The first three books of the Queens of Kings series follow the same two main characters, Heart Mackenzie and Kenneth Searlington, at their center. Also, they cannot be read as standalones as the books must be read in order, with each book building upon the last. Thus, I’m choosing to review them in one post instead of separately. Warning: there will be mild spoilers and this post will be a bit longer than you’re used to from me.
OK, let’s get to it!
The Heart of the Matter
Heart “Mac” Mackenzie, lieutenant of the 74th Precinct in East New York, Brooklyn and Kenneth Searlington, CEO of a real estate empire, are from vastly different worlds. They cross paths because Kenneth’s niece has been kidnapped and Heart’s captain feels she’s the best person to find the young girl. Heart’s younger than most in her role, but she commands the respect and allegiance of her fellow officers through her dedication and skill protecting and serving her community. Heart has no tolerance for the arrogant, ridiculously handsome and wealthy Kenneth, but when Kenneth meets Lt. Mackenzie…
“Damn, hellfire is a moderate way of describing her. I don’t know if I’m scared or attracted.”
The Heart of the Matter is such a multi-layered, engaging story. There’s suspense and unexpected twists, there’s a slow burn romance between Heart and Kenneth, and there’s a lot of emotion throughout. Heart is a strong, take-no-prisoners, dont-fuck-with-me heroine, but she’s also carrying a lot of hurt on her shoulders that she hides behind the bravado she presents to the world. Kenneth becomes the only one who can break through Heart’s tough shell and get to the gooey center.
There were points where I felt The Heart of the Matter dragged a bit and the writing was unnecessarily long-winded, but I enjoyed Laquette’s story telling overall. She gave us characters who are three-dimensional and relatable within a plot that is engaging, believable and sexy as hell. All I’ll say is what happens in the soundproof basement is a scene I won’t soon forget.🔥🔥🔥
It’s been two and a half years since the events of The Heart of the Matter. Professionally, Heart is at the top of her game, she’s now Captain Searlington, first in command at the 74th. On a personal level, Heart has dealt with a lot of her demons with Kenneth’s help, but she still has moments of insecurity in their marriage.
“I know you love me… I’m just still so surprised that you do.”
I’m not usually a big fan of sequels when its predecessor didn’t end on a cliffhanger and the MCs left me in my happy place as Heart and Kenneth did at the end of book 1. In this case, I welcomed more from these two. A tragic event rocks them and tests Kenneth and Heart’s bond like none they’ve experienced before. I thought book 1 was an emotional rollercoaster, but it has nothing on Divided Heart.
I am your husband, and there isn’t an inch of this Earth I wouldn’t cross to get to you. You can be mad with me, but the one thing you will never do is end us, Heart.
Again, the sexiness is turned all the way up.
“Not a single word. I want you to go upstairs, secure your weapon, and come down to the basement. Don’t go to the bathroom, don’t take your coat off, just lock up your gun, and find your ass in that basement now. Do you understand me?”
Fast forward 2-3 years since the events in Divided Heart. Kenneth and Heart have rebounded from what nearly broke them. They’ve been gifted with a son who is the apple of his parents’ eyes and they couldn’t be happier. Things go left when there’s a threat to Kenneth’s life that opens the door to secrets and lies of omission; bringing into question his trust in Heart and the rest of their family.
Although I welcomed a second book with Heart and Kenneth at its center, I went into the third book not all that excited. I have a two book limit on one couple before I’m bored with them and ready to move on.
Of the three books, Protected Heart is my least favorite. Unfortunately, I felt the drama between Kenneth and others was manufactured and unnecessary so it didn’t curl all the way over for me. There was less sexy between Heart and Kenneth as well. For the most part, Protected Heart felt like more of a bridge novel where we start to move away from Kenneth and Heart to learn more about the supporting cast as a set up to future books. Overall, a well-written end to Kenneth and Heart’s storyline that gave them closure without questions left behind.
This series was my first intro to LaQuette and I can positively say I will be following her work moving forward. Regardless of my personal feelings on multiple novels that follow the same couple, this series is stellar! LaQuette weaved a tale that kept me completely enthralled for four straight days. Not only do the characters jump off the page and make you feel, the setting in Brooklyn (my beloved hometown) is as important to this story as the people in it. I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Kenneth’s friends, AJ Tenetti and Alan Quillen in book 4 next.
*Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.*
Series Rating: ½