Tag: Romantic Suspense

Review: Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks

Posted March 21, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Keep Me Safe by Maya BanksReviewer: Casee
Keep Me Safe (Slow Burn #1) by Maya Banks
Series: Slow Burn #1
Also in this series: Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1), Melt for You (Slow Burn, #2), Ache for You (Slow Burn, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 307
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

A sizzling story of a woman who risks her life and her heart to find a wealthy man’s missing sister — the first novel in a sexy new romantic suspense series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks.

When Caleb Devereaux's younger sister is kidnapped, this scion of a powerful and wealthy family turns to an unlikely source for help: a beautiful and sensitive woman with a gift for finding answers others cannot.

While Ramie can connect to victims and locate them by feeling their pain, her ability comes with a price. Every time she uses it, it costs her a piece of herself. Helping the infuriatingly attractive and impatient Caleb successfully find his sister nearly destroys her. Even though his sexual intensity draws her like a magnet, she needs to get as far away from him as she can.

Deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused, Caleb is determined to make things right. But just when he thinks Ramie's vanished forever, she reappears. She’s in trouble and she needs his help. Now, Caleb will risk everything to protect her — including his heart....

Oy, this book. It was not what I was expecting. It seemed sort of Dream Man by Linda Howard. Not that I was expecting a Linda Howard book. No, I just enjoy books about psychics. It’s more than safe to say that I did not enjoy this book. Not even a little bit.

When Caleb Devereaux’s younger sister, Tori, is abducted, he goes looking for psychic Ramie St. Claire. Caleb doesn’t doubt her ability as Tori is psychic herself. By the time he tracts Ramie down, he is furious with her. How could she hide herself away from the world when she can help people like Tori? It’s only when he forces (yes, forces) Ramie to take Tori’s scarf thus living Tori’s nightmare with her that Caleb realizes why Ramie is in hiding.

When Caleb shows up at her door and sends into a nightmare she can’t get out of, she is sure that it will finally be the end to her. No such luck. She tells Caleb where his sister is and he leaves her house, telling her that he will be back. That, more than anything, gives her the strength to get her body moving so she can leave the sanctuary she has made for herself. For if Caleb can find her then he can find her too.

A year later and Ramie is desperate. He has finally caught up with her. Ramie has nothing left expect a marker to call in to Caleb Devereaux. He comes to immediately. I understood that he would come to her aid, but I didn’t understand the immediate attraction. It was weird. Not to mention that instead of actually thanking Ramie for saving her life, Tori was a complete and total bitch to her. I understood on some level, but it was childish on another.

After Caleb and Ramie were reunited the whole book just went downhill. The part that made me want to read the book (psychic) actually made the book unbearable. I have zero plans to read the rest of this series. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Slow Burn

one-star


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Review: Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Posted March 4, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Say You’re Sorry by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Say You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1) by Karen Rose
Narrator: Joel Froomkin
Series: Sacramento #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 21, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Publisher, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 544
Length: 24 hours and 6 minutes
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has tried hard to put his past behind him. He escaped the violence of his cult upbringing when he was just thirteen, and since then routine and discipline have been his way of making sense of the world. But when a petite blonde woman crashes into his life, he begins to realize that a little bit of chaos might not be so bad.

Daisy Dawson has had more than her fair share of pain too—but she's done being a victim. Daisy's determined to explore every new experience she can—including getting to know the dark and serious FBI investigator she meets when she fights off a masked attacker one night.

It soon becomes clear that Daisy's attack was just the beginning. Now the bloodied bodies of young women are showing up all over California, and, as Gideon tries to find the killer, it's clear that Daisy is in more danger than they ever realised...

I started and listened to most of this book on audio. The narrator was simply awful. That was a huge disappointment because the narrator of Monster in the Closet was amazing. Even with that, I hung in like a champ because I really wanted to listen to it at work. I ended up reading the last 40ish%.

The Sacramento series is a spin-off of the Baltimore series. I had no idea until I started listening to the heroine’s backstory. Then I had to back it up and listen to it again because it sounded so familiar. Daisy Dawson is Taylor Dawson’s stepsister from Monster in the Closet. Taylor’s mom lied to her husband, Daisy’s father, about Taylor’s bio dad being after them. So they went into hiding for years. That really messed Daisy up. She started drinking when she was fourteen and went into rehab when she was seventeen. She’s an amazingly strong woman.

Daisy knows someone is following her. She’s sure it is one of her dad’s people. Although the truth came out about her stepmother’s lying, her dad can’t let her live her life. She goes down an alley after him (insert eyeroll) and is instead attached by a man with nylon mask on. After a valiant fight and with the help of her dog, Daisy manages to get away from her attacker. She also rips what she finds out is a locket from around his neck.

When her good friend and Sacramento PD detective, Rafe Sokolov, arrives at the scene and sees the locket, he immediately calls his friend Gideon Reynolds. He recognizes that the design on the locket is the same as a tattoo that Gideon has. Gideon gets to the scene as fast as he can and is floored by two things. The first thing is that he has finally found a lead back to the cult that he escaped from as a young teenager. The second is that he cares more about what Daisy Dawson went through then something he’s been searching for for years.

When it becomes apparent that Daisy is going to remain a target, Gideon volunteers to be the one to protect Daisy. Together they start digging into his past. When the past collides with the present, it puts both Gideon and Daisy in danger. Now they have a cult to find and a serial killer to outsmart.

I really loved this book. A lot. There are a few things location wise that threw me off because I used to live in Sacramento. So I knew that Gideon’s house was not by where he worked. I got over that because I love Karen Rose. The cult angle was very interesting. The dynamic between Gideon and his sister Mercy was interesting as well. It was obvious that Mercy and Rafe are going to have a book and I’m curious to see how exactly that is going to work. I’m just really looking forward to the next book.

Bravo on this one, KR.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sacramento

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Fearless King by Katee Robert

Posted February 5, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fearless King by Katee RobertReviewer: Jen
The Fearless King (The Kings, #2) by Katee Robert
Series: The Kings #2
Also in this series: The Last King
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Fake boyfriend. Real danger.

Journey King is an expert at managing the family business. But when her father returns to Houston hell-bent on making a play for the company, Journey will do anything to stop him, even if that means going to Frank Evans for help. Frank deals in information, the dirtier the better. Rugged and rock solid, he’s by far her best ally—and also the most dangerous.

Frank knows better than to get tangled up with the Kings. But something about Journey’s rare vulnerability drags him deep into enemy territory . . . and into her darkest past. Pretending to be her boyfriend may be necessary for their plan to work, but Frank soon finds helping Journey is much more than just another job—and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

The Last King by Katee Robert was one of my favorite books of 2018, so I was beyond excited to get a hold of The Fearless King. I wasn’t disappointed!

Frank Evans appeared in book 1 as Beckett’s best friend. He’s a real estate mogul and general financial powerhouse in Houston, and he has an extensive network of information gathering and general badass employees across the city. In other words, he gets things done. Journey King is Beckett’s estranged cousin, and after Beckett drove her mother out of town in the last book, the energy company the family runs has been scrambling to adjust. Journey and Frank clearly have some unacknowledged attraction, but they try to stay far away from each other. When Journey’s father shows back up and puts their control of the company in jeopardy (and terrorizes Journey in the process), she turns to Frank for help.

This series is not too melodramatic or cheesy to be tolerated, but it does include piles of drama for a rich Texas family. For me, it strikes the right balance between soap opera and romantic suspense. You do have to suspend a bit of disbelief, however. You have to believe that these families could really be so cold and calculating, and you have to believe that there won’t be any serious legal or social consequences for anyone at the end of the book. I was down with it; you may not be.

Journey’s father is a straight up garbage human being. Trigger warning: Journey and her siblings were physically abused by their father as children. There are no graphic descriptions given; in fact, no one says much beyond acknowledging the abuse (and mentioning it was not sexual). The book is not abuse porn! In some ways, though, the lack of description makes it a bit harder to understand Journey’s terror. She is clearly terrified of her father and has suffered severely because of the abuse for her entire life. Her father’s mere presence sends her into an emotional and physical tailspin, which is what leads her to seek help from Frank. We just have to trust that something very, very messed up happened in Journey’s childhood.

My favorite part of the book is Journey’s growth. She starts the book constantly calling herself “the weakest link.” She believes she is broken and incapable of standing up to her father as a result of his emotional abuse. He conditioned her to believe she was weak. As the book goes on, however, Journey starts to believe in herself again. She realizes she has a role to play in protecting her family and Frank, and that gives her a sense of purpose and courage. I just loved seeing her transformation! I also love that while Frank’s support is a comfort and helps her see herself through new eyes, he is not the one who “fixes” her.

I also appreciated that this book acknowledges that Frank, an African American, faces racism, and that that racism has shaped his choices and his personality. His father went to prison unfairly because of a justice system biased against him, and Frank is always aware that no matter how much money he makes, he will always be looked down on by racist Houston socialites. Kudos to Katee Robert for not glossing over Frank’s skin color and for acknowledging that racism exists, even in Romancelandia.

While I’m not quite as in love with this book as I was with book 1, I am 100% here for the King family and this series.

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Kings

four-stars


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Review: Too Far Gone by Christy Reece

Posted January 18, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Too Far Gone by Christy ReeceReviewer: Casee
Too Far Gone (Grey Justice, #3) by Christy Reece
Series: Grey Justice #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 456
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Some obsessions can be deadly

Gabriella Mendoza has lived her life in seclusion. Guarded by the most corrupt men in the world, she has no chance for escape until an unexpected meeting with the mysterious Grey Justice Group changes everything. Gabriella is free for the first time in her life, but is that freedom all a lie?

Vengeance is Jonah Slater’s only purpose. Finding the man who killed his fiancée and making him pay is his only goal. Babysitting the pampered princess of a crime boss is not part of his agenda. But the more he gets to know Gabriella, the more he realizes that protecting her might be the most worthwhile thing he’s ever done.

They thought they knew the threats, believed they were contained. Jonah and Gabriella soon learn that evil has varying degrees and many faces. And very often, the deadliest is the one you never see coming.

I love Christy Reece and have read her for years and years. And years. All the way back to 2009. When I actually read more than four books per month. It’s really true when I say that she holds a special place in my heart. So I’m not sure if her writing changed or my reading exceptions have changed, but I didn’t really care for this book. Everything was just too obvious.

Gone Too Far is book three in Reece’s Grey Justice series. This series revolves around an anonymous benefactor who helps people get out of bad situations. His name is…Grey Justice. He employs very smart and very well trained people. One such person is Jonah Slater. Jonah has a really fucked up family. His father was really evil. He framed him for murder. Jonah was in prison for three years before his innocence was proved. His father also had his fiancée, Teri, murdered while he was sitting helpless in prison. Jonah’s only mission in life is to bring Teri’s killer to justice. He just has to find who actually did the deed. In the meantime, he works for Grey Justice.

Gabriella Mendoza is a prisoner in her own home. Her grandfather is the head of the Mendoza crime family. When the opportunity comes for Gabriella to orchestrate her own escape, she grabs onto it with both hands. The time finally comes where she is “kidnapped”. Gabriella is finally free. Now she’s under the protection of Jonah Slater, who seems to be rather disgusted by her. Gabby knows how she appears to people. She looks like a pampered princess that gets anything she wants whenever she wants. Only she knows what goes on inside the Mendoza family and how corrupt they are. In exchange for her freedom, she agrees to bring her grandfather down. She also has information on a few of his friends.

Jonah soon starts to realize that there is far more to Gabby than meets the eye. With everything that has happened to her, she sees life as something to cherish; to grab onto with both hands. To live. Jonah on the other hand doesn’t expect to live once he finds Teri’s killer.

Some weird shit starts happening, which I already had guessed. It was a WTAF moment because seriously? People really do that to each other? Like, seriously? I really did appreciate Gabby’s outlook on life, but really? Her Pollyanna attitude just seemed over the top in this situation. I like a good Pollyanna heroine as good as the next person, but it didn’t fit.

I was really looking to reading Grey Justices’ book, which is the final book in this series, but I’m not much in a rush now. I’m sure I’ll read it eventually.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Grey Justice

three-stars


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Excerpt Spotlight: Too Far Gone by Allison Brennan

Posted November 19, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 1 Comment

Too Far Gone is the fourteenth book in the Lucy Kincaid series by Allison Brennan and it promises to keep your blood pumping with suspense and I’ve been in the mood for more suspense in my novels so I’m mighty interested in this one.

I don’t read too many romantic suspense books but after reading the blurb for this book, I was curious. Allison Brennan must be doing something right if she’s writing the fourteenth book in this series and it sounds like a good one so I’m thrilled to be spotlighting it here on Book Binge.

Excerpt Spotlight: Too Far Gone by Allison BrennanToo Far Gone (Lucy Kincaid, #14) by Allison Brennan
Series: Lucy Kincaid #14
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 496
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The next intense installment in Allison Brennan's New York Times bestselling Lucy Kincaid series.

Things finally seem to be going well for FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. She's just finished training for Hostage Rescue, her husband's relationship with his son is back on track, and her tense relationship with her boss, Rachel Vaughn, has become much more bearable. That is, until her first hostage case throws everything off track.

When a man who appears under the influence and mentally unstable holds a group of people hostage and dies in a shootout with the FBI, Lucy is assigned to investigate what happened. His descent doesn't make any sense - he was an upstanding citizen a year ago and only started declining after a series of blackouts and strange occurrences. Even his autopsy seems suspicious, and the body has been cremated without the proper approval. As Lucy investigates, she realizes that this story may be more complicated than she thinks, and that her own life might be in danger.

 

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Excerpt

CHAPTER TWO

FBI Special Agent Lucy Kincaid geared up in the back of the SWAT van and followed team leader Leo Proctor to the staging area kitty-corner to the coffeehouse that was currently under control of a gunman. Lucy wasn’t part of the SWAT team. She was the newest trained hostage negotiator, though she would be second to Proctor for a minimum of six months. She wouldn’t be talking to the suspect today; she was tagging along on her first official outing after completing Hostage and Crisis Response Training at Quantico.

As soon as she stepped out of the air-conditioned van and into the hot Texas humidity, she began to sweat. Fortunately, she wasn’t decked out with an extra twenty- five pounds of SWAT gear; she was only required to wear her Kevlar vest and sidearm.

The FBI was here to back up the SAPD, who were taking lead in the hostage situation at Java Antonio, a small but popular independent coffee shop in downtown San Antonio.

Lucy followed Leo from the van while the rest of the team checked their weapons and gear.

“Lieutenant, sit-rep?” Leo said to the man clearly in charge who was directing personnel from the back of a police communications van. There were a dozen city and county vehicles filling all four streets that led to the intersection, which now held a tactical truck. Each street had been blocked off, and all businesses in a two-block radius evacuated or locked down.

“Proctor. Glad you’re here.” He glanced at Lucy. “Agent Kincaid, hostage negotiator. Kincaid, Lieutenant Jordan Young.”

They shook hands. Young was forty and had the aura of former military officer, and it was clear by how his officers spoke to him that he garnered respect from his men and women.

“I need you to negotiate, Leo—I’ve already set up a command, I’m the highest-ranking officer here.”

“My people are your people,” Proctor said. “Kincaid’s my second.”

Being second essentially meant backing up the primary negotiator. Listening to all communication, taking notes, passing along information between the negotiator and command and vice versa.

Generally, the individual in charge of the scene was not the same person negotiating with the suspect. That SAPD and the SA-FBI worked well together was a testament to the men and women who led each department and the teams who cross-trained together.

“I have two snipers, one on each corner building,” Young said, gesturing. “Two men in the back. If you can spare a pair I’d like to have them tag up with my team in the alley, and if you have a sniper we can use one back there. The rear is the only exit other than the front door.” Proctor said in his radio, “Dunning, take your team and secure the back with SAPD; Ramirez, find a roost with clear line of sight to the emergency exit. From here on out, Lieutenant Young is in command of this operation and you’ll take direction from him, primary emergency channel.”

“Roger,” the team leader said over the radio. “Suspect?” Proctor asked.

Young shook his head. “Working on an ID. No cameras inside, but we have a description from one of the hostages who escaped during the initial confusion. In fact, a dozen people got out before the shooter locked down. From preliminary statements, the guy was talking to himself and acting ‘off’—weird was the word most used. He was wearing a thick windbreaker and it’s over ninety degrees and humid as hell. When the manager confronted him, he snapped—per a witness. Another witness said he acted like he was quote, ‘off his meds.’”

Unfortunately, Lucy knew that mental illness was one of the leading causes of spontaneous hostage situations. But generally, if the individual was mentally ill, they took people they knew hostage—family or friends—in a residence. This situation was distinctly different.

Young continued. “He fired two shots. Per witnesses, they both went into the ceiling. No one saw anyone injured inside. There are conflicting statements as to how many guns he has and what kind, though I’m going with one of the witnesses who stated he’s a gun owner and identified a nine-millimeter in the shooter’s hand, standard-capacity magazine, and a second handgun in his waistband, also a semi-auto—either a nine-mil or a forty-five.”

“Number of hostages?”

“Best guess is fourteen. Do you have thermal imaging in your truck? Fire can set up as well, but they’re still en route.”

“We got it,” Proctor said. “My tech just needs a minute.”

“Good. We need to know where he is, get some sense as to what’s going on in there.”

“Is this personal?” Proctor asked. “Target an employee? Customer?”

“Don’t know. We asked the witnesses for the basics, everyone said that he was alone and didn’t appear to know anyone. They are all sequestered down the street, my people are working to get more information. He hasn’t called out or made demands, but this whole thing started less than an hour ago. I need you to make contact, develop a rapport as we gather additional information. We need to de-escalate this as fast as possible.”

Proctor listened to his com then said, “Roger, hold positions.” He said to Young, “My team is in place, Ramirez has one hundred percent visual of the rear door.”

“Excellent.” Young handed him the bullhorn. “Work your magic, Leo. Godspeed.”

Proctor took a breath, visibly relaxed, then turned on the bullhorn.

“This is Leo Proctor of the FBI. I will be calling into the coffee shop. I’d like you to answer, just to talk. Just see how you’re doing, how the other people are doing.”

He then nodded to Young’s assistant, a uniform by the name of Jones, who handed him a phone already set to dial into the Java Antonio main number and record the conversation.

They let the phone ring more than thirty times. There was no answer and Proctor ended the call.

“Lieutenant,” Jones said after listening to his radio, “we have an ID. Charles James McMahon, forty-six, address in Helotes per DMV. Two deputies are on their way now.”

“Married? Kids? Employer?” “Unknown, we’re working on it.”

“Work faster. Something triggered him, we need to know what so no one gets hurt.”

“Yes, sir,” Jones said, already on his phone.

Proctor got on the bullhorn again. “Mr. McMahon— Charles—this is Leo Proctor. I really need you to pick up the phone. I know you don’t want to hurt anyone. We need to talk. You and me. We can work this out, but I’m sure you don’t like shouting through a bullhorn any more than I do.”

He dialed again, waited. No answer. He hung up. He didn’t show any frustration, any rush. “As long as he’s calm, we can get out of this,” he said almost to himself. “Lucy, get Yancey out here. We need eyes in.”

Lucy briskly walked to the tactical van. Tim Yancey was a technology analyst in their office and in charge of the equipment during tactical operations. He was a bit high-strung, skinny, and sharp on his feet.

“I know, I know,” Tim said before Lucy could speak. “It’s almost calibrated. Okay, okay,” he said to himself and followed Lucy over to the staging area which had a direct line of sight to the coffee shop.

“I need to expand the range,” he said as he walked up and put the thermal imaging camera on a table next to the SAPD tactical van. “Okay, okay,” he mumbled again and pressed a few buttons to expand the field.

A blob of orange quickly took on distinct human shapes. Most were on the floor. Young immediately pointed to one on the left that was moving and had another shape close to him. “That’s our guy. He’s holding a hostage. I count . . . fifteen plus the gunman?”

“I concur,” Proctor said.

Young asked Tim, “Why are these three shapes faded?”

“They’re in another room,” Tim said. “Probably the storage room, a bathroom—I don’t have the exact lay- out.”

Young motioned at one of his men. “Where are the blueprints I asked for?”

“Coming.”

“I needed them five minutes ago.” “He didn’t plan this,” Lucy said.

Everyone looked at her. She didn’t realize she’d spoken out loud.

“If he did,” she continued, “he would have made sure that everyone was in the main room. Those three had time to hide in the back and he didn’t notice? Others es- caped? A dozen people ran out before he locked the place down. I think he would notice if he had a room full of customers and no employees.”

“Point taken,” Young said. “Don’t know if that makes him more or less dangerous. Get him talking, Leo, I’m going to push my people to get us more intel.”

Leo used the bullhorn. “Charles, this is Leo Proctor again. I’m calling you now. Please pick up the phone.”

He hit redial.

Lucy adjusted her earpiece and heard the ringing phone. She watched Tim’s thermal imaging system and saw the suspect cross the room—with a hostage in tow—and stand next to what she presumed was the phone on the wall behind the counter.

“Answer it, buddy,” Leo mumbled. “Pick it up, you want to.”

The man put a hand on his head—more like he was banging the side of his head with his gun hand, as if flustered or frustrated. He walked away a couple of feet. Leo hung up. He counted to ten. Then he hit redial.

McMahon went back to the phone. He answered.

Lucy Kincaid

Are you as excited for this release as we are?

About Allison Brennan

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan believes that life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year.

Allison has penned more than two dozen thrillers and many short stories. RT Book Reviews calls Allison “a master of suspense” and her books “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” “pulse-pounding” and “emotionally complex.” RT also said that "The Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan books are getting better and better!"

COLD SNAP, was a finalist for Best Thriller in the Thriller Awards (ITW) and FEAR NO EVIL (2007) and COMPULSION (2015) won the Daphne du Maurier award. Allison has been nominated multiple times for RWA's Best Romantic Suspense award, and the Kiss of Death's Daphne award.

Allison lives in Northern California with her husband, five children, and assorted pets. Her current release is THE LOST GIRLS, a romantic thriller. MAKE THEM PAY will be out in March, 2017.


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