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Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: Blackmailing the Bad Girl by Nina Croft

Man I’m really loving this series by Nina Croft. Three women who are just getting out of prison for crimes they did commit but whom you can’t help but like? Yes please! And how hot is the cover????

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Brazen
Release Date: June 12, 2017

Cynical CEO, Nik Masterton, believes he's finally met a woman who isn't interested in his money…until she vanishes with a hefty amount of it. He's been searching for her ever since and has finally found her doing a stint in Holloway prison for stealing...from someone else. Clearly, he's just one of many. Now she's coming out, and it's time for a little payback.

After two years in prison, Summer Delaney is determined she's never going back. While she had good reasons for doing what she did, it's time to move on to a new life and earn an honest living. Unfortunately, there's a glitch in her plan, and he's waiting at the gate as she comes out.

Nik isn't above using blackmail to make Summer work for him until he decides just how he'll get his revenge. But this time they're both determined to keep their distance. Right until the inconvenient attraction explodes between them...

What’s it About? A couple of years back CEO Nik Masterton thought he had found a woman that didn’t see him as just a pile of money until she stole a lot of it and disappeared. He’s spent a lot of time searching for her and has finally found her, in prison. She’s about to be released and he figures it’s time for a little payback. Summer Delaney is determined not to go back to prison so while she had a very good reason for taking money from big companies, she isn’t about to do it again. She wants to move on, start fresh, and stay on the right side of the law. Unfortunately as soon as she sets foot outside of the prison, she comes face to face with one of the men she stole from, the only one who distracted her for a moment from what she was doing. Now Summer is being blackmailed to work for Nik while he decides how to punish her for stealing from him, or for making him care about her, he can’t decide which one is worse especially since there’s still a little matter of that persistent attraction between them.

Overall reaction to the story? The idea of crafting a series around three female ex-cons is a brilliant one and I can’t get enough of Nina Croft’s Cutting Loose series. Having the women be the ones getting out of prison definitely puts a different spin on the term Bad Girls, especially since these three women aren’t the hardened criminals you’d expect. Blackmailing the Bad Girl was a sexy good time with two characters I found totally likable and I was cheering them on as a couple from the very beginning.

Describe the hero in five words: Stubborn. Smart. Caring. Sneaky. Fun.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Nik Masterton is the least CEO type guy I’ve ever met. He doesn’t act like one, he doesn’t dress like one unless he has to, and he doesn’t lord it over everyone he meets. That made him super interesting and also explained how he got so close to Summer back when she stole from him. Since Nik obviously didn’t get the memo on how CEO types are supposed to act (Or maybe he did but just threw it out), he was a lot more laid back and fun, he seemed like an everyday guy unless you were Summer Delaney and he was using his considerable wealth to find out information about you and using it as blackmail. That’s when the CEO came out but even then he pulled people in. I liked that he looked after the people in his inner circle even when they drove him crazy, like his mother and twin sisters.

Describe the heroine in five words: Shy. Intelligent. Stubborn. Vulnerable. Loyal.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Summer seems like the kind of woman you could knock over with a slight breeze but behind that raw vulnerability and the fear of going back to prison is a woman determined to live on her terms and to make sure that she doesn’t break the law again. I loved that Summer could be paralyzed with fear at the thought of going back to prison but at the same time have a snarky set down for Nik when he pushed her too far. She may have been powerless to refuse working for him but she wasn’t beaten by a long shot. Her reasons for doing what she did are completely relatable and made me wish that there was an entire army of Summer Delaneys out there to right the wrongs of big companies.

Let’s talk about the romance: Nik and Summer met before Summer’s stint in prison and there was an undeniable connection between them then. In the present that connection is still there but combine it with pent up resentments, angry confusion, and time apart and that connection is all but bursting at the seams. These two tempt and provoke each other with minimal effort and while their chemistry is explosive, their emotional connection is just as powerful. Nik isn’t like most guys and Summer is definitely not a typical woman. They played off each other well and the author made sure to pay as much attention to their growing romance as she did to their lust fueled encounters.

How about that supporting cast? Blackmailing the Bad Girl takes place in almost the same time frame as the first book in Croft’s series so it was great to see Summer, Regan, and Darcy hanging out together and seeing the bond they forged while they were in prison. I loved the differences between the three women and how Darcy taught both women how do defend themselves. All three are caring and not hardened criminals by a long shot. They just got screwed by the someone in their pasts.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. The premise for the series is an awesome one and Nina Croft’s way of bringing Nik and Summer’s story to life left me wanting Darcy’s book all the more but at the same time dreading it because it will mean the series is over.

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