Review: The Fall of the Red Queen by Lexxi Callahan

fall of the red queenReviewed by Janell

This is the third book in the Southern Style series. The heroine, Madlyn, was a suspicious, mean, other-woman type in the first book, so to get the full impact of what’s going on with her here, you should probably read Sweetened with a Kiss first. Plus, as I always say, the first book has Stefan.

Jared Marshall is known from SWAK as the hot pastry chef in a band. Hot pastry chef in a band. I don’t know why you haven’t bought this book yet. He’s also a semi-practicing attorney in his father’s firm, but he wants to get out of that job and spend more time with cheesecake, so he faces down Madlyn, the Red Queen, to offer her a job.

Madlyn has worked long and hard to earn her heartless reputation. She lets people believe the worst of her, and she’s worked on showing no emotion, because emotion means weakness. She’s got people that she needs to protect, but she can’t keep them safe if it looks like she actually cares about them. I know, it sounds overly dramatic, but you haven’t met her grandfather.

Jared and Madlyn embark on a lust/hate flirtation. Madlyn thinks, “She should sleep with him just to make him despise himself.” Jared thinks, “He hadn’t known he could want anyone this much. Especially when he hated everything about them.” They share shattering kisses, then discuss how they could ruin each other.

Jared is a smart guy. He senses that Madlyn isn’t truly evil, deep down, and he wants to figure out her secret. Madlyn’s smart, too, and she doesn’t play games with him. She tells him that he’ll never break her down, but she’ll let him sleep with her, as long as he gets lost afterwards (she also tells him that she doesn’t like cheesecake, which is a damn dirty lie). If you like your heroines tough, sexy, and powerful, then Madlyn will own you as easily as she owns Jared.

There are a lot of small plot threads woven throughout the story, mainly to solve the mystery of Madlyn. What’s up with her grandfather? Why did she give up custody of her son? How did she transform from a family friend into a terrifying enemy? Jared tries to break Madlyn down with sex, threats, food, and love, but none of it really breaks through until Madlyn decides herself to let him in.

The end of the book has a lot of drama, emotion, and revelations. It’s also a bit of a love story of female friendship, which rounds out the characters and sums up the series, too. Basically, this book has angsty longing, sexual tension from the first page, and a satisfying conclusion. Definitely a great addition to the series.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Fall of the Red Queen
by Lexxi Callihan
Release Date: January 20, 2016

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