Dangerous Attraction: The Complete Serial by Sidney Bristol
Series: Aegis Group #1
Publication Date: December 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
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Ex-Navy SEAL Travis Ration is an expert hunter. Whether his prey is criminal or victim, he always gets his mark. He's no hero, just a man doing his job. It’s all he has after a felony conviction after a bad judgement call. When the FBI call in a favor and ask him to look into a serial killer over the holiday break, he jumps at the opportunity to fill the long, cold days with something besides regret and bad movies. In Las Vegas, he's on the hunt for a prolific serial killer no one wants to admit exists. The leads are dry and the evidence gone, until she walks into his life. Bliss Giles—curvy, sassy and everything he can't have.
What’s worse, Travis knows Bliss’ sister is the killer's latest victim. She fits the profile. Time is running out and the fastest way to retrace the killer's path is with Bliss at Travis' side. In the seat of danger. He vows to keep Bliss safe and his hands to himself, after all, a nice girl like her doesn't need a guy like him in her life. Too bad no one told Bliss Travis was off-limits. She tests his boundaries and pushes his control every minute they're together until he can't remember why wanting her is a bad idea.
The hunters become the hunted in this tale of serial killers and SEALs for hire. One broken man must unpack his baggage, a woman has make a leap of faith and a sister chooses to live in this new, romantic suspense serial by NYT & USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Bristol.
I picked this book up on a whim, and while I thought it had potential, it didn’t quite come together for me.
When the book opens, Bliss Giles is trying to get help from the Las Vegas Police to find her newly missing sister. Since it’s not even been a full day, the police aren’t taking her seriously, but Travis Ration (an ex-SEAL/quasi-FBI consultant) overhears her, and he thinks the case might be connected to a serial killer he’s helping investigate. Bliss and Travis start looking into the matter and realize Wendy has indeed been captured by this killer who kidnaps women, impregnates them, and then gruesomely murders them once their babies are born. (Yeah, this book is graphic, so stay far away if that bothers you!) There are so many twists and turns in this book that I won’t enumerate them all. Just know that there is a lot of investigating, a lot of blood and guts, and a lot of back and forth with this seemingly unstoppable killer.
As I mentioned, the book is gory, which isn’t necessarily a problem for me. It’s maybe not one I’d be rushing out to read on my lunch break, but I could handle it since I have a fairly high tolerance for blood in books. However, the gory parts absolutely DID NOT fit with the romance parts of the book. Bliss works at a sex toy shop, and I thought that part of the story was fun and cute. Travis isn’t exactly against sex toys, but he doesn’t see the point and seems to assume they’re just for women who have no companionship. Bliss isn’t a sex toy evangelist, but she does try to educate Travis on who uses toys and why they might want to. I enjoyed her openness and Travis’s willingness to listen. Plus, there are some sexy scenes of them exploring toys, which I think we just don’t see enough of in most non-erotic romances.
But let me tell you, sex toy explorations are particularly jarring to read sandwiched in between scenes of a killer cutting out someone’s organs! I especially couldn’t enjoy lighthearted sex scenes when Wendy was in a cage waiting for the killer to murder her. It took away from the relationship and the sex, and it was honestly kind of horrifying. I truly felt like there were two different books thrown together here: one a lighthearted contemporary romance about a sex toy shop employee and an alpha SEAL, and the other an intense and graphic serial killer story. Both books would make perfectly fine stories on their own, but put together they were uncomfortable and mismatched.
This book was originally published as a serial, and that may have contributed somewhat to the disjointedness I felt. I suspect it also contributed to uneven pacing. There were periods of the book where nothing happened and everything just dragged. The killer kept eluding them too, in ways that got more and more absurd, which meant that the resolution was delayed more than I thought reasonable. And Travis did a lot of back and forth–I care about her..no I can’t care about anybody…wait I do care about her…but I can’t. Ugh. He couldn’t make up his mind, and Bliss kept putting up with his crap. It didn’t feel organic, more like artificial conflicts to add tension.
All that said, I did like some parts of the book. The serial killer plot was horrific, yes, but it was also complicated and tense. I liked that Travis and Bliss did a lot of communicating about their feelings. There weren’t Big Misunderstandings–they used their grown up words to talk things out. The sex was fairly hot and interesting, if you could look at it in isolation from the serial killer plot. I want more sex toys in books!
All in all, I’d happily check something else out by this author (and this book is apparently the start of a series), but this particular book didn’t quite live up to its promise for me.
Grade: 2.5 out of 5