Series: Deep Ops

Sunday Spotlight: Taken by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted May 5, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 3 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: , , ,

Guest Review: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted October 4, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Hidden by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Jen
Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

Pippa lives essentially in the middle of nowhere, secluded except for the sexy new guy who moved into the only nearby house. Malcolm is also running from his life as an undercover cop and the demons of his past. It turns out someone wants Malcolm for a new operation, though, and Pippa is his target. She might be involved with a terrorist plot, and while Malcolm just can’t believe she’s a terrorist, he knows she’s lying and hiding something. Malcolm has to learn to work with his new team and get the info they need about Pippa, although that gets increasingly difficult as he gets to know her. Neither Malcolm nor Pippa can trust the other, but if they don’t they may not be able to stop an attack.

I loved this book. Pippa and Malcolm were richly drawn and interesting characters, both with their own baggage and their own hopes. Both of them were so damaged by their past, though both have channeled that in different directions. Pippa was traumatized by her childhood, experiencing panic attacks and terrible nightmares and largely cloistering herself in her house out of fear. In many ways, though, she’s better off than Malcolm–she is in (online) therapy, has a fulfilling job that doesn’t require her to leave her house, and isn’t self-medicating with alcohol like Malcolm. Malcolm has been working undercover for years, and the stress of being so deep undercover for so long has taken its toll on him. He’s got some serious PTSD and some unhealthy coping mechanisms, and it was tough to read about at first. The way Pippa sees Malcolm’s pain and wants to offer comfort was just lovely, and Malcolm realizes he wants to do the same for her.

There was a bit of a different tone from many of Zanetti’s other books. Malcolm is still WAY alpha, but he demonstrates a deep awareness of how he might appear threatening to Pippa, and he goes out of his way to avoid that not for self-serving reasons but because he doesn’t want to contribute to her fear. There’s also a lot more consent talk than Zanetti’s books usually feature. Of course, he still is bossy and gets off on dominating her in bed, but I honestly appreciated that Malcolm isn’t as much of a cave man as Zanetti’s usual heroes. (The book was still way sexy too.) I hope she continues that trend.

By far my favorite part of the book is Malcolm’s new team of “Homeland Defense Department” agents. They are all misfits and outcasts, people with secrets in their past that got them sent to the middle of nowhere to handle the cases no one else thinks are important. They start to develop friendships in this book, and it’s clear they will become a tight knit and top notch team. Each and every one of them is fantastic, especially the dog Roscoe who provides a ton of comic relief. I CANNOT wait to read about all of them in future books.

This book did have a few inconsistencies, like how Pippa warmed to Malcolm and started falling for him so quickly. I also would have liked Pippa to find out the truth about Malcolm a little earlier. She does find out early enough to resolve some conflict and have a role in stopping the attack, but I would have preferred just a little more time for her to come to terms with Malcolm’s lies.

These are pretty minor quibbles, though. Mainly I just had a great time reading this book, and I am beyond excited to see it continue.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Deep Ops

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted September 27, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hidden by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

Pippa is hiding. Forced by her mother to join a cult when she was young, Pippa finally escaped. She has basically turned herself into a shut-in. When her new neighbor spots her spying on him while he’s moving in, she has the mother of all panic attacks. She doesn’t know who this new neighbor is. Only that she doesn’t know him. She doesn’t trust people she doesn’t know, anymore than she trusts people that she does know. What she soon learns about her neighbor is that he has his own demons.

Malcolm West is fresh off an undercover job. He was under for two years and became good friends with the person he was bringing down. In the end, Malcolm had to kill the guy that had become like family to him. After that, Malcolm is out. He wants nothing to do with undercover or police work. That changes when he meets his sexy new neighbor. Suddenly he finds his house invaded by Angus Force, a federal agent in the HDD. Angus tells Malcolm that Pippa is actually a sleeper. She’s waiting on an order from the cult (she escaped) leader to go blow some shit up. Malcolm doesn’t buy it, especially when he starts getting to know Pippa. He can’t deny that she is lying to him, but he’s doing the same thing. Because now he wants to prove that she’s innocent and he can’t do that if she keeps lying to him.

As she and Malcolm start spending more time together, Pippa finds herself falling deeper and deeper. Malcolm is the kind of man she has fantasized about. Then she realizes that something about him just doesn’t add up. He tells her he is in requisitions, but gets emergency phone calls in the middle of the night. She finally figures out that he has been undercover and she has been his assignment. Pippa is devastated. Especially when she understands that she has been nothing but a job to him.

Malcolm doesn’t care what Pippa thinks of him. He knows she’s innocent and he’s going to prove it with or without her help. Oh and another thing? He’s not going to let her go.

I really enjoyed reading Hidden. It was a great start to a new series by Zanetti. She’s introduced some great characters and I’m really looking forward to reading more. Malcolm and Pippa were both so damaged, they were naturally drawn to each other. Pippa tries to help Malcolm at the risk of her own safety which really showed her true character. I can’t wait until the next book!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Deep Ops

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,