Hail No by Lani Lynn Vale Review
Evander Lennox doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. At least, that is, until he’s sent to prison. The four years he’s incarcerated, he’s had no choice but to do the things he’s asked to do, when he’s asked to do them. And now, if he doesn’t, it will mean a one-way ticket straight back to hell.
Once he’s free, it takes him twenty-four hours to get his old job back, his dog at home where he belongs, and an understanding that people aren’t as forgiving as he once thought them to be. He’s just about given up hope of ever integrating back into society when a woman slams into his heart, literally and figuratively.
Kennedy Swallow just wants to belong somewhere.
When she was younger, her parents divorced, and chose to separate her from her twin. Fast forward fifteen years, and she’s finally getting to meet the family she’s always wanted to be a part of. To make that happen, she uproots her life and moves to the tiny town of Hostel, Texas—giving her almost everything she’s ever wanted.
Just when she thinks she’s making progress in winning her family over, she finds out that her twin is ill, and the only reason her family tolerates her is due to the convenience of having a free caretaker whenever they might be in need of one.
After a few eye-opening experiences, she quickly realizes that she’s being used. Vowing to herself that she’ll make the best of the situation, she begins to steel her heart. What she doesn’t prepare for is a man named Evander who sees that barrier as a challenge.
It takes Evander all of ten seconds while watching the woman on the floor, bleeding from her jaw, to realize that maybe life isn’t as bad as it could be.
This woman with her thrill for life, a crazy obsession with chickens, and a desire to be wanted, changes everything he thinks he knows.
But it doesn’t take long for him to realize that just by being around her, the people of the town have judged her guilty by association.
Her business suffers, and soon after, she realizes what it will mean to have him by her side—the loss of everything she’s worked so hard for.
Kennedy knows that Evander is worth it. Evander, however, decides that he’s not letting another person get hurt because he was stupid enough to care.
As a long-time Lani Lynn Vale fan, I’ve been anxious for the Hail Raisers series since the Hail brothers started popping up in her previous works. Vale started her writing career with a romantic suspense series about a covert group of men, working out of a mechanic garage, who also rescued women from abusive relationships and gave them the opportunity to start over. From that series came three MC romance series, a SWAT team series and another about firefighters and paramedics. She’s even branched out with a series about dragons and another about baseball players. Even though she’s written three best-selling MC romance series, readers shouldn’t mistake this series for one. Because while the Hail Raisers are a loosely organized group of pleasure bikers, Vale is clearly returning to her romantic suspense roots with this series, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Hail No starts off with a punch to the feels courtesy of a hero who broke my heart and a heroine that my heart went out to. Fresh out of prison for a crime that he didn’t commit, Evander is beaten down enough that he just accepts the scorn he receives from the residents of his hometown, Hostel, Texas. What he won’t accept, however, is his military service dog turned pet’s caregiver attempting to keep said dog when he returns from prison—a notion that the dog hilariously wasn’t willing to accept either. Van was so focused on not tainting the few people left in his life with his sullied reputation, that he almost missed on something truly special in Kennedy. He was such a strong, stoic character, and I ached for how isolated he felt.
Kennedy has never felt more alone. Following the death of her mother, she just wants somewhere to belong. Her mother’s deathbed confession rocked her world and sent her off in search of a father and two siblings she didn’t remember. They didn’t exactly welcome her with open arms, though, and were quite content to hold her at arms’ length before they eventually pushed her away. Even as she tried to start a life for herself in Hostel, fate seemed to have other plans for her. Just when she was about to throw in the towel, a big, bossy, sometimes silent savior stepped in and saved the day. The problem was that he was also intent on saving her from the judgment of others for merely associating with him. It took a series of mishaps, missteps and murders for Van to stop fighting the inevitable. The past seems poised to repeat itself, and Van scrambles to get to the bottom of who is behind it and why before it can drag him—and Kennedy—down again.
This was a couple that I couldn’t help but root for— they were just so sweet, so genuine and so sexy together, and I loved them together right from the start! I’m always excited for a book from Lani Lynn Vale, and I’ve never been disappointed with anything she’s ever written. I’m thrilled that this series is off to such fantastic start with what I believe is some Vale’s best writing to date. A twisting, turning, richly-developed suspense plot running in tandem with a red-hot romance and liberally sprinkled with Lani’s quirky sense of humor is a guaranteed hit for me. Five smooches for Hail No by Lani Lynn Vale from me!
~ Danielle Palumbo