I slipped occasionally. I had my insecurities and fears like everyone else. But I was a different person. I was strong and resourceful and confident. Neco refused to see that, though. He refused to see any-damn-thing except what he wanted to when it came to me.
So, I'd been forced to take matters into my own hands. I'd been moonlighting at Hains Investigations for three months now. Harry, the owner, was teaching me how to research and trace, and had sent me on a couple of surveillance jobs. Nothing risky or anything, but it felt good. He'd also referred me to a friend who gave weapons training. I liked that he had faith in me and my abilities. I finally felt like I was heading in the right direction.
Of course, if Neco found out what I was doing ...
Yeah, that wouldn't be good.
I waved to my instructor, swung my bag over my shoulder, and headed out onto the street.
God, Neco drove me nuts.
He also heated me up like no one else, turned me into a drooling, idiotic mess ... that was, of course, when he wasn't pissing me the hell off. More than once I'd seriously considered firing my computer at him across the office. The man was stubborn, arrogant, and when it came to me, utterly immovable.
I wanted to lick him from head to toe and kick him in the nuts all at once.
But make no mistake — Neco Malik took care of what he considered his.
And I was his ... just not in the way I wanted to be. He'd appointed himself as my protector, my hero, when I was just a little girl. Now I didn't know what he was to me. I just knew I pissed him off equally as much. Which, I could admit, was kind of my own fault.
I'd been ... messing with him, for lack of a better word, for a while now. Calling him to bail me out of situations I'd put myself in, asking for help when I was perfectly capable of sorting the problem out myself. I don't know why I'd started doing it ... no, that was a lie. I knew exactly why. I'd wanted to spend time with him, just him and me, like it used to be, and I'd wanted him to see me as more than the scared, heartbroken little kid standing outside his bedroom window. I wanted him to see me as a woman. So far, my plan had been a monumental failure. All I'd succeeded in doing was convincing him I was an irresponsible moron who constantly got myself into ridiculous situations that he needed to bail me out of. The complete opposite of how I wanted him to see me. It was like I was on this runaway freight train, heading full-speed for disaster. We were caught in this vicious cycle and I had no idea how to stop it.
We were dysfunctional, as messed up as two people could be — and we were also inexplicably connected. We were like a Russian wedding ring. When all the pieces were linked, lined up perfectly, it was intricate and complicated — a perfect, beautiful mess. But as soon as you removed one of the rings, the whole thing fell apart. That was us.
We needed each other.
Unfortunately, Neco didn't agree, or at least refused to admit it. Because apparently, he needed everyone but me.
And so, the cycle continued. I tried to make him see me as more than an annoying little sister, while he worked at fucking his way through every available woman in New York City.
I turned down the next street. It was out of my way, taking me farther from my place, but I couldn't help myself. Usually I resisted, but tonight something inside me made it impossible to ignore. Four blocks later, I was standing outside Neco's apartment building.
How badly I wanted to make him drop his guard, knock on his door, and make him give me back my Neco.
Shaking my head at my own stupidity, I started to turn, to head back the way I came. Why the hell did I keep doing this to myself? I lifted my head to check for traffic before I crossed the street, and that's when I saw his SUV. Shit. I quickly stepped back into the shadows of the shop behind me and watched him pull up outside. He climbed out and I sucked in a sharp breath. I may want to strangle him, but he always succeeded in knocking the breath from my lungs. He was wearing soft, worn jeans that hugged his long legs and heavy thighs. His long-sleeved T-shirt was black and clung to his chest and abs in a way that made my mouth water. All that sexy ink was covered — all except for the ones you could see on his hands, and the skull tattoo on the right side of his neck. God, he was beautiful. He'd always been beautiful.
The passenger door opened and closed.
He wasn't alone.
A woman climbed out as well. She was tall, had long, dark hair, serious curves. Her dress was short and showed off her rack and long legs. She looked like a runway model.
Everything in me coiled tight. I hated her instantly. Jesus, I didn't want to see this. Then why couldn't take my eyes off the nightmare in front of me? Why couldn't I tear my eyes away as Neco walked around and swung his arm over her shoulders, leading her to the main entrance of his building. Her hand slid down his back and she grabbed his ass, and as much it made me want to hurl, I couldn't blame her. Who wouldn't go home with him if he asked? I couldn't imagine any woman turning him down, ever.
Neco stopped and turned to her then, and I watched in horror as he dipped his head.
He was going to kiss her.
My body jerked back, like I'd been struck by lightning. There was no way Neco could've see me, could even be aware of my presence, but his eyes lifted at that moment, and locked on me, like he was seeking me out through the shadows. I held my breath, not moving a muscle. Don't panic. He can't see you. There's no way he can see you.
The kiss Neco was about to plant on supermodel girl's lips suddenly veered off and instead landed on her forehead.
His "date" frowned up at him.
Maybe she had onion breath. I started to grin, thought he might actually send her on her way. But of course, I was wrong. He grabbed her hand again and a few seconds later, they'd disappeared inside his building.
My smile vanished and I stood there for several minutes after, heart racing.
Why the hell had I come here? It was like the universe had sent me, giving me a great big slap upside the head, telling me to move the fuck on.
I spun and headed for home.
The universe had a point. Maybe it was time I listened.
I pounded up the stairs from my office. I'd been working on cracking a security system all morning. The King Agency crew had a retrieval tonight, namely stealing a big-ticket item back from the thieves that took it in the first place so the insurance company didn't have to pay out, which also meant a little breaking and entering. Nothing new, but the house they needed to get into was like Fort Knox, high tech all the way, and it had taken longer to get in the back door of the system than usual. I cracked it of course. Always did. The men at the agency specialized in getting around the law when it was required. It helped that we had the kinds of pasts that made us perfect for this kind of work. Criminal pasts. A bunch of ex-street thugs that had finally wised the hell up enough to go legit — well, at least that's how it appeared.
We did things our own way, and that wouldn't ever change.
The reception was quiet when I hit the top of the stairs, the only sound the music Ruby had streaming from her computer. Some alt shit that she loved. Like always, my eyes were drawn to her. I'd given up fighting it. Not looking at her would be as easy as asking the sun not to rise. If she was in the same room, I knew it, instantly. Her every move, no matter how subtle — shit, her every damn breath. No matter how much she pissed me off and made me fucking insane. Which she did constantly.
Jesus, I'd even thought I'd seen her last night, outside my place. It'd thrown me. I hadn't been able to get her out of my head after that. I'd had a hot, willing woman begging for it, and in the end, I'd sent her packing. I'd already fucked enough women pretending they were Ruby. Last night I couldn't face it. I'd lain awake hard as iron, tossing and turning, refusing to even rub one out, desperate to get her out of my damn head. It hadn't worked.
Which meant today I was tired and horny and pissed the fuck off.
My gaze slid over her from head to toe. Her back was to me, standing at the copy machine, straightening a stack of papers. Her ass jiggled as she worked and danced. Shit. I gritted my teeth and lifted my gaze. She'd cut her hair; it was up to her shoulders now. Her hair was thick and black, with that ever-changing stripe of color down the side of her heart-shaped face. Today it was purple.
She turned to me, blue eyes connecting with mine through her black-rimmed glasses, and I felt a gut-punch. It'd been like that since the first time she'd knocked on my window, scared as hell, tears running down her face — in need of a safe place. I'd been that for her, for the longest time. I never thought that would ever change. I'd been wrong. So much was different now.
I was different now — my soul was a hell of a lot blacker, that's for damned sure.
Her eyes widened a fraction, like they always did when she looked at me, lips parting slightly, as though her breath had been pushed from her lungs. There was an innocence I sensed inside her that called to me, called on every one of my possessive and protective instincts. Something she used against me whenever she got the chance.
It made my dick hard every fucking time. Maybe that made me a sick motherfucker, but I'd never pretended to be a saint. I was far from it.
But my dick would have to deal, because Ruby wasn't for me. I won't deny I wanted her. I wanted her in a way that bordered on obsession. Who was I kidding? I was obsessed. But we weren't right for each other. We were both marked by our childhoods, by what followed, and in a way, that made the pair of us as compatible as oil and water. Or more like fire and gasoline.
Being with her like that would only bring out the worst version of myself. A side of me I never wanted her to see.
Today was her twenty-fifth birthday. I never forgot, though I pretended I did. Neither of us needed a reminder of the past, of the day it all went to hell.
I held her gaze, forcing a look of indifference. Whatever it took to keep her at arm's length. "Are the rest of the guys here?"
Her head tilted to the side and those blue eyes narrowed in defiance, bright and terrifyingly beautiful, lighting her up from the inside. "Nice to see you, too, Neco. Surly as always, I see."
Always with the attitude. It'd piss me off if it didn't turn me the fuck on so much. And today, the way she looked, that pink sundress, showing her inked-up arms, shapely legs, nice little peak of cleavage — I wasn't in the mood to play her games. I was never in the mood to play her games. Unfortunately, Ruby didn't give a shit what I wanted.
"You have a good weekend?" she tacked on when I remained quiet.
I dipped my chin and waited for the blast to follow. We didn't just shoot the shit. Asking about weekends was not something we did, not anymore. Our interactions now consisted of her getting herself into shit and me bailing her out. Which meant she was about to do or say something to piss me off.
"You?" I could fake the "let's be friends" deal when I had to. And it was fake, we both knew it. We hadn't been friends since Ruby's sixteenth birthday. We tried to pretend for a while, but it never was the same after that night. I sure as hell knew why being her friend wasn't something I could be anymore. I could only assume she knew as well, going by her constant attempts to get under my skin and push me to breaking point.
Her lips curled up. They were soft and full, and looked even fuller with her dark lipstick. "I got some knew ink," she said.
My gut tightened. "Yeah?" I swallowed, hard. Ruby had creamy, smooth, pale skin, and she liked to decorate it. The ink she chose was always colorful, feminine. I'd imagined tracing every tattoo with my tongue ... a lot. I had a vivid memory of when she got her first one. I'd taken her to my guy, my present for her sixteenth birthday. I hadn't wanted her to do it, but I knew if I didn't take her, she'd just go and get it done behind my back. At least I knew she was going to someone I trusted. I'd watched while the guy inked the Superman logo on her hip. I'd questioned her choice and she'd looked up at me and smiled.
This is you. You're my Superman. Now you'll always be with me.
I slammed the shutters down on the memory. I did not need to be thinking about that night, what happened after, how everything between us went to shit. But it had been getting harder lately. Especially after the hell Hunter had gone through with his woman and kid a few months ago. Since Lulu had been kidnapped, almost raped, I'd been struggling with this thing between Ruby and I. Found my mind going back there, to that time, more than I wanted.
Ruby moved from out from behind her desk, expression too goddamn innocent. "You want to see it?"
My dick jumped behind my zipper, and my mouth felt glued shut. I needed to tell her no, or at least shake my head and walk away. Instead, I just stood there, trying to work out where it was, what it was.
Resting her pert little ass against her desk, she reached down, and pinching the bottom of her dress between her fingers, started to inch it higher. With the glasses she wore, she looked like a sexy schoolteacher. Ruby had her own style, her own unique look, and it suited the hell out of her.
My mouth went dry as she revealed inch after inch of creamy, bare thigh. Move. Get the fuck out of there. But my goddamn feet stayed glued to the carpet. It was on the same side she'd gotten the Superman symbol, and suddenly I was desperate to see it again. The last time I'd seen it, she'd been on the table getting it done.
But her dress stopped high on her thigh and the strength of my disappointment at not seeing it again made no sense.
"What do you think?" she asked.
There was a simple pale pink flower, small and delicate on the front of her thigh, high enough that I caught a glimpse of the edge of her yellow panties. I wanted to wring her goddamn neck for making me feel this way. I wanted to walk over there, shove her back on the desk, and give her what she wanted from me, hard enough the fucking walls shook.
"It's a cherry blossom." She tilted her head to the side again, looking down at it, thumb lightly brushing over her skin. "It's a symbol, to me anyway, of moving on, of new starts. I'm not sure it's finished yet, I might add some script."
Moving on? What the fuck did that mean? My phone vibrated in my pocket. I checked the screen.
Hunter: Stop looking up Ruby's skirt and get your ass down here.
The guy was obviously watching us through the surveillance camera in his office. Hunter King, my best friend since we were snot-nosed kids, started the King Agency with his brother Van several years ago. While Hunter did a stretch in prison for a crime he didn't commit, I joined the crew. Shoving my phone back in my pocket, and refusing to look back at Ruby who was still standing in front of her desk, gaze burning into me, I strode to the internal security door. I entered the code, and headed to Hunter's office. Van had an office down here as well, along with a break room and other rooms the guys used if they needed a place to work.
Excerpted from "Broken Rebel"
Copyright © 2017 Sherilee Gray.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great series. Neco so hot!
3.75 stars--BROKEN REBEL is the second installment in Sherilee Gray’s contemporary, adult LAWLESS KINGS erotic, romantic suspense series focusing on the men and women who work for King Agency doing personal protection and security, private investigation (corporate and domestic) and high-risk fugitive recovery, missing persons and kidnapping investigations. This is King Security tracker Neco Malik , and King Agency receptionist Ruby Styles’ story line. BROKEN REBEL can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous installments is revealed where necessary. Told from dual first person points of view (Ruby and Neco) SHATTERED REBEL looks at the friends to lovers relationship between King Agency employees Ruby Styles and Neco Malik. Growing up on the mean streets meant Neco was all about protecting the people whom he loved including his childhood friend Ruby Styles. The early years were never good for our leading couple but Ruby suffered at the hands of the people who were tasked with loving and caring for our younger heroine. Fast forward to present day where Ruby finds herself on the outside looking in as the man she has always loved looks beyond the woman to see the child within. Hoping to gain respect and their trust Ruby sets about proving she is just as capable as the men she works for at the King Agency by seeking employment somewhere else. But Ruby’s life is about to get a whole lot worse when our heroine is targeted but an unknown source. What ensues is the building love and fracturing relationship between Ruby and Neco, and the potential fall out when the past come back, looking for revenge. Neco Malik struggles with his attraction to the woman that calls to his heart. From an early age Ruby saw Neco as her protector and her Superman but Neco believed himself to be the villain, and in doing so, sets about to destroy our heroine’s heart. Ruby’s love for Neco never wavers in the face of our hero’s less than stellar actions and attitude, including his attempts to dissuade Ruby through intimidation and threats. The relationship between Ruby and Neco is a friends to lovers, back and forth friendship wherein Ruby believes that to be accepted she must prove herself worthy by walking away and never looking back. Neco’s need for Ruby is palpable but his treatment of our heroine is questionable including the push and pull of sexual attraction. Saying that, Ruby knows how to push Neco’s buttons as well, including going rogue as she sets out to meet up with a potential threat to her life. The co-dependent relationship between Ruby and Neco borders on heartbreaking and problematic. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense. There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Hunter King and his fiancee Lulu Frost (Shattered King #1), Hunter’s older brother Van King, and their guardian Raul Esposito; King Agency employees: former police officer Jude Wayland, and ex-navy SEAL sniper Zeke Stanton. We are introduced to Ruby’s roommate Scott, PI Harry Hains, as well as Neco’s mother Celeste Malik. The requisite evil has many familiar faces. BROKEN REBEL is a story of family and friendship; of one man’s struggle to move on from the past, and one woman’s need to be accepted for the woman she has become. The premise is engaging and emotional; the characters are broken, colorful and charismatic; the romance struggles in the face of unrequited love, perceived notions
This is the second book in this series and can be read as a standalone, but to really get a grasp of Neco and Ruby and the rest of the guys King’s Agency, read the first book Shattered King. Ruby and Neco were childhood friends and both had terrible childhoods. Ruby’s father died when she was young and her stepmother was very abusive both verbally and physically and didn’t protect Ruby from her wandering boyfriends. Ruby would sneak out her bedroom window and run across the street and tap on Neco’s window. Neco would hoist Ruby into his arms, dry her tears and sing to her until she fell asleep. She spent many childhood nights sleeping at Neco’s. Neco’s childhood wasn’t much better. His mother loved him but she had to sell herself to make ends meet as she was a single mother. Neco hated that for his mom. When he became a teenager, he got caught up in a gang to help make money so his mother didn’t have to sell herself anymore. Neco felt because of his job working in the gang that he was no good for Ruby. He loved her but he had to protect her from the gang and himself. So he turned her away on her 16th birthday and to this day continues to push her away by being with every other woman but Ruby. Ruby has loved Neco, her hero, her superman since she was a child. She no longer needs a protector as she has grown stronger both emotionally and physically. She wants to do PI work with the guys and has been training for it. Neco is dead set against it and puts up road blocks where ever he can. They are constantly bickering until one day Ruby has had enough and leaves King’s Agency to work with another PI that will train her without all the hassle. Will Neco and Ruby find common ground? Will they find their HEA? Now I am not going to give any more away as you need to read the book. The story is told in dual POV and I loved the broken characters and the road they had to travel to get to the other side. The chemistry between Neco and Ruby was explosive! There is suspense, twists and turns and of course push and pull between the characters. My heart hurt for the characters but it also rejoiced as they found their way. I truly enjoyed this story and I look forward to more with the guys from King’s Agency.
I tough this one will be a better story in a way it was a little bit more interesting than the first of the series. But all in all, I was not expecting this to be also bad. It has so many same things written over and over again. And their past and their thinking when you read it more than twice it lost its charm. I didn't like Neco very much but Ruby also didn't speak to me as a strong heroine. They had a really toxic relationship which was just on friendly basic. That all changes when Ruby is attack and all of the sudden Neco experiences enlightenment. Also, Neco had more than once said in his mind that he is protecting Ruby from the dark peace of him but through the story that is lost and we don't see the dark side. I like, love alfa males but this was too much - not letting her do her job? I would leave him too. I also had the feeling that so many hot scenes were there just to fill the pages; for Neco and Ruby to change the subject or to avoid dealing with things. What I liked was this suspense and mystery and a little bit of action. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
My Review of Broken Rebel (Lawless Kings #2) by Sherilee Gray My Rating 5 Stars I’m loving this series, and this one is full of suspense, grit and two souls that have damaged childhoods that they each have pulled through on the otherside stronger. Neco and Ruby have a story that will wrap you up and have you turning pages. Neco is intense and is a raging storm, Ruby is full of strength and between these two they create a storm all their own. I highly recommend this series it’s amazing and each book just gets better! ** I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Author & The Publisher through Netgalley **
Book 2 of the series. I love Sherilee's books, that goes without saying. This was a tough read. It's emotional, contains some quick snapshots of the abuse Ruby went through and Neco being her protector and now that they are adults he's a pain in her backside. He was a pain in mine. This book had so many twists and turns and honestly her writing lead you merrily down this path toward some pretty intense situations that occurred and the intrigue and mystery factors were insanely good. I honestly can't say more because like the blurb, giving too much away will spoil the story. Just know that when you pick this one up and you'll want to, it's one wild ride so hang on! It's a great second book to this series. Fantastic read. **arc from NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for a fair review**
Neco and Ruby had been friends since childhood and Neco always looked out for her. The friendship wans as they grow older but are still in each other’s lives. They fighting with each other constantly and finally they are unable to deny the attraction they feel. The story is fast-paced with loads of drama, mostly caused by Neco and Ruby. Both characters have been through a lot and their story is entertaining and emotional. I really liked it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book Ruby and Neco grew up in the same neighborhood. He was her safe place when she needed protection. Even as children, Neco’s innate protective instincts led him to offer her the shelter of his arms. Eventually, decisions he made as a young man begin to darken his soul and he knows he must protect her from himself. Fast forward nine years. Although they have remained in each other’s lives, they are no longer the friends they once were. They argue and bicker, always sniping at each other. And beneath it all is a simmering desire that will never be quenched. I absolutely loved both of these characters! Ruby, once a broken little girl, pulls herself out of a past that taught her she was worthless and finds a place of strength literally and figuratively. Nico is the most protective hero I have ever read. Ever. He is so broken due to the choices he made years ago and the fact that he will never find solace in the arms he craves because he must protect Ruby at all costs. The beauty of their story is hidden in that protection. The relationship between Ruby and Neco was heartbreakingly consuming. Their love is not the flowers and butterflies kind and it certainly isn’t a dark and twisted type either. And yet, it consumed them from childhood into their adult years even as Neco fought against his nature in order to protect Ruby. There really are no words to describe their rollercoaster ride of a relationship, Just amazing!
This one was a doozy. I don't know if I can take this any more of this series tortured heroes and ansgty relationships. They hurt too much! We still get our HEA, but it's SO hard fought, and it was painful to watch the process. The writing is so well done, and the characters believable, but it just HURTS. Neco works at the King Agency, a group of friends who run a security/PI business. They've all had tragic backstories of some kind: bad childhoods, crimes committed, PTSD from military service or prison, or some combination of those. Many of them grew up together on the bad side of town, and know each other's stories. Neco's mom was a prostitute, and an alcoholic, but she took care of him the best way she could. He vowed that once he was old enough, and had money of his own, he would take care of her, and he has. He's only ever really cared for one other woman besides his mother, Ruby. Ever since she was the little girl across the street, who used to climb in his window for safe haven from her evil stepmother. He swore to always protect her, and even though he wants her, he knows he can't have her. He also doesn't think he deserves her. Ruby is a receptionist for the King Agency, but she has aspirations of becoming an agent for them soon. She's had a rough life. Her dad died when she was a kid, and she grew up in the house of her stepmother, who hated Ruby, and made no secret of it. She was put down, criticized, and abused her whole life. Neco was her only safe haven, and his mom treated her as her own too, and never minded when she slept over at the house after showing up in the middle of the night. As soon as she could leave, she left. But, as much as she's always loved Neco, she's never felt he's SEEN her, as anything more than that little girl, a damsel in distress. She wants him to see her as a capable woman, instead of sleeping with every other woman in town besides her. It's hard for her to see him with other people, even though she and Neco have never been together, never even kissed. It was very hard for me, as the reader too. She's always felt like he was hers, and she's tried every way she can think of to show him that, but it's not working. She's finally resolved herself to moving on from their toxic circle of a "relationship", but she's not sure if she can really do it. Neco and Ruby's chemistry was off the charts, and you even saw it back in book 1, though no one would comment on it. They obviously have a lot of spark between them, and it hurt to watch one, or both, of them squash it in a painful way. When they finally let it free, it was crazy, and well worth the wait. But, they had to work really hard to make a relationship that worked for them both, since they have a history of a destructive, needy cycle that won't let them loose easily. There was a suspense plot about a website exploiting girls in their own homes by planting hidden cameras, and watching the women without their knowledge or consent. It was such a horrible invasion, and knowing that this type of thing happens in real life is disgusting and terrifying, equally. As much as I enjoy the characters, I'm just not sure my heart can take another book in this series. The characters are just SO tortured, and there's so much angst that it was oftentimes painful for me. I prefer less angst in my reads, and so I'm not sure if I'll be able to go on. But, if you like a darker romance, with angst galore, and a hard fought HEA, this book, and series, is for you.
A book you will either love or hate…and the reviews indicate this, too. Did I love it? No. Did I hate it? No. Did I understand it? Yes. I am up in the air about whether or not I would want to meet this group of characters but they do provide an action-packed, dark, gritty and turbulent read. Ruby and Neco grew up in difficult circumstances. Neco’s mom sold herself to keep him safe and then later he sold his “abilities” to keep her safe. Ruby was stuck in a toxic situation with the stepmother from H*ll creating one difficult situation after another for her to contend with. Ruby’s only soft place to land was at Neco’s house where his mother was the mother-like presence she so needed and Neco was her protector. Over time Ruby grows up, situations occur that require her to be saved by Neco and to keep her at a distance he begins to be…nasty. There is a lot of angst and drama and meanness in words in the first almost half of the book but there is also an underlying caring that begins to show up more and more as the story moves on. Once the two twig to the fact that their relationship is meant to be and they truly do belong together they have to find the bad guys out to get Ruby. Ruby wants to participate but Neco wants to keep her safe – a point of friction. By the end of the book most issues had been resolved and there was a HEA for the two main characters although…I don’t think I would want to live the lives they have chosen for themselves. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press-Swerve for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars
Ruby had a horribly abusive mom so, she would run across the road every night and climb into bed with Neco, her neighbor who protected her from all the evil and pain in her young life. Now that they're adults, they are constantly harping at and arguing with each other. They are both so flawed and damaged from their childhoods that they cannot see they are so much better together than apart. This book has the perfect mix of angst, heartbreak, tearful scenes, heartrending situations and Steamy Sex!
For as long as Ruby can remember Neco has been two steps behind her, always looking out for her, protecting her, and for a long time it was comforting to know that he was there...but now not so much. She has done the training necessary to become a private investigator, and is ready to get out into the field and catch some bad guys, but Neco decides it's a job she isn't cut out for, and tries to stop to it before it even gets started. She knows he is worried about her, but she can handle it, and she tries to help him see that, but he just isn't willing to get on board, and it's frustrating as hell. Then her past decides to come back and haunt her, and they find themselves thrown together in close quarters, and things start to take an unexpected steamy turn... Broken Rebel is a gritty, dark, and sensual tale that will pull you in from the first page, and hold you hostage until the last... it is such a good read!! I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to the series, so I was really excited to dive into this second offering and meet another one of Ms. Gray's sexy P.I.'s... and I have to say Neco definitely left serious dent in my heart. He was just how I like my alpha's, big, brooding, bossy, and sexy with a hidden softer side. This was an exceptional read, the story line was engaging, action packed (sexy & non), and had the emotional depth that I have come to expect with Ms. Gray's stories. I think readers are really going to enjoy this one, I know that I did, it checked off all my reading must-have's and then some! Highly recommend!! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this title.
This was one of the most gloriously INTENSE books I’ve ever read! Ruby and Neco grew up in the same neighborhood. He was her safe place when she needed protection. Even as children, Neco’s innate protective instincts led him to offer her the shelter of his arms. Eventually, decisions he made as a young man begin to darken his soul and he knows he must protect her from himself. Fast forward nine years. Although they have remained in each other’s lives, they are no longer the friends they once were. They argue and bicker, always sniping at each other. And beneath it all is a simmering desire that will never be quenched. I absolutely loved both of these characters! Ruby, once a broken little girl, pulls herself out of a past that taught her she was worthless and finds a place of strength literally and figuratively. Nico is the most protective hero I have ever read. Ever. He is so broken due to the choices he made years ago and the fact that he will never find solace in the arms he craves because he must protect Ruby at all costs. The beauty of their story is hidden in that protection. The relationship between Ruby and Neco was heartbreakingly consuming. Their love is not the flowers and butterflies kind and it certainly isn’t a dark and twisted type either. And yet, it consumed them from childhood into their adult years even as Neco fought against his nature in order to protect Ruby. There really are no words to describe everything that encompasses their relationship. You must experience their story to comprehend the depth of their emotions. I’m relatively new to the Sherilee Gray bandwagon but she has quickly moved up to favorite author status. Broken Rebel cemented that position. This is definitely a book you do not want to miss. This is an honest review of an advanced copy provided by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press Dual POV Safety Issues Possible Triggers
Sherilee Gray has quickly become one of my go-to authors. This book is smokin’ hot, the chemistry is volatile, and the plot diabolically clever. Broken Rebel is an exhilarating thrill ride and oh, so sexy! Don’t miss it! Ruby’s had it bad for her next-door neighbor and friend, Neco. She calls him her superman after their tough childhood had them comforting each other. Years later, Neco’s a force to be reckoned with and he won’t give Ruby the time of day. But Ruby’s got her own future to plan and no one will stand in her way. Especially when her safety net crumbles. Phew! What a book! A bit of friends-to-lovers, a bit of eroticism, a whole hell of a lot of danger and menace. I read through this book so darn quickly, and I couldn’t stop! Neco’s had a hard life. He’s done things he isn’t proud of to keep his family safe. That extends to Ruby, but the little girl he knew is all grown up and putting herself into dangerous situations. What’s a guy to do? I really enjoyed Neco. He’s got so many layers peeling back. He wants to protect Ruby, he wants to shield her, he just plain old wants her. All of these things are conflicting inside him. Gosh, Neco has this possessive streak that just slays. And then there’s Ruby. She can be soft & sweet, but she also doesn’t allow Neco’s BS. She wants to be a recovery agent, and she’s going to make that happen. But there’s another huge twist, an enemy that won’t quit, and all this sexual tension. Gah! I want more. I need more. Anyone who loves their stories with chemistry that sizzles off the page, with internal struggles that yank at your heart, and with a plot that reveals a part of your soul that may just be a little bit black are going to be enthralled by the Lawless Kings series. Buckle up, Buttercup, and enjoy the ride! 5 stars!
Broken Rebel is the second book in the Lawless Kings series and it's an excellent read. Although it isn't necessary to read book one first it was nice to already have some of Neco and and Ruby's back story. These two have known each other all their lives. As a kid when things got bad at home Ruby always knew she could go to Neco and he'd take care of her. As adults all they seem to do is bicker and fight. These two are flawed and broken and unable to process the feelings they have for each other. Then Ruby finds herself in danger and Neco's feeling can no longer be held back. This book is wonderfully written with a quick pace and characters that will stick with you. It's one I definitely recommend.
The relationship between Ruby and Neco, the main couple, was one complicated, hot mess, folks. It started in their childhood and morphed into a direction that many may label toxic, yet they admit to always having loved each other. Some may feel to have survived all the personal drama, insecurities, heart ache, misguided hurtful actions, and perilous situations made for an even more dramatic and well deserved HEA. I guess it all depends if you are a half-full, half-empty glass kind of person, and your personal code of conduct requirements/limitations for main characters. This broken rebel had a cause. To take care of Ruby. It seems it has been his life mission since they first met as neighborhood kids from hard luck backgrounds. Unfortunately, this handsome, knuckle head, former mob muscle turned mostly legit manho’s misguided good intentions on how to do that were questionable to say the least and often backfired. In fact, how he initially pushed Ruby away when she was 16 was downright cruel and unforgivable. There are at least two smexy scenes involving OW that will likely make you question this guy's game plan. Make no mistake, Ruby put up with a lot in her life. Evil abusive stepmom, Neco’s need to not return the love she had for him, then the drama that nearly gets her killed. Yeah, that backdrop plot was creative but, honestly, when you put all the pieces together, it was all rather bizarre. But I guess crazy is as crazy does. The culprits definitely were just that, plum crazy and devious to boot. Thank goodness, Neco’s posse of compadres were well equipped to deal with it. Through it all, Ruby’s love for Neco seemed to never fully be extinguished, even when she tried to convince herself to completely give up on him. I did enjoy seeing her turn feisty and determined to learn how to defend herself. Despite Neco’s attempts to keep her out of his head and heart, he likewise always still wanted her. Avid romantics at heart, however, won’t be overly fond of “how” he kept me at bay over the years. Once it was clear Ruby was in real danger, the blinders came off and Neco finally knew it was time to stop living in the land of denial and claim her as his. The author did keep me fully engaged, and I would love to see the other secretly dealing with demons of their own sub-characters get a HEA of their own. These good guy heroes each have a past you just know is about to catch up with them in the form of a leading lady love. This book is a hard one for me to rate, since I had some serious hero issues, but dang the author had my emotions all over the place. I have to give her extra credit for that. She also has me wanting to read more about the sub-characters, as well. There are some brutal/violent scenes in this storyline, including an attempted rape and an actual one. So brace yourself for that along with a hero who finally comes to his senses and embraces what has always been right in front of him all along...Ruby. Title: Broken Rebel, Series: Lawless Kings (Book 2), Author: Sherilee Gray, Pages: 286, stand-alone but part of a series, tragic pasts, very steamy scenes, lots of arguing, relationship angst, no love triangle, not romance safe, always loved each other, afraid to love hero, some violence/rape, not a couple until closer to the end. 3 stars Book 1 - Shattered King (Lulu & Hunter), Pages: 320, 6/27/17 Book 2 - Broken Rebel (Ruby & Neco), Pages: 286, 10/10/17 (Based on NetGalley ARC received in exchange for fair review.)
Another great one from Sherilee Gray! I love me a good anti hero and these broken men of the King Agency have quite the bad boy reputations. The intensity they all exude jumps out of the pages. Broken Rebel is a story about a young boy and girl who turn to each other when their home life gets to be too much. Neco has always shielded Ruby as best he can but as he learns years later as an adult, he hasn’t always been able to. He takes the responsibility of her too seriously and pushes her away to keep her safe. Until, it no longer does. Neco is tired of fighting it and decides he can protect her better if he claims her like he’s always wanted too. Will he be in time when he finds danger lurking for her again? Triggers for readers are rape, drugs and violence. ARC provided by NetGalley.
Broken Rebel is book two in the Lawless Kings series by Sherilee Gray. I love Sherilee’s books and fell in love with the first book of this new series. This series, though, is a bit darker than some of her books, the characters are flawed and broken with dark pasts they are trying to overcome. In other words, they are perfect. Ruby Styles is the receptionist at the King Agency. But more than that, she is family to the men who work there. They protect her and love her like a little sister. That is, except for Neco Malik. Neco and Ruby have known each other since they were kids. He lived across the street from Ruby and her step mother. Ruby’s step mother hated her. She never knew why but she was very forth coming with her feelings towards Ruby growing up. She abused her in so many ways. As a very little girl, Ruby’s only escape from her step-mother was to climb out her window and run across the street to Neco’s bedroom window where he would pull her in, dry her tears, and hold her close until she felt safe again. He was her Superman. Neco’s life wasn’t much better. His mother loved him but to support him she sold her body. Neco was committed to providing for his mother so she wouldn’t have to do this any longer so by the time he was a teenager, he was working for a man that made him do things that darkened his soul, things he would have to live with forever. Things he could never let Ruby be a part of. There was a time he dreamed that when Ruby was old enough, their relationship would change. But now he knew that he could never let that happen. He could never be the man for Ruby. Ruby wanted more from Neco but he refused to treat her any differently than the other guys. She was in love with Neco and had tried every trick in the book to get him to notice her but nothing worked. Part of her said that she needed to move on, that he would never love her the way she wanted him to. But the other part of her knew that it just wasn’t possible. “Neco kept me on my toes, made me feel like I was home, and gave me a rush of the best high I’d ever had. He was my drug. A fix like no other. And I had no intention of ever quitting.” Something happens in Ruby’s life that puts her in danger, that changes everything. It also makes Neco take a hard look at the feelings he has denied himself his entire life. He’s tired of denying himself, denying what’s always been his. “You’ve got me, you’ve always had me, even when you didn’t know it. I was always yours, Ruby. Always.” As Neco finally accepts that Ruby is his, he struggles with the intensity of his feelings, the intensity of the way ne wants/needs to protect her. If he could keep her wrapped in bubble wrap and locked up in his apartment, he would. But Ruby has other ideas. She was the victim growing up, but no longer is that scared child. She wants control over her life. She wants to be a part of solving the current danger she is in. She loves Neco with all that she is, but she can’t let him overpower her, overprotect her. If she does, she will resent him eventually. But can he ever give her space to be the woman she wants to be? “The intensity of Neco’s desire for me was almost more than I knew what to do with. I was stupid, naïve to think I had any kind of control over this man. He was a force of nature, a raging storm that, if I weren’t careful, would blow me right over and swallow me whole.” This is a gritty, suspenseful, sexy and amazing story!
4 - "We will never be done…" Stars! Broken Rebel; book two in the Lawless Kings series gives us Neco and Ruby’s story. They came across very much as ‘frenemies with chemistry’ in the first book; Shattered King, and the author gives them a great story following on from it. I want to lick him from head to toe and kick him in the nuts at the same time… I really enjoyed this book, all is not as it originally seems between our couple, what with them knowing each other since childhood, Neco has always seen himself as something of a protector towards Ruby, even though he is attracted to her and always has been he doesn’t believe that he is good enough for her, with the darkness inside him, and a less than legal past. "I’ve finally got you where you belong. Nothing’s going to stop me from doing what I’m about to do to you." Ruby actually feels the same attraction for him, and always had. Yes she definitely sees him as her greatest protector, but alongside that is a deep love and self-confidence that she is perfectly capable of looking out for herself, something Neco struggles to understand. The man may not think he is good enough for her but she definitely doesn’t agree. Her attempts at getting his attention, no matter how outlandish and risky have not produced the results she was hoping, in fact all they really achieve is anger and confrontation, so rather than spend her life waiting around for a man who she thinks doesn’t want her Ruby decides to move on with her life. My protector. My best friend… My Lover. The suspense aspect of this story was a little predictable in that I kind of worked out who the villain of the piece was very early on, but it was the motivation Neco needed to make the decision to move from ‘just friends’ into something more so I was fine with it. "Hold on and don’t let go." The author excels at building sexual tension, and then writing the actual sexy times themselves and Broken Rebel is no exception. Neco was dominant, dirty and growly, and Ruby gave as good as she got, so their couplings were pretty rough, ready and angry at points, which matched their personalities really well. As always the story was well developed, the secondary characters held their own, and the writing was easy to engage in. I hope to see more from this series in 2018. "You’ve got me, you’ve always had me, even when you didn’t know it… I was yours… Always."
I just found this author, now she is one of my favorites.. This book takes your emotions up and down. Really good book.