Monthly Archives: February 2012
Our winner was Andrea G. Please stop back and let us know how you enjoyed the story.
Thank you to Kensington books for our giveaway!
ORDER A COPY: Fever
Publishing Date: March 1, 2012
Paperback: 342 Pages
Rating: 5 stars
When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…
A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.
Teague Creek has spent 3 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Someone wants to keep Creek buried away along with the secret of his special abilities and how he came by them. Teague is now out of appeals and desperate for a way out of prison. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if Teague doesn’t try to escape now, they’ll throw him back into that cell and throw away the key.
Dr. Alyssa Foster thought she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was kidnapped by Creek in his desperate attempt to escape prison. Until the moment that she realizes he grabbed the wrong woman. If she tells him who she is, will he let her go home or will he simply eliminate the liability?
Teague’s plans aren’t going as smoothly has he hoped and it starts to get more complicated when he realizes he wants to keep his strong willed and brave captive. Things start to heat up between Teague and Alyssa once she realizes he is not the dangerous criminal she first thought, and she’ll do whatever she can to help him clear his name.
Can they figure out who is framing Creek before it is too late because once they are found, someone will make sure that Creek is finally silenced permanently.
I have been hearing a lot of buzz about this book for the last few months and now that I have read it, I understand what all the hoopla was about. Not only is Teague the perfect hero, strong, thoughtful, protective and sexy, but Alyssa is a heroine that isn’t going to take shit from anyone, not even desperate criminals escaping from prison.
On top of the awesome characters, this story hits the ground running (literally—prison break remember) and it just doesn’t stop ‘til you hit the last page, and it has everything: desperate criminals, kidnapping, gang members, cops, FBI, knife fights, gun fights, fires…even wolves (but not the werewolf kind).
Definitely pick this up and make sure you have plenty of time to read since the worst thing was trying to pick a place to stop and go to sleep. (Really??…I don’t care what time it is…we’re on the run!!! Damn job!)
Received ARC courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you!
“Goddammit.” Creek dropped two armfuls of supplies on the floor and kicked the door closed. “Can’t you hold still or shut up for one minute?”
Alyssa recoiled as Creek picked up the receiver and slammed it back onto the base, then raked his fingers across his head and paced. She watched every step her emotions toggling between fear, anger, guilt, frustration and empathy.
Without warning, Creek swung around and approached her. In automatic defense, Alyssa’s hand came up. But he didn’t strike. He released the cuff around the lamp and pulled her into the bathroom. Her heart rate spiked again as his angry gaze scoured the small space. With a hand on her shoulder, he pushed her to sit on the closed toilet lid and dragged the free cuff below the sink. The ratchet of metal signaled its closure around an exposed drainpipe.
“What are you doing?” She twisted her wrist against the metal, trying to position her body to alleviate the strain on her side.
Creek stripped off his shirt, balled it up and chucked it into the corner, then pushed the curtain aside on the shower/tub combination and bent to flip on the faucet. The muscles beneath his skin flexed and rolled. That’s when a fresh form of anxiety wedged in. She couldn’t sit here and watch him get naked and shower. She really couldn’t.
“I can’t sit like this,” she complained, hoping to play on the sympathies she’d seen. “It hurts my side.”
Without acknowledging her, he moved his hands to his waist, unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans and shucked them so fast Alyssa didn’t have time to look away. And, okay, yeah, maybe she could sit here and watch after all.
He wore burgundy boxer briefs that clung to his muscular ass. He was tan everywhere but for a pale line mid thigh where he’d obviously worn shorts. She could swear every muscle was outlined in perfect relief. Her gaze traveled over the lines and dips and swells and curves. God, he was beautiful.
A beautiful, racist, murdering, escaped convict.
Alyssa grimaced. Before he took off his underwear and Alyssa lost her last shred of human decency and ogled the beautiful, racist, murdering, escaped convict, she laid her elbow on the edge of the sink and pressed her eyes to her forearm. “Why couldn’t you just leave me in the other room?”
Her only answer came in the swoosh of the plastic slides on the shower curtain rod as he closed the drape.
Alyssa stayed there, resting her head on her arm, for what seemed like endless minutes. Without any immediate threat, her adrenaline flagged. When her butt went numb and her arms tingled from lack of blood supply, she finally raised her head. Steam filled the room, creating ethereal clouds she could barely see through.
Searching for Creek behind the frosted shower curtain, she discovered him sitting on the tub floor, knees drawn up to his chest, arms wrapped around his legs, head bent.
She’d seen many a broken man in her line of work—the distraught father, the grieving husband, the heartsick son—and the man behind that curtain had all the signs of a broken man.
ORDER A COPY: Wanted: Undead or Alive (Love at Stake)
Publisher: Avon Books
Publishing Date: March 27, 2012
Paperback: 374 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
He’s a vampire from the big city . . .
Phineas McKinney thought New York City was tough, until he was attacked by Malcontents—evil vampires who consider mortals to be snacks. Saved by the good vampires, Phin swore to devote his now undead life to stopping the Malcontents. He’s got his job cut out for him when word comes that their enemy may be hiding in Wyoming. What does a city boy like him know about horses and campfires? Good thing he’s got Brynley Jones with him . . . if only she didn’t hate every vampire on earth.
She’s a werewolf princess . . .
Bryn believes vampires are seductive and charming, and that makes them dangerous. So she’s more than a little annoyed about teaming up with Phin, even if he is the only bloodsucker able to make her inner wolf purr. But as they hunt down the new leader of the Malcontents, danger threatens . . . and Phineas and Brynley discover a passion that will rock the foundation of their supernatural world.
Phineas McKinney has been a vampire for five years now, and his life has never been better. He was a poor kid from the Bronx and now he has a fantastic job that he loves, great friends who really care about him, and nowadays he is known throughout the vampire community for his great commercials. All the women want to meet “the Blardonnay guy.” But he’s tired of his life as “the love doctor,” women keep using him since he’s the newest novelty in the vampire community. Since he is dead during the day, what he misses most is the blue of a summer sky, the blue like her eyes. Phineas can’t stop thinking about Brynley Jones, the sexy wolf-girl and sister of his friend, werewolf Phil Jones. Too bad Brynley hates vampires because the more Phin tries not to think about her, the more he can’t stop thinking about her.
Brynley Jones came to New York to live with her brother, Phil and teach at the Dragon Nest Academy, and to escape the clutches of her overbearing Alpha werewolf father. More importantly, to escape an arranged marriage set up to increase her father’s holdings in the werewolf community. She hates being used and people who are users. Vampires are users…aren’t they? They used people for food for centuries. They should be avoided…right? If only that Phineas wasn’t so damn sexy…and sweet. It doesn’t matter. Werewolves and vampires just don’t mix. Hasn’t she told her brother that many times.
When Phineas needs to go to Wyoming to search for Corky Courrant and bring her before the council to answer for her crimes against the vampire community, he needs someone who knows the area and the only one available to Brynley. How can he concentrate on finding an enemy when he’s all alone with the one woman he truly wants but he knows he can’t have.
This was a great addition to the Love at Stake series. Phineas is a great character who was brought in the series in Book 3 and we’ve seen his character grow and mature becoming an important part of the Romatech family. He’s always been charming and funny, and it was great to see more of this character.
We first meet Brynley in Forbidden Nights with a Vampire (Phil and Vanda’s story) and she has always been a little rough around the edges and we finally get to understand why.
The ending was quite the surprise and I LOVE where Ms. Sparks went with the story. Wow – what a twist!! (*he, he, he* wouldn’t you like to know.)
One disappointment was that one character in this book was in serious need of a good beating for things that were done and didn’t get one. Not even a solid punch in the face. Really?? WTF???
Won an ARC from Kerrelyn Sparks’s editor. Whoo hoo!!
Check out our interview with Kerrelyn Sparks
“Okay, let’s go.”
She gave him a wry look. “Are you going to call the glacier? They don’t generally come equipped with a telephone.”
“Then we’ll take the car.” He smiled. “See? I knew it would come in handy.”
“It’s wilderness area. That means no motorized vehicles are allowed off the main roads.”
His smile faded. “Then how do you get around?”
“You walk.” Her mouth twitched. “Or you ride a horse.”
He stepped back. “I don’t think so.”
“Aw, come on, Phineas. It’ll be fun!”
“Those horses don’t like me.”
“They don’t know you.” She gave him a sly grin. “To know you is to like you.”
He frowned at her. Was she flirting with him? Didn’t she know that was torture? “I tried getting to know them. When you and Trudy left the barn to greet the other lady, I stayed behind for a little while. I tried mentally communicating with the horses to let them know I would never hurt them.”
“Ah, that was sweet.”
“Not too sweet. One of them tried to bite me.”
She laughed. “Which one?”
“I don’t know. They all look alike.”
“Horses look alike?” She shook her head. “You’re such a city boy.”
His brow arched. “Country girl.”
“And proud of it. I can bring down an elk in sixty seconds.”
“I didn’t think your breath was that bad.”
She huffed and punched him in the shoulder.
“Ah, foreplay.” He rubbed his shoulder. “And here I though you were going to resist me.”
She scoffed. “That’s not my idea of foreplay.”
“Then what is?”
ORDER A COPY: Torn (Reflections)
Publisher: Self published
Publishing Date: October 17, 2011
eBook: 205 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school shouldn’t matter, but the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes. Worse, she seems to know things she shouldn’t about his shadowy world.
Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep? If she’s a victim, then he’s running out of time to save her. If she’s bait, then his attraction to her will pull him into a fight that’ll cost him everything.
When Alec Graves first met Adrianna, he wasn’t sure if she was sent by the governing body of shifters to watch his pack, since she gave off a glow like a shifter, but didn’t give off the usual power signature of a shifter. Was she that powerful to be able to hide her powers or could she truly be a human?
He needs to solve this mystery soon since his attraction to her keeps growing stronger, and if she is truly human, protecting her may cost him everything.
The first thing I need to advise readers is that the author’s note which is located after the story indicates that this is the “he said” portion of the complete story. There is a “she said” version which is called Broken. I indicated to Mr. Murray that it would have been better if that information was located before the story since I, for one, would have looked at this story completely differently if I was aware that this was not the complete story.
I was in fact quite dissatisfied with the very cardboard character of Adiranna. There was no indication of why she kept having these fainting spells. No indication why she was rude to Alec at the beginning of the book or why she was dating Brandon, who is the alpha of the other shifter pack who was trying to destroy Alec.
In fact, I was quite angry when I hit the words “the end” and had many, many unanswered questions. Any lover of the TV show “Lost”, knows that being left with the list full of “but WTF happened with…” makes one very unhappy.
I contacted Mr. Murray after I finished reading and he advised me that many of the questions I had would be answered by reading the companion book, Broken, and that there are a few other novels planned which will answer some of the other questions that I had.
I was not that excited with this story. There was a lot of fighting between the two shifter groups, but since they didn’t appear to be killed or too seriously injured in any of these fights, these got very repetitous and I lost interest in the rival fights. I have bumped my review up to a 3 star to be fair since I am certain that my dissatisfaction with this book would be reduced by reading Broken, but I don’t have any plans to go back at this time.
Received ARC from author.
ORDER A COPY: Darkness Bound (Chimney Rock)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: February 28, 2012
Paperback: 249 pages
Rating: 2 stars
WHEN NIGHT FALLS…After her husband’s tragic death, Leigh Kelly arrives on Whidbey Island determined to start over. Yet the tiny town of Chimney Rock is not as peaceful as it seems. Women have been disappearing, and Leigh can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched . . . especially at night. Soon, she’s experiencing visions she can’t explain and fighting her attraction to a handsome stranger who seems to know her most intimate desires.
PASSION TRANSFORMS THEM…As the leader of the Team, a pack of werehounds forced to hide their very existence, former special ops soldier Niles Latimer is desperate to prove a man’s heart beats beneath his predator’s body. And Leigh-the mysterious beauty possessing powers she doesn’t yet understand-may be the one woman who can help him. But Niles isn’t the only one who recognizes Leigh’s true identity. Something evil is waiting in the woods-and the hunt has begun.
Leigh Kelly arrives back on Whidbey Island to start a new life after her husband’s death. He left her the cabin and the lands, and she hopes she can move past the bittersweet memories of her life with Chris and begin again.
Niles Latimer needs to find a mate. The werehounds are dying out since childbirth has killed off all of werehound females. Leigh is special and he hopes he can get her to agree to be his mate and save his dying species.
The werewolves want to control the island and saving the werehound species just isn’t something they will allow. They’ll do anything to keep Niles and Leigh apart. There are other supernatural factions who are interested in Leigh’s special abilities.
Can Niles keep Leigh safe and get her to agree to join with him as his mate while the supernaturals wage war around them.
I can’t tell you the last time a book made me so angry and confused. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was on my Nook, I would have tossed it out the window. I kept checking to make sure this was book #1 of the new Chimney Rock series. I can see the set ups for the future books, but you couldn’t pay me to read another one.
I kept wondering if I was missing pages to this story. It was so choppy. That’s why I checked to see if it was in the middle of the series. It was written like I should know each of the different supernatural factions. I swear she wrote that the werehounds were jumping through the trees and flying. Really? Flying dogs? Things keep creeping out of the dark or attacking Leigh, but never really causing any real damage.
There was just too much going on. There were werehounds, werewolves, fae, half-fae/half-humans, shapeshifters, vampires, zombies, and everyone was after Leigh for one reason or another, including her brother-in-law that wanted her to return home with him and her twin sister. Almost to the point where he was going to grab her and drag her out of the house.
Another thing that bothered me is that she arrives at the cabin and is mourning and crying over returning to this cabin that she shared with her husband, but seems work past it rather quickly, and her falling in love so quickly with Niles felt a little awkward and forced.
One more thing, Leigh and her husband came several times to this cabin and in fact, met right on the beach. But when she returns to the island after his death, she is suddenly fulfilling her fate and coming into mysterious powers. How come there was no powers peeping out when she was there with Chris, and how comes she meets Chris and not Niles, who lives NEXT DOOR, and she is his fated mate. She didn’t seem to meet any of people on this tiny island on any of her vacation stops there?? Only her boss who owns the local bar/restaurant remembers her.
Sorry I just can’t recommend this story to anyone. The characters weren’t that interesting, the story was convoluted and confusing, and it was frustrating more than enjoyable.
Received ARC from Netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher.
ORDER A COPY: Tempted by Blood (Sweetblood)
Publisher: Harlequin Paranormal Romance
Publishing Date: February 21, 2012
Paperback: 379 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, the battle for supremacy rages on between two Vampire coalitions:
Guardian enforcers sworn to protect humanity, and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors….
He might be known for his effortless charm, but Guardian Jackson Foss is hiding a terrible secret. For months, he has battled the emergence of his dark nature—deadly urges that threaten to consume him. And those cravings only intensify when he meets Arianna Wells, the human he’s been assigned to protect. Smart and perceptive, Arianna doesn’t seem like a dangerous temptress. Yet she awakens in Jackson an unstoppable need that, if left unchecked, will brand him a traitor…a crime punishable by death.
But soon their bond may be Arianna’s only hope. For stalking her in the shadows is a merciless enemy—one who will stop at nothing to claim her completely.
Jackson Foss has got some big problems. First of all, Jackson fears that his increasing appetite for blood means that he is reverting to the ancient ways of killing humans for blood. A crime for a Guardian which means his death.
If his day isn’t going bad enough, now he’s allowed pictures to be taken of him fighting and killing a Darkblood (evil vampire). That’s bad enough, since they need to keep the fact that vampires exist a secret, but worse, she’s posted them on a website which proves paranormals exist. I guess that’s what you get for saving someone from a horrible death.
Arianna Wells knows that someone came out of the shadows and took her mother away when she was a little girl, but no one believed her. She now runs a blog Paranormalish where she hopes to prove supernatural beings exist. When she witnesses a man walk right of the shadows and grab her young cousin, she knows she wasn’t wrong about what happened to her mother.
Darkbloods have started grabbing sweetbloods (a rare blood type) off the street in record number, and the Guardians need to find out why before it is too late. Jackson has been assigned to protect Arianna and her cousin from the Darkbloods, but Jackson isn’t sure which is going to be more of a temptation to him, her cousin’s delicious sweetblood or Arianna’s sweet body.
This is my second sweetblood story. I read the short story Enchanted by Blood in A Vampire for Christmas, and I must say that Laurie London writes some very enjoyable characters.
It was a little slow in the beginning while we set up the story and explanation of sweetbloods and get caught up where the first two novels left us, which is a great help if this is your first sweetblood novel. Once we got into the actual meat of the story, it was really enjoyable.
I said this after the last short story, but I do need to move the rest of the sweetblood series up on my TBR list.
Received an ARC copy from the author. Thank you, Laurie.
“I know what you are.”
“Ha. Believe me, I know that.”
He flashed her what he probably hoped was a disarming smile. Was that supposed to calm her down? Get her to go along with him? Thank God she didn’t see any fangs. “Stop. You can’t do this. Where are you taking me?”
“Tell me where Krystal is,” he said. He tossed his leather coat on the seat between them, backing the car out of the stall with a screech then jammed it into Drive.
Krystal? Why in the world did he want to know where her cousin was? “Like hell am I going to tell you that.”
“If you’re smart, you will.”
Huddled as far away from him as possible, she glared at him. On his biceps, the colorful snake tattoo—the one Krystal had mentioned—looked coiled and ready to strike. It was even more menacing given the man’s large, hulking muscles. Normally the Caddy felt huge, but with his presence soaking up all the available airspace, it felt like a teacup.
“Wh-why? I’m not telling you that. You have me now, so leave her alone. She’s an innocent girl.”
“If you want to hear why you and your cousin are in grave danger and what can be done about it, then you’d better tell me.”
She would’ve thought he’d have stopped by the house first. Maybe he had and Krystal wasn’t there. Maybe she was at her friend’s house. Hope sparked in the pit of her stomach. If only she could get word to her, tell her to stay away, call the authorities. “And why should I trust you? You’re a…vampire.”
“Because I’m the one who saved you.” There was that practiced smile again. “Remember me?”
Like a dope, she recalled the hard plane of his chest pressed against her, his demanding mouth, the feel of his muscular shoulders as she’d wrapped her arms—
“Yeah, I do. You tried to pull some mind-control thing on me and make me forget what I saw. In fact—“ His words still rang in her head as he kissed her that night. The rich, lulling tone. Intoxicating her. “In fact, you tried to charm me as you forced yourself on me.”
With a sweep of a hand, he brushed his hair from his face and she noticed it wasn’t pulled back like it had been before. “I do not force women. If you had wanted me to stop, all you had to do was step away.”
“That’s not what I remember. You made me…want you.”
He cocked an eyebrow, the one with the tiny scar. “I didn’t make you do anything. You wrapped your arms around me of your own free will.”
ORDER A COPY: Celebrity In Death
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publishing Date: February 21, 2012
Hardcover: 389 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she’s managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. It’s a little spooky seeing the actress playing her, who looks almost like her long-lost twin. Not as unsettling, though, as seeing the actress who plays Peabody—drowned in the lap pool on the roof of the director’s luxury building.
Talented but rude, and widely disliked, K. T. Harris had made an embarrassing scene during dinner. Now she’s at the center of a crime scene—and Eve is more than ready to get out of her high heels and strap on her holster, to step into the role she was born to play: cop.
In this 34th book in the In Death series, we join Lt. Eve Dallas on the movie set of The Icove Agenda. When her friend, reporter Nadine Fuerst decided to write a book based on Eve’s most famous murder investigation, Eve never expected the hype that surrounded the book’s release and now a movie based on that book.
It is disconcerting to watch your life played out before your eyes. Eve is overwhelmed by the feeling of déjà vu standing outside of herself and seeming to watch her own cloned copy and that of her partner, Det. Delia Peabody reenact their murder investigation of a year ago. Now she is watching her life played out before her and she’s standing on a set which looks identical to her own bullpen, the only thing missing is the smell of coffee and sweat…and cops.
Although, Marlo Durn, the other Eve, is very pleasant in person, K.T. Harris, the other Peabody, is nothing like her friendly and stalwart partner. K.T. has not made any friends among her fellow cast members. She actually seems to go out of her way to make everyone uncomfortable. Even going as far as being confrontational with Eve during a dinner party.
When someone steps out of the party just long enough to help K.T. take an unexpected swim in the roof pool, Eve quickly learns that there are worse things than watching your life played out before you, and that’s looking in the face—the lifeless face—of your best friend and partner. K.T. Harris looks so much like Peabody, that it strikes a nerve in the always steady Dallas.
It seems that K.T. has been spending her time doing more than learning her lines. She has been obsessed with learning the deep dark secrets of her co-stars and blackmailing them.
Eve needs to work past her distress and find a murderer among a room full of actors, professional liars whose job is to be something they are not, especially when every one of them has a motive to be rid of K.T. Harris.
Even though this book #34, I am still excited to go back to the world of Lt. Eve Dallas, and her gorgeous husband Roarke. The last novel, New York to Dallas, which was released last Fall was a very dark novel, dragging Eve back into the nightmares of her childhood. We also most of that story in Dallas, TX without Peabody, Feeney, McNab and the rest of the gang. It was nice to be back in New York, and although murder is never lighthearted and this one involved the murder of a Peabody double, which brought some distress to everyone in the story, it was not such an emotionally shocking story.
Although it is daunting to look at a series with 34 novels with various short stories connected to it and decide whether to give it a try, most of the In Death novels can be enjoyed on their own for just the murder investigation, and you might decide you like the characters enough to stick around and try a few more.
Received an ARC courtesy of Penguin Group. Thank you.
She stalked over to the closet, opened it. And scowled again.
“What am I supposed to wear? There are too many choices in here. If you’ve got one thing, you don’t have to think about it. You just take it out, put it on. This is too complicated. Peabody hounded me about this until I wanted to pull her tongue out and wrap it around her neck. Between her and Trina, my brain’s fried.”
Amused, he walked over, stepped into the closet. “This.” He lifted a dress off the rod.
Short, she noted, with a kind of drape to the skirt from where it was caught at the side of the waist with a flower in the same material and color as the dress. Not really blue, not really green, with a kind of shimmery overcast. She eyed it, the wide scoop of neck, the thumb-width straps.
“How do you know this one?”
“The little black dress is a classic for a reason, but often expected—especially in New York. So you’ll go with color, rich color in a soft sheen. It’s feminine without fuss, sexy without trying to be.”
She took it, turned it around, and lifted an eyebrow at the deep plunge in the back. “Without trying.”
“Very hard. You have shoes to match.”
“You do, yes, and go with diamonds. Leave the color to the dress.”
“Which diamonds? Do you know how many you give me? Why to you do that?”
The aggrieved sound of her voice amused him nearly as much as giving her diamonds. “It’s a sickness. I’ll get them for you once you’re dressed.”
She said nothing, and stood where she was as he selected a dark suit from his forest of suits, a slate-color shirt, and a stone-colored tie.
“How come you don’t wear color?”
“The better to serve as the backdrop for my beautiful wife.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You had that one ready.”
“The truth is always ready.”
She jabbed a finger at him. “That one, too.”
“Such a cynic.”
ORDER A COPY: My Wicked Little Lies (Sinful Family Secrets)
Publisher: Zebra Historial Romance
Publishing Date: January 31, 2012
Paperback: 374 pages
Rating: 4 stars
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander, a captivating new romance in which a daring young woman must choose between her past and her future. . .
Evelyn Hadley-Attwater has it all–a genteel Victorian life replete with loving husband, ball gowns and elegant parties. No one, including the man she married, suspects that she was once “Eve,” a spy for England’s most enigmatic intelligence agency. Summoned for one final assignment, the excitement of her former life and memories of her mysterious, flirtatious boss “Sir” prove too tempting. . .
Adrian Hadley-Attwater is a respectable, dignified gentleman. But even the most proper gentlemen have secrets of their own. Secrets from the rest of the world, from their families, from their wives. Secrets that have a price. Now, as a veil of secrecy frays, a tantalizing game of cat and mouse will test the bounds of unfailing love.
Trouble begins for Lady Evelyn Hadley-Attwater when she receives a note from Sir Maxwell Osgood requesting her help. When she left The Department two years ago to marry Lord Hadley-Attwater, she thought her life as a spy was in the past. Now they need her help to locate a missing file containing the names of their agents.
Lord Adrien Hadley-Attwater knows that his wife is up to something. She has been distracted and not herself of late. He fears that she has become bored with her life as a Lady of Society, and fears most that his beautiful wife is turning her attention elsewhere for excitement…like another man.
Which is more dangerous to Evelyn, returning to a life as an agent, or a jealous husband bent on discovering her secrets?
This is another well written novel by Ms. Alexander which brings back many of the great characters we met in His Mistress by Christmas and drops many hints of other happenings in the family and setting us up for future novels.
My only disappointment is that the information on this novel made it sound like this story would surround the mystery and intrigue of Evelyn returning to her life as a spy. Unfortunately, the majority of the story deals with the fact that Evelyn is preoccupied by her assignment and Lord Hadley-Attwater jumps to the conclusion that since she is not 100 percent focused on him (self-centered much!), that she must be having an affair because she is bored with their two-year marriage. Yeah, let’s jump directly to your loving and happy wife must be sleeping with someone else because she isn’t focused on your every word. Hey, maybe one of her friends has a problem…or maybe one the servants is stealing… That’s one heck of a jump to her having an affair. It also seems that for an ex-spy Evelyn is a little slow catching on to some of the secrets her own husband has been hiding.
Regardless of my disappointment, the story is well written and quite funny, and I am intrigued by where Victoria Alexander will be going some of her characters.
This very entertaining scene is between Lord Hadley-Attwater and his valet.
“You did have an interesting life, sir,” Vincent murmured.
“A certain restlessness is to be expected in a man after two full years of eminently proper living,” Adrian said and wondered exactly whom he was trying to convince.
Vincent cleared his throat.
Adrian knew that sound. “Well?”
“Well what, sir?”
“Well, tell me whatever it is you are thinking.”
“I daresay you won’t like it.”
“I don’t expect to like it.”
“Permission to speak freely then?”
“Because you haven’t spoken freely up to now?” Adrian glared, “I know exactly what you’re doing, you know.”
“Do you, sir?”
“You think the longer this discussion goes on, the more likely I am to come to my senses. To look at all this rationally.”
“You have always been a rational man.”
“Well, it won’t work. Not this time. There is no need for me to come to my senses because I have not lost them.” His bows drew together. “The facts speak for themselves.” He ticked the points off his fingers. “Her manner has been odd of late. She went to the museum without mention it to me.”
Vincent gasped, “Oh no, sir, not the museum.”
“Sarcasm, Vincent, is unbecoming in a servant.”
“I beg your forgiveness, my lord.”
Adrian ignored the sarcastic note in the other man’s voice and continued, “She slipped away to meet someone in Dunwell’s library. Soon thereafter, that scoundrel Radington arrived, all too delighted to see my wife, I might add. The man surreptitiously slipped a note into his pocket, obviously to hide it from me, the unsuspecting husband. A note which, no doubt, arranged an assignation. And the stationery…” He paused for emphasis. “Was cream in color.”
Vincent stared in confusion.
“My wife’s stationery is cream in color,” he said pointedly.
“Ah, well, there you have it then.” Vincent shook his head. “Cream isn’t at all a common color for a lady’s stationery.”
“My apologies, sir.”
ORDER A COPY: The Perfect Death (John Stallings)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: February 1, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Through him, they’ll live forever. His creation will be a testament to their perfection–and to his skill. Each victim has a rare innocence, worthy of being immortalized in his macabre work of art. A beauty worth killing for. . .
Detective John Stallings can’t avoid getting drawn into his latest investigation. The parallels between the Jacksonville girl who just disappeared and his long-vanished daughter make every discovery a potential clue in his own painful mystery. Then one by one, bodies are discovered–all young women, strangled to fulfill a madman’s obsession. . .
What began as a missing persons case has become a desperate race to find and stop Stallings’ most ruthless adversary yet. And the closer he gets to the answers, the more there is to fear–from a killer whose bloodlust is growing by the day, and a truth too terrifying to face. . .
Missing Persons Det. John Stallings and his partner, Patty Levine, are trying to a missing teenage girl. Homicide Det. Tony Mazzetti and his partner, Sparky Taylor, are trying to find who strangled a woman and dropped her body in a dumpster. When their cases collide, all they can do is hope their missing girl isn’t another victim of the murderer.
The killer is working hard to finish his art project, confident that the police won’t stop him until he has completed his masterpiece.
Can the police put together the pieces of the puzzle, none of which seem to fit together, before the killer completes his work?
This is a compelling mystery and as we watch the killer select random victims, with no set pattern, we can only hold our breath and hope that the police can find the key to catch the killer as the bodies pile up.
My only real complaint about this book is the number of point of views that we follow during this story. We have the point of view (POV) of (1) John Stallings; (2) John’s partner, Patty; (3) Tony Mazzetti; (4) Yvonne Zini, the squad Sergeant; (5) the Killer; and (6) occasionally the victims. At certain points, with some of the POVs only lasting a page or a page and half before switching to another POV, it made the story very choppy and slowed down the pace of the story considerably. There is one section in the middle, where these short bursts of story worked well and certainly built the tension, leaving quick cliff hangers. (I was trying to find someplace to stop so I could go to sleep, and I just couldn’t stop.) Some sections did go on for a while with just John and Patty or with Tony and Sparky for longer periods, and that flowed nicely. Unfortunately, the shorter POV sections where tensions were not really being built up, just made the reading a little jerky.
This certainly is a good story for anyone who likes a crime drama.
Received ARC courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you.
(This was one of the many short sections I was referring to. It only consisted of a page)
A few minutes later Stallings was looking into the dark eyes of Liz Dubeck while Patty politely waited in the car and made a few phone calls.
Liz said, “Any luck on finding the girl?”
He shook his head. “That’s why I’m here. See if you remember anything.”
“Nothing new, but I could ask around. People might by more inclined to talk to me than a big, scary cop.”
“You think I’m scary?”
“I don’t, but others might. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in the neighborhood and can ask without raising any eyebrows.”
“That’d be great. I’ll be on my cell.”
Liz paused, smiled and said, “Why don’t we discuss it over coffee? Maybe tomorrow morning.”
He froze, surprised by the offer.
“I’ll come over near the sheriff’s office. Is there some place you like in particular?”
He stared at her unable to speak.
Liz said, “How about Junior’s by the Mobis Tower. Everyone seems to like it and it’s far enough away from your office that we won’t run into anyone if that makes you more comfortable.”
He slowly nodded.
“Maybe you’ll regain your power of speech by then.”
He nodded again and headed out to Patty in the car.