Tag: Romantic Suspense

Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie Mann

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

Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie MannReviewer: Jen
Beyond Risk by Connie Mann
Series: Florida Wildlife Warriors #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The river runs wild …

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

… But no wilder than their passion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Devoted to Love by Shayla Black

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

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

Sunday Spotlight: Devoted to Love by Shayla BlackDevoted to Love by Shayla Black
Series: Devoted Lovers #2
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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He was sent to guard her body… he didn’t expect her to steal his heart.

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

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

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

Excerpt

DEVOTED TO LOVE

Book Binge – exclusive excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hurry.”

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

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

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

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

“Kiss me already,” she demanded.

“I’m getting there.”

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

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

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

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

“Josiah . . .”

“What is it, baby?”

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

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

Devoted Lovers

Giveaway Alert

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

center>Sunday Spotlight: June 2019

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

About Shayla Black

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

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

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


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

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

Throwback Thursday Review: Then You Hide by Roxanne St. ClaireReviewer: Casee
Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Bullet Catcher #5
Also in this series: First You Run
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: June 24, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 349
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

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

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

This review was originally posted on June 26, 2008.

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

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

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

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

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

4 out of 5

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

Bullet Catcher


four-stars


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Guest Review: Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan

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

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

48 hours2 covert operatives1 chance to get it right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4 out of 5

Final Hour

four-stars


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Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin

Posted April 25, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 5 Comments

Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #13
Also in this series: Deep Dark
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call. She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case. Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.

But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community. While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer.

In the latest Tracers book from Laura Griffin, we’re back following a Delphi Center employee. This time it’s Sara Lockhart, a forensic anthropologist.

There’s not much to say about the plot of the book that isn’t in the cover copy or that doesn’t spoil some of the mystery. This is a much more twisty, turny mystery than some of the other Tracers books, and I enjoyed that about it. Sara’s expertise and instincts are invaluable to uncovering the extent of the crimes and piecing together who might have done it. It’s a fun ride, but not necessarily a solution you can “guess” (or maybe I’m just not clever enough, haha). I love the nerdy investigation details that Griffin uses in this series, and Sara is a prime example of that.

The romance between Nolan and Sara is a fine little love affair, though not exactly a passion for the ages. Sara is pretty reticent to get involved with Nolan because of a bad past relationship. It’s a bit cliche and does perhaps go on too long, but I did appreciate that she wasn’t whiny or angsty about it. She just wants to focus on her career and not get distracted by a relationship. I like that she’s confident and smart and happy with that. Nolan is fine, too. Pretty stereotypical cop character, although he does totally respect Sara’s expertise and autonomy which is always good to see. There’s no getting around that their relationship is a bit of a slow burn, and I felt like they don’t get much past the beginning embers in this book. I have hope for them in the future, though!

I enjoyed this book and am always happy when we veer back into the smart science nerds at the Delphi Center. I think it would be a fun read for Tracers fans, and even readers new to the series should be able to pick up this book with no trouble.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

Tracers

three-half-stars


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