July 23, 2014

REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Come Back (Dirty, Dark & Deadly #2)

JA Huss is back with a new series and holy crap. It's hotter, grittier, and more dangerous than anything she's written before. Want to know more? There's lots of stuff here. Read my review, check out an excerpt and some teasers, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end. Oh yeah. And then go buy Come and Come Back.

Come Back (Dirty, Dark & Deadly #2), by JA Huss
Published July 21, 2014
Publisher: Science Future Press
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult suspense romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) “Secrets keep the darkness alive,” Harper tells me. But that’s not how I see it at all. Secrets keep me alive. The truth is overrated. Honesty is never the best policy. And everything you know absolutely can hurt you.

The contracts I fulfill are just agreements. Death is a business deal. Secrets are currency in my world. I pay my debts with them. I feed on them. They ground me in the present and they promise me a future. I’ve lived a life filled with secrets for so long—I forgot what it’s like to… feel.

Until I saw Harper. Until I saw how beautiful she’s become. How perfect, and pure, and innocent of all the ugly that goes on around her. And that dirty promise I refused the night her father turned me into a killer twelve years ago is suddenly on the table again.

Harper can be mine. No—Harper will be mine. All I have to do is complete the mission.

Death is a business deal.

And I just shook his hand.

I'm learning that the Dirty, Dark & Deadly series is like an onion. Just when you think you get it - you know what's going on and who's on who's side and what everyone's motives are - JA Huss peels back another layer of OMG, and you realize, you didn't know squat.  

We met James Fenici, a.k.a. Six, a.k.a. Tet, in Come (or perhaps we met him earlier in some other book...???!!!) when he showed up at the beach claiming to know Harper and swept her off her feet and blew her mind. Then, he skipped out and didn't come back. In Come Back, Harper seeks out to find James, and find him she does. But not before he finds 13-year-old Assassin Smurf, Sasha. The three of them have individual goals that seem to intersect at different places. The question on all their minds is, are they all on the same side, fighting for the right things?

James is a stone cold assassin - one of The Company's best. At first glance, it doesn't seem as if anything can take him down. That nothing could penetrate his tough exterior, both literally and figuratively. Through the course of Come Back, we see that there are many facets to James Fenici. Yes, he is hard enough to threaten to kill a young teenager - repeatedly - and mean it. But, he's also soft enough to make the sweet life-altering promises to Harper that girls need to hear. James is an enigma, and I found myself wanting to learn more about him. I was (and still am) curious as to whether we were seeing the real James. He wears many faces, and it's hard to tell which one is true and which ones were masks. I'd like to think that he's the realest when he's with Harper.

Harper is a tough nut to crack. But, really, who can blame her? Her father had planned to hand her over to a man in exchange for his services, like she's a commodity. When she objected to that plan in her own special way and ran away, she effectively placed a price on her head too. It's no wonder that it's hard for her to trust James. We see Harper fighting her own mind and experience throughout Come Back. What she has seen and knows about The Company tells her that she shouldn't trust James when he says he loves her and wants to protect her. But, what she is feeling is a different story entirely. She just might love him too, and that scares the crap out of her because it throws her off her game. She's looking for her twin brother, and she didn't plan on anything or anyone getting in the way. Harper waffles between vulnerable and stalwart, and honestly, I loved both sides of her. It shows that she's strong but not unaffected by what's going on around her. 

And then there's Sasha - the Smurf, as James calls her. Sasha's the toughest for me to figure out. She doesn't act like a typical 13-year-old kid. She's more ruthless and brutal than James in some ways. Which makes her creepy and deadly. Even when she shed some tears and appeared affected by what's going on around her, it was hard to believe it was genuine. This girl is TOUGH. It made it hard for me to like her in any way, although she did crack me up from time to time. She didn't fear James at all, which is insane. And, her role in whatever it is she has going on was the most confusing and shrouded in the most amount of mystery. 

There's a lot going on in Come Back. A lot of secrets and lies and plots within plots - stories within stories. It's exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat pretty much constantly. It may make your head explode as you try to decipher everyone's true motives. This isn't your typical love story. But, when so many stories are so very similar, that's okay. It's a welcome change. There might not be as many pretty words in Come Back, but it's still super hot. And, it's told in dual POV, so we get both James' and Harper's views on what's going on around them.

It would be best if you read Slack, Taut and Guns before starting the Dirty, Dark & Deadly series, although it's not essential. Those books will give you a lot of extrapolation on Sasha's back story, especially, and a little bit of James' too. It's an incredible story - what are you waiting for?


Merc picks up on the second ring too. I love consistency. “Jasus fucking Christ, where the hell have you been?”

“Traveling. You think I have hidden wormholes I can pop in and out of to get places or what?”

“Yeah, well, Twifter is not happy, asshole.”

“Twifter can kiss my ass. None of that shit this morning was me. But anyway, we’re here. Thanks for the beer.” I take a swig and let out a long, “Ahhh,” trying to piss off Merc, but that’s when I see the Smurf watching me from the jail cell up on the foyer terrace. “Call you later,” I say, and then I press end on the phone. “What the fuck you doing up there?”

“Who the hell were you talking to?” she snarls back.

“Merc.” I hold up my beer and give her a pretend cheers.

“Obviously that phone call was Merc. Before Merc, who the hell were you talking to?”

“My secretary.” She stares at me and then gets up and walks to the jail cell door. That little shit was sleeping up in that jail cell. What a freak. “Why? I ask her. “You got a problem with me making calls?”

She walks towards the steps and stops at the top. She’s all sweaty and flushed from the heat, and her hair is still wet from her earlier shower. The scratches from the thorn run-in this morning are still there, but now that the dried blood has been properly washed away, they are not so bad. She looks better and worse all at the same time. She looks unstable.

“When you make a call to an associate from a phone that’s supposedly not secure, a phone that had some cryptic message you tried to blame on me, then yeah. I have a big fucking problem.”

“Watch your fucking mouth around me, kid. Or I’ll smack the shit out of it.”

She reaches behind her and pulls out a gun and points it at me. “Is that right?”

“You better shoot me right the fuck now. Because if you don’t, I’ll kill you just for pointing that weapon at me.”

She reevaluates her target and decides on a spot above my head. Smurfette is clever. “Who were you talking to?”

I eye the diameter of the chamber on her weapon and guesstimate .40. “You sure you can handle that thing? It’s got a nice kick to it. And if you miss me, I won’t miss you.”

“I don’t miss. And I’ve been shooting this Glock for a while now. So I’ll happily take my chances. Now, who were you talking to?”

“I already told you. My secretary, checking for messages. And Merc, returning a call.”

“You were checking in. Who’s running this operation?”

“I thought you knew?”

She thinks about this for a few seconds. Gives it some consideration before she answers. “I know who I’m working for. I know who sent you to get me. And I don’t think we’re on the same side anymore.”

“That’s too bad then,” I tell her with a shrug of my shoulders. “I was just beginning to like you. I was starting to hope I wouldn’t have to kill you.”

“Funny,” she says with a coolness that sends a chill up my arm. “I was thinking the same thing.”

About the Author

JA Huss is the USA Today best-selling author of the Rook and Ronin series, the epic science fiction I Am Just Junco series, and hundreds of kid-friendly science books in subjects such as biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and forensics. She has an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master's degree in forensic toxicology. She has never taken a creative writing class and she hopes she never will.

Learn more about JA --> Website / Twitter / Facebook  


(2) $50 gift cards plus signed copy of COME BACK and swag
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