Genre: Romantic Suspense

Throwback Thursday Review: Fragile by Shiloh Walker

Posted October 24, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Fragile by Shiloh WalkerReviewer: Casee
Fragile by Shiloh Walker
Series: Rafferty #1
Also in this series: Fragile
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 3, 2009
Format: Print ARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 346
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Six years after trading in his combat gear for hospital scrubs, Luke Rafferty is faced with things just as heartbreaking as those on the battlefield. The abused children being brought in by the pretty redheaded social worker tug at his soul like nothing he's ever known.

For Devon Manning, being a social worker is a rewarding job, but also a constant reminder of her own troubled youth. Devon takes everything one day at a time—unable to form a relationship with anyone except the children she rescues.

When Luke meets Devon, he thinks he might have found what he's been looking for, but in order to get the life he wants, Luke has to break through Devon's emotional barriers and make her realize that his healing touch might be just the complication her life needs...

I didn’t really expect to like Devon. She’s exactly the type of heroine that I can’t really get behind. The heroine that doesn’t need anyone except for herself. The “tough-as-nails, I’ll kick your ass before I let you touch me, I don’t need you” heroine. You know the heroine I’m talking about. That’s the type I expected Devon to be, even while I was reading the beginning of the book. And she is that type of heroine, to a certain extent. She’s is tough, but that’s b/c she has to be. She is closed off from men, but she’ll open up to the right man. She needs family and she needs friends. So she was as I expected her to be, yet she was also more.

When it comes to being a social worker, Devon knows that she’s running on fumes. But she won’t give up. She won’t stop b/c there is always one more child to save, one more child that could be looking for what she looked for as a child. A way out; a way to a better place. The part of her job that she hates the most brings Luke Rafferty into her life. As an ER doctor, Luke deals with the worst of the worst. But the kids Devon brings in always tear at his heart the most. As does Devon herself. Luke never thought about settling down until he meets Devon.

Devon has definite problems with intimacy. What I liked about her was that she was willing to discuss it with Luke. She was willing to overcome her fears to be with this man that she knew was special. As for Luke, he knows a victim when he sees one and he can tell that Devon is one. That’s not enough to deter him from a relationship with her. Soon they’re in a full-fledged affair.

Unfortunately Devon’s work brings her into contact with parents that resent her presence in their lives. One case turns violent when Devon helps a teenage boy out of an abusive home. The boy’s father doesn’t take kindly to Devon’s part in taking him away.

The circumstances force Devon and Luke to get close faster than either of them anticipated. Basically there are two storylines going on here. That was a little much for me. I understand why they were both necessary. They were each there to throw the reader in the opposite direction. I can appreciate that. So even though it was a little over the top, Shiloh made it work.

I was glad there wasn’t a paranormal aspect to this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rafferty

four-stars


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Review: Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

Posted September 30, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Lethal Nights by Lora LeighReviewer: Casee
Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh
Series: Brute Force #3
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man―and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But her ex-husband moved among some shady characters, and now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost―one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

Lora Leigh is one of those authors I just can’t quit. I feel like I’ve outgrown her, but it just doesn’t seem to matter. I keep coming back for more. In Lethal Nights, we’re taken back to the Brute Force series. This is the third book in the series and my first of the series. That’s fairly uncommon as I don’t generally read out of order. I didn’t feel very lost while I was reading, so it’s safe to say that you can jump in anywhere in the series.

Brute Force has made a deal with Emma Jane Preston’s in regard to using her house as safe house when they are in need of one. This is a common practice for Brute Force though they don’t generally go looking for people. The situation is different for Ilya Dragonovich who is drawn to Emma Jane from the beginning. He knows that the time isn’t right for Emma Jane as she just started divorce proceedings. He leaves her with a kiss, promising that he will be back for her.

It’s a year later and Emma Jane is in trouble. She’s becoming the target of multiple assassins and no one can figure out why. The trail seems to be non-existent which worries Ilya. Coming back into Emma Jane’s life was what he planned all along, but not because she was in danger.

Emma Jane knows that she will fall for the man with the dragon tattoo on his face. His dragon seems alive to her, which she knows is impossible. What she doesn’t know is that it is alive, but only to the person that is meant for the man.

It took me a long time to read this book. It was very slow moving at first. When it did get going, it really got going. I liked the meat of the story as well as how it concluded. While I don’t generally read very many romantic suspenses anymore, I really ended up liking this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Brute Force

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

Posted September 29, 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 cannot quit Lora Leigh. There are certain things about her books & writing that drive me bonkers, but her stories and characters are incredibly compelling. Lethal Nights is no exception. Emma Jane and Ilya’s story was really good. As usual, I was sucked right in & didn’t get spit out until the last word. If you like romantic suspense and steamy sex, this book is definitely for you.

Sunday Spotlight: Lethal Nights by Lora LeighLethal Nights by Lora Leigh
Series: Brute Force #3
Also in this series: Lethal Nights
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 294
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man―and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But her ex-husband moved among some shady characters, and now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost―one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

 
 

Excerpt

Excerpt from Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

Ilya Nicholas Dragonovich.

Son of the Dragon. She thought she’d heard somewhere that that was the literal translation of his surname. If so, it fit him from head to toe.

Emma Jane stared back at the tall, dark vision of pure danger and dark, carnal sex appeal and wondered why she wasn’t shaking in her size 6 sneakers. A normal, everyday woman should never be forced to face such men. Just being in their presence drove home the fact that there might be pleasures, experiences, and hungers that would always be denied.

His sunbronzed face was covered on one side by a menacing tattoo of a dragon, red eyes glaring at her from just above his left brow. Rough-hewn features were arranged with a hint of aristocracy, but for the evidence of a once-broken nose and the shadow of scars beneath the dragon. The icy stoicism in his pale green eyes and expression called to her and made her heart ache as he stood before her, made her want to reach out and touch him.

She wanted to stroke him.

There was something about him that was just so primal, elemental. He was a force of nature. He made her heart race.

He expected her to be frightened. The man she’d always called Dragon when she saw him in the society pages stood on her front porch, all but glaring down at her. He seemed to be awaiting a less than welcoming response. She probably should be frightened. Would have been, but instead she was charmed.

“How can I help you, Mr. Dragonovich?” Was that surprise in his gaze? If so, she’d better hurry and relish the victory, because she had a feeling it wouldn’t last long. “The society pages precede you,” she assured him with a grin, pushing back her nerves. “I recognize you.” She wagged her brows. “‘Russian Lothario on the Loose’! I believe you had two young women of European royalty on your arm that night.”

The slash of his dark brow arched slowly, causing the head of that tattoo to tilt its snout just enough to look curious.

She decided in that moment she was in love with this man’s ink.

“If you recognize me, then perhaps you could invite me inside,” he suggested, the subtle flavor of his Russian accent sending a tingle up her spine. “I have an offer I’d like to discuss with you.”

An offer? For her?

She was ordinary. Men like him did not offer women like her anything.

“What kind of offer?” She couldn’t exactly hold back her suspicion.

Was that a grin edging his lips? A hint of amusement in a man who the paparazzi swore never smiled?

“The kind that ensures you keep your home when your divorce is final, and one that aids an agency I represent. I refuse to stand on your doorstep while you consider it though.”

An offer to save her home when she was certain her estranged husband was indeed going to be able to force her to sell it? Okay, she might want to hear this.

She stepped back. Not that she trusted him, but the call she’d put through to her cousin Mikayla Steele’s husband ensured help was on its way. It wasn’t every day a dragon stood on a girl’s doorstep and she couldn’t be too careful.

“I called my cousin’s husband, Nikolei Steele, when you stepped from your car,” she warned him. “He’s a badass and he’ll mess up your pretty face if I ask him to.” He stepped inside, and the once-spacious hallway suddenly seemed much smaller. He towered over her, surrounded her, the warmth of his body sinking into hers in a way that sent a shiver up her spine.

“Good choice.” He nodded, his gaze direct, as curious as his ink now appeared to be. “Nik Steele’s a good man. We’ll just wait for him . . .” He tilted his head to the side, causing his dragon to watch her as though with interest. “I must admit though, I don’t think I’ve ever had a beautiful woman call me pretty.”

Was that amusement gleaming in his eyes? The faintest hint of a smile at his lips?

“It’s the dragon.” She shrugged, narrowing her eyes on the iridescent scaled face. “I think he’s flirting with me.”

Brute Force

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: September 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 Lora Leigh

Lora Leigh dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters’ intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared.

Lora’s family and her writing life coexist, if not in harmony, in relative peace with each other. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets, friends, and a son who keeps her quick wit engaged, Lora finds her life filled with joys, aided by her fans whose hearts remind her daily why she writes.


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Guest Review: One Dark Wish by Sharon Wray

Posted September 25, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: One Dark Wish by Sharon WrayReviewer: Jen
One Dark Wish by Sharon Wray
Series: Deadly Force #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 448
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Her life must be forfeit for his to be redeemed

Historian Sarah Munro is not used to being shot at, but that's just what happens while she's poking around cemeteries on Georgia's Isle of Grace, searching for the key to a centuries-old cipher. Her quest has unwittingly drawn the attention of two deadly enemies intent on destroying each other--and anyone who gets in their way.

Ex-Green Beret Major Nate Walker is on a mission of his own: to restore the honor of his men. To do that, he is required to stop Sarah--or one of his own men will die. Caught in the middle of a deadly rivalry, Nate can't afford to trust the woman standing in his way. But his heart says he can't afford not to...

Deadly Force Series: Every Deep Desire (Book 1)One Dark Wish (Book 2)

If you read the blurb for this book, it doesn’t sound overly complicated, right? A historian wants to solve a secret pirate cipher to both redeem her career and save her father. An ex-soldier is tasked with stopping her in order to save his men. Along the way, they fall in love. In practice, though, this book was…a lot. Way too much, in fact.

The characters in this book are reasonably smart and interesting. Sarah is good at her job and cares about preserving history. Nate is a protective alpha who has long carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. They were a nice match, with both appreciating the other for their strengths and loving each other despite their weaknesses. I thought their relationship was the best part of the book, although it does move WAY too fast. The bulk of the book takes place in a matter of days–I had to set that fact aside to really believe their romance.

The problem, however, is that the book has an excess of both characters and plot! Nate is part of a group of ex-Green Berets who are trying to get on with their lives after scandal forced them out of the military. Quite frankly, I couldn’t tell most of them apart as they were kind of forgettable. They mostly spent the book whining and moaning about their situation, about their orders, about life in general. They were supposedly a tight-knit unit, yet many of them didn’t seem to particularly trust each other. One of the big conflicts of the book is how Nate is going to be taken away permanently for reasons I won’t spoil. While one or two of the guys is pretty broken up about it and tries to save him, the rest seem pretty ambivalent. Nate is treated VERY unfairly, and Sarah seems to be the only one who truly tries to do anything about it. Way to pull together, team! The commanding officer is a secretive, cold-hearted bastard, too. I’m guessing he may get his own story in the future, but I certainly don’t care to read about him.

Most importantly, the plot of the book is overly complicated and illogical. There is SO much going on. There is a secret warrior organization whose motivations are very poorly outlined. There is some sort of gun runner who seems to have an absurd amount of power and influence.  There’s a very rich lawyer and Senator who help the team for flimsy and convenient reasons. There are several double crossers with their own agendas and stories. There is a historical mystery and the pirate cipher they are trying to investigate. Then there are back stories galore: what happened to the Green Beret team on the mission that got them in trouble as well as what happened in the following years, what happened during Nate’s time in a POW camp, a mystery about why both Nate and Sarah’s dad are having seizures, and the question mark that is Sarah’s father, all of which barely get grazed in this book. Not to mention what I assume are set ups for future books in the series, where we start to hear back stories for the other team members. I recognize that this is the second book in a series, which I didn’t realize when I started reading, and I acknowledge that some of this is likely addressed in past and future books. I’d still argue that cramming so much into one book is a bad idea. This book is looooong at a whopping 448 pages (!), meaning halfway through I was straight up bored, not to mention rolling my eyes at the nonsensical things that kept happening. I kept going, only to find out how Sarah and Nate could get their HEA, not because I gave a crap about the rest of it.

In short, I think the author is trying to tell a very ambitious story, which I appreciate. However, some ruthless editing and way fewer story threads would have improved this book tremendously. 

Grade: 2 out of 5

Deadly Force

two-stars


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Review: Lies by Kylie Scott

Posted September 23, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Lies by Kylie ScottReviewer: Casee
Lies by Kylie Scott
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 21, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 242
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
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dnf

Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.

Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancé dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.

Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction.

I loved Repeat. Holly loved Repeat. Tracy loved Repeat. Rowena really liked Repeat. After the that awesomeness, my expectations were extremely high. Way too high as it turns out.

I really had a problem with Betty from just about the start. She had this gung-ho attitude that was completely unbelievable. Her fiancé, the man she was getting ready to dump, is a totally different person. Like another life, different. He’s some kind of secret agent and she decides she can be one too. It was awful.

DNF

dnf


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