Review: Up in Smoke by T.M. Frazier (King #8)

Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review.

“I wish I could hate you,” I whisper, feeling the world around me closing in more and more with each passing hour.
“Me, too,” he responds, his lips kissing the back of my head. “What do you want from me, Frankie?”
I’m not sure what he wants me to say. It’s not like it matters.
“Nothing,” I whisper, closing my eyes. “I want absolutely nothing from you.”

Up in Smoke is NOT my first T.M. Frazier read. Nope, I fell in love with this author's writing by way of her Outskirts duet, with the first book being my Frazier cherry popper. This latest release of hers, however, happens to be my first foray into her King series. Hold it! Put down whatever it is you were about to fling my way. I know, I know. I am a sad excuse for a romance reader. Again, I can only give lack of time as an excuse. It's not as if I haven't heard good things about the other titles in the series. Heck, I even have friends who have recommended them to me. Alas, it took till today for me to take the first step in rectifying my mistake, and don't I feel like a complete and utter dumbass because now I realize what I've been missing. Consider the rest of the King books at the top of my to-be-read list, and there are quite a few to get through--seven connected novels and three that are companion novels.

This latest addition to the series can be read as a standalone, and I'm saying this with full confidence because it never felt as if I was missing something in terms of the story line or something being discussed between characters. Yes, there are cameo appearances from characters that have had their own stories told in previous books, but the connection they share with Smoke is explained here, so if you haven't read the rest of the series either (yay, I'm not alone!), don't worry because you won't feel lost. This isn't necessarily a long novel, but it isn't a short one either. Yet, not once was I tempted to skim or take a break. I wasn't distracted by anything else that may have been going on around me. Nope, this book had my complete attention, and by the middle part, Smoke and Frankie had my utter devotion to the cause of getting these two to their own happily-and-still-breathing-ever-after.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but let me give you an idea what it's about. Twenty-two-year-old Frances Helburn is taken by a man only known as Smoke in hopes of luring her father out from hiding. Thirty-five-year-old Smoke is hellbent on revenge and he doesn't care if Frankie ends up being collateral damage. He's got a plan and he's sticking to it. What he didn't plan for, however, was just how much of a fighter his hellion was. They both have secrets, and there are several twists in this story, each one leaving me gobsmacked. Frankie calls Smoke a monster, and it's a label that Smoke readily agrees is true, but even monsters have stories to tell. There are reasons why they become monsters, and Smoke's story is heartbreaking, as is Frankie's. Three books in, and I've become a certified fan of T.M. Frazier's. I cannot wait to see what she has up next! Five-plus stars for Up in Smoke. ♥

Date Read: 02 March 2018

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