Taking What's His

Taking What's His

by Diane Alberts

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One explosive device was all it took to turn Holt Cunningham from ass-kicking Marine to IT technician. Hell, he's still not over it. So when the cute little strawberry blonde at the bar asks him to kiss her, Holt can't resist the temptation of a sexy distraction. Before he knows it, she's blown his mind...and then skipped out the next morning.

Lydia Thomas never expected things with Holt to go quite that far, but oh, it was worth it. After being far too good for way too long, she was ready to be bad. Except that there's that tiny detail that Lydia kept to herself-Holt just spent the night doing naughty things...with his best friend's little sister.

One night isn't nearly enough. But with his friendship on the line, how far will Holt go in order to claim what's his?

Each book in the Shillings Agency series is STANDALONE:
* Temporarily Yours
* Stealing His Heart
* Seducing the Princess
* Taking What's His
* Say You're Mine
* His Best Mistake

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633752597
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Series: Shillings Agency , #4
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 98,005
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Diane Alberts is a multi-published, bestselling contemporary romance author with Entangled Publishing. She also writes New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling new adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. She's hit the Top 100 lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble numerous times with numerous titles. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn't until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and a cat. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Read an Excerpt

Taking What's His

A Shillings Agency Novel

By Diane Alberts, Heather Howland

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Diane Alberts
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-259-7


Holt Cunningham sat at the crowded bar, staring into his empty glass, and couldn't help but wonder how the hell he'd gotten there, and if he'd ever feel normal again. A year ago, he'd been in combat, kicking ass and taking names. There hadn't been anything to worry about except avoiding bullets. He'd been invincible. Undefeatable.

And then ... he'd been defeated.

All it had taken was one well placed IED and bam. His whole life had changed in an instant. He wasn't a Marine anymore, everyone from his platoon was dead, and now he was a fucking IT guy at Shillings Agency.

He had no idea what to do with the rest of his fucking life. He couldn't sleep more than an hour without waking up in a fucking cold sweat. Barely ate. The only things that filled the empty void inside of him that screamed out in agony were meaningless one-night stands and booze, but even those had stopped working recently.

That wouldn't stop him from trying again, though.

He was a stubborn ass like that.

The door opened, and the cold winter's night air hit him. He huddled closer to the bar. "Welcome to fucking Maine," he muttered.

The bartender came up. "Hey. Where'd your friend go?"

His friend and co-worker at the agency, Gordon Waybrook, had tossed back a drink and then left. He'd been down in the dumps over some princess chick that wouldn't marry him. Why any man would want to get married was beyond Holt, but to each his own.

"He had to go." Holt pushed his glass across the bar. "I'll have another."

The bartender, Mike, tightened his lips. "You don't look so good, man. Maybe you should call it quits and go home."

"If I wanted an evaluation, I'd go to a ... to a ... shrink." He gripped the edge of the bar tightly, angry that the word had eluded him. "I didn't. I came to a bar. Now get me my drink."

Mike jerked the glass away. "We might be friends, but that doesn't give you an excuse to be a dick. One more, and then I'm cutting you off."

Holt watched him go, already regretting his words. "I'm sorry," he whispered to no one, since Mike had already left. That was something that was messed up in his head, too. He didn't think things through before speaking. What was the point, when nine times out of ten his words still came out all messed up?

Someone sat beside him, and he glanced over. It was a woman with strawberry blonde hair. She was slim and short, and she smelled like flowers. He couldn't make out her face, but her profile looked gorgeous. She had a small, pert nose and high cheekbones. Her lashes were long and thick. Everything about her drew his gaze, and he couldn't look away.

As soon as she settled, she turned and smiled at him. He froze, all intelligent words leaving his brain as well as his mouth. She was ... she was ...

Beautiful. She was utterly beautiful.

And totally not for him. He'd ruin a sweet thing like her in seconds.

Her bright hazel eyes met his without hesitance, and when she smiled, two dimples popped out. Her whole face lit up, too. She looked young, but not too young to be in a bar. "Hey," she said.

He blinked at her. Her voice was magically soft, as if she was singing instead of talking, and he couldn't think of a single word to say back. So he just stared at her.

Mike came over, saving Holt from replying. As soon as he set down the drink, the bartender turned to the beauty next to him. "What'll you have?"

"An appletini, please," she said.

Holt grabbed his drink and stared at it, his heart thumping in his chest, as Mike carded her. He went off to get her order, so she must have been of age, but she couldn't be much older than twenty-one. She was too fresh faced. Too pure.

A piercing pain hit him, and he winced.

"Hey. Are you okay?" she asked, her voice soft with concern. "Did you have one too many, maybe?"

He wished that were his fucking problem. Turning to her, he tightened his grip on his glass. He was determined not to let his vocabulary slip, and to send her running as quickly as possible. A girl like her shouldn't be around a guy like him. He was no good. "Yes. I'm fine."

"Okay." She smiled. "How are you tonight?"

Feeling like a bastard. "I'm ... fine. You?"

"Awful." She dropped the side of her head on her hand, facing him, and smiled. Jesus, she was too gorgeous to be talking to someone like him. "I've had a really bad couple of days, to be honest."

That seemed to be going around. Instead of snarling back at her to scare her away, like he should have, he wanted to ... help her. Make her feel better. "What happened?"

"Well ..." She stared down at the bar. "My boyfriend of two months slept with my old college roommate the other day, for starters."

Fucking prick. Anyone who would do that to someone as sweet-faced as her deserved a punch to the nuts. So she was single, then. But she still had a roommate. That screamed of college or some shit like that. How old was she? "Then he's an asshole."

"Why do you say that?" she asked, blinking at him.

"You're stunning. That means he must be a fool — and an asshole." He shrugged. "Obviously."

"Aw." Her smile lit up her face again. "You're sweet."

Sweet. That was the last thing he was. He was a fucking hot mess, and he should really let her know that before she got the wrong idea. "No. I'm not. You—"

"If you say so." She waved a hand as if swatting away a fly. It was adorable. "But, anyway, he was probably upset because I wouldn't put out."

That was a hell of a lot of information to give a stranger, but she seemed the open type. And it only made him like her more, which had him saying: "Then he's a prick, as well as a fool. Are you upset?"

"No, more angry than anything." She glanced over her shoulder, licked her lips, and turned back to him. "You seem like a really nice guy. So, uh, can I ask you a huge favor that's highly inappropriate?"

Seeing as he'd barely said two words to her, he had no idea how she'd decided he was a nice guy. If she knew who he was, and what he'd done, she would never have fucking called him that. Or sweet. "Uh ..."

"Okay, this is going to sound crazy, but I'm going to go for it." She leaned in and rested her hand directly next to his. Her cheeks flushed bright red. "Can you kiss me?"

He gripped his drink tighter, because, man, he wanted to. He shouldn't want to, but damn it, he did. "Jesus. Do you come on to all the men in ... in ... bars like this?"

"No, but you see, he's here. My ex. And he's watching me. Well, us, technically." She watched him through her long red lashes. "And he looks jealous because I'm with you, which makes me happy."

He glanced over his shoulder. Sure enough, some blond haired dude stood in the corner, watching them. He looked pissed as hell. He couldn't be more than twenty-three. Maybe. "That's him?"


The boy in question looked like one of those football quarterbacks who'd owned the high school hallways and everyone in them. A total douche who wouldn't know where a woman's G-spot was if you gave him a fucking compass and a map. "You could do better."

She flushed and bit down on her lower lip. "Thanks. I'm trying right now."

He wasn't better, and she was crazy if she thought he was. Crazier than he was. But even so, he wanted to be that guy for her, wanted to be nice. But kissing her wasn't really what a nice guy would do, was it?

Not when he was as fucked up in the head as Holt was.

He gripped his glass tighter. "You could do better than me, too. Trust me."

"I disagree." She eyed him, nibbling on her lower lip. "Please?"

Fuuuck, she had the damsel in distress thing down pat. And she might not know it, but he'd never been good at ignoring a woman in need. All it took was a well placed please and a flutter of the lashes and he crumbled. That, at least, hadn't changed in the war. And while he might not be good at all the things he used to be good at, there was one thing he still excelled at.

Seducing a woman.

And she'd damn well asked for it. But before he found out if her lips tasted as sweet as they looked, he had a few questions. "How old are you?"

Her cheeks pinked. "Twenty-three. I just finished grad school." She licked her lips. "You?"

Of-fucking-course. She was practically a baby, damn it. He shouldn't kiss her. Couldn't. He needed to send her running for the hills. "Twenty-seven. Too old for a sweet little girl like you. You need to—"

She rolled her eyes. "Hardly. He's coming. Please."

Damn it, she'd done it again. He shifted in his seat, watching her asshole ex. He started heading their way, frowning. All the reasons he had for not kissing her—her age, his impending migraine, the adorable innocence that made him want to protect her—faded away. The jerk needed to see that she was no longer his. "Do you want me to kiss you so you can get him back, or to show you've moved on?"

"Move on, for sure. There's no way I'll go back to—"

Curling his hand behind her neck, he hauled her close and melded his mouth to hers, cutting her off. As soon as their lips touched, everything seemed to fall into place. It was as if she was a pill he'd taken, and she'd cured him.

The anger, the confusion, the pain, the fear.

It all quieted inside his head, to be replaced by the way she felt against him.

He knew without a doubt, the instant his mouth touched hers, she was different from all the other women he'd kissed. She could make him different, too. That didn't make any sense ... and yet it did. It really fucking did.

Damned if she didn't kiss like a woman who didn't have much experience with this type of thing, and it was refreshingly sweet. She gasped into his mouth, her hands resting on his chest, and he took advantage of the opening she'd given him. Slipping his tongue between her lips, he found hers and swept across it.

Her fingers fisted his shirt, and she moaned.

It was the sexiest moan he'd ever motherfucking heard.

Deepening the kiss, he slid his hand down to the small of her back and drew her closer to him. His whole hand splayed across her from end to end, she was that damn tiny. Almost hesitantly, her hands moved up, curling over his shoulders to latch on to him for dear life. She tasted heavenly, as if she was made just for him.

And she felt like it, too.

He'd kissed a lot of women, but he'd never kissed like this. And a kiss had never made him feel so damn unsettled before. It was as if some invisible force was pushing them together, and nothing he did or said would change the fact that by the end of the night ... she'd be naked in his bed. The bizarre desire to pick her up, throw her over his shoulder, and carry her out of the bar, ass up in the air, hit him like a fist to the gut.

He ended the kiss, because even though he might not know her, he knew one thing for sure. She was the type of woman who deserved more than a one-night stand, and he couldn't give it to her. So it was time to send her running away ... for real this time.

She moaned in protest and strained to get closer. "More," she whispered.

"Uh uh." He pressed a finger to her lips, grinning at her cockily, as if she hadn't just fucked with his head with an innocent kiss. "You want any more, you need to walk out that door with me right now. Come home with me. I swear I can give you a hell of a lot more than a chaste kiss in a bar. And it'll make him hurt even more, too."

He'd bet his life that she wasn't the type to leave a bar with a strange man, so if that didn't make her babble a few quickly strewn together reasons she had to go back to her friends, then he'd wear a pink dress to work tomorrow.

She blinked at him, her plump pink lips wet and swollen. "That was chaste? Are you kidding me?"

"Yep. You have no idea what I'm capable of." He trailed his hand down her thigh, something he'd never usually do without a clear invitation. But he wanted to save her from himself, before it was too late, and if she didn't reject him ... he wouldn't be able to walk away. He wanted her. "Come home with me, though, and I'll show you, baby."

He threw that last part in for good measure.

No woman liked being called baby.

"Uh ..." Glancing over her shoulder at her ex, she pressed her lips together. This was when she would, and should, tell him to kiss her ass, then spin off of the stool and run back to her safe little friends in the corner, who he could see watching them with open mouths. "You know what? Sure. Let's go."

He forced a smirk. "That's what I—" He cut himself off, her words finally registering. "Wait. What?"

She stood and held out her hand. "I said, yes."

Well, shit. Now what the fuck was he supposed to do?

He didn't own any pink dresses.


Lydia Thomas took a deep breath and smiled at the guy who'd invited her back to his place, ignoring the voices in her head shouting at her to change her mind about this whole thing. To play it safe. Life was full of choices, and she'd always taken the straight road, instead of the one less travelled. Always made the "right" choice. But not tonight. Not here. His dark hair and scruffy face screamed of danger and passion, two things she'd never had much of in her life. But the glasses he wore ... ah, they were nerdy.

And not dorky nerdy, but hot nerdy.

She normally wasn't the type to take chances, let alone go home with strange men, but she'd never met a man who was a contradiction at its finest, who made her want to go home with him on the first night. She'd spent her whole life waiting for the perfect guy, the one who would cherish her and love her forever, and who would make her feel as if she'd die if he didn't take her. One who would sweep her off her feet and make her feel like a princess.

After countless failed attempts at finding her Prince Charming among the Horny Harrys ... it was time to stop. Just stop. She'd always been the type to fall too fast, too easily, but she'd managed to kill that habit over the last year by taking things slow. Too slow, according to her jerk of an ex. So, yeah, maybe she was taking a step backwards by going home with this guy within minutes of meeting him.

But she didn't intend to fall in love with him ...

I just want to fall into his bed.

If she'd learned anything in her quest for love, and her past penchant for falling too easily, she'd learned one thing: The perfect guy didn't exist. Men nowadays were raw, real, and mostly greedy. It was time she tried lowering her expectations for a short moment. It was time to stop hunting for a prince. To stop waiting for the guy who would sweep her off her feet with his words and his touch ... and go home with the guy who made her want.

And she'd finally found that guy.

Being good was boring. It was time to have a little fun.

"Excuse me?" the guy said. He looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on why, or how. And she didn't care why, either. "I don't think I heard you correctly."

She fought back a smile. The dude seemed shocked she'd said yes, but hey, to be fair, so was she. "Oh, you heard me well enough," she said, losing herself in his dark blue eyes. It took all her concentration to carry on a conversation with him, when all she could think about was kissing him again. "I said, let's go."

He stared at her with an amusing mixture of surprise and desire. It was even more perfectly clear that when he'd made that invitation, he hadn't expected her to accept. But there was something about this guy that demanded submission. That demanded she go home with him, have the time of her life, and leave with a limp and a smile on her face in the morning. This guy could give her both those things.

On the surface, he looked like a nerdy, hot dude in glasses and a checkered shirt. Like he was more at home sitting on his couch playing his Xbox One, than sitting in a bar. She'd bet too many women wrote him off that way, too. But she'd been surrounded by two geek brothers and all their friends her whole life. And one thing she learned by eavesdropping—as younger sisters do—outside their doors? Geeks were the dirtiest, freakiest, sexiest men of them all. Hands down. And this guy might be the king of them all.


Excerpted from Taking What's His by Diane Alberts, Heather Howland. Copyright © 2015 Diane Alberts. 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.

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Taking What's His (Entangled Brazen) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
"Geeks were the dirtiest, freakiest, sexiest men of them all. Hands down. And this guy might be the king of them all." I thank writers like Diane, Tessa Bailey and Megan Erickson for giving me all the sexy nerd books I can handle this spring. I've been waiting for this to become a thing and, thanks to these ladies, it has. Y'all can keep your rockstars and billionaire playboys, I'll have my hands full with the hot, dirty nerds. ;)  I've been waiting for this book since Diane told me it was coming. When she told me she had a dirty nerd book on the way and that I'd already been introduced to said dirty nerd in Seducing the Princess, I remember getting out that book and flipping through until I found him. Ah, Holt. I couldn't have loved you more if I tried. His military history and how it left him just a bit broken was icing on the hot book boyfriend cake.  Not only did this book give me the dirty talkin' nerd I needed in my life, it featured one of my favorite tropes – the crush on the best friend's brother. I'm an only child, so I can't begin to tell you just why I love this trope so much, but I do. I really do. It gets me every single time.  Lydia was a great, strong female lead. She was determined to get what she wanted – Holt – even if it meant it was only for one night and that she had to withhold some pertinent information from him. She and Holt had oodles of chemistry and I really liked them together. Opposites attract and the meeting of Holt's darker side and Lydia's lightness here couldn't illustrate that more clearly. This thing between them might've started out as a one-night stand, but it definitely grew into something more. They had some obstacles to get through before they could make a go of it and I was in their corner, cheering them along the whole time.  I devoured this book in one sitting and I'm actually sitting here thinking about giving it a reread as I type this. Not only did it bring the sexy times you would expect from a Brazen novel, it definitely punched me in the feels a couple times, too. Taking What's His brings a bit more emotion than the average Brazen book and I loved it. Of course, I fully believe Diane can do no wrong and I can't wait to see what kind of sexy as sin man and strong woman she gives us next.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Marcy99 More than 1 year ago
This book has my favorite type of hero: a nerdy wounded warrior. The Shillings Agency series just keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to see what the author has in store for us next!
VidaB More than 1 year ago
Nerd Alert This was a dynamite read from beginning to end. From the first moment you meet Holt you can see that he is a damaged man, from one explosive device and the loss of his marine brothers. Lydia is a woman looking for a distraction from her cheating ex who was upset that she wouldn't put out for him. Who knew that one question was all it took for these two to drown out the rest of the world and get lost in each other. Unfortunately Lydia realizes that Holt is her brother's best friend and that if he knew she would be off limits. In one night, passion explodes and takes them both on a journey that is sure to break both of their hearts especially when Holt finally realizes that he wants more but is thrown for a loop once he finds out Lydia really is. Lydia and Holt in trying to stay away from each other, they are fooling themselves. The connection they share is too strong, too combustible, and there's no denying it. This was a great fast-paced contemporary romance with characters that I adored and a satisfying storyline that kept my eyes glued to the pages. This is a one nighter ladies and I dare you to try to put it down once you have begun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know a lot of service men and women who have PTSD and TBI tramatic brain injury and not enough is information is out there. When men and women suffer they sometimes suffer silently and our to proud to ask for help. Thanks for addressing this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, at only 150 pages, check the price before you purchase. Second, there are way too many f-bombs, d-bombs, s-bombs, and mf-bombs. Third, the book is way too shallow with few supporting characters, who are not fleshed out. And to think that one woman can just simply eliminate the effects of TBI buy her love is naive, at best. Just not a real world story and I would hate to think that some one reading this would go into fantasy mode with a vet with problems.
ReneeEntress More than 1 year ago
4 star If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books(s) first Temporarily Yours (Shillings Agency, #1) Stealing His Heart (Shillings Agency, #2) Seducing the Princess (Shillings Agency, #3) This is Lydia and Holt’s story. Holt is an ex-marine turned nerd.  Lydia is a good girl.  After breaking up with her boyfriend Lydia runs into Holt.  One kiss turns into one night.  After that one night she is gone.  She realized he is her brother’s friend so she runs. Holt wants and needs more than one night from her.  But she ran out on him.  Can they make something work without anyone finding out?  What happens when mistakes are made?  Will Holt give up Lydia as he believes he does not deserve to be happy?   I felt I was able to connect with the characters and the story was a great read.  I recommend this book and can’t wait for the next story in this series.
ETrupkiewicz More than 1 year ago
All it takes to stop you in your tracks and start your life in a totally new direction, sometimes, is a single moment. Maybe beyond your control. Former Marine Holt Cunningham knows that better than anyone. After an explosion kills the rest of his comrades and leaves him with a terrible head injury, he winds up stateside as an IT technician. Talk about a fall from grace. Still dealing with migraines, insomnia, nightmares, and more ... all the earmarks of PTSD ... he picks up a beautiful girl in a bar to chase the pain away. Problem is, after one stunningly sexy night together, he can't get her out of his mind. Lydia Thomas was getting over her own disaster --- a cheating ex --- when she ran into Holt at the bar. He seems familiar, but she dismisses the thought in favor of a steamy night with him, hoping to erase her bad memories. By the time she realizes who he is ... her older brother's best friend ... it's too late. She wants him badly enough to risk it. Neither wants to be the one to tell Lydia's brother, but neither can deny the mutual attraction, getting hotter all the time. Now what? TAKING WHAT'S HIS, by New York Times bestselling author Jen McLaughlin writing as Diane Alberts, debuted just last month from Entangled Publishing's Brazen imprint. If you like your romance hot and the sex scenes plentiful and scintillating, you've come to the right place. Holt is a study in contrariness, making him a fascinating character to stick with throughout the book. Only part of the dichotomy has to do with the anxiety and panic he still suffers after serving his country. His loyalty to Lydia's older brother is paramount, given their similar backgrounds.  Still, Holt is a unique combination of selfless and greedy, determined and needy, gallant and deliciously dirty in the bedroom. It's no wonder Lydia can't get him out of her head, not after the single taste he gave her in the bar. Meanwhile, Lydia is equally torn between love for and loyalty to her brother, who does genuinely want what's best for her, and her desire for Holt, which starts out as innocent (if it can be called that) sexual attraction and burgeons quickly into concern, care, and then much more than she expected. With intriguing secondary characters (let's hope there are companion novels in the works!) and an admirable approach to a touchy topic like PTSD, McLaughlin has penned a winning work of erotic fiction. # # # Author: Jen McLaughlin writing as Diane Alberts Title: TAKING WHAT'S HIS ISBN: 978-1-63375-259-7 Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anlenhart1 More than 1 year ago
Who doesn't love a wounded hero who tries to stay loyal to his friends and fights his attraction to his best friends little sister? Not me, I ate this book up. Holt is a trouble former Marine, who currently works as an IT guy for company his friends founded. He meets Lydia at a bar and they share a hot one night stand, that leaves him hungry for more. The next day at a company party, he meets his best friends Steve's little sister... guess who ... Lydia.. Their relationship just go interesting... See how it ends by reading Taking What's his...  I really enjoyed this book because it was the perfect mix of sex and story. The characters were realistic, interesting, and had great chemistry. I enjoyed having both a strong hero  and heroine. Ms. Alberts had a great shout out for fans of Dr. Who! I plan to continue reading this series..  I was given a free copy for an honest review from the publisher Entangled Publishing.  
Cheryl-S More than 1 year ago
Holt Cunningham is the sexiest nerd I've ever read about. A marine injured has come home to be an IT tech. One night with a woman who actually chased the nightmares away and she ends up being his best friends little sister. A little sister who is off-limits. Lydia Thomas doesn't realize right away, Holt is her brother's best friend. When she does, the sparks are too hot to ignore. Is being with Lydia worth losing his best friend?  This is a tragic, sexy, loving and romantic story about one man finding comfort in the arms of a woman that he's not supposed to touch. There was just enough of a dom/sub relationship to have a fun and sexy time in the bedroom. Holt is a little rough around the edges but a total sweetheart inside. Fantastic read! Diane Alberts, you definitely have a new fan.  Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews by Kim Oh my God. I’m in love with a Gamma. Holt Cunningham is a thick-rimmed black glasses, plaid shirt wearing Clark Kent. He’s former military with a dark, tragic past. He’s a guy who’s up for one-night stands, but doesn’t do sleepovers or commitment. He’s an IT guy for Shillings Agency and is one amazing coder. “You have no idea how dangerous a guy like me can be.” Oh yes. I am melting here. “Geeks were the dirtiest, freakiest, sexiest men of them all. Hands down. And this guy might be the king of them all.” Yes. That describes Holt to a “T”. I so want to be his heroine. *Sigh.* Oh. The book. Yes, the book. Ahem. Taking What’s His is a forbidden romance, featuring the best friend sibling troupe. Holt is just....sigh. Sorry. Holt Cunningham is an IT guy for Shillings Agency, a security firm in Maine. Like all the employees of the agency, he’s former military and sustained injuries while fighting in war. He’s a soldier through and through and is not too happy that he’s now stuck behind a desk. He keeps the extent and pain of his injury to himself. I wanna be Lydia Thomas. She’s the younger sister of Steven Thomas, Holt’s best friend and co-worker. Lydia is a recent college grad, with a degree in nursing. She’s independent, strong, and self-assured. In an attempt to make her former boyfriend jealous, she kisses Holt and agrees to one night of letting her inner bad girl go wild. You hear all the time that a hero and heroine are perfect for each other for whatever reasons. But seriously, Holt and Lydia are truly perfect for each other. She understands his war injuries and is able to support him when he needs the support, whether he wants it or not. Holt is the guy who allows Lydia to step out of her comfort zone and be the woman she wants and needs to be. He doesn’t believe he’s what she needs or is good enough for her but their chemistry between the sheets and out is playful and hot. “You said if I knocked, you’d always let me in. I’m knocking.” ~ If only I was Lydia to open the door. Diane Alberts continues to prove why she’s one of my must read authors with Taking What’s His. If you’re looking for a hot read with loveable characters, this is the book for you. **Received a copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.** Rating: 4.5
JaneyC More than 1 year ago
Bloody loved Holt!   This was a great addition to this series, and a definite improvement on the last one IMO. Holt Cunningham finds himself on his usual trail, following a day at the Shillings office.  In a bar, perusing the scene, pickup ahoy. Infact, he&rsquo;s done little more since returning from a military mission that had detonated his life, physically and mentally. Lydia Thomas is the little sister of Steven, a member of Shillings Agency. She finds herself in a bar after slight male distraction, following her relationship break up. Seeing her ex walk in, she grabs the guy next to her and requests a kiss. Little does he know that she is already aware of who he is. A hurried kiss leads onto a longer night, which leaves its impression on both of them. I celebrated both these characters, because of their well established personalities. Holt earned all the ticks for my attention; dark &amp; dominant, broody &amp; bossy, dirty talking deviant..yes, and hiding under the shadows of a geek. I relished his reveal, I felt his vulnerability, and Lydia was just the right compassionate soul to soothe him. <b>ARC provided by entangled publishing in exchange for an honest review..</b>
Lori-Gonzo More than 1 year ago
You take a smoking hot Marine with GLASSES and mix with a feisty young woman who goes for what she wants and what do you get?  A freaking hot read with a spontaneous combustible connection.  Holt (love the name) is a messed up broken man who feels he doesn't deserve happiness in his life.  I so wanted to comfort and console him throughout this book.  It was saddening to me that a hero felt this way after all he had been through.  But I loved the way Lydia helped him want what he felt he couldn't have.  A beautiful story from start to finish that was heartwarming and sweet, with a lot of spice.  The spice was very nice.  I loved how he directed her and she loved it.  Very hot!  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
aprilrenee1976 More than 1 year ago
Moving story that has attraction at its finest ***A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review****** Here is the hero is a man who is suffering from PTSD and he meets a hot woman in a bar who makes him forget his troubles for a night. Thing is, he finds out next day she is the younger sister of his colleague Steven. He is very much attracted to her but she feels so good he's willing to forget the rules, as long as things don't get &ldquo;serious.&rdquo;. In the hero&rsquo;s mind, he thinks he can give her nothing so he doesn&rsquo;t want to get series but in the heroine&rsquo;s eyes, she knows he can give her everything, can she take a risk and prove to him he can give her what she wants and needs and in the end, can she save him too? This is the story of Holt and Lydia. I loved this story of how they meet and how the attraction between them flared and went out of control. It was like a match that lit and flamed hot immediately. Their sexual scenes were so intense, the author knew how to get it across, the way they were feeling and to get across their attraction and feelings. I also like how Lydia helped Holt with his PTSD. She makes him realize that the only way his PTSD will improve is if he is willing to share his emotional and physical symptoms with his friends and with her. Lydia was a warm, funny, and great character. She sees the greatness in Holt despite his telling to her different, and she was willing to take a chance on him. I really enjoyed this story and do recommend this read . My rating: 4.5 stars **** 
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
This sexy romance, book four in the Shillings Agency series but easily read as a standalone is the story of Holt and Lydia. Holt suffers from PTSD, physical as well as emotional symptoms from an IED explosion that ended his military career and has resulted in his new job in IT at the Shillings security agency. A hot one night stand with a beautiful woman he meets at a bar helps him forget his troubles for a night - until she turns out to be the younger sister of his colleague Steven. She's off limits but being with her feels so good he's willing to forgo the rules, so long as things don't get serious. He feels he has nothing to offer Lydia except sex. Can she convince him that he's wrong? I liked the plot setup for this story, and the attraction between Holt and Lydia was sizzling. The love scenes between them were intense and well written. The one thing that bothered me was the excessive use of the F-word particularly in how Holt thinks and talks (I counted 137 times in the story - in contrast the first Shilling's Agency book used the F-word 40 times.) I'm quite used to it being used in romance novels but after seeing it 4 times on the first page I started to notice whenever it was used and it was distracting. I liked Holt's character otherwise and the way being with Lydia made him think about his life and what he wanted for his future. She makes him realize that the only way his PTSD will improve is if he is willing to share his emotional and physical symptoms with his friends and with her. Lydia was a delightful character- funny, friendly, warm and caring. She sees the goodness in Holt despite his assurances to her to the contrary, and is willing to take a chance on him. The secondary characters were interesting and it was nice to see some from previous stories in the series as well as new ones that definitely have story potential. I've always really enjoyed this author's writing and though this one won't stand out as a favourite, I'm looking forward to the next in the series. 3.5 stars.
Nicolerko More than 1 year ago
If you like your hunky heroes who talk dirty as an art form this is your book. Man Holt has a way with words and the heroine Lydia sure appreciates it. Poor Holt he believes taking Lydia home for a one night stand will help him forget, but he soon realizes how special Lydia is and one night won't be enough. Holt has a lot of physical and emotional scars from his time overseas and being with Lydia makes all the disappear too bad he doesn't know Lydia is his best friend's little sister. The heat between these two is off the charts hot! Holt is a sexy glasses wearing nerd who has an alpha side. But will Holt risk his friendship for who could be the &quot;one&quot;?
bouncyberthaCR More than 1 year ago
4.5 - &quot;If you'll knock, I'll let you in.&quot; Stars! Diane Alberts Shillings Agency series has so far offered up the good, the mediocre and the pretty damn special. Taking What&rsquo;s His definitely falls in the latter category for me. In fact, I would even go as fast as to say that Holt Cunningham has just edged Cooper Shillings into second place on my list of Shillings favorites. &rdquo;You have no idea how dangerous a guy like me can be.&rdquo; Maybe not, but I was really happy to find out whilst I read the book. This is your average, run-of-the-mill &lsquo;brother&rsquo;s best-friend&rsquo; trope, with a few geeky twists thrown in for good measure. Holt is ex-military, and working in IT at Shillings is not very high on the excitement and adrenalin scale, however he is still very much dealing with his time in the Marines, and the issues that he has bought home with him limit the things he can do, and often stifle the man he wants and is trying to be, so much so that relationships and commitment are way down his list of priorities, one night, no-strings is a big as the commitment gets for him. I really liked Lydia, she was bright, sparky and the perfect light to Holts dark. It really worked for their development as a couple, she challenged and pushed him, and didn&rsquo;t back off when he tried to push her away. Diane also managed to add in some really sexy-times between the pair of them as well, Holt has got mad oral skills, in both senses of the word! This book goes a little deeper than some of the books in the series, the author gave both characters great back-stories, Holt and his issues, played a massive part in that, but Lydia and her's also rounded it all out nicely and it all clicked together into one really great read. &rdquo;No more running. No more fear.&rdquo; I hope that we get more from this series and this author through Entangled&rsquo;s, Brazen imprint really soon, a fresh twist and a great couple in a tried and tested trope has rejuvenated the Shillings Agency series, I can only hope that Steven (Lydia&rsquo;s brother, Holt's friend/colleague) gets his story told next&hellip; ARC generously provided via Entangled, and it was my pleasure to provide the above honest review.
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Deliciously,scintillating read. Taking What's His was most definitely a sexy read. Normally not the type of book I gravitate to, I found it to be a good read. Received an ARC of this story for an honest review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Upon being pat on the head, she is happy to please her master. She gets on her knees and waits.