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Summary

New York was supposed to be our fresh start. Our happily ever after. But James is hiding something from me. 

Secrets from James' past, his scheming ex, and unsupportive parents make it hard to breathe in this city that barely feels like my home. 

I thought I wanted to marry him. I thought he was the man of my dreams. I thought we'd be happy as soon as we got away from all the rumors. But now? I don't think I ever really knew Professor Hunter. And I can't walk down the aisle until I know the truth.              

©2016 Ivy Smoak (P)2017 Ivy Smoak

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love it

love all ivy's books, i red hunted series at least 4 times now in last two years xx

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  • Kristin Davison
  • 01-08-20

ANNOYING

Who is this series for? Let me tell you. This series is for people who enjoy screaming at idiotic, insecure, weak, infuriating protagonist. The number of times I’ve said “You’re an idiot! and Seriously?!” while listening to this is astronomical. I must be a masochist to have listened this far, but here I am writing a review, listening begrudgingly, waiting to see what asinine situation Penny puts herself in next. 🤦🏼‍♀️ If you haven’t purchased this yet, don’t. You’re better off not venturing further down this contrived rabbit hole.

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  • nicole
  • 07-02-20

Jumping to conclusions

I’m on the 3rd book because I love torturing myself. Penny is the most unsure know it all who bases her thoughts off tv. James lowers his eye brows a lot.

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  • C. Y.
  • 17-01-20

Frustrating

This book... Arrgh! These characters are growing on me and I’m starting to care about them. The ending drove me crazy! I want to scream!

Meghan performed this book very well, but the way she pronounces mischievous drives me crazy.

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  • SLopez
  • 27-05-21

Penny's suffering is my favorite part.

Man I read these books a few years ago when I finally got back into reading chick lit and I loved these books. But I decided to give them another go but through audible this time since I listen to books while I work. Times have surely changed, man what a difference a few years make because now I just laugh at all Penny's suffering. She is THE stupidest chick ever. She doesn't listen at all, shes a child playing at being an adult. I realize she has her own mind but she acts like she knows what's best for James regarding his family. That bugs me the most. Not everyone had a wonderful upbringing and if someone wants to distance themselves LET THEM. Then theres Melissa, ugh hate that girl. Shes nosy and pushy and yeah she dumps her supposed to be BFF right before the wedding, yeah cut that loss. Then poor Tyler, he would have been sooooo much better for her. I realize people were all up in arms regarding the dorm room situation when she first met him in book one. But yeah he was plastered, not excusing that, what makes me see it differently is that when she kneed him he didnt chase after her and he acknowledged it the very next time he saw her, he didn't try and manipulate her or say it was her fault. That doesn't make me think hes a serial rapist or attempted rapist, theres no narcissistic tendencies there. I'm glad he finds someone else and gets his HEA.

Now the trust issues, shes a freaking liar. There I said it. She claims she trusts him but every opportunity she gets to run away she takes it. All throughout this series that's been her modus operandi. James you are a 30 year old man. I could see if Penny was mature but she isnt which makes me question his abilities to have a mature relationship. He constantly holds and hides things from her. You could say this is why Penny runs, ok but does she ever learn? When every person has the same opinion when do you stop and listen? I just cant stop laughing when shes amazed bad things keep happening to her. And I'm rooting for all the bad that I know is coming and I'm sure I'll be laughing wishing I could dish out more.

He keeps things from her, she keeps things from him, they both condemn and overreact. They do this to themselves. LOVE IT!

When Isabella sent the pictures and Rob wouldnt let Penny talk to James did she take a picture with her phone and send it to Rob so he could freak out and show James, nope, why? Because that's what a logical mind would do. Penny likes to suffer. Her co workers are another example. The blackmail from Isabella was awesome, why, because Penny NEVER learns. Seeing Austin in the bar, classic! Ugh I could go on and on but I'm gonna go back to listening to this trainwreck and laugh at her misfortune. Pure comedy.

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  • B. Roscoe
  • 17-05-21

James & Penny’s Steamy Story ... 2.5 Years Later!

James & Penny’s Steamy Story Is Dripping In Angst & Will Have You Reaching For The Final Book In This Series! The Characters Are Imperfect. James & Penny Make Some Big Mistakes. Fans Of The Fifty Shades Of Grey Trilogy Will Enjoy Elements Of This Story that Feel Familiar. This Book Is Explosive!


This is the third of four books in The Hunted series, which is James and Penny’s story. Their romance continues in the three book The Light to my Darkness series. See James as a teenager in the four book Empire High series (Matt’s story), which gives the backstory for the Untouchables - James, his brother Rob, and the Caldwell brothers – Mason and Matt. There are other books that are spinoffs to these books, including the Men of Manhattan series of standalones: City of Sin, Third Chances, and Missing Pieces.

The Men of Manhattan series intersects with The Hunted series. While each series can be enjoyed on its own, each book is even more enjoyable when read collectively because little glimpses of the characters from one book to another add to the depth of their individual stories. Approximating the chronological order, the two series combined should be read as follows (according to the author).
1. Temptation (James Hunter and Penny Taylor’s story, part 1)
2. Addiction (James Hunter and Penny Taylor’s story, part 2)
3. City of Sin (Mason Caldwell and Bridget Cowen’s story)
4. Eruption (James Hunter and Penny Taylor’s story, part 3)
5. Third Chances (Rob Hunter and Daphne Hughes’s story)
6. Devotion (James Hunter and Penny Taylor’s story, part 4)
7. Missing Pieces (Tyler Stevens and Hailey Shaw’s story)

The review for Eruption, book three, is below. For those that are not reading the series back-to-back, a little summary of the previous books is first included as a refresher.

FROM TEMPTATION, BOOK ONE:

As book one came to a close, James and Penny’s tumultuous relationship had fractured. It had been love at first sight for the pair that first crossed paths in a coffee shop, but the professor-student situation they found themselves in the next day had them fighting their feelings for one another. Penny dated a little, including a double date with her roommate Melissa and her new boyfriend Josh that paired Penny with her ex from last year, Austin. Then there is Tyler. He is Josh’s Sigma Pi fraternity brother and sits beside Penny in Comm 212, which is the course Professor Hunter teaches. Tyler and Penny definitely have chemistry, but for Penny, it is not quite enough to pull her past the heartbreak that Austin caused her. They become good friends, though Tyler clearly wants more. He is sweet and thoughtful, but he definitely makes a few big mistakes. What makes Tyler so forgivable is the fact that he is sincerely apologetic. If Tyler and Penny were given time, they would most likely become a couple. Unfortunately for Tyler, time is not on his side when it comes to Penny. Though Tyler may be older than Penny, as a senior he is still a child in comparison to Professor Hunter.

The heartbreak that Penny experienced last spring is all but forgotten in Professor Hunter’s presence. Eventually, neither Professor Hunter nor Penny can maintain the appropriate professor-student boundaries. This puts them both in the position of hiding their forbidden relationship from everyone – not a healthy place for a new relationship to start. But James had kept the fact that he was technically still a married man from Penny, and she struggled to trust him again once she found out. They took a break, but when they got back together and James indicated he would like her to move in with him, Penny finally shared her own secret – that she was not a senior as he had presumed, but a sophomore just turning twenty. James has a past that still remains somewhat of a mystery, but trust is an issue he struggles with himself. He ends things with Penny on the spot, sending her back to her dorm room to nurse her broken heart. By this time Penny’s secret relationship with Professor Hunter had become known to Tyler and Melissa, neither of which is pleased with Penny.

FROM PROFESSOR HUNTER:

The free bonus mini book in Professor Hunter’s POV is available via the link at the back of Temptation. It gives some insight into James. A few minor facts from Addiction are thrown in below to give a more detailed summary.

James is trying to make a change in his life, and teaching makes him happy. He misses the busy lifestyle that his NYC home has to offer, but staying was no longer an option. He needs real change. He had partied away his undergrad years at Harvard as an escape from his parents’ plans for him to marry the dreaded ice queen Isabella, the daughter of a family friend. The pair had attended high school together and he had never taken to her. He had a girlfriend in high school that his parents forced him to give up. The arrangement with Isabella was supposedly ideal since like James, Isabella came from money. The logic was that Isabella therefore wouldn’t be marrying him for his money. After college, at twenty-two, James began a tech startup, Blive Tech International, which is now a Fortune 500 publicly traded company. He then finally bit the bullet and married Isabella as planned. Despite his best efforts to turn it into a real marriage, he suspected Isabella had never been faithful to him. Things were definitely bad when he chose to sell his company last year and only keep his seat on the board. He got 2.8 billion dollars from the sale, but Isabella hadn’t wanted him to sell and become a lowly professor. Apparently she was mostly into the marriage because of the money after all.

He began teaching in New York and found that he loved it, but last December he found Isabella in their bed with the dean of admissions at his college, Jared Halloway. That was the end of his job and his marriage. He filed for divorce, and he had relocated to the University of New Castle spring semester of last year. It made him happy for a time, but he had begun to feel empty inside. James suffers from addiction. His whole life he felt pressured to be the perfect son, and he escaped the pressure by drifting from one addiction to another. His therapist wants him to work on his breathing – slow breaths – but Delaware was beginning to feel stifling until he ran into the beautiful redhead in the coffee shop on Main Street. Suddenly he could breathe again. When she showed up in his classroom he knew it was fate, and yet it was wrong. He was no good for her, but his obsession couldn’t be helped. She was a temptation he couldn’t ignore. Just as it looked like they might have something real together, though, he learned that like him, she had lied. James has difficulty trusting people, which is why he had become so isolated. The truth had shattered him.

FROM ADDICTION, BOOK TWO:

As book two opens, it is October fourteenth, the day before Penny’s birthday.

Penny Taylor, just turning twenty, is in the middle of the fall semester of her sophomore year of college at the University of New Castle in Newark, Delaware. She feels entirely alone. It seems everyone is disappointed in her. Two weeks have passed since Professor Hunter sent her away. Since then, Penny has spiraled downhill. She felt the sting of not being able to fully explain herself to James and has since let herself and her academics slip. Meanwhile, she has watched as Professor Hunter ignores her yet looks completely put together and unaffected by their breakup. Penny needs to make a change before she flunks her classes and loses her scholarship, and Melissa’s advice keeps coming back to her: the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. Penny’s birthday party is epic in so many ways. It ends in disaster, but it also opens the door for her and James to get back together. A lot went on during their two weeks apart, and much must be forgiven by the two if they are to pick back up where they left off. And there is one truth that James shares with her that makes her doubt what they have is real. James is an addict, and one might argue that Penny is his new addiction.

Once again, Penny has several men in her life vying for her attention. They all make their interest known to her. Austin makes a brief appearance again. Tyler continues to wait on the sidelines hoping his friendship with Penny will eventually lead to something more. His devotion is endearing despite the fact that his judgement is sometimes imperfect (fans shouldn’t feel too bad for Tyler; he gets his own HEA in Missing Pieces). Notably, a new man enters Penny’s life – a man that made a brief appearance in book one. Brendan, twenty-nine, is the architect that designed Professor Hunter’s ritzy apartment building. He had witnessed Penny’s half-dressed escape after she had found the wedding ring in Temptation. Here he once again catches her coming and going, and the pair begin an awkward friendship – one that involves advice as well as kisses. Like Tyler, he makes it clear what he wants, but he doesn’t mind being a friend in the meantime. As Professor Hunter and Penny try to work things out, the other men in her life aren’t too far away. And because their relationship is rocky, those men might just find Penny at a vulnerable point and swoop in to help her pick up the pieces. The angst keeps the readers on their toes! As Penny balances the three men in her life – Professor Hunter, Tyler, and Brendan – things become very complicated. As James and Penny get more serious, more characters are introduced. James’s wild and flirty brother Rob enters the story here. Mason Caldwell gets a cameo, and James’s wife Isabella is present as well. Her appearance ramps up the plot as things really begin to get serious in a variety of ways for James and Penny. As the circle that knows about James and Penny increases, so does the danger of discovery. This book is explosive when their secret comes out, and the newly engaged couple relocates to New York to get away from the controversy. They earn a happy for now ending.

FROM ERUPTION, BOOK THREE:

As the book opens it is roughly two and one half years after the couple left the University of New Castle in book two. There have been a lot of changes. James and Penny have since settled into a routine in their New York home with James running a new tech startup – Hunter Technologies – and Penny finishing her degree at NYCU. Rob Hunter frequently visits but has remained in James’s condo back in Newark where he enjoys the coed population. James sometimes hangs out with his friends – Mason, Matt, and his brother Rob. Mason and Bee are now a power couple, running their successful advertising agency together. Penny sometimes hangs out with Bee and her friends, and she continues to be very good friends with Tyler, who is building a successful career in New York. Her old roommate Melissa is now single and graduating back in Delaware; she plans on spending the summer interning in the city. Mason Caldwell has just turned thirty, and James turns thirty as well next month.

Penny, now twenty-two, isn’t good with change. She is graduating with the class of 2018 and facing a whirlwind of change that unsettles her. Despite her many applications, she has not yet landed any interviews. She took a big hit In her self-confidence as a result of the news of her affair with Professor Hunter leaking to the public, and years later it remains an issue. She is overwhelmed with the transition from her academic to her professional career because she hasn’t yet found a direction that inspires her. James is determined to have her work for him at all costs, and when Penny accepts a lowly internship at Hunter Technologies, she is faced once again with talk of her not earning her position. It puts her in a negative head space. She is lost and adrift as she begins the countdown to her June 30th wedding.

Penny feels like she has lost herself in James’s world. His home, his friends, his money that pays her tuition – and now his company that she works for. She wants to earn something on her own right that is not tainted by her relationship with a brilliant businessman and billionaire. Although she loves her life, if she is honest with herself her big inspiration is James himself. She loves him dearly and his friends have become a family of sorts. That Mrs. And Mrs. Hunter have refused to meet her to this day has been a hardship on both James and Penny. His parents still like Isabella in spite of the divorce, and their attendance at the upcoming nuptials is in question. Penny already feels like she doesn’t deserve James, and the rejection by his parents doesn’t sit well with her. She knows how much he suffered trying to live up to their expectations while growing up. Her greatest hope is to bring about a reconciliation, and she doesn’t give up hope on them despite James’s insistence that her efforts are futile.

When talk of a bachelor party comes up, James is not interested. Penny, however, encourages him to have fun with his friends. But when James ends up kidnapped by his friends and taken to a Costa Rica bachelor escape on the weekend before their wedding, Bee’s strong warning begins to eat at Penny. Bee mentions something about Mason being involved in the plans and an unsavory side business he once ran. Between James’s history with addiction, the stupid antics Rob tends to pull James into, Mason’s involvement, and Penny’s inability to reach her fiancé, the weekend begins to drag. To top it all off, a mystery person begins to leave packages for her that threaten to blow up her engagement. As the relationships around her begin to crumble and she finds herself entirely alone, Penny is faced with a crisis. Isabella makes some bold claims, and James’s ex-girlfriend Rachel enters the picture. James has some explaining to do, but then again so does Penny.. Their story takes a devastating twist and ends in a cliffhanger.

Fans of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy will enjoy elements of this story that feel familiar. Penny is sometimes maddening in her decision-making here. The communication between her and James breaks down completely and it is not quite clear why. Penny is somewhat submissive in nature so that might explain some complacency. At times her lack of action feels weak, suggesting a very serious self-esteem issue. At other times it feels that she chooses to be strategically aloof to the facts and events brought to her attention, an extremely mature choice to stay above the fray. But given the nature of things, such lack of action reeks of recklessness. There are serious issues that arise that could be easily explained or not, but to ignore them and put her head in the sand is foolish. It feels like a step back in time as James and Penny’s communication breaks down – back to their early days together. They face a move, pre-wedding activities, work issues, and drama with family and friends to distract them from one another. Yet no matter how understanding Penny may be, when she does not address the issues at the first opportunity so that there is nothing between her and James, she is shutting him out. James similarly makes executive decisions about what he should share with Penny. He is older and intelligent; that she might lean on him is natural, and yet it feels dishonest when they do not recognize issues that need to at least be brought to the other’s attention. That Penny feels alone and overwhelmed by so much change can put her poor decision-making into context, but it is still hard to swallow. As for James, it makes him look like a controlling jerk – which he is at times (and in certain circumstances she likes it).

The third installment in James and Penny’s story catches readers up to speed with the couple and brings them to the tumultuous last days before their wedding. The angst will have you in knots and the steam is hot. The characters are imperfect. James and Penny make some big mistakes. Penny once again loses herself. It makes her human. There is a lot of wavering in her head, but much of that is just showing her thought process. Her thoughts go to extremes that will drive you a little mad. This book takes place over the course of a few very eventful weeks, and she struggles in her head over the changes and decisions she faces. Rob’s story in Third Chances chronologically follows Erupted; he and Daphne cross paths again while at James’s bachelor party. Tyler’s character feels very real, and the overall story builds as his own HEA approaches in Missing Pieces.

James and Penny’s steamy story is dripping in angst and will have you reaching for the final book in the series to see what happens in the next leg of couple’s journey! James and Penny’s romance opens as they meet at the beginning of her sophomore year of college. As Professor Hunter, James is taboo but that doesn’t deter Penny from pursuing him. He tries to do the right thing, but she doesn’t make it easy. As they make their home in New York years later and their wedding day approaches, Penny feels overwhelmed by the changes she faces. Friends and family add to the stress of the pre-wedding jitters, and a bachelor weekend away opens the door for a crack in their relationship. Ultimately everything explodes around them. This story is nicely written. The plot is somewhat complex. The story is written in first person in Penny’s POV. I rate this book four stars.

As for the Audio: it is well-performed and consistent with the book.

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  • Shiara
  • 29-04-21

It was a good book with a little twisted

Penny is dumb asf but I still like the book and messy drama I don’t like the whole thing about he being addicted it’s turn me off and I don’t like Melisa at all

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  • Jessica
  • 27-04-21

What a good story plot

The suspense has me on my toes. This book has such a great plot that I keep coming back for more. I’m going on the 4th book in the span of 4 days.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-03-21

STUPID STUPID STUPID!!!

Penny is stupid in this book ! Utterly ridiculous and infuriating. Stupid stupid stupid for no reason

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-10-20

Good (stressful) read

The Hunted Series is really good, but this book particular is a highly stressful read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-10-20

Another amazing story

Loved this book as much as I love the others!! Cliffhangers have me wanting to finish the last book in one day!