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

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

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A USA Today Bestseller!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker continues her red-hot Black Knights Inc. series in rough-and-tumble Peru

"The Man" is back
Dan "The Man" Currington is back in fighting form with a mission that takes him four thousand miles south of BKI headquarters, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. He's hot on the trail of a rogue CIA agent selling classified government secrets to the highest bidder, when Penni DePaul arrives on the scene. Suddenly the stakes are higher, and keeping Penni safe becomes Dan's number one priority.

And this time she's ready
A lot has changed since former Secret Service Agent Penni DePaul last saw Dan. Now a civilian, she's excited about what the future might hold. But before she can grab onto that future with both hands, she has to tie up some loose ends-namely, Dan Currington, the man she just can't forget. And a secret that's going to change both their lives-if they can stay alive, that is.

Black Knights Inc. Series
Hell on Wheels (Book 1)
In Rides Trouble (Book 2)
Rev It Up (Book 3)
Thrill Ride (Book 4)
Born Wild (Book 5)
Hell for Leather (Book 6)
Full Throttle (Book 7)
Too Hard to Handle (Book 8)
Wild Ride (Book 9 — coming April 2017!)

Praise for Full Throttle:
Heart-pounding...Walker has outdone herself." -Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Quick witted and action packed." -RT Book Reviews, 4 stars
"Amazing...took me on the ride of my life." -The Book Whisperer
"A wonderful, intense story with fabulous romantic tension." -Tome Tender

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681415475
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Series: Black Knights Inc. Series , #8
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 6.04(w) x 5.04(h) x 1.13(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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 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.

Lesa Lockford is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University. She teaches courses in voice for the actor, dialects, acting, and performance studies. She is also a writer and performer. Before becoming a teacher, she was a professional actor in Great Britain where she appeared in a variety of roles in television, film, and on the stage. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Read an Excerpt


Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, 5:28 p.m.

"Calm down, dude. If you keep going on like this, your brain will explode. And I really don't want to get any of it on me."

Penni DePaul recognized the voice of the man speaking as she followed the redheaded behemoth named Geralt through the narrow gate on the side of the big warehouse that housed Black Knights Inc.

"It's not my head I'm worried about," came a booming bass response. "It's yours. I mean, Ozzie, man, you know that woman is buckets o' crazy, right?"

"Maybe," Ozzie replied just as Penni rounded the corner, stopping when Geralt's gigantic biker boots took root atop the patio pavers. "But if she is, she really puts the hot in psychotic. Am I right?"

Peeking around Geralt's massive back, Penni's eyes landed on Ethan "Ozzie" Sykes. He was sitting in a bright red Adirondack chair with his back to her. And from what little she could make out, he was looking pretty good for a guy who'd nearly had his leg blown off. The leg in question was secured in a brace and propped on the stone lip of a big fire pit built into the center of the courtyard behind the warehouse. The courtyard itself was surrounded by outbuildings and a fifteen-foot-high brick wall topped by razor wire and a crap-ton of security cameras.

To the inexperienced, Black Knights Inc. looked as it was meant to look, like the work area and living space for a group of rough and rowdy guys who built fantastical custom motorcycles in a not-so-nice part of town. The latter requiring all the high-tech security, don't you know? But Penni wasn't inexperienced. She was well aware of the cold, hard facts behind BKI's chrome and leather facade. On her last assignment she'd worked with Ozzie and two more of the Black Knights, and she could say without a shadow of a doubt that they did a whole lot more than design shiny things that ate asphalt for dinner and roared like steel beasts.

The motorcycle shop was nothing but a front for the most secretive, most whispered-about government defense firm ever to be redacted from all of Uncle Sam's files. Granted, it was a really excellent front, considering that the three guys she'd worked with during The Assignment-that's how she'd come to think of the mission that had changed her life forever-had all been a little bit scruffy and a whole lot tattooed. Handsome-as-sin Hells Angels look-alikes...

"And if you must know," Ozzie went on, "I happen to like crazy. It makes for really interesting conversations. Besides"-he took a swig from a beer with a red label that read "Honker's Ale"-"she seems like she'd be a hellcat in the bedroom."

"Kee-rist, man!" The guy who belonged to the bass voice was sitting at a picnic table laden with what appeared to be huge vats of potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans. He plunked his beer bottle atop the table's surface with enough force to send foam geysering from the longneck.

"I know that pretty face of yours means you're used to women throwing themselves at your feet," he added, "but the only reason she flirted with you at the bar last night is because she's a fuckin' reporter who's been nosing around this place for years looking for a fuckin' story. So even if a nutso in nylons is your screwed-up idea of a cup of tea, her fuckin' J.O.B. should make any appeal she has shrink up quicker than an Eskimo scrotum."

The man certainly had a mad penchant for colorful descriptions. And f-bombs. And scars. His craggy face was lined with more than its fair share.

Penni didn't know exactly what she'd expected to happen after the taxi dropped her in front of the mammoth gates of BKI and she told Geralt, who'd been manning the gatehouse, that she needed to talk to Dan "The Man" Currington. But it certainly wasn't to be led to a backyard barbecue complete with smoking grill and three guys lounging around on mismatched lawn furniture while arguing about the merits and drawbacks of getting jiggy with some nameless newspaperwoman. The third man was wearing a green John Deere baseball cap and strumming an old Martin six-string, looking for all the world like he was completely ignoring the other two.

The smell of cooking meat hung heavy in the cool breeze. It competed with the wet, fishy aroma of the nearby Chicago River and the hoppy deliciousness of the open beer bottles. In fact, if it weren't for that whole security-camera/razor-wire thing they had going, Penni would have said the air around Black Knights Inc. was less supersecret spy-guy lair and more laid-back, good-ol'-boy hangout.

"Yeah." Ozzie nodded vaguely, scratching his chin. "The reporter thing is a bit of a drawback."

"A bit?" Scarface sent Ozzie an incredulous look, prompting the man playing the guitar to finally jump into the fray.

"I don't know why you're surprised, mon ami," he said and Penni instantly identified his smooth-as-silk voice and sweet-as-molasses accent from a phone conversation she'd had with him during The Assignment. His name was Rock. But while the famous Rock was big and bulky, this Rock was lean and wiry...and sporting a pretty spiffy pair of scuffed-up alligator boots. "You know Ozzie can't see past the upside of a thing, especially when that thing has boobs, until ya point out the downside of a thing."

Ozzie turned to grin at Rock. And even though he was in profile, Penni noticed the expression looked a little...different from the one she'd seen on his face three months ago. It was duller. Sadder. Harder somehow.

Her mind returned to the hotel bombings in Kuala Lumpur-the ones that had left her colleagues, her friends, dead-and started picking at the memory like a scab. What lay beneath burned and ached, but she'd learned a thing or two over the past few months. One of which was how to take a deep breath and push aside the ugly thoughts so they didn't rise up and overwhelm her in grief. She wasn't entirely sure time healed all wounds as much as it simply taught a person ways to stanch the chronic bleeding.

Geralt, heretofore known in her mind as the Carrot-Topped Colossus, must have sensed a lull in the men's debate. He cleared his throat and said, "Speaking of skirts"-his accent was one hundred percent Windy City, his words running together like cars colliding on the Eisenhower Expressway-"we got one here who says she's looking for Dan Man."

Penni was trying to decide whether or not she should take offense at being labeled "a skirt" when Scarface and Rock jumped from their seats. Ozzie craned his head around the side of the Adirondack chair. And suddenly she was...

Not scared, exactly. In her thirty-three years she'd faced down a lot worse than three flag-waving, gun-toting, pretend motorcycle mechanics. But now that she was here at Black Knights Inc., on the brink of telling Dan that she hadn't been able to get him out of her head since The Assignment, and that she-

"Agent DePaul!" Ozzie crowed, pushing up from the chair and grabbing the crutches leaning against it. He hobbled over and threw an arm around her shoulders, squeezing her tight. The move was made awkward by the crutch shoved in his armpit. "Forget about my fantasy shag-o-rama with ace reporter Samantha Tate," he told Rock and Scarface. Shag-o-rama? Christ almighty. "Because my future wife has just arrived!"

Uh-huh. Sure. Because while they'd worked together in Kuala Lumpur, Ozzie had gaily-and quite insincerely-asked her to marry him at least a half-dozen times.

She turned to grin at him now, grateful for his exuberant welcome and the balm it was to her frayed nerves. But her smile faltered when she saw his eyes.

He was different.

Gone was the spark, the bright golden glow that seemed to shine from within him. Now there were shadows lurking behind his sapphire irises. Deep shadows. Dark shadows. Shadows that told her all his good-natured joking was a studied act, a slick veneer to cover up what was hurting and broken inside him.

She wasn't sure if it made her feel better or worse, knowing she wasn't the only one irrevocably changed by The Assignment. On second thought, she was sure. Worse. It definitely made her feel worse.

But what are you going to do?

Keep on keeping on, that's what. A phrase her father had taught her to live by.

"Your future wife, huh?" she asked Ozzie, determined to play along. If he insisted on wearing a false happy face, far be it from her to pull off his mask. "What makes you think I'll take you up on your offer of marriage this time when I've turned you down every time before?"

"Well, why else would you be here?" He wiggled his blond eyebrows. "I mean, it's obvious you've come to your senses and decided to make me the happiest man on the pl-"

"Dim your love-lights, you oversexed jackass," Scarface said, crossing his arms over his chest when he came to a stop in front of them. He was a mountain of a man. Close to six-and-a-half feet of bulging, flexing muscles. "I'm blinded by the bullshit shining in them."

"Oversexed? Me?" Ozzie's tone and expression epitomized incredulity. "You're one to talk. I'm surprised every morning that Becky can walk out of your bedr-"

"Not in front of our guest," Scarface growled, leveling Ozzie with a look Penni was surprised didn't curdle the latter's balls. "Especially not before the introductions have been made."

"Typical." Ozzie shook his head. "You can dish it, but you can't take it."

When a vein the size of a garden hose appeared in the center of Scarface's forehead, Ozzie quickly relented and officially introduced Penni to Richard "Rock" Babineaux and Frank "Boss" Knight, a.k.a. Scarface. After shaking the men's hands, Penni turned to extend the gesture to Geralt and thank him for the escort.

The giant redhead ran a hand over his bristly crew cut and said with a dramatic leer, "Believe me, the pleasure was all mine. And if you decide not to take Ozzie up on his offer of ball-and-chaindom, how about you and me grab a cup of joe before you leave, yeah? Ya see"-he had the audacity to slow wink at her before turning a smug smile toward Ozzie-"I've always had a thing for NYC accents, especially when that accent comes with a broad whose legs go all the way up."

From "skirt" to "broad." She wasn't sure it was an improvement. And didn't everyone's legs go all the way up to...well...wherever all legs went? Hips, usually?

"Back off, you big ginger!" Ozzie bellowed, pushing Geralt's shoulder but failing to budge the Carrot-Topped Colossus an inch. "I saw her first!"

"Oh, sure." Geralt made a face. "‘I saw her first.' The go-to gambit of small-minded men with even smaller d-"

"Gentlemen, please," Penni interrupted, her head spinning with the whirlwind that was her first five minutes at Black Knights Inc. And then there was her stomach... It was so jittery at the thought of what she was about to do that she marveled her lunch was staying down. She'd been so peaceful, so serene when she'd made the decision to come. But now that she was actually here, on the brink of confessing everything? Yeah, no. And Ozzie and Geralt? Well, they weren't helping a damned thing.

Her father's voice echoed inside her head. When you find yourself in a gaffle, Penelope Ann DePaul, the only way out is straight ahead.

Her dad had been chockablock full of little adages like that.

"It's not that I'm not extremely flattered at being reduced to the chew toy in a game of tug-of-war between two big, slobbery dogs..." She lifted a brow, letting both men know when she used the term "dog" she wasn't referring to the four-legged variety. She was fully aware this little tête-à-tête had nothing to do with her and everything to do with them having an excess of testosterone, which forced them to latch on to any excuse to growl and posture and insult one another. Men. She shook her head. "But I really do need to talk to Dan."

Geralt had the good sense to bite the inside of his cheek and turn the color of the cherries they put atop the charlotte russe pound cakes back in Brooklyn. But Ozzie? He just grinned wider. The good-looking lout.

"We'll let you talk to Dan," Boss said, narrowing his eyes, "if you can assure me this doesn't have anything to do with that bad business in Malaysia."

To her utter horror, when she opened her mouth, what initially came out was, "I-I-I-" Hello? What sorry sonofabitch had gone and tied her tongue in knots? Swallowing, she tried again. "I'd really rather discuss this with Dan, and I-"

Before she could finish, three women burst from the back door of the warehouse, laughing uproariously. There was a petite blond with a lollipop stick protruding from her mouth. She was carrying a huge casserole dish filled with...peach cobbler, by the smell of it. Beside her was a tall, curvy woman with an amazing mass of chestnut hair. She was holding a baby swaddled in a Chicago Cubs blanket-the little bundle cooed and burbled and waved a pudgy fist in the air. Bringing up the rear and rounding out the trio was a dusky-skinned, dark-eyed beauty who walked over and slapped Rock on the ass before she realized there was a stranger in their midst.

"And who do we have here?" the black-haired woman inquired, snaking an arm around Rock's waist. Rock brushed an inky lock away from her face and bent to press a tender kiss to her temple.

"Vanessa," he said in that sweet southern drawl that screamed Louisiana bayou, "this is Agent Penni DePaul."

Penni opened her mouth to remind him that she and Vanessa had spoken on the phone during The Assignment and to correct him on that whole "agent" business, but she closed it again when he quickly introduced Becky, the blond, and Michelle, of the chestnut hair. Penni also made the acquaintance of the cooing baby, one Jacob Michael Sommers, Jr. Or JJ for short.

These people are more than coworkers, she realized with a start after Becky set the casserole dish on the picnic table and walked back to the group, popping the sucker from her mouth so she could drag Boss down to steal a loud, smacking smooch. They're family. A big, noisy, loving family. Dan's family. And I'm intruding on them. On him.

Okay, sure. She'd known before she ever hopped on the plane headed west out of Reagan National Airport that just because Malaysia had been the catalyst for her making some huge decisions about the path of her life, it didn't mean Dan had done the same. And she'd been fully aware that just because what passed between them during those hellacious twenty-four hours had turned out to be momentous for her, it didn't mean it'd held the same importance for him. But now, after seeing the impressiveness of Black Knights Inc. in person, after meeting the host of people who filled Dan's life, she couldn't help but wonder if he'd given her as much as a passing thought.

She considered tucking tail and running. It would be so easy to turn around, walk out that gate, and forget she ever-

No. No! She wasn't a coward. She'd come here to say her piece. And you can bet your ass that's exactly what she was going to do. Squaring her shoulders, she glanced around at the faces staring at her expectantly and blurted out, "I sort of feel like a broken record here, but I really need to-"

"Talk to Dan," Boss finished for her. "Just as soon as you tell us what this is all about. Because if the Secret Service has a problem with the way he handled things in Kuala Lumpur, then it's me you need to be having a conversation with, not him. When it comes to BKI, the buck stops right here." He hooked a thumb toward his football-field-sized chest.

See? Family. Sticking up for each other and closing ranks when it looked like she was trying to insert herself into the middle of them. Once again, a sliver of doubt lodged in the back of her brain. All right already, who was she kidding? It was more than a sliver. It was a full-fledged log of doubt.

"It doesn't have anything to do with that, I swear to you," she assured him. "What I want to talk to Dan about is sort of...well..." Geez, this is getting awkward. "It's personal."

"Hmm," Boss hummed.

Hmm? That's all he had to say? Just...hmm?

Apparently so, because for a couple of eternal ticks of the clock, they all just stood there. Her looking at them. Them looking at her. The baby burbling and the meat sizzling on the grill. Somewhere on the river behind the outer wall a tour boat passed by, the guide regaling the passengers with stories of Baby Face Nelson and Al Capone.

Finally, Becky waved a hand through the air and laughed. "Whew! Is it just me? Or did this barbecue turn into a tension convention? Penni"-she crunched down on the sucker, chewing noisily-"you don't have to tell this big lug anything." She nudged Boss with her elbow, making him grunt. "Because the truth is, Dan's not here."

"He's not? Where is he?" Penni should have known better than to ask that question. All she received in answer were shuttered stares. "Uh-huh." She nodded. "Sure, I get it." When she caught herself rubbing a finger over the little bump on the bridge of her nose, she quickly dropped her hand and tightened her fingers into a fist. "Can you at least tell me when he'll be back?"

Becky looked up at Boss. She obviously saw acquiescence in his face-although Penni couldn't make out anything behind his intense scowl-because she admitted, "We don't know. Could be days. Could be months."

"Months!" Penni squawked, her heart plummeting so fast she was surprised she didn't see it lying on the pavers at her feet. And those shoulders she'd just squared? Despite her best efforts, they drooped dejectedly. She'd screwed up her courage and come all this way...

"I think we should tell her where he is," Michelle murmured, the first thing she'd said since the introductions.

Penni looked up to find the woman bouncing the baby and eyeing her intently. She blinked and considered digging a finger into her ear because she wasn't sure she'd heard correctly.

Obviously Boss was having the same problem. He shook his head. "Excuse me, Shell? What the hell did you just say?"

"Yes." Michelle nodded, still looking at Penni. "I definitely think we should tell her where to find him."

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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 **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 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.**