Tag: Adrienne Giordano

Guest Review: Deadly Odds by Adrienne Giordano

Posted August 1, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Deadly Odds by Adrienne GiordanoReviewer: Jen
Deadly Odds by Adrienne Giordano
Series: Casino Fortuna #1

Publication Date: June 26, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

At Casino Fortuna, stakes are high and the nights are hot…

FBI agent-turned-consultant Kate Daniels hit the jackpot with her new assignment. A cheat is cashing in on the Strip, and she’s hired by Vegas’ biggest name to ensure his glamorous casino isn’t a target. Fortuna is a high roller’s paradise, all gleaming marble and dollar signs. Even a single flaw in security could cost big bucks. Kate can’t afford distractions. Especially the tall, dark and perfectly chiseled kind. Business and pleasure don’t mix. And sleeping with the boss is a dangerous gamble.

Fortuna’s VP of casino operations, Ross Cooper, is gaming’s golden boy. He’s got a head for business, an eye for beautiful women, and a love for the Vegas lifestyle. When he spots a gorgeous redhead casing his blackjack tables, Ross is more than a little intrigued—he’s suspicious. But Kate is no thief…she’s working for him? Ross hates surprises almost as much as the idea of trouble in his casino.

Kate quickly proves she’s more than a pretty face. Her instincts and smarts are just as enticing. And when her investigation turns deadly, Ross will risk it all to keep her by his side.

I almost stayed away from this book, because I was pretty sure I knew what it was about: a rich, domineering alpha casino boss in a gritty, tough business who gets off on ordering around a sexy lady, which isn’t a bad thing but isn’t always my cuppa. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to a get a really funny, sweet, and exciting story with a cast of characters I just plain loved reading about.

Kate Daniels is a security consultant hired to help the new Fortuna casino outside Las Vegas tighten up their security in light of recent troubles at other casinos. She has to work with casino manager Ross Cooper, who is majorly attracted to her but doesn’t particularly appreciate his boss bringing in outside help. Kate and Ross immediately start circling each other but know it’s not a good idea to mix business and pleasure. Plus, catching the cheater becomes even more important when it looks like the Fortuna is getting hit as well.

I was madly in love with both Kate and Ross. Both of them are scary good at their jobs, and I appreciate a hero and heroine who have skills and enjoy their careers. Ross is, as Kate puts it, a “glad-hander”. He is amazing at working the extremely wealthy high rollers the casino caters to, and he is equally skilled at managing the complex beast that is a casino. He’s shot to the top of his profession and landed his dream job in his early 30s–they don’t call him the golden boy for nothing. But best of all, he’s not a jerk! He genuinely cares about his employees and the people around him, and while he is a bit of a player, he is honest with and respectful of the women he dates. It’s so rare to read about a hero who’s uber-successful in business that is NOT an alphahole. Don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely bossy and cocky, but he’s still a regular, decent guy. However, it was also fun to see Kate knock him down a peg or two. He has to work for her, as it should be!

Kate is also ridiculously smart and good at her job. She can pick out the slightest detail and understands how to read people, which is why she’s so good at spotting cheaters. The two of them together were great, too. Up until the last part of the book, they do a great job of communicating with each other and being honest about their feelings. They are both kind of surprised and freaked out by not only their attraction but how much they genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and it’s so cute to see them just baffled by what is happening. I would read a whole series about Kate and Ross catching casino cheats because I adored them.

There is a small but delightful cast of side characters too, especially Don, the Fortuna’s very old school head of security who is a laugh riot. The dialog between all the characters is funny and sharp, and the casino lingo and insider glimpses really brought the setting to life. Plus, the mystery isn’t half bad. I had an inkling of who might be involved early on, but the whole thing was more complex than I assumed at the start. This isn’t a dark or gritty book, nor is it particularly action packed, but that gives Kate and Ross time to get to know each other.

I did get a little frustrated by the conflict that drives the lovers apart near the end. Ross gets (unjustly) upset over something Kate does, which seemed out of character for the smart, cautious business man he was. Kate too flies off the handle and runs away too fast. It seemed more inflated than it had to be, and it put just a tiny damper on my enjoyment.

Still, it’s a minor complaint. I thought this book was fantastic, and as it looks like this is the start of a new series, I’ll definitely be looking forward to more.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-half-stars

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Blog Tour: THE REBEL by Adrienne Giordano

Posted October 8, 2015 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

the rebel

 

Bad to the bone…in all the right ways

A brilliant civil lawyer, David Hennings has always been the outsider—at odds with his wealthy family, shunning relationships, defying convention as a sexy leather-jacketed biker. Which is why sculptor Amanda LeBlanc agrees to his request to reconstruct a skull from a cold case murder. The instant heat between them is scorching.

But once Amanda takes the job and gets too close to the rebellious attorney, her carefully balanced life is upended by a series of methodical attacks. Someone doesn’t want her to finish the job. Now David will risk everything not to lose the woman he unknowingly put in jeopardy.

Chapter 1

“Come on, boy. Another quarter mile and we’re done.”

Larry McCall whistled for Henry, his black lab, who needed exercise more than Larry, to move along. Sunrise illuminated the sky, streaking it in shades of purple and orange that made even a grisly homicide detective marvel at the beauty of nature on an early fall morning.

With Henry busy sniffing a patch of dirt, Larry paused a moment, tilted his head back and inhaled the dewy air. Another two weeks, all these trees would be barren and the city would come in and scoop up the leaves. At which point, his body would make excuses to stay in bed rather than hoof it through ten acres of fenced-in fields on Chicago’s southwest side.

Half expecting Henry to trot by him, Larry opened his eyes and glanced to his left, where the dog always walked. No Henry. Since when had he gotten subversive? Larry angled back and found Henry still at the spot he’d been sniffing a minute ago. Only now he was digging. Hard. Terrific. Not only would he have dirt all over him, but he’d also probably snatch a dead animal out of the ground and drop it at Larry’s feet. Here ya go, Dad.

Not happening. He whistled again. “Leave it,” he said in his best alpha dog voice.

His bum luck was that Henry had alpha tendencies, too, and kept digging. He’d have to leash him and pull him away before a dead squirrel wound up in his jaws.

Years earlier the city had torn down three low-income apartment buildings—the projects—because of the increased drug and criminal activity surrounding the place. All that was left was the fenced-in acreage that made for great walking. Problem was, there could be anything—rodents, needles, crack baggies, foil scraps—buried. Needles. Dammit. Larry hustled back to the dog before he got stuck. Or stoned.

“Whatever you found, Henry, we don’t want any part of. Leave it.”

He snapped the leash on, gently eased Henry back and was met with ferocious barking. What the hell? His happy dog had gone schizo.

“What is it, boy?”

Holding the dog off the hole he’d started, Larry bent at the waist to focus on something white—dull white—peeking through the dirt.

Henry barked and tugged at the leash.

“Okay, boy. Relax. Let me look at it.”

He led a still barking Henry to a tree, secured the leash around it to keep him at bay and walked back to the spot. Using the handkerchief he always carried—yes, he was that old school, so what?—to protect his hands, he cleared more of the loose, moist dirt from the top, and more white appeared. He tapped the surface. Solid. Rock solid. And Larry’s stomach twisted in a way it only did on the job.
Stop. Twenty years of working homicide told him he should. Right now. Don’t go any further; call it in.

Birds chirped overhead, the sound so crisp and incessant it sliced right into his ears. Henry apparently had riled `em good. Still squatting, Larry scanned the desolate area. Beyond the fence at the end of the last quarter mile, the early morning rush began to swell on Cicero.

Henry barked again. Normally calm as a turtle, he wanted to dig.

Larry cocked his head to study whatever peeked through the dirt, and once again his stomach seized. After all these years, only one thing futzed with his stomach.

Crime scene.

But, truth be told, he had a tendency to overthink things. Something else years on the job had done to him. Hell, he could be staring at an old ceramic bowl. And how humiliating would it be to call this in and have it wind up being someone’s china?

Just hell.

Henry barked again, urging him on, and Larry gave in to his curiosity and pushed more loose dirt around. At least until he hit a depression and his finger, handkerchief and all, slid right into it. Gently, he moved his finger around, hitting the outer edges of the depression, and a weird tingling shot up his neck. His breathing kicked up.

What’d this dog find?

He cleared more dirt, his fingers moving gently, revealing more and more of the surface of whatever was buried here. Once again, his fingers slipped into the depressed area and he knew. Dammit.

He’d just stuck his finger into an eye socket.

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Giordano Author Photo

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.

Connect with Adrienne: Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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Guest Review: The Rebel by Adrienne Giordano

Posted October 8, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Rebel by Adrienne GiordanoReviewer: Jen
The Rebel by Adrienne Giordano
Published by Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

A brilliant civil lawyer, David Hennings has always been the outsider—at odds with his wealthy family, shunning relationships, defying convention as a sexy leather-jacketed biker. Which is why sculptor Amanda LeBlanc agrees to his request to reconstruct a skull from a cold case murder. The instant heat between them is scorching.

But once Amanda takes the job and gets too close to the rebellious attorney, her carefully balanced life is upended by a series of methodical attacks. Someone doesn’t want her to finish the job. Now David will risk everything not to lose the woman he unknowingly put in jeopardy.

As the book opens, an off duty detective finds a skull in an empty lot in Chicago, obviously the victim of a murder. Years later, he’s still bothered by the unsolved crime and approaches artist Amanda LeBlanc to see if she can do a reconstruction to aid in identifying the woman. Amanda wants nothing to do with it, but the conversation is overheard by Pamela Hennings, wife of a famous lawyer-turned-investigator. Mrs. Hennings decides that this cold case needs solving, so she asks her son David to help convince Amanda to do the reconstruction. He manages to convince her to try a reconstruction, and he is pleasantly surprised by their mutual attraction. When disturbing things start happening to Amanda, she and David have to also investigate why someone might be causing trouble for her.

My favorite part of the book was David and Amanda’s relationship. I appreciated that they were open and honest with each other. Amanda lets David know what she needs to self soothe, and she stands up to David when she needs to. David in particular isn’t shy about letting Amanda know he’s interested. He admits he feels something new and exciting for her, and I like that just he wants to explore it instead of immediately tossing around words like “forever” like so many do in romances. While the two have an immediate attraction, for the most part they get to know each other before they really act on it. The story still takes place in a matter of days, but it doesn’t feel too rushed in the timeline of the plot. Their dialogue was snappy and fun. I’m always a sucker for a book set in Chicago, too, though I did wish the author made a little more use of the setting.

In contrast to their great moments of honesty, at other times David and Amanda both read as immature. Amanda is almost compulsively averse to emotional upheaval, even the good kind. She obviously has some unexplored angst due to her childhood. David has tons of issues with his family, and that’s where I felt like he seemed particularly immature. It’s not that I didn’t think the conflicts with his family were believable, but the way he handles them made him seem more like a young man than a grown man, which was unappealing. For instance, at one point he has a fight with his sister and gets mad at Amanda because she didn’t take his side. He actually says she needs to be on “Team David” at all times. I rolled my eyes there. I just didn’t enjoy that petty, immature side of him, and it didn’t mesh with his character elsewhere. I also really disliked his sister Penny. Penny is the heroine from an earlier related book, The Defender. I suspect she comes across very differently in her own book, but here she was unpleasantly sharp and mean. David was no saint, but I couldn’t help feeling like he was making much more of an effort to get along than Penny was. I certainly don’t feel inclined to read about her perspective in her own book. The mystery in this book was also just a touch flat. I liked the premise, but I felt like the villain came out of left field, and the whole thing relied on a few too many coincidences for my liking. It had good bones, but maybe needed a bit more fleshing out to feel realistic.

Overall, this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I felt like there were some missteps, but I still enjoyed myself.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

This book is available from Harlequin Intrigue. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars

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Excerpt (+ Giveaway): The Defender by Adrienne Giordano

Posted June 4, 2014 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 2 Comments

Book Summary:

A TOUGH-AS-NAILS FBI SPECIAL AGENT AND A STUNNING BLONDE ATTORNEY WITH SOMETHING TO PROVE JOIN FORCES IN THE DEFENDER.

The Defender Cover

By all accounts Penny Hennings was the sort of woman FBI special agent Russell Voight went for. Smart, sexy and with just enough sass to keep him honest. Then she went sticking her nose in undercover FBI business. He knew her legal reputation would skyrocket if she won this case.

But every move she makes undoes all the work Russell’s put into taking down the city’s biggest crooks. And the criminals they’re after will do anything to avoid the witness stand—including kill. So it’s time to pool their resources and collaborate. Even if working together every day takes them late into the night…and into the line of fire.

Excerpt from THE DEFENDER

“You don’t have to walk me in,” Penny said to Russ while they waited for the elevator to scoop them up at the garage level of her condo building.

For the nine months Penny had lived in this building, she’d been a believer that the extra monthly fee—convenience tax, as she called it—for a building with a gated garage was worth it. Now, with Colin Heath threatening her, she was sure of it and would never again complain about shoes she could have bought with the convenience tax money. Even if the slow gate drove her mad, she remained thankful for its presence.

“This is a nice perk,” Russ said.

Casual conversation. That’s what this was because she knew that he knew that she knew they were both thinking the universe had royally flipped them off. After the crazy emotional day, one that included the two of them admitting their mutual attraction, the god of love decided this would be the night a judge received a death threat and the extra marshal assigned to Elizabeth Brooks would go to the judge.

Not wanting to leave Elizabeth with only one marshal, Russ and Brent decided Brent would stay behind while Russ drove Penny home. In the morning, Russ would return with Brent’s car.

All around a good plan because Elizabeth would be safe. However, Penny was about to step into the elevator leading to her condo—her very empty condo—with the FBI agent her girly parts wanted a piece of. Elizabeth was safe. Penny was not.

She rocked back and forth while the floors blinked off. The doors finally slid open and Russ held them so she could step on. A gentleman to boot. Could this get any worse?

“This is weird,” she said.

“Yep.”

It wasn’t just her overthinking it. That was a relief at least. Still, that throb in her stomach wouldn’t quit. The entire ride home she’d felt the pressure, the expanding ball of nerves growing and growing and growing.

“Hey,” she said. “We’re professionals. We can handle this. What’s a little lust?” She nodded toward the elevator buttons. “Eighth floor, big guy.”

Russ laughed. “You really are insane.”

That would be one way to put it. “It’s true. Ask anyone.”

When the doors slid open again, Russ stuck his arm out to block Penny’s path, then checked the hallway. “All clear. Got your keys?”

“I do.”

“Let’s go.”

She stopped in the hallway outside the elevator and watched the doors close. He needed to be on that elevator. Away from her very empty apartment. Where she wanted to introduce him to an extremely inviting bed.

That throbbing mass in her stomach exploded. Big trouble. “You can go now.”

“Sorry, babe. Have to check the apartment.”

“Russell!”

“You’re the one who said we’re professionals. Standard procedure. If Brent were here he’d do it. Last thing I need is not to do it and have you kidnapped. Although, you’re such a pain, they’d probably throw you back.”

He laughed at his own joke and Penny gasped, but really, there was a certain amount of pride she could take in scaring off would-be kidnappers. “Russell, I’ve said it before, flattery will get you everywhere.”

Particularly when it comes to my bed.

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

She spun, marched down the curving corridor and lamented the fact that the plush carpeting absorbed her footsteps. Sometimes a girl wanted to hear her own stomping and this carpet was stealing her fun.

What am I doing? Making herself crazy. That’s what. She shook her head to clear the madness, lightened her footsteps and breathed in. Professionals. They could handle it. She’d just let him do his little search while she locked herself in the closet where she couldn’t watch him entering her bedroom. Simple plan.

She focused on her apartment door just ahead. At this hour, most of her neighbors had gone quiet. Mr. Hanley’s television was still on, but that was normal since he was an insomniac. She unlocked the door, pushed it open and waved Russ in. Thank goodness she’d left the place neat.

He glanced around the living room. “You always leave the lights on?”

“Timer. I don’t like coming home to darkness.”

He nodded in that way that said he really didn’t have an opinion on that fact, but didn’t necessarily think it odd.

“You mind if I check the rooms?”

“Have at it. I’ll know if you go through my underwear drawer.”

His only answer was a grunt.

“I guess you could save that for next time, though.”

“I’m ignoring you,” he yelled from the bathroom.

Penny laughed and after the long day, laughing felt like that barrel of gummy bears she needed. She stood in the middle of her living room, pondered the closet door while he checked the two bedrooms. Maybe she wouldn’t actually get in the closet. If she just stared at it, it might be enough to keep her from seeing Russ in her bedroom.

“See anything of interest?” she called.

“Other than the bra you left on your bed?”

Oh, just hell. In a rush that morning, she’d taken the lacey bright pink bra off because—well—she didn’t know why. It just hadn’t felt right so she swapped it out for a plain beige one and obviously had forgotten to put the sex kitten one back in the drawer. Once again, the god of love had flipped her off. How could Penny have known Russell Voight would be escorting her home?

“I didn’t think I’d have company. In my bedroom.”

He stepped into the hallway. “Yeah, well, what’s another round of torture?”

Walking toward her, he stopped at the kitchen, smacked on the light, checked the miniscule pantry that a four-year-old wouldn’t fit in and turned the light off again.

Then he was in front of her, his tie loose and the button on his collar undone and if he looked tired, she couldn’t blame him. Even she, who functioned on very little sleep, needed her bed.

“I’ve got a marshal on his way here. He’ll stay outside your door tonight.”

“Thank you.”

For a second, she’d thought about arguing. Pretending to argue really because as much as she hated to give in to the fear and weakness of being Heath’s prey, the only way she’d sleep was if she knew someone would be there.

Except, this guy Heath, he was a slippery creep and she’d been around slippery creeps long enough to know how they operated.

“Russell, how well do you know these marshals?”

He eyed her. “Why?”

“Heath is insane, but he’s also brilliant. He seems to know my every move.”

“You think there’s a leak somewhere?”

“No. I don’t think that. I’m just…” She raised her hands, let them drop. “I don’t know. I’m tired.”

“Look, it’s a valid question. One I’ve thought of myself. I’m on it. Anyone involved in this case, we’re checking their financial records. If Heath has someone on his payroll, we’ll find them.”

She nodded. “It’s probably nothing.”

“Doesn’t hurt to look. I’m heading to the safe house in the morning. Assuming you want to be there?”

“Yes. I need to go to the office first.”

Russ scratched his stubbled chin. “That works. We want everything to look business-as-usual. I’ll pick you up at your office and then we’ll do some creative driving in case Heath is watching. That work?”

“Sure.”

She rocked on her toes again. Here they were, two professionals, having a chat. No problem. Except the snapping energy in the silent apartment made heat fly off Russ in a constant and brutal wave. That wave would suck her under if she wasn’t careful.

She pointed to the door. “You should go.”

“I know.”

“Yet, he stands here. Unmoving.”

“Oh, I’m moved. Believe me.”

“Russell!”

And still he didn’t budge. The only sound was the distant hum from the refrigerator and Penny concentrated on it rather than that damned loosened tie just begging to be stripped off. And then, the wave swooped in and, as if timed, they both stepped forward and Penny reached for his tie and tugged him to her. His hand slid around the back of her head and she went up on tiptoes, anticipating that first press of his lips. That first moment of their first kiss.

 

Giveaway Details

As part of the tour-wide giveaway, one lucky person will win a signed print copy of The Prosecutor, a $25.00 Amazon gift card, a bullet charm bracelet and set of bullet earrings. The giveaway runs until June 11, 2014. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MWM5Y2QxYzlmY2Q3Y2U3ZjRjMDY4MDc0YWUyNGM3OjE=/

 

Adrienne Giordano HeadshotAbout the Author

USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery.  She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.

Connect with Adrienne:  Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Street Team

 

The defender is available from Harlequin Intrigue. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Opposing Forces by Adrienne Giordano

Posted February 2, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

17983311Judith’s review of Opposing Forces (Private Protectors #6)  by Adrienne Giordano

Jackson Lynx always has a plan. He wouldn’t be Vice President at Taylor Security if he wasn’t steady, smart and reliable. But as capable as he is, he’s not perfect. Approaching the one-year anniversary of kicking his prescription-drug habit, the last thing Lynx needs is temptation. Celibacy is part of his recovery plan. But then Jillian Murdoch asks for his help…

Jillian loves her job—managing pharmaceutical distribution—and she’s suspicious when an unscheduled delivery shows up late on a Friday night. Then someone breaks into her home and, terrified, she asks Lynx to install a security system. Grateful for his help, she’s wary of her attraction to him… She recognizes the Serenity Prayer on his mirror and can’t get involved with an addict.  But when they uncover dangerous secrets they’ll have to trust one another. Their lives, and their hearts, depend on it.

Several decades ago I would not have really understood, much less appreciated the hero in this story, a man who has owned up to his addiction and is coming up on his first anniversary of sobriety.  Addiction treatment just wasn’t a part of my early experience.  People were drunks and druggies, and they either stopped drinking or taking drugs or they didn’t.  There was little talk about addiction as a disease of mind as well as body.  Yet in this story readers are given in in-depth look into the life of a very successful man who has been crippled in his professional and personal life by addiction.  He is proud of his achievement, is faithful in attending his 12-step meetings, and has made celibacy a part of his program–denying himself and disciplining himself even in areas of his life that seemingly played no part in the progress of his addiction disease.

Of course there is always the femme fatale present in a story of a man who has sworn off sex.  Jillian is a mighty temptation, no only because she is beautiful and sexy, but she is also needy and it seems that dominant men are drawn to  women who really need their protection and caring.  It’s probably one of the reasons our hero finds himself involved professionally with a security firm.  I think there will always be people who need those who have a need to protect and serve.  This is a story that contains a rather complicated mystery revolving around the possible sale and distribution of illegal drugs or pharmaceuticals by a firm with which Jillian is associated.  She hasn’t been there long, but she has a fine reputation  within her field and she has an important position within the company that means she should have been aware of all the shipments coming in and going out of the company’s warehouses.  Such was not the case and it is this that has awakened her suspicions and finally caused her to feel vulnerable and unsafe.  Thus she enters  Jackson Lynx’s world and while she may be in danger from those protecting big secrets and huge piles of money, Jillian is a life-threatening source of worry to Jackson and his hard-won sobriety.

This is another wonderful story in a series that has hooked many of us with good writing, gritty characters who lack even the barest hint of social polish, love that would scorch anyone’s ceiling (if you’re reading them in bed) and a mystery that has readers scratching heads as the story progresses with twists and turns that are wholly unexpected.  Along with everything else, Jillian knows about Jackson’s vow to himself, that achieving that all-important anniversary is far more critical than she realizes, yet she can’t help the fact that she has gotten under his skin and he doesn’t quite know what to do about it.  The sexual tension is relentless.  Suffice it to say that this is another in a series that has never disappointed, that has never let readers down, and that has all of us hoping that there will be additions to the series for a long time to come.

This is a fantastic read and I am delighted to have been privileged to read and review it.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place

 

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

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