USA Today Bestselling Author
At the heart of it all was a secret and a lie.
A secret we didn’t tell her.
A lie we told ourselves.
Emersyn Sharpe is more than just the girl we watched over. She’s very much the woman who fits us.
The last thing we should have done was take her and the worst thing we did was keep her, but she needs us. I think, more than one of us—myself included—needs her.
The secret wasn’t ours to share and the lie?
I bought into the lie that keeping her was saving her. The lie that persuading her to trust us was needed. The lie that falling in love with her was as natural as breathing.
It didn’t matter if I wasn’t alone in falling into this trap. It mattered that when the trap closed, it put her on one side and us on the other.
Damn and we were so close too…
My name is Vaughn Westbrook and I’ll be damned if I give up now.
RUTHLESS TRAITOR is a full length mature college/new adult romance with enemies-to-lovers/love-hate themes. This is a reverse harem novel, meaning the main character has more than one love interest. This is book three in the series.
The first thing I have to say here is if you haven’t read the first two books STOP and go read them first!
This books does start where Vicious Rebel ended, but not right away. You see we need to know about Milo (Raptor) and Ivy (Emersyn), the guys and how they came to be such a unit, and Emersyn’s past as well.
All these things are interspersed perfectly with the present and make this book full of so much emotion. Emersyn is not only dealing with the possibility of a brother but Milo separates her from the others by sending her to Liam’s.
I love Miss Stephanie, she was instrumental in these boys staying together as they went through the system. That she’s also Doc’s sister was an interesting twist.
We meet Emersyn’s best friend Elaine ‘Lainey’ Benedict in flashbacks and in current texts. She’s pretty much the only one Emersyn trusts without reservation.
Two other people we meet are Lainey’s step-brother Adam Reed and his friend/sidekick Ezra Graham. These two are very important in that they are part of the reason Liam is not ‘with’ the Vandals.
There’s just so much going on with the guys and Liam that Emersyn gets isolated again, something she hates. Getting to see them really becomes something to fight for.
My favorite scene doesn’t have Emersyn in it but it is about her.
Squaring his shoulders, Freddie put his hands on his hips. While he was probably the leanest of all of us and a good two inches shorter than Milo, he lifted his chin and stared at him.
“Let’s start with how you’re treating Boo-Boo.”
Instead of blowing up, like he’d done just about any other time Emersyn had been mentioned, Milo just stared at him as he sipped his coffee and waited.
“She belongs here, not at Liam’s. She belongs with people who care about her— not saying Liam doesn’t—” Right on cue, Jasper let out an exasperated growl and Vaughn ground his teeth. Rome snorted again and when he caught me looking at him, he just gave a shrug. “The point is,” Freddie pressed on, ignoring the responses he’d gotten so far. “Boo-Boo is one of us. You may not like it, but that doesn’t change facts. You didn’t want me to be one of us either, but look how delightful I make life.”
Milo held up a single finger and Freddie paused. “I’ve never said you weren’t one of us. The only thing I ever wanted for you was for you to be safe and to make safe choices.”
The silence grew taut for a moment, then Freddie relaxed a fraction and spread his hands.
“Fine, I’ll accept that. But there were plenty of times when it felt like you didn’t want me.” That was news to me and apparently to Milo, but not Jasper, who just pulled out a cigarette and lit it. The flame illuminated his bruised face. Fuck that made me hurt for him. He and Raptor had fought every single fucking day, until the last two.
If nothing else, having someone to torture seemed to be bonding them again. Maybe we should pick up a spare, in case we needed it after this one expired.
“Boo-Boo has been alone for way too long and fuck knows Liam is not the most entertaining guy. No offense, Rome,” he said over his shoulder and Rome just shrugged.
I couldn’t help it a chuckle escaped me. “See,” Freddie said, pointing at me. “I’m entertaining. Vaughn is entertaining. Even Jasper, when he’s not being a grumpy puss, is entertaining. Liam’s just a dick. No offense, Rome.”
The twin in question just flipped him off, but there was a hint of a smile around his mouth. A door creaked open on the far side of the warehouse and Doc stepped in out of the sunshine.
“The point is, here, Boo-Boo is with more of us. She’s not stuck locked up all by herself, which for your information she hates. She hated it here. She’s going to hate it there. For a second thing, we were getting her up to speed on movies. Do you have any idea of how many movies she hasn’t seen? Dude, she didn’t even know what Lord of the Rings was until we watched it. She doesn’t like horror movies, but she will watch them if we warn her about the bloody parts.” Freddie made a face then grinned. “Though, I don’t think it bothers her as much as she says it does.”
“No,” Vaughn said, agreeing with Freddie. “She always peeks between her fingers or hides behind one of us and watches over our shoulder.”
Jasper huffed a laugh. “Or uses one of our hands to hide her eyes and then peeks around it.”
“Exactly,” Freddie said. “And when she’s here, there’s real food and she’s trying to learn to cook. She’s absolutely horrible at it.”
Hey… “She is not,” I argued. “She’s never had anyone show her how before. She grew up with servants. What the hell do we expect?”
“A really prissy bitch who couldn’t be bothered to do dishes,” Freddie countered and he faced me instead of Milo when he said that, and it was a good thing. Cause at the words ‘prissy bitch’ Milo’s face turned to the thunder. “But she’s not. She likes trying to figure things out.”
“Yeah,” I admitted with a sigh. “She does. She almost had scrambled eggs down.” Which had been kind of cool. I liked that she listened when I showed her how to do things. She didn’t argue that there had to be another way. “It was the same when she came to the shop. She’s never seen the inside of engine before.”
Her excitement had been a delight.
“She likes painting,” Rome admitted and that pulled everyone’s attention. “Not doing it. She liked watching me do it. She doesn’t ask a lot of questions, even when she wants to. She adjusts to the people around her. Like she doesn’t need me to tell her I prefer it quiet when I work, she’s just peaceful.”
“She is curious when she has questions though,” I said. “If she thinks we’ll answer, she’ll ask.”
“And she’s fun,” Freddie pointed out. “Boo-Boo works hard even here, she trained in the studio every day after her bruises and broken bones healed. She watches what she eats. A little too much, but she’s not fussy if we don’t have what she wants. I mean, we’d get her anything, but she doesn’t ask.”
“Except when there are too many carbs,” Vaughn grumbled and Jasper snorted, then even he nodded.
“I swear to fuck— if it has too many carbs, and she adds an hour to her workout or more. It makes me fucking tired watching her.”
“Liar,” Freddie said, calling Jasper out. “You’re a greedy fuck about watching her dance. You don’t want to let the rest of us, but you went in there all the time.”
That was true.
“Do you blame me?” Jasper retorted.
“Nope,” Freddie said. “Just like I loved the fact she read to me.”
I hid a smile, because not everyone knew about that.
“While I was detoxing and in hell, she sat outside that door on that cold floor and read me books through the door. Crazy series, chick ends up with all these guys, who form their own gang.”
Milo made a sound and Freddie spun to face him.
“I didn’t buy her the book, I don’t even know where she got it. But it’s a cool story. We’re not done with it yet, Aaron’s missing and we haven’t gotten him back.”
“Who the fuck is Aaron?” Doc asked.
“Guy in a book,” Jasper said, before Freddie could go off on a tear.
“Exactly.” As if that summed it all up, Freddie faced Milo. “We know Boo-Boo. We care about her. She belongs here, with us. So why won’t you bring her back?”
“Because she doesn’t belong here, Freddie,” Milo answered him in a soft voice. “She belongs to a better world.”
“Well, the one she was in wasn’t better,” Doc said before any of us could interject. “If it had been, they wouldn’t have brought her to me all busted up and broken.”
I held my breath, and I had a feeling I wasn’t the only one.
“You can tell yourself all you like that world is better for her, Milo. But she didn’t want to go back to it. She had the chance. She asked me to help her and I said I would, but she got out of here on her own.”
That was news to a few people, Jasper’s entire demeanor changed and he glared at Doc, but didn’t move.
“I found her walking, in the cold, just away, and I picked her up. Took her all the way back to her hotel… and at the last minute, she walked away from there, too. So, I brought her back to my clinic so she could think.”
Doc had everyone’s attention. I got it. I knew she’d left, she’d admitted as much. She’d also told me she chose to come back and if we were where she wanted to be, then I wouldn’t fight her on it. Even if I wanted her somewhere safer. Her choice.
“She chose to come back here. To these fuckers.” He gestured to all of us, and Rome wasn’t the only one who flipped Doc off at that statement. Not that he gave a damn. “If she wants to be here, Kid. You gotta stop pushing her away and punishing her.”
Heather Long. Ruthless Traitor ARC: 82nd Street Vandals (Kindle Locations 2493-2555).
We learn a lot more about Liam, who up until now has only been on the periphery of the story. Now he’s becoming an integral part.
Pretty much anything I could say about this book is a spoiler, so let me say there are some close calls, action, mistakes, OMG sizzle and holy moly, that ending!
I really need the next book, sooner rather than later…
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.
When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.