Category Archives: Fiction–Suspense

FIVE GREAT READS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!

FIVE READS
FIVE AUTHORS
FIVE GENRES

99p/99c

FIVE DAYS ONLY

Discover a new author? Try something different? All of the authors below are offering readers the chance to download one of their ebooks that has received great reviews and has a high star rating. For the next five days you can download and enjoy any of these titles for just 99p or 99c  (from 10th–15th June). Just click on the links to view any book on Amazon!

 

What Jennifer Knows
Contemporary women’s fiction

what-jennifer-knows-cover

 

 

“I started off liking What Jennifer Knows…I finished the novel loving it.” ~ Judith Barrow, author and creative writing tutor.

Sensitively drawn characters charm us… The shifting nature of loyalty and love is portrayed through searingly honest glimpses into the characters lives, both past and present.” ~ Jenny Worstall, author and musician.

Jennifer Jacobs unwittingly discovers a link between two of her friends. Should she speak out or stay silent?

View on Amazon (US)
View on Amazon (UK)

What I Did Not Say
Mystery/thriller

What I did not say cover

 

 

“Outstanding mystery/thriller. I was blown away by this novel…” ~ Babus Ahmed,  Amazon Top 1000 reviewer and prolific book blogger.

 “Part 2 was the trial, where the pace and tension were excellent. The pages seemed to  turn themselves.” ~ Amazon reviewer. 

Jessica Morley is on her way to meet with a man she has not seen for fifteen years. In her bag  there is a package she must deliver.

View on Amazon (US)
View on Amazon (UK)

The Sickness
Supernatural horror

the-sickness1

 

 

 

“If you like your supernatural horror to be dark, gruesome and unequivocally gory, then  this is the book for you. It is explosive, expertly written and riveting.” ~
Shelley Wilson, author of The Guardians, YA fiction novels.

“This book is subtly rather than in-your-face     creepy, and the story unfolds at a steady pace, building up to an explosive end; this is a  writer who totally ‘gets’ suspense.” ~
Terry Tyler, author of nine highly rated novels, including The House of York.

Forced home to attend his parents’ funeral, James Harris returns to a place of childhood  torment and gruesome horror.

View on Amazon (US)
View on Amazon (UK)

Death Times Three
Cozy mystery

Death_Times_Three_Cover_for_Kindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Elinor (Gray) is a wonderful amateur sleuth—shes whip-smart and determined without coming across as nosy or arrogant.” ~ Elizabeth Maria  Naranjo. 

“I’m a sucker for stories involving a female who can’t resist sticking her nose into a  curious puzzle and the attractive man who can’t stop her.” ~ Terri Case.

A Las Vegas librarian trips over a murdered artist and an amateur sleuth is born. Two short  stories and a novella.

View on Amazon (US)
View on Amazon (UK)

The House of York
Contemporary family drama

House of York

 

 

 

“The ending to the story kept me thinking for days.” ~ Shaz Goodwin, book blogger and  Amazon Top 100 reviewer.

“Best book I’ve read this year.” ~ Joanne Phillips, top selling women’s fiction author.

Love, loss, jealousy, abduction and murderous intent form the basis of this highly acclaimed,  complex family saga spanning the years 1993 – 2014.

View on Amazon (US)
View on Amazon (UK)

Review: A NUN WALKS INTO A BAR

An orphan raised in a convent falls for a sexy bar owner and is drawn into a web of romance and danger.

A Nun Walks Into A Bar

A Nun Walks Into A Bar

I’m a fan of Tracey Jane Jackson’s Cauld Ane paranormal romance series and was excited by the premise of this book. A NUN WALKS INTO A BAR is funny and yet touches on some difficult subjects. It isn’t the ideal time for either Sadie or Ryder to focus on a romantic relationship. After an incredibly sheltered childhood, Sadie is trying to navigate the world outside her aunt’s insulated religious community. Ryder, the offspring of a biker of the mean-and-nasty variety, is desperate to locate his missing kid sister, who has been swept up into a human trafficking ring thousands of miles from their Portland, Oregon home.

Despite their opposing backgrounds and somewhat conflicting values, Sadie and Ryder share an undeniable and largely believable attraction. They manage to challenge each other and to protect one another from the forces of chaos swirling around them. There’s plenty of character growth on both sides and yet a consistency at the core of each.

The supporting cast is just as strong–par for the course in Jackson’s work. Plenty of tantalizing backstory. Troubled pasts. Secrets. This all bodes well for future “Nun Fiction” novels.

Jackson always does a good job with her villains. This time around the bad guy is SO bad, it boggles the mind. At the same time, he’s not overdone. As horrible as he is, it’s a believable horrible, which makes it especially creepy. You hope people this dark don’t exist, even though you know they do. There’s a scene in Sadie’s apartment that absolutely chilled my blood.

All in all, I loved spending time with Sadie, Ryder and their “gang.” I’m hoping it won’t be too long before there’s a sequel.

Review: THICKER THAN WATER

A young woman’s hard-won future with her new husband is threatened by an enemy from her past.
Thicker than Water (Book 3 of The Grayson Trilogy)
Thicker than Water

All of the characters we’ve come to love from The Grayson Trilogy are back as author Georgia Rose sets them off on new paths and also resolves longstanding mysteries. Rose gives us a meaty plot set firmly in Emma’s point of view, which allows us to experience events as if we’re there living through them. Departing from past installments, though, THICKER THAN WATER features a secondary POV, one which pops up at the most unexpected times and offers a tantalizing hint of rough waters ahead for our friends at the manor. I love how ambiguous this personality is at first. There’s a darkness surrounding him, sure, but his intentions are not quite clear. When he does step into the light, not only does the game between Emma and her enemies turn on its head, but a slew of questions dangling from the previous novels are suddenly answered. Yet even these filled-in blanks don’t lead to closure for Emma. Instead they free a deluge of pent-up emotions that are almost as big an obstacle to her happiness as the gang of Russian criminals out to kill her.

The other side of the close focus on Emma’s POV is that we can get caught up in her day-to-day activities to the point that the pacing of the narrative slows. I think it took a little too long for the suspense/danger element of this episode to come into play, but in return we do get plenty of deep character development. Plot vs. character is always a difficult battle. Throughout The Grayson Trilogy Georgia Rose shows a knack for this balancing act.

THICKER THAN WATER delivers the romance, suspense and, especially, the final satisfaction readers of this series pine for.

Review: TAKING THE FALL (vols. 1-3)

A woman on the run from her criminal father is tracked down by her former bodyguard, the man who stole and then broke her heart.

Taking the Fall: Vol 1 (Taking the Fall)

Taking the Fall: Vol 1

Vol. 1 of this serial starts with a bang. The heroine, who’s still a teen, visits prison to see the man she loves…who is four years into an eight-year sentence for a crime we don’t yet know the details of. Carter tells her to go away and never come back. She’s devastated and vows that she’s finished with him, her family, and the life she’s been living.

Fast-forward four years. Layla has a new life with only one friend, a sex-pot named Jeanette who is in many ways as secretive as Layla. She’s just started casually dating a nice but bland guy and is yearning for excitement. She gets this in spades when she discovers that Carter has found her and has had a friend watching her for some time.

This first installment is mostly about Carter and Layla finding each other again and working out some of the misunderstandings left over from when he killed someone to save her life. The plot isn’t perfectly logical. The time line is complicated and you have to wonder why Layla waited as long as she did to run away from her family–especially after her father arranged for her to nearly be beaten to death.

Nevertheless, Carter and Layla are both interesting characters. He’s a little too alpha for me. Protective and vengeful is okay, but he’s too controlling. Layla is put off by it at first. But in the end she accepts that he’s worried for her safety since there’s a good chance her father is close to finding her. Turns out Carter’s fear is justified.

Jeanette and Saint (Carter’s friend) add a humorous touch to story.

I dislike serials as rule. But this one is well-written and offers a nice mix of romance and suspense. There’s a cliffhanger, but it isn’t gratuitous or melodramatic. The author sets it up well, so that it seems like a natural place to break off.

Taking the Fall: Vol 2 (Taking the Fall)

Taking the Fall: Vol 2

Carter struggles to protect Layla as her psycho father closes in.

Carter has lots of damage control to do to salvage his relationship with Layla. At the same time it’s a game of cat and mouse as Carter, with the help of his friend Saint, tries to settle his score with Layla’s father and at the same time keep her safe. The stakes are higher now for the couple (can’t elaborate without spoiling). But their enemy has plans of his own and he needs Layla to realize them.

We meet Layla’s nightmare parents. I think Riley goes a little over the top here. What is it in romantic suspense these days that parents can’t just be bad, but instead must be truly twisted? It’s getting a little old for those of us who real lots of books in this genre. She should’ve dialed this down a bit. Maybe at least made the mother less vicious.

Despite the melodramatic characterizations, the writing is good and there’s plenty of suspense. The climax is a whopper. I had no idea how Layla and Jeanette were going to get out of it. But they do (or it seems that way at the point the story pauses) and through their own efforts, too. I liked that. It’s nice to see female characters who can at least try to save themselves.

I’m still eager to continue with the story.

Taking the Fall: Vol 3 (Taking the Fall)

Taking the Fall: Vol 3

Carter seeks to once and for all end the threat posed by Layla’s father, who destroyed his family and stole eight years of his life.

Things start off in a bad way. Layla and Jeanette are fighting for their lives. Things could go either way for them, and it isn’t clear that Carter and Saint will arrive in time.

Even when the immediate danger is past, Carter can’t let down his guard. He’s right to be worried. Betrayal strikes in an unexpected form…though I have to say that I had my doubts about this particular character from the start. Nothing definite, no huge hints, but just an inkling that there was more going on under this person’s interest in Layla’s well-being.

The main characters are still great. Carter is as intense as ever, but Layla is learning how to live with his overbearing nature. She has her ways of getting around his general inflexibility. I like Saint and Jeanette more and more with each volume and am glad to hear that there will be a fourth installment that focuses on them.

I do think the pacing is off as this volume heads toward its conclusion. The traitor is unveiled and overcome too easily. The tension picks up again during the final showdown with Layla’s father. But then there’s a completely overblown epilogue that travels decades into the future. Not only is it fairly banal after what we’ve endured with these characters, it kind of spoils the anticipation for the Saint/Jeanette story.

Overall, though, it’s a satisfying end to the serial. And readers can’t complain that anything was left unresolved or that they wish they new what happened in the future. All threads are tied.

Review: MARRIED TO THE BAD BOY

A guy deeply involved with a Montreal organized crime family has trouble on his hands when he meets a young woman on the run from a member of a related outfit in New York.

Married to the Bad Boy (Cravotta Crime Family, #1)

Married to the Bad Boy

I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. As the story opens, it’s hard to find someone to root for. Tony is superficial and violent. Women aren’t even real people to him. I don’t even think they rate as playthings. Sex is an itch Tony scratches as he lives his miserable life employed by the same criminals his father died working for.

Elena is more sympathetic. Her father was a crime boss until he turned coat and squealed to the Feds. This got him killed and stripped Princess Elena of all status within the organization and all rights to its protection. No one will help her escape her violent (and likely psychotic) fiance. Desperate, She digs up a hefty pile of her dead father’s hidden loot and runs. Now here’s where she really made me angry: instead of vanishing to Montana or New Mexico or Alaska where she might buy herself a new identity and build a decent life, she runs to Montreal to find someone who will kill her ex. Elena’s stupidity and poor decision-making skills dog her…and Tony…through the whole book.

So why give this book five stars? Vanessa Waltz knows how to build suspense. In Tony, she gives us a bad boy who will NOT give up. He’s in a no-win situation. Elena wriggled her way under his skin, he’s not giving her up. But her ex is a “made” man–there’s no way to touch him and live. Tony and Elena can trust no one–not even each other for most of the book. There’s too much at stake. Compassion and friendship can get you killed.

There’s a lot of sex and violence in this novel. Tony does some awful things and is himself nearly tortured to death. What finally helps him and Elena is what initially caused so much trouble–her ex is nuts. Even the people in his own outfit want to be rid of him. They, like everyone, are restrained by the “rules” that protect all “made” members. So, while they don’t actively stop the guy, they are less than scrupulous about stopping Tony. He still has a hard road, and the action twists and turns as it races to an explosive climax.

MARRIED TO THE BAD BOY is a dark, scary book with characters that grab on and don’t let go. It definitely merits five stars.

Review: Meet Me in the Dark by J.A. Huss

An assassin haunted by a job that went wrong seeks resolution eight years later.

Meet Me in the Dark

Meet Me in the Dark

This book is very different from what I normally like to read. I don’t usually enjoy dark suspense. But Merc and Sydney’s story captured my imagination and took me on a ride that I won’t soon forget.

The plot is intricate, but I’ll outline the basics: Merc was hired to breach a militia stronghold and rescue his boss’s sixteen-year-old daughter. For rather complicated reasons, he ends up saving someone else and leaving Sydney behind with the maniac who’s holding her. This decision comes back to haunt Merc when he wants to get out of the killing business. The maniac is a lingering threat and Merc is determined to find him. Sydney is Merc’s only lead, but the information is locked away in her rather damaged mind. Merc kidnaps her and will do anything…ANYTHING…to get her to remember. Only things aren’t as clear cut as he expects, and the line between predator and prey blur big time.

I’d read several reviews of MEET ME IN THE DARK before clicking the “buy” button. Words like insanity, rape, violence, hatred, vengeance came up again and again. All of those descriptors are appropriate for various aspects of the book. And, yet, it’s still an incredibly romantic story. For all of Merc’s “I’ll kill her…She’s dead…” declarations, I never once believed him. His actions, even at his worst, are the opposite of someone who’s planning murder. The physical violence (and there’s plenty of it) is mostly reactionary–Sydney gives as good as she gets. Emotional violence is another story. Merc excels at playing head games. But Sydney’s been the victim of such games for years, so even when Merc thinks he’s breaking her, he’s not.

Both Merc and Sydney are a great blend of hard and soft qualities. Even as their feelings for one another develop, they cannot afford to let it soften them. There’s too much at stake for either to drop their guard. At the same time, by the end of the book both of them are utterly transformed.

Merc starts out insisting that he doesn’t regret the choice he made, even though the consequences for Sydney were tragic. He insists and insists and insists. Most of book is about his realization that he does indeed regret it, especially when he learns that the person he did save that night likely didn’t need saving. Sydney’s the one who needed him. And he failed her.

Sydney starts the book as a walking dead woman. On the surface she’s a running a business, preparing for her wedding. None of it is real. Nothing she knows or remembers can be trusted. It’s Merc who drags her true self out of the dark little corner it’s retreated to.

Sydney’s sense of self comes into play when readers tackle the question of whether Merc is guilty of raping her or not. This is a big controversy among readers. From my reading, he specifically asks her what is okay and what isn’t. The problem arises when she declines to either accept or refuse, but tells him to “get on with it.” Is this tacit consent? Maybe. Maybe not. The important point here is that Sydney’s sense of self has dissolved to such a degree that she is completely dissociated from her body. Her inner world and her physical one don’t touch. Her journey is all about healing that schism. By the end of the book it matters who touches her where.

MEET ME IN THE DARK is hard going emotionally, but completely worth the tears and anxiety. The story stays with you long after you’ve finished it.

Review: AT ALL COSTS (The Michael Prentiss Stories Book 5)

Secret government agent Michael Prentiss faces his most personal mission yet, when his lover is vanishes while infiltrating a terrorist cell.

At All Costs (The Michael Prentiss Stories Book 5)

At All Costs

Having read all of the previous Michael Prentiss adventures, I know full well that Andrew French (read my interview with him HERE) is hard on his characters. He puts them through hell, brings them face to face with the worse humanity has to offer, including the darkest parts of themselves. AT ALL COSTS has that same raw honesty. Our heroes are older now, and they’re getting tired. It’s crossroads time for Michael especially. His double life has hardened him. Sometimes he’s not sure there’s a way back to any kind of normalcy.

Luckily Angela Lane crashed into his life. Her work is dangerous, too, but she and Michael have connected on the deepest level and this keeps him from tipping into the abyss. They are ready to build a life together, excited by the changes ahead of them. Only Angela has one last mission–infiltrate the terrorist cell of IRA heavy weight Declan McLaughlin, whose plans for bombing the London Underground promise massive casualties. Declan isn’t quite as outlandishly psychotic as some of French’s villains (one Cillian Rainey comes to mind), but he’s in the grips of a deadly political fervor and has absolutely no conscience. Unfortunately for Angela, he’s also damn clever.

Michael has a slim chance of recovering Angela alive. He has nothing on his side but the loyalty and friendship of fellow operative Richard Jordan and their former commanding officer, Colonel Mabbitt. As usual, these two are all-in, even though it’s likely they’ll die in the attempt. Their experience and skill comes in handy as Michael struggles to balance his raging fear for Angela with the calm resolve necessary to get her back.

The action takes us all the way to terrorist training camps of Libya and back to London. It’s a physically punishing ordeal for all involved. There’s resolution but no true triumph, as Michael and Angela suffer heartbreaking loss.

An excellent adventure with twist after twist.

Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Pepper O’Neal

Today we have a big treat for fans of romantic suspense. Pepper O’Neal, author of both the Black Ops Chronicles and the Blood Fest paranormal series was kind enough to answer some questions about her work and her writing process.

Award-winning author, Pepper O’Neal is a researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad. When she’s not at her computer, O’Neal spends her time taking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure.

Connect with Pepper:

http://www.pepperoneal.com

https://www.facebook.com/pepper.oneal

https://twitter.com/pepperoneal

Be sure to read on after the interview for my review of her second Black Ops Chronicle–Dead Men Don’t

PepperO'Neal_Author_Badge-300x300

1. How did you start writing fiction? Is it something you’ve always done in one way or another, or did you come to it later?

I guess it is something I have always done. I was first published in the fifth grade, when I won a contest and had a story published in the local newspaper. So I always knew that it was something that I wanted to do. However, I didn’t trust myself, I guess, as I went into non-fiction for many years, before coming back to my first love, which is fiction.

2. How can you tell when a plot idea has what it takes to make it all the way into print? Have there been times when you’ve had to abandon a project after a promising start?

I tend to finish what I start, one way or another, so I haven’t abandoned any projects, although a couple of them are, and will probably remain, at the bottom of the sock drawer. I guess you could say that a story has what it takes to become a project when it won’t leave me alone and I find myself focusing on it more and more.

3. Your heroes and heroines are pretty complicated compared to many others I’ve met in romantic suspense novels. How do you balance strength and vulnerability in your heroes, and create heroines who are likable, but don’t get steamrolled by their assertive co-stars?

I am not sure I can answer that. Characters seem to appear in my head, with all their strengths and weaknesses. People are complicated, at least real people are. They have layers, like Shrek and onions. There is the top layer they show to the world at large, a deeper layer that only their closest friends and family see, and finally, the layer they keep strictly to themselves. I think the more someone is aware of these layers in themselves, the more they like themselves, and the fewer secrets they keep from themselves, the more comfortable they are with showing others their faults as well as their strengths, i.e., being who they really are. I try to show a bit of all the layers. I also try to be true to my characters and not have them do something that doesn’t fit with their particular nature or personality, simply because it would be convenient to the plot. In fact, I often find that if I am having trouble with a scene that just isn’t coming together, it is because I am asking a character to do something that they would not do if they were real.

4. Dead Men Don’t, book two of your Black Ops Chronicles, has an intricate plot full of twists, turns and fairly involved action/escape sequences. What goes into developing such meaty plots—especially while remaining in the length constraints of the average romance novel? How do you balance strong plotting with good character development?

An author I respect once told me that you can’t write good fiction by being nice to your characters, and that is advice I took to heart. People don’t want to read just about sunshine and roses, they want to read about people overcoming obstacles and hanging on when things go wrong. And before you can show your characters doing that, you first have to make things go wrong. So I spend a lot of time thinking “What is the worst that could happen here? And how can he/she overcome or get around it?” And it’s easier with some characters than others. Levi, the star of Dead Men Don’t, is one of my favorite characters. He is based on a good friend of mine, who is one of the most capable and competent men I have ever met, so I get a kind of dark glee from making things as difficult for him as possible in my books. Levi was in the first book in this series, Dead Run, as well, and he had a heck of a time. His real life counterpart told me, after reading the book, that he was glad that I had no control over his real fate.

5. Your Black Ops Chronicles are a series of standalones, with each book focusing on a particular member of an extended group of covert operatives. How do you handle the story elements that have to carry from book to book and avoid continuity errors? Do you have a “big picture” plan for the series worked out ahead of time, so that you can keep your details straight?

I write everything down. I have an almost photographic memory, but even so, I don’t trust it completely. So I write dossiers on all the characters, as well as physical descriptions and time lines so I don’t lose track and I don’t have to rely just on my memory. If I can remember and don’t need it, that’s great. But if I do need it, it’s there. The hardest part is putting enough information into the following book that readers who haven’t read the previous book know what came before, but not so much that people who have read the previous book get bored because they already know it.

6. I don’t know about you, but I find balancing the creative side of writing with the nuts-and-bolts business of promotion and marketing my fiction something of a juggling act. How do you protect your creative time?

With a cannon and a bloody hatchet! Seriously, I lock the office door, unplug the phone, and shut down my Outlook. I figure anything that is an emergency will probably get through, and anything that isn’t can wait. If I am on a roll and the work is going well, I will stop every few hours and make sure the rest of the world is still there, but other than that, I consider that time precious and guard it fiercely.

7. What is your favorite way to engage with readers? Facebook? In-person events? Newsletter? Does reader feedback on a project ever influence future work?

I get a lot of emails from readers, and I really like that. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on Facebook, so I mainly use it for announcements. But reader feedback does affect me. If I get a lot of feedback telling me about something they didn’t like, or something they did like and want more of, I naturally adjust my stories as much as I can. Of course, you aren’t going to please everyone, and you first have to be true to yourself and your story, but readers know what they like, and I find that if they don’t like something, there is usually a good reason for it.

8. What’s next for our Black Ops heroes? And I just found out you have another series—Blood Fest, a paranormal romantic suspense series full of werewolves, weretigers and other exciting creatures, any future additions to that one on the horizon?

Right now, I am working on the third book in the paranormal series Blood Fest, doing the edits on Running Scared, which is coming out in the summer. Once that is done, I will start on the third book in the Black Ops Chronicles series.

Review–BLACK OPS CHRONICLES: DEAD MEN DON’T

Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don't

Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don’t

Levi Komakov doesn’t realize what he’s getting himself into when he’s charged with rescuing Anderson “Andi” Merrit from what appears at first glance is a kidnapping for cash or influence. Most likely the latter since her father is a heavy hitter for a crime family. Without spoiling the plot, let me say that the truth is far more twisted. Someone close to Andi has betrayed her and set her up for a life of servitude and abuse.

Is it any wonder then that Andi is a bit uncooperative when Levi first appears on the scene? From her point of view, this man may be someone just as dangerous as her captors, someone who wants her for his own ends. So, I can forgive her for making her rescue far more dangerous and complicated than it needs to be. Still, there are points in the novel, usually when the situation is most grim, that her temperamental displays grated on me. On the other hand it was a pleasure to watch her gradual transformation from victim into hero.

Andi’s growth is in large part due to Levi taking her seriously and not underestimating the danger she’s in or the power of the people who are after her. Though he falls a little too hard too fast…and then constantly second guesses himself…he’s a good alpha with a nice balance of sensitivity and strength. He and Andi share plenty of chemistry.

For a romance novel, the plotting is ambitious. Locations range from rural Washington state to the D.C. area to the Middle East. Every time I thought I knew where the story was heading, O’Neal threw in a twist. In particular, the Mission Impossible action at a foreign embassy was a nail biter. I held my breath the whole time.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more dramatic for this pair, the author throws a huge curve. Again, I don’t want to spoil the book for readers. Let’s just say that, along with Andi, we are taken into a world that few westerners get to see. Levi and his Special Ops buddies have a hell of job with this one. Andi, too, is pushed to her absolute limit physically and emotionally.

I always begin a book with optimism…I assume I’ll enjoy the ride. Well, I liked this one way more than even I expected. It’s an exciting blend of romance, action and suspense. I’m going to go back now and read the first one in the series!

Review: SLAM

* I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A hard-as-nails tennis pro, who also happens to be the daughter of a U.S. Senator, finds her life and career on hold when a vicious stalker decides he’ll stop at nothing to get to her.

Slam (Completion, #4)

Slam

Olivia Stradmore is a strong, confident woman. Her sexual forwardness is a little alarming–I prefer my heroines on the sweet side. Yet, Olivia’s personality matches her aggressive, competitive nature, and it has made her a champion. So, when some anonymous maniac throws her life into turmoil, she is not amused. And when she finds herself under the protection of Brack Jacobs, head of an exclusive and highly rated personal protection firm, she’s livid. Brack has let a job get personal in the past and it didn’t end well, so he’s not going to take Olivia’s crap…or accept her numerous and blatant sexual offers.

Brack leaps off the page from the moment he takes the stage. He’s one of my favorite male leads in recent memory. Roberts makes him strong enough to stand up to Olivia…but only just. They both reach their breaking point at around the same time, which makes for plenty of excitement and sexual tension.

Great characters aside, the plot has some problems. It’s really the last 15-20% that’s at issue. It’s too rushed. Roberts violates the basic rule of mystery/suspense by not offering enough clues early on to give readers even a shot at figuring out who the bad guy is. Seriously, the big reveal comes out of left field.

The resolution of the Brack-Olivia relationship–the way Olivia actually goes about sealing the deal with him and wrapping up her career–makes little sense. As a reader, I just didn’t understand why Brack’s family connections were such a huge deal to Olivia and led to all her subterfuge in the last chapter.

I enjoyed this book enough that I’d read it again. That’s because the the first 80% is so good. The balance of the novel isn’t as well thought out.

Recklessness at its Best

Reckless Beat’s cynical front man Mason Lynch has lost his muse. If he wants to save his career, he must collaborate with a female songwriter who believes (along with the rest of the world) that he leaked the sex tapes that destroyed her life.

Undesired Lust (Reckless Beat, #3)

Undesired Lust

This is my absolute favorite Reckless Beat book to date. The raw emotion between Sidney and Mason drew me right in. Sidney’s life is in tatters and this comes across. I felt her anger and her pain. As the book opens, Mason has fully claimed the role of villain in Sidney’s tragic fall from grace. He’s been blamed for something he didn’t do and refuses to tell anyone…even as his feelings for Sidney reignite. I really wanted to slap him at times. Luckily, his family and his dogs are around to remind us that he’s not the SOB he pretends to be.

Mason and Sidney have barely found their footing with one another when a stalker emerges. This faceless menace goes after Sidney with an ever escalating degree of viciousness creating a huge creep factor. It soon becomes clear that this person has been entangled in her life for years pulling strings behind the scenes and orchestrating her downfall.

This is also the book where drummer Sean becomes a tangible force. Up until now, he’s been the least fully-realized of Summers’s characters. Here he’s in the midst of the action…in more ways than one.

UNDESIRED LUST is edge-of-your seat drama. The danger and the twists continue without let up until almost the last page. The end? I didn’t see it coming. This is not a maniac who goes down without a fight.