Ignite's new romance is about to really turn up the heat...
This Marine will protect her at all costs...
When wealthy heiress Alyssa Brooks finds out her stepfather has been paying her fiancé to marry her, she's humiliated and betrayed. She quickly breaks the engagement, only to be blackmailed by her now ex-fiancé, who threatens both Alyssa and the son she gave up for adoption. With nowhere to go, she turns to the one man she can trust.
Former Marine sniper Hunter Reece's lethal skills could save Alyssa's life. But his little sister's best friend has turned into a woman, who is an irresistible mix of secrets and sexiness. And while Hunter can trust himself to protect her, he can't trust himself to keep his attraction hidden...or even pretend to be the man that Alyssa remembers.
Because the only way to keep the lovely heiress safe is to become the one thing he knows she could never love...a killer.
Each book in the Once a Marine series is STANDALONE:
*The Baby Bargain
*Her Temporary Hero
*Exposing the Heiress
About the Author
Award-winning author Jennifer Apodaca grew up in Southern California and met her very own hero at the dog pound. She worked there, he came in on business, and it was puppy love. They married and had three wonderful sons.
While her husband worked on his master's degree, Jen did the mom thing by day and went to college at night with the intention of pursuing a marketing degree. But her true passion was writing. With time at a premium, she had to make a choice.
Choosing writing, she poured herself into her dream. A mere eight years later, she published her first book, Dating Can Be Murder. In her career, Jen has written a fun and sexy mystery series, a variety of contemporary romances, and a dark, sizzling paranormal series under the name of Jennifer Lyon.
Jen has achieved many of her dreams except for attaining a self-cleaning house, a latte delivery service, and finding the holy grail of non-fattening wine and chocolate. She can live with those disappointments as long as she can keep writing the stories she loves to share with readers.
Find out more about Jen at www.jenniferapodaca.com or https://www.facebook.com/jenniferlyonbooks.
Read an Excerpt
Exposing the Heiress (Once a Marine)
Once a Marine Series
By Jennifer Apodaca
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Jennifer Apodaca
All rights reserved.
"The dressing team is here."
Alyssa Brooks dragged her gaze from the computer screen to her administrative assistant. "Already? But ..." She glanced at the clock on the computer screen. Four p.m. "Crap."
"You have drinks with executives from Glitterstone Entertainment at six thirty. The team needs to get started on your hair and makeup. There are four outfits to choose from."
She took a deep breath, closing the video she'd been working on.
"Alyssa?" Concern shifted Maxine Lord's voice from efficient assistant to college friend. Shutting the door, the other woman crossed the massive office and perched on her desk. "Spill it. What's wrong?"
"I can't do it." Not another night of playing the role of sophisticated, glamorous, and famous heiress who opened doors and wallets. Her stepfather and fiancé trotted her out as Hollywood royalty, the daughter of the beautiful and talented Jenna Brooks, the actress-turned-screenwriter-turned-business tycoon whose life was tragically cut short.
"Do what?" Maxine asked. "Dinner tonight? Or marry that shark in the designer suit next month?" She leaned on her palm, studying Alyssa. "You're miserable. Why the hell don't you put a stop to all this?"
Because her two best friends, Guilt and Remorse, wouldn't let her. "Don't start. I'm marrying Nate."
"Do you love him?"
Her thoughts slid back to her first love. Involuntarily, she looked at one of her many framed photographs on her office wall. This one showed strong male hands sculpting a stunning figure of a soldier sharing his meal with a stray dog. For a second all her unhappiness slid away into the memory of summers spent at her friend Erin's house, located on a vineyard in Sonoma, California.
The man in that picture was Hunter Reece, her friend's older brother, home on leave from the Marines. By then, Alyssa had known Hunt for years, but that was the summer she'd fallen head over heels into her inaugural crush. Of course, he'd treated Alyssa like his little sister. Her love had been silent and unrequited. She'd just been his little sister's friend that spent summers with them, nothing more.
"You're doing it again. Staring at the damn picture. Girl, why don't you just look him up?"
"Remind me not to drink with you anymore." She foolishly had too much to drink one night in college and told Maxine how much she'd loved Hunt. Alyssa had spilled her guts ... except for her secret, the one she'd told no one but her fiancé.
"You don't love Shark-Nate-O, Alyssa. You deserve someone who makes you feel like Hunt did."
Even Maxine's nickname for Nate couldn't make her smile. Instead, she shook her head. Hunt was a memory, but he'd hate what she was now. His family had been the most authentic people she knew, while Alyssa had become a stand-in for her mother. She wanted to escape, but her guilt held her as surely as any chains.
At least marrying Nate would give her a chance to have a child. They had a deal — once she got pregnant, she could cut back on all the appearances, photo shoots, dinners, flying all over the world to be seen ... pretending to run a company she had very little actual control of.
"What I felt for Hunt was teenaged fantasy. I'm marrying Nate." The tension in her head tightened to pain. "But I'm canceling tonight. I have a headache."
"Are you really sick? Why don't you go home? I'll let Nate know you're not going."
"No!" That was all she needed, another forty-five-minute rant from Nate on how she should fire Maxine, that she didn't know her place, that an employee should not be Alyssa's maid of honor. Then he'd get started on the birthday party Alyssa was hosting for Maxine ...
Just thinking about it made her headache worse. "I'll talk to him on my way out." She gathered her purse and she quickly made her way across the hall.
You don't love Nate.
They would grow to love each other, it was just all the stress of the wedding gnawing at both of them. After entering Nate's outer office, she paused by the empty desk of his administrative assistant to compose herself.
Stop stalling, go in there and talk to Nate. Her stomach tensed, knowing she'd get that disappointed look and the speech about so many people depending on her to do her part. They employed hundreds, and keeping a company this size running in the entertainment industry took networking. That meant keeping the face of Dragon Wing — Alyssa — in all the right places.
Was she being selfish? The spoiled, entitled rich girl?
She lifted her chin. Missing one drinks-and-dinner event was not selfish. Determined, she started toward the door when voices from inside Nate's office caught her attention.
"Everything is set for the wedding. When will the money be in my account?"
Alyssa paused, unsure if she should intrude. Who was Nate talking to?
"One million will be there the day of the wedding."
That was her stepfather Parker Dean's voice. What money were they talking about? What did it have to do with the wedding? Unease gripped her muscles. Alyssa was paying for everything, so what was this about?
"You'll get an additional million each year until we sell the company," Parker said. "Once we pull this off, we'll secure a deal that will make us wealthy enough to shut up any doubters in this town."
Confusion fogged her brain. What was this? Sell Dragon Wing? What did all this have to do with her and Nate marrying? Alyssa backed up a step and dropped a hand down on the desk to steady herself. She had to be misunderstanding this.
"I told you when I approached you to hire me two years ago I could make this work. Between all the reality TV programming and turning Alyssa and me into Hollywood's newest power couple, the company is raking in the money. The big production companies like Glitterstone are taking notice. Another year, maybe two, and we'll sell Dragon Wing for more money than anyone thought possible."
"Just don't get her pregnant for at least a few years. Alyssa is the key and she has to stay visible. But if she gets knocked up, she'll bail on the company, and no amount of guilt or threats will change her mind."
What? The whole point of marrying Nate was so Alyssa could have a family. The one thing she wanted, craved. This couldn't be happening. Nate wouldn't do that. He knew. Nate knew how much this meant to her, and why, more than anyone else in the world.
"Not a chance of that."
Nate's cultured voice held the barest trace of a sneer. Sick dread stacked up in her stomach. This wasn't the man she knew, the one who made plans with her for their children. Alyssa would become a silent partner in Dragon Wing, making an occasional appearance as Nate's wife, but her focus would be on their children and developing her little website, Streets of Valor, to showcase her pictures and videos.
"Be sure, an accident —"
"Won't happen," Nate said. "I had a vasectomy years ago."
Buzzing filled her ears and her heart pounded viciously as the word vasectomy screamed in her head. Betrayal burned in her throat. She'd thought she'd known her fiancé, a hard-working, ambitious man who'd put himself through law school and climbed the corporate ladder. Parker had noticed his work and hired him as the vice president of business and legal affairs ... and apparently to marry and control Alyssa.
"You did what?" Parker's voice went up a notch. "You never told me that. Does Alyssa know?"
"No and she doesn't need to know. I've worked too hard getting Alyssa to care about me and building our profile to rival Will and Kate and Brad and Angelina. The wedding frenzy is lighting up the internet. I haven't invested this much time and effort to let some kid get in the way."
"If she finds out, this will screw us all. What the hell, Madden? That wasn't part of the deal. She wants kids. I just meant later, not now when we have so much at stake."
A horrible ache spread in her chest. All these years, she'd thought Parker cared about her. Her stepfather was all she had left after her mother died. He was paying Nate to marry her in some deal so the two of them could get rich. And Nate ... She'd trusted him, thought he'd cared too, that they both wanted the same thing — a family.
All he wanted was her fame and power.
Fool. She was a fool.
"I'll handle Alyssa. She'll do what I want her to."
Rage burst up from her belly, a geyser that spewed for long seconds, as if the top had blown off. And beneath that something else. Something ... freeing.
The truth was she'd had serious doubts for a couple months, but ignored them. Now she was done. Turning, she started for the door.
Her purse hit the desk, knocking files to the floor.
Crap. She froze, her hands going icy. She didn't want a confrontation, she just wanted to leave and get her head together.
Nate strode out of his office, spotted her, and pulled the door closed. When he turned, his dark eyes met hers. "Why aren't you getting ready for tonight?"
Did he know she'd overheard? Alyssa could confront him now, but her head throbbed too much. She just wanted to get away and think. "I was coming in to tell you I have a headache and won't be going tonight." She crouched down and scooped up the folders.
Handcrafted Italian loafers filled her vision. Nate gripped her elbow, and helped her up. He took the folders and tossed them on the desk. "That's unfortunate."
It took all her will to resist shaking off his hand and stepping back.
"I'll have the limo take you home."
"I drove my car today."
His eyes narrowed. "Why would you do that when we had the dinner this evening?"
Anger exploded. Jerking her arm from his hold, she narrowed her eyes. "Why would you lie to me about wanting children when you've had a vasectomy?" Agony branded her chest. "We made plans together for a family."
His eyes hardened. "I'll have it reversed."
Was he serious? After he'd lied all this time, and had some secret deal with her stepfather to use her? "You think I'd have children with you now? That I'd let you touch me?" Outrage unleashed so much adrenaline her hands trembled.
His long fingers closed around her arm. "You will marry me and continue doing everything I tell you to do."
The hiss in his voice chilled her. Maxine called him a shark, and in this moment, she got it. She pulled her arm from his grasp, she slid off her engagement ring and set it on the desk. "No." She rushed out the door, her heels clicking on the marble. Reaching the elevators in the plush reception area, she fumbled out her card and swiped it. The doors parted silently, in contrast to the fury screaming in her head.
She had to calm down before she drove. Inside the elevator, she took a deep breath just as Nate stormed in, hit the close button, and sealed them inside together.
Alyssa couldn't believe his audacity. "I don't want to see or talk to you."
"Tough." He hit another button and the elevator jerked to a halt. Sudden unease ignited a need to escape. The elevator was too small, and Nate appeared taller. Bigger.
Alyssa lunged toward the control panel.
He caught her hair and shoved her face-first into the mirrored wall. "Listen up, rich girl. I crawled my way out of nothing to real power and a chance at significant wealth. We're marrying and you'll do your part until I say otherwise."
The mirror was cold against her face, but it was his voice against her ear that sent chills down her spine. Nate had never hurt her. Not like this. "You can't —"
"Oh I can and I have. I eliminate problems. Don't be a problem, Alyssa."
"This isn't like you." She tried to get her head around this version of Nate. "You've never threatened me."
Spinning her, he wrapped his hand around her throat. "You never made me. I was perfectly willing to be good to you, even putting up with your no more sex until the wedding nonsense." He leaned in, his dark eyes like onyx stones. "I give you what you want when you give me what I want. Otherwise ... you'll pay."
Frantically, she considered her options. She couldn't win a physical battle against him in the elevator. Be smart. Pacify him until you can get out. "I see that now."
He released her hair, then hooked an arm around her waist and yanked her against his chest. "Let's make sure you do."
His arm banded her beneath her ribs, making it hard to breathe. Fear pounded in her head. God, he was pushing her around, hurting her.
"You try anything, and I'll start extracting payment here." He held up his phone, the screen filled with a photograph.
Recognition gut-punched her. "You wouldn't. He's just a kid."
"I know exactly where he is, every minute of every day. Play your part, and I'll leave him alone. Fuck me over, and I'll hurt him. Then you."
Bile shot up in her throat. There on the screen was a picture of her son.
The boy she'd given up for adoption seven years ago.CHAPTER 2
"You called me in on a babysitting job for a rich heiress?" Hunter Reece dropped his ass down on Sienna Lorrey's desk. "Aren't there some real jobs out there?"
Leaning back in her chair, Sienna shoved her glasses up to the top of her blonde head and eyed him. "This heiress asked for you by name."
Now she had his full attention. "Who is she?"
Si lifted her brow. "Alyssa Brooks."
It took a lot to shock him, but this ... "Alyssa?" He couldn't process it. "She asked for me?"
He narrowed his eyes. "You couldn't tell me this when you called me in?" The last time he'd seen Alyssa had been at her mother's funeral seven years ago. It had torn him up to see her in so much pain. A stark difference from all the years she'd visited the vineyard. Then she'd been young and vibrant, full of piss and vinegar just like his little sister.
Except when Alyssa had her camera in her hand. Then she'd go quiet and focused.
Like Hunt with a gun in his hand.
Christ, talk about a sick comparison. She captured life in her lens, while Hunt had killed with a precision so cold he'd become a legend.
Si swiveled in her chair, regaining his attention. Amusement tugged her lips. "I could have, but then I'd have missed your shocked reaction. Never seen your eyes lose focus like that. How well do you know this woman?"
He'd known the girl, not the polished glamorous woman he saw all over the media. And back then, he'd been a different person. "She was my kid sister's friend. Her mom and my mom were friends, and Alyssa came to stay with us for several summers." So yeah, it'd thrown him a little to hear her name. He connected her with a happier time in his life, but those times were done, and he had a job to do. She'd called Once A Marine Security Agency, so she had to be in some kind of trouble. "What's her story?"
The front door of the office opened and Hunt whipped around, automatically stepping in front of Si to shield her. His attention honed in on the doorway.
"It's a client, not a terrorist." Si's voice bubbled with humor.
Ignoring that comment, something kicked in Hunt's chest as Alyssa walked through the door. The girl he remembered had been filled with vibrant color, but the woman before him sucked his breath from his chest. Her dark hair was pulled back in a simple ponytail, her makeup-free face had carved away childhood roundness to sculpted cheekbones and full lips. Her round eyes were framed in sooty lashes. She wore a casual T-shirt that slid over tantalizing breasts, and jeans that molded to her hips and thighs.
She looked nothing like the glossy photos of her that turned up in the media.
No, this woman walked straight out of his dreams. Every single nerve twanged in reaction. His blood simmered. Hunger gnawed low in his belly, growing with every heartbeat into a shocking pool of need.
Never had this happened. Ever. Oh, he'd had instant lust, but this ... What the hell? Lyssie, well Alyssa now, was his little sister's friend. He'd practically seen her grow up. Even with the air of tension and worry riding her, and the dark circles staining the delicate skin under her brown eyes, she was gorgeous. "Alyssa."
Her eyes scanned the office and landed on him. Her mouth curved in a smile he remembered so well, one side tilting up slightly more than the other. "Hunt."
Her voice took him back to those summers, tossing the girls in the pool because it'd made them squeal. Making s'mores with them in the evenings out at the fire pit. It reminded him of a lighter era. But in those days, her voice had never pulled at something low in his guts. Oh, he'd known she was pretty, but she'd been a kid. Now she was a beautiful woman.
Excerpted from Exposing the Heiress (Once a Marine) by Jennifer Apodaca. Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Apodaca. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
## FABULOUS. I loved reading this book. Lyssie and Hunt had terrific chemistry and the sex scenes were perfect. Really hot without overtaking the story. The only thing that bugged me was that it took the hero 3 months after everything that happened to realize he loved the heroine. But that is my issue alone and won't stop me from reading again. Highly recommended.
This story followed the tried and true friends-to-lovers trope, seemed predictable at times, and reminded me of dragon slayer fairy tales I used to read as a little girl. I loved them, lol. The princess heroine seeking refuge and help running to the one man who had the ability to draw his sword and slaughter the beast that threatened her. Little did he know he was more than her knight in shining armor, more than her man of the moment. He was her prince, her heart, her love. Hunter is that prince. Alyssa is that princess. They have each suffered loss and devastation throughout the years they've been apart. Some were by choice, others weren't. Coming together renews their friendship but brings to light the scars they bear as a result of the lives they've led. The story takes a swift turn from protecting Alyssa and the son she gave up years ago to guarding their hearts from one another. But that's impossible to do when Alyssa's heart's already invested and Hunter's is softening toward her the longer they're together. This story was easy to read without a lot of complications (Alyssa's crazed ex added great suspense to the story) and could have very well been a skim the pages yawn-fest except it wasn't because of one incredible thing: Ms. Apodaca's ability to write intense, relative emotions. There were countless moments throughout the story when my heart was in my throat and tears in my eyes because I felt so much for Hunter or Alyssa or both. And I loved that. I haven't read anything by Ms. Apodaca or her alter ego Jennifer Lyon but Exposing the Heiress won't be the last thing I read by her. 3.5* (Received from NetGalley via Entangled Publishing and Pump Up Your Book for an honest review)
Third book I've read and I love them all.
Exposing the Heiress is the newest book from Jennifer Apodaca, and just like Apodaca's previous books, Exposing the Heiress is full of action and heat. What I loved about this book: -The cover: This is my favorite cover of the Once a Marine series. I love the abs, the colors, and the setting behind the Marine. -The suspense: Apodaca's books ALWAYS leave me in suspense. -The heat: Wow, talk about the sizzle factor here. Alyssa and Hunt bring the heat and it's quite scorching! -The characters: The characters are complex and layered which makes getting to know them so interesting. As the layers were peeled back on each character and I got to know them, I fell in love with them and rooted for them. Both Hunter and Alyssa have their secrets and discovering them made them realer in my eyes. In the beginning of Exposing the Heiress, innocent and sweet Alyssa is engaged to be married to her fiance, Nate. That is until she overhears her stepfather and Nate about how Nate is being paid to marry Alyssa. Fearing for her life after confronting Nate, Alyssa runs to Hunt seeking protection for herself and the son she gave up for adoption. Alyssa has an incredible heart and is an amazing character. While at first I believed her to be innocent and naive, I soon saw another side of Alyssa that I loved. She had a genuine heart of gold, carried the weight of the pain of giving away her son, and she's brave and carries a strength even she didn't even know she had. Alyssa is one of my favorite female characters. Hunt on the other hand is the opposite of Alyssa in every way. Strong, brave, and protective, Hunt is a tattooed hunk with a tortured past that still haunts him to this day. Hunt knows that Alyssa deserves better than him and that he cannot do relationships, so even though the chemistry between them is noticeable from the very beginning, he tries not to give into it because of the fact he thinks Alyssa deserves more than a tortured Marine. I really loved the plot, the twists, and the characters of Exposing the Heiress. As always, Jennifer Apodaca kept my on my toes throughout the entire book. With suspense, romance, and drama, Exposing the Heiress is a great book! ★★★★1/2
I really liked book two of this series-- Her Temporary Hero --but had a hard time getting through this one. It wasn't a horrible story, it was just very...meh. I couldn't really feel the chemistry between Hunt and Alyssa--sure, they talked and thought about it all the time, but it didn't shine through in their actions and the story itself. Not At. All. (His nickname for her, Lyssa, totally rubbed me the wrong way, which didn't help. It felt like the nickname of a five-year-old, which it pretty much was...) The suspense plot was decent, but the eventual reason that the bad guy had for his elaborate plot of evil and revenge seemed a bit ridiculous. So, over all, this one just didn't do it for me. Hopefully it's a one-off; I'm still looking forward to getting to book one ( The Baby Bargain ) and would still be willing to read more from this series if there are indeed more to come. Rating: 2 1/2 stars / C- I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Blog Tour, Review & Guest Post: Exposing the Heiress (A Once a Marine Novel) by Jennifer Apodaca http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2Ry ***GO TO BLOG POST FOR GIVEAWAY*** Publication Date: August 4, 2015 Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Cori Rated: 5 Stars REVIEW: I know when I pick up a book written by Jennifer Apodaca (Jennifer Lyon) it's going to be good. Exposing the Heiress was great! The Once a Marine Series features a different former marine and a woman in need of protection in each book. Alyssa turns to her friend's brother Hunter for protection when she finds herself in danger. I loved Hunter and Alyssa together! I wasn't sure I was going to like Alyssa at first but Jennifer Apodaca creates heroines that are both strong and vulnerable. The reader falls in love with the hero and roots for the heroine. Exposing the Heiress was an emotional and sexy romance that captured my attention and held on to it. I recommend this book and this series for romance lovers looking for hot romance with protective alpha males. I love this series! *Review copy provided by Entangled in exchange for an honest review.
When Alyssa Brooks has had it bad ever since the night her mother was killed in a tragic car accident. She has gone above and beyond to ensure that her mother’s company prospers Alyssa Brooks. Now she wants to take a step back from the company and have a family, with her friend Nate Madden who will take over the running of the company in her stead. The problem is Alyssa doesn’t love Nate, and the even bigger problem that sends Alyssa running to Once A Marine is that Nate is not the man she thought he was. Nate could be downright deadly. When Alyssa calls Once A Marine Security Agency, she ask for the one man she knows she can still trust. Hunter Reece has not seen Alyssa since her mother’s funeral, and she stated pulling away from all her friends. As Hunter and the agency go through to protect and remove the threat of Nate to Alyssa he discovers and exposes her in a way that only he can. Soon they find themselves asking each other if they can manage in the others world. I totally enjoyed this story. It was full of character that Apodaca lets you see into. You grow to see them as people not just characters in the story. What would you do and who would you turn to if your back was against the wall.
This was my first time reading Ms. Apodaca's work and it won't be the last. This story is wonderfully written with well thought out suspense and truly likable characters. It is touching and heartfelt with spots of humor and fun. Hunter is hot and sexy and Alyssa is his perfect compliment. This is a story that grips you from the start and doesn't let go until you're finished. ARC received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Let me start by saying: nice cover. Real nice. Exposing the Heiress was a very nice and unexpectedly hot read. It tells the story of Alyssa, daughter of a wealthy actress who passed away in an accident, leaving her the production company she had created. Her stepfather always blamed her for the accident that killed her mother (she was driving) and has guilted her into being the face of the company when she didn’t really want to. Unfortunately we soon find out that her stepfather’s bastardness doesn’t stop there. It turns out he paid Alyssa’s fiancee to marry her and keep her compliant with being the face of the company. Her stepfather and douchewaffle fiancée would then sell the company and split the profits between them. Luckily for Alyssa, as soon as she finds out about this scheme she breaks off the engagement and this is when she’ll find out too that her now ex-fiancée is a freaking psycho, who not only threatens her life but the safety of the son she had to give up for adoption when she was 17. Immediately after this, she runs to the only man she thinks can help her, Hunter her childhood best friend’s older brother, who’s now a former Marine sniper working in a security firm. Hunter is going through the transition back to civilian life, and it’s not going well for him. He tried dating but finds himself in a very unfortunate situation where a woman hurt him in the worst way possible so he has been off relationships since then. But Hunter’s icy protecting walls, start to melt when confronted with Alyssa’s soft and warm heart. Did I mention Alyssa crushed on Hunter real bad when she was young? Well, she is fortunate to ignite a hunger in him that just won’t be denied… and it’s real fun for us to witness. The story goes on with Alyssa’s ex-fiancée psychosis taking us farther and farther into complete wacko territory, and both of them working through their personal issues. This was a very lovely read for me, it was easy and fun. With a bit of suspense and action, lot’s of sexy time and some very emotional scenes. Ms. Apodaca had me near tears more than once, so I really connected with the characters. Summing up, love it and waiting for more! *I received a complimentary copy from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review*
This book was a good read. Thé storyline draws you right in from thé start.
Exposing the Heiress was amazing. I could not set this book down until I finished it. Everything about it was just what I wanted. I got a hot slightly damaged ex-military man with PTSD who needs the love of a good woman to help him see his worth and a scared woman needing help finding the strength she has. The fact that Hunter and Alyssa had a history made it even better! The characters worked so well together and the dialogue flowed seamlessly. Guilt and remorse forces Alyssa to agree to marry Nate, the wrong man, until she learns it was all a conspiracy to gain her part of the company. She turns to Hunter, the one man she knows will keep her safe when Nate begins to make threats against the son she gave up at a time in her life she was already so broken. Hunter is Alyssa's best friend's brother and has known him since she was a young girl, even though she hadn't seen him in a few years. She knew Hunter would protect her and her son from Nate when he started to become violent and blackmailing her. Hunter has severe instant lust when he sees Alyssa for the first time. The attraction is nearly alarming in its intensity. Alyssa isn't any better off. The book is full of suspense, lust and heat. This is a beautiful touching story with suspenseful moments that made my heart speed up but not as much as the hot passionate moments did! I highly recommend this one. The struggle Hunter has with his PTSD is very well written and the way he deals with it as well as Alyssa handles it is fantastic. A great read for anyone who loves romantic suspense with a bang!
Wow. What an amazing story of trials and courage and finding love. The things they went through were horrible and gut twisting. I love the courage the heroine has to take the life she wants and helps the hero fight his demons, while he is saving her from physical evil. I loved this story and wholly believe you will too.
Let's be honest, the cover & hero had me from the beginning. Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews by Kim Exposing the Heiress marks my first time reading Jennifer Apodaca. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I was gushing the whole time I was reading the book. I mean give me a hero who’s a former Marine and a sniper on top of that and I’m a goner. When Alyssa Brooks discovers her life is a lie and that her stepfather has been paying her fiancé to marry her, she loses it. But when said fiancé threatens her and a secret she has closely held, she knows the only person she can turn to is her former best friend’s brother, Hunter Reece and the Once a Marine Agency. I really liked Alyssa and Hunter together. I mean they’re playful and have a really good chemistry. I felt the bedroom action came a little too fast. I also felt some of the story was predictable but it still worked. My biggest issue with the story is that Exposing the Heiress is categorized as a romantic suspense. I’m a romantic suspense reader and I love the heart pounding edge of your seat moments those stories bring. But Exposing the Heiress felt more like a contemporary romance with suspense elements. For me, it lacked the “I can’t wait to turn the page, heart pounding moments” that romantic suspense novels usually bring. **Received a copy from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
The blurb for this book had everything I love in books - a Marine, an ex-fiancé with an ax to grind and the best friend of a sibling as a love interest and caught my eye. Alyssa Brooks is weeks away from getting married when she stumbles on her stepfather and her fiancé discussing their future plans and the payments her stepfather has been making to her fiancé to marry her. When she confronts her fiancé and breaks the engagement, he resorts to blackmail and threats to coerce her to go through with the marriage. In fear for her life and that of the son she gave up for adoption, she retains the services of a security agency to provide protection and quite fortuitously, is assigned Hunter Reece as her bodyguard. Hunter is the elder brother of her childhood best friend and is quick to step up to ensure her well-being, whisking her away to safety. Hunt was Alyssa's first crush and now that they are in hiding together, those feelings grow into something more, but the two of them are not the kids they were back then. Hunter is former Marine sniper who came back home with lots of issues and does not consider himself relationship material, having tried it once unsuccessfully. Alyssa has faced her own issues - her mother's death and the resulting fallout including her pregnancy and giving her baby up for adoption and she is willing to take the little that Hunt can give her rather than have nothing at all. The time in hiding was great for them because apart from the attraction that flared up between them, Alyssa and Hunt find themselves opening to each other completely, sharing secrets that they have held closely for a long time and I loved all of it, including the healing that sharing brought them. When it comes to relationships, both of them had been dealt the short end of the stick, the only difference being that while Hunt thought he wasn't relationship material because of what he had done in the Marines, Alyssa thought she was unworthy because, in addition to the loss of her parents, everyone else either left her or used her. I enjoyed EXPOSING THE HEIRESS particularly because of the friendship that Alyssa and Hunt built on what they had from their childhood and the ease and openness of their interactions. I also enjoyed seeing Alyssa take charge of her life and go for what she wanted- her career, Hunt - instead of allowing herself be manipulated into doing what she was not comfortable with. The suspense was very well done. Even though the villain was known from the beginning, his attacks on Alyssa, his well-covered tracks and the wait for him to show his hand was enough to keep me on the edge. Now, I have a few issues, especially the speed at which they moved their relationship along, but these do not affect my overall enjoyment of the story and knowing that I've had the first two books in the series in my TBR? I'm definitely moving them to the top of the pile. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I loved this book. I think it us my favorite in the series. Hunt and Alyssa were just so "real" together. When they first reconnected, I had a smile during their scenes with their joking around with each other. So cute and funny! But these scenes also displayed how they genuinely and mutually liked each other. Very refreshing with no angst or drama. And the fact he is a hunky strong overly protective former Marine - bonus! The storyline kept me engaged the entire book. The crazy that was Nate was beyond my imagination. I am always intrigued on the "why" people do the insanely crazy things they do and his whole reasoning was not what I expected. A great story development for sure. I agreed with his comeuppance because there truly was no other outcome to be desired. The ending was so sweet, so romantic with a little sizzle. Heartwarming, emotional and very sentimental - totally perfect! I received this story in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
I'll let you read the blurb for the description of the book--it's pretty straightforward and accurate. Instead, what I'll tell you is... What I loved: --I loved that Alyssa (Lyssie) is a rich celebrity--who lives with her life exposed in the tabloid--who falls in love with her bodyguard. And it's first reported in the tabloids. --I loved Hunter (Hunt). Who doesn't love a hunky, sexy ex-Marine with a protective streak a mile long? --I loved that Lyssie gets a chance to truly love the guy she had a crush on when she was a young teen. I enjoyed the book. I'm going to put the rest of the Once a Marine books on my To Read Shelf. For those of you who don't know, Jennifer Apodaca also writes the Wing Slayer Hunters series as Jennifer Lyon. I highly recommend that series too. ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I really loved this book. Hunter was an amazing character. A Marine who has seen and done things have scarred him, he expresses his pain through his art and uses his training for the protection of others. Alyssa was also such a great character. Being an heiress isn't all it's cracked up to be especially when you are engaged to a psycho. The struggles that Alyssa and Hunt go through are just crazy. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. There were plenty of twists that kept it from being overdone or typical. Very well done.
Steady Read that left reader needing more with story Wealthy heiress Alyssa Brooks found out that her step father was paying her fiancée to marry her so she broke off the engagement. But her fiancée started blackmailing her and threatened to expose a secret she has and to hurt that secret so she turned to one man for help- Hunter Reece. Former Marine sniper Hunter Reece is friends with Alyssa’s big brother. When he heard that she was being threatened, and Alyssa asked for protection he knew he needed to help. At first protection is all he had in mind but it progressed from there and the attraction simmered between them. Alyssa has always wanted Hunter. Hunter waffled- stuck that he isn’t some relationship material due to his past in the military. Alyssa feels even a quick affair would be something because she would rather have stolen moments because of her feelings for him. The bad guy in this book is the ex-fiancée and he is really crazy, to the point of evilness. There was an end game to Nate’s plan but it was trying to figure out what he had planned. It was sort of apparent what he wanted but still, getting to it was anticlimactic. There was some good points to this book and the romance between Hunter and Alyssa had some good points but there were some low points. Hunter left Alyssa and when he came back to her , she took him back without him really having to prove how sorry he was and the ending didn’t really say how they were doing after all they went thru. It just seemed like I would have given this an extra half point or alittle more if the hero didn’t seem so hung up on his past and kept pushing the heroine away from him and then when he came back to her after leaving her, she shouldn’t have been so easy to accept him back so fast. It just seemed everything was rushed the last 11 % of the book with really no followup per say. ***A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for my honest review**** My rating: 3.5 stars ***
4 stars Exposing the Heiress was a very entertaining and heartfelt read. I liked both Alyssa and Hunt, they were likable and relatable. I enjoyed seeing them come together, they had a few obstacles to get through, trust was not something that came easy. It was heartwarming seeing them both open their hearts and truly love one another. Overall a very good afternoon read, I read it in one sitting. Looking forward to reading more from this talented author, Jennifer Apodaca.
This is the third book in this series but you really don’t need to have read the others to appreciate this one. With a heiress who is being threatened by her ex-fiancé, the irresistible childhood friend’s older brother who is also a handsome ex-marine, paparazzi chasing and threats galore this is a fast paced thriller, mystery and romance. The heiress in this story is Alyssa Brooks. Her Mum was a child film star who went on to be a Hollywood favourite before she was tragically killed in a car accident when Alyssa was just seventeen years old. She’s never really got over her feelings of guilt and loss after the accident and has been doing her best to promote the company her Mum founded but it is getting too much. She’s hoping all will change after she marries Nate, her fiancé but then she overhears him and her step father and learns that her stepfather is paying Nate to marry her and that’s not the only thing he’s lied about! When she tries to finish with him, he becomes threatening and, fearing for the safety of herself and others, she contacts the firm employing her first crush, the oldest brother of her childhood friend, the ex-marine Hunter Reece and asks for him to be her bodyguard. It is seven years since they last met and the attraction is still there but he’s been through a traumatic time as a sniper and feels unable to form and maintain a relationship with anyone. Will their love grow? Can they work together and prevent Nate hurting anyone? This is a great story with suspense, love and intrigue blended into an enthralling read by an accomplished writer. Definitely a summer read not to be missed (though it could really be read at any time of year!) The other books in this series, by the same author, published so far are: 1. The Baby Bargain 2. Her Temporary Hero 3. Exposing the Heiress Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley too, for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed reading this one. I thought the storyline was unique and fresh and had me glued to the pages to find out what happened next! It's wonderfully written and I loved Alyssa and Hunter (although I did chuckle about a sniper named Hunter - just my sad sense of humor I guess. This has just the right amount of sizzling hot romance, angst, and mystery to keep you completely entertained. I would highly recommend this one for everyone! Alyssa Brooks can't believe what she's hearing. Her step father and fiancee having a discussion about payment since Nate (the fiancee) has come through on his end of the bargain. When she confronts Nate about what she heard, she quickly realizes he is not the man she thought he was. Fearing for her life and the lives of the people she loves, she runs to the one man she knows she can trust and who can help her, Hunter Reece. Her life will quickly take unexpected turns as things get interesting - Fast!! Loved it!
3.75 stars-enjoyable but predictable: 3.75 stars---EXPOSING THE HEIRESS is the third installment in Jennifer Apodaca (Jennifer Lyon’s) adult, contemporary Once a Marine erotic romance series. This is former Marine sniper Hunter Reece, and celebrity heiress Alyssa Brooks’s storyline- a friends to lovers trope that reveals many hidden secrets and ghosts from the past. EXPOSING THE HEIRESS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Told from third person point of view EXPOSING THE HEIRESS focuses on Alyssa Brooks as she must go into hiding to protect the son she gave up years before. At seventeen years old, Alyssa would discover she was pregnant and the resulting aftermath would force Alyssa to take stock of her entire life. Fast forward to present day and Alyssa will overhear that her step father has been paying her now former fiancé Nate Madden a hefty sum to marry her in order to gain control of Dragon Wing Productions, left to Alyssa in her late mother’s will. In order to protect her son and his new family Alyssa will approach Once a Marine Security Agency asking for her best friend’s brother Hunter Reece to act as body guard until she is able to take control of her life-once again. What ensues is a waiting game wherein Alyssa will become the target of a vengeful ex-fiance who is willing to go to any measure to take back and destroy what he considers his. The relationship between Hunter and Alyssa is a friend to lovers trope that sees Hunter craving his little sister’s former best friend. Alyssa has always had a bit of a crush on Hunter Reece, one that began at fourteen years of age, and in the ensuing time has never forgotten a promise Reese made to her. But Hunter is a man with a dark past that haunts his nights with nightmares, horrific memories, and the guilt of a man doing a job no one else wanted to do, and in this Hunter doesn’t do relationships, friendships or love. The $ex scenes are erotic and provocative –Hunter likes to talk dirty in the bedroom but the sexual chemistry between our leading couple felt distant and somewhat flat-Reece’s inability to love was readily apparent throughout most of the read. Having some issues of trust, when the time came to step up, Reese walked away leaving Alyssa unprotected, alone and broken hearted. Some major groveling was needed (in my humble opinion). EXPOSING THE HEIRESS is an enjoyable but predictable storyline with a little bit of everything: sex, romance, some suspense, friendships, heartbreak and love. Most of the storyline focuses on the building relationship (while in hiding) between Hunter and Alyssa, and the threats from Alyssa’s former fiancé that promise to expose Alyssa’s secret past- the majority of the action takes place in the final few chapters. Jennifer Apodaca (aka Jennifer Lyon) is a talented author with a spirited energy that comes through in her storyline characters. EXPOSING THE HEIRESS reveals a tender side to a man hardened by the harsh realities of the atrocities of war, and how the love of one woman can melt the ice around a frozen heart.
This Marine will protect her at all costs... When wealthy heiress Alyssa Brooks finds out her stepfather has been paying her fiancé to marry her, she's humiliated and betrayed. She quickly breaks the engagement, only to be blackmailed by her now ex-fiancé, who threatens both Alyssa and the son she gave up for adoption. With nowhere to go, she turns to the one man she can trust. Former Marine sniper Hunter Reece's lethal skills could save Alyssa's life. But his little sister's best friend has turned into a woman, who is an irresistible mix of secrets and sexiness. And while Hunter can trust himself to protect her, he can't trust himself to keep his attraction hidden...or even pretend to be the man that Alyssa remembers. Because the only way to keep the lovely heiress safe is to become the one thing he knows she could never love...a killer. Review: This is the second book in this series that I have read that revolve around the men who work for Once a Marine. Like all of the other stories, or at least the two I have read this Marine is suffering from PTSD. This is the third book in the series, but it is totally stand-alone. We do see and hear of characters from other books, but again, reading the others in sequence is not necessary. I liked that Alyssa is smart, loving and determined; she has suffered the loss of both parents at a young age and made the decision to give up her child for adoption at 17, strong, strong woman. When she goes to her childhood friend, Hunter to help her with her ex-fiance, she is going to the one person she can trust. Hunter is back from the Marines where he was a sniper and the things he has had to do has changed him and he thinks he is too damaged for anyone, especially Lyssie. But, Alyssa wants to understand, help and love Hunter, since he is her first crush and such a stand-up guy. I think the author did a great job of making both Hunter and Alyssa seem real and that so many can relate to different aspects of the story. You can feel the chemistry between the two and is was a great watching them come together. A well-rounded story that had great emotion, drama, romance with a little action and suspense throw in. 3.5 Stars *Received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review*