Monday, December 9, 2013

MEN IN UNIFORM REVIEW: Heaven Sent & Forbidden Deception by Mahalia Levey

Heaven Sent

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Secret Cravings Publishing


Mia Justice counts every day as a blessing, not taking life for granted. Although she has strong faith, she finds it hard to move on in her personal life, until an accident changes her perception of really living.
Dire Sylis takes his job and the responsibility that comes with his job seriously. Saving as many lives or helping in any situation is how he pays homage to the father he lost as a young adult. However nothing prepares him the chance encounter that will change his life.
“You’re too young for a New Year’s Eve party. You knew the answer before asking.” Mia flipped on her turn signal to move over a lane. “What Ash?” Her sullen teenage daughter muttered under her breath and turned away, closing off. Teenage angst—her least favorite part of parenting. What kind of parent lets their kid plan an unchaperoned party on one of the worst nights of the year to be away from home? Remember not to judge others by what you wouldn’t do.Paying her daughter no heed, she cast quick glance in her rearview mirror to find a spot she could edge her way into in the next lane. Mia moved her SUV in the tight space, continuing the slow crawl down highway 71. She refused to feel guilty for not giving into Ashland’s wants, reminding herself to be a parent not a friend. There wasn’t room for both, since she took on the roll as both mother and father.
As the light at the end of the exit ramp turned from yellow to red, a car clipped her back bumper, causing her to lurch into oncoming traffic. Ashland let out a scream as a vehicle with the right of way narrowly escaped slamming into her door. Mia heard the crunch of cars hitting each other. She fought to maintain traction, her grip clenching the steering wheel as they spun out of control while fending off the surge of terror whiplashing through her a second time.
“Mrs. Justice, help is on the way.” Her automated security system transmitted to the local enforcement and 911 dispatch. Mia turned to Ashland and lifted a shaky hand to her face. “Baby, are you okay?”
“I-I think so.”
Mia’s heartbeat thundered in her chest. Dazed, she spoke on autopilot.
“Can you move?” Mia unclasped her seatbelt and reached to unlatch her daughter’s. Ashland flinched when she touched her.
“Mama, your head is bleeding and my leg hurts really bad.”
Mia touched her head. Blood slid between her fingers as she explored a small gash on her forehead. “I’m okay love, it’s just a little cut. We need to get out of the vehicle. See if you can move.”
“I can’t, Mama. There’s a car blocking me from moving. I’m stuck.” The panic in her daughter’s voice sent shivers of dread down her spine. They were surrounded by vehicles, crunched in from all sides.
Mia froze, paralyzed by fear. Blood trickled down her face. Her vision was hazed in one eye. Think. You have to stay awake to get Ash out safely. Unbuckling her safety belt, she looked around for something to break the windows with.
“My softball bat is in the trunk, isn’t it?” Her daughter calmed enough to help.
“No baby, we took it out to make room other things a few days ago.” She sucked back a moan of pain while maneuvering into the second row behind her daughter and worked on reclining the seat back. Red lights and the welcoming sound of help arriving eased her fears a little as she continued to work to get her daughter free. Mia leveled the seat out and hefted Ashland by her hips into the second row. When she looked up, flames licked along the windshield. All of the sudden they were stuck in a ticking bomb, each second counting against them.
Voices yelled over the sounds of sirens. Acrid fumes seeped into her vehicle. Instinctively, she knew if they didn’t get free, they’d die from toxic inhalation. She became aware of a shadow as it fell over them. “Get this car moved.” The orders were barked from the man’s lips.
“Ma’am, if there is something to cover your heads with, grab it. There are men working on putting out the fire while we get you out. Stay calm.” Mia watched a flood of foam hit her engine. Beside her, firemen worked to pull the vehicle out of the way. There wasn’t time.
Mia snapped to at the commanding tone in his voice. She found her wool pea coat and placed it over their heads.
“Mama, what’s happening?” The SUV jostled as the car stuck to their door was yanked free. The uniformed man signaled for her attention.
“The firemen are putting out a fire in our engine and they’re going to break the window. I know you’re scared and hurt. Just breathe baby, they’re here to help us and will do everything in their power to get us out.” Deep down, she believed the words with her whole heart. She fought to keep positive, though tears coursed down her cheeks and pain threatened to drag her into the abyss of unconsciousness.
“Mom. Mom. Wake up. Mom, can you hear me. Hurry. Please, my mom isn’t answering me.” The distant sound of glass exploding met her ears. Sound slowed as her eyes drooped, too heavy to keep open. “Take her first.” In her mind her words resounded crystal clear.
“My daughter. Get her out.”
“Ma’am, breathe, that’s a girl, now save your strength. We have you both. They’re sliding your daughter out on a board now. She’s free. Backboard two in. I got you now. Lift her easy.” Strong hands hoisted her out of the back section of her smoldering vehicle.
“Whitier here, has some oxygen for you. Armstrong has your baby. She’s a little beat up but okay. Breathe as Whiter places on the mask.”
“Thank you.” Blurred vision kept Mia from making anything but his helmet out. She grasped the hand he held offered. Darkness descended, sucking her into its undertow.

Forbidden Deception

Secret Cravings Publishing


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No one knows how a solitary lie has the power to rip a heart to pieces. For ten years Ailyn Dominguez has lived with a constant reminder of heartbreak that left her devastated and pregnant. While nothing gives her more pleasure than being a mother, the lie she lives weighs her down like a ball and chain. Even if she knew where to look, her deceit could cost her everything she holds dear.
Responsibility for others has always rested on Seth Mahone. Every day he gears up to protect and serve, leads his men and finds fulfillment in doing his best. With one friend settled down, he reevaluates his life and the price he paid when the one woman he loved disappeared, leaving a void in his life. Regretting what caused their split, he hasn’t fully let go or found another to take her place.
When the past collides with the present both must confront the deception that split them apart.
Seth. Seth. Seth. Ailyn did an engine search of his name and spent the next hour scouring every link he appeared in. When she came across a picture of him and a date at last’s years annual award party, his striking looks in dress Class A Uniform stole her breath away. The date on his arms in a slinky barely there dress caused a fit of jealousy to course through her. From her perfectly placed wavy tresses, to her curvaceous body, long slender legs and pretty feet showcasing her Louboutin heels. It wasn’t the dress or the shoes that caused the angry wave of envy. Though no one should look so damn sexy without appearing trampy. The body language is what had her teeth on edge. The way he stood, how she hugged his waist showed they were intimate. He made love to that woman with those green eyes of his, leaving her fuming, wanting to claw the bitch’s eyes out.
Taking a breath she tried to read the next but couldn’t get the image of him with the gorgeous brunette out of her mind. Was he still dating her? The thought caused her stomach to roll with nausea. She closed the window, tucked her tablet under her arm, edged her way back to the counter, and ordered another latte and egg and ham on a bagel with provolone cheese. She’d cooled off a tad by the time she’d returned to her seat and propped up her tablet to stare at the black screen.
I will not stalk him online. I will not stalk him online. I will stalk him online.
She bit into her sandwich and went back to the page with her search. Lt. Seth Mahone receives a Valor award from the state representative and a representative from their U.S. district congressman. The same woman stood next to him with a dazzling smile on her face. Seething with mistrust and hurt she whipped out her cell phone and sent a rapid text.

I thought you told me you were single. What was today about? A journey to the past?

I am single. What are you pissed off about this time?

Really? Doesn’t look that way to me. Pictures don’t lie.

I have work to do, Ailyn. If you’re going to be cryptic, I don’t have time to deal with you.

Cryptic. You are all over the newspapers with the same woman at every event. If you’re married, I’m going to sever your balls from your body and shove them down your throat. Is that clear enough?

She stared at the screen forever and blew out a frustrated breath. Men who were the epitome of sex on a stick only broke hearts in the end. The crushing jealousy grew exponentially in the absence of his next response. She didn’t have long to wait. An incoming call flashed across her screen.
“Darlin’, I don’t even know where to begin to approach this. Christ woman, you’re giving me a migraine over nothing. First, I haven’t seen you in ten years. Second, earlier you made yourself loud and clear on where I fit in your life. My past is not your concern. Who I’ve dated or who I’ve fucked after you is also none of your concern, unless we’re heading to the clinic for tests so we can fuck bareback.”
“You’re right your private affairs are not my concern. I don’t know what’s come over me.” She ignored the latter part of his reply.
“I knew you weren’t unaffected even though you pretended to be. For the record, if I saw you with another man all dressed up, I’d want to bash his head in too. Alyssa was a longtime lover I let loose when she kept hinting about marriage.” Dead air passed between them.
“Oh,” Ailyn mustered up.
“Are my balls safe now? I rather like them where they are.” His voice lost the hard edge of steel.
“Yes, of course.” Mortification surged within her. She poised her finger to hang up when his voice stopped her.
“No need to be embarrassed. Finding our way back to one another is going to be one hell of a ride.”
“Seth, don’t look too much into this.” Now he for sure knew she had online stalked him. She finished off her latte and swallowed down the rest of her sandwich.
“Whatever helps you sleep better at night darlin’. I gotta go, I’ll call you tonight.” He disconnected the call.

Sarah's Review:
Thank you to Mahalia Levey for providing a copy of Forbidden Deception for review.  I actually bought Heaven Sent when it was free on Amazon.  I decided to review both of these stories together because they go together as some characters were introduced in Heaven Sent that are also part of Forbidden Deception. Mahalia says that there are more coming, but isn't giving up when there will be more.

Heaven Sent:
We meet Mia and Ashland when they are in a car accident.  Dire is one of the firefighters that responded to the accident.  Within the first chapter, I feel in love with these characters.  I had already began rooting for Mia and Dire to become a couple and the rest of the story takes us on the journey they go through.

What I love most about this story is how fate has a way of giving you something that you didn't know you even wanted.  I love Ashland's perspective on Mia and wasn't afraid to tell her.  

Forbidden Deception:
When I saw Mahalia post the cover I asked if I could review it since it wasn't out yet.  Being the sweet author that she is, she sent me a copy of it to review.  This story is about Seth, who we met in name only in Heaven Sent, and Ailyn.  We find out that Seth and Ailyn have a history and Seth isn't aware of Ailyn's secret.

I enjoyed reading Seth and Ailyn reconnect and how Seth handles the news of Ailyn's secret.  I love 2nd chance romances too and that is what it is in my eyes.  Watching Seth and Ailyn work through what happened at the beginning of their relationship then what happened during their time apart.   

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