This was a good second chance romance combined with an intense suspense story. Annalise is a teacher at a school for gifted, underprivileged children. As the story opens, she and three students are doing some afterschool computer work. Their activities are interrupted when the school is invaded by a cult leader and several of his followers. It develops into a hostage situation when the rapid police response traps them in the school.
Evan is a hostage negotiator with the Tactical Crime Division. He is very good at what he does, and is ready to go when he hears about the lockdown. When he learns that children are involved, he knows that the stakes are high. But when he learns that Annalise is one of the hostages, the situation becomes personal.
Evan and Annalise have a history together. They were a couple for two years, then three years ago Annalise left Evan, breaking his heart. He thought their love was strong, and had no idea why she left. Though Evan thinks he is over her, it is obvious from the start that he still cares. When Annalise hears his voice, it gives her hope that the situation will be resolved successfully. As the story progresses through the lockdown and the kidnapping that follows it, the time that Evan and Annalise spend together stirs up the old emotions. A little bit older and wiser, both of them take the time to talk about what went wrong before. When Annalise learns about Evan's tragic past, it gives her insight into the issues that caused their breakup. She also has the confidence to push back against Evan when she needs to. Evan is warier. He's not sure that he wants to give his heart to her again and risk having it broken again. I loved his "aha" moment as he realized where he had gone wrong and how it opened his heart to trying again.
The suspense of the story was intense from beginning to end. The cult leader, Jacob, was one scary man. His actions during the lockdown kept the tension high from the moment it started. His refusal to talk to Evan made Evan's job even harder. I was very impressed with Annalise's ability to stay calm and her cleverness in finding a way to use her cellphone to contact Evan. The longer the lockdown went on, the harder it was to see a successful resolution. I loved the courage of the little girl, Sadie, especially when she interacted with Jacob. The rescue operation was a nail-biter and didn't go as well as they planned, when Jacob and his wife escaped and took Sadie with them. I loved the teamwork of the TCD, and how Annalise was a big part of that team. It was fascinating to follow the thoughts and procedures that went into Sadie's rescue. There were several twists, including the realization that there was someone on the inside working against the good guys. The final confrontation with Jacob was intense and led to the unmasking of the insider.
Terrific Cinderella story. Dylan is back in Denver after working three months with their stores in Europe. He had gone there to escape a bad engagement, and has returned knowing that he still has to repair his relationships with his family. In their quest to make amends to some people for the actions of their fathers and grandfathers it is now Dylan's turn to make that happen.
Abby is a hairstylist in a shop that also has a terrific reputation for working with bridal parties. She's thrilled when Dylan hires her to help with his sister's wedding. She can't deny that she's attracted to him, but he's so far above her that there's no chance of anything happening.
I really liked Abby. She's tough and independent. She was found abandoned at a hospital when she was two and raised in foster care. She isn't the "poor me" type, she accepts her life as it is. However, her last boyfriend really did a number on her self-confidence, treating her badly because of what he saw as the drawbacks of being a foster kid. She is surprised when Dylan tells her about her father, what had happened to him and why. She's even more surprised by his determination to help her find out more and how he stays with her for support.
I felt bad for Dylan. Yes, he had screwed up with his engagement and all that went on with his fiancee. But he was really in a no-win situation for most of it. When the truth came out he did the right thing. Unfortunately for him, most of his family members are still holding it against him and often treating him like pond scum. He hopes that taking on this quest, and its resulting help for Lindie's wedding (A Sweetheart for the Single Dad) will help him repair his relationships with them. In the meantime, being with Abby goes a long way toward making him feel better.
I really liked the relationship that grew between them. It started out purely as business, with the wedding and the revelations about her family. I loved seeing a bit of protectiveness kick in as Dylan saw the impact on her. He also has a very satisfying reaction to the things she tells him about her ex. I loved seeing him include her in family events, even though she tried to resist. Abby is also sensitive to the tension around Dylan and his family, though she tries not to pry. She gets a front row seat to the cause of the problem during a confrontation with his ex. I was really impressed with how she handled it. The heat between them builds, but both are holding back. When the passion finally explodes between them, both are overwhelmed by what they feel. Now Dylan has to find a way to overcome Abby's insecurities and convince her that they can be happy together. The final scenes were emotional and sweet as Abby lets go of the past and embraces a future full of love and family.
As always, the Camden family plays a big part in the story. I was a little disappointed that they were still treating Dylan badly after three months, but other than that they were great. I was definitely rooting for Dylan to make it back into the family circle. I loved seeing how they included Abby in their gatherings. Just by being themselves Abby eventually saw that they had nothing in common with her ex. I must admit that a small part of me would love to see her run into her ex while with the Camdens. By my count, there should be one Camden still unmarried - I just can't figure out which one!
Good combination of second chance romance and suspense. As a teenager, Jillian had been kidnapped. Hayden had witnessed the abduction and saved her, going from town troublemaker to town hero in one evening. Jill and Hayden became good friends, and later much more. But he walked away to become a SEAL and Jill went on to become an FBI agent.
Ten years later Jill and Hayden are reunited when she returns to Hope, burned out on her job dealing with child abductions and still haunted by what had happened to her. She is determined to reopen the case and find the man who had kidnapped her and murdered another girl. She doesn't expect to find Hayden also back in town, now serving as sheriff. They hadn't forgotten each other, or their feelings and the attraction flared hot once again.
I liked both Jill and Hayden. Jill is smart, capable and very good at her job. Her past as a kidnappee has made given her extra motivation in her work but has also made some cases harder to bear than others. I ached for her and the pain she felt at each loss. Hayden was terrific. He is honorable, protective, and has a surprisingly soft heart. I loved how he had turned his life around when he met Jill, determined to be someone worthy of her.
I really enjoyed the rekindling of Jill and Hayden's relationship. It is obvious from the start that their feelings for each other had never died, in spite of the way they parted. Jill was broken-hearted when Hayden left, not knowing that he believed he wasn't good enough for her. Leaving was the hardest thing that Hayden had ever done, but he thought he was doing the right thing. I loved the bits about how they had kept track of each other over the years. With Jill's arrival back in Hope, Hayden sees it as a chance to show her that they belong together and that he isn't going to let her go. Jill is a bit more cautious, knowing that risking her heart again could have devastating consequences for her. As they worked together on the case, they also got to know each other again. I loved that they were able to talk about their past and make the decision to move forward and see where things go. I loved Hayden's big moment at the end - his vulnerability and nervousness were sweet and his words so heartfelt.
The suspense of the story was really good too. From the prologue to the conclusion, the intensity built steadily. Jill's determination to solve the mystery became stronger when she was attacked. The glimpses into the mind of the killer show that he is equally determined to finish what he started. I loved seeing the pieces start to come together and was on the edge of my seat as they raced to save another victim. Though I had figured out the bad guy, the final confrontation was intense in the way it happened.
I liked the support that Jill got from her friend Samantha. That woman was scary good at what she does. Besides her work on helping to identify the killer, I loved Sam's "profiling" of Hayden and her comments to him.
Good start to the new series. Marlee is a newly minted attorney who looks forward to finding a job in the city. She grew up in a small town where her father runs the town's most prominent business and the town. She knows he wants her and her brother to take over the company, but she wants nothing to do with it. When her brother dies, the pressure is on for Marlee to return home. That pressure increases when a second young man dies by suicide.
Marlee's brother Jeff's death was ruled a suicide, but Marlee believes he was murdered. That suspicion is reinforced when she unearths some suspicious land transactions in the company's files. Proving those suspicions means working with Ben, the town's new sheriff.
Ben took the job as sheriff after his career as a DEA agent came to a violent end. With Ben's undercover identity blown, Atlanta's drug kingpin vowed revenge if Ben showed his face there again. Since most of the town's law enforcement was caught up in a vast meth bust, Ben has to rebuild the community's trust. Not an easy task for an outsider. The last thing he needs is to get involved with Marlee.
I enjoyed seeing the relationship develop between Marlee and Ben. The sparks flew from the moment they met, but Ben tried to resist them. His past as an inner-city kid and undercover agent and her plans to leave town as soon as possible are strong deterrents to involvement. Marlee, on the other hand, is quite willing to see where the attraction takes them. I liked seeing them get to know each other, from sharing their pasts to sharing onion rings. I also enjoyed seeing Marlee stand up to her father when he had other ideas. When everything was all over, Ben and Marlee had to decide if they wanted to find a way to be together. I liked the hospital scene at the end as Ben laid it all on the line for her. Marlee's response was excellent.
The suspense of the story was good. The second suicide, whose details were disturbingly similar to Jeff's, roused Ben's suspicions. Marlee's questions about the land sales around the lake offered a possible link between the two. The difficulty was figuring out who pulled the strings and why. I found Marlee's deductions intriguing and the twist over the land ownership a surprise. Complicating matters, Marlee had a stalker who threatened retribution if they didn't stop investigating. I thought I had the stalker figured out, but even that had an unexpected twist. The showdown at the end didn't go the way I thought it would, but it was satisfying nonetheless.
Good second chance/friends to lovers story with some excellent suspense to go along with it. Brandon and Sophie had known each other since they were in school, becoming more than friends when they were in high school. But after graduation, Brandon left for the military without a word to Sophie, not even a goodbye, breaking her heart. When he left the military, he came back to Hope's Crossing to open a training facility for military dogs. And right back to Sophie, who has been his anchor, even if she didn't know it.
When Brandon left, Sophie went on with her life. She went to school, got a good job, everything to live up to her parents' expectations. But she drew the line at settling down with one of the "nice boys" that her parents pushed at her. When Brandon came back to town, they slid right back into their old friends routine.
It is clear to everyone that there is still something there between Brandon and Sophie, but neither one can see it in the other. Brandon loves Sophie and always has, but has never felt good enough for her. This feeling was reinforced when he was a teenager by Sophie's parents' attitude toward him. The things that happened during the war only added to his need to keep his darker side away from her. Sophie has always loved Brandon, in spite of her parents' feelings about him. With Brandon back in town, she will try to content herself with friendship, but she really wants more.
The suspense of the story was really good. The car bomb was a real attention getter, especially since the only thing that saved Sophie was the chance meeting with Brandon and Haydn. From there, the race was on to see if Brandon and the others could find out the who and why before it was too late. There were several possibilities, from someone trying to get to Brandon by using Sophie to some potential funny business going on at Sophie's workplace. I enjoyed the buildup to the confrontation at the cabin and seeing the steps Brandon went through to keep Sophie safe. The confrontation was a nail-biter to the end. I especially liked seeing Sophie's active participation rather than just waiting for rescue. At the end of the confrontation, there were still some unanswered questions. I loved Brandon's effort to get answers to those questions. There were some unexpected connections that became clear, as well as an unusual hero who helped get those answers.
Two of my favorite characters were the dog, Haydn, and the cat, Tessa. I loved how Brandon and the crew at Hope's Crossing Kennels gave Haydn a new purpose after the loss of his leg and his handler during the war. From the moment he alerted on the explosives in Sophie's car, I could see his determination and his enthusiasm for what he was doing. I was not at all surprised by his participation in Sophie's rescue. I also loved how it was him and the dogs from the previous books who gave Brandon ideas and motivations for the future of the kennels. I also adored the kitten, Tessa. Her rough start in life tugged at Sophie's heartstrings, leading to her adoption. It was amusing to see her reactions to Haydn, and his to her. I was a bit surprised that Brandon and Sophie took her along to the cabin, considering what they expected to happen. Probably the funniest moment with her was her encounter with Raul Sa after the cabin incident.
Speaking of Raul Sa, I was very happy to discover that this is not the last book in the series. Raul's presence in this book, and his need for a working dog, is the lead-in to the next book. I liked what I saw of Raul and am looking forward to reading his book.
Terrific second chance romance. The small town of Kelby Creek still suffers from the aftereffects of The Flood - the revelation of the rampant corruption in their law enforcement and local government. Five years have passed, but the memories are long. Mel and Sterling were no exception.
Mel still feels a lot of guilt over the discovery of her ex-husband's part in the scandal. She knew nothing of his horrific crimes until after the fact, but the town's people didn't believe it. After divorcing her husband, she tried to move on with the help of childhood friends Sam and Sterling Costner. She and Sterling became more than friends until the day she left Kelby Creek without a word of explanation.
Sterling has his own guilt to deal with. After the investigations were done and he was cleared of wrong-doing, he left Kelby Creek. Desperate to escape the memories and unable to find work in law enforcement, he spent a couple of years doing construction before going back to police work. After some time doing so in Georgia, he heard about the revitalization of Kelby Creek's department and went back to help. He feels guilty about abandoning his hometown and is now determined to help its rehabilitation.
Mel never planned to return to Kelby Creek, much less in the back of an ambulance with no memory of how she got there. Nor did she expect Sterling to be one of the first people she saw. It quickly became evident that their attraction was as strong as ever, though each tried to ignore it. But when strange things began happening to Mel, Sterling's protective instincts kicked in. As they spend time together trying to figure out what is going on, their feelings continue to grow. But they can't move on until they address the past, and Mel fears what will happen if she tells the truth. Things look increasingly bad for Mel, but Sterling never stops believing in her innocence. I loved the ending as they fought for each other and came out with their love even stronger.
The suspense of the story kept me hooked from beginning to end. From the car accident to the dead body in her house to kidnappings, it becomes increasingly apparent that someone has it in for Mel. The question is who and why. I ached for Mel and the suspicion she faced and the accusations she endured. By the time the final confrontation came, I was glued to the pages waiting for the explanation. The plan's twists, turns, and utter evil took my breath away when the bad guy bragged about what he'd done. I loved that his arrogance was part of what brought him down. The resolution was a nail-biter as Mel fought to save those she loved against terrible odds.
A fun and emotional friends-to-lovers book. This is the third book in the series and can be read as a stand-alone, though the experience is richer if you've read the others.
Honor and Owen have been friends for a long time. When they encounter each other in Vegas, where both are on business trips, they get together for a drink. One drink turns into shots; the next thing they know, they wake up in bed together wearing wedding rings. Neither has any recollection of how it happened. Complicating matters, Owen is her sister Erin's ex-fiance;. Their initial reaction is to apply for an annulment immediately, but they hold off until they find out if there are consequences from the wedding night they don't remember. They also plan to keep what happened a secret from everyone at home.
I enjoyed watching the relationship between Owen and Honor develop. I understood the initial impulse to keep what happened a secret. Owen walked out on his engagement to Erin right before the wedding with no explanation, creating heartache and hard feelings. It wasn't until the end of the first book that they discovered he had panicked over his cancer diagnosis. His relationship with the family has recovered, though Owen still feels a lot of guilt over his actions. Neither Honor nor Owen wants to cause Erin any distress, even though she has moved on and is happily married.
Keeping the secret proves to be very complicated. Owen is friends with the family and with the sisters' menfolk. Honor and her sisters run the family's wedding business together, are very close, and don't generally keep secrets from each other. Honor and Owen find themselves wanting to spend more time together, and when they do, the sparks fly. I loved seeing them together. They have so much in common; their interactions are fun, easy, and realistic. Owen is a sweet guy who enjoys taking care of Honor, from cooking for her to adopting the rescue dog she loves so much. Honor is a strong woman who has no problem standing up for what she wants but doesn't want her actions to hurt someone else. I especially liked when she went with Owen to his doctor's appointment.
The longer Honor and Owen go without confessing, the harder it gets. When the truth comes out, the fallout is immediate and intense. Battle lines are drawn, and the tension is off the charts. Owen, Honor, and Erin all need to face their feelings before moving on to the future. The ending was fantastic, emotion-filled, and heartfelt. The epilogue was a terrific wrap-up.
I loved the setting of the book. The Bellini Winery/wedding business provided many laugh-out-loud moments that relieved some of the building tension. There are also more family dynamics, from Honor dealing with her sisters' inconvenient nosiness and matchmaking to Mama Bellini's cure for sisterly tension. I also enjoyed getting to know Owen better and seeing his joy in his work. He won my heart when he adopted the dog, Bettie, and she became such a big part of his life.
Good book full of love, laughter, and lust, between two people who have a history that has kept them apart for eleven years. Archer and Elle met when he was a rookie cop on the force, and she was a teenager trying to protect her sister. She was in a dangerous situation, and he did what he thought was right, ending his career before it really got started. Archer went on to found his own investigation firm and Elle straightened out her life and is now the building manager for the same building where Archer's office is.
I loved both Archer and Elle. Archer is the quintessential alpha male - strong, silent, protective, honorable, with a surprisingly soft center, at least when it comes to Elle. Elle is strong, determined, independent, and doesn't back down from any confrontation, especially with Archer. Each of them also has some vulnerability that they keep well hidden.
I loved the relationship between Archer and Elle. In the previous books as well as this one, they constantly trade barbs. For both of them, it is a protective reflex. Archer has been attracted to Elle for years but is sure that he represents things she'd rather forget, so he hides what he feels. He also knows that she feels indebted to him, and never wants her to feel obligated to return his interest. Instead, he's channeled his feelings into watching out for her, something she is unaware of. Elle is just as attracted to Archer, but she feels that he wouldn't be able to look at her without remembering everything that she and her family cost him. After all, he had already turned down her one attempt to show her gratitude. One of the things I found most amusing was how the super-confident Archer always seemed to find himself fumbling for words or otherwise being awkward around her, and she never caught on. Unlike all their friends who could easily see that Elle and Archer were perfect for each other. Things became even more hilarious when Elle decided to give up on her attraction to Archer and start dating other men. Suddenly Archer realized that he was going to have to step up if he didn't want to lose her to another man. I about died laughing at his creative attempts to sabotage her dates and Elle's reaction when she figured it out. I loved seeing her confront him and point out that she's no longer a teenager but a grown woman who knows what she wants. When they finally go down that road, the heat between them is amazing. It isn't only physical because what they have is enhanced by the deep connection that they have always had but refused to admit. As trouble from Elle's past shows up in her present, it takes some scary situations for her to realize that being strong doesn't mean that you can't accept help when it's offered. I loved seeing the two of them finally put the past behind them and move toward a future together.
The humor in this book was typical Shalvis - hilarious situations, witty dialog, and terrific character relationships. The camping trip was one of my favorites, with the big tough guys mad about being denied their s'mores and requesting a supply run from the ladies. I loved Elle's undercover work for Archer and his reaction to how she carried it out, as well as the guys' reactions to his reactions. I also loved the conversations, not just between Archer and Elle, but among the others also. I laughed out loud when Spencer had to deal with both Elle and Archer talking about feelings.
There was also a bit of suspense as Elle's sister showed up with trouble on her heels. I ached for Elle, as she had been burned several times before when she tried to help but feels guilty when she tosses Morgan out. It was interesting to see Archer's part in bringing them together. There were some intense moments as Morgan's trouble spills over onto Elle. My heart was in my throat as Elle battled a couple of thugs, holding her own until Archer came bursting in. The final confrontation was intense, with a few surprises along the way. I ached for Elle's fear for Archer and cheered for her actions regarding his father. It will be interesting to see if Morgan gets a story of her own.
I loved the depth of friendship among the group. The teasing and fun among them are always fun to witness. I also love how the support for each other is always there too. It was sweet to see how Elle had her friends that she could confide in and know that her secrets were safe, as well as getting brutally honest advice. It was also fun to see how the always in control Archer could be driven nuts by the actions of the men he worked with yet know that they always had his back. I can't wait to read more of the series.
Good second chance story and start to the new series. Quin and his father were involved in a car accident that killed his father and badly damaged Quin's leg. As a competitive skier, Quin pushed his recovery too fast and reinjured his leg, bringing an end to his skiing career. As Chief Operating Officer of the family business, Stone River Outdoors, Quin is stuck working from home as he recovers from knee replacement surgery. His brothers send Farrell's assistant to help him and keep him from aggravating his knee.
Katie isn't so sure about being cooped up in Quin's house with him for six weeks. Two years earlier, she and Quin had an under-the-radar affair. It ended when Katie walked away, unable to handle his extravagant lifestyle. She has successfully avoided Quin since then.
I enjoyed the rekindling of the relationship between Quin and Katie. It is obvious from the beginning that the attraction between them is still there. Quin has no idea why Katie broke things off and wants to start again. Katie doesn't think that Quin has changed and wants to protect her heart. During their prior relationship, Quin's actions were very superficial. Skiing was his life and dominated everything. He liked being with Katie but kept himself closed off emotionally. He also made no effort to get to know Katie as a person.
Forced together 24/7, I loved seeing the changes in the way Quin and Katie related. Without the distraction of competitions, Quin notices things about Katie that he hadn't paid attention to before. This is especially true during their trip to New York when he took the time to see what made her happy. I loved the hot dog scene, and how it showed him her down-to-earth side and made him remember her discomfort with his extravagance. At the same time, Katie saw a more open Quin, who shared his fears about his life without skiing.
Eventually, the sparks between them became too much to resist. As their physical intimacy grew, Katie worried about losing her heart again. Quin slowly realized that what he felt for Katie was different than he'd felt with other women. But just as he acknowledges the truth of his feelings, he finds something that makes him doubt her. I wanted to shake him for his bone-headed reaction and ached for Katie and her hurt over the things he said. I liked how Farrell and Zachary talked him off the ledge and Quin's realization of how badly he screwed up. I loved his heartfelt apology and how he showed her that he knows the real Katie. I look forward to seeing more of their future in the upcoming books.
There is a brief mention of some trouble the company has. It looks like there is some corporate espionage going on. Part of what Quin and Katie do is look for evidence in the records they go through. Quin's brothers also believe that the accident that killed their father may not have been an accident. I can't wait to read Farrell and Zachary's books to see how it turns out.
Very good book with excellent suspense and good romance. Gabe overcame a rough childhood and has become a successful development and construction businessman. When one of his projects is torched by an arsonist, a young teen with a previous record is accused and arrested. Mattie is a successful architect and volunteers with a local Family Abuse Center. When a teen she's been working with is accused of arson, she's determined to show he's innocent.
I loved the initial meeting between Gabe and Mattie. She's passionate about her belief in Angel's innocence and that gets Gabe's attention. Because of his own past, he's willing to give Angel the benefit of the doubt. There's an immediate spark between Gabe and Mattie that he is interested in pursuing, but she is wary. Mattie avoids entanglements with men and devotes herself to her work and her volunteering. Her father passed away when she was young, leaving her and her mother with little to live on, convincing her that it is better to be self sufficient than relying on someone else. Then the man she was engaged to deserted her when she was pregnant, reinforcing those beliefs. She's attracted to Gabe, but reluctant to get involved
When Angel is cleared of suspicion he wants to help find who is targeting Gabe and ends up getting badly injured. Feeling like they're responsible, Gabe and Mattie decide to do some investigating of their own. Constant proximity to each other has the sparks burning brighter and feeling beginning to develop. Gabe hasn't been much interested in relationships and permanence in the past, but the more time he spends with Mattie, the deeper his feelings go. But Mattie's fears have her trying to keep some distance between them. I liked Gabe's patience with Mattie's fears, but he also wasn't above pushing a bit to get her where he wanted her. Mattie slowly realizes that she has fallen in love with Gabe, but trusting him with her heart is something she isn't willing to do. It isn't until their lives are in danger that she's ready to give him everything.
The suspense of the story was excellent, with the attacks on Gabe's properties escalating throughout the book. There were multiple suspects, all of whom had motive, and it was interesting to see them sort through them all. The fires start to take a heavy toll on Gabe's business and his frustration is obvious. He also became very worried about Mattie's safety as the attacks got more intense. I really liked seeing the help and support Gabe got from his brothers, especially Devlin. The final confrontation with the arsonist was intense and very scary.
I also enjoyed the secondary romance between Mattie's best friend Tracy and Gabe's foreman and best friend Sam. Tracy has her own fears thanks to an abusive childhood, and doesn't plan to ever marry. She has no problem using men for physical pleasure, but doesn't trust them. Sam is a really sweet guy who takes the time to show Tracy the respect he feels she deserves. He slowly shows her what real love is and that they can have a future together.
A good book that drew me in from the beginning and kept me hooked to the end. Dylan and Lane met in LA when he visited his cousin, and the sparks between them flew quickly. Dylan would like to get to know her better, but she is wary. Dylan thinks the best way to advance his cause is to hire Lane to do the interiors of the fishing lodge he is renovating. It takes some persuasion, but she finally agrees.
Though she's a Southern California city girl, the Alaskan wilderness has its appeal. I loved her enthusiasm as Dylan flew over the beautiful landscape on the way to the remote lodge. She's a little disturbed on arrival when she finds that Dylan has a young daughter he never mentioned who hasn't spoken since her mother deserted them three years earlier. Adding to her discomfort are the rumors that the lodge is haunted. Dylan downplays the rumors, determined to keep Lane around; he doesn't believe in ghosts anyway.
But someone is determined to stop Dylan from finishing the lodge. In researching the lodge's history, he and Lane uncover some disturbing information about the lodge's early years and first owner. When a ghost suddenly materializes in the upstairs hall, right in front of Lane, Dylan has had enough. I loved watching him and his friends, Caleb and Paddy, search the lodge from top to bottom. I wasn't surprised by what they found, and the story behind it was intriguing. I especially enjoyed what Lane did with the information. It feels like things should be smooth sailing from here, but that wasn't the case.
I liked watching the relationship develop between Dylan and Lane. Neither is interested in anything permanent (where have I heard that before?). Lane has her interior design business back in LA. She may be ready to indulge in a bit of hanky-panky, but that's all. Dylan wants Lane in his bed, but he won't go any further than that. He's been burned once by a city woman who couldn't take life in Alaska, and he won't put himself or Emily through that again. But the more time he and Lane spend together, the more they find they have in common. When they finally take the plunge into intimacy, their connection is far stronger than either expected. Lane quickly accepted her feelings for Dylan but kept them to herself, not wanting to risk rejection. Dylan fought hard against his feelings, almost leaving it too late, but came to his senses in time.
Vanquishing the "ghosts" of the lodge wasn't the end of the trouble for Dylan and Lane. They discovered that someone was prowling around the lodge and watching it. When a young woman was murdered and Caleb was accused of the crime, Dylan and Lane were determined to clear him. The deeper they got into their investigation, the more they suspected that the two things were connected. I figured out pretty quickly what was going on, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment. The person they were up against wasn't going to make it easy, and I was glued to the pages until it was over.
I liked getting to know Dylan's brothers, Nick and Rafe, a little bit. Nick played a significant role in solving the second mystery despite his issues. I'm looking forward to reading their stories too.
Good book. Cal is on his way home for Thanksgiving after leaving the Navy. He's got a lot on his mind, not the least of which is the snowstorm he's driving through. When he spots a white flag waving in the storm, he's stunned to discover that it is the veil of a woman dressed in a wedding gown and unconscious in the snow. He carries her to safety, only to discover that she can't remember who she is or how she got there. When he witnesses two suspicious looking men searching for her, his protective instincts kick in. He calls her Stormy and is determined to help her figure out who she is.
Stormy has no idea how she ended up where she was, but she's pretty sure that the men looking for her don't have her best interests in mind. Though cautious at first, she trusts her instincts when it comes to Cal and feels safe when she's with him.
The story is fast paced and takes place over just a few days. Cal and Stormy need to figure out who she is and why they are after her. As she begins to get flashes of returning memory, Stormy is certain that there is something big that is going to happy on Saturday. Each memory gives them another clue to follow, which all begin to lead to a local college and an impending political visit. A bit of bad luck puts them both in the hands of the bad guys. The intensity of the confrontation kept me turning the pages, as I anticipated their escape. In an interesting twist, what the bad guys had planned was not what had brought Stormy to the case, but the two were linked. I loved the tension of seeing Cal do his part, while Stormy, memory restored, does hers and worries for his safety. I liked the ending.
The development of their relationship was really fast. Cal has avoided relationships because of his work as a SEAL, but something about Stormy really draws him. He is attracted to her, but because of the wedding gown considers her off limits. Stormy is just as attracted to him and is certain that no one else has a claim on her. Other than some hot kisses, at the beginning they don't have time to pursue what might be between them. I liked seeing them work together. Cal starts out be super protective, for reasons that come out later in the book, but Stormy is good at showing him that she doesn't need to be coddled. I liked seeing her stand up to him when it happened, and loved how he saw his error and changed his ways. It also gave him a chance to open up about his past and what has brought him back to Ravesville. Stormy had realized her feelings for him when he went off to defuse the bomb. I ached for her when she thought he was gone, and enjoyed their big moment at the end.
Good book with a nice blend of romance and suspense. Kiely is a PI with her family's business, Colton Investigations. She has a reputation for getting the job done, and also for pushing the envelope of legality. This has put her at odds with Cooper Winston, a by-the-book FBI agent. Because of her family's excellent reputation, they frequently work with local law enforcement, including the FBI. She currently assists with a case that also has a personal connection for her. When a tip comes in that she thinks is legit, she wants to follow up on it immediately - alone. Cooper, the lead agent on the case, disagrees.
Cooper is skeptical about the tip, but doesn't want her to follow up on it by herself and insists on going with her. Kiely irritates him with her disregard for the rules, but he doesn't want her to be in danger. Before they can leave to check it out, Cooper receives a call from his son's daycare that little Alfie is missing. Cooper and Kiely rescue him through a fortuitous series of events, but Cooper is injured in the process. Cooper is a single dad, and Alfie is his world. Because the boy may still be in danger, Kiely steps in to help protect him and also take care of Cooper.
I loved the development of the relationship between Cooper and Kiely. Together 24/7, each of them discovers a different side of the other. Kiely sees that the cold, rigid FBI agent is also a warm, relaxed, and loving father. Cooper finds that the go-for-broke PI has an unexpected soft side that connects quickly with his son. There are several terrific scenes as he and Kiely get to know each other, and show them becoming a temporary family. Neither expected the sparks of attraction that flew between them. Cooper didn't think that he'd be drawn to another woman after his wife's death, but can't deny his growing feelings for Kiely. Kiely was wary of love because of things she had seen in her parents' marriage. I enjoyed seeing Kiely discover new facets of herself and laughed at her family's reactions. It was nice to see that both Cooper and Kiely were upfront about their feelings. There's an event at the end that solidifies those feelings. Cooper's support and understanding as Kiely dealt with the aftermath was awesome.
The suspense of the story was terrific. The book starts with a rush when Alfie is kidnapped and maintains the intensity throughout. Both the FBI and Colton Investigations are determined to find their quarry. Alfie's kidnapping adds a new set of questions as they try to figure out its connection to the case. As Cooper and Kiely delve deeper into their search, the attacks on them intensify. The final confrontation with the kidnapper was a nail-biter with a satisfactory conclusion. However, an unexpected twist showed that the danger wasn't over yet. This one had me glued to the pages (and up way too late) as Kiely faced a frightening foe. Some progress is made in the overall investigation, leaving me ready for the next book and whatever happens there.
Good book. At the end of the previous book, Uncovering Colton's Family Secret, the serial killer Len Davison broke into Olivia Margulies's deli, forcing her to make him a sandwich before robbing her. In this book, FBI agent Bryce Colton becomes Olivia's protector as he waits for Davison's next move.
I like Bryce and have throughout the series. He's a good man with a tough job. He initially sees Olivia as a means to an end, but that changes as he gets to know her. Thanks to his career, Bryce tends to be a glass-half-empty kind of guy but being around Olivia's brighter outlook on life begins to change him. I enjoyed seeing him hang out in the deli with her, stepping in to help in the kitchen and becoming part of her life. Complicating matters is the intense attraction he feels for her. It manifests in heated kisses that he then regrets as being inappropriate and tries to back away from. Olivia feels the same attraction and wonders if it will continue after Davison is captured. There are some sweet scenes between them as they grow closer, such as Bryce's care of her when she's sick to Olivia's trying to help him through his feelings about his father's return. I loved seeing them come together at the end after the terror of nearly losing each other.
The suspense was excellent. After that first visit by Davison, the tension continued to build as they waited for him to try again. The situation took a creepy turn with the second visit and his confession that he had a crush on Olivia. I could feel Bryce's frustration as each lead led to a dead end. When the final confrontation came, I was glued to the pages as Bryce raced to find Olivia before it was too late.
The epilogue was great and included a lead-in to the final book in the series. It will be interesting to see if Baldwin Bowe, bounty hunter, succeeds in finding his estranged brother Randall.
Good book that picks up where Agent Zero left off. Holly and Reese have escaped and are moving from place to place, trying to stay safe. Cal has also gone "off the grid", away from the agency that made him what he is. He is looking for the woman who saved their lives at the end of the last book.
Trinity, or Agent Three as she was known, has also gone off on her own. In the previous book, she began as an apparent mindless drone, known for her intensely calculating brain but nothing else. The process that they all went through was supposed to have removed all emotion from them, and it appears to have succeeded with her. But as the book went on, kernels of self-will and flashes of emotion begin to appear. By the end, she has broken with her boss and has helped the rogues get away.
Now Trinity has one mission. She wants to find her files and discover who she was before the process stole her memories. She has also been suffering from headaches and other strange symptoms and believes that the viral symbiosis is failing and tha she will soon die. She wants to find her answers before that happens.
As determined as she is to remain free, the Division is even more determined to get her back. Caldwell has brought in another agent and also a computer hacker to track her down. Cal has also been looking for her ever since she saved them. Like Reese was to Holly, Cal is drawn to Trinity in ways he can't explain. All he knows is that he has to keep her safe. It's a tense time when the three groups collide, and things don't look good at all for Trinity. Cal's rescue of her was a relief, but they still had a long way to go.
Trinity has a hard time believing that Cal wants to save her. All she can think of are the things she did as the boss man's assistant, things that resulted in peoples' deaths. She holds herself responsible for the death of the woman that Cal had been seeing, and believes that he would hate her if he knew. I loved Cal's protectiveness and how he is willing to do anything to keep her safe. He is puzzled over her belief that she is going to die, as all he sees is the way the ability to feel is returning to her. I especially loved the scene with the milkshake and how it increases his desire to give her everything.
The final confrontation comes when Trinity slips away from Cal in order to continue her quest. Reese and Holly show up to support and help him in his search for her. Even the other agent and Fray the hacker get their chance to help. Trinity is caught by Caldwell, who has an agenda of his own. What he put her through before he was taken down was terrifying and it was amazing that she survived. I loved the ending and seeing Trinity and Cal together. There was an interesting twist at the end, as Trinity found out a little bit about her past and the identity of the brains behind the program was revealed. It was left a little openended because he is still loose to wreak his havoc.
Good book. It started with plenty of action and kept up the pace throughout. Dalton is serving as best man in a friend and fellow agent's wedding (Agent Undercover) when he gets a call about a case he's been working on. Since the ceremony is over he takes off to see if he can catch the perp. Instead of the car theft ring he expects to find, he discovers a woman dressed in a bridal gown in the trunk of the car. Thanks to a blow to the head, she can't remember anything about what happened or who she is. It's believed she could be a near victim of a serial killer who preys on brides. But whoever she is, Dalton's determined to protect her.
Elizabeth has no idea what happened to her, but there's something about Dalton that makes her trust him. Each additional attempt on her life draws her closer to him. Even when a man who says he is her fiance comes forward, it doesn't feel right to her. He does provide her with news that brings a few of her memories back, including those of the little girl she is now guardian of. She'll do anything to keep Lizzie safe. I loved seeing how much she believed in Dalton and his ability to protect them. She also realized that she felt far more for Dalton than she ever had for her fiance. It was great to see her show Dalton over and over how much she cared for him.
Dalton is a man who was sure that no woman would ever tempt him into a permanent relationship. His past is too rough for him to feel worthy of that kind of love. He had grown up on the streets of Chicago, been a gang member before moving to the right side of the law. But there is something about Elizabeth that he can't keep himself from caring about. I loved seeing how protective he was, to the point of even taking her with him to follow up on leads, rather than leaving her with another agent. The appearance of her fiance created a fair amount of jealousy in him, and he doesn't think that the man deserves her, but he also doesn't believe that he is good enough either. His lack of confidence almost lets him walk away, until his friends talk some sense into him. I loved his big moment at the end.
The mystery of who was trying to kill Elizabeth was very well done. From the initial belief of a serial killer to the final conclusion, my interest never wavered. I loved Dalton's determination to get to the truth, and all the steps taken to get there. As the clues began to pile up, I especially liked his conviction that there was no such thing as a coincidence. As the attempts of Elizabeth's life increased in number and intensity, I started to suspect who might be behind them. The final confrontation was really intense and I wondered just how they were going to get through it.
This was a complex suspense story with a bit of romance to brighten things up. Teagan was kidnapped and tortured two years earlier before managing to escape. Even though she is in Florida, she's convinced that the man who abducted her is the Kentucky Ripper. Everyone insists that the Kentucky Ripper is in prison, but Teagan thinks they locked up the wrong man. She put her studies in Criminal Justice on hold while she works to prove it. Now she wants to discuss her research and theories with Bryson, the former FBI profiler who worked the case.
After leaving the FBI, Bryson went to work for Justice Seekers. A few months earlier, he was injured while working a case and is on an extended leave of absence while he recovers. Bryson blames himself for his coworker nearly being killed on that case. He also blames himself for how his Kentucky Ripper profile was handled, allowing another woman to die before he was captured and jailed. Bryson's boss, Mason, wants him to meet with Teagan, and Bryson flat-out refuses, throwing her information in the trash.
I loved the first meeting between Teagan and Bryson. Bryson is none too happy when she shows up on his doorstep the next day. He is rude and obnoxious to her, but she refuses to back down. I loved how she kept after him until he agreed to listen to her. I ached for her as she recounted what happened to the "victim" without revealing that it was her. With his skill at reading people, Bryson soon figured out the truth. He continued to rub me the wrong way with his abrasive attitude toward Teagan, but he did make some valid points. I hurt for her when he refused to help and sent her away. An added complication was the sparks that flared between them. Those sparks made it hard for Bryson to put her out of his mind.
This is where the story intensifies. Without telling her, Bryson heads to Florida to check out Teagan's account and do some investigating on his own. He has no intention of contacting her at all. Just his luck, Bryson encounters her as he checks out the site of the abduction. They end up working together, setting in motion a chain of events that puts them in extreme danger. I was on the edge of my seat when the first stop in their investigation went terribly wrong. Teagan's terror leaped off the page as she and Bryson found themselves at the mercy of a madman. I loved seeing the two of them work together to save themselves. Bryson's kindness and understanding of Teagan's trauma went a long way toward redeeming him in my eyes, and I liked how he kept her focused. Several twists made me wonder how they would make it out alive.
Determined to keep her safe, Bryson takes Teagan back to Kentucky. They team up with the rest of the Justice Seekers and go all out to find the attacker and the truth about the Kentucky Ripper. I was fascinated by their actions and discoveries and stunned by the revelations. The final confrontation was a terrifying nail-biter, and I loved seeing Teagan take control at the end.
I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Teagan and Bryson develop. There were sparks between them from the minute they met. Bryson is very conscious of the age difference between them. There was also his belief that he's a screwup who would get her killed because of his failures. Teagan refuses to accept his self-condemnation. I liked her teasing and flirting as a way to get him back to living again. Bryson kept trying to push her away, but she refused to go. With the intensity of their situations, it's no wonder that the feelings between them developed and grew quickly. The ending was terrific, and I loved Bryson's big moment.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book, and I know it will sound weird was that people got injured. They didn't just brush it off and go on. Bryson's original injuries were severe enough that he was still in pain during this book. His confrontations with the bad guy were realistically portrayed, as were the injuries received. I can't wait to read the other books.
Good book. Ash works for the antiterrorism unit for the FBI and is currently looking for the person selling information about how to get around government firewalls. His investigation has led him to Claire, a previously convicted hacker who now works for a cybersecurity company. He suspects she is at the speed dating event to make contact with a buyer.
Claire was convicted of hacking as a teenager and given the chance to work for the good guys instead of going to prison. Ever since then she has concentrated on her work at the expense of having any kind of personal life. When the people who mean the most to her start finding love and lives of their own, she realizes that she wants what they have. Never having had the chance to really develop some social skills, she turns to online dating to find someone of her own.
Her reaction to Ash makes her nervous and she leaves the event in a hurry. As she heads out of the hotel she is grabbed and chloroformed, but luckily Ash is there to rescue her. When she regains consciousness, she's dismayed to discover that Ash suspects her of selling secrets.
I liked both Ash and Claire, though he certainly frustrated me at the beginning. Ash was totally convinced that Claire was guilty, and it wasn't until there had been several attacks on her that he admitted he might be wrong. I liked the fact that once he was convinced, he was determined to keep her safe, even though he also wanted to use her to catch the person who was really behind it. Because he is skilled at undercover work, Ash decides that posing as her boyfriend is the best way to keep her with him. He doesn't expect to find himself enjoying the ruse far more than is wise.
I liked the fact that Claire doesn't just sit back and hide behind Ash's protection. She is determined to find out just who has set her up, and if that means pretending, she'll do it. But the longer the act goes on, the more she wishes that it was real.
I loved seeing the relationship build between Ash and Claire. He's so uptight and intense that the effect she has on him hits him really hard. He feels guilty about the danger she's in because of him, but he thinks it's the only way to save her. He's also spent so long denying that he needs anyone in his life that he has a hard time letting her in. One of the things I loved about Claire was that she had such great observation skills. She was really good at reading his moods and seeing things that bothered him. It was fun to see her call him on them, and how it sometimes made him very nervous that she seemed to know him so well. When the case was over, both had to decide what to do about their feelings. I loved the ending and seeing Ash's sweet and romantic confession of his feelings.
The suspense aspect of the book was very good. The frequent attacks kept the intensity going, as Ash and Claire tried to figure out who was really behind it all. I liked seeing Claire insist on being part of the operation. I wasn't terribly surprised by who was really trying to sell the secrets as it seemed pretty obvious to me. However, I was very surprised by who was behind the attacks. I hadn't seen that one coming at all. The final showdown was really intense, and I quite enjoyed seeing how everything turned out.
I loved the appearances of the other agents. It was fun to see Blaine and Maggie from the first book, and how Blaine could so easily see that Ash was following right in his footsteps. I also enjoyed the back and forth between Ash and Reyes, especially when Reyes caused some jealousy on Ash's part. It will be interesting to see what happens in his book, and what kind of payback he might have.
Good story, with a bit of a science fiction feel to it, almost a combination of Spiderman and the Six Million Dollar Man. Reese is a soldier/spy who has been genetically enhanced by the introduction of a virus into his system. His senses, intelligence, and strength are all incredible. He and several others like him are all part of a secret government agency. In this book, Reese has become fascinated by a waitress at a local diner that he visits between assignments. Something about Holly soothes him after particularly rough missions. He doesn't really talk to her, just watches her and leaves.
Holly is alone in the world after her father's death and her divorce from her husband. She hasn't had an easy life. Her military father died of cancer, likely caused by his time in the military. She watched him fight both the disease and the system that should have helped him. After helping put her husband through medical school, he asks for a divorce just as she finds out that there may be something wrong with her too.
Holly is a little freaked out by Reese and the way he watches her, but he's never actually done anything wrong. She gets the feeling that maybe he's just a bit shy. One day he finally asks her to have coffee with him somewhere other than the diner. Though wary, she says yes. Their plans are interrupted when a normal check-in/check-up turns into an attempt to kill him. Worried about Holly's safety after another attempt on him, he discovers that she's been taken, drugged and questioned, and is about to be killed to cover it all up. He rescues her and they go on the run.
I liked the development of their relationship. Reese is super protective and will do whatever he must to keep Holly safe. His supersensitive nose detects a scent about her that he just can't resist, like it is calling just to him. His feelings for her grow stronger, but he worries that the things he has done will make it impossible for her to return those feelings. Ever since Holly found out that she is sick, she has kept people at a distance. She doesn't want any of them going through what she did with her father. She quickly discovers that Reese won't be pushed away, and realizes that she likes the feeling of being cared for by him. A surprise event changes her prognosis, and makes it possible to think about a future, if they can get away from those who are after them. I loved the ending, as Reese is still endearingly awkward about expressing his feelings.
The suspense of the story is really interesting and intense. The agents are supposed to do their jobs without any "emotional noise", ie. conscience, feelings of love, sorrow, guilt, etc. Anyone who develops these tendencies gets reprogrammed or "liquidated". When a doctor who knew only a small part of what was happening learns the truth, he goes off the deep end and decides to eliminate the carriers of the virus. Of course, those in charge can't have that, but their attempts to fix the problem only make things worse. One of the other agents is sent to track down Reese and Holly, but he's actually on their side and has his own agenda. There is also a female agent whose point of view we also get, who really illustrates the effects and pitfalls of the program. She turns out to be much more important than suspected at the beginning. The pursuit of Reese and Holly is intense, and the final confrontation still leaves some questions unanswered.
A terrific book that had me hooked from the very beginning. The action started with a bang as a young woman is attacked and left for dead, and her infant son kidnapped. The victim's sister, Emma, is a PI and determined to find her nephew and bring him home. She doesn't expect to find a mysterious and sexy NCIS agent already on the case.
The first meeting between Derrick and Emma set the stage for their relationship. Both are accustomed to doing what is necessary without having to consult with someone else. There is also an undeniable zing of attraction between them that promises to complicate matters. Derrick is especially resistant to working with Emma because once before he had gotten involved during a mission and the consequences still haunt him. However, each has a different set of skills vital to the mission, so they have to figure out how to make it work. Their early interactions show Derrick's fear that Emma will be more of a hindrance than a help, and Emma's determination to prove otherwise. I loved the way that Emma quickly proved her worth and made a place for herself at his side. The chemistry between them awakens unexpectedly strong feelings between them.
I ached for Derrick, whose past mistakes still haunt him. Emma's missing nephew brings his pain back to the surface and makes this case more personal than he is comfortable with. His growing feelings for Emma also bring out an unexpected protectiveness in him that causes some conflict between them. I loved that he was honest about his desire for her, but he feared that his past has made him unable to have a permanent relationship. This was especially obvious at the end when he walked away before realizing that he needed to fight for what he wanted.
Emma has her own issues to work through. She has spent her life being very protective of her sister. It goes a little too far at some point, creating a rift between them. Her growing relationship with Derrick opens her eyes to the need for her to control things in her life. I loved her big moment at the end as she followed her heart.
The suspense of the story was intense and nearly non-stop. It was an emotional roller coaster as Derrick and Emma would get close to their objective, only to see it slip away, and have it happen several times. Though the culprit is unknown at the beginning, finding out who it is doesn't make things any easier. As the risks escalate, injury or death is a definite possibility. I was glued to the book as I watched Derrick and Emma survive ambushes, a desert escape, and betrayal. There were several twists at the end that increased the intensity until all was successfully concluded.