“Powerful, gripping, unflinchingly honest and sensuously gorgeous writing.”
— Kristan Higgins, New York Times Bestselling Author
The Kingmaker, the first book in the addicting All The King’s Men Duet, from RITA ® Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!
Power. Passion. Betrayal.
Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King’s Men Duet.
Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition. In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it. My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied. And neither will I.
The story was writing so well and this narrative was so authentic as it drew on current issues/events pertaining lands considered sacred to Native Americans. My only issue was that there wasn’t enough romance in this first book to balance the heaviness of the controversial themes.
What I liked: Each character was well developed. Lennix was a passionate, principled and strong willed woman. Maxim has the same drive to make the world a better place in the same way as Lennix. Their personal convictions lead them in different directions, but I loved that each character had goals that didn’t revolve around a significant other. Both main characters and their friends seemed like honorable people. It was great that each character had authentic friendships and they were brutally honest with each other. They needed friends who could tell them when they were being pig-headed.
What I did NOT like:
While I appreciate and actually support the message, it just overshadowed the romance.
Though I respected their passion for their causes, both Lennix and Maxim felt overly idealistic. I also felt that the romantic connection, although very powerful, seemed to just last for a blink of the eye. Just when the strong physical attraction started to building into something more solid, it was terminated.
Which leads to my next issue, for a strong willed man, I was surprised that Maxim waited ten years to reach out to Lennix. I guess his personal goals really did supersede everything else in his life. I think his single minded focus didn’t leave room to really pursue the woman he said he developed deeper feelings for. Ten years seemed out of character since Maxim goes hard for everything else he wants. I wanted love to help smooth out their blunt edges.
Kennedy Ryan is an awesome writer and she obviously researched these issues in depth, but the story became more political than romantic and majority of the characters interactions revolved around the societal issues. I just wanted more of their personal lives, specifically the journey as a couple because that love could have been that healing force in this book. They actually made each other stronger and more hopeful about the future. I will check out book 2 to see how Maxim’s dad will try to come between the lovers.
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“What do you want?”
The look he pours over me is hot oil, burning me even through serviceable layers of cotton. His heated perusal caresses my face, sluices over my breasts and hips, and then pools at my feet.
“Oh, that you won’t ever get again,” I say, my voice a soft, certain promise. “I don’t screw liars. I’m particular that way.”
“Never say never,” he drawls, tilting up my chin with his finger.
He crushes the word between our mouths. It falls apart in the scorching, sweet tangle of lips and teeth. With one hand, he digs his fingers into my hair. The other splays across my lower back, his grip on me almost convulsive, urging me up and closer.I’m in stasis. I’m completely startled by the kiss, unable to respond. I send a desperate message to my brain.
Move. Pull back. Push him away.
But the urgent glide of his hand down my spine to cup my ass melts my thoughts to liquid and they swim in my head. I can’t pull back, and all hope of resistance dissolves when he presses his thumb to my chin, prying me open. He stalks my tongue, hunts down a response, licking and sucking and groaning and growling. His hands tighten on me until I strain up to seek him, yanking his hair, pulling him even closer.
“Dammit, Nix,” he mutters between kisses. His hand wanders down my neck and across my shoulder, and cups my breast, twisting the nipple through flimsy barriers of cotton and lace. He shoves up my skirt, pulling my legs wider, and pushes my panties aside, his fingers invading me. My body remembers this mad craving that claws out of my bones—that wants out. That wants him. Under his rough touch, my body blooms and my hips rock.
“That’s it,” he says, taking my earlobe between his lips.
My head falls back and I moan. It’s so damn good. His touch awakens me. His hands, his kisses bring me to life. It feels like I’m taking my first deep breath since we were last together, and it fills my lungs, seeps into my pores.
“I missed you,” he says, sucking my lips and kissing the corners, quick, hungry. “I’m sorry. Baby, I—”
“Stop talking.” I reach between us to loosen his belt, catching his zipper and dragging it down, dragging him out. “Shut up.”
About Kennedy Ryan
A RITA® Award Winner and Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.
She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.