To The End
by J. Bree
Book 4 in the Hannaford Prep Series
Joey is dead.
His head was delivered to me in a box, wrapped with a bow and an ominous card tucked inside.
One of the biggest threats has been removed from the board but it hasn’t made us any safer.
The Jackal has teamed up with the notorious sadistic killer Joseph Beaumont Sr. to take my family out, sure that we’re responsible for the death of his favored child.
The body count is only getting higher.
Can I get us all through graduation alive?
And who the hell is sending me heads in boxes?
It's the end! And you know what ... I'm ready. I won't pretend I didn't enjoy these books, but I'm read for something new. Lips is happily in love, she has created a family with loyal, wonderful friends, and she deserves to be happy. This book leads us to that.
There are loose ends.
To be fair, I was expecting that, considering there is a spin-off series, with Avery being our MC. I'm hoping I can read them soon, but considering I'm a mom, I work, have three arcs waiting for me to read and review, and have almost 20 reviews aside from those to write up ... well, we will see.
I'm not sure what I can say about this book, that I haven't said about the last 3. It's entertaining. It's sexy. It's dark as hell. J. Bree writes interesting books, with good characters, great romance and hot sex. To The End felt like a great conclusion to Lips story. I think my only complaint is that the boys feel a bit one-dimensional. They all love a good fight, violence doesn't bother them. Harley is probably a bit more rounded out compared to the other two. Although Blaise's issue's with depression adds an interesting layer to his character. Ash is always broody and a total alpha. And perhaps the conclusion to Ash's and Avery's father's arc felt rushed and weird.
Huh. So I guess I had more than one of two complaints. Huh.
While To The End could have used a touch more work (maybe more put into Avery and Ash's father's part in the story), and the guys continue to not have much growth, it was a good book. Very entertaining. I continue to love J. Bree - even if some of the darker material she writes gives me the ick sometimes, haha - and I honestly can't wait to continue the Mounts Bay Saga.
Also ... J. Bree ... I need a Nate book. Like ASAP.
Matteo: “Should I expect to see Luca with you at your next meeting? Have you added him to the rotation of men you’re spreading your legs for?”
the Jackal says, and I take a deep breath. When I turn to face him, it’s as if the whole clearing pauses in fear. I don’t recognize any of the guys he has with him tonight. He’s probably killed everyone I’ve ever met in the inner circle of his crew after Luca’s betrayal. I’d be dead if the Crow hadn’t planted him within the ranks of the Jackal’s men, and it’s clear the Jackal still hasn’t figured out he was a spy to begin with. I raise an eyebrow at the Jackal and say,
Lips: “Whoever spends time between my legs is none of your concern. I’ll see you at the meeting, Jackal.” Blaise: “Wanna suck me off to help me get back to sleep?”
I snort at him but, uh, yeah. That’s exactly what I want.
Lips: “Maybe if you’re good I will. If you’re extra good, I might even swallow.”
The smirk on his face triples in size, and he leans down to whisper in my ear,
Blaise: “You love my cum, Star. You’re greedy for it; you’d never spit me out.” He peels my panties off and whispers against my pussy as he begins to lick and suck at me,
Blaise: “It matters, Star. I’ve changed my mind; I don’t want you to swallow my come. I want to see it dripping down your legs.” Avery: “Men are swine,”
Avery says around a mouthful of pancakes, more chocolate syrup and whipped cream than anything else. Right. Best friend duty is calling, but how the fuck do I fix this?!
Lips: “What’s he done? I can lightly stab him. Nothing permanent but enough to ruin his day.”
Avery sighs and cocks her head, tucking her arm in mine.
Avery: “You’re the best. We’re still… communicating daily, but I’m keeping it all strictly business. He’s just told me I’m forbidden to come to the meeting tonight. Forbidden. Like I’m a fucking child, or a puppy, or… something else pathetic.”
Atticus Crawford, the Crow of Mounts Bay, is a fucking dumbass.
Lips: “So stabbing? Because that sounds like he needs to shed a little blood and gain a little perspective. " Lips: "Someday he’ll figure it out, Aves.”
She sniffs just a tiny bit and says,
Avery: “I’ll be gone by then. I’m not waiting for him to figure out I’m not a child. I’m not the little girl in the pretty dresses he used to like.”
I steal a forkful of pancakes and say,
Lips: “You should throw a knife at his head, like Illi taught you. That’ll teach him.” Ash scoffs at her and sits on the couch with us, sliding his palm along my thigh in a cruel and calculated move. Cruel to me, because I can’t control my reactions, and calculated toward his sister, because I think he’s done with her moping. It works like a fucking charm. Avery’s eyes drop down to glare at his hand, and when she looks back up at him, I almost cringe at the look of pure disgust. Ash smirks at her.
Ash: “Maybe you should stop moping about that spineless fuck Atticus Crawford and find someone worth your time?”
I move to get up, and away from their war, and they both hold me in place. Well, fuck.
Avery: “And who exactly do you suggest I date then, Ash? Who would meet your impossible standards?”
Blaise sprawls out on the floor in front of us and winks at me as he says,
Blaise: “Maybe you should date girls instead? Ash probably won’t give a fuck about a girl getting up in your pussy.”
Avery arches a brow at him and says,
Avery: “If I were going to fuck a girl, it would be Lips. Don’t tempt me, she would drop you idiots for me in a second.”
I bite my lip to stop myself from smiling but the girl has a point. Blaise doesn’t seem to agree.
Blaise: “Star loves my dick Aves, she’d never give it up for you.”
I blush and stand, brushing off Ash’s hand and grabbing the empty plate.
Lips: “That’s more than enough bullshit for me for one day. Lynx: “I could be persuaded to join your side,”
she says, and the look she gives Harley says everything. Just this once, I wish he were a little less fucking gorgeous, because if I’m a magnet for fucked-up killers and psycho rapists, then he’s cougar bait.
Lips: “He’s not for sale,”
I reply, my tone icy enough to give Avery’s a run for its money. She smirks at me.
Lynx: “I admire you, little Wolf. Forcing all of these alpha males to share you. If you’re not willing to lose a little pride and give him to me for a night or two, then why should I join your side?”
I take a deep breath, and I don’t know what the hell is in the air around here, but the words that come out of my mouth are almost entirely Beaumont.
Lips: “What little assistance a washed-up, old Mafia queen could give me isn’t worth an ounce of my pride or a second in Harley’s company. Maybe you should find some real skills or assets to offer me and then we’ll talk.” Harley: "We’re firmly a stab-first family going forward. Apparently you have the perfect farm animal disposal system.”
Ugh. Gossiping freaking boys! Illi: “Some kid shoved you, and you stabbed him with a pair of scissors or something.”
I tip my head back and groan at the ceiling.
Lips: “Seriously? My whole fucking life changed course because I stabbed Cory Ryan? Fuck, I might hunt him down and stab him again for that shit.” Diarmuid: "Oh, and you all owe me big time. She’s kicked me in the dick so many times my balls have climbed up the back of my fuckin’ throat.” Ash: “I’ve never wanted to keep someone before. I’ve never wanted someone like I want you. I get it, I don’t want to think about someone else touching you either, but you’re mine. I promise you no one else will ever fucking touch me again.” Ash: “Did you just get a pep talk from the Butcher? Fuck, we are in trouble,”
he sneers, and I roll my eyes at him. Atticus: “Less is more.”
The Crow cuts her off. Fuck me. Avery finally looks at him and raises an eyebrow.
Avery: “True, less is more… unless we’re talking about dick. Maybe you should stop acting like one.”
Illi chuckles and slings his arm over the back of her chair to pull my Ice Queen bestie into a sort of side hug. Odie snuggles into his other side, a self-satisfied smirk across her stunning face. They look like a very happy, if psychotic, threesome. That’s fucking weird to think about, but I enjoy the look on Atticus’ face all the same. Ash develops a fucking eye twitch, but he manages to hold it together. Harley smirks at the look Atticus gives Illi, and Blaise outright fucking roars with laughter, throwing his head back and just fucking shaking with glee. Ash: “Knowing I can use all of the twisted, fucked-up shit my family has taught me to keep you safe… well, I feel a little less fucked up because of it. Knowing that it turns you on is just icing on the fucking cake.” Atticus: “She’ll forgive me. Someday she will understand the depths I’ve reached to keep her safe.”
I hum under my breath as Harley flexes his hands, probably to rein in his temper.
Lips: “She will. But first you have to stop treating her like a delicate princess and remember she’s been waging her own war for years. She can handle your empire, better even than you can, if you’d just cut your shit out.”
He shakes his head at me like I’m dense.
Atticus: “It’s not about handling it. It’s about surviving it. What kind of a monster would I be if I asked an eighteen-year-old girl to step into a criminal empire?”
I give him an ice-cold look.
Lips: “One that recognizes she was born into a den of monsters and survived it.” Sitting in my palm is a tiny heart locket, identical to his mother’s, so similar it’s only when I turn the locket over to read the inscription that I know he’s gotten me one of my own.
Mine. To the end. Ash threads his fingers through mine and takes the blunt Blaise offers him.
Ash: “The world will be a better place without Senior in it, and if that means Avery has the entire fucking country in her pocket than fuck it. Hail Hydra or whatever.”
I roll my eyes at him.
Lips: “You’re such a freaking nerd. To think, everyone thinks you're this cool and unaffected asshole badass and you’re out here quoting Marvel movies like a fanboy. You’re a fucking disgrace, Beaumont.”
Harley and Blaise both snicker at him like children, but the glare Ash gives me promises a spanking later and, uhm, sign me the fuck up. There’s a minute of stunned silence, and then Ash grabs the bottle from me.
Ash: “Let’s get you a glass so we do this properly. Morrison, find me the bourbon, Mounty can’t drink alone. That’s just pathetic.” Illi: “He’s a good kid. Make sure you keep that one.”
Harley grunts at him from where he’s helping Avery mop up the gore from the floor and walls.
Harley: “She’s keeping us all, this isn’t a fucking competition. It’s not a trial to see which one of us is the best fit.”
I scoff at them both and say,
Lips: “They’re all a good fit. I’ll have them until they’re sick of me.”
Illi grunts and grinds his teeth as he settles back in the bed to get comfortable.
Illi: “I look forward to being the joint best man at your weird-ass wedding.” Illi: “Alright, you grumpy asshole, we’ll get out of your hair before your blue balls fucking kill you. Horny teenage boys; I don’t know how you fucking keep up with them, kid.”
I will not blush. I’m a killer, dammit.
Lips: “It’s not so bad. One of them is usually a grumpy dick and tantruming so it makes it a little easier on the… scheduling.”
Illi roars with laughter, fucking quakes with it, and whispers loudly into Odie’s ear,
Illi: “Three guesses which one is the grumpy dick, baby girl.” Ash: “You can swap rooms. You can have our room, and we’ll all stay over there until we’re sure this mess is dealt with.”
His voice is coaxing, and her answering snort makes it through loud and clear.
Avery: “So my choices are rotting brain matter or slipping in Morrison’s DNA matter? Fuck this, I’m dropping out!” Ash curses under his breath and, blood be damned, he crushes her into a hug.
Avery: “Get off of me; you’re gross and I’m fine!” Lips: "You’re my sister, closer than blood, and I won’t hear a word against you. Not even from you.” Ash: “You aren’t fucking expendable. You’re nonnegotiable. You’re everything I’ve ever fucking wanted and needed, and you’re trying to get yourself killed.”
I swipe my cheeks and clear my throat.
Lips: “I love you, Ash. I love you, and I won’t ever let this man touch you again. That’s the line I’m drawing. I can do this.”
He groans then snaps,
Ash: “I’m not saying it over the phone. You’ll stay alive so I can say it to your face.” Lips: “I’d like to know you. I just don’t understand why you’d want to know me. Just because I look like our sister doesn’t mean you owe me something.”
He looks down at my hand and I think about taking it back, but then looks back up at me and says,
Nate: “One look at you and I knew I’d kill for you too. You’re different to Poe, more guarded and cynical, but if anything, that proves you’re my blood.” Avery: “I’m angry at you, Lips. We’re having our first official spat as friends. Ash, you and Illi are on my side. Lips can have the other two idiots.”
I smile at her, but Ash snorts, and snaps,
Ash: “Not fucking happening. I’m not on your side after the year we’ve had, and I’ll never side with Atticus fucking Crawford.”
Ash sneers, and I hold my hand out to him. He stares at it for a second and then takes it.
Ash: “I’m angry at you too, Mounty, but I’ll wait for you to heal before I spank you.”
Avery makes a disgusted sound and elbows her way over to me. Avery: “You haven’t even introduced yourself to your girlfriend’s brother and you’re talking about spanking? Jesus H. Christ, Ash. Anyone would think you were raised by wolves.”
She stops and gets this weird look on her face. We stare at each other for a second and then burst out laughing until my stitches hurt. I’m not sure if the tears streaming down my face are from joy, hysterics, or pain, but fuck it, I feel alive.
Lips: “Well, guys, this is Nate. He’s my sociopath half-brother and we’ve decided to keep in touch. He also approves of our relationship.”
Nate speaks without looking at any of us,
Nate: “I didn’t say I approved. I said I don't care, and as long as you’re happy I won’t kill them.”
Avery swipes a hand over her own wet cheeks and shrugs at him.
Avery: “It’s a start. Avery Beaumont, lovely to meet you." Nate’s head tilts.
Nate: “Last person who called my sister a biker brat ended up being put through a wood chipper. The noises he made were the sweetest sounds.”
Atticus holds his eyes for another second and then flicks his attention back to me.
Atticus: “Your friendship with the Butcher makes more sense to me now, knowing that ‘deranged psychotic killer’ is in your blood.” I nod and feel freaking emotional as hell at him leaving. He watches me closely and then holds out his arms. Holy shit, he wants a hug?
Nate: “Poe taught me sisters need hugs,”
he grumbles, and I step into his arms.