Jul 31 2017 2:00pm

First Look: Liz Maverick’s The Transporter (August 1, 2017)

The Transporter by Liz Maverick

Liz Maverick
The Transporter (Hudson Kings)
Montlake / August 1, 2017 / $12.95 print, $3.99 digital 

Taking a leap of faith is one of the scariest things a person can ever do. Anyone, in any situation, can do it … changing jobs, leaving an abusive partner, moving across country, trusting a stranger … these are all leaps of faith. And I’m a big fan of them.

When I started reading the first installation of Liz Maverick’s new contemporary series about an elite group of mercenaries known as the Hudson Kings, I knew it was going to be a fun right away. They’ve got a secret lair in the middle of Manhattan, with a huge garage full of cars, motorcycles, armored vehicles, and costumes/uniforms to support countless roles required for jobs. They’ve also got a stable full of scary manpower.

“… Our team is former military, former gang, former white-collar badass, wherever, whatever, from all over the place. High-class, low-class, good with ideas, good with plans, good with hands … I guess you could say that he recruited the best, and the men who answered that call were looking for something.”

Each of the mercs has a specialty … Shane Sullivan’s is driving. He’s The Transporter, and his hot-ass BMW is his comfort zone. Shane was orphaned as a young teenager and grew up fast. He was fortunate enough to hook up with Rothgar, the man who runs the Hudson Kings, who saved his life by keeping him from following “a path of mindless, pointless destruction.”

“… After my parents died and I was thrown around—nobody stepping up to be family, always giving, never getting—I stopped giving. Just felt angry. Just felt pain. Don’t know what it was, but he saw something in me and offered me a chance with the Hudson Kings … He saved my life. Because I was just a punk-ass thug with dead eyes and a death wish.”

Although most of Shane’s transport gigs are goods, on occasion he transports people.  One of his fellow Hudson Kings brothers, Dex Keegan, is recovering from surgery and needs Shane’s help. His sister, Cecily, is fleeing an abusive boyfriend and needs safe passage to him in NYC. Though Shane’s working on a side job, he agrees to help out because “It wasn’t just the big ops that counted; it was also the personal stuff.”

She was completely alone at an abandoned gas station, and she looked every inch a girl looking for life’s nearest exit: vulnerable, nervous … but luckily, like maybe the last bit of fire hadn’t been beaten out of her.

There’s more to Cecily’s disastrous relationship with her ex than meets the eye. For one thing, James didn’t seek out Cecily for her beauty and charm … he sought her out for her brother. Only, she has no idea what the Hudson Kings are, much less that Dex is part of them. Or that they’ve already got James and his associates already on their radar. It doesn’t sit well to learn she was caught up as collateral damage over the last year, and it’s just as difficult to learn that she’s safest within the walls of the group’s compound. For one thing, it keeps her in close proximity to Shane, who has never really considered the compound as anything beyond a temporary stop on his way from here to there on jobs. His adult life is heavily colored by his youth, and his practice of not maintaining a steady home base is a relic of his past.

If you wanted to know the man, you had to understand the kid. Since Shane didn’t want anybody to know the man, keeping his past, his emotions, and his dreams locked up tight had always worked just fine.

Shane is helpless against his developing feelings for Cecily. He fights it at first, particularly since Dex and Rothgar are against it, but eventually the heart wants what the heart wants and Cecily represents tenderness and a connection with another person.

If a man was going to have a weakness, what a completely, divinely romantic and delicious possibility it was that it might be her.

The road to happiness isn’t always paved in gold, and with the type of rough and tumble men in the Hudson Kings, happiness is also not achieved easily. Much of the trouble they face is brought about by the types of jobs they take … they’re not teaching kindergarten or herding sheep … but they also get shit done. Their perception of right and wrong is a little warped compared to polite society, but it provides a necessary function.

Life handed around enough shit. He was smart enough to know that unless you had a really good reason, you take it when the good stuff finally comes around.

This boys club is so over the top that it’s highly enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, The Financier. I’ve enjoyed Nick’s character so far, and I think it’s a pretty timely character in today’s environment.


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of The Transporter by Liz Maverick, available August 1, 2017:

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Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and this year her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.

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