Today, author Ayden K. Morgan is guesting. Find out who her favourite book detectives are. And be sure to check out her latest release Kill for You, book two in the A Warrior For Her series, a romantic suspense. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
My Favorite Book Detectives
Guest Post by Ayden K. Morgen
I love a good cop romance, as well as mysteries and thrillers featuring LEOs. I could read them all day and never grow bored. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time reading thrillers and romantic suspense, and have amassed quite a collection of favorites.
In Kill for You, Octavio Hernandez is a homicide detective who meets Faith Donovan, a drug cartel slave, when he responds to a mass gang-related shooting at a bar. He instantly recognizes that something isn’t quite right about her presence there and believes the secrets she’s keeping might help him take down the cartel once and for all.
Octavio is intense and highly focused. He’s a man a part in a lot of ways. He has a lot of friends, but he’s also guarded and doesn’t share a lot with anyone. He’s also incredibly smart and sees things most miss. He doesn’t like not knowing things and never sees a puzzle he can’t solve, which makes him so good at his job. While writing his and Faith’s story, I spent a lot of time thinking about my favorite fictional detectives and mystery solvers.
Here are some of my favorite. Like Octavio, they’re driven, focused, and often see more than those around them. They’re also pretty good at solving puzzles and getting things done.
1. Benton Wesley (Patricia Cornwell series)
I started reading this series as a teenager and quickly fell in love not only with Kay Scarpetta, but with her friends and family as well. I had the biggest crush on Benton Wesley, who works for the FBI as a profiler. I still think he’s pretty hot. And I love how much detail goes into this series.
2. Robert Langdon (Angels and Demons by Dan Brown)
Robert Langdon isn’t a detective in the strictest sense of the word, but he’s definitely on the case! I have a deep and abiding love of history. While most people hated the revisionist history in this book, I really enjoyed getting to explore the “what ifs”. It’s also one of a handful of books I have been able to get my husband to read, so that’s a pretty big deal!
3. Roland (Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series)
Here’s another that doesn’t fit the detective term in the strictest sense. Roland is a bit of an enigma. He’s a lawman on a mission, but his mission is a lot bigger and more important than the traditional case. I love this series, and I think Roland is a total badass. *Spoiler Alert* The dude gets ripped apart by creepy lobster things and still kicks ass. He is so cool!
4. Sheriff Colt (Keeping Her Warm by Alexa Riley)
I fell in love with this book when I read it. It’s short, sweet, and steamy. Cole is the local sheriff, who falls for Catherine after learning that she’s been surviving on her own after her hot mess of a father disappears. He’s determined to find her once he realizes what’s going on…and find her he does. Just in time, too. He’s so sweet to her. I just love this book.
5. Cobi Mayson (Until Cobi by Aurora Rose Reynolds)
I adore Cobi Mayson! He’s this giant of a man, determined to break down his woman’s walls and find his HEA with her. He’s bossy as heck when he needs to be, but he’s also super sweet. And Hadley is pretty great too. I love how patient he is with her and how he refuses to give up on getting through to her.
6. Sheriff Bryce Hammond (Phantoms by Dean Koontz)
This book creeped me out, I’m not even going to lie. I’m not big on spooky stuff, but I absolutely loved this book. Mostly because I loved Sheriff Bryce Hammond. I even enjoyed the pretty terrible movie adaptation of this book.
Title: Kill For You
Series: A Warrior For Her #2
Author: Ayden K. Morgen
Genre: Romantic Suspense
The last thing Detective Octavio Hernandez expects to find at the scene of a mass gang-related shooting is a brown-eyed angel standing bravely in the midst of the chaos. One look at Faith Donovan and the homicide detective knows there’s more to her than meets the eye. She’s keeping secrets that just might help bring down Los Zetas, one of the biggest drug cartels in Los Angeles.
He just has to convince her that trusting him is worth the risk.
Forced upon a mother who didn’t want her and enslaved by a gang that refuses to let her go without a fight, Faith’s life has never been her own. She thought she’d made peace with her fate…until Octavio sweeps in and carries her out of her blood-soaked cage.
Faith trusts no one, but the hardened detective makes it difficult to remember why. The way he cares for her makes her ache for what she never thought she’d find: love and a family of her own. But trusting him when she knows he has an ulterior motive is one of the most difficult things she’ll ever do.
He swore to give her the freedom she craves, but when the secrets she holds paint a target on her back, keeping that promise will prove no easy feat.
To secure her freedom and win her heart, this detective will move mountains. And take down anyone standing in his way.
Note: Kill for You is the second book in a series of interconnected full-length novels featuring law enforcement officers willing to do whatever it takes to protect the women who need them most. Each book can be read as a standalone, has no cheating, and a guaranteed HEA.
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OPERATION UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
On March 17th, 100% of author proceeds from Kill for You will be donated to Operation Underground Railroad to aid in the rescue of child victims of human trafficking. Post release day, 10% of proceeds will continue to go to Operation Underground Railroad. To date, Operation Underground Railroad has rescued over 3,200 children from slavery and has helped prosecute over 1,800 human traffickers. Learn more about O.U.R. and pledge your support here.
Crime scene tape stretches from Tiny’s bar to the dry cleaners next door, and then across the street to the little Mexican restaurant that’s been there for longer than I’ve been alive. The tape continues on past that building, but I lose sight of it when a cop steps up in front of me, blocking my view.
At least I think he’s a cop.
Unlike most of the others, he’s not dressed in a uniform. I’ve been surrounded by men most of my life, but aside from Tiny, he’s one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. His booted feet are planted on the ground, shoulder-width apart. His jeans aren’t tight, but they do nothing to hide his thick calves and powerful thighs. His dark blue LAPD t-shirt stretches across his hard stomach and broad chest, hugging his muscular frame in ways that has heat sparking low in my belly. With his arms crossed, he looks as immovable as a mountain.
He clears his throat and I jerk my gaze upward…over the badge hanging from a chain around his neck and up to a chiseled jaw and full lips. His skin is caramel, the hint of a five o’clock shadow on his cheeks and jaw. The higher my gaze drifts, the hotter he is. His face is all sharp angles and planes. His eyes are so dark brown they’re almost black. Intelligence blazes in them…and something else too. Something I’m not even sure I know how to define. It’s some mix of confidence and uncompromising authority that screams cop.
Jesus, he’s hot.
He’s maybe thirty-five. He’s got a beanie pulled low over his forehead, but it does nothing to hide the way his dark brows climb upward as he looks me over. His hard expression softens incrementally, and I realize he’s speaking to me and I haven’t heard a word.
“I’m sorry,” I mumble, shaking my head as if that’s going to clear it of the screams and gunfire still echoing in the recesses of my mind. “Can you repeat that?”
He eyes me for a moment. I’m not sure what he sees on my face, but his expression softens even more. “I’m Octavio Hernandez. I’m a homicide detective for the Los Angeles Police Department. What’s your name, pequeña?” he asks. His voice is a deep rumble, like water rushing over rocks. It’s…pleasant. It washes over me in comforting waves, soothing away some of my raw nerves and anxiety. He crouches in front of me, forcing the paramedic to move over a little to give him room.
“F-faith. Faith Donovan.”
“Faith,” he repeats. I like the way he says it like he’s savoring the taste of my name on those full lips. “Faith, did you have friends inside?”
“I…” I almost tell him that I don’t have friends at all, but catch myself at the last moment and shake my head instead. “I’m a bartender. I was at work.”
“Okay, that’s good.” He gives me an encouraging nod. “Can you tell me what happened?”
I glance over his shoulder at the two dead bodies in the street, and then over to the group of Zetas cloistered together on the far side of the crime scene. They’re all blood-stained and tight-lipped, refusing to speak to the officers standing in front of them. Not that I thought they would or anything.
In this world, problems are handled in the streets, with knives and guns, not in a courtroom. The Zetas will hunt down whoever el Demonio sent and will kill them. That’s how gang warfare works. It’s a never-ending cycle of retribution, retaliation, and revenge that’s only gotten worse the last few months. I’m guessing what happened here tonight is only going to fan the flames and send the city spiraling closer to all-out war.
An eye for an eye. It really does leave the whole world blind.
Iván Santino’s dark gaze meets mine. He’s one of three Zeta lieutenants in Los Angeles, second only to Oscar Fuentes. Iván is vicious and cruel, and has spent the last five years making my life as painful as possible. I think, if Oscar would let him, he would have dragged me kicking and screaming to his bed a long time ago, and then left my battered and broken body for someone else to dispose of. But Oscar thinks I’m still of some use to him, and no one crosses Oscar, not if they want to live, anyway.
The way Iván looks at me sends another wave of nausea crawling up my throat. He’s running out of patience…which means I’m running out of time. If I don’t find a way out of this city soon, he’s going to come for me and not even the threat Oscar poses will be enough to stop him. What the Zetas have taken from me thus far won’t even compare to what Iván will do to me when he finally gets his hands on me…I know that much down to my soul.
Even from across the road, I can read the warning in his eyes. I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut and give this cop the same runaround the Zetas are undoubtedly giving the rest of them. Normally, that’s exactly what I’d do. My survival depends on me keeping my mouth shut and my head down. But I’m covered in the blood of a girl who probably didn’t make it to the hospital alive. I’ve seen more dead bodies tonight than I ever wanted to see. And I’m done with this whole mess. If Oscar kills me for talking…well, whatever death he gives me will be a sight better than what Iván wants to do to me.
“Faith, look at me,” Detective Hernandez says, reaching up and placing a hand on the side of my face. Sparks hum to life where his skin meets mine. His touch is gentle despite the roughness of his fingers. He moves my head gently until my gaze focuses on him again and then he releases me. Those dark eyes suck me in, compelling me to open my mouth and talk to him. “I know you’re scared, but I will protect you. Just talk to me. What happened tonight?”
“I…” I don’t even know where to start or how much I should say. “Some of the Zetas came in with their friends to celebrate Thiago’s birthday. They were drinking and laughing. Someone started shooting. I looked outside, and there were five men with guns.”
“Okay, good. That’s real good. Did you recognize any of them?”
My gaze darts away from Detective Hernandez to the Zetas. Iván’s glaring at me, hatred in his eyes. My heart pounds erratically, fear pumping through my veins. I break his gaze and glance back to Detective Hernandez to find him watching me intently. I lick my lips and then shake my head.
“I can protect you, Faith,” Detective Hernandez says again, his voice soft.
I think he means that, but I don’t think he can keep that promise. He doesn’t know who I am or what my mother and stepfather did to the Zetas. He doesn’t know I’m a prisoner here and have been since I was sixteen. He can’t help me because no one can. He’ll forget about me the second this case closes, if not before.
“She needs to go to the hospital,” the paramedic announces after wrapping my hands in bandages. “There are a couple pieces of glass embedded pretty deeply into her left palm. She might need stitches.”
“Fuck,” Detective Hernandez swears. “Faith, talk to me and I swear to you that I’ll find whoever did this to your friends.”
“They aren’t my friends,” I mumble.
One dark brow climbs, letting me know I’ve said a little too much. I silently coach myself to get it together. I’m out of sorts and off my game. I can’t let this man get to me. He’ll be gone soon, and I’ll be right back where I started.
He stays silent for a moment, just watching me. “Talk to me, Faith. Please.”
I shouldn’t, but the foreign tinge to his plea does me in. It’s been so long since anyone has needed my help with anything, so long since anyone has said please to me…and I don’t think this man is used to having to ask for anything, but he’s asking me.
I want to help him, even though I shouldn’t. I want to believe he can help me, even when I know he can’t.
Title: Fight For You
Series: A Warrior For Her #1
Author: Ayden K. Morgen
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Some things are worth fighting for.
Some people are worth dying for.
For me, January James is both.
Too bad she hates me.
Ten years ago, I destroyed her life and lost everything that mattered to me. I’ve been in hell since, desperately trying to forget her even though I’ve never been able to do it. She still haunts me.
Now a dangerous enemy from my past has it out for her. He isn’t going to stop until he gets what he wants. I know I should stay away before I hurt her all over again, but I can’t do it.
It’s time to stop running and start fighting for her.
My name is Michael Kincaid, and this is my swan song. When it’s over, I’ll either be the monster at the end of this book…or I’ll be the man January deserves.
Fight for You is an angsty and emotional brother’s best friend, second chance romance. It is the first book in a series of interconnected full-length standalone novels featuring alpha male cops willing to do whatever it takes to protect the women who need them most. Each book has no cheating, and a guaranteed HEA.
**Only .99cents 3/15 to 3/31 on Amazon!**
“You shouldn’t be out here by yourself,” Cade says.
I cry out, alarmed as he pops up on the other side of the porch railing. I never even heard him coming. My hand flies to my chest, trying to calm the way my pulse pounds with fear.
“You scared me,” I mutter and then I get a good glimpse at him.
He looks like shit. Even with all those tattoos and that hardness—the dangerous vibe that radiates from him despite the fact that he’s standing completely still—he’s too handsome for words. But his eyes are troubled and rimmed with dark shadows. His jaw is scruffy where he hasn’t shaved. His hair is a mess and his jeans and black t-shirt are wrinkled. The gauges in his ears and the piercing in his nose make him look dangerous in a way I find far too appealing. The bandage on his arm is gone, revealing a cut about four inches long. There are still a couple of stitches holding the edges of his puffy skin together.
“I’m not the monster in the dark you should be afraid of, ba–January,” he says, crossing his tattooed arms over his broad chest. His gaze roves across my face, but he never meets my eyes. Even then, I feel exposed in a way I never have before, vulnerable…like he can see all the ugly scars and jagged wounds inside me.
“I’m not afraid of Kaleo,” I tell him, pulling my legs up into the chair and wrapping my arms around my knees as if that will keep him from seeing the painful, ugly things inside that still hurt.
“You should be.” He climbs up the steps, his footfalls heavy on the old wood. His boots and the bottoms of his jeans are splattered with mud. He stops at the top and props his shoulder up on the post, still watching me. “He’s after the park. He won’t stop until he gets it or someone stops him.”
“He can’t have it. It’s mine.”
Cade eyes me for a minute and then sighs.
“I didn’t think you were still here,” I say when he doesn’t speak. “Your car is gone.”
“I left it with a friend,” he says.
An awkward silence stretches between us. I hate it. Things have never been awkward or tense between us before. They weren’t always easy, but they were always natural. Being with him was like breathing. It was effortless. I didn’t have to think about it or worry about it. He never made me feel out of place or like I didn’t fit. He made me feel like I mattered. Like I had a place and a purpose.
My entire life, I felt like an outsider. I’ve always been significantly smaller than my peers and a little bit timid because of it. Standing up for myself isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly good at doing. Mean girls like Mandy Wright went out of their way to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. She hated that Cade didn’t want her and made my life miserable because of it. But Cade always took care of me and made sure I wasn’t excluded. People accepted me because of him and Titan. All these years later, people still accept me because of them.
“I’m sorry about last night,” I whisper, my heart pounding. Now that the moment’s here, I’m not even sure where to begin unburdening myself. There’s so much between us…so much I never got to tell him. So many things I’ve regretted for a long damn time.
“There is no other woman,” he says. He fidgets, rocking on his heels and then running a hand through his hair. He looks out into the yard and then down at his feet. “Little Mama is like a sister to me. Her husband, Tristan, is probably the only real friend I’ve had since…well, in a long time. I had to come back. The guy who took her wanted to do some seriously fucked up shit. Letting that happen wasn’t an option.”
“Oh.” I swallow and then lick my lips, feeling guilty for being jealous. It’s such a petty, destructive emotion, one I promised myself I would never give into. But I did yesterday. When I imagined him racing back here to rescue another woman, I was jealous as hell. That shames me. “Is…is she okay?”
“Not really, but she will be. She’s got Tristan. He’ll make sure she’s straight.”
“That’s good then.”
We drift off, both peering everywhere but at each other. I stare out into the yard. The flowerbeds will need to be weeded soon. Dandelions keep popping up all over the place.
“Are you staying for long?” I ask to fill the silence and then peek up at him.
He’s watching me this time, a furrow between his brows.
“Didn’t plan on it, but who knows?” He shrugs, that furrow growing deeper. His face is so much more severe than it used to be. There’s a darkness there, a wildness that I only ever saw once—the day he got into a fight with Cody Love in the park because Cody was talking shit about me. There was murder in his eyes that day, and I see it there again now.
He’s not the same boy he used to be. He’s all man now, with ten years’ worth of history I know nothing about. It weighs heavily on him. The haunted weariness in his eyes leaves me with the distinct impression that he carries the weight of the whole world on his broad shoulders and has for a long time.
“I never hated you,” I whisper to him, my heart hurting at the evidence that life hasn’t been easy for him. It kills me a little to know I put some of that weight there. That he carries it because of me…because I was a selfish little girl who lashed out just so I didn’t have to hurt alone. “I was hurt and angry, and I wanted you to hurt too. But I never hated you, Cade. I never wanted you to leave.”
“You should have hated me,” he whispers back, his expression so solemn and serious it sends tears slipping down my cheeks. “You should still hate me. I took everything from you.”
“It wasn’t your fault,” I argue, shaking my head. “I never blamed you. You shouldn’t blame yourself either.”
He gives me a sad smile. “You always saw more in me than was there. I never deserved you.” The self-loathing in his voice breaks me.
“You’re wrong. I was the one who didn’t deserve you.” I dash away the tears blurring my vision and give him a watery smile. “You were always larger than life to me, my own personal hero. And now look at you. You’re an honest to God hero.”
Cade chuckles, the deep sound hitting me low in my stomach. Heat floods through me in a warm rush.
“I’m no one’s hero, sweetheart.”
“I bet your friend’s girl would tell you different,” I argue, though I’m not sure why. Clearly, he doesn’t see himself the way I always have. Back then, I never would have envisioned him as a cop, but it fits him. He was born to save lives and take down criminals. I’m proud of him.
“T saved his girl, January. I was just there to keep him from destroying himself to do it.” His expression twists and he holds his hands up, palms facing me. He hits me with a look of such intense self-hatred it pins me to my chair and steals my breath. “I’m not the hero of this story or any other. I’ve got so much blood on my hands I’ll never wash clean.”
I flinch, taken aback by how easily those words roll off his tongue. The powerful emotion in his eyes reflects in his voice, running so deep it’s overwhelming.
“You should get out of here for a few days,” he says, pushing away from the post. “Kaleo isn’t fucking around. He wants the park and you’re only going to get yourself hurt trying to fight him on it.”
“I’m not going anywhere, Cade.”
“Why not?” he asks, clearly exasperated with me. He throws his hands up again, flinging his arms wide this time. “Open your eyes, baby girl. This place is falling the fuck apart. It was a shithole when we were growing up and it’s a shithole now. The only thing here worth saving is you.”
Anger courses through me at his words. I jump to my feet and glare at him. “It may be a shithole, but it matters to me. I’m not going to run and hide while Kaleo strolls in and takes it from me. Everything else I love is gone. He doesn’t get to take what’s left. I won’t let him.”
“Dammit, January,” he groans and I can’t tell if he’s pissed at me for refusing or if he’s just annoyed at being back here in general. It doesn’t matter either way. Once upon a time, I would have given him anything he asked for, no questions asked. But that was then and this is now. He might not be willing to fight for this block any longer, but I am. It’s the only thing I have left to fight for.
“Maybe you can turn your back on your home,” I growl at him, desperately wanting to stomp my foot and throw a tantrum like I did when I was little. “But I can’t. I won’t. I will fight to keep that bastard off this block until I can’t fight anymore.”
“You’re going to get yourself killed.”
“Then at least I’ll die having stood for something.”
Sometimes, I think maybe dying wouldn’t be so bad. How fucked up is that? I’m so miserable I think dying would be a relief. That’s not normal. It’s not healthy. But sometimes I think it anyway.
“Goddammit,” he swears. “I don’t have time for this shit right now.”
That hurts. I flinch before I can stop myself. “I never asked you to stay,” I snap, slamming my hands down on my hips to scowl at him. “Go back to Seattle, Cade. I don’t need your help.”
He grabs me before I can storm inside the house. Sparks of electric fire dance up my arm, shooting off in all directions from where his fingers wrap around my upper arm. He’s so much bigger than me…his fingers touch easily. His steely blue-gray eyes meet mine, so dark gray they’re almost black. His nostrils flare as his expression turns feral, predatory…hungry.
The stark need shining in his eyes has me licking my lips. My nipples harden, my traitorous body blooming for him.
A guttural groan breaks from his lips and then, somehow, he has me pinned to the front door with my hands in his hair and my legs wrapped around his waist.
“Fuck,” he curses, then his lips are on mine. He kisses me like a man possessed. There’s nothing sweet or gentle about the way he takes my mouth. It’s possessive, predatory, and so damn right.
This is what’s been missing for the last decade. Him and the intense feelings he sends hurtling through me like a comet. With his lips on mine, I feel alive, like I’m finally, finally living instead of just going through the motions.
His body is hard everywhere. He grinds me down on the obvious bulge in his jeans as he attacks my mouth, claiming it like he owns it…owns me. I cry out against his lips, pleasure hitting me hard and fast. My fingers dance through his hair, tugging and pulling.
An inferno rages between us. Years of overwhelming need tears me apart as he kisses me so hard I know I’ll remember the feel of his lips on mine for the rest of my life. This kiss is like none he’s ever given me before. It’s powerful, potent…and perfect.
I can’t give this up. With his lips on mine, I know I’ll never be over him. I’ll never be ready to move on. And I don’t want to be.
“Cade,” I whisper, wiggling in his arms, desperate for friction where I need it most. Desperate for him. He’s the only man who has ever touched me. I ache for him. God, I ache so badly. “Cade, please. I need you so much.”
His body goes taut at my desperate confession. His hands tighten on my ass for a split second and then he pulls away. I cry out, hating the way it feels when his big body no longer pins me to the door. When his lips break from mine. When he’s no longer in my personal space, possessing it.
He slides me down his body until my feet touch the worn wood, then he releases me entirely.
He’s breathing hard, his chest rising and falling like he just ran five miles. His eyes meet mine, his expression so severe that it steals my breath all over again. He’s definitely all man now, grown up and so powerful. It’s honestly a little breathtaking to see him like this. With his hair all messed up, his cheeks flushed, and his eyes on fire, he’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
“Go inside, January,” he rumbles when I lick my lips, savoring the taste of him on them.
“Now!” he barks.
I jump at the loud crack of sound. Tears fill my eyes, rejection burning through me hot and fast.
His thunderous expression softens. He reaches out and tugs gently on a strand of my hair, exactly like he always did when we were kids and he wanted to comfort me. The corner of his lip turns up in a sardonic half smile. “I’m the last thing you need. I’ll just fuck up your life all over again,” he whispers and then he turns and jogs down the steps.
“You were the only thing I ever needed,” I whisper to his back.
He hesitates for a split second, pausing mid-step, then he shakes his head. “Maybe one day I’ll be the kind of man you deserve, but I’m not him now, January. I’m still the monster at the end of this book. I always have been.”
His heavy sigh speaks volumes, and each one of them shatters another little piece of my heart.
“Every goddamn day without you was wrong, baby girl,” he whispers, his voice rough with pain. “That doesn’t make this right. I already destroyed you once. I won’t do it again now.”
Ayden K. Morgen is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of fifteen years, and their furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army.
She graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law.
She puts her education to use as a 911 Dispatch Supervisor, where she’s responsible for leading a team of dispatchers as they watch over police, EMS, and firefighters for her county. Her books feature law enforcement officers, the women who love them, and the difficult cases that drive them.
She also writes New Adult Fantasy as A.K. Morgen.
Find Ayden: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Amazon | Goodreads | Smashwords
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