by Tate James
Book 1 in the Madison Kate series
“Madison Kate Danvers was murdered tonight.”
Those words changed my life, and not for the better.
They were wrong, of course. I wasn’t dead. But I was set up.
After being charged with a string of offences--and made an example of by my political minded father--I’m eventually released back into Shadow Grove with one thing on my mind.
Someone is going to pay for derailing my carefully laid out future. Someone is going to catch the full force of my hate. How very convenient that someone just moved into the bedroom down the hall from me.
Archer D’Ath and his boys messed with the wrong chick and they’re about to learn just how cold Madison Kate’s hate can run.
Hate by Tate James is the first book in her highly popular Madison Kate series. It centers around Madison Kate, who is wrongfully accused of crimes she did not commit. Her father, the mayor of Shadow Grove, sends her away to her aunt as punishment, despite her innocence. After 9 months away, Kate has one emotion that she wasn't able to meditate away: Hate. She will find out who committed the crimes she was set up for, and she will make them pay.
This series has been recommended SO MUCH on book groups and #booktok, I knew I had to read it. And it's ... okay. It has an interesting plot. There is an element of "who did it?" that is intriguing, and it has you questioning everything and everyone. The main characters are interesting enough, but I am not sure I love them. I like them. It takes more than abs and pink hair to make me like a character. Some serious work could have been put into the side characters though because I can't stand her best friend. Waste or words on the page. The tension is great, the guys are hot, and Madison seems strong when it comes to everything but the men in her life. I think this could go somewhere. The characters are lacking depth, but I feel like there is enough there in the story to keep me going.
While there are problems, I do believe Tate James is putting some effort into putting an actual plot into this reverse harem. There is enough in Hate that has me downloading the next book. As for if it will keep be hooked, we will see.
I pressed the buzzer heavily, then stood there fidgeting when I heard the security camera click on. No one spoke, and I stifled an annoyed sigh. Count to five. Breathe.
Kate: "I know you're there, asshole,"
Whoops, maybe I should have counted to ten. Kate: “Fuck!”
I shouted, clapping my hands over my eyes and smacking myself in the face with my phone. Not before I got a damn good eyeful, though, and ho-oo-ly shit. Wow. If I didn’t hate the guy on principle, I’d be probably offering to— Stop it! Stop sexualizing the enemy! Kody: "I want plenty of things from you, Madison Kate Danvers. But for now, let's keep it simple. Coffee. Come out with me for coffee today."
My brows dropped into a confused scowl.
That... was not what I'd expected him to say. His grin only spread wider.
Kody: "See, I'm not such an asshole. I could have asked you to blow me."
I glared death at him.
Kate: "I'd just as soon bite your dick off."
Kody: "And I knew that. See, I already get you on a deeper level, babe. We're practically made for each other." Kody: "Now, I was about to get dressed, but if you're sticking around I'm happy to stay naked."
He paused, pulling an exaggerated thinking face.
Kody: "But full disclosure, I won't be held responsible for how hard my dick gets around you. He's got a mind of his own and keeps fantasizing about getting you alone in the dark again." Kody: "Sup, Bree,"
Kody replied with one of those cool-guy head nods.
Kody: "I'm Kody."
Her cheeks flushed with heat.
Bree: "I know,"
she responded, her voice practically dripping with lust.
Bree: "You're on the billboard opposite my mom's office downtown."
Kody grinned, arrogant fucker.
I rolled my eyes for what felt like the billionth time since arriving back in Shadow Grove.
Kate; "You're on a billboard?"
I remarked, unable to help myself.
Kody: "For what? STD awareness?" Along the counter, Archer had made a pot of drip coffee that smelled so stale I wanted to gag. If I'd been a bigger person, I'd have taken pity on them and made everyone a flat white.
What a shame I was petty as fuck. I threw my hands up.
Kate: "Oh, the whole gang is here! Fantastic. I can tell you all to fuck off at the same time. Here it goes. Fuck. Right. Off. You don't own me, so stop playing this bad-boy bully crap. It's a tired, overdone trope." Kody: "Don't push us, Madison Kate. You won't like it if we retaliate."
It was a threat, and it should have pissed me off. Or worried me. It definitely shouldn't have excited me, but there it was, that spark of exhilaration burning inside my chest. I really should have taken Aunt Marie's offer of professional therapy. Oh well.
Kate: "Do your worst, Kody,"
I whispered in response before brushing a feather light kiss over his cheek.
Kate: "I know I will." Archer: "You heard me, Princess. Bree just implied you and Moore have sexual history, so is she stirring shit or have you fucked him?"
His question was dark and threaded with warning. Every instinct screamed at me not to poke the bear... but what the fuck did they know?
Kate: "Not that it's any of your business, Archer, but yes. Multiple times. And I'm really looking forward to catching up on old times with him again soon. I hope you sleep deeply ‘cause I'm a screamer." Archer: "Madison Kate!"
The enraged roar echoed down the corridor as I made my way to class, and I flinched. Fuck. I'd known it was coming, obviously. I was actually shocked they hadn't seen it sooner. Then again, I'd sent the blast to everyone's student address, and I guessed not many people used that email over the weekend. Spinning on my heel, I pasted an innocent expression on my face.
Kate: "Yes, Archer?"
The fact that he'd actually used my name and not "Princess Danvers" should have been my first clue about how pissed off he was. Then again, I didn't give a crap.
Archer: "Spare me the bullshit; I know this was you,"
he snarled, holding his phone up for me to see. Faking confusion, I took the device from him and peered at the screen, then let out a low whistle.
Kate: "Wow, Arch. I knew you three were close but not this close. No judgments here, though. Why are you showing me your home porn?"
I held his phone back out to him, and he snatched it back.
Kate: “Also, I should probably point out that its against SGU policy to have mobile phones on campus. You could get in trouble for that, you know?”
Archer: "I'm through playing nice, Madison Kate,"
he hissed, pointing a menacing finger at me.
Archer: "You'll pay for this."
He started to turn away, then swung back around and stepped in close enough that our chests touched.
Archer: "And we both know I'd be on top."
Laughter bubbled up in my throat as he stomped away like a bear with a bee sting, and I only just swallowed it before Kody and Steele appeared from around the corner.
Kate: "Look, if you've come to tell me about your ménage relationship with Archer, he's already filled me in. I think it's so great you're all exploring your sexuality like this, but it's a bit in bad taste to share the pictures around campus, you know?"
I kept my face as straight as I possibly could, but a hint of laughter wove into my voice.
Kody: "Cute touch putting Archer as a bottom, babe. I'm pretty sure that's the part he's most pissed about. But hey, at least you got my favorite position right."
He smacked a quick kiss against my shell-shocked lips, then swaggered away with a mocking,
Kody: "See you at home, Princess!"
tossed over his shoulder. Kate: "Why am I in your lap, Kodiak Jones?"
I asked, yet didn't make any moves to get off him. His arms tightened around me.
Kody: "Because you love it, Kate: "You did that deliberately,"
Kody: "Kissing you?"
he replied with a sly grin.
Kody: "You fucking bet I did. I'd do it again too, if I didn't think you'd knee me in the balls." Archer: "Don't,"
he growled in my ear,
Archer: "push me, Princess Danvers. You won't like the consequences."
Kate: "Yeah? How'd you like my knee slamming into your balls, big man? Or are they so shriveled from all the steroid use that it’d barely tickle?"
His chest rumbled, and I couldn't tell if it was a laugh or a growl.
Archer: "So interested in my balls, Princess. If you want to see them up close and personal, all you've gotta do is ask." Twisting in his grip, I smacked his wrist to make him to release my hair.
Kate: "It's not cute when boys pull girls’ pigtails because they like them. It speaks to some serious mommy issues. Maybe you should look into that." Kody: "I thought you were pretty pissed off at him,"
he said, watching Archer as he continued making waves with the heavy-ass ropes. The big guy then dropped the ropes and did some stupidly impressive push-ups with one hand, then some jumping things, then back to the ropes. I cleared my throat, realizing I'd just gotten distracted.
Kate: "Uh, yeah. I am. But I'm also shit-scared some psycho will jump out from behind a hat stand and like... make a human skin suit out of me. So I'll make lemonade for now."
Kody gave me a half smile.
Kody: "Babe, life gave you more than lemons. You got like... I don't even know. Tomatoes. When you ordered strawberries."
I wrinkled my nose and sighed.
Kate: "True that."
He reached out and touched my face gently, stroking his finger down my cheek, then raising my chin up so I'd meet his eyes.
Kody: "Don't even worry, MK. You can just make bloody marys instead." It was a shame they'd tried to screw me so hard a year ago because I might have just found my soulmates. Apparently I wasn't getting any D in my V just yet. Fucking cunt-blocker.