Tag: Lori Foster

Guest Review: Holding Strong by Lori Foster

Posted March 26, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Holding Strong by Lori FosterReviewer: Tracy
Holding Strong by Lori Foster
Series: Ultimate series #2
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: April 1st 2015
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three-stars

Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn't share. That's why he's been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry's about to need more than she knows…

Denver's combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she's been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can't hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who'll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she'll trust him enough to let him…

Tracy’s review of Holding Strong (Ultimate #2) by Lori Foster

 

Almost from the first time Denver Lewis met Cherry Peyton he knew that she would be his. However he thinks she’s an incurable flirt and he hates how she is with other men. This causes him to back off and just watch her as he thinks she’s one who gets around and maybe even cheats.

Cherry is a social butterfly and likes to have fun and dance. She loves having conversations with the fighters she’s gotten to know, and their women, but that’s as far as it goes. She too knew that Denver would be hers when she met him and has been in love with him but he won’t give her the time of day. Finally after one fight she makes her move and he surprises the hell out of her by actually taking her up on it.

Once they’re together Denver knows that it won’t be enough and he’s not letting her go any time soon. Unfortunately Cherry has some foster brothers from her youth that are complete bastards and one of them wants Cherry for himself. He’ll stop at nothing to make her his.

The thing I like about Foster’s stories is that her heroes are always big tough guys with soft hearts who love taking care of their women and others. It’s a heady combination and that’s what I was looking forward to in this book. Unfortunately Denver, even when he was being thoughtful, wasn’t all that soft. He was possessive, which is not that unusual in an alpha male, but Denver went over that line and became angry and jealous when Cherry was with his friends – even though he knew full well that nothing was going on. It seemed that he was either having sex with Cherry or arguing with her about something throughout most of the book and that really rubbed me the wrong way. This was worded in a way that it seemed like it was because Cherry was holing back info and it was a trust issue but it just came off as him being a bit of an ass.

Cherry had had an incredibly bad childhood and then when her parents died it went from bad to worse with her foster family. She had gotten away from them, gotten her GED and had a good job. She was independent and stubborn because she’d had to take care of herself for so long. I could fully understand her desire to do things for herself and Denver was incredibly controlling so they were constantly butting heads. It was hard for her to give up complete control and frankly I really didn’t want her to – I wanted a compromise, that’s what she should have pushed for but she didn’t. sigh She was a good person, though and I liked her personality.

The story had its ups and downs and there was one part that described a molesting/almost rape that was a bit disturbing. The beginning of the book started off well and it ended on a good note but the middle lagged at points and it was a bit frustrating. A good story but obviously I had some issues with it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

This title is available from HQN books. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-stars


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Excerpt: No Limits by Lori Foster

Posted September 23, 2014 by Holly in Promotions | 0 Comments

No LimitsCheck out an excerpt of No Limits by Lori Foster, available now from HQN.

A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he’s never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster… 

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon. 

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it…

Read the excerpt:

Cannon couldn’t stop looking at her. Damn, he’d remembered her as pretty, but she’d matured into killer good looks—and didn’t seem to know it. An angel’s face paired with that trim but curvy figure, and yeah, he was pretty sure every guy in the place had already started fantasizing.

Too bad, because none of them would touch her.

If he’d had any doubts about wanting her, they were put to rest in a big way. Instead of three years, it felt like a decade he’d been waiting on her. Yes, he wanted her. He would have her, too.

The only question was how soon.

A few weeks ago she’d lost her grandfather, and she probably needed time to acclimate to being home around the unpleasant memories. He’d love to segue right from hello to hell yeah, but he also enjoyed just looking at her and talking with her.

Sipping her Coke, Yvette stole a peek at him. Feathery lashes framed those big green eyes he remembered so well—eyes that used to watch him with innocent infatuation, but now seemed wary. She sat straight, proper. Spoke carefully. Avoided his direct gaze.

As Tipton had said, she was guarded.

She wore makeup, but not a lot. Even in a ponytail, her long dark hair made him think of it spilled loose on his pillows, or gliding over his chest.

Or his thighs.

And her clothes, while casual, covered such a sweet body it left him visually undressing her.

Knowing he had to get a grip, he asked, “Are you hungry?”

She shook her head. “But please go ahead and eat if you want.”

“I’m good.” Arms folded on the top of the booth, he smiled. “I can’t get over how much you’ve changed.”

That pleased her, he could tell. “It’s been almost three and a half years.”

Long enough for her to put the past behind her? To put him behind her? No, he wouldn’t let her. “I’m so damn sorry about Tipton.”

“Thank you.” She set the drink aside, then nervously drew her finger through the damp ring the glass had left on the booth top. “I wanted to talk to you about that. About—”

“Hey, Saint.” Two guys sidled up to the table. “Can we get a pic?”

Cannon forced his gaze away from Yvette. “Sure.” He would never alienate a fan, but damn, the timing could be better. Yvette had been screwing up her courage to say something. Now he had to wonder what.

Stepping out of the booth, he bent a little to put himself more in line with the shorter guys, and with a double thumbs-up, smiled as a plump lady used her cell phone to snap a few photos.

That only seemed to unleash other fans, and before he knew it, he was posing with men and women alike. Some wanted to hug him, some wanted him in a fighter’s stance, a few just wanted him to mug for the camera. Before he could get a handle on things, he’d taken around twenty photos and signed more than a dozen autographs.

Yvette watched it all with a look of fascinated indulgence. When there seemed to be a lull, he reseated himself. “Sorry about that.”

“You’re popular, I understand.” Her long glossy ponytail spilled over her shoulder when she tipped her head to study him. “I watch the fights.”

That pleased him more than it should have. “Yeah? What do you think?”

“You’re pretty amazing.”

He held back his grin. “I do my best.”

That earned a short laugh. “Humble too.” Shaking her head, she teased, “No wonder they call you the Saint.”

He’d rarely heard her laugh before, and hearing it now did funny things to him. It was nice. Rich. Husky.

A turn-on…

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


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Guest Review: No Limits by Lori Foster

Posted September 23, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

No LimitsJen’s review of No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

Lori Foster’s new Ultimate series is essentially a spin off of her Love Undercover series. The main characters in No Limits, Cannon and Yvette, were introduced in book 4 of the last series (Dash of Peril, reviewed here). I don’t think you absolutely must read that book to understand No Limits, but it does help set up the characters and their history.

To recap that back story, Cannon was a local MMA fighter/gym owner/neighborhood defender/all around amazing guy. He helped the hero and heroine from Dash of Peril stop a group of guys kidnapping women and making snuff films. In particular, he helped rescue almost-twenty year old Yvette when the criminals captured and tortured her and her grandfather. Yvette was threatened and generally brutalized, and as you can imagine she was a bit of a wreck in that book. She was openly and intensely infatuated with Cannon, and they even shared a hot kiss, but despite his attraction to her, 23 year old Cannon felt she was too young and vulnerable to pursue. In the end, Yvette leaves to go to California and Cannon goes off to start a career as a professional fighter.

Fast forward three years. Yvette rarely returns home, and Cannon spends most of his time away fighting and training. When Yvette’s grandfather dies and leaves his home and business to both Yvette and Cannon, the two have to return home and reconnect. Cannon immediately decides he wants Yvette for real this time, but this time it’s Yvette who resists. She’s clearly damaged by her traumatic ordeal, but she works hard to put up a strong face to the world. When unsettling things start happening to her once again, Cannon has to help her face the new challenges as well as try to overcome the past.

I liked the sexy chemistry between Cannon and Yvette. They take things a bit slowly physically for reasons explained in the book, but that just gives time for the delicious tension to build. Cannon is a sexy, ripped, and confident athlete, and it’s easy to see why Yvette and every other woman in the book drool over him. He’s also a tender, kind, and caring lover, and his interactions with Yvette were really sweet.  I’m a sucker for catching up with previous characters, so it was fun to see Margaret and Dash from Dash of Peril. Margaret was still as awesome as ever! I also really enjoyed meeting Cannon’s fighter friends. We get some tantalizing peeks at his friend Armie and sister Rissy, who I presume will be starring in a book somewhere down the line. Let’s just say  it will be very interesting to see how Armie, who is portrayed as one of the manwhoriest manwhores to ever manwhore, meets his match.

I like sweet, but things did get a little too saccharine at times. Cannon’s nickname is Saint, and that is definitely accurate. He is always patient, always a good listener, always has time to help everyone. He mentors all the troubled kids in the neighborhood, protects local businesses from thugs, comes to the defense of everyone who needs it, etc. And of course, he’s one of the best MMA fighters out there and has time to do his intense training in between acts of saintliness. I also didn’t love that he is basically Yvette’s savior in every way–I can’t say much without spoiling anything, but let’s just say there is nothing at all Cannon can’t do! Yvette is stunningly gorgeous but wholly unaware that anyone thinks she’s hot, which is not my favorite trope. I would have liked a little more growth and agency from her, too. At the very least, I wanted to see Cannon’s love give her confidence, but instead she doubts his feelings and herself until almost the very end.

I think if you like MMA fighters and alpha guys who are still gentlemen, No Limits (and likely the future books in this series) would probably appeal. While I would have appreciated a bit more complexity, this was still an enjoyable read.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

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


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Lori Foster Q&A

Posted September 23, 2014 by Holly in Promotions | 0 Comments

No LimitsTo celebrate her latest release, we have a short Q&A from Lori Foster to share with you.

A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he’s never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster… 

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon. 

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it…

No Limits is available now from HQN.


NO LIMITS Lori Foster – Q&A

 

 

  • Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, NO LIMITS?

 

 

This is Cannon’s story, a character that readers met in my last series, Love Undercover. From the second Cannon showed up on the page, I knew he’d get his own story. He’s that kind of guy, the guy who steps up and takes notice and gets a lot of notice in return.

In NO LIMITS, Cannon reunites with Yvette, another character from the previous series. They parted under strained circumstances, with Cannon just heading into professional MMA and Yvette young and traumatized from a horrific threat. Cannon saved her then, but he was noble because of her age and what she’d been through. Now she’s older, more independent, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.

 

 

  • Can you also fill us in on the prequel to the series, HARD KNOCKS?

 

 

HARD KNOCKS gives readers a peek into the MMA world and the fighters who will have novels in the Ultimate series. You get to see the inside of Cannon’s gym, the set-up and what the guys do for the neighborhood, as well as the close relationships they share. It’s a short romance featuring Gage and Harper, two fun, strong people with a few romantic quirks to work out. It’s short and sexy and gives readers a taste for how the novels will be more about fighters in a romance than about fighters fighting in the cage.

 

 

  • How has your UFC obsession influenced the writing of NO LIMITS?

 

 

Well, I’ve gotten into the idea of picking silly fight names for the heroes. And from the fight names, I’ve come up with some “inspired” reasons for them. It also makes it easier to justify the guy being totally ripped – although not all fighters are. I’ve learned in actual fights the physical appearance can be deceiving. It’s more about heart and talent, training and speed, than how a guy looks. But naturally any hero I write about will be blessed with a six-pack and boulder shoulders.

 

 

  • What was it like getting inside the mind of a mixed martial arts fighter?

 

 

I’ve interviewed a few fighters over the years, chatted with others while getting promotional photos and during before and after “meet and greets” while at live events. Every single fighter I’ve met has been extremely nice, unassuming, dedicated to fans, and (though it sounds silly) very sweet. It took only a few questions to see how much they give to the sport they love, the discipline it takes to stay in training, and the confidence they gain from having extreme ability. Since I’ve never asked a fighter about his love life, that part of the story is pure imagination on my part. But then I only write good guys, and talented lovers.

 

  • What is your process for choosing names like Cannon Colter?

 

 

I’m a terrible cheat when it comes to names. More often than not I see a name on Facebook or Twitter that I like. I never, ever use a first and last name together, but I do pick and choose and mix and match. When I see a unique name, or a name that resonates with me, I grab it up. When I’m writing, I’m far less focused on names than I am on personality. Names for me are an afterthought, so stealing from my social media sites makes it easy.

 

 

  • What are Cannon and Yvette’s best physical traits?

 

 

Although Cannon is a fighter with a shredded bod, it’s more his smile and his eyes that get to Yvette. He has a very sincere smile, because he’s a very sincere guy. And when he looks at a person, it’s felt through and through.

 

For Yvette, she has long beautiful hair, but it’s more about the deceptive confidence she tries to exude that draws Cannon – that, and the way she looks at him like he’s a superhero. What guy could resist that?

 

 

  • What is the best scene (in your opinion) between Yvette and Cannon?

 

 

There’s a fun scene where Yvette is at the rec center (the gym) and the fighters start arguing. Cannon is irked, his buddies are irked, and Yvette thinks they might come to blows. She tries to put herself in the middle and sort of gets sandwiched between some pretty hot flesh. I smiled while writing it, so I hope readers smile when they read it.

The poor guys didn’t know what to think. They’re big, physical guys who don’t mind working out a few differences on the mat, but they’re also friends, and they’re fighters with a load of control often utilized in a fight. But with Yvette, they all want to be gentle – while struggling to figure her out.

 

 

  • What music did you listen to while writing NO LIMITS?

 

 

I have a long playlist of about 150 songs. Much of it is from KORN and Kid Rock and Marilyn Manson, but I’ve also really gotten into Disturbed, The Pretty Reckless, Papa Roach, Skillet and Puddle of Mud. Oh, and Cage the Elephant. I like loud, strong music that I can sing along with while I’m writing.

 

 

  • How is this series different from your previous works?

 

 

The Ultimate series is a different setting, different characters, different plots – and yet you still visit some of the characters from Love Undercover series since it remains in the same fictional city and state. In the last series the focus was on Rowdy’s bar and the police station. There are visits to the bar still, but much of the action takes place at Cannon’s rec center and in different houses owned by the characters.

The stories remain super-sexy, the guys remain alphas, the women remain smart and independent, and elements of suspense go throughout both series. But I hope each character has their own personality and for me, that’s where the differences should be most evident.

 

 

  • What character did you find yourself most drawn to, and why?

 

 

I love Armie Jacobson – and I’m pretty sure readers will too. He’s outrageous, too sexy, has effortless talent in the cage, and a wounded background that has influenced his life greatly. I love all the guys – Gage, Cannon, Denver, Stack… but Armie stands out.

 

 

  • Do you prefer writing about small town romance settings (like in NO LIMITS) or city settings?

 

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever written a large city setting. Smaller towns, always fictional, work best for me because I like the lack of anonymity in a small town. Everyone knows everyone, or has at least heard of everyone, and it can lead to some touching, and embarrassing, situations. I like the warmth of knowing your neighbors and caring about them. And I like the ease in creating the town.

 

 

  • Who would play Cannon and Yvette in a book-to-film adaptation?

 

 

Josh Duhamel, while a little too old, would make a fabulous Cannon! He’s big and gorgeous and built. I think he’d be perfect if NO LIMITS was ever made into a movie. For the heroine, Mila Kunis is beautiful and I can easily picture her as Yvette. They’d make a hot couple!

 

 

  • What are your five favorite verbs to use during a love scene?

 

 

Favorite verbs to use in a love scene… Only five, huh? Wow, that’s difficult. How about catch/caught, press, contract, nuzzle/nibble, lick/suck. I’m not sure I could write a full love scene without them.

 

  • Can you tell us about the process behind the cover artwork?

 

 

Ooooh, I LOVE getting new covers, it’s so exciting. The way it works is that I give my editor an idea of what the characters look like. Usually this means emailing her my own character sheets – notes I keep on the characters to detail (and help me remember) height, eye and hair color, body type, etc… I usually include any and all info like the car he/she drives, job description, age and any other pertinent information that I might need to recall from book to book.

 

My editor also asks for a synopsis, but since they usually start working on covers long before I know what the story is about, it’s a guessing game on my end. I know there’ll be a hunk, a heroine, some suspense, hot sex, lots of emotion, and a happy ending. The how and why is often not clear to me at that point.

 

Then the publisher has a meeting with the art department and they brainstorm cover ideas and come up with a concept that I get to see.

 

The concept is just an idea. It’ll show a model, but not THE model. It’ll show a pose, but not THE pose. I see where the placement of my name and the title will appear, along with any quotes.

 

Once that’s approved, the art department does a photo shoot and from those images they choose the one they like best. I weigh in with pleas of chest hair. Chest hair is always my #1 requirement if they show the model with his shirt off. To be clear, this is for new novels, not novellas or re-issues. For those they generally use stock art. It’s all very fun and I can honestly say I’ve loved the artwork so far.

 

 

  • If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your many characters, who would you choose and why?

 

 

Since I’m an enormous wimp and not at all heroic, I’d love to have Trace with me, from Trace of Fever. He’s bossy and take-charge and lethal. He knows what he’s doing, how to protect and how to survive. Plus I think he was pretty sexy.

If it needs to be a character from my current Ultimate series, I’d say Denver – for many of the same reasons. He’s far more autocratic than Cannon or Armie or Stack. He’s big, brawny, and when necessary he can be lethal. I’d feel safer with a real bad ass if I had to be stranded.

 

 

  • What was the most difficult part of the process when writing NO LIMITS?

 

 

My heart broke for Yvette. She’s one of more damaged heroines I’ve ever written (although there have been a few) and she struggled so hard for her independence. More than anything she wants Cannon, but because he’s so brave and strong she doesn’t feel quite worthy, and the stigma of being seen as a victim really hit her hard. I image something like that would be very, very difficult to overcome.

 

 

  • Have you written an outline for the NO LIMITS series or do you make it up as you go?

 

 

I totally make it up as I go along. Or I should say my characters make it up. I never try to figure things out in advance because as sure as I do, the characters will have a different idea and they’ll rebel, making it difficult to write until I give them their way. Fighting it is futile. But since they’re seldom wrong, it works for us. (And yes, I’m nuts. I don’t fight that either.)

 

Usually the characters will give me enough clues along the way to keep the writing flow steady. For instance, while I was writing NO LIMITS, Denver stepped up and talked about Cherry and made it clear his book needed to be next. Now while I’m writing HARD KNOCKS (Denver’s story) Stack is giving me nudges, saying, “Me next, me next. And I’m going after Vanity… whether she or I know it yet or not.” So that’s how I know Stack’s story will be after Denver’s.

 

Armie has said he wants to wait, stew on things a while, come to grips with his future… so I’m letting him get used to the idea of what is to come.

 

 

  • What was your go-to snack while writing NO LIMITS?

 

 

Goldfish cheese crackers and pretzels. Occasionally I drink Mountain Dew when I need more caffeine but I usually snack with Lipton Citrus Green Tea as my drink.

I also love baby carrots. And far too often I cave to the call of the Pringles can.

 

 

  • What’s your favorite part of the book?

 

 

There’s a fight scene in the book. Not a sporting match, but an angry, defensive, you-dared-touch-what-is-mine kind of aggression filled with rage and loss of control and an awakening of strong emotion. Call me barbaric but I love writing scenes like that. I love getting down to the basics of how love can affect a person, whether it’s in sex or fighting off danger or just showing vulnerability awareness. It’s the real stuff people are made of.

 

  • What are you working on next?

 

 

I’m writing Denver’s story right now, titled HOLDING STRONG. It’s due out in spring 2015 and I’m loving Denver and Cherry together – and them as a couple with the rest of the fighters around. It’s a very fun dynamic.

 

After that I’ll do another benefit novella for June 2015. It’ll be part of the Buckhorn family and all proceeds from sales of the book will go to a charity. I’m not yet sure which of the Buckhorn clan will be featured, but I’m sure it’ll all come to me in plenty of time.

 

And then I’ll jump into Stack’s story. He should be ready by then – which means I’ll also be ready. Luckily the characters keep me writing. In fact, if there were more hours in the day, I’m not sure they’d ever let me stop!

lori fosterAbout Lori: 

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. She also received the Romantic Times “Career Achievement Award” for Series Romantic Fantasy and Contemporary Romance.

Lori believes it is important to give back to the community as much as possible, so she routinely arranges events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

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


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Guest Review: Dash of Peril by Lori Foster

Posted April 16, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Dash of perilJen’s review of Dash of Peril (Love Undercover #4) by Lori Foster

To bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret “Margo” Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is 6’4″ of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life—and women—to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own.

Beneath Margo’s tough facade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he’ll have to prove he’s all the man she needs—in all the ways that matter.

Lori Foster’s books can be a bit hit or miss for me–I feel like sometimes her uber-commanding alphas click, and sometimes they don’t. When I saw a book with a tough-as-nails female cop lead, I jumped on it! (We do not see NEARLY enough law enforcement heroines in romance, IMHO.) While not perfect, Dash of Peril was an engaging story and a nice change of pace.

Margaret (Margo) Peterson is a police lieutenant. She comes from a family of cops, albeit one embroiled in scandal. Margo has to work extra hard to prove herself different from her family and capable of leading the men in her department, so she adopts a tough-as-nails, detached persona at work. She’s earned the respect of most of her colleagues, though it means she is pretty lonely and emotionally cut off from others. The department is after a ring of sickos who kidnap women and use them to make illegal pornos/snuff films. Margo decides to use herself as bait to try and trap the criminals, but they catch on and come after her. Of course, Dashiel Riske, brother to Margo’s subordinate Logan Riske, happens to be there when they try to kill Margo, and he ends up in the crosshairs, too. Dash has always been attracted to Margo, but she’s been resistant (their story starts in a previous book of the series, though I haven’t read it). Now that she’s in danger he finds he can’t stay away, and the two begin exploring a relationship. They must not only catch the criminals but also figure out how to have a relationship between two people who are used to always being in charge.

Dash is definitely an alpha. He is strong, wants to protect and care for those he loves, and likes to be the boss. But unlike 95% of other alpha romance heroes, he is also good at stepping back. He respects Margo’s job and completely understands why she has to be tough. Even better, he actively works to support her and not undermine her authority, especially around her colleagues. That doesn’t mean he’s not protective or concerned–he pushes back when he thinks she’s putting herself in unnecessary danger, and he isn’t afraid to offer his help, but he doesn’t “take charge” of her work. He trusts her professional expertise and loves that she’s a total bad ass, which I have to say is so awesome! Dash is pretty swoon-worthy.

Besides the case and the attempts on their lives, the other main conflict in the book is Margo’s unease with letting herself be vulnerable. Her family is horrible, so even from a young age she learned not to depend on anyone but herself. In the book, she has to learn to trust Dash and let herself be soft sometimes. I enjoyed seeing how Dash has to figure out how to be a different kind of partner for Margo (still strong but not always in charge), while Margo has to learn to open up and trust that Dash will love her as she is. This conflict also plays out in the bedroom, though I never felt like that was as fully explored as it could be. The book sort of dances around the idea that Margo likes to be a bit more submissive during sex, but I actually didn’t think it went quite far enough. I would have liked to hear more conversation from Margo and Dash about it, and I wanted to hear more about Margo actually owning that side of her sexuality. I felt like it should have been a bigger psychological barrier for her, given her family history and her line of work. Still, I really enjoyed that this isn’t a D/s erotic novel, just a story about a couple who has varied kinds of sex. While it’s clear Margo often prefers Dash to take charge during sex, there are times where she takes control too, which feels realistic to me.

I did have one quibble with the book. It establishes Margo as competent, tough, driven, and very, very good at her job. The reader can see how stressful her position must be and why giving up control sometimes might feel good, but then the book goes out of its way to emphasize how she wants Dash to be in charge in the bedroom because “she’s a woman.” For instance, there are a few comments like this:

“But sometimes a woman enjoyed the innate contrasts of being smaller, gentler and physically weaker than a man.”

It’s not that this can’t be true for people, and it’s certainly not something bad for an individual to feel, but I didn’t feel like that explanation was necessary here. I was already on board with Margo’s desire to not always be in charge, and I felt like I understood how her history, her job, and her personality would create that feeling. It wasn’t just because she was a woman, and I didn’t love the book trying to apply the statement to all women. It doesn’t come up a lot, but it’s mentioned just enough to be a little wrinkle in my enjoyment of the story.

Still, if you like strong heroines but enjoy your alpha males sometimes, I think this book would hit a sweet spot for you, just like it did for me!

Grade: 4 out of 5

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


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