Too Hard to Handle (Black Knights Inc. Series #8)

Too Hard to Handle (Black Knights Inc. Series #8)

by Julie Ann Walker

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402294556
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Series: Black Knights Inc. Series , #8
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 46,312
File size: 718 KB

About the Author

Julie Ann Walker is the USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She'll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.

Read an Excerpt

Too Hard to Handle


By JULIE ANN WALKER

Sourcebooks, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Julie Ann Walker
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4022-9455-6


CHAPTER 1

Cusco, Peru
Friday, 4:55 p.m.

"You eat another bite of that damned guinea pig and I swear the next thing you'll see is my Technicolor yawn."

Dan "The Man" Currington glanced over at his friend and teammate and lifted a brow. In the two days they'd been in the little city nestled in a high valley of the Andes Mountains, Dagan Zoelner had yet to sample the local delicacy. And since it was an unwritten rule among operators — and men in general, come to think of it — that outgrossing each other rated just under out-insulting, outshooting, and outfighting each other, he reached into the tinfoil-wrapped snack he'd purchased from a street vendor, pulled off a drumstick, and sucked the juicy grilled meat from the bone. The devil in him insisted he chew slowly and make nom-nom noises.

Zoelner's upper lip curled back. He shuddered and scooted to the opposite end of the bench, tucking his chin into his scarf.

Mark one for the Dan Man! Dan put a checkmark in the W column of his imaginary scoreboard of life.

"For the record," he said, licking his fingers and absently noting the way the cool, dry air whispered down from the mountaintops, interrupting the rhythmic burble of the fountain at their backs and teasing the ends of his hair, "I've eaten way worse. Undercooked, day-old goat meat in the Qandil Mountains of Iraq comes to mind. That shit'll grow some pretty radical hair on your chest. I guarantee."

Although they were lounging lazily on a park bench in the big square in the center of the city, Dan's eyes clocked the movements of every tourist that passed by him. Cusco was bustling with travelers hoping to make it down to Machu Picchu before the rainy season set in and the area around the ancient Incan ruins turned soupy. But it was one particular face he was looking to find, the same face he'd been looking to find for what was beginning to seem like an eternity. Fuckin'-A.

"Also for the record," he continued conversationally, keeping up the appearance that he and Zoelner were just part of the crowd, sightseers out enjoying the day, "they don't call it guinea pig. They call it cuy. And it's kinda g —"

"Since apparently we're putting things on the record today," Zoelner interrupted, "I'd like to add that, for the record, it's a rodent."

"So's a rabbit. A guy like you musta eaten a rabbit at some point, right?"

"Wrong." Zoelner shot him an emphatic look. "When it comes to meat, I'm a fan of the big three. Beef, chicken, and pork. The holy trifecta of barnyard animals. And what the hell do you mean by a guy like me?"

Dan stuck his tongue in his cheek. Zoelner had been pricklier than a porcupine the last forty-eight hours. And Dan would have chalked up his bad mood to the fact that they'd yet to complete their assignment to capture and exfiltrate hombre numero uno on Uncle Sam's shit list, except that Chelsea Duvall had joined their little clandestine venture two days ago. And that had made their dynamic duo a tension-filled trio and —

"He means that besides being a grumpy Gus pain-in-the-butt, you're a guy with a job that requires you to go on missions to the ass-ends of the earth, where the holy trifecta of barnyard animals sometimes isn't on the menu." A rusty-sounding female voice echoed through their tiny earpieces.

And speak of the devil.

"Funny. I don't remember opening this conversation up to comments from the peanut gallery." Zoelner scowled. He always scowled when talking to Chelsea ... or about Chelsea. The two had been coworkers back in the day. And Dan supposed they were sort of coworkers again, given that Chelsea had officially been named the CIA's liaison to Black Knights Inc.

"And for the record," Chelsea continued, as if Zoelner hadn't spoken, "rabbits were part of the scientific order Rodentia until sometime around the turn of the twentieth century. They've since been reclassified to something called Lagomorpha, which means they aren't technically rodents anymore, but —"

"I don't give a fiddler's fuck what they're classified as," Zoelner interrupted. "My point is, I haven't eaten one. And in case you were both unaware" — he slid Dan's half-consumed snack a wary glance — "there's always chicken available. Always. Or beans! Dear God, what's so wrong with getting your daily dose of protein from an innocuous little legume?"

"Nothing's wrong with it," Chelsea admitted. A subtle smacking noise sounded over the airwaves. "It's just that beans are bland, not nearly as tasty as other, say, meatier choices."

Zoelner blanched just as a bus made to look like a trolley car trundled by on the brick street in front of them, belching exhaust fumes into the crisp mountain air. "Are you eating something, Chels?" he inquired hesitantly.

"I skipped lunch," came Chelsea's reply. "And when I heard Dan chewing, I realized my belly button was rubbing a sore spot on my backbone. So I asked the baker's son to go out to get me a snack."

"What kind of snack?" Zoelner ventured to ask.

"Cuy."

Zoelner made a retching sound and Chelsea's low, husky laugh resonated in their ears.

Dan shook his head. He, for one, was glad she'd joined them. She added some much- needed comic relief to two guys who, due to their natures and a few karmic punches in the gut from life, were typically sullen and withdrawn.

"I was thinking about our sleeping arrangements, Chels," Dan blurted. Number one, because it was sure to freak Zoelner out. And number two, because he was bored as shit. From the very beginning, this assignment had been nothing but schlepping ass from one South American city to the next, following leads that either turned out to be a whole lot of hooey, or else didn't pan out because the CIA kept fucking things up by being all bull-in-the-china-shoppy. The overeager sonsofbitches. And for the record, this current lead was looking to wind up at the same deader-than-dead end, so what was the harm in stirring the pot that held Dagan Zoelner and Chelsea Duvall and livening up his day?

Sure enough, Zoelner turned to him, eyes wide, expression plastered with What the hell are you doing? Dan let his eyelids hang at half-mast and paired them with a shit-eating grin.

"What do you mean?" Chelsea's tone was cautious.

Dan's grin widened. "I was just thinking it's sorta unfair for Zoelner and me to get the soft feather bed and leave you on that rickety ol' cot." The room they'd rented above the bakery a quarter mile from their current position had approximately the same square footage as a Triscuit, smelled strongly of powdered sugar and yeast, and came equipped with one full-sized bed and one pint-sized cot. Masquerading as a group of money-tight backpackers in order to keep a low profile came with certain disadvantages.

"Besides," he continued, "Zoelner doesn't like it when I'm the big spoon. And I refuse to be the little spoon. So I was thinking maybe if this lead doesn't pan out, you and I could switch places tonight, and —"

"No!" Chelsea and Zoelner barked in unison. Dan had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing out loud. Zoelner flipped him the bird by way of pretending to scratch his eyebrow with his middle finger.

"I'm perfectly fine with the cot," Chelsea insisted.

"And I don't let you be the big spoon because I'm afraid of what you'll do to me in your sleep," Zoelner added. "Every damn night you dream about that chick you worked with in Kuala Lumpur. And then you moan and whisper, 'Penni, oh, Penni!' It skeeves me out."

If Dan was the blushing type, he would have been red from the tops of his ears to the tips of his toes. As it was, he simply swallowed and hoped Zoelner couldn't see how just the mere mention of Penni's name made his blood run hot.

"Penni?" Chelsea asked, the timbre of her voice that of a woman who smelled gossip in the air. "Ooooh, do tell, Dan. And don't leave anything out. I could use a good romantic story. The tediousness of this assignment is getting to me."

The smirk Zoelner sent him was evil enough to scare the devil himself, and Dan could do nothing but tip his head, giving the guy points for summarily turning the tables. "You won that round, you big penis-wrinkle," he whispered from the corner of his mouth. Louder, he tried to sidestep the issue. "And tedious, Chels? Really? You've only been doing this two days. Try three months!"

"Yes, yes," she agreed. "You poor, abused clandestine government operators. I'm sure there's moss growing on your weapons as we speak. Now stop stalling and spill."

So much for sidestepping ...

"Nothing to tell," he insisted, the cuy having lost its appeal. He folded the tinfoil around the little carcass and tossed the whole thing in the trash can a couple of feet from the end of the bench. Fishing in the hip pocket of his jeans, he snagged a pack of Chiclets — the only gum he'd been able to find in all of Peru — and popped a couple of the candy-coated squares in his mouth. The taste of spearmint exploded on his tongue.

"Nice try," Chelsea snorted.

"Fine." He sighed, sending Zoelner a look that promised slow, painful retribution for bringing up this particular topic. "Agent Penni DePaul was part of the Secret Service detail attached to the president's daughter when el Jefe" — that's how the boys and girls of BKI always referred to the commander in chief ... when he wasn't in the room with them, of course — "saw fit to send me, Steady, and Ozzie in to provide backup support. Penni and I had to work together when everything went to hell in a handbasket because of Winterfield's black-hearted treachery."

Even had el Jefe not tasked BKI, and Dan specifically, with bringing in the asshole, he would have considered it his own personal mission. Not only did he have an inherent stake, given the hell he'd been through in Malaysia, but he'd also decided this job was the perfect opportunity for him to show all his friends and teammates that he was back to being an asset and not just a grief-stricken asshat. To thank them for putting up with his sorry self when he'd spent a year sitting at the bottom of a whiskey bottle, followed by another year doing his damnedest to crawl back out.

But fat lot of headway I've made on the mission so far. Winterfield was still in the wind. And Dan couldn't think of a more ridiculous way to try to catch the guy than sitting around and hoping to see him pass by. But their Intel had only specified that Winterfield might be meeting a buyer in Cusco so ...yeah. Whatcha see is whatcha get ...

"And after it was all over?" Chelsea prompted, dragging his mind back to Penni. Although, in truth, in three months it'd never strayed all that far from the woman. Which was a problem. "Then what happened?"

"What do you think happened? The only thing that could happen, given she's a Secret Service agent and I'm ..."A widower. A drunk. A —

"A wannabe street punk from Detroit Rock City?" Zoelner supplied, pronouncing it Dee-troit.

"Hey, don't knock Motown, man," Dan harrumphed. "As Kid Rock once said, 'Cars and rock 'n' roll. It's a good combo.'"

"I think Dan meant that she's a Secret Service agent and he's a supersecret, legally suspect, blacker-than-black operator," Chelsea added not so helpfully.

"Legally suspect?" Now it was Zoelner's turn to harrumph. "How many times do we have to go over this? It's not that what we at BKI do for the president is illegal necessarily. It's just that we sort of skirt around the edges of international law ... or find the loopholes. And you're one to talk. The evil shit The Company has been known to get up to makes all of us at Black Knights Inc. look like angels sent straight from heaven."

"That mighta been pushing it," Dan mumbled, hoping Zoelner had distracted Chelsea from the topic at hand.

He should have known better. "Zip it, Z," she said, "and let Dan finish."

Dan envisioned her pulling a bowl of popcorn into her lap and hunkering down for a long, sordid tale. So he was doomed to disappoint her when he finished succinctly with, "Long story short, we went our separate ways."

For a couple of seconds, silence reigned in his earpiece. Then she made a rude noise. "Why do men do that?"

"Do what?" Zoelner asked.

"Leave out all the good parts?" she grumbled.

"Because those good parts are filed under None of Your Goddamn Business," Dan informed her as a vision of Penni as she'd been the last time he'd seen her, mourning and exhausted, flashed through his head.

Agent Penelope Ann DePaul had the understated, honest type of beauty most men didn't immediately pick up on. But the more you looked at her, the more breathtaking she became. Because not only did she have dark, shiny hair, deep brown eyes — kind eyes, that's the first thing he'd noticed about her — and a set of legs that should be illegal, but she was the sort of woman who displayed innate grace and tended toward straight talk. The kind who'd never faked a laugh or an orgasm or —

Oh, perfect.

The thought of Penni in the throes of rapture, what she would look like with her head thrown back, her long neck arched, was enough to have the moron behind his zipper twitching with interest. And just in case Zoelner hadn't yet noticed the untimely bulge behind his fly — the man had a mean eye when it came to details — Dan hooked an ankle over the opposite knee and surreptitiously stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jacket, pulling the material over his lap.

"Fine," Chelsea harrumphed. "Be that way. But at least tell me this." Dan groaned as if his nuts were caught in a vise. "You're dreaming about her every night, right?"

Roger that. Dreams so hot, so vivid, he was surprised none of them had been wet. And considering he was currently sharing a bed with Zoelner? Yeah, talk about having some explaining to do.

Then again, he supposed his current dreams were better than the nightmares he'd been suffering for most of the past two-plus years. Nightmares of his wife covered in blood and dead in his arms, shot by a psycho right in the courtyard of BKI where she should have been safe, where he should have kept her safe ...

He shuddered, hunching deeper into his jacket. He figured he was past the worst of his grief. He no longer spent his days wishing for death. But thinking back on that awful evening was still like scraping a fingernail over a raw nerve. He suspected it always would be.

Living in the past is victimization. Living in the future is manipulation. Live in the present ...

One of the many mantras he'd picked up at AA whispered through his head, and he did his best to shake off the heavy weight of heartache that made him want to reach for a drink. Instead, he concentrated on the now. Easy enough when Chelsea got tired of waiting for him to respond and inquired, "So then why haven't you tried to contact her?"

"Well, 'cause she made it pretty clear she didn't want —" His words came to a halt so fast he thought maybe his larynx came equipped with air brakes.

"What?" Chelsea demanded impatiently. "What did she make clear?"

Dan ignored her, rubbing a hand over the back of his neck.

Zoelner immediately sensed the change in him. "What?" he asked, casually reaching inside his jacket pocket for his weapon. "You have that feeling again?"

He was referring to the creepy, crawly sensation Dan had suffered since they landed in Cusco. One minute he was fine. The next minute, it was like a whole colony of invisible ants skittered over the back of his neck and scalp. "You don't feel that?" he asked.

"Dude," Zoelner said, "look who you're talking to. I pretty much live in a constant state of paranoia. I think it's a factory setting Langley installed."

"That and the ability to blend into a crowd and go statue-still at the drop of a hat," Dan added, never before having seen anyone quite as chameleonlike as Zoelner.

"Eh." Zoelner shrugged. "That has less to do with Langley and more to do with my old man."

"Oh, do tell," Chelsea piped up. She was determined to get a story out of one of them.

"Some other time," Zoelner said. "Like, maybe next century."

Whatever Chelsea said in response was lost on Dan because he got another jolt of bad juju.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Too Hard to Handle by JULIE ANN WALKER. Copyright © 2015 Julie Ann Walker. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
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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Too Hard to Handle 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The constant hum of sexual tension was prevalent throughout. The intrigue and suspense was a continuation of others in the BKI series. Dan has been through his own hell and I am so glad he got his HEA. The sex scenes were sizzling hot!!! Another great in the BKI series for Julie Ann Walker.
ReadingInPajamas More than 1 year ago
Spotlight, Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Too Hard To Handle by Julie Ann Walker http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-2U9 **Go to post to enter to WIN a Signed Set of Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knights, Inc. Series** Release Date: September 1, 2015 Genre: Romantic Suspense Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna Rated 5 Stars REVIEW: Reading this Black Knights Inc. novel was like visiting a favorite friend. The groups lighthearted bantering is so much fun, especially amidst the chaos of battle. I was happy to see that Dan as emerged from his depression and was a big part of that camaraderie. Penni? I liked her right off and enjoyed the chemistry between the two. They didn’t fight their connection to each other even though outside forces sure threw a few curve-balls. And as always the dangerous action had a new edge that I always appreciate from Ms. Walker and combining it with the hot romance made another winner for me. I loved it. *Review copy provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## Disappointed. That's how I feel after reading this book. Dan is a widower and I do not like books with dead wives. I wish I had been warned in the overview. The constant comparisons and living up to her memory. Ugh. He even makes up a nickname for the heroine because their names were similar and he doesn't want to accidentally yell out his wife's name. Come on....how does anyone find this romantic or sexy? When they are in his bed and he knocks over his wife's picture... and on and on it goes. Then the whole jumping time thing was frustrating as well. 6 months later....Sorry, I can't recommend this book.
AMR0406 More than 1 year ago
If you like romantic suspense with super sexy, passionate scenes that make you squirm a little while reading, you must read Too Hard To Handle by Julie Ann Walker. She will have your heart racing one minute and melting the next. It’s a wild ride with the main characters, Dan and Penni. One you won’t want to miss! I didn’t get the chance to read Dan and Penni’s intro in past stories (Walker sets all heroes/heroines up in prior books in the BKI series) but I do remember when Dan lost his wife and that was unbelievable and heart breaking. I couldn’t imagine how Dan was going to heal and move on but am so glad for Penni! The easy going way between Dan and Penni is refreshing in romance when you have to build up a conflict at some point between them. This one was great. I was a little bummed how quickly Penni put the breaks on between her and Dan but I probably would have felt the same way in that situation. The ending, however, was perfect. As with all of the Black Knights books, the camaraderie between all the guys is just awesome. They know when to joke around, when to call each other on their $hit, and when to buckle down and get to business. It’s like coming home when I read one of these books! In Too Hard To Handle, we are also treated to Dagan and Chelsea’s budding romance. I look forward to reading their story because it’s going to be a feisty one. If you like romantic suspense, give the Black Knight’s series a read. While each of them build off of one another you can pick up any book and find enjoyment reading it as a stand alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rhodes123 More than 1 year ago
This is a FAN-Freakin-Tastic Series. You will fall in love with everything about this series because it's addictive from the first book and it just keeps you coming back for more! To Hard To Handle is the 8th book in the BKI series and it has hot alpha males, hilarious dialogue, and "take no crap" females and the action packed pages keeps those pages turning and the lust keeps you intrigued. This may be a series and it's better if you read them in order but they can be read as a stand alone issue. I guarantee that once you pick up these books that you will fall in love with the rough and ready alpha's and the sassy gals they fall for.
blonde_betty More than 1 year ago
I am not generally a fan of interrupted HEAs. If a character has found their HEA one of my rules is that nothing bad can happen. I have to believe characters are safe if they have gone through the trial by fire to reach that point. Yes, bad things happen, but in fiction they shouldn’t have to in quite the same way. This bone deep belief caused me some grief in Julie Ann Walker’s fabulous BKI series. When Dan Man loses his wife Patti during one of BKI’s missions I was slightly ragey. Admittedly, Dan and Patti had not gone through their HEA in a book of their own, but still… established, functioning couple equals safety. I should have done a better job of trusting Walker. Too Hard To Handle, Dan’s eventual HEA was almost worth the previous dramatic couple destruction. It also gave Walker an opportunity to explore the balancing act necessary for those who come after a tragic uncoupling (no matter what causes it). Never an easy road to travel to be the next. Walker addresses these issues with grace and compassion, while also being very realistic. It also gave those of us with preconceived notions about the safety of established couples a chance to change our perspective. Admittedly, my perspective didn’t fully change, but at the end of the day, I rather enjoyed seeing Dan and Penni find happiness and Dan fully move back into the light. This book picks up a lot of threads from the previous in the series. If you haven’t read them you won’t be totally lost, but the reading experience is definitely richer if you have. It also unravels a few new threads to be picked up in future books, of which I hope there are many. There are several BKI boys who still very much deserve their HEA. If you are still wary about picking up this novel, don’t be. Walker comes full circle from the previous books and does all the characters justice.
ravenwolf_EPTX More than 1 year ago
✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ FOUR-1/2 - STAR ✩ REVIEW ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ ⭐ ⭐ Provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review ⭐ ⭐ Judging a Book by it's Cover: Shirtless man standing in an aggressive pose in front of a motorcycle. Old-world architecture and a gloomy sky lend a gloom and doom type feel to the "first impression". As a fan of the author and series, it would not have mattered what the book was about, I'd still have read it. Looking Deeper: Third-person POV. After a catastrophic mission in Malaysia, Dan returns home only to turn back around and head out on another assignment. Unaware, Penni heads to Chicago to confront him, regarding what happened back there between them. No longer a Secret Service Agent, Penni's hoping that maybe Dan can be her future, until she learns about his past. Will they find a way to work things out or will it be just Too Hard to Handle? Both characters are wonderfully strong and smart. The secondary cast consist of the BKI crew and a few new fun additions, old and new bad guys & the ever-loveable Peanut. Dan and Penni had an instant connection that drew them together regardless of them fighting against it. It was soul-deep yet scorching hot. The dialogue and interaction is always life-like and I look forward to the unexpected names, phrases and physical interaction between the BKI crew... so much fun to read. The plot was exciting and suspenseful, heart-felt and emotional, fun and witty. TOO HARD TO HANDLE possessed the 3Ds: Depth, Dimension, and Dynamics - all while flowing at a seamlessly perfect pace. There were come conflicts that popped up now and again, most of which were handled and resolved in a timely and efficient manner. I'd suspected Penni's motive several times throughout the story, so I was not not surprised by that scene. In fact, I even figured that that scene would be almost exactly as it played out. While that was not terribly detracting, it made the situation anticlimactic to a degree. I am disappointed in the ending and feel it would have greatly benefited from an epilogue. There is still a bad guy on the loose. Penni and Dan receive an implied HEA, but even their story left plenty of gaps in it. Not as solid as I'd hoped for. Overall, however, I am very pleased with the body of the story and look forward to the next BKI installment. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rating: [R] ~ Score: 4.4 ~ Stars: 4.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------
ngubandgeek More than 1 year ago
If you have been reading the Black Knights, Inc. series, then you have watched Dan go from happily married to the bottom of a bottle when his wife is killed in a violent shooting at their headquarters in Chicago. Over the past few books, readers have been able to see him slowly crawl out of the bottle and return to field work, including in Malaysia, where he meets Penni DePaul. They hooked up in Malaysia when there was the massive bombing that took out Penni’s entire secret service team and almost took out Ozzie’s leg! This story opens with Penni showing up in Chicago after quitting her job, in order to talk to Dan. Team members convince her to go to him on assignment, and she ends up being thrown into the middle of a dangerous mission as Dan and his team are trailing a traitor. Add into the mix a third party who wants both the traitor and anyone trailing him dead, and it sets up quite a situation. I loved this story, including the relationship that develops between Dan and Penni. I loved how Penni is a force to be reckoned with all on her own, which lets her fit right into the Black Knights Family. Let's just say the secrets that are revealed and the twists and turns that you don’t see coming are enough to keep you glued to your seat and to each page! Loved this story and can’t wait to read more!!!
wilsonlr More than 1 year ago
Been waiting for this one for a while. Dan the Man has had some hard times and it was great to read how he got his act back together and back on the team full time. New bad guy entering the playing field too. Great book - this series is an autobuy for me !!!
ytcruz More than 1 year ago
f you , like me have become addicted to Julie Ann Walker’s BKI series, you will love this one. Even if you haven’t read the other books, you will be able to sink into this book and will run to read the previous ones/ Dan ‘The Man” is the H in this story. After his wife Patti was killed I thought he would never survive . much less find another strong woman to fill his heart. He met Penny , our heroine , on a mission. At the time she was a Secret Service agent. Now she is a civilian and goes to Chicago looking for Dan. She finds out he is in Peru on a mission , and away she goes. That’s when the real story begins. If you like action, romance, intrigue and strong characters, this one is for you. Ms Walker always gives you a story that has many twist and turns, as well as a solid story. Enjoy the ride!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next one...and the new series.
WolfFaerie17 More than 1 year ago
Dan "The Man" Currington is a recovering alcoholic and grieving widower can't seem to get Agent Penni DePaul off his mind let alone his heart. Dan is on assignment with Dagan Zoelner and Chelsea Duvall. They are hunting Winterfield and looking for clues to his whereabouts in Cuslo. When Penni DePaul unexpectedly shows up Dan is wondering why she's here but can't deny his attraction to her either. Penni seems to be the good luck charm they needed because the clues and leads straight to capturing Winterfield once and for all. Will Penni tell Dan why she's showing up on assignment? Is Dan ready to move on? Will Winterfield be caught? Your answers await you in Too Hard to Handle. Oh my have I waited for Dan's story to be revealed since his introduction. I'm overwhelmingly pleased to finally have all the answers to my questions about this man. He's totally the Alpha male and thensome. Penni is a really good choice to partner with Dan. Looking forward to more from this must have series and author. I can't wait for the next book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story. A lot like the other 7 in the series. Just too much explicit sex - just page after page.
JKRindy More than 1 year ago
Julie Ann Walker has become my go to author to buy all things Black Knights Inc. I love her writing style. She writes about very alpha men and the women who tame them (at least a little). And.... now I am emotionally committed to her new series The Deep Six. You can never go wrong with her books. Too Hard to Handle is the 8th installment to the series and stars Dan 'The Man' Currington. Of course we have met Dan in previous installments, and sadly in one of them, his wife dies at the "compound" after a break-in at the front gate. Now 2 years later he has starting to put the pieces of his life back together after he had drowned his sorrows at the bottom of a bottle. Don't miss this installlment -- or the series ---
DebsIN More than 1 year ago
Dan "The Man" and Penni. Love it!! Julie Ann writes engaging stories of suspense, romance, love and family. This one for me, did not miss. Dan seems to have been in the background on a couple of the books, but now is front and center with his own story. This book seems to concentrate a bit more on the romance and misgivings between both Dan and Penni, but the BKI family is there to give the story its familiar feeling of camaraderie. A series you cannot miss. Give this one 4.5 stars.....Thank You Julie Ann!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sdeets More than 1 year ago
Julie Ann Walker hit the mark with this one! Penni and Dan have history, they worked on a previous case together. They have huge chemistry that Penni has to convince Dan is well worth the risk. The story was detailed, interesting, believable and rather hot! I really felt that this was one of Ms. Walker's best ones yet!
PJ16 More than 1 year ago
Dan "The Man" and Penni "Brooklyn had a great story. Loved everything that went on between them on the coms so everyone could hear. This story was fully of twists while searching for Spider learning more about "The Man" and the ending was so good but don't want to give it away. I can't wait to see what happens between Chelsea and Zoelner, George & Bella and what is up with our computer geek. Each book leaves me wanting more and can't wait until the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got sucked into the whole series also...... enjoyed all but the last two books. I felt that they ended very abruptly, Julie lures you in so you really connect, but these last two just fell short. I was very disapointed.
Pure_Jonel More than 1 year ago
What a fast paced and engaging novel! Walker combines suspense with subversion and plotting to create a remarkable and unmistakable BKI novel. Backed up by chemistry and characters you really get up close and personal with this story is one to remember. The lingo dialogue really makes these characters. It’s so easy to see and hear them. Dan’s confusion over feelings, beliefs, and events become apparent, taking his larger than life personal and making him real, human. The dichotomy between super secret, blacker than black ops and a true romantic really makes Dan stand out in this series. The way that Penni quotes various pieces of literature and movies in her inner monologue had me liking her even more. It gave me lots of insight into her personality. Suspense and chemistry abound throughout this novel. Walker grabbed my attention and held it throughout. I could barely put this one down. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
My_Peace More than 1 year ago
From Chicago to Peru and back again, Julie Ann Walker took me on another exhilarating journey in Too Hard To Handle. Dan is a member of Black Knights Inc., a black ops group of alpha men. Penni is a former Secret Service Agent. A few months ago an op they were involved in together not only brought them extremely close, but the op also had devasting results. Ever since, neither Dan nor Penni have forgotten the other. Now Penni has gathered her courage and sought out Dan for some unfinished business. Little does she expect to find herself in Peru embroiled in another op with him, and more danger. To survive and complete the op, their lives are on the line yet again...and if they do, will the unfinished business be the end of them or just the start? I liked the different settings in Too Hard to Handle. Not only was I in Peru, I was in Chicago as well, at the BKI compound I can picture so well thanks to Julie Ann's descriptiveness! The whole concept of BKI and the people who work there is fascinating and enthralling...because it seems so real, so dangerous, and so unexpected. I liked Dan and Penni's story. I really liked Dan as a hero in Too Hard to Handle. He has had his fair share of struggles, and it was so nice to see how he's worked through things, how he handles what life has thrown at him, and the inner strength that seems to be innately part of him. I just really liked him, cared for him, and felt like I knew him. Penni took longer to grow on me. I didn't always like how she handled some things, the assumptions she makes, and the decisions she takes upon herself to make. However, having said that, they were difficult decisions to make, and there are complexities involved that don't make things easy for Dan and Penni. Julie Ann Walker managed to totally surprise me with parts of this plot. I had no idea what was coming! I liked how she did this, without really giving any early hints so that I was just as taken off guard as the characters! I liked this unanticipated twist of the plot and subsequently the relationship of Dan and Penni. The secondary characters in Too Hard to Handle mainly involve the other members of BKI, and I liked how they were woven in and present in the plot, but not overwhelmingly so. I would not recommend reading Too Hard to Handle as a stand alone. The other books in this series build on each other between the plots and the characters, and to have a good grasp of what is going on I'd recommend reading the series in order. Julie Ann writes it all in Too Hard to Handle. With action, danger, suspense, alpha men, and romance, the intriguing plot threads tie up nicely together. Fast paced and difficult to put down, I'd recommend Too Hard to Handle to any romantic suspense reader.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
TOO HARD TO HANDLE is the eighth installment in Julie Ann Walker’s adult, contemporary Black Knights Inc romantic/action, military suspense series focusing on an elite group of ex Navy SEALS, FBI, CIA and military heroes headquartered at a motorcycle shop known as Black Knights Inc. The men and women of Black Knights Inc are so far under the radar that they are blacker than Black Ops. This is Dark Ops operator Dan ‘The Man’ Currington, and former Secret Service agent Penni DePaul’s storyline. Penni and Dan were first introduced in FULL THROTTLE –book #7. TOO HARD TO HANDLE can be read as a standalone but each successive installment builds upon the previous storyline setting up another couple and the potential for a new relationship. Dan and Penni’s story advances the series approximately three months from their first encounter. Told from several third person points of view TOO HARD TO HANDLE finds Black Knights operatives Dan Currington and Dagan Zoelner in Peru where a three month stake out has resulted in no sightings of a rogue CIA agent charged with selling classified government secrets. While the duo, along with special operations agent Chelsea Duvall, continue their surveillance, CIA agent Penni DePaul begins her search for Dan Currington in the hopes of sitting down and discussing the possibility of a future. What ensues, is less than perfect timing, when all h*ll breaks loose and the small group become a target of an unknown gunman. When the search for the rogue CIA agent strikes pay dirt, the gunman resurfaces and this time, not only are Penni, Dan, Dagan and Chelsea targeted, but so too, is their uncooperative rogue who refuses to talk unless a deal is made. A trip back to the USA finds Penni in the midst of the Black Knights operation and once again, she will be targeted when everything begins to spiral out of control. The relationship between Penni and Dan is one of second chances; a brief affair, while on assignment, a few months earlier has left Dan questioning what it is he wants from Penni and for the future. Penni knows that her future has already been laid out-with or without Dan by her side. Dan has yet to reveal to Penni that he was once married and that his wife was brutally murdered at Black Knights Inc and the revelation will become the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ when Penni believes that she is the rebound relationship and nothing more. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive. The mile high club will get two more members joining the long list of devotees. TOO HARD TO HANDLE is an ensemble storyline with many of the previous storyline couples and characters playing supporting and secondary rolls throughout the story. Several of the girlfriends and wives will bring Penni into their growing family at Black Knights Inc., but it is Dan’s acceptance of what is and what is to come that will ensure Penni’s place in his heart and with the Black Knights family. There is a secondary storyline developing with a potential love match between Dagan Zoelner and Chelsea Duvall. The world building continues to focus on the Black Ops assignments: the rescues, the take downs, the search and destroy missions that are not quite legal but sanctioned by the highest office in the land. Each storyline takes aim at terrorism, betrayal, espionage and treason. The men and women of Black Knights Inc. are called in when everything else has failed. TOO HARD TO HANDLE is a fast paced, action packed storyline where Dan Curringto
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
As a Black Knights Inc. fan, I was so excited to see that Dan is finally on his feet again, and getting his own story. He truly deserves all the happiness, with the great loss he suffered two years prior, when his wife was shot. The sorrow, pain and mourning that nearly destroyed Dan after the loss, was heartbreaking. And when he met Penni in a previous book in the series, I got so excited, and have been waiting for this story. And it didn't disappoint me! The connection between Penni and Dan is so natural, sizzling, genuine and real. What they share is unique, and it all happens so fast, they only realize later on that there were some details about them and their lives, they might have wanted to share with each other early on. Everything is going so smoothly, they are so open and honest with each other, that when the conflict comes, it tore me apart as well. The issue between them is as real as their connection, and it was easy to understand both of their side's of the conflict, making it even more raw. But they do the work, and make the effort, with time, to find their own HEA. The suspense in the story was intense at times. The action is close combat, bloody and scary, where no one is safe, and the outcome is uncertain. Like always, the Black Knights Inc family loves to argue, spar, and bicker like no one else. It is fun, and brings light to the often dark side of their job. And Ozzie, oh, can't help but love him, and I can't wait until some woman makes him fall on his knees! Like typical with the series, there's already the next storyline stewing in the background, and it really puts a hook into the reader's mind. No, there's no cliffhanger ending, but through the story, there's little hints of what's to come in the future with the Knights. A story filled with fast action, true heroes saving the day, and criminals ready to do anything to benefit their purpose, mixed with achingly beautiful, hot, second chance in life romance, a group of people who have created a family of heart, makes a tale that I didn't want to put down, and wasn't ready for it to end... ~ Five Spoons!
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
Another great addiction to the Black Knights Series. Reviewed by Gemini Too Hard to Handle is the eighth installment in the Black Knights Inc. series. It picks up a few months after a tragic incident where several Secret Service Agents were killed. During this same event, Secret Service Agent Penelope “Penni” Depaul and BKI member Dan “The Man” Currington hooked up and may have made a connection. Now Penni has resigned from the Secret Service and set out on a personal mission to find Dan and bare all to him. Unfortunately, she ends up dropping in on him while he is on a supposedly fruitless mission in Peru. As is always the case, Penni and Dan have not disclosed their feelings to each other. Penni also has a life altering secret that she needs to share with Dan. Penni just so happens to become inserted in Dan’s new mission although she is no longer a member of the Secret Service. It’s always about revenge or redemption. There is nothing like trying to work through feelings while working a covert op. Too Hard to Handle has all of the usual cliches but it’s also a very fun read. Not only is there plenty of angst between Penni and Dan, there’s another duo that has unrequited feelings for each other that plays out with some interesting banter. There’s also plenty of action, violence, and gun play. There’s even a bat cave to add to the mystery. And did I mention that the Black Knights report to the President of the United States which means they have an array of resources and gadgets at their disposal. It’s been awhile since I read the previous book so it took a minute for me to catch up. Consequently, I would recommend that you read the previous books before you read this one in order to get a better understanding of the team dynamics of BKI , their cover story, and Penni and Dan’s prior encounters. Dan and Penni have a tendency of coitus interruptus that has to be a running joke for the author. It has to be challenging to weave romance, humor and espionage together but Too Hard to Handle does it nicely. There are some brutal scenes but the humor lightens things up fairly quickly. I would definitely be interested in reading another book in the Black Knights Inc. series. **Copy received courtesy of Sourcebooks for an honest and unbiased opinion.**