Oh, Alta and Maggie, how I love thee. Kings and Sinners is a box set of 3 of their books, Maddox, Stryder, and Anson. I think that Maddox might’ve been the first Maggie Ryan book that I read, and it was close to the first book of Alta’s I read. I got it through a freebie, a newsletter or Instafreebie back in the day, but it’s been a while, so don’t quote me on that.
The books can all be read as standalones, but they are all related. Maddox, Stryder, and Anson are brothers, who work with their father Drake Steele. They help out people in the underground and help protect innocents. Their ranch is a working ranch, but it’s also a safe house of sorts. The house is built with the back right up to a mountain, which allows them to have control rooms and a *ahem* playroom down in safe areas. They all live together in the house with their housekeeper Jennie, who is basically their surrogate mother, as well as a hippie vegetarian who keeps her boys healthy and happy, and keeps them away from meat.
Jennie is a pretty awesome character. She dances with bees and the bees seem to like it. She has this kind of all-mother vibe around her. She just makes everyone happy and if they are scared, she helps them feel better. I really like her.
Now, remember how I said that Maddox, Anson, and Stryder are all brothers? Well, they aren’t brothers by blood. Drake is Maddox’s father, but there was an incident in which the rest of their family was murdered. Anson and Stryder both came to be parts of the family in different ways, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t any less Drake’s child than Maddox is. They are definitely family and they all love each other fiercely.
It’s obviously Maddox’s story, but it’s also the story of Adira. The book starts out with a horse auction in Dubai that Adira’s father is putting on. Maddox and Drake are there to bid on horses, but that’s not the only reason that they are there. They owe Hadi, Adira’s grandfather, a life debt and he has asked them to come and save his family because they are threatened. Sadly, the only member of his family they are able to save is Adira, and only because they manage to pull her out of the Persian Gulf after a yacht with her entire family on it blows up. They manage to smuggle her out of Dubai and into Texas, where she and Maddox start to come together while they are figuring out who wanted all of her family dead.
Adira is strong, feisty, and really smart. Her family was celebrating her graduation with her doctorate. However, she’s also been fairly sheltered because she hasn’t been able to go anywhere without security. She knew that her father and grandfather were into the darker side of the law, but she didn’t know exactly what, and she really didn’t want to know. Maddox is definitely protective and kind of Domly. He’s really good for Adira, I think, because she needed someone steady and protective as she was trying to deal with what happened to her family. And if he paddled her ass, tied her down, and made her come, she wasn’t going to argue with that.
This one starts out in very cold Moscow. Using information that they got while looking for the culprits behind what happened to Adira’s family, Stryder and Anson are there to track down a Russian who is involved in human trafficking. They get two tickets to an auction where the evil man is selling off women. When Stryder sees Zoya on the dais about to be sold, he knows that he has to be the one to have her. He needs to save this poor young Russian woman who had spent her whole life on the farm before she came to Moscow and ended up abducted so that she could be sold. After Stryder buys her, and before they can leave, he has to whip her. Luckily, he’s a genius with a whip and he and Anson whisper to her to scream and make it look like it hurts while Stryder whips her gently, but makes it look like he’s doing it hard. The Steele boys smuggle her out of Russia and into Texas, where she settles into life in the Steele household.
I thought that Zoya was pretty awesome. I mean, she’s able to use her art skills in order to help out all the other women who Poplov had kidnapped and sold off. It couldn’t have been easy for her to remember everything that she had been through, but she was bound and determined to do it. Zoya sees things that happened to her and the people who were involved in what happened in one particular way, which is only normal, I would too. But Stryder has a different perspective, and it makes it hard for Zoya sometimes. But, the Steele family are all there and all willing to help the two of them out.
Anson, working from Zoya’s art and his computer research is in Argentina, searching out Natalia, who was Zoya’s friend, and who has been sold to Juan Montez at the same auction where Zoya was sold. He’s pretty much nose-to-nose with a fer de lance snake when the book opens, so there’s that. But he’s there to get Natalia, and he’s not going to let that snake stop him. Meanwhile, Natalia is dealing with her own snake, only it’s not nearly as lively as the one Anson sees. Montez may have bought her for a sex slave, but he can’t get it up. That doesn’t stop him from doing other things to her. But, she has a plan. Montez destroyed her entire family, and she’s going to take him down. She spent a lot of years training in nasty ways so that she could kill him and at the auction, she did what she could to get his attention to get him to buy her. Eventually, Anson and Natalia manage to help each other and they escape out into the jungles of Argentina. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Natalia doesn’t want to be rescued because she wants to kill Montez and Anson doesn’t want to not rescue her.
All three of the women in these books are strong, but I kind of think that Natalia is the strongest. Yes, Adira lost all her family too, and Zoya was also sold off as a sex slave, but Natalia had a plan. She had revenge on her mind and everything she did for years was for her revenge. Plus, she had to actually go through months and months of brutalization that Zoya was saved and Maddox was right there for Adira. Natalia went through all that without the hope of someone being there to help her out and get her safe, anyone other than herself, and that, to me, makes her really strong. I felt sorriest for Anson for having to deal with her stubborness, but that same stubborn comes in handy, later in the book.
I really enjoyed reading this series and each of the books. I think that Anson is my favorite of the brothers. I can’t tell you why that’s true, but it is. It’s nice to have the whole series in one handy place, making it easy for me to read. Go check them out! Happy reading! No spoilers today, but have a pretty picture of a horse.