Category Archives: Police Drama
We’re talking with author Marc Rainer about his work as a former Assistant United States Attorney, as well as where he plans to take his fictional task force in future stories.
ORDER A COPY: Capital Kill
Publishing Date: March 31, 2013
Paperback: 333 pages
Rating: 5 stars
A few short blocks from the safety of the museums and monuments on the National Mall, a ruthless killer prowls the streets of Washington DC. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask joins a team of FBI agents and police detectives as they try and solve the series of brutal murders. As the body count rises, the investigation leads to a chilling confrontation with the leader of an international drug smuggling ring, and no one is safe, not even the police.
Jeffrey Trask decided it was time to leave the Air Force Justice Department. The work was fulfilling, but the hours and the travel successfully killed his marriage. Moving to Washington D.C. and accepting a position as an Assistant United States Attorney, meant more than just a change of location. The court system in D.C. encompasses 68 square miles of madness, with the various levels of trial courts, as well as Metro Police, FBI, CIA, DEA and the like constantly trying not to step on each other toes. But Jeff thinks he is up for the task.
His boss certainly does. Robert Lassiter, Chief of the Criminal Bureau, needs more men with a trial record and the ethics of a man like Jeff Trask and he is staking is reputation pushing Trask up the ladder straight to Federal Court level.
Trask hits his first few days on the job running — straight to Court and meeting some of D.C.’s finest, Detectives Dixon “Dix” Carter and Juan Ramirez, better known about town as The Twins, bring in a 18 year old selling PCP who might know just what happened to their snitch, Junebug. Little do they know that this bust will become a case that will change their lives forever.
In this thrilling crime drama, we follow the police, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s Office as they work together through the complex D.C. legal system to bring down a dangerous drug lord who doesn’t fear getting his hands dirty and who believes that silencing snitches permanently is just an entertaining part of his job.
This is the best crime drama I have read in a long time. I loved the way we are introduced to the characters by just watching them go about their jobs. Just like in the real world the main storyline here is not the only case being worked on by any of these parties. By the end of the story, we don’t have to presume that Trask will win his case just because he’s a main character. We know he will because we have gotten to know that he is hard working and very knowledgeable. We have seen that Robert Lassiter has integrity and is more interested in doing right by the people of Washington D.C. than just furthering his career. We also learn that not everyone is a team player and that there are some more interested in getting ahead than getting dangerous criminals off the street.
This has a very Law and Order feel to it, but unlike L&O it isn’t split up into cops and lawyers. This story shows that to properly take down dangerous criminals you need a task force from the various agencies all working together for the same cause — keeping the people safe. It also shows that it’s not always about the star, it’s about the team, and sometimes even the new guy comes up with an important clue.
I was a big fan of the John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport and James Patterson’s Alex Cross, but I didn’t like that in both those stories the main character drifted away from their respective units and task forces, and were always working solo. They were following dangerous serial killers with no one backing them up, which would be insanity. Eventually I just lost interest.
I am looking forward to see where Book #2 takes us and if we will be meeting new characters as we investigate the next set of murders.
Here’s one I finally get to share with Dad. He’s going to love it.
Received a review copy from the author. Thank you.
“After the thing with Roderick Greene surfaced, I spoke with out best profiler at headquarters,” Dorez continued. “He said he’d never seen anything like this before. In his experience, most serial killers who leave calling cards are actually inviting a sordid game of Catch Me if You Can. They leave a real clue here or there, even if it’s some kind of misdirection. They try to show that they’re smarter than we are—dare us to catch them. That’s why we often see them writing us—or the media—letters, and they may even attempt to get some relationship established with one of us to personalize what they see as the game.
“This guy—our killer—is not doing any of those things. In our profiler’s opinion, he’s just spitting in our faces. He’s doing nothing at all to give us a clue—misdirection or otherwise—and believes we’re really helpless to stop him. It’s not that he wants a game. He believes he’s at war with us, and has nothing but hatred for us and his victims. That’s why he’s chosen to kill them in one of the most torturous ways possible, both mentally and physically, and that’s why he wants us to know he’s doing it—to intimidate us, his enemies.”
“Reminds me of some of the things I heard from the POWs after they came back from ‘Nam,” Lassiter said. “Some of the things the guards did at the Hanoi Hilton had nothing to do with getting information out of our guys. They just wanted them to suffer, and in some cases, die.”
“Exactly,” Doroz nodded. “What we have, guys, is a sociopathic sadist. Our profiler also said that I should warn everyone here to be extremely careful. This guy’s hatred for informants and cops means he may very well want to go down fighting and to take some of us with him.”
“Let’s not give him that opportunity,” Carter spoke in a somber tone. “He’s a problem, but he’s not worth anyone in his room going down. Let’s be smart, and as careful as our target has been.”
“If I might throw something out here,” Trask offered, “We also need to start planning to rebut an insanity defense, assuming that we’re able to take this guy alive and try him.”
“Agreed,” Lassiter said, “As well as a capital prosecution. We already have the required aggravation factors in evidence to justify a death-penalty case, even if we don’t have proof of the identify of the killer. And a capital prosecution would mean that the defense would automatically consider an insanity defense, even if we didn’t already have five murders so sadistic that a layman juror would already be thinking that the killer’s nuts.”
“So this asshole might skate because he just likes to kill. What a system.” Ramirez was walking around the room shaking his head.
I received an e-mail from the authors behind Big Bad Bite letting me know that their story has undergone a makeover and a review from a new editor, and they asked me to share that with our readers.
“We’re excited to announce that Big Bad Bite had a makeover! Inside and out! We have a sexy new cover featuring our favorite Wolf, Adam, AND Big Bad Bite was sent off and edited by the amazing girls at C&D Editing. Some might wonder, “Has the story changed?” The answer to that would be yes and no. No, because the story line is still the same. Yes, because it no longer has those pesky grammatical errors, info dumps were cut down, inconsistencies were caught, and best of all, a tiny scene was added! Overall, it’s a better story, but still has a kick ass, snarky heroine Jenna, and the snarly, but lovable, Adam who wants her.
So, if you haven’t picked up your copy of Big Bad Bite yet, then go get it today!”
What would it be like to live in a world where you are considered abnormal to those who are above the norm?
Jenna O’ Conner has been taught her whole life to hide from everyone. Never to let anyone to close enough to know that she would prefer a shotgun for her birthday over of a bouquet of roses. She’s been smothered by her over protective family so that no one learns what she truly is. Which is not human. Nor, is she considered the norm for the supernatural Other community that is benevolent enough to share this world with the humans.
In a desperate attempt to live her own life away from the small town she was raised in, Jenna obtains her dream job as the newest member on the Wilmington Police Department’s SWAT Team. What she didn’t predict was that she would run into trouble her first day on the job, in the form of a deadly, mouthwatering man named Adam McPhee. Who is also not human, but more like a wolf walking around in human skin. He’s determined to figure out exactly what Jenna is, which unbeknownst to him, could very well put her life in danger. He’s also determined to have her all to himself.
As if that wasn’t enough for Jenna to deal with, bad news blows into town. A group of extremist Shifters who think humans are cattle and factions of Others worldwide should stay within their own species – never to intermingle. Chaos ensues. Jenna has to find a way to shut them down, but in the process of trying to do that, discovers things about herself that even she never thought was possible.
Who said the wolf was what you had to worry about? Welcome to the real world.
Tomorrow we’ll have a bonus – Chapter 1
ORDER A COPY: Lucky Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: March 4, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars
It’s Christmas Day in the sleepy town of Sorenson, Wisconsin, but instead of unwrapping presents, deputy coroner Mattie Winston is at the burnt remains of a house, where a charred body has been found. The victim is none other than Jack Allen—a paraplegic who recently won a huge casino jackpot. Upon closer inspection, Mattie and detective Steve Hurley are convinced Jack was murdered to steal his winnings, giving the phrase Black Jack a whole new meaning.
But as Mattie investigates, even her cutting-edge forensic skills keep coming up short in a case with as many suspects as twists. After her odds-on-favorite turns up dead, Mattie and Hurley must race to find a killer before another victim cashes in his chips
Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston has been re-assigned as the liaison between the ME’s office and the police. This new promotion has been a joy and a torture. She gets to work all her cases directly with Det. Steve Hurley, the one man who has gotten her hormones working overtime since her divorce. Although they are now constantly together, their respective jobs require a certain personal distance. This means simply that Mattie can’t have the one man she wants the most.
Their current case involves a paraplegic named Jack Allen whose body is found in the charred remains of his house. It’s beginning to look like a case of arson. It appears that Jack has just won a huge jackpot at the local casino and he hasn’t kept that fact a secret. So that makes just about everyone in town a suspect. When an autopsy proves that Jack didn’t die from the fire, Hurley and Mattie need to sort through the facts to narrow down their killer.
While the investigation is keeping them on their toes, so is the building attraction between them. To Mattie there is no longer a question of whether or not Hurley wants more from her, but can she give up a job she loves and which challenges her so she can be with this man that sets her body aflame.
I like the characters in this series. I like that Mattie Winston is an average, everyday woman. She’s got body issues and too much love for ice cream and pizza. She hates to exercise and she stress eats. A former RN, she now works for her friend Izzy who is the local coroner, and her medical background is a perfect compliment to Hurley’s police work.
After her husband, the local surgeon is caught cheating in the hospital where they both worked, Mattie has found herself attracted to Hurley. They have reached the point where it is no longer a of question of whether those feelings are reciprocated, but now that they have admitted their mutual desires, they are forbidden from pursuing the relationship so there isn’t any shadow of a doubt of coercion between the departments.
Now my only complaint in this series is that this is book four of the series and it is a first person narrative. We watched while Mattie drooled over Hurley with only his casual flirting with her in return so there is a lot of that “does he like me like I like him” angst. We saw a building up of the attraction toward the end of book 3 when they suddenly become direct co-workers and can’t be together personally. Now in book 4 we finally know for certain that Hurley returns Mattie’s affections but because of the rules they can’t decide what’s more important, being together or working together. From where we left off, I can guess how book 5 will leave us hanging still further and (again just me guessing) how book 6 might also continue to drag out how Hurley and Mattie can’t be together. I’m all for building the sexual tension but come on now you can still have a good story with them together as a couple. It is one thing to drag it out for as long as possible in a YA book, but we’re all adults. Let’s work this out.
Mattie is the character whose bread will never fall butter side up, (but she’ll eat it anyway) in a very “I Love Lucy” way. She’s the character who will be locked out of her house in her underwear, or do something embarrassing when she thinks she’s alone, only to find there was a camera or a two-way mirror with people watching her. It makes for a lot of entertaining situations.
This is not a heart pounding thriller, but the puzzle solving is very entertaining. If you like shows like CSI, you will enjoy the storytelling and the characters are very likeable and the situations Mattie keeps getting into will leave you laughing.
I enjoy the series, and wish it would come out more than once a year.
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.
“You seemed to be enjoying yourself,” Whitehorse says as I’m stuffing my money in my purse. “How about a one-hundred-dollar voucher so you can come back and play on us?”
Feeling like I’ve hit the proverbial jackpot, I’m about to agree when Hurley speaks up.
“Thanks for the offer, but we can’t accept any gratuities. It might be construed as a conflict of interest.”
I realize Hurley is right and pout. Whitehorse shrugs and looks at me; his dark eyes are smoking. “Perhaps you’d like to come back sometime on your own dime, then. I’d love to show you around the place. Maybe even take you out to dinner?”
I’m flattered; but before I can answer, Hurley once again pipes up.
“I’m not sure that would be wise, at least until our investigation is over.”
“Then we’ll make dinner a part of the investigation,” Whitehorse counters, undeterred. “I’ll provide you with some insight into the overall operations of the casino, and do the same with any employees of interest. I’ll even arrange some interviews for you. That way you can consider it an official part of the investigation.” He looks at me and winks. “At least for now.”
I like Joe Whitehorse. He’s handsome, witty, affable, and the smoke signals in his eyes are hinting at a possible end to my sexual drought. “Thanks,” I say, smiling at him. “That would be nice.”
Hurley shifts uncomfortably, communicating his irritation. Then he says, “Fine. Where and when should we get together?”
Joe and I both turn to stare at him.
“Well, we’re a team,” Hurley says, pointing from me to himself. “And we’ve been issued an edict to oversee one another’s investigative efforts. So if you two are going to have dinner and discuss our investigation, I need to be there.”
“I see,” Joe says.
Hurley has clearly thrown down a gauntlet and I wait, curious to see if Joe will take the challenge. It’s my own personal game of cowboys and Indians—and I’m kind of liking it.
“Okay, then,” Joe says. “Why don’t you two plan on returning here tomorrow evening and I’ll bring the employee list and some files with me and go over them with you. We can meet at the restaurant next door. Does seven sound okay?”
“Seven will be fine,” Hurley says. His eyes are the color of cold steel and he’s wearing a smug smile, which irritates me.
We part company from Joe; on the way out to Hurley’s car, I fume. As soon as we’re settled inside, I let him have it.
“You don’t think you’re fooling anyone with that whole team speech, do you?”
“What do you mean?” he says, sounding all innocent. “It’s true.”
“I think you know damn well that Joe’s original purpose for the meal wasn’t to discuss the investigation.”
“That’s what he said,” Hurley says, shrugging.
“Because you cornered him into it.”
“If that wasn’t his intent, then what was?”
“He was asking me out on a date.”
“He was? I’m sorry. I didn’t pick up on that.”
“The hell you didn’t.”
ORDER A COPY: Die for Me: A Novel of the Valentine Killer
Publishing Date: February 12, 2013
Paperback: 358 pages
Rating: 5 pages
She thought her fiancé was the perfect man—until he turned out to be the perfect killer…
Katherine Cole is running for her life, desperate to escape the Valentine Killer—so-called because he stabs his victims through the heart and leaves them holding a telltale single red rose. Still he tracks her to New Orleans and begins carving a bloody path to her door. But this time, Katherine refuses to run any farther. This time, she’ll do anything to stop the madman she once loved, even trust the sexy cop promising to keep her safe…
Detective Dane Black never lets his emotions interfere with his job, even as the Valentine Killer surfaces in New Orleans to stalk his prey. But when Dane agrees to protect the killer’s ex-fiancée, Katherine Cole, he can’t ignore the passion kindling between them. After a single unforgettable night binds them body and soul, Dane knows he won’t rest until Katherine is safe in his arms—and the Valentine Killer is dead.
Katelynn thought she had the perfect life, a great job and a wonderful fiancé who loved her dearly. Then her life in Boston ended after her perfect man turned out to be a serial killer. She is still tormented by the knowledge that she never knew there was a monster that lived inside the man she loved. After walking in on the man now called The Valentine Killer, she was brought in and questioned by the Boston Police and she told them everything she knew, or thought she knew, about the man she called Michael. But they were never able to find him.
Three years later, she is living in New Orleans, with a new look and a new name. She now answers to the name of Katherine Cole. She thinks she is finally regaining control of her life when her nightmare starts again. A woman has been murdered, and she is found clutching one red rose.
Although it jeopardizes her new life, Katherine goes to the New Orleans Police Dept. to help them catch Valentine. When she approaches Det. Dane Black, he is concerned that Katherine is involved with the murders. How else could she know so much about the murder scenes? As he finds out more about Katherine and her life in Boston, he is convinced that Valentine is focusing on women who look like Katherine and this time, she might just become one of his victims if Dane isn’t quick enough.
Katherine will do whatever is necessary to help keep more women from becoming victims of this killer. While Katherine has never forgotten Valentine, Valentine has never forgotten the only woman he ever loved, and he is watching and waiting for an opportunity to be with his Kat again.
This was a nail biting thriller. It is not often that I get to read a thriller that just keeps me guessing. I think I had everyone guilty at one point or other during the story.
There was also an interesting thought throughout this story in that our killer was in love with and absolutely obsessed with our heroine, and Det. Black falls for Katherine and becomes obsessed with her. So what is the difference between the killer and the cop if they are both so obsessed with Katherine. A very interesting point.
On the romance scale, I’d only give it a 3 1/2 . I really wasn’t feeling it. Dane’s obsessive interest seemed to come too quickly and although they have sex, it is more of a quick, lust filled coming together with little foreplay. I usually enjoy the dance that Cynthia’s hero and heroine do before they come together, especially that first time, so I would say the focus on this story is more the thriller than the romance.
This story takes off from page 1 and never slows down. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy.
It wouldn’t have been fair to lead the guy on, not when she couldn’t make herself feel anything for him.
But then, she hadn’t felt very much in the past few years. Half the time, it seemed as if she were wrapped in some kind of fog, moving slowly through life.
You felt something when you were with the detective. The whisper slid through her mind. Katherine swallowed and turned toward the stairs. Right then, she didn’t want to think too much about the dark and dangerous detective. Instead, she wanted—
She came to an abrupt stop.
There were roses on the stairs.
The breath froze in Katherine’s chest.
Once upon a time, roses had been her favorite flowers. Then she’d learned just what Michael had been doing with the roses. Buying a dozen roses…then leaving one with his victim and bring the remaining eleven to her.
He brought them to me after each kill.
Her cheeks were wet now. Her hands were shaking.
And there were fucking roses on her stairs. In my house. “No,” Katherine whispered. This could not be happening.
But there was something beside the roses. A small box. It almost looked like a candy box from one of those fancy chocolate shops that she’d seen in the French Quarter a few times. Slender, long…
She was walking toward the box. She should be getting the hell out of there, but it was as if she were being pulled forward, forced toward that box.
I’ll look inside. It will just be chocolate. Trent could have left the candy and the flowers when I wasn’t looking. He dropped them off when he was here earlier and I was getting my purse.
It didn’t have to be from Valentine.
But he always sent me flowers after each death. She just hadn’t realized that fact until after it was too late. He’d sent her eleven roses, and his victim—each time his victim had the twelfth rose.
Her breath sawed out of her lungs as her gaze locked on those roses. Helplessly she began to count them.
One, two, three…
The scent of the roses was sickly sweet.
Four, five, six…
There were thorns on the roses. Thorns that would draw blood.
Seven, eight, nine…
Her heart beat so hard that it hurt her chest.
Ten. Eleven. Dear God, only eleven.
The twelfth rose was missing.
She picked up the box. Nearly dropped it because she was so scared and nervous. Then her shaking fingers lifted the lid off the box. Rose petals fell onto the steps. Then she screamed, a long, desperate sound, but one that also burned with rage because the sick bastard was back. He was playing games with her—with his victims—all over again.
There was no chocolate in the box.
She dropped it. Jumped back.
Katherine whirled and ran for the door. Get away, get away, get away.
Because the nightmare of her past had found her once more.
Sorry for the delay. Rafflecopter gave me the finger this morning and told me to come back later. Our winner of the ARC copy is Joanne B.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered!
ORDER A COPY: Calculated in Death
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 416 pages
Rating: 4 stars
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.
A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn’t seem the type to be on anyone’s hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta’s murder was the work of a killer who’s trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.
But when someone steals the files out of Marta’s office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke’s world of big business to figure out who’s cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer’s violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait.
As we near the end of 2060, the city is gearing up for the holidays and all the talk is about the upcoming premiere of The Icove Agenda. But not everyone is focused on the holidays, some are focused on murder.
Lt. Eve Dallas and her partner, Det. Peabody are called to the scene of what is supposed to look like a mugging gone wrong. Marta Dickenson is found at the bottom of a stairway with a broken neck, but her body was dragged off into a corner and her injuries aren’t consistent with a fall. What is Marta, an unassuming wife and mother, doing strolling around a neighborhood, no where near her home or her office? And why would a mugger go through the trouble to stealing her coat, but leaving her really expensive boots? This set up is so sloppy, it wouldn’t fool a rookie. Marta wasn’t mugged—Marta was the victim of cold-blooded murder.
It doesn’t take long for Dallas to track Marta back to her job as a financial auditor or to learn that Marta has just been reassigned several new files that morning. What could Marta have learned so quickly that would lead to murder? Mug her, steal her briefcase and files in case she was taking work home, but murdering her is overkill and brings up too many questions.
When Dallas and Peabody start to ask too many questions and makes someone very nervous, but what kind of idiot would make an attempt on not just one cop, but two? Killing a cop wouldn’t stop an investigation. It would just focus all attention on their current case.
Dallas has used her skills and her ability to get into the mind of a killer to solve many cases over her decade as a cop, but how do you outthink a murderer who isn’t acting logically?
I’m a huge fan of Eve Dallas and the whole gang. It is always enjoyable to me to pick up one of these stories both for the thriller aspect as well as the personal aspect of the story. Although this was not the most exciting story on either front, it was still an enjoyable read.
What I like about the series is that something that happens in one story might be slightly discussed in one book but it will become very important several stories later. For example, when Mira tells Dallas a story about her childhood in one book, and Dallas doesn’t call her on the discrepancy in her story until the next book, or if a gift Dallas gets from Roarke, it is just a gift in one story, but becomes an important and necessary tool in the next. I guess when you know you will continue to write stories, you have the time to subtly set up scenarios for the future.
Although this was not the most exciting case they have ever worked on, it was still enjoyable to “work” with Dallas and the gang again.
Received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
Considering, enjoying, Roarke rocked back on his heels as he studied the image. “We have samplings, the fingerprint, and the exterior views here. It’s certainly doable.”
“How long?” Eve demanded.
“Oh, with some luck and another two skilled men, maybe a week. With more luck, three days.”
“Crap. Does it look like I have a week?” She paced away, then back. “I’ve got the resources of the entire EDD, I’ve got the ridiculous resources of the biggest, slickest, most conniving e-geek on or off planet—“
“And you need a freaking week to outgeek some skinny hacker who likes to call himself the Mole?”
Roarke only smiled at her. “That’s about right, yes.”
“Dallas, the freaking Enterprise,” McNab reminded her. “You have to understand the complexities, the filter, the—“
“No, I don’t.” She pointed to McNab. “You do.” She pointed again, more vehemently when he started to speak again.
“I got it!”
Eve sung around toward Peabody. “What?”
Peabody waved her PPC triumphantly. “It’s the Kirk thing, The Enterprise thing. It reminded me I’d hit this name that made me snicker when I was running the van—the Cargo. Here is it is. Tony Stark.”
“Oh, baby.” McNab blew her a double-handed kiss. “Good call.”
“It’s gotta be, right?” Peabody said to McNab. “It’s his style.”
“Who the hell is Tony Stark?” Eve demanded.
“Iron Man,” Roarke told her. “Superhero, genius, innovative engineer, and billionaire playboy.”
“Iron man? You’re talking about a comic book guy?”
“Graphic novel,” Roarke and McNab said together.
“What do you bet it’s him, Dallas?” Peabody asked. “Heroes from classic novels and vids. It fits. They used his van.”
“Possibly. Okay, from the looks of you three, probably. We’ll push on it once we have him, but first we have to get him. Now let me think.”
So she paced, and she plotted. There was no way in hell she’d get this close and surrender to some ferret-faced electronic asshole who used aliases based on fictional characters from science fiction and comic books.
A geek, she considered. And one who like to see himself as the hero, the smart one. Billionaire playboy? The one who got the women.
“Your high-tech can’t beat his high-tech? We go low. We go goddamn classic. Peabody, ditch the jacket.”
When Peabody took it off, Eve fisted her hands on her hips, took a hard study. “Unbutton the shirt.”
Peabody’s eyes popped, shocked brown balloons. “What!”
“Two—no three buttons down. Jesus, Peabody,” Eve strode over to do it herself. “We’ve all seen tits before.” She arched her eyebrows at the fancy lace number Peabody wore under the shirt, which nearly matched the color that currently heated her cheeks. “We could get blown up or something, and this is what you want people to see an NYPSD detective wearing under her clothes?”
“I wasn’t planning on getting blown up today. Or undressed by my partner.” She lifted a hand to draw the shirt back together. Eve slapped it away.
“Shove them up,” Eve ordered.
“Shove them up there.”
“I’ll do it.”
“Stand down, McNab,” Eve said mildly. “You know what I mean. Pump them up some.”
When Eve started to do it for her, Peabody jumped back. “I can do it myself, thanks.” Muttering, she turned her back. Her shoulders wiggled. And flushing furiously, she turned around again.
Ignoring McNab’s comment, Eve circled her partner. “It’s going to work.”
“Classic,” Roarke said.
“What’s going to work? What’s classic? I want my jacket.”
“Forget it. You’re going to walk right up to the Mole’s front door, and he’s going to answer.”
“I am? He is?”
“Damsel in distress, right?” Eve said to Roarke.
“A very alluring damsel. Clever, Lieutenant.”
“Oh, okay. I get it. I look like I’m in trouble—all alone, unarmed. Harmless. Girl. He opens up to find out what’s what. You should do it,” Peabody told Eve.
“You’re the one with the tits. Men are stupid for tits.”
“Harsh,” Roarke observed. “But largely true.”
“Plus, you’re the type, obviously, who appeals to skinny geeks.”
“Oh yeah,” McNab confirmed. “Completely.”
ORDER A COPY: The Wolf Within
Publisher: Curtis Brown Digital
Publishing Date: November 15, 2012
Kindle eBook: 278 pages
Rating: 5 stars
FBI Special Agent Duncan McGuire spends his days–and his nights–tracking real-life monsters. Most humans aren’t aware of the vampires and werewolves that walk among them. They don’t realize the danger that they face, but Duncan knows about the horror that waits in the darkness. He hunts the monsters, and he protects the innocent. Duncan just never expects to become a monster. But after a brutal werewolf attack, Duncan begins to change…and soon he will be one of the very beasts that he has hunted.
Dr. Holly Young is supposed to help Duncan during his transition. It’s her job to keep him sane so that Duncan can continue working with the FBI’s Para Unit. But as Duncan’s beast grows stronger, the passion that she and Duncan have held carefully in check pushes to the surface. The desire that is raging between them could be a very dangerous thing…because Holly isn’t exactly human, not any longer.
As the monsters circle in, determined to take out all of the agents working at the Para Unit, Holly and Duncan will have to use their own supernatural strengths in order to survive. But as they give up more of their humanity and embrace the beasts within them both, they realize that the passion between them isn’t safe, it isn’t controllable, and their dark need may just be an obsession that could destroy them both.
FBI Special Agent Duncan McGuire is a member the paranormal unit of the FBI. He joined to take the killer weres and vamps off the street. Duncan’s family was killed by werewolves when he was just a child. He wants to do what he can to clean up the streets to make up for the loss of his family.
His most recent case leaves him trapped in an alley when a pack catches up to him. Unless you have the right DNA, a werewolf bite will be fatal. For a man who has hated the weres all his life, the fact that he has the right DNA might save his life, but it will turn him into one of the monsters he is trying to get off the street.
The last thing Duncan wants when he might turn into a monster is to be brought back to the FBI paranormal containment hospital to be checked out by Dr. Holly Young. Duncan has wanted the shy, reserved doctor since he first met her, and he knows that the wolf within will want her even more.
As the full moon approaches, if he can keep his sanity during the first change, he might just be able to be an asset to the Para Unit. Just in time since his superior strength and keen nose will be needed to sniff out the traitor in the FBI who is trying to undermine all the unit’s hard work to catch the more dangerous paranormals.
What an exciting story! It has the absolutely perfect blend of hot werewolf sexiness and intense FBI drama to keep your heart racing, but for very different reasons.
From the moment Duncan is brought into the Para unit, his wolf starts to emerge and when he gets close to Holly, the wolf starts taking over, and he wants one thing, Holly. So right from the start we have our sexy werewolf growling mine. *shiver*
Duncan has wanted to date Holly since he first saw her, but he was afraid he was too rough for her since she was so shy and standoffish around him. Holly has wanted Duncan too, but something happened to Holly a year ago, and now she’s not human anymore. She has been avoiding the gorgeous Duncan to avoid harming him with her new strength. So this was two people waiting for a chance to jump each other.
This is the first in the new Purgatory series, and I can see that it will be full of suspense and excitement. You knew that somebody was dirty, but it was impossible to figure out who you could trust. I spent the whole book going “I don’t trust him.—No, he’s okay.—No, no. I knew he was bad.—Alright, maybe it’s not him.—Hey, what’s that guy doing—Ugh! Who is it?” You just can’t trust anyone. They are all hiding some secret, but hiding something doesn’t make them evil.
We meet some interest subcharacters who I am sure will be the subject of other books in the series. Sadly, we will have to leave Duncan and Holly to their HEA and move on. I really liked these characters.
His hand flew to his face. His eyes were wide open, the gold even bolder in that blue gaze than it had been moments before. His lips were parted, and she could just see the edge of his lengthening canines.
Oh, hell. “Duncan?”
He jerked to a sitting position, snapping those straps that had been over his body in an instant, and he yanked her closer to him. His other hand rose and wrapped around her shoulder, effectively trapping her in place.
His brows lowered as he studied her, and his nostrils widened as if he were drinking in her scent.
“D-Duncan, you’re back at the med unit. I’m just checking you over to make sure—“
His head lowered toward her throat. Holly yelped, thinking he was going for her jugular, and she tried to push him back.
Only there was no pushing him.
Enhanced strength, definite check. It sure looked like Pate was right about the alpha coming out in Duncan.
He was right.
And I could be screwed.
Her nails sank into his shoulders. She didn’t want to hurt him. He’d been hurt enough. But…
He wasn’t biting her. Wasn’t sinking those new, wickedly sharp canines of his into her neck. He was—
Nuzzling her? What. The. Hell?
Holly was pretty sure that she’d just felt the lick of his tongue over her neck.
She shuddered against him. “Ah…Duncan…you need to let me go…I can help you…”
He was on the edge of the table now. He’d pulled her between his legs. Caged her so well. The heat from his body scorched her.
His right hand wasn’t on her shoulder any longer. It had just dropped to the curve of her ass.
“Duncan!” Her voice snapped at him.
His head lifted. Only the man she’d known wasn’t staring back at her from the gold/blue eyes. A hungry beast stared back at her. A beast who sure looked like he was ready for a bite.
Been there, done that.
That burning gaze seemed to consume her. “Want…” The word was an inhuman rasp, a beast’s growl.
“You…” Holly paused, wet her too dry lips and muttered, “need to let me go—“
Her mouth was still open when his lips crashed down on hers. Not gentle. Not even close. Desperate and rough and wild. His tongue thrust into her mouth. His hold tightened around her, and Duncan—
ORDER A COPY: Nightbred: Lords of the Darkyn
Publishing Date: December 4, 2012
Paperback: 336 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Jamys Durand has survived being made an immortal Darkyn, horrific torture, and years of grueling warrior training. But he has no future to offer Chris, the mortal woman he loves, without his own territory. When he learns of a lost Templar treasure, Jamys vows to possess it and win his lady’s heart.
No one knows Chris Lang wants to be a tresora so she can live with Jamys, her secret love. Her superiors offer to make her dream come true, but only if she finds the lost treasure before Jamys can. Working together, Chris and Jamys track the jewels through a shadowy maze of priceless artifacts, decadent secrets, and one ruthless opponent who can possess an immortal’s mind…and will stop at nothing to have Chris.
Lynn Viehl finally gives us the long awaited story of Jamys Durand. In opposition to most supernatural stories which feature bulky warriors frozen at their peak of maturity, Jamys faced death and was made a Darkyn at the young age of 17, just on the cusp of adulthood. Jamys is a 700 year old Darkyn, but his youthful appearance has been a hindrance all his existence.
Jamys and his father were betrayed by Jamys’s mother to their enemies, the Brethren, who tortured them for years. These years of torture left Jamys unable to speak and almost without his sanity, add to that Jamys’s premature turning, this has left Thierry Durand as an overprotective father to his 700 year old teenage son. You can imagine that endless treatment not as a grown man and a warrior, but as a child who needed to be guided and protected, is a worse fate than the years of torture at the hands of the Brethren.
This was a fate that Jamys had resigned himself long ago, until he met Chris Lang, a friend of Samantha Brown, homicide detective and mate of the powerful Lord Lucan Alenfar. Now Jamys is focused on becoming a warrior in his own right and winning his own jardin–a territory of his own to rule so he could take Chris as his mate. He has been focusing all his time on training and planning on how to meet this goal since he left her side three years ago. Now Jamys has received news that could makes his dream a reality. The High Lord Richard Tremayne has offered a boon to anyone who can recover the three emeralds known as the Emeralds of Eternity–reign over the territory known as Ireland. Now Jamys will stop at nothing to be the first to locate the jewels so he can finally be with Chris, even if he must go behind his father’s back and trespass into Lucan’s jardin where the jewels were last seen. And who better to help Jamys in his quest than his lovely Chris who is grew up in the area Jamys will be searching. It will also give him the time he needs to convince her that they belong together.
Jamys is not the only Darkyn searching for this prize, but with so many dreams resting on his success, Jamys is a man possessed.
Although this is Book 2 of the Lord of the Darkyn series, there is several in the original Darkyn series. This was my first read from this series and although I could follow along, I did have to check out the descriptions for the other books which filled in some blanks for the other characters mentioned. Since I am not that familiar with the story and the world building, it took me awhile to get into it, and it was written more for those who have been following. We are reminded of Jayms torture and his mother’s deception, but there is no real explanation for newcomers, but I am sure if you have been following the series, you would definitely be excited that Lynn has finally gotten to Jamys and Chris’s story.
Overall I was disappointed. I love when an author gives us something different. In this story, Jamys was turned before he reached full maturity and this leads to issues with him being treated as a child by his father as well as the other warriors and Darkyn, even though he was over 700 years old. This opened up so many interesting avenues to explore with our hero being a cute 700 year old teenager, rather than a savage, muscular, sexy warrior. Aside from some early references to him needing to get away from his father’s overbearing love and a couple of warriors making comments about fighting with a boy, it just wasn’t stressed enough.
Also there is supposed to be a big storyline about the treasure hunt, but there is very, very little of a hunt in this book. They end up making very few stops on their quest.
There is also a good amount of time focusing on Lucen and Samantha which will swing around and be part of Jamys and Chris’s story, but it took time away from us really getting into their story.
This was my first Lynn Viehl story, but in this story women don’t rate very high. Samatha, the homicide detective, is kept on a short leash by Lucen and since her boss is under the Lucen’s govern, he sends her home when Lucen dictates. She can’t leave until it’s dark out and then has to be home by midnight. Also, the human helpers to the Darkyn are supposed to do whatever is dictated by the Lord they have given their service to, including giving them blood or sex to that Lord or whoever they are assigned to assist.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
The caress of his breath across the bare back of her neck made her close her eyes briefly Jamys knew she was hurt because he smelled the fresh blood, the Kyn were almost like sharks that way.
“I cut myself on a piece of glass I had in my pocket.” She reached for the box of tissues, but Jamys had her bleeding hand in his, and was examining the small wounds. “It’s nothing.”
His eyes shifted to hers, and she saw a thin ring of glowing amber encircling his pupils, which had begun to contract to thin vertical slivers. “Why hide it from me? Do you think I will feed on you?”
“No, I was embarrassed because I was clumsy.” From the look he gave her it was clear that he didn’t believe her. “I’ve been assigned to you, my lord, and I’m trained to take care of your needs. If you want the blood, I’ll go get a glass.”
Jamys kept his eyes on hers as he slowly lifted her injured hand to his mouth. His dents acérées flashed for a moment before he sank them into the heel of his own hand.
Chris caught her breath as he raised his head. Two drops of blood beaded in the small puncture wounds that were already beginning to close. “What are you doing?”
“Healing you.” Jamys guided one of her hurt fingers to his palm, and gently pressed the cut into the blood, Chris caught her breath as she felt the cool mingling of his blood with hers, and then her cut went numb. He repeated the act again with her other finger, and then used a tissue to blot the blood away.
Chris saw both of her cuts had closed, just as fast as the punctures in his palm. “Why did you bother?”
“You are not my food, Christian, or my servant. You are my friend, and I do not want you hurt.” He put his hand to the back of her head, holding it as he pressed a kiss to her brow. “Do you understand?”
“Sure. Friendship works for me.” No, it didn’t, but he wasn’t asking for someone else. At least he still liked her. “Your eyes are doing the cat thing, though, and I know that means you haven’t fed for a while. Or you want to have wild monkey sex. Or both.” Had she actually said that out loud? God, she had. “I’ll, um, go make a glass of bloodwine for you.”
“I do not want sex with a wild monkey.” Jamys removed the long comb holding her hair back and placed it on the counter. As the twist slumped against her nape, he worked his hand through it, releasing the wavy mass. “Your hair was scarlet when I saw you last.”
“Mud brown is what I was born with.” She knew with it down she looked about sixteen, too. “I stopped dyeing it after you left.”
His fingers stilled as he found the one hairpin she wore to keep her silver streak out of sight.
“That’s not dyed, either,” she admitted. “I started going gray like an old lady back in high school.”
“Do not hide it.” He spread the strands out. “It does not make you seem older. It is beautiful.”
“I don’t think any woman under the age of ninety would agree with you.” As he brought the silvery lock to his lips, Chris forgot to breathe. “You’re kissing my hair.”
“It feels like gossamer.” He smoothed it back and looked all over her face. “Your piercings, what happened to them?”
“No one takes you seriously when you wear rings in your eyebrow, so I let them close up.” Absently she touched a tiny scar on the curve of her lip, and then she understood why he hadn’t recognized her at first. “You were expecting me to look the way I did three years ago?”
“That is how I remember you.” He touched each place where she had been pierced, and when he reached her lip he ran his thumb back and forth over the small dimple. “’You seem so different now.”
“I’m not the same girl I was. I grew up.” She ignored the way the cross under her blouse seemed suddenly to weight as much as an anchor. “Everyone does, even if they’re Kyn and they don’t age. You’ve changed, too.” She eyed the black hair spilling over his shoulders. She often envied the Kyn their hair, which like their fingernails sometimes grew several inches longer overnight, usually right after it was cut. The Kyn never had to suffer a bad hair day more than one day. “You’ve nailed the ponytail look, I think, but how did you get all the new muscle?”
Suddenly he looked tired and unhappy. “I have also been training.”
ORDER A COPY: Delusion in Death
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: September 11, 2012
Hardcover: 416 pages
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
It was just another after-work happy-hour bar downtown, where business professionals unwound with a few drinks . . .until something went terribly wrong. And after twelve minutes of chaos and violence, eighty people lay dead.
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is trying to sort out the inexplicable events. Surviving witnesses talk about seeing things—monsters and swarms of bees. They describe sudden, overwhelming feelings of fear and rage and paranoia. When forensics gives its report, the mass delusions make more sense: It appears the
bar patrons were exposed to a cocktail of chemicals and illegal drugs that could drive anyone to temporary insanity—if not kill them outright.
But that doesn’t explain who would unleash such horror—or why. And if Eve can’t figure it out fast, it could happen again, anytime, anywhere. Because it’s airborne.
In Delusion in Death, we are immersed in everyone’s secret fear, an unprovoked terrorist attack against innocent people which could hit anytime, anywhere, and which could turn your best friend into your killer.
As the series brings us to the Fall of 2060, hard working New Yorkers are stopping on their way home for a little Happy Hour, a quick meeting with friends or a drink after a long day before heading home. But what no one realizes when they walk in, is that they won’t be going home tonight…most not ever again. Someone has released a toxic brew of chemicals and hallucinogenic drugs into the air which has caused these unsuspecting citizens of New York to lose their minds and go on a killing spree.
Although the effects of the drugs are short term, when released into a packed room of people, such as a bar full of patrons, the mix of drugs causes delusions and feelings fear, anger, and outright rage, and anything from a fork to a piece of furniture becomes a weapon of death. By the time the effects of the drugs wear off, the carnage caused by friends, lovers, co-workers or strangers is staggering. The few survivors describe a sudden headache and then an overwhelming fear and a need to destroy the danger that is attacking them.
Just like those responsible wanted, the people of New York are terrified. Nowhere is safe. The violence begins with no warning, and can hit anytime of the day, at a bar, a crowded café, or a favorite restaurant. While the citizens of New York cower in their homes, Dallas and her task force needs to work fast to locate and shut down those responsible before they strike again or before Homeland Security comes in and takes matters into their own hands.
This is J.D. Robb’s (a/k/a Nora Roberts) 35th In Death novel. You would think by now we would have had enough of Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, McNab, Feeney and the rest of the crew, but even after 35 books and 9 novellas, she can still bring new, fresh ideas and a terrifying new story with a frightening new twist.
I always enjoy the In Death stories, while some of the novels are more Dallas-centric (New York to Dallas), others are more focused on moving forward the relationships between Dallas and her husband, Roarke (Innocent in Death), or her partner, Peabody (Vision in Death), and still others focus the interest on the science fiction aspect of the novels (Fantasy in Death). At 400 pages, Delusion in Death has a great deal of investigation going on (so much that a good deal takes place “off page” with just a synopsis of the new findings during briefings. Although Dallas is still recovering both physically and emotionally from her trip to Dallas and there are moments with Roarke, Mira and Peabody, this book focuses mostly on the investigation with Dallas’s relationships staying status quo. I missed that personal aspect of the story this time as much as I missed, Feeney, Peabody and the crew in New York to Dallas.
To me there is no question that as long as the cases and life of Eve Dallas and crew continue to intrigue and excite, I will continue to read and enjoy the stories of NYPSD’s top cop.
Received an ARC from Penguin books. Thank you.
“You don’t think it’s anything like that. A jealous boyfriend, an abusive husband, an angry sister or daughter.”
“Probability’s low, but everyone has to be checked out. The whole thing could have been a cover for a single target.”
Who would do that? She wondered. Kill dozens for the one?
Then shaking her head she answered her own question. “People are fucked up, Roarke. Your spouse leaves you, or has you tossed in jail for smacking her around? Go big. Take her out, and take her friends or her new lover out too. Take a shitload of people out, and more, you’ve got a way to make em do it to themselves.”
“Striking or raping your mate doesn’t say controlled to me.”
“Sure, it can be. My father was controlled, in his way. He kept me isolated and afraid for the first eight years of my life. He did whatever he wanted to me.”
“You were a child.”
“Not the point. It’s not,” she insisted. “He controlled Stella, too, again in his way. Convincing her to get pregnant, give birth, deal with me. If Mira were to profile him, he’d fit this pretty well. Except there’s no payday here—not that I can see, and that was the driving force with him.”
“He’s on your mind,” Roark stated. “Him, McQueen, Stella.”
“Not up front. They destroyed lives, and these are a lot of lives destroyed. So…I thought of Cassandra, too, how that group targeted New York landmarks, taking out innocent lives in the bargain. That was obsession as much as terrorism. And this doesn’t strike me the same.”
Understanding how she worked, Roarke gave her a springboard. “How is it different?”
“He wants blood, but he doesn’t want to get bloody. He wants death, but doesn’t want to kill—not directly. He doesn’t need to watch the lights to out, to smell the fear, to taste the pain. Playing God, yeah, but playing God with science.”
“The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”
“No, but some insist they are. Like God’s all, zip, pow and creates an orangutan out of thin air.”
“I simply adore your mind.”
“Well, that’s the nutshell from one side, and the other far end’s all, no uh-uh. No higher power out there. What happened was basically a giant fart in space, and boom.”
“Absolutely adore it,” Roarke repeated. “A space fart to orangutans?”
ORDER A COPY: Nowhere to Hide
Publishing Date: August 31, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
“Do unto others…” Carefully, he carves the words into their flesh. The victims are all young, brunette, pretty. But she’s the one he really wants. The others are just a way to ease the rage that has festered for years, until the only thing that calms him is his knife slicing through skin.
Detective September Rafferty—Nine to her friends—recognizes the artwork that arrives in the mail. She created it back in second grade. Now a killer’s words are slashed across it in what looks like blood. He knows her. September’s investigation leads to her old classmate, Jake Westerly. She wants to believe Jake is innocent. But trusting anyone could be her last mistake.
Every slight, every slur, he remembers them all. They turned him into a monster, and now they will suffer for it. Starting with September, he’ll show them that the past can never stay hidden, and the time of vengeance is at hand.
Detective September “Nine” Rafferty is new to the Laurelton Police Department and she is now in charge of the “Do Unto Others” case. The big question is–did the murders begin when she started her new job in Laurelton, or because she started her new job in Laurelton. As Nine and her partner interview friends and acquaintances of the murdered women, the facts keep circling back to Nine and her youth. September doesn’t know if she’s paranoid or if the killer really does have something to do with her own past and is she just a catalyst or a future target?
When her former high school love, Jake Westerly’s name keeps coming up, she knows she will have to speak to him about the murdered women, but just seeing Jake stirs up old feelings in Nine and she just can’t be thinking about that now, not when Jake is on a short list of those who knew the women.
Lover or murderer? September needs to work fast to find the murderer, or she might find that she lost her heart to a killer.
I am definitely going to be keeping my eye out for more Nancy Bush novels. I was again drawn in to the story and the characters and spent a lot of time going back and forth with “It’s him—No, it’s him!” Although I will say that I was drawn to Auggie and Liz a little bit more in Nowhere to Run, but Nowhere to Hide is a great follow up story to the case begun in Nowhere to Run.
If you enjoy thrillers, add Nancy Bush to your list of authors to check out!
Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you!
September made herself meet his searching eyes. There was humor in their grey depths. Teasing. She felt herself prickle up and had to remember that this wasn’t high school, or even grade school.
“Are you married?” he asked.
“Engaged or involved?”
“You keep up with Bambi?”
She snapped out of the trance-like feeling surrounding her and said shortly. “Barbara’s the one who’s married and she’s got two kids, a boy and a girl.”
“She live around here?” he asked.
“We keep in touch on Facebook,” September said. Before I deactivated it.
I’ll take that as a no. I think I have a Facebook account,” Jake said reflectively. “Might have to try using it more.” He got to his feet and peered at her speculatively. “Anything else, Officer?”
September gazed at him seriously and said, “Didn’t you have Mrs. Walsh in the second grade?”
He gave her a long look, thinking that over. “Mrs. McBride.”
“Ah. Do you remember an art project we did at the beginning of the school year? The whole class did it. It was of cut-out crayon-colored leaves pasted onto construction paper. The leaves were falling into a pile of more leaves on the ground.”
“And the leaves on the ground were just crayoned in, not pasted. Sure. My mother saved everything, and that ‘piece of art’ was one of her favorites. I kinda peaked out in second grade, so she hung onto that one for years.” He squinted at her. “Okay. You got me. Why…?”
September’s gaze searched his eyes, but he seemed completely lost. “Someone recently sent me my leaf picture with a message scrawled on it.”
He frowned. “What do you mean, ‘my leaf picture’?”
“It was my art project. From second grade. Someone sent it to me.”
“Your art project.”
He was as pedantic as Auggie, for God’s sake. “Yes. It was a warning.”
If he was faking his confusion, he was doing an excellent job. “But how? Who would…how could they get it?”
“I don’t know.”
“What did it say? The message.”
They were walking toward the parking lot now and September drew a breath. She wasn’t sure what she wanted from him. Proof that he wasn’t involved in either Sheila’s death or the warning to her, she supposed, thought she couldn’t believe there was any connection, really.
“You said you saw me on my interview with Pauline Kirby?”
“Yes, I did. I thought you looked young.”
“Huh.” That seemed to be the general consensus.
“You were holding your own though…” He stopped suddenly and said, “was that the message? That phrase that Pauilne quoted? Do Unto Others as she did..or something?”
“Do Unto Others As She Did To Me.”
“Holy Christ, Nine.” He stopped short, stunned. “You were sent that same message on your second grade artwork?”
ORDER A COPY: Intimate Enemies (Covert Affairs Series)
Publishing Date: July 18, 2012
eBook: 313 pages
Rating: 5 stars and 1 Xanax (Why? You’ll see)
She is on a quest for answers; answers that could just get her killed.
Six months after the mysterious yacht explosion that killed Cassie Christo’s mother and stepbrother, authorities still have no answers to the cause. Searching for closure, Cassie returns to her childhood home on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico, where she launches her own investigation into the accident. She never expected to find an adversary in the man who had once touched her heart with kindness in her darkest moment.
Rio’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with Cassie for months. But not here and sure as hell not now. As an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he’s working the biggest sting operation in all of northern Mexico, and he definitely doesn’t have time for the wild attraction he feels for Cassie.
Not only is his cover on the line, so is his heart. Because as the end of a yearlong operation draws closer, Rio knows if he tells Cassie the truth about who and what he is, it won’t only jeopardize his mission, it may result in him losing her forever. And if he doesn’t, his lies and deception could get them both killed.
Rio Santana has been undercover for over a year now. Rising to the top of Saul Flores’s smuggling ring and becoming Saul’s right-hand man. Everything is finally coming together and they’ll be taking Saul down as soon as he makes this last big deal. Maybe then Rio will go back to San Diego to see Cassie Christo again. Holding her during her mother and stepbrother’s funerals, grieving their loss with her, he felt a connection with her that he’s never felt before. One he wants to explore further.
That is until she walks into her mother’s house in Baja, Mexico, looking beautiful, sexy and truly pissed off. She’s demanding answers into her family’s deaths. As she goes head to head with her stepfather, she’s starting to make Saul nervous and that makes Saul dangerous. Try as he might, Rio can’t get Cassie to understand the danger she is in, not just from Saul and his “business” partners, but from the warring Muerta and Diablo gangs both determined to take over the area, and both gangs would love to kidnap the beautiful, wealthy Cassie. But Cassie can’t see past her anger and her need to remove Saul from her family home, to see the dangers surrounding her.
As the danger increases, Rio keeps closer to Cassie, but that is doing nothing to save them both from the desires growing between them, and Rio knows that to give in to those desires, with all the lies between them, would ruin any future they might have.
Like the gangs in her story, Joan Swan is trying to take over as the new boss of the romance genre, and she’s doing a hell of a job of it.
In giving us a heroine with ten times as much bravery as she has common sense, I don’t know who was more stressed out, me or Rio; in giving us a hero who we know is good, who Cassie knows in her heart is a good man, but for her safety as well as his own, he has to keep up the pretense of being dangerous and dirty; and in taking us down to Baja, Mexico which is presented as a hotbed of gang wars, a corrupt police force, and Saul Flores, the small time gangster trying to take over as the biggest smuggler around, Joan keeps the danger level and tensions high. And speaking of tension, there is such incredible sexual tension between Rio and Cassie, which culminates into the some of most incredible love scenes I have read. Yowza!
This was an exciting, dangerous, sexy story which just didn’t stop from beginning to end. This is definitely a must read for everyone’s list.
Now, I think it’s time to go take a Xanax and lie down. Maybe go read a nice quiet vampire book…
Won a copy from Joan Swan’s giveaway. Yay!
To enter our giveaway just leave your name and e-mail and verify that you are healthy enough to take on Joan’s intensely thrilling story!
“Thanks for the heads-up. Wouldn’t want to look any more stupid than I actually am.”
“Don’t even. If you don’t think I can recognize a smart man when I see one, regardless of who he works for or in what capacity, you’re not a very good judge of character.”
Pleasure burned across his chest, and, crap, it felt so damn good. He was starting to think being with her all day wasn’t such a great idea after all.
“Quite the backhanded compliment,” he said.
“Aren’t you cynical this morning?” She pulled at the donut, revealing the raspberry filling, and hummed. “I knew I’d need this extra sweetness in my day as soon as I saw you. This is my favorite.”
“You said the other one was your favorite.”
“No. I said that was one of my favorites. This is my absolute favorite.”
She closed her eyes and licked the jelly off the donut. The sight of her pink tongue against the red sweetness, the slow sweep, the pleasure on her face, drove a violent spear of lust straight through Rio’s body, where it lodged dead center between his legs. He gripped the bar hard. Then she closed her lips around the sugary dough, and, God help him, she sucked at what remained.
By the time she slid the rest of the bite into her mouth, Rio had stopped breathing. His other hand curled into a fist, his nails clawing his palm.
“Since I don’t indulge often,” she said, licking her fingertips, “I can’t keep myself from devouring the first. Once the edge is off my craving, I’m able to take my time and savor. So I save the best for last.”
At some point, he’d refilled his lungs, though they weren’t functioning right. His mind envisioned scenarios of taking her hard and fast up against a wall, mouths fused, hands stroking, hips thrusting. Then laying her down on a bed to undress her, kiss every inch of her body, and love her slowly, thoroughly, making sure he lived up to every one of her back-arching, toe-curling, sheet-fisting fantasies.
“Want some?” Her sweet voice drifted through the sound of blood pounding in his ears.
He focused from his sexual haze in time to watch her scoop a finger full of raspberry filling from the donut in more of a show than an offer.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Shit, he hadn’t meant to say that aloud. Nor had he meant to grab her wrist, but it was wrapped in his fingers.
Everything beyond that was deliberate. The way he pulled her hand to his lips. The way he took her finger into his mouth. The way he sucked the sweet-tart filling off her finger.
The way he grabbed her neck and pulled her mouth to his, sharing the electric tang of raspberry with her, tongue to tongue.
She moaned into his mouth. The flirtatious torture ended, and something entirely different began. Her lips softened, and her body relaxed. Rio knew he should resist, should pull back, but a deep part of him also needed it. Needed her.