Burn Down the Night
Grade : A

Burn Down the Night is the third book in author Molly O’Keefe’s suspenseful romance series Everything I Left Unsaid. The first two books, Everything I Left Unsaid and The Truth About Him were a duology featuring Annie and Dylan, with book one told from Annie’s point of view and book two, a continuation where book one leaves off, told from Dylan’s. Burn Down the Night is Dylan’s brother Max and Annie’s friend Joan’s story. It’s very much a standalone so no worries if you haven’t read the others before it. But it does take place after those first two books, and some of the characters show up in this story as well. Just like the previous novels, this is an intense, action packed and erotic romance that will have you on the edge of your seat from the start. Note:  Don’t forget to breathe when reading this story. If you start out holding your breath, you won’t let it out again until the epilogue.

Joan has a plan. Through a tragic set of circumstances, her sister Jennifer is being kept prisoner by a cult run by a man named Lagan. Joan escaped the cult, but when Lagan moved the location she was unable to rescue Jennifer. She’s been working undercover as a stripper for a club where Lagan and Max, leader of the Skulls motorcycle club, work out the deals for shipping the cocaine produced by the cult. She’s finally ready to confront Lagan at gunpoint to show how serious she is about getting her sister back when Max gets in the way. In the ensuing chaos, Lagan flees and Max, who had been trying to figure out a way to exit the MC with his life intact, gets shot by his own club members who are taking the opportunity to enact a coup for control. With no choice but to flee and regroup, Joan hauls an injured Max into her car and takes off for Florida. Her Aunt Fern is a retired army nurse and even though she hasn’t seen her in seven years, she’s the only person Joan can think of who might be able to help her.  Max is the only link to Lagan that Joan has and she’s willing to do anything to get her sister back, even kidnap an MC President if that’s what it takes. With lives on the line, Joan can’t afford to let feelings get in the way, especially the kind of incendiary ones that Max inspires. But no one ever taught Joan not to play with matches.

Joan and Max have two kinds of shared history that bind them together whether they want it to or not. The first is their actual interactions prior to the kidnapping. As a stripper at the club, Joan (which incidentally is not her real name but a cover) had spotted Max watching her and devoured his attention. At one point she expects him to come backstage to find her, but it never happens. Max doesn’t sleep with any of the performers, a strict rule he’d always kept for himself, unlike his MC brethren. But to say he is captivated by Joan would be an understatement.

And here is the second part that binds them – Max recognizes in Joan a kindred spirit, damaged and bruised like him, but surviving. Max was raised by his father in the motorcycle club and became like him, in most ways though not all. He’s a bad man, with just enough of a heart left to keep him human (and hero material). The only person he cares anything about now is his brother Dylan and he’ll do anything to protect him, including keeping the dirty business of the club far away from him. As for Joan, she lost her mother at a very young age, and then her father died when she was fourteen. For a year Joan was able to keep the secret of his death and care for her younger sister on her own. But her attempt to get Jennifer accepted to a school for gifted children backfired and the authorities moved in, sending them to her only living relative Aunt Fern in Florida (who knew nothing of their existence beforehand). A rebellious teenager and a strict, cold woman made for a fractious living arrangement until Joan decided she’d had enough and left with her sister trailing behind. From there she ended up barely surviving again, until the too good to be true community in the woods turned out to be yet another form of hell. Joan’s only reason for existence now is to rescue her sister, a suicide mission maybe, but it’s all she can think of and plan for. But Joan has betrayed herself. While she might tell others that she cares about no one else, the truth is that she saved Max’s life when she brought him with her to Florida and Max knows the debt he owes her. In a strange twist of fate, he can’t let Joan go on this mission alone, though her modus operandi is to run without warning. They need each other, but won’t admit it.

The sex in this story is raw and visceral. Interestingly, Joan and Max actually keep their hands off each other for a good portion of it, understanding elementally that if they have sex they won’t be able to deny that there is something between them. While Max is recuperating Joan can’t take the chance that he might run and take her only hope of finding Lagan’s cult, so she keeps him handcuffed to the bed post.  Joan is bisexual, and has dated men and women, and the first sexual encounter she has with Max is actually a voyeur scene where she and a woman visiting the Florida condo complex put on a show for Max that he ultimately directs. It’s super hot and just fuels the fire between them for when Joan is going to give Max his freedom. There’s no doubt that Max intends to have sex with Joan, but he’s also not a total bastard and he’s not going to do it without her consent. When they do finally come together it’s almost a relief to get that sexual tension a little bit under control – they both like it rough, and are equal partners in the bedroom (or against the wall, or…well…you get the picture). It’s down and dirty and adds another link to the chain that connects them.

For a brief period of time, Max and Joan are able to forget about the life around them as they wait for Lagan to contact Max, because he still needs Max as part of the drug dealing operation.  But just when you think you can relax a little, the action picks up again with Lagan finally making contact and from there, things move along at a breakneck pace until the inevitable conclusion. The whole story is a rollercoaster ride of intense sex, action and emotions with two people who have been beaten down by life but rise above it to make their own happy ending. Burn Down the Night will leave you breathless, yet panting for more from this exciting and talented author.

Buy it at A/iB/BN/K

Reviewed by Maria Rose

Grade: A

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : August 8, 2016

Publication Date: 08/2016

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Maria Rose

I'm a biochemist and a married mother of two. Reading has been my hobby since grade school, and I've been a fan of the romance genre since I was a teenager. Sharing my love of good books by writing reviews is a recent passion of mine, but one which is richly rewarding.
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