When a marriage of convenience turns into the passion of a lifetime…..
Holden “Havoc” Thompson
My job as the leader of the Moonshine Task Force is my life. I eat, breathe, and sleep it. The men under my command mean the world to me. Knowing they count on my guidance has kept my demons at bay for longer than I care to admit.
The control I have over myself is an iron fist that sometimes threatens to squeeze the life out of me. What I want more than anything is to live again – let go of the hurt smothering every bit of light I have in this darkness.
I don’t expect it to come in the form of a Moonshiner’s daughter needing my protection.
My whole life has been defined by who my family is. In the state of Alabama, we’re number one with a target on our backs. The danger and prestige isn’t for me. I don’t care about the money, and I care too much about the families we’ve ruined.
My brother and my dad are proud of it. They wear their arrest records like a badge of honor. Me? I want as far away from the lifestyle as I can get.
It’s the only reason I ask Holden to marry me.
I never expect his whispered yes to cause such upheaval in my life. Even though I resist, I learn some havoc is good – and this one? It’s a whirlwind of lust, hope, and love and all I can do is let it sweep me away.
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My favourite Moonshine Task Force man so far
I have a process with review writing wherein I usually wait at least a few hours after finishing a book before I start my review, and I don’t read another book Between because I don’t like to take from my initial reaction. However, I finished Havoc twenty minutes ago and I was itching to get started on my review…
Laramie Briscoe genuinely surprises me with every book in this series, reading Renegade I felt myself fascinated with Ryan and the unconditional care he shows for Whitney, in awe of the topics Laramie raised, and rooting for them every step of the way, reading Tank I was immersed in the world on my kindle, completely invested and in love with Trevor and Blaze, but Havoc? There’s no comparison. I powered through Holden and Leighton’s story because I just couldn’t put it down! It’s a completely addictive, passionate, slow burn romance that had my breath catching with the pure beauty of it.
I have so much respect for how Laramie characterises Leighton, the emotional scars she still carries from her abuse, from the abandonment of her mother and the feelings of letting down her brother, her childhood best friend, the only person who loved her for a very long time… It made my heart ache at the pain and loss she’d experienced in her short life but it made me actually admire Briscoe’s and her writing more because she was addressing these issues and the darkness of our world with honesty, there wasn’t any victim blaming from those who care for Leigh, there wasn’t any part of Leigh’s or Holden’s suffering that was romanticised thankfully, and a huge part of the love story was these two beautiful people learning to love themselves and not let their pasts define them.
Leighton is a 24 year old woman who grew up in a household of abusive, illegal moonshine manufacturers. What I found so amazing and inspirational about her is that she never loses that sense of self, even when she isn’t really sure who she is, she’s loyal to that person. And escaping her father’s fists and cruel words helps her to reach her full potential and really become that person. No doubt her past will leave some permanent scars as trauma never truly goes away, just like the trauma from Holden’s time at war. However, she becomes a confident woman and her past suffering seems to have made her kind, empathetic and understanding, the kind of person that will reach out to anyone in need and help anyway she believes she can. With the help of Holden, the MTF men and their partners, and her colleagues at The Café, Leighton learns how to love and trust, she learns the true meaning of family and appreciates it every day. It is beautiful to see her get her happy.
Holden, what can I say about this man? He’s intelligent, dedicated, ambitious, determined, hardworking, moral, and intensely, unconditionally loyal. He’s also vulnerable, suffering in his own way, having closed himself off from love due to the intense, irrational fear of losing that love, or having it be unrequited. While on the surface we see Holden protecting, helping and nurturing Leighton, it’s actually very much a two way street. She helps him in ways neither are entirely aware of and I love that, how her trust, love and acceptance brings him back to himself. And have I mentioned the chemistry these two have? It’s explosive!
This book will grip you from start to finish in classic Laramie Briscoe fashion, making you crave more. More books, more love stories for these Moonshine Task Force men (seriously I can’t wait for Ace’s and Menace’s stories). The holy crap event that happens was heart wrenching, terrifying and had me in tears at the beginning of an 8 hour flight. Thanks for that Briscoe, that wasn’t embarrassing at all…
Now there’s only one question left: can a marriage of convenience ever become something more? Something real?