Title: Best Laid Plans (The Mercenaries, #1)
Author: Stylo Fantôme @StyloFantome
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Length: 322 pages
Rating: 5 stars
* Smuggle diamonds from Liberia to Morocco
* Make the trip in three days
* Don’t get caught
* Don’t kill each other
* Don’t have sex with each other
* Don’t fall for each other
* Stick to the plan
This is the story of what happens when an unlikely bond is formed between enemies, causing tensions to rise, and igniting a chemistry that threatens to burn them both.
Together, they’ll learn that sometimes even the best laid plans can fail.
If this NOVEL were a MOVIE, it would have an R rating from the MPAA.
Contains: Violence, Grisly Images, Strong Language, Nudity, and Graphic Sexual Content.
I loved this book! Totally, completely, head over heels, batshit crazy in love. Everytime I get my hands on a Stylo book I never really know what to expect, except I know I’m going to love it, and with Best Laid Plans she has delivered one hell of an action packed book. What I love about her is that all of her stories feel different from each other. This is the same author who just months ago gave us a heartfelt and honest account of a woman struggling with an affair in My Time in the Affair, and then turns around and writes Best Laid Plans, a fast paced, edge of your seat thriller that was like an adrenaline shot to the heart. I’m starting to believe that this woman can write anything and make me love it.
“See what happens when you play with fire, Lily? I burn down your goddamn house of lies.”
Marcelle De Sant aka “Marc”. Marc is a freelance mercenary, basically a gun for hire. He’s cocky, ruthless, a little bit terrifying and whole lot of sexy, and he’s VERY good at what he does. When he takes a job with the Russian bratva to steal diamonds from a Liberian gang, he’s set up in a safehouse where he meets Lily.
“She looks like a pinup, fucks like a porn star, and fights like Mike Tyson.”
Liliana Brewster aka “Lily.” Lily is the transporter who works for the bratva. It’s her job to get the diamonds from one place to another once Marc steals them. She’s incredibly smart, feisty, and like Marc she’s also very good at what she does. After weeks of flirting and dancing around their attraction to one another, on their last night together Lily and Marc decide to give in to the attraction and agree to go their separate ways once it’s over.
“You ready to play rough, princess?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
The only problem is, after the night of mind blowing sex things don’t go as planned. After Marc is set up to look like he stole the diamonds for himself, he immediately goes after Lily believing she’s the one who set him up. While Lily has a secret agenda of her own, it does not involve Marc. Each of them needs the diamonds for different reasons, Marc for survival and Lily for revenge. Neither one is willing to give them up and so they’re forced to work together, all the while distrusting and hating the other as they fight their way through Africa. And thus is the setup for Best Laid Plans.
“I honestly actually hate you.”
“I can live with that.”
The sexual chemistry between Marc and Lily was off the charts. Apart they were each a force of nature, and when they are together they are combustible. It’s like taking a match to gasoline. It was raw and dirty and intense. If they weren’t fucking they were fighting, and sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. There was choking, punching, hair pulling, slapping, biting, and name calling of both the violent and the sexy variety. I’m pretty sure they both got off on it which is why their fighting seemed more like foreplay than anything else. Either way I loved all of it. As ruthless and aggressive as Marc was with Lily, she never backed down and gave as good as she got. A lot of times, even getting the better of Marc. I loved Lily. When you have a character as alpha as Marc, many times the females get overshadowed and come across as wishy washy wall flowers in comparison to the men. But not Lily. She had a mind just as sharp as Marc’s, and a will that was just as forceful and fearless as his. But as intense as their relationship was, Stylo still managed to infuse their banter with the humor I love so much.
“No sex. Not between us. Not ever again.”
“Agreed. Definitely a bad idea. You’d probably stab me right in the middle of an orgasm.”
And unexpected sweetness that comes out of nowhere and hits me right in the heart:
“Did I ever tell you that, Lily?”
“Tell me what?”
“That you have the absolutely most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen. Don’t ever stop looking at me ok?”
“Crazy to think that a week ago I hated him. A month ago, I didn’t even know him. And now, I always wanted to be with him.”
(Somebody hold me)
Then there is Kingsley. Oh my god I want a Kingsley in my life. (What is it about this name that the sexiest men with all the best lines have it?). If Marc is a bloody fist punching his way through everything, Kingsley is the precise blade you never see coming. Marc was all raw masculine power whereas Kingsley oozed charm and sophistication but was every bit as lethal as Marc. And like all good secondary characters worth their salt, he was the voice of reason when one of the main characters wouldn’t get out of their own way and do the right thing. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give Kingsley his own book! He deserves it.
I can’t say enough good things about Best Laid Plans as a book or Stylo as a writer. I think that in terms of storytelling this is her best book. There was nothing superfluous. The story didn’t meander off into endless inner monologues that so many books fall victim to. It was like she took a surgical knife and precisely cut out everything that wasn’t essential to the plot or the characters. The action was described so clearly that I had no problem visualizing in my mind what was going on, and there is A LOT of action in this book. I loved that the story was in a setting we don’t typically see, Africa. It seems like she really did her homework with all the different regions and it added a level of intrigue that it otherwise wouldn’t have had if it was just another story set in America.
Going in I had no idea there was supposed to be a second book, so I was somewhat blindsided by that ending. It had me feeling stabby and screaming internally, and all I know is that December can’t get here soon enough. I don’t know where Stylo will take Marc, Lily, and Kingsley next, but I’m damn sure the ride will be interesting.
“…even the best laid plans call fall apart.”
*An ARC was received from the publisher for an honest review.
Crazy woman living in an undisclosed location in Alaska (where the need for a creative mind is a necessity!), I have been writing since …, forever? Yeah, that sounds about right. I have been told that I remind people of Lucille Ball – I also see shades of Jennifer Saunders, and Denis Leary. So basically, I laugh a lot, I’m clumsy a lot, and I say the F-word A LOT.
I like dogs more than I like most people, and I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. No, I do not live in an igloo, and no, the sun does not set for six months out of the year, there’s your Alaska lesson for the day. I have mermaid hair – both a curse and a blessing – and most of the time I talk so fast, even I can’t understand me.
Yeah. I think that about sums me up.
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