A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Burn Down the Night by M. O'Keefe- Feature and Review + Playlist

A battle for control turns explosive as a beautiful con woman takes a bad-boy biker hostage in this edgy, seductive novel set in the world of Everything I Left Unsaid (“Toe-curlingly sensual.”—Katy Evans) and The Truth About Him (“Absolutely one-click worthy”—J. Kenner).

The only thing that matters to me is rescuing my sister from the drug-cooking cult that once enslaved us both. I’ve run cons my whole life, and I’ll use my body to get whatever I need. Max Daniels is the last connection I have to that world, the one person reckless enough to get involved. Besides, now that his brothers have turned on him, he needs me too.

The deal was supposed to be simple: a place to hide in exchange for rescuing my sister. Now he’s my prisoner. Totally at my mercy. But I’m the one captivated. Enthralled. Doing everything he asks of me until I’m not sure who’s in control.

We both crave the heat. The more it hurts, the better. But what if Max wants a different life now, to leave the game . . . to love me? I thought I knew better than to get burned. Now I’m in too deep to pull away. And the crazy thing is . . . I don’t want to.
I wasn’t watching him sleep. I was thinking. I was formulating a plan. An argument that would sway him, that would make him see things my way.

The tiny, white bikini I wore was a visual aid.

Because if there were any breaks I caught in this life, they were a rocking metabolism and Aunt Fern’s rack. I made this cheap, white bikini look better than it should.

Sitting on the dresser, I licked yogurt from a spoon and tried to think of what was going to really sway a guy like Max. What was going to make him give up on revenge and instead help me get my sister free.

He was sprawled across the bed, the sheets pulled up to his waist with his injured leg kicked out. Every once in a while he jerked, like the dream he was having had teeth, and the handcuffs rattled against the bed.

This was kidnapping.

I could add that to the list of shit I never thought I’d do.

Finally he stirred in earnest and I held my breath. Trying not be nervous. Trying not to show him that I was scared. Max was a wild animal and if he sensed fear he’d come after me.

He lifted his head off the mattress, his black hair, wild around his head. That spot on his scalp with the stitches was so pink and wounded. Tender. The only soft thing about him. The rest of him, his chest and arms, was rawhide and muscle and grit covered with bright tattoos. And technicolor bruises.

Max was whittled down to the bone. No excess. I recognized it because I felt exactly the same way. Like there was nothing to feed me.

If we weren’t in this stupid situation, we might have been friends. Lovers for as long as we could make it work because we were the same kind of people. The same sort of wild and alone.

“Joan?” His voice was rough and deep. He lifted his hands to rub his eyes but the handcuffs stopped him.

“Morning, Max.” I licked my spoon. “How are you feeling?”

“I’d feel a whole let better if you let me go.”

“Not going to happen.”

He lifted his free arm. Stretched. Made a fist out of his hand and then relaxed it. “What’s your end game here, Joan? You’re going to keep me locked up here forever?”

“Only until you give up on this revenge idea.” And agree to my plan.

“Not going to happen,” he parroted my words back at me.

“How’s the head?” I asked.



He shifted in the bed and only barely winced. “Better.”

Good. This was . . . good.

“You think you could eat some soup without spilling it all over yourself?”

“I think I could teach you a lesson about having a smart mouth.”

I hummed in my throat as if disappointed in him and then dug up another spoonful of yogurt and put it in my mouth. He watched every motion. My tongue. My hands. He missed nothing.

And maybe it was because he was imagining what it would be like to kill me.

But I preferred to think he was wondering what it would be like to fuck me.

It was a long shot considering his injury, the fever, his being handcuffed to the bed. But I was banking on him being a dude.

And the white bikini. I was banking on the white bikini pretty hard.

“What are you doing?”

I shrugged.

He lifted his eyebrows at me and slowly pushed himself up farther up the bed. He leaned against the cast-iron headboard, exposing all of his skin, which was covered in dark tattoos. He looked like some kind of leopard. Some sleek animal that if unchained would tear me apart.

He would tear me apart.

And I could not wait.


Burn Down the Night (Everything I Left Unsaid, #3)Burn Down the Night by Molly O'Keefe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Burn Down the Night by Molly O’Keefe is a 2016 Loveswept publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow! Joan and Max! Who would have thought? The DEA agent and a biker?

For those following along in the series, you will remember Joan, the stripper/DEA agent and Dylan’s brother, Max, the member of a dangerous biker club. If you think you have them figured out, well guess again, because their story is nothing like I thought it would be.

Joan’s sister, Jennifer, is living in a cult, one that Joan managed to escape. Now Joan’s entire existence is centered around finding a way to free her sister. It has become a ‘desperate times calls for desperate measures’ situation.

But, Joan’s plan backfires with Max getting shot in the melee, and Joan pulling him to safety and making a quick getaway. She makes it to her Aunt Fern’s home in Florida and holes up there with Max as her prisoner.

Max has information that could help her find Jennifer, but he’s holding out on her, knowing her plan is like a kamikaze mission.

While Max recovers from the gunshot wound, he and Joan are reminded of the attraction they had been dancing around and once again begin flirting with all the possibilities of acting on that chemistry.

But, the connection they feel for each other goes way beyond the physical or sexual realm as these two damaged souls find something in each other that inspires them to do the right thing, to go the extra mile, to take a chance, to open themselves up and accept the love they each have to offer.

First of all, I have to start with the disclaimer, or confession, that I really, really avoid anything that reeks of NA, nor am I into the biker club romance novels at all. I’m much older than the targeted audience for this type of reading material, so anytime I pick up a book and see that duel first person narrative, I run for the hills. But, because I had read Ms. O’Keefe’s novels for a while before starting this series, I took a chance on it, and I’ve never regretted it.

I will admit that the sex scenes dropped out of my comfort zone this time around, but while some may find it erotic, it opened up some rather humorous exchanges between Joan and Max. Because it fell into the context of the character’s personality, I wasn’t as prudish about it as I might be ordinarily. Other than that, I thought that the sensuality was fitting, and despite the initial shock and awe, a special tentative tension began to build between the couple that has feels and emotion attached to it, which is more to my liking.

I also appreciate the dialogue between Joan and Max, which is the key to opening up the deeper connections between them, not just what happens between the sheets, which is an element many of NA/contemporary novels fail to include, making the characters too shallow.

This series is mesmerizing and addictive, and I think the thing that makes it so absorbing, for me, is that the characters are so far down on their luck, they have to reach up to touch bottom. But, they fight, hard, despite the odds, and prove that love can melt even the most hardened heart. It is also inspiring to watch someone claw their way up and have the tenacity and courage to walk away from the life that is dragging them down, gain confidence and self-esteem, and strive for a better, stable life. Also, at the heart of the story, is family, and the ending is especially focused on that, which is very special.

Overall, this is another awesome addition to the series, and I’m definitely excited about the next installment.



Crash This Train by Joshua James

So God if you can hear me crash this train
I said God if you can hear me crash this train.

I remember hearing this on Sons of Anarchy and thinking I would have to use it for a book. It’s incredibly evocative and the chorus with the singer praying to God to “crash this train.” Like he knows what’s happening is wrong and it would be better for everyone for it just stopped. For a good portion of BURN DOWN THE NIGHT – Max and Joan are like this. (The song ends up being kind of political, which isn’t very reflective of my book at all, but I love that chorus)

Ship To Wreck by Florence and The Machine

And oh my love remind me, what was it that I did?
Did I drink too much?
Am I losing touch?
Did I build this ship to wreck?

This song is so perfect for Joan. She knows she’s screwing up, hates that she’s screwing up but can’t seem to find any other way to get where she needs to go.

Elastic Heart by Sia

Well I've got a thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band and when you pull too hard
Well I may snap and I move fast
You won't see me fall apart
Cause I've got an elastic heart

Another perfect Joan song.

Do I Wanna Know – Artic Monkeys

(Do I wanna know?)
If this feeling flows both ways
(Sad to see you go)
Sort of hoping that you'd stay
(Baby we both know)
That the nights were mainly made for saying things that you can't say tomorrow day.

Everything about this song makes me think of Max. It’s dirty, sexy and dark. And his feelings for Joan are much the same way.

Hands to Myself – Selena Gomez

Can't keep my hands to myself
I mean, I could but why would I want to?

Frankly, this song is crazy sexy to me and kind of perfectly reflects the dynamic of Max being locked up and Joan doing everything he asks her to do. Sexy and kind of wrong in all the right ways.

Way Down We Go – Kaleo

Father tell me, we get what we deserve
Oh we get what we deserve

This is another Max song. It’s just a sexy masculine song about a bad man coming to terms with his guilt. Love it.

Guns and Ammunition – July Talk

You take my body as your prize

I’m totally bonkers for this Canadian band. I feel like their whole sound and all of their songs deals with the power dynamic between men and women. And frankly that lyric is so damn sexy….

Animals - Maroon 5

So what you trying to do to me
It's like we can't stop, we're enemies
But we get along when I'm inside you, eh
You're like a drug that's killing me

This song is perhaps the sexiest thing ever. And it’s featured heavily in the free short story that came out in a preorder contest before BURN DOWN THE NIGHT.

Molly O'Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.

She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn't looked back. She loves exploring every character's road towards happily ever after.

Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she's not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.

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