Genre: Romantic Suspense

Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie Mann

Posted July 3, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie MannReviewer: Jen
Beyond Risk by Connie Mann
Series: Florida Wildlife Warriors #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The river runs wild …

Former Fish & Wildlife Officer Charlotte “Charlee” Tanner still carries the guilt of a tragic drowning accident that occurred on her watch. She hoped moving back home to the wilds of central Florida would provide a safe haven—until she learns the death was no accident, and she’s the intended target.

… But no wilder than their passion.

Tough and decisive, Lieutenant Hunter Boudreau loves his new job as a law enforcement officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Charlee is his best friend, so when she comes under fire, he’s not letting her out of his sight until the killer is caught. But Charlee won’t sit by and let anyone else die for her.

As danger closes in and Charlee and Hunter’s attraction threatens to consume them, Charlee has to decide if she can trust Hunter. And to save Charlee, Hunter will have to trust her, too.

Charlee Tanner has moved back home to help with her family’s business, running wilderness and river tours in Florida. She had left home after a tragic incident in which a boy died while on an excursion with Charlee, but her family needs the help so she is trying to get back into the swing of things. When another boy is almost killed while on a trip with Charlee on the anniversary of the earlier death, things start looking suspicious. Hunter is a new leader in the Fish and Wildlife Service and Charlee’s best friend. He begins investigating the attacks, with Charlee’s help. Things escalate with the mystery and between Hunter and Charlee, who both are attracted to each other but are hesitant to start anything.

This book was…fine. I liked the action–there is a lot of chasing and investigating. I also liked that Charlee is a wilderness guide. It provided a fun, interesting setting for the story. She’s (mostly) capable and tough, and she knows how to survive. I also appreciate that she has a friendship with Hunter before a romance. Even though we come into the story after their friendship has been developed, I always enjoy a friends-to-lovers progression.

Overall, though, I didn’t think Hunter and Charlee’s romance was particularly compelling. They were both clearly interested in each other, but they each held back. Charlee was coming off a relationship with a jerk who definitely wasn’t right for her, so some initial hesitation at first made sense. It goes on way too long, however. She’s supposedly been friends with Hunter for a long time. She knows he’s not like her ex and never will be. It didn’t make much sense why she kept resisting so long. Plus, I didn’t really feel the passion there. Hunter definitely feels protective of Charlee, but he seems to feel protective of everyone! Moreover, Charlee’s brothers are part of the team of officers Hunter has recently taken over supervising. There is a whole sub-plot, where there is tension among the officers about his new role. It felt out of place and unexplored, and then there is a ridiculous “my brothers won’t like us dating” conflict, which I never appreciate. Why her brothers would care about her dating a stand-up guy like Hunter makes no sense. I wanted more passion, more conversation, and more grown ups all around.

This book wasn’t a total miss, but it certainly wasn’t one of my favorites either.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Devoted to Love by Shayla Black

Posted June 30, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Devoted to Love by Shayla BlackDevoted to Love by Shayla Black
Series: Devoted Lovers #2
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

He was sent to guard her body… he didn’t expect her to steal his heart.

Her sister’s wedding was hardly the place to find a hook up, but after one look at friend-of-the-groom and special operative Josiah Grant, small-town Texas beauty Magnolia West immediately fell in lust. After a stunningly sensual night together, Maggie is prepared for the two of them to go their separate ways. After all, she’s not a happily-ever-after kind of girl. But Josiah—and danger—change her plans.

Josiah isn’t looking for love…but Maggie rouses his body and stirs his heart like no other woman. She’s got a rocky romantic past, and a smart man would steer clear. But when the murder quotient in Kendall County rises and all signs point to a mysterious group nearby who have been harassing Maggie’s family, he can’t leave her unprotected—especially when he realizes he’s fallen hard for her.

As tension mounts and the menace closes in, Josiah will do anything to prove to Maggie that their love is real…but can they stay alive long enough to share it?

Excerpt

DEVOTED TO LOVE

Book Binge – exclusive excerpt

“Now give me your mouth so I can start doing unspeakably dirty things to it, designed to give you all the pleasure you can handle.”

“You don’t have to ask me twice.” She raised her face to his, her heart pounding, her belly tightening.

Josiah slipped a hand around her nape and bent to her. It seemed to take forever for him to come close. But as he drew nearer, she deciphered his masculine scent. Fresh-chopped wood, earthy moss, all man. He was a heady aphrodisiac as she breathed him, then let out a little moan.

He was there, luring her deeper under his spell, hands callused yet soft as his fingers tightened around her neck. He exhaled against her lips. The citrus and spice of their drinks lingered on his breath. Even his size made her feel petite and protected. Sure, he could hurt her. He’d probably learned a hundred ways how. But Maggie didn’t believe for one second he ever would.

Arching closer, she tried to rush their kiss. She needed to feel him. Josiah hadn’t really touched her yet, and already she ached. What would it feel like when he was inside her, possessing her, thrusting into her with all his strength and determination?

At the thought, a whimper escaped her throat. Their lips nearly touched. So close . . . His free hand at the small of her back pressed her body against his.

The hard insistence of his erection dug into her flesh. Holy hell, he was massive and obviously ready to make her feel good. She was beyond eager. Why was he dragging out this kiss?

“Hurry.”

“Hmm,” he murmured as his lips brushed her cheek and glided toward her ear. “You’re trembling.”

She was. Maggie could hear it in her inhalations, feel it in the grip of her hands tightening on his shoulders as she tried to drag him closer. “You’re tormenting me.”

He chuckled in her ear, the sound a low rumble that did crazy things to her insides. “Yes, I am. I like that it’s working.”

As he nuzzled his stubbled cheek across her skin and dragged his lips down her jaw, she tensed, drew in an impatient breath, and found her thigh creeping up his hip. She invited him deeper. He caught her leg in his grip and pressed her closer, nudging her exactly where she needed his steely length.

“Kiss me already,” she demanded.

“I’m getting there.”

But he still wasn’t in any hurry. His lips bypassed hers again, hovering just above her mouth, leaving her tingling and sensitive.

She tried to crush their lips together and get relief. But once again he was stronger and faster. Next thing Maggie knew, his lips were at her temple, skimming down her hairline. He inhaled her. The hand at her nape shifted up to graze her scalp. Then he grabbed her hair, closed his fist around the strands, and tugged. She shivered in need.

With a satisfied smile, he nipped her lobe, his teeth just sharp enough to snag her attention. Without a word, he forced her to acknowledge his growing mastery.

Never in her admittedly colorful love life had she ached for a man this badly. The fact that he hadn’t even kissed her, that they were still fully clothed, and yet she was powerless against his seduction wasn’t lost on Maggie. This man was going to utterly undo her. He would probably ruin her for months, maybe years. That should worry her. She should care. But right now, she didn’t. She simply yearned to dive into the pleasure and drown. The consequences would come later.

“Josiah . . .”

“What is it, baby?”

His whisper was pure sex. Her nipples hardening, her fingernails digging into his skin, a keening cry falling from her lips. “Please . . .”

“That’s the magic word. Oh, I’m going to love hearing you beg.”

Devoted Lovers

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

center>Sunday Spotlight: June 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Shayla Black

Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past ten years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.


Tagged: , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire

Posted June 6, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Then You Hide by Roxanne St. ClaireReviewer: Casee
Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Bullet Catcher #5
Also in this series: First You Run
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: June 24, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 349
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Bullet Catcher Wade Cordell is offered a cushy assignment to track down a woman on vacation in the Caribbean and persuade her to meet her birth mother, the secret ops sharpshooter decides it's the perfect antidote to his stressful job. Except spirited and sassy Vanessa Porter isn't on vacation, she's on a hunt for a friend who has disappeared. Wade's news doesn't faze a woman who swims with the sharks on Wall Street -- Vanessa knows she's adopted and has no intention of meeting or helping the woman who gave her up in a black market scheme. But as it becomes clear that her missing friend is deep in hiding and deeper in trouble, Vanessa strikes a shaky bargain with the sexy bodyguard who's an expert at finding people who don't want to be found. How high a price will she have to pay the Bullet Catcher willing to put his life on the line for her? Will she sacrifice her pride . . . her heart . . . even her life?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 26, 2008.

This is the 7th book (including anthologies) in St. Claire’s Bullet Catcher series and the 2nd in the trilogy that is out this year. The trilogy started with First You Run, where the Bullet Catchers are trying to find three women-triplets-that were given up in black market adoptions thirty years before. As the story unravels, the Bullet Catchers now believe that finding these three women may be the key to solving a thirty year old murder. A murder that their birth mother has been in jail for since shortly after their births.

When Wade Cordell heads to the Caribbean, he figures he can get in a few days of relaxation after convincing Vanessa Porter to go to South Carolina to meet her birth mother. What he doesn’t count on is Vanessa herself. A southern boy at heart, Wade is ill prepared for the brash, fast, and no-nonsense Vanessa. Now, a job that should have been easy is anything but that when he finds himself chasing Vanessa from one Caribbean island to another.

Vanessa is in the Caribbean for one reason and it isn’t vacation. After a good friend disappears, seemingly without a trace, Vanessa follows him to the Caribbean. Determined to find him no matter what the cost, Vanessa has no time for Wade Cordell or her murderess birth mother. When she realizes that she’s in over her head, Vanessa grudgingly accepts Wade’s help. In return, she agrees to go to South Carolina after they find Clive. It’s not long before Vanessa is glad to have Wade on her side.

I really enjoyed Vanessa and Wade. Wade was almost scandalized by the language that would come out of Vanessa’s mouth, which was extremely amusing. These two are as opposite as two people can get, yet it works somehow. Those are the best romances. Though they quickly fall into an affair, Wade knows that there is more to Vanessa than the ball-busting persona she shows the world and he’s determined to get past that. Vanessa has to get past her own childhood hangups if she wants anything more w/ Wade. Their relationship was funny and sweet, yet hot and exciting.

The mystery arc that is continuing over the course of the three books gets more intriguing in this book. I look forward to the conclusion of this series and am confident that the author won’t disappoint.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Star. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Bullet Catcher


four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan

Posted May 15, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Every Last Breath by Juno RushdanReviewer: Jen
Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan
Series: Final Hour #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 418
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

48 hours2 covert operatives1 chance to get it right

Maddox Kinkade is an expert at managing the impossible. Tasked with neutralizing a lethal bioweapon, she turns to the one person capable of helping her stop the threat of pandemic in time: the love of her life, back from the dead and mad as hell at her supposed betrayal. Recruiting Cole to save millions of lives may be harder than resisting the attraction still burning between them, but Maddox will do whatever it takes...even if it destroys her.

When Maddox crashes back into Cole Matthews' life, he wants to fight back. He wants to hate her. But the crisis is too strong to ignore, and soon the two former lovers find themselves working side-by-side in a breakneck race to stop a world-class killer with a secret that could end everything.

It’s a secret agent book! I am always down for a good spy thriller, and this book didn’t disappoint.

Maddox Kinkade is an elite operative with a covert government organization trying to stop a bioterrorist attack. The problem is, the person they need help from is none other than the fiance she thought dead. For his part, Cole Matthews let Maddox think he was dead because she betrayed him. He doesn’t particularly care about helping the US government, but he doesn’t want to look the other way as people are murdered. Plus, he finds he’d still do anything for Maddox. They have to move beyond their past together and go all in to find and stop the terrorist threat.

Maddox is my favorite kind of heroine–she’s prickly, smart, and so very capable. She can fight with the best of them, and I adored seeing Cole slowly realize he didn’t need to protect his little woman. Cole was even pricklier, however. He feels so betrayed and hurt by Maddox, and it makes him snippy and mean at first. To be honest, the whole betrayal was a bit vague in my mind–it had something to do with Maddox telling her CIA father information about Cole’s Russian organized crime family. However, to me it seemed more like the real issue was that her family was in law enforcement while his were in crime! “Betrayal” or not, it didn’t seem realistic that they could have worked out when they were so young. They both needed to grow up and get the perspective of a little time and space.

The terrorist plot was great. You know who they’re chasing, and you get lots of scenes from his perspective. I love the cat-and-mouse story, where the killer seems to always be one step ahead. I also love a good “traitor in our midst” plot, and this book had that as well. In short, the plot ticked my buttons!

As with most action romances, there were some things that didn’t quite make sense. I didn’t know why the agency let Cole in on the operation. I get that they don’t have to follow the “regular rules” of law enforcement, but no way would they let a civilian (and one connected to organized crime no less) in on a case like this. Plus Cole’s family and their crime connection was not well explored. His dad was supposedly trying to go legit, but his brother is not, and what exactly did Cole have to do with anything? There’s also a little bit of melodrama in Maddox’s past. (Small SPOILER ALERT for a content warning: there’s talk of miscarriage in the book.) But listen, I don’t read action romance for the accuracy or relatability. None of this bothered me enough to diminish my enjoyment of the book!

This was an excellent story from a new author, and I cannot WAIT to read more.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Final Hour

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Taken by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted May 5, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I don’t usually read novellas, but I will always make an exception for Rebecca Zanetti. In fact, I’m not reading very many romantic suspense books these days. Again, I made an exception for Rebecca Zanetti. You should too! I highly recommend starting with the Sin Brothers and moving on from there.

Sunday Spotlight: Taken by Rebecca ZanettiTaken by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1.5
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1), Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 103
Length: 3 hours and 8 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Hunter Holt might be the most stubborn ex-soldier ever born, but when he’s called on to help find a lost foster kid, he jumps into action. Even if it means working with the woman who broke his heart five years ago—the woman who still haunts his dreams . . .

Faye Smith has spent five long years trying to get her life back on track. She knows she should’ve turned toward Hunter and not away from him. But they both had too many demons to destroy. Maybe now they’ll get another chance—and save someone else’s life too . . .

But first they’ll have to stop arguing long enough to trust the Deep Ops team. Hunter was a lost boy himself once. In fact, he ran away from the exact same man, their monster of a father. Now he and Faye will have to unite to find the brother he never knew—and maybe each other . . .

 

Excerpt

To say that things hadn’t ended well for them would’ve been the understatement of a century—heck, of the entire existence of human beings on Earth. Even a caveman breakup, with swinging mammoth bones and the throwing of fire, would’ve seemed like an afternoon at the beach compared to the day Faye and Hunter called it quits.

Which explained why her hands were sweaty and her tennis shoes kept tripping over the exposed tree roots of the barely-there path on the way to his cabin. Pine trees closed in from every direction, and an animal squawked in the distance. The sound probably came from a bird, but the beast sounded like it had teeth. Did some birds have teeth? She’d had to toss a decapitated bunny off her deck last year because of a sociopathic owl hunting the forest behind her house. So if not teeth, then maybe claws.

At the moment, she’d rather face that owl than Hunter Holt. He would not be happy to see her, and he’d be downright hostile to the news she was bringing. Dread and anticipation boiled inside her at the prospect of seeing him again. Her first love. Heck, her only love. Man, he’d been everything.

Maybe he’d gotten fat and bald in the past five years and had taken up smoking, which would give him wrinkles. The thought cheered her. Then hopefully she’d stop having dreams about him that resulted in her seeking a cold shower.

She turned a corner, and the side of his cabin came into view. It faced the Smoky Mountains and Dogwood Creek, which rushed by surprisingly fast for late June. A tumble of large rocks angled up from the water to a man-made stone wall designed to protect the wood and rock cabin from flooding.

He came out from the rear of the cabin, his gait easy, his gaze alert. No doubt his bizarre instincts had warned him of her approach half a mile down the trail. “Faye.”

Ah, shoot. Neither fat nor bald. In fact, the bastard looked better than ever. “Hunter,” she said, drawing on years of practice to keep her voice level and calm.

His intense blue eyes, the color of a male indigo bunting in the height of mating season, revealed absolutely no emotion. His dark blond hair was cut short and yet was still shaggy—thick enough for a woman to spend some serious time running her hands through it. Despite the short beard and mustache he wore, the hard angles of his face proved he’d grown even more handsome in the past five years. His chest had broadened, and cut muscles shifted beneath the worn cotton of his shirt. “What are you doing here?”

Had his voice deepened? She held her stance on the trail, the toe of her shoe angled on a rock. “Miss Angelina sent me.”

Finally, emotion. His eyebrows rose, and he moved toward her as if unable to help himself. “Is she okay?” Urgency roughened the edges of his southern accent.

“She’s fine,” Faye murmured, something hurting inside her chest. Would he have had the same reaction if somebody had approached him about her? After all these years, the good and bad, would he have cared one bit if something happened to her? Not that it mattered. Not anymore. “She wants our help. That means…” Faye lifted a shoulder.

He sighed and tucked his thumbs in his front pockets. “We help.”

She nodded. The man might be one of the deadliest on the planet, and the crankiest, but when Miss Angelina called, you went, no matter who you were, or who you’d become.

“Why send you?” he asked.

Ouch. Seriously. Double ouch. “I’m the only one she’s been able to reach so far,” Faye said, her hand all but itching to grab a rock and hurl it at his stubborn head. The stone facade of his face was starting to piss her off, and he probably knew it. “Would it kill you to have a cell phone?”

His frown deepened. “I have a cell phone, and Miss Angelina has the number. Called me just last week.”

Huh. What in the world did that mean? Faye tilted her head. “And she hasn’t called you yesterday or today?”

“Nope.”

Well. That was interesting, and not just a little disconcerting. Everything in Faye wanted to hand off the case to Hunter and head back to figuring out what do with her life in Louisville. But Miss A had been insistent that Faye work it to the end, and there was some logic there, considering Faye had once been a shrink. A mistake among many in her life. She drew off her beige backpack, because her shoulders were starting to ache. “Perhaps Miss A wanted me to deliver these to you.”

His gaze dropped to the pack, and then he sighed. “You might as well come inside, then.”

“How could a girl refuse such a gallant offer?” she snapped, holding the pack with her good arm and starting for the green-painted side door.

The quickest flash of a smile lifted his lips for a moment. When she came abreast of him, he reached for the backpack.

She jerked it away. “I’ve got it.”

“It looks heavy.” He reached for it again, his long arm easily snaking across her body to grasp the strap.

“No.” She pulled again, engaging in a tug of war reminiscent of when they were kids. Finally, she twisted her torso, and he either had to let go or pull her entire body toward him.

He didn’t let go.

Instead, he grabbed both straps and pulled, jerking her up against his much harder and taller form. His scent of man and wild maple hit her so fast she gasped as memories flooded in. “When are you gonna learn that life isn’t fair?” He lifted, and she had no choice but to relinquish the bag or somehow grow ten inches. “You’re five-four, a buck twenty, and in a physical fight, you’re not gonna win.”

“Five-five,” she retorted, releasing the bag and instantly punching him in the gut as hard as she could. Pain ripped from her wrist up her arm. His darn ribs were steel.

He sucked in air, pained. “I’d forgotten your sucker punch.”

“You’re a moron.” She turned away, pissed beyond belief that she’d lost the backpack.

“So you’ve said, on more than one occasion,” he drawled, back in control again. “In fact, I believe that’s the last thing you yelled at me.”

“Actually,” she said, looking over her shoulder directly at him, “I believe it was ‘I love you, and I’m sorry.’” Then she turned and shoved open the door to his cabin.

Deep Ops

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: May 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormals, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.


Tagged: , , ,