Mackenzie Valentine is wilful, fiery, and determined to prove she doesn’t need anyone. Desperate to break free from the over-protective parents and three older brothers who dictate her every move, she runs away at the age of seventeen to hunt down the only boy who makes her feel alive.
Jake Romero has no choice but to leave the best thing that ever happened to him, taking him down a path that leads to notorious gang, the King Street Boys. When fate throws Mackenzie back in his life, he turns her away in her time of need, knowing he now lives a life in which she doesn’t belong. Except his decision has shattering consequences, leading to secrets, lies, and the ultimate betrayal.
Years later, their lives continue to entwine, and when his past returns demanding retribution, Mackenzie intervenes and gets caught in the crossfire, leaving behind a devastation that no one sees coming. Can their relationship withstand the hell it’s endured, or is it too late for love?
I have been waiting for this book for years. Literally. When I was doing a series reread I saw that I had read Give Me Grace (book #3) in July of 2014. It was worth the wait. Also, if you haven’t read the series, or it’s been a while, do yourself a favor and read the other three books first; while the all focus on different couples, the plots cross over so much – particularly in Give Me Hell – that being familiar with the other stories will help with the understanding of this book.
I’ve been dying to know more about Mac and Jake’s story since their first antagonistic appearance together in the series. I knew their story was going to be epic, but there was no way for me to guess just how crazy and intense and EVERYTHING this book was going to be. The twisted and pot-hole filled path they had trodden in order to figure out the lives they were destined to live was insanely damaging, but these two were able to find a way to make that very road heal them.
Give Me Hell was an apt title for this book. While every character in this series has experienced horrific things, it seemed that Mac and Jake had to walk through the fires of their personal hells before they were given a reprieve. The amount of secrets, lies, losses, and pain that was contained within the pages of this book would have been enough to take a person any weaker than Mackenzie Valentine down, but Mac was able to withstand the tsunami of her life and come out stronger, with a better understanding of herself, on the other side. She waged a war against the confines of her life and won.
Jake Romero was the shining light of this book. A lesser man would have thrown in the towel with Mac before their second meeting, but he kept coming back, no matter what Mac put him through because he knew experiencing the beauty of Mackenzie was worth fighting through the thorns. I’m not sure what Mac had ever done to deserve the kind of love she received, but we would all be so lucky to have someone love us the way that Jake loved her.
Kate McCarthy writes some pretty intricate and well-woven stories. There are so many threads of story line it’s often hard to keep up with every single little thing that is going on, it’s even harder to deduce what the final tapestry will look like once she’s done weaving it. She did not disappoint with this book. I don’t often like books that start in present then go back into the past and slowly wind their way back to the present day, but there was no other way to tell Mac and Jake’s story. All of those tiny moments of the past led them to one of the purest kinds of love a person can know. I am happy that I was able to experience that journey and witness them finding their way.
With a low chuckle, I roll over on my bed to eyeball the stolen file that I’d slapped on my bedside table last night before crashing. I’m feeling rather pleased with myself until my gaze encounters Jake. My gleeful chortle dies a quick death.
He’s leaning against my bedroom wall, bare-chested, arms folded, and wearing nothing but a pair of black boxer-briefs and a furious glare.
My gaze drops to the bed where Jake has laid out the black beanie used to cover my pale hair and the black leather gloves that kept my fingerprints from any surface I came in contact with.
Fuck. The sun is streaming in through the blinds and I know it must be late morning already. Clearly, I’d forgotten to set the morning alarm. A rookie mistake. And now I need to get past the gauntlet that is Jake and somehow get the file to Casey before he enacts his own plan to retrieve it.
My eyes flick up, meeting his. “Morning,” I say coolly.
His jaw ticks. “Care to explain?”
Jake’s car keys rest on top of the report file and I know he’s seen them. Not only had I performed a break and enter last night, I had also added car theft to my criminal repertoire. Explaining that will likely cause my untimely death. I pretend to consider his question for a moment. “Not really.”
Jake pushes off from the wall and moves toward the bed, bringing him closer. “Well, you’re going to.”
“No,” I say, casually sliding across the mattress and away from Jake. “Not today. I have things to—”
Putting one knee on the bed, Jake leans across and grabs the back of my long-sleeved shirt in his fist. He yanks and the distinct sound of a riiipppppp renders the air.
“My shirt,” I gasp as I fly through the air, landing on my back on the mattress with a hard bounce.
“I don’t give a rat’s fucking ass about your shirt,” he growls, straddling my body.
His hard thighs trap me in place and his hands pin mine to the bed. Moving will likely end with a cracked rib.
Jake leans his face down until I can’t look anywhere but in his eyes. “You can start with why you’re dressed like a thieving little bandit.”
“Because I stole your car.”
“Why did you steal my car?”
“Because I couldn’t get a cab.”
I actually considered calling for a taxi but then my movements would be on public record, easily placing me at the scene. I’d had to rule it out.
“Stop leading me in circles, Princess, and spit it the fuck out. What did you do?”
I huff deeply, letting my frustration out. Jake isn’t going to just let this go. It leaves me with two choices. Lie or be honest. I chose door number two, because while I sometimes keep things from Jake, he doesn’t deserve outright deceit.
I spill out my early hours adventure, rethinking my choice of honesty as he sits back on the bed, his fury a slow-building thunderstorm.
There’s silence for a tense moment when I finish speaking.
“You committed a felony,” he says in a soft voice. I’m not fooled by the tone. His anger is a barely leashed lion. “And you used my car to do it.”
My lips press in a thin line. I hadn’t thought that particular implication through, and now I’m angry at myself. “I’m sorry.”
His expression narrows to one of vengeful retribution. “Oh, you’ll be sorry.”
“When I paddle your fucking ass.”
“Shut it,” he growls, his voice rising. “You broke into a detective’s house. You stole her property. You—”
“Casey’s property,” I mutter.
“Don’t interrupt me when I’m explaining your stupidity to you.”
Kate McCarthy is an Australian, living in the pretty sunshine state of Queensland with her two kids and two dogs, Rufus and Pete.
She loves to bake sweet stuff and eat it too. With an exciting degree in business, she works as an accountant by day, and an author by night. In between family life, she is most often found in bed reading, or at the beach, still reading.