Release Day Launch/Reviews: Strong Enough: M. Leighton

Strong Enough
(Tall, Dark, and Dangerous #1)

M. Leighton
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Expected August 4, 2015

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Bad Boys novels comes the first in a dark, sexy contemporary trilogy. 

Is she strong enough to trust the most dangerous man she’s ever met? And is he strong enough to let her? 

How would I describe myself? Well, I’m Muse Harper. I’m a twenty-something painter who loves red wine, quirky movies, and men with a fatal flaw. But that was before I met Jasper King. He became my fatal flaw. Eight months ago, I had a choice to make—abandon everything I’ve ever known to protect my family, or stay and risk someone getting hurt. I chose the former. My plan was working just fine until I found out my father had gone missing.

That’s when I met Jasper. A bounty hunter with the eyes of a tiger and the nose of a bloodhound, he was supposed to help me find my father. What I didn’t know was that meeting him was no accident. Hunting people isn’t all that Jasper does. And helping me was only part of his plan. I just wish I’d found out sooner, before my heart got involved. But even then, I don’t know if I’d have done things differently.

Now, I have another choice to make—trust the man that I’m falling in love with and hope that he’ll do the right thing, or run as far away from him as I can get.

Jasper King and Muse Harper are on a mission. She needs to find her father as she does not know what is going on with him and fears that he is in danger. Jasper needs answers and he has secrets.

Muse finds herself road tripping and hiding out with the intuitive, controlled, intense Jasper. He's sexy, secretive, and dangerous And one thing he does not hide is that he wants her.

Muse is caught up in a confusing situation and no one seems to trust her with the truth and answers. And she seemed to be pulled towards Jasper's magnetism even when she logically knows it is the road to heart break. 

Jasper works hard to keep his feelings turned off, to be isolated, cool, calculating, and elusive. But she brings them out in him and makes him lose control. He is intense, raw, sexy, and possessive. She meets him head on and pushes him right back when he tries to scare her away. He is plagued by anger, confusion, guilt, and protectiveness.

She begins breaking down his wall against his will. But no matter how much he wants her, he feels a strong need to protect her even if it is from himself. He wants to keep her safe and he feels that he is a monster that will only cause her pain so that overshadows his true wants. But she is tenacious, feisty and determined. Their newly developing unresolved feelings are tempered by trust issues, secrets, lies, and betrayal. But they have hot chemistry and it is difficult to resist physically even when logically the whole situation screams danger.

Muse's world is spinning out of control  as more and more secrets come to light. Nothing is in her life seems real or truthful anymore. Is Jasper being honest or is he just playing her for his own agenda?

This was both an emotional and romantic suspense story. There were many layers that were gradually uncovered as secrets and lies were revealed. In the big picture you have a man involved in a dangerous situation that also puts those around him at risk. But there is also the story of a man who has buried his feelings and isolated himself. But because of Muse he is now feeling everything and it just raises up the stakes even more. But he is so guilt ridden, has such feelings of unworthiness, fear of hurting her, that he has a hard time enjoying any happiness or looking towards a future.  From the prologue we see such heartbreak and pain in Jasper's life that he has continually tried to run from but it just keeps catching up to him. But is it more dangerous for her to be with him or without him?

 Are they strong enough  to open up, let go, to love, to fight, and to save each other?

We get some answers and some resolution for this couple, but the danger in the larger story is not all wrapped up. This was an intriguing start to a new series. It was steamy, suspenseful, emotional, and had many twists and turns. The next books in the series will feature Jasper's old team mates.  I loved getting a bit of Cash, Olivia, and Gavin (The Bad Boys series) since Jasper (under his alias Jason King) has appeared in the  Always with You serials. And even though we have seen a bit of this mystery man in those, it is nothing compared to the fully unleashed unpredictable Jasper King.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Muse Harper has been living under the radar and away from home for longer than she likes, but when she can’t get ahold of her father she fears the worst. When Muse hires a bounty hunter to find her father, she finds herself traveling cross country with the mysterious, taciturn Jasper. She also finds herself fighting an attraction to the dangerous man.

Jasper King is the best at what he does. He always remains unemotional, getting the job done no matter what. But for the first time he finds himself drawn to Muse, opening up about things he has never told anyone else. He has put his past behind him, but as Muse cracks through his walls he realizes he hasn’t put it nearly as far behind himself as he thought.

These two were an interesting combination. While Muse kept her own secrets, she was curious, talkative, and friendly. Jasper, on the other hand, was so closed off that without the chapters in his perspective readers would have had an even harder time getting to know him. Even in his own voice he withheld information and remained detached, or at least he appeared to remain detached.

They couldn’t fight the pull between them for long, especially on a road trip with confined quarters. And the chemistry between them was firey. Even as Muse realizes that Jasper is dangerous and falling for him is just asking to have her heart broken, she can’t resist for long.

I had much of what was going on figured out by the time I reached the big surprise moments, at least for the parts that are revealed in this book. That being said, I enjoyed Strong Enough and getting to see the man behind the scary man we met in Always With You as Jason King and look forward to finding out what else will happen with the larger story that will weave through this series. Cash and Olivia make a brief appearance in the background, but for the most part this book is completely separate from other books from the author and introduces an entirely new set of characters that are closely tied to Jasper and will be highlighted in future books in the series.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Michelle Leighton Blog | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads

M. Leighton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Wild Ones and The Bad Boys romance trilogies. She is a native of Ohio, relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she lets her mind wander to romantic settings with sexy Southern guys much like the one she married and the ones you'll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren't roaming in that direction, she'll be riding horses, swimming in ponds and experiencing life on a ranch, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.  

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