The author is Cristin Harber and the series is called Titan. I'm still unclear as to why she and her publisher (Mill Creek Press) released five books (three books, two novellas) at the same time (all in late September / early October), but for readers who get easily hooked into a series it's like Christmas and birthdays all together. You don't have to wait months (or a year) for the next installment. That said, I decided to scrap my other planned reads over the weekend and dig into Ms. Harber's series once I completed Jaycee Clark's Deadly boxed set. And I did.
The first book, Winters Heat, quickly set up the Titan Group - retired military alpha heroes who have banded together to form a black ops/bodyguards service for the government or "good" corporations/individuals. The story combines a lot of sex to heat up the sheets (if Harber's protagonists reach the bed) and a lot of action, along with showing the human side of these alpha heroes we all love. Each time I thought the action and story had reached its climax another twist ensued and it was nail biting time again. I have to admit it seemed a slightly rough read to me. I understood Harber's premise, liked her characters, but some of her prose seemed forced and just seemed like an editor could have, should have, taken a little more time with it. That said, I would definitely recommend it as she has a very good story to tell.
The second book in the series, Garrison's Creed, picks up with a few of the characters we met in Winters Heat (and if you're wondering, each title features the last name of the main protagonists - Colby Winters, Cash Garrison, etc.). Cash, a sniper par excellence, has his sights trained on a gun runner in the opening chapter, when he recognizes someone with his target. That someone was pretty special to him it is quickly revealed and their relationship - Nicola's and Cash's - is the foundation of this book. There are the predicted twists and turns and steam began to rise from my Kindle as I read some of these scenes. (Believe me, these books are HOT, but don't, I feel, cross into erotica.) I quickly became wrapped up in the story and found it a much smoother read than the first book and really enjoy Harber's sense of character, in particular, Sugar, who we first saw in Winters Heat, plays a more dramatic role here. And at this point, I'm beyond grateful that I don't have to wait for the next installment as my Kindle doesn't have to power down, but just opens up the third book in her series.
[I should be clear here that the publisher provided the first two books for me to read for the review, the third book and the novella are my own.]
The third book, Westin's Chase, tells the story of the head of Titan, Jared Westin, and Lilly Chase, also known as Sugar, the proprietor of GUNS. A daring rescue in Afghanistan opens this book and the pace never lags. Corruption, traitors, trust, love - all are on the table here. And of all the books in the series, I think this was my favorite. Lilly ("Sugar") well I just grew to love her. She gives kick-ass new meaning and, well, Jared. Hey, he's the guy. I have to admit that I wasn't sure going in that I was going to like them (last scene Jared was coming from a tryst with two gals, and Lilly was, hmmm, taken believably for a madam in the first book, and not very sympathetic in the second). But here, Harber brings them to the forefront and they just are perfect together. Her writing is now seamless and this book was impossible to put down. At the end, I have to admit a few tears for families that were seemingly torn apart by betrayal, but I promise, no spoilers. You have to read this!
The two novellas - Gambled and Chased - are fast reads, but if you're serious about following this series (and I think you will be), you should definitely pick them up. Find out what happens after betrayal in Gambled and Lilly's (Sugar's) actress sister Jenny is the focus of Chased.
I'm so glad Harber added Gambled to the series as I really, really wanted to know what happened to Brock Gamble and his family at the end of Westin's Chase. No, his road back isn't easy, but alpha heroes do have to work for it, don't they. And with some help from the female alphas of Titan, it seems that Brock & Sarah's story might have a happy ending. But like any hero (and heroine), they'll have to be tested. And they are. I really enjoyed it and Harber has a real gift for making you "feel" for her characters. A quick read that drives the series forward while adding depth and humanity to the Titans.
I really enjoyed Chased, the fifth installment to Cristin Harber's Titan series and the characters of Jenny Chase (Sugar's sister) and Archer, a rising politician. The story was interesting and, of course, the Titan group was drawn in as bodyguards for Jared Westin's sister-in-law, but the focus was really the romance between Jenny and Archer.
Reading all five books in the series together, I found this one to be like finding a huge Hershey's kiss when you're jonesing for chocolate. It just hit the spot. And Harber has a deft touch with romance.
I look forward to seeing what is up next for Titan and, as a reader, can only applaud Cristin Harber and Mill Creek Press for taking the step to release all these books simultaneously. If her aim was to lead to addiction to Titan and its alpha heroes, she definitely succeeded. Kudos to all!
From the Publisher
Winters Heat by Cristin Harber
Mill Creek Press
After putting her life on the line to protect classified intelligence, military psychologist Mia Kensington is on a cross-country road trip from hell with an intrusive save-the-day hero. Uninterested in his white knight act, she’d rather take her chances without the ruggedly handsome, cold-blooded operative who boasts an alpha complex and too many guns. Colby Winters, an elite member of The Titan Group, has a single objective on his black ops mission: recover a document important to national security. It was supposed to be an easy in-and-out operation. But now, by any means necessary becomes a survival mantra when he faces off with a stunning woman he can’t leave behind.
When Titan’s safe houses are compromised, Colby stashes Mia at his home, exposing his secret—he’s the adoptive father of an orphaned baby girl. Too soon, danger arrives and Mia lands in the hands of a sadistic cartel king with a taste for torture. As hours bleed into fear-drenched days, Colby races across the globe and through a firestorm of bullets to save the woman he can’t live without.
Garrison's Creed by Cristin Harber
Mill Creek Press
A SPY RUNNING FOR HER LIFE
Nicola is an injured CIA agent on the run from a failed undercover operation. Her escape plan shatters when she slams into the man who buried her a decade ago. Cash Garrison. Her first and only love. Now, sexier than her best memory and cradling a sniper’s rifle, he has questions she can’t answer. Why was she alive? And armed?
AND THE MAN SHE COULD NEVER SEE AGAIN
Cash is an elite member of a black ops organization, The Titan Group. He thought Nicola died his senior year of college and swore off love to focus on a decade of military missions. But when she shows up behind enemy lines, bleeding out and wielding a weapon, his heart and mind are unsure how to proceed.
BATTLE BETRAYAL TO SAVE THEMSELVES
Titan and the CIA join forces to uncover a mole hidden in a network of international terrorists and homegrown mobsters, teaming Cash and Nicola again. They fight old wounds and re-ignite sparks while closing in on a double agent. When disaster strikes, Nicola’s hidden past makes her the hunted target and Cash’s best kill shot may not be enough to save them.
Westin's Chase by Cristin Harber
Mill Creek Press
THE MASTER OF EVERYTHING HAS FOUND HIS MATCH
Jared Westin knows his reputation and likes it. He gets the job done. No emotion. No baggage. That’s why his elite ops company, The Titan Group, is better than the best. They complete projects classified as mission impossible. And then, in walks a woman as tough as she is sexy. His counterpart in every way, should he choose to admit it.
SHE’S NOT WILLING TO LET HER HEART FALL
Ousted undercover ATF agent Lilly Chase only answers to “Sugar.” Jared is the only man who can see past her leather-and-lipstick demeanor, and that revelation is terrifying. She was fired for helping Titan on a questionable arrest she should’ve ignored, then partnered with Jared’s rival on an assignment in Afghanistan. Distance and danger do nothing to change her feelings. When she’s left on the side of a mountain to die, an unexpected ally comes forward, and might open her heart.
THE STAKES COULDN’T BE HIGHER
Saving Sugar isn’t a normal rescue operation. It pits Titan against its rival, Jared against his nemesis. Chasing Sugar’s heart isn’t a simple task, either. She fights him, fights them, always ready to run. When she becomes a pawn in a game of collateral damage, Jared must risk his life to save her—the woman whose bravado and surprising sweetness has given him the one thing he never had. Love.
Gambled by Cristin Harber (novella)
Mill Creek Press
Brock Gamble’s epic fall from the Titan Group labeled him a traitor. He betrayed his men. He failed his family. And when he thought he’d hit the lowest point, his wife walked out with their children, leaving him alone to drown himself in the bottle.
Surviving an abduction didn’t end the nightmare for Sarah Gamble. The aftershocks of post-traumatic stress disorder hit her hard. Self-doubt and confusion. Anger and hurt. Running away was an easy escape until Brock shows up on her doorstep offering a trip to paradise and a promise to fix their marriage.
Before the couple can search for answers, Brock is pulled back into the very world that Sarah is so scared of—kidnapping, cartels, and guns—and the stakes are too high for either one of them to ignore.
Chased by Cristin Harber (novella)
Mill Creek Press
Asher McIntyre has never had time for a serious relationship. Work is too demanding. But he’s also never stopped thinking about Jenny. When a stalker with a political agenda focuses on her, Asher can’t play the role of disinterested buddy any longer. The sparks are too strong, and his alpha gene is provoked. He wants her under his arm and in his bed.
But can two hearts on opposite career paths survive while Asher’s enemy seeks to take them both down?