Release Blitz with review: The Executioner by Shauna Allen

May 11, 2017

Title: The Executioner
Author: Shauna Allen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 11, 2017


~ Five brothers, one family tragedy, untold heartache. ~
A stray bullet ended my Army career, forcing me to follow in my father’s prison guard footsteps.
My sister’s disappearance ten years ago annihilated my family, forcing each of us to find a way to cope.
But I’ve survived. Adapted.
At least until Genevieve Stone showed up, digging into the truth in the name of journalism and finding her way deep under my skin. I’m determined to do whatever it takes to find my sister, but when the case is blown wide open by the sexy reporter, I’m left with the ultimate question . . . can I trust her?
I’m a soldier, heart and soul.
I don’t do love.
War and death and pain are my church.
My name is Asher Creed.
I am the Executioner.

***Reader note: This is the first of a 6-part emotional family saga series. Each story is 100% male first-person point-of-view, and while each full-length novel is guaranteed to have a complete HEA romance, their family mystery remains unsolved until the end of the series.

***Due to profanity, mild violence and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. Also, please note the title. The hero is, in fact, an executioner on death row. While there is no intent to make any social or political statements, please do not read if this will be offensive to you.


3.5 stars

The Executioner is my introduction to Shauna Allen’s writing, and so far this looks like it might be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. This is the first book in her new series, The Family Creed, which follows the stories of the Creed brothers as they try to find out what happened to their little sister, Claire, when she disappeared 10 years ago. Every brother will have a book that focuses on their story, and don't worry, Claire will have her own, too.

This installment revolves around the oldest brother, Asher, and is told entirely in his point of view. He’s a retired Army Ranger due to a bullet in the leg, and now he’s a prison guard and, you guessed it, an executioner. Asher’s injury and the disappearance of his sister weighs heavily on him every day, and he doesn’t have much of a dating or social life as a result. One day, a freelance reporter by the name of Genevieve Stone comes to the prison hoping to get an interview with him for an article she is working on regarding an inmate that was recently executed. There is something about her that he can’t help but be drawn to, so when she seems like she is going to ask his friend if he turns her down, he agrees to give her the interview that she wants.

Sparks fly between Asher and Genevieve when they meet up for dinner to discuss her article, and before the night is through, they’re already making plans to see each other again. When Asher’s mother learns about Genevieve, she asks him if he will approach her about doing an article on Claire to see if they can find out any new information that might help them locate her. A dark cloud has surrounded his family since they lost Claire all those years ago, and they all need some type of closure. Genevieve is more than happy to help. She knows what it’s like to lose a family member, because her father murdered her mother and her unborn sibling when she was a kid. It’s also why she can empathize with the deep sense of loss and sadness Asher feels every day. 

As soon as Genevieve’s article is published, the police receive a new lead. Claire’s family and friends come together with them to see if they can uncover any more clues that will prove to be helpful in their search. Meanwhile, Asher’s feelings for Genevieve are growing stronger every day. Since her father killed her mother, she doesn’t really believe that there is such a thing as a happily ever after. That’s a problem, because the feelings Asher has for Genevieve aren’t the temporary kind. 

Will his love be enough to change her mind, and if not, what kind of future do they have together? Will the new lead and attention from the article help put the Creed family one step closer to finding Claire? You will get the answer to the first question when you read this book, but don’t expect any type of resolution when it comes to the second. That part of the story is to be continued in book 2.

The Executioner felt more like a mystery with a bit of romance than a romance to me, and that may be because the mystery is what interested me the most about this story. The romance was sweet with little conflict involved, the characters were likable, and the story held my attention and made me invested in this family’s happiness. I knew going into it that I wasn’t going to get any real answers in this book when it came to the Claire, but I never realized how much that would drive me crazy! I want to know now, damn it! Lol! 

I enjoyed getting an introduction to all the members of the Creed family, and I look forward to learning more about them individually in the books to come. All of the brothers are handsome, hardworking alphas that are more than a bit broken. They love each other dearly, but things have never been the same since they lost their baby sister. None of the men have love in their life, so I’m assuming they will be finding it book by book until the end of the series. If you are a fan of mysteries, romance with barely a sliver of angst, or family sagas, I recommend this one to you!

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“Are you part of the execution team?”
I swallowed, the thought of lying to her heavy in my throat. There was a reason we never divulged who was on the team. The stigma and attacks on our humanity would come from all angles, and in the end, it would change nothing. I am an executioner. It’s a job. Someone has to step up and do it. I was simply one of the few who were willing to swallow the emotional baggage that comes with putting another human being to death. I’m willing because maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally be able to bury the beast in me that snarls and snaps, thrashes and rages, thirsty for vengeance against the unknown monster that took my sister away.
 “You know I can’t talk about that, Genevieve. I’m sorry.”
Her gold-green eyes sparked. “I thought so.”
I frowned, not answering.
“Okay. Let’s try this . . . hypothetically speaking, if someone were a part of the execution team at the prison, would they take part in every execution?”
“Theoretically, barring some certain circumstances, yes. Most likely. The warden has assembled a team he trusts and that rarely changes.”
She nodded and forked up a bite of meat. “How do you think those people feel? About killing another human being?” Her gaze was direct and unwavering.
I set my fork down and thought carefully about my reply. “I think they don’t think about it like that.”
“Does it make you sad?”
A beat passed heavily between us. Two. “No.”
She said nothing, returning to her meal, and I followed suit. Eventually, the cloud that filled the room seemed to dissipate as she digested my answers. “Tell me about your brothers. I’m dying to know about them.”
She shrugged one shoulder and sipped her wine. “I just am. Are they like you? Big and sexy and moody?”
“I’m not moody.”
She laughed. “Not denying the big and sexy, huh?”
I fought the grin that wanted to bust loose and forked my salad. “We’re all big and sexy, I won’t lie.”
“I’m sure. What else?”
I thought of my brothers and our time together yesterday. Even as distant and strained as we’d become, I knew we all still loved each other fiercely. “Well, I’m the oldest. Levi is next. He’s a businessman in Austin, divorced, no kids. Jamison is a SWAT sniper in Dallas, goofy and single. Joshua works as a criminal profiler for the FBI in Virginia. He’s brainy and quiet and single, as far as I know anyway. And the baby is Silas. He’s an up and coming MMA fighter and he lives in Houston.”
“So none of you have girlfriends or wives? Really?”
I shrugged. It sounded weird when you put it that way. “Other than Levi, we’ve all managed to avoid it.”
One brow lifted in challenge. “Avoid it?”
“Yeah.” I scooped up the last of my food.
“Are any of you gay?”
I nearly choked. “No.” I grabbed my water and sipped. “Why would you ask that?”
“Well, no women. Maybe there are men.”
“No. Only careers.” And grief, but I didn’t admit that out loud.
Her foot suddenly found my leg under the table. “I’m glad to hear it.”
I ran a hand under her jeans and up her calf. “Interested in my brothers?”
“Glad to hear it.” I caressed down her leg and massaged her instep.
Her eyes fluttered closed as I continued rubbing her foot. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the need to taste her again. “Are we done here?” My voice was gruff, even to my own ears.
Her eyes slid open and met mine. “I’m not sure.”
“I am.” Keeping our gazes locked, I stood and rounded the table to stand beside her. “Get up.”
Her eyes flared, but she did as she was told. I felt her heated focus on me as I shoved our dinner dishes to the side of the table, making room in front of us. “Sit.” I indicated the spot where her plate had just been.
She only hesitated a moment, the air becoming thick between us. The blood was rushing through my veins like fire and I desperately needed to quench it. My erection strained behind my jeans and it was all I could do to control myself when she looked at me like she was getting off on my dominance. I wasn’t a kinky man, but I definitely liked to be in charge, in the bedroom and out. Call it the Ranger mentality.

Author Bio

Shauna grew up an only child with two open and loving parents in Central Texas. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother to three awesome kids, including one in the United States Air Force. She is the award-winning author of the Jack ‘Em Up series and the upcoming Family Creed series. Shauna also writes emotional Contemporary YA novels as SC Montgomery and works as a freelance editor. She loves all things sexy, sassy, and Gerard Butler.

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