Tag Archives: Romantic Suspense

Book Review: DARK TIDE by Susan Sleeman

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: March 1, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445882         

Series: The Justice Agency

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Gina’s brother mourned his wife’s death, worked for the Coast Guard, and raised his newborn daughter, Sophia.  Gina Evans takes care of Jon’s daughter and did what she could for her brother, until the unthinkable happened. Jon died.  She didn’t believe his crash was an accident, but the police wouldn’t even listen to her.    

Now, Gina is trying to raise Sophia. Being a single stand-in mother, she sees the world through different eyes.  These deaths brought her parents closer to her, as their relationship had been strained from her childhood, and it helps that she lives close to Jon’s Coast Guard teammate and best friend and his wife. 

However, once Gina was attacked, she fled to a friend’s home in Portland. 

She wasn’t gone long, but a struggle was evident. The door told that story.  All she could think of was finding Sophia.  Wrapping the child in a blanket, she headed outside to look for her friend, Lilly.  

Everything happened so fast.  She watched her friend die and the murderer was coming for them.

Meanwhile, Derrick Justice didn’t know this number, but working for the family private investigation agency, these calls can happen.  The whispered voice couldn’t be a dream.  It was real.  The woman who left him in college is calling for help.  He’d be the first to admit he wasn’t happy about this, but he wasn’t going to leave anyone in trouble, especially a child. 

He made it to her location to find Gina hiding with a seven-month old girl behind a Dumpster, but nobody else was around, until heavy footfalls sounded from behind.  

 

My Take:

Susan Sleeman’s DARK TIDE is an engaging read where the suspense doesn’t end but a romance does blossom!  

I took a liking to Gina Evans right from the start.  She’s strong, loving, and loyal.  At times,  you’ll wonder if her loyalty is misguided in some directions.  Her life has been filled with rejection, accidents, deaths, and family crisis, but her faith is strong.  No longer the heady school girl, she’s a woman who is trying to do right by this child who has now become hers.  Her attraction to Derrick is still alive, but he’s stayed a person who can’t commit.  Gina won’t let Sophia pay that kind of price.

However, Derrick Justice has moved on since his college days, but on a personal level his inability to commit still rules him. It’s not that he’s always thinking the next best thing is around the corner.  In fact, he knows the best person that ever happened to him is back in his life.  This hero is in need of faith, fixing, and a whole lot of loving care, but he’s too scared to reach for it.  What I liked about Derrick Justice is that the Alpha male he is on the outside, isn’t the person he is on the inside.  He wants more than the empty life he has, but he has fear issues that are too much for him alone. 

DARK TIDE by Susan Sleeman is a standalone title, but also it is the last in a series about a loving family, the Justice family.  These titles have suspense abound but romance will fill this family along the way.  I know the Justice Agency series is one you’ll want to uncover: DOUBLE EXPOSURE  (Love Inspired Suspense June 2012), DEAD WRONG (Love Inspired Suspense November 2012), NO WAY OUT (Love Inspired Suspense May 2013), and THREAD OF SUSPICION (Love Inspired Suspense October 2013!

Advertisements

Book Review: TREACHEROUS SLOPES by Terri Reed

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: February 4, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445837         

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Julie Frost gains a chance for promotion, from production assistant to on camera personality, if her interview with her former high school crush goes well.  Dressed in stylish not sensible clothing, Julie was half-frozen talking with a television audience while waiting for the final event that would choose the Olympic team for the Freestyle Aerial Ski Jumping set.  However, the man who was about to take to the air was the local favorite and her school days distraction.  Although she was filled with excitement, she knew this man had never noticed her before and would be off to bigger and better things afterward.  It was key to keep herself guarded, professional, and detached during this promotional interview. 

She watched him take to the air, but something just seemed off.  Soon, his ski was gone, and he was going down.  It was hard to remember to be a reporter as she raced to see if he was alive.  How could his parents lose both children to ski accidents? 

Nick Walsh felt the adrenaline rush many times over, but he also knew someone wanted him dead.  With this hard landing, someone could get his or her wish. The air whooshed out of him, and his head felt almost disconnected, when a rush of people came to him. 

The vision in pink he knew from years gone by.  Why was Jules here?   

Of course, his manager was thrilled he wasn’t dead like Cody, but this close one only heaped more guilt on Nick over his brother’s death.  Had he not made that last jump trying to imitate him, his brother would still be here to go for the gold. Everybody had expected it would be brother verses brother going for the gold.  However, it would be brother going for his brother, now.  And it was somebody’s desire to stop him. 

He didn’t consider the woman in pink his enemy until he found out she was a reporter.  Those people are breeds that watch their ratings go up as their lens focused on bringing someone down.  Even the dead was not protected from their subterfuge.   The rumor mill churned with charges of made-up drug abuse to sully his brother’s reputation.  It didn’t matter how beautiful this woman was; she wasn’t going to use him or his brother to get ratings.  However, his sponsor put together this interview, and he would have to tread slowly. 

He hadn’t planned to tell her about the death threats or the actual attempts on his life, but he didn’t have to.  The person doing this has thrown her into the crosshairs with him.

My Take:

Terri Reed’s TREACHEROUS SLOPES starts off with the Olympic adrenaline rush, keys up the suspense, and creates romance in the process!   

This heroine is not only a reporter but does a great job at amateur sleuthing too.  I could see her staring in her own series with a town of tourists for victims discovered by the roving reporter.  She’s caring, considerate, and is just trying to make it on her own as a reporter with vision and scruples.  Julie Frost lost her mother and understands grief, but she seems to be getting along better with her stepfather who now wants a family more than a career.     

Inside Nick Walsh, you’ll find a hurting man who blames himself for his brother’s death and projects his guilt onto his mother and father.  He’s a believer who has lost his way but being back home has him face the truth about himself, his family, and his faith.  His reason for going for the gold isn’t what it once was, and he is realizing that where he is at isn’t where he should be.  However, he needs to finish this Olympic walk for Cody, and not even a murderer is going to change his path.  However, his walk easily intersects with what he wants his future to become.

TREACHEROUS SLOPES by Terri Reed is a suspense filled standalone title that will have you head to the summer Olympics reading more books by this author such as the COWBOY TARGET (Love Inspired Suspense 2013) and THE DOCTOR’S DEFENDER  (Love Inspired Suspense 2012) just to name a few!

 

Book Review: SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE by Shirlee McCoy

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: January 7, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445783         

Series: Witness Protection

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Annie Duncan isn’t used to this life, to this name, or to raising her child alone, without any help from family, friends, or a job.   In fact, Annie—who actually isn’t Annie Duncan—knows she’s doing the right thing, but she does not think things will all work out in the end. 

She’s not having a crisis of faith, but she’s having a crisis of the human kind. Can she let go? Can she trust those who have kept her safe, even when safe can’t be safe right now?  

Hunter is right.  There is a leak.  Could it one of these people?  Who is friend? Who is foe? These questions are hammering at Annie who misses life, her child’s independence, and going to Sunday Services. Even through all of this, however, there is one man she doesn’t doubt. 

Hunter has been her steadfast Marshal, friend, cheering crowd, and babysitter, but all of this is just his job. 

Meanwhile, the latest danger surrounding Annie and Sophia has Hunter Davis questioning those around him.  And his attachment to this witness is gnawing at who he is and what he does.  Maybe, Hunter had become jaded, since many in his protection, over the years, had been placed in their situation by their own actions and their own design. Annie was different. 

Angel Delacourte’s only mistake was mistaking the wrong man for a husband and father.  And maybe it still does bother Hunter that despite her husband’s lies and gambling debts that’s he’s dead, not suffering, but she’s living a nightmare.  He’s a by-the-book kind of Marshal who is faced with knowledge that doing exactly those things can cause this innocent woman and child harm.  There is no doubt that someone is a leak, he just doesn’t want it to be one of those within the team.  Hunter has to walk a fine line of trusting those around him with only so much.  He also seems to walk the fine line of being part of this woman’s life but keeping from becoming apart of it, as the rulebook dictates. This, by the book, Marshal is now having some problems with the book, the life, and the job.  However, his problems with these can prove deadly for those he cares about.

My Take:

SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE by Shirlee McCoy takes the amazing lead in this continuity series that amps up suspense and lets the romance begin, but she leaves you knowing more can come! 

Annie Duncan is a heroine who is great at being strong, but sometimes her strength is the one weakness that can put her and her daughter in danger. All throughout the nightmare she is living, the love of her daughter is foremost in evidence, and she knows her husband’s love for his daughter is true, despite his lies.  However, she must grieve the loss of a husband she loved but didn’t really know, the life she had that wasn’t what it should have been, and her own loss of innocence and trust. 

However, Marshal Hunter Davis charged into a career but left behind much in doing it. This was exactly what he wanted, but until now, he didn’t feel a loss.  Maybe that was his problem.  He just didn’t feel.  As a Marshal, one stays in the background, does the job, and moves on.  How could he feel and do this job?  Some of these answers become obvious, but some of these answers can cause him to make a mistake and hurt the ones he cares about. While he watches Annie and Sophia, Hunter has come to grips with his own mistakes and a grieving he didn’t even expect.

Shirlee McCoy’s SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE is a standalone title, but also is the first in a continuity. I can’t wait to see what other suspense filled discoveries are abound in this series! With me, be on the look out for the rest if the WITNESS PROTECTION continuity: THE BABY RESCUE by Margaret Daley (Love Inspired Suspense February 2014), STOLEN MEMORIES by Liz Johnson (Love Inspired Suspense March 2014), and TOP SECRET IDENTITY by Sharon Dunn (Love Inspired Suspense April 2014)!

 

Book Review: DEFENDING THE DUCHESS by Rachelle McCalla

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: March 5, 2013

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445301         

Series: Protecting the Crown

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Julia Miller isn’t used to living in a palace, in a foreign land, and she certainly isn’t used to a bodyguard.  

The country of Lydia’s dangerous recent history left their queen not looking all that well in the aftermath.  Leaving her law practice behind to help her sister, now Queen Monica, Julia just needed something to feel normal.  She desired a jog without her handsome bodyguard, Linus Murati.  

However, the last thing this sibling wanted was to bring her sister more trouble, but trouble followed Julia here.

Running to catch up with the future Duchess, Linus wondered what part about an evening in translated into an unsecured jaunt?  A stealthy lawyer from the States, whom could be putting herself in danger, was outrunning this highly trained Royal Guard member. 

Albeit Linus understood her newness to the problems associated with being royalty, he also has seen way too much to believe she’ll be fine on her own.  Their last menace came from inside the palace walls, but there still could be outsiders connected to the dangers that have yet to be discovered.  If it weren’t so worrisome, it would be amusing to watch this woman out pace him and everyone else.  

Finally, he realized, she heard him calling.  

For him, it was just the luck of her running in sand that slowed her enough for him to even get close.  However, he wasn’t close enough to stop a man from kidnapping her.  

She was moved inside a bluff, being carried by masked man who had come from behind her.  

My Take:

In DEFENDING THE DUCHESS, Rachelle McCalla adds suspense and sprinkles it with romance in just the right measure! 

Julia Miller is a heroine who tries hard at being strong.  To her, sometimes strength involves keeping secrets, and those secrets can be costly.  Her coming to Lydia was to help her sister but maybe it also was to keep her troubles at bay.  

In the meantime, the bodyguard of the duchess, Linus Murati, doesn’t need to run outside the palace walls.  The confines of the palace contain his race.  His superior is aware, but the royal family must never know.  He wishes that he can run from is his young, not so clean past, but at every turn it seems to snag him, again.  

Rachelle McCalla’s DEFENDING THE DUCHESS is a standalone title. However, you’ll want to read more of this author’s work in PRINCESS IN PERIL (Love Inspired Suspense 2011), PROTECTING THE PRINCESS (Love Inspired Suspense 2012), PRINCE INCOGNITO (Love Inspired Suspense 2012), THE MISSING MONARCH (Love Inspired Suspense 2012), and A ROYAL MARRIAGE (LOVE INSPIRED HISTORICALS 2012).  ROYAL HEIST and THE SECRET PRINCESS will release later in 2013! 

 

Book Review: FINAL RESORT by Dana Mentink

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: February 5, 2013

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445264         

Series: Treasure Seekers

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Ava Stanton has suffered too much loss in her life, from losing her mother to suicide—while she was still in her young teen years, and at the same time, losing her healthy father to an accident—leaving him a paraplegic with a host of health issues.  Now, as an adult, Ava faces the soon-to-be loss of her impoverished, winter resort home, Whisper Mountain.  

Through all of this turmoil, Ava has known only one constant in her life, her mother’s brother, Uncle Paul.  

She can remember her parent’s arguing over Uncle Paul, and Ava’s dad still carries a firm dislike for this man.  It wasn’t that Ava was ignorant to Uncle Paul’s wayward nature of get rich quick schemes, owing and borrowing money from everyone and anyone, and the not-so-honest way he will manipulate things toward his favor; she knew his exploits quite well.  However, his optimism and infectious smile was something Ava could always count on and that meant the world to her. 

So, why was she on a deserted mountain road of the winter wonderland that she once called home, despite the winter storm warnings?   Ava was here at Uncle Paul’s request, of course. His message about his “purl”, although he used that term about everything he ever chased.

Finally, Uncle Paul arrived, but he wasn’t himself.  

Ava’s selling the resort really saddened him, but she tried to get him to understand.  She can’t afford to keep it.  However, yet again, he’s coming into money.  It’s big this time.  Not wanting to hurt him, she simple restated that she had to sell.  Maybe since it was worth more in painful memories than cash, she figured he’d understand.  

Suddenly, a snowmobile arrives on scene.  His face was hidden, but his intention was clear. Someone was about to run them down! Uncle Paul pushed Ava out of its path, but Uncle Paul didn’t get away.  

Meanwhile, Luca Gage left his sister and was skiing toward old memories of a high school crush, when he saw a snowmobile driving at increasing speed toward a couple.  The woman landed with a thud and the man was abducted.  There was only one he could save, and his gut knew exactly who it was.  

Once skiing these slopes with pure abandon, she became different and weighted with loss and pain.  It doesn’t seem her pain ever stopped.  Luca knew her former home was on the market, and he was charged with checking into a possible purchase for his father.  Since the Gage property, Gold Summit, was next to Whisper Mountain to acquire it would make sense. However, from what he knew, it would take a whole lot of money just for modernization.   

He was not going to let her die up here on this mountain.  

Both of them were on thin ice, now, and as it breaks, his emotions reheat, cracking his heart’s protective barrier.    

 

My Take:

FINAL RESORT is a thrilling ride of suspense and romance! 

Luca Gage is a hero whose heart hunts for the treasure that he’s never found, as he finds worldly treasures he doesn’t need.  His strong faith brings him through, and he believes enough for two.

Ava Stanton is a strong woman, but to her, prayers aren’t answered and bad things still happen.    Faith doesn’t mean much to her, and to find someone who actually still believes is disorienting.  

In fact, she sometimes sees the world in have and have not, and the Stantons were always on the have not list.

Dana Mentink’s hero and heroine are opposites in life, faith and socioeconomic factors, but their personalities complement.  His family brought him stability while her unstable family brought challenges to bear. Abandonment left her brokenhearted, and she’s not prepared for love. However, she must learn to ask for and accept help, but he must accept her need to do things herself.  Can they make it work?     

FINAL RESORT by Dana Mentink is a standalone title.  However,  you’ll want to read more of this author’s titles including  DANGEROUS MELODY (Love Inspired Suspense 2012), LOST LEGACY (Love Inspired Suspense 2012), ESCAPE FROM THE BADLANDS (Love Inspired Suspense (2012), BURIED TRUTH (Love Inspired Suspense 2011), TURBULENCE (Steeple Hill 2011), and BETRAYAL IN THE BADLANDS (Steeple Hill 2010). Or check out other books by this author!

 

Book Review: TRACKING JUSTICE by Shirlee McCoy

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: January 2, 2013        

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445202            

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Police detective Austin Black and his tracker dog, K-9 partner—Justice— arrive on scene. In fact, they were the first responders.

For Austin, it’s never about just routine.

A missing child call doesn’t become easier and the fact that some of those missing never go home never gets old either. These worried mothers and hurting families’ bruise his heart every time and leave more than a few sleepless nights ahead. However, this worried mother was just as determined to be there for her missing son, Brady, as Austin was on finding him. She’s even brought out a coat for when he is found. The more time spent on trying to deter her brings a higher possibility that Brady’s trail will grow cold. Caving in to those beautiful, pained eyes, Austin couldn’t turn her down and couldn’t let Brady down either.

She accompanies him but with an understanding that his first priority is to find Brady, and if she can’t keep up, he’ll radio for her escort back and keep on going forward. She’s more than happy with this deal.

Meanwhile, to Eva Billows, nobody was moving fast enough!

She last saw her son at her midnight check and everything was fine. Brady was asleep. At two, Eva heard Brady’s call, and she found his window open and Brady gone. This detective and his bloodhound are the only hope she has of finding her son and knowing how he’s been taught to stay away from strangers, Eva knows Brady might not respond to the detective. Brady is cold, scared, and in trouble, and if he is out in those woods, she needs to be out there too.

Guilt overtook Eva. Tonight, Brady had been quiet, but he didn’t say much with her prompting either. Figuring he was getting sick, she left him alone and didn’t insist he talk to her about what was bothering him. His sitter hadn’t mentioned anything, but she did say he seemed subdued.

However, Detective Austin Black gave her start, when he started asking her about the dog. Eva had heard about Slade’s dog, but at the mention of that crime and her son’s kidnapping in the same breath dread roiled within her. 

What did a police trained dog and Brady have in common? Why would anyone take her son?

 

My Take:

TRACKING JUSTICE pumps up the adrenaline and tightens the romance! 

Shirlee McCoy’s hero, Austin Black, has a past that pulls him into his job. Tracking is his life, and he’s already found out the hard way that many women couldn’t share in that. They want him for birthdays and events, but his work didn’t always allow that. Sure, he has a casual date, now and then, but he keeps his distance. His job choice excludes him from the life and family that he wants, although he wished he knew that before he restored his old Victorian house.

In the meantime, single mother, Eva Billows, tries hard to keep Brady’s life stable, something she never had growing up. Brady’s father is the one major mistake in her life, but Brady was not a mistake. Her son is her world. Early on Eva decided she’d rather parent alone then allow Brady to suffer from any relationship mistakes she would make.

TRACKING JUSTICE puts together a hero and heroine with rocky pasts that keep them alone, reminding each that love and family is just a dream. However, they must learn to trust themselves and each other when the stakes are high.

Standalone title, TRACKING JUSTICE, is book one of the continuity series Texas K-9 Unit. You’ll want to read the upcoming books in this mini-series: DETECTION MISSION by Margaret Daley (Feb 2013), GUARD DUTY Sharon Dunn (Mar 2013), EXPLOSIVE SECRETS by Valerie Hansen (Apr 2013), SCENT OF by Terri Reed DANGER (May 2013), LONE STAR PROTECTOR by Lenora Worth (June 2013)!

Also, you’ll want to read Shirlee McCoy’s other Love Inspired reads including NAVY SEAL RESCUER, UNDERCOVER BODYGUARD (Love Inspired Suspense April 2012), THE LAWMAN’S LEGACY (Love Inspired Suspense January 2012), and PRIVATE EYE PROTECTOR (Love Inspired Suspense November 2011).

 

BETRAYAL ON THE BORDER

by: Jill Elizabeth Nelson              

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: November 27, 2012        

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445165           

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Ex-Army ranger and current apartment house maintenance worker, Maddie Jameson knew any assassin could get her any day.  However, today’s job was to be the easy kind of thing on a usual kind of day.  

Maddie’s instincts told her today was going to be anything but normal, once she realized what she’d had seen.  

However, she barely had time to react when two male figures opened the door.  On the good side, that bomb hadn’t been planted in this room, as she feared, but it was somewhere.  The bad thing was that Maddie figured today just might be her last.   It didn’t take long for her to confirm she was made, and if she survived this battle, Maddie had to go to ground. 

The news told her where the bomb did go off. A car bomb killed the reporter.  Had Chris found her?  Did he lead them to Maddie? 

This reporter was the reason that her whole unit died in Rio and her heart died too—grief over her fellow rangers, mixing with guilt and anger to consume her.  She knew the treasonous embed traded their coordinates for accolades and led them all to slaughter.

Maybe she still felt too much cause her mind became numb.  

After Maddie spoke to the police, she took a bag and cash.  They’d soon find out all about Maddie and they’d connect her to the dead reporter, in quick order.  Her army training and her gut feelings always planned ahead for a day like this.  It wasn’t the first, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.  

She was the last one still breathing and someone feared her connecting the dots.  

How little did they know? She was as damaged as the day was long. Her memory was as defective as a crashed hard drive.  Everything was gone but minor images, only flashes really, and these taunted her.  

After winding down false routes and vehicles, Maddie made it to the lot.  This car was the only thing left of her brother and it the one thing Maddie counted on for saving her life.   She engaged the engine remotely and waited.  It didn’t blow.  She was one passed test closer to her escape.  However, the car lurched and this action wasn’t by her remote.  

With gun in hand, Maddie was combat ready.  They must have figured two car bombs in one day could get them caught, and so, they improvised to put an end to Maddie’s life.  The voice was familiar but these characters would use anything to get her, especially since the car was still careening toward her.   As close to shooting as she could get, Maddie realized the voice and face matched perfectly.   If this wasn’t deadly real, this could be the poignant moment. The driver by no means was friendly and could just as easily kill her the way he did everyone else.   

Meanwhile, Chris Mason had been threatened with death two times in one day.  

These jokers messed up with the car bomb, but Maddie had incredible aim.  She could take him out in seconds.  Sadly, she hated him enough to do just that, but he needed Maddie. Whether or not she realized it, she needed him too.   As the only two survivors from the Rio operation, they were in a precarious position. Maddie didn’t turn traitor but there was no missing the fact that she believed he did. With so much that she didn’t know mixed with so much that he didn’t understand, there was only thing for certain, Chris and Maddie were more valuable dead than alive. And like it or not, to stay alive, these two would have to stay together.

Chris didn’t find that as appalling as Maddie would.  He knew that her brain injuries destroyed much of her memories, but she really did believe he was a murderer.  Now Madeline Jerrod, a.k.a. Maddie Jameson, held both of their lives in her capable hands.

Between his investigative skills and her military training, could they find out who was behind the massacre and who was the man with juice stateside who wanted them gone, without dying?  

 

My Take:

Jill Elizabeth Nelson puts romance on the line, along with truth and justice in BETRAYAL ON THE BORDER!

This author pits past against present, leaving the characters and readers exposed and vulnerable while the suspense and romance builds to a climatic ending.  Maddie’s too busy blaming herself for her unit’s demise because she had developed feelings for the only man who she believed could have betrayed them, but she never thought much past her hurt to find his motive lacking.  Even now she found him appealing, but she won’t trust him or herself.  

Meanwhile, Chris Mason kept his distance from Maddie, until now.  He’s been trying to find out who on their team turned traitor and trying to keep his traitorous heart in check.  His growing feelings were established in Rio, but he can’t get involved with one of his stories. Been there. Done that. And it didn’t end well. Shouldn’t he be happy Maddie thinks of him as a traitor?  

BETRAYAL ON THE BORDER by Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a standalone title, but you’ll want to read this author’s other titles including  LEGACY OF LIES (Steeple Hill 2010), CALCULATED REVENGE (Steeple Hill 2010), WITNESS TO MURDER (Steeple Hill 2009), and EVIDENCE OF MURDER  (Steeple Hill 2009). Or check out the other books by this author!

CHRISTMAS STALKING

by: Margaret Daley              

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: October 30, 2012        

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445127  

Series: Guardians, Inc.         

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

All wasn’t business as usual for Winnie’s Winfield’s assistant.  In fact, Ellie St. James wasn’t her real assistant, but this charade wasn’t Ellie’s idea, in the first place.  Harold Jefferson hired her through Guardian’s Inc, and what he say’s goes—for now.  

Being a bodyguard isn’t an easy job, but when the target of your watch doesn’t even know you’re her bodyguard, the job gets even harder.  Now, she stood in front of Harold Jefferson trying to explain why she went into full combat mode, pulled her Glock on Colt Winfield, and wrestled with him on the floor, and why this all happened in front of her client who wasn’t to know about this arrangement.   She had threaded her way out of the sticky situation, through evasive maneuvers, but now, her gun sat in Winnie’s safe unavailable for her mission.

Though displeased with the situation but also understanding of it, Harold Jefferson still refuses Ellie’s  request to level with her client but did consent to bring Ellie another weapon. Still, it wasn’t her finely tuned usual friend and ally like her weapon, but it will have to do.

However, Ellie wondered.  

Could these threats be more personal in nature instead of being about Winnie’s company, Glamour Sensations, going public or her new line of products, Endless Youth? 

The next evening Colt and Winnie Winfield must be told everything, when someone cuts through the estate’s fence to steal the guard dogs and may still be on the property, but Ellie’s first unwanted guest is one major problem.

As if she’s a meal time ticket a mountain lion’s stare cuts through Ellie to combine with his striking pose, this cat creates a problem that has her pinned in place.   Thanks to Colt the predator leaves, but is another two-legged one still stalking this property?  Or is the next predator already close to home?

My Take:

CHRISTMAS STALKING elevates suspense and kicks adrenaline and romance into high gear!

Margaret Daley creates a satisfying romance with two parties who are reluctant participants but who are bound together by necessity and held together by love.  While Ellie St. James comes to care about Winnie like a grandmother, Winnie’s grandson, Colt, loves Winnie like a mother.  Winnie Winfield raised Colt and he’ll fiercely protect her, but he’s willing to give Ellie the lead in most situations, knowing she’s more qualified.  However, all things are just not negotiable.  Meanwhile, Ellie St. James is a heroine with a military background and that background only adds to her built-in trust issues. Without much family to call her own, she’s been able to take care of herself, but will she ever be able to let another take the lead?  Not to mention, this heroine and hero both have put work at the forefront of their lives leaving little room for much else.  Does either want anything to change?

CHRISTMAS STALKING is about the love of family and the common bonds that keep us all tethered, but it’s also about learning to trust, trusting too much, trusting too fast, and trusting too soon. 

Margaret Daley’s CHRISTMAS STALKING is a standalone title, but you’ll want to read the other titles in the Guardian’s, Inc Series:  HIDDEN IN THE EVERGLADES (Love Inspired September 2011), PROTECTING HER OWN (Love Inspired Suspense June 2011), and CHRISTMAS BODYGUARD  (Love Inspired Suspense December 2010). Or check out the many other books and series titles by this author!

THE DIAMOND SECRET

by: Lenora Worth              

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: August 7, 2012        

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445004            

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Another day came to a close at Carlisle Collectibles, and Esther Carlisle tallied up the meager receipts ready to greet the evening.  

Carlisle Collectibles is a labor of love she’s inherited from her father, Jefferson Carlisle.  When Esther’s mother died, Jefferson raised her and supported them through the antique shop, and now that he is gone, Esther is following in his tradition.  After all, she owes it to him to care for it the way he did, but she has puzzled over his mind before death.    He was always obsessed over a mythical jewel, but in the end, it was all he spoke about. 

Jefferson Carlisle wasn’t much on speaking to feelings and he barely communicated much beyond the lore of antiques.  When Esther was younger she’d get lost in his tales and relish at least this type of closeness that they shared.  It wasn’t that she thought her father had no feelings, but he spoke around such things.  For a growing girl who needed to know she was loved, it was hard that he never said it.  Although, it was the lore she connected with as a child; Esther began to resent it as a young lady.  Sometimes, she even thought he’d rather go looking for something that never existed than be with her. 

She locked the door and was startled by the customer wanting entry.  He was a persistent man who wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Nevertheless, his Irish accent captivated her and she let him in.

Cullen Murphy had yet to figure out how he was going to tell her enough without telling her too much, but he was inside the store and laid out why he was there.  He wanted the Levi-Lafitte chocolate diamond, and it was clear this beautiful woman didn’t even think it was real. It seemed just the mention of this left her with a sour attitude, but as much as he would love to explore why that was, he kept in line with his mission.  As suspected, his admission to knowing and corresponding with her father, set Esther on her heels and he offered to show her Jefferson’s letters.   She still refused to let him search the store and all but escorted him to the door.

Unfortunately, she left him no choice.  Cullen simply had to manhandle her—for her own good.

They had company and these men wouldn’t care about how pretty and smart this woman appeared, they’d shoot first and toss the store looking for the gem.  He kept shoving her toward the back, ignoring the terror in her eyes and the anger in her voice.  Her stubborn streak would get them both killed, if he didn’t act.  Picking her up just as the bangs erupted, he took away her phone and brought her back further into the shadows, as the smashing of glass sounded. 

 

My Take:

In THE DIAMOND SECRET, Lenora Worth weaves a stunning romantic suspense inside a dangerous treasure hunt!

Lenora Worth captures the flavor of New Orléans and creates a good “bad” boy character in Cullen Murphy.  He’s dealt with a treacherous past but his wanderlust isn’t exactly what it appears to be.  He is hiding more than one secret and fears what Esther will think of him upon knowing the truth.  Keeping his distance is proving harder than he could have imagined and his sense of duty gains complications.  Meanwhile, Esther is giving over her life to her father’s dream in much the same way her father did to raise her, but she’s having a hard time realizing that there was more to her father than she imagined.  She’s jealous over his trust of a total stranger before her, but her emotions over this stranger is nothing she expects, since she’ll get hurt once he gets what he wants.  His promise doesn’t mean much because he’s a life long wanderer who’s ready for the next great find.

Sometimes, it takes a stranger to find the truth, but danger can be nearer than you think inside this story of greed, betrayal, and freedom. 

THE DIAMOND SECRET is a standalone title, but you’ll want to read Lenora Worth’s other Harlequin titles including THE LIFE OF RILEY (Harlequin Super Romance November 2012), ONCE IN A BLUE MOON  (Harlequin Next March 2012), and THE RELUCTANT HERO  (Love Inspired December 2011)!

THE DOCTOR’S DEFENDER

by: Terri Reed              

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: October 2, 2012        

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445080            

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Dr. Brenda Storm put the pink bakery box on her desk.  

Surprised by the package, she looked at the card, but the signature was illegible.  According to the front of the card, she was being properly thanked for something.  The white iced cakes with cute sprinkles and decorations reminded her of a child’s cake, but this surgeon didn’t have many pediatric patients.

Gary, who was one of Heritage Hospital’s finest security guards, was staring at the cake like a prize so Brenda proffered one to him and then to her unwanted office guest, Dr. Sam Johnson.  

With little reluctance the guard took a bite, bid them goodbye and was content with his choice, but Sam Johnson had yet to eat or leave.  Sadly.  Wasn’t he getting tired of his advances being turned down? She had surely grown tired of his persistence.  Moments later, Gary returned looking gray and needing help. Brenda went quickly through a list of issues that he may be presenting and heart attack was her best educated guess.  As he spilled to the floor, Brenda pushed past Sam and began CPR while Sam called in the code for reinforcements to arrive.  

However, it didn’t matter.  Gary didn’t make it.

When it’s discover the security guard died from poison, a poison that was meant for Brenda, the hospital hires Trent Associates and obtains a protection specialist to accompany the doctor.  However, Brenda doesn’t want a bodyguard, and she didn’t want her bodyguard to be a handsome man.  

Meanwhile, Kyle Martin meets his client and isn’t surprised by her announcement that she didn’t need or want him around.  Many clients have felt that same way and many more would. While this pretty doc was easy on the eyes, he’d still just do his job and walk on to the next, once the matter was closed and the threat was neutralized.  Though he did appreciate the many layers he discovered in their brief first meeting.  She was a strong, capable, beautiful woman and a successful surgeon who seemed to want no man’s business in hers, but she tried to act tough.  Kyle saw her vulnerability close to the surface and understood it. 

They’d made it through her workday and went to her apartment.   She changed and he came to appreciate the curves she hid under the lab coat but that matter took a backseat, once her doorbell sounded.  

Dr. Storm wasn’t expecting company.

 

My Take:

Terri Reed’s romantic suspense shines in THE DOCTOR’S DEFENDER!

This author creates two believable romance reluctant characters that have very different lives and neither wants any long-range entanglements.  

However, Kyle Martin has strong faith and Dr. Storm’s science based mind has regulated faith to the unexplained and not for her.  While Brenda tries to understand how in the face of danger Kyle’s faith doesn’t falter, she finds herself needing something she never really understood, and her desire to find it brings her closer to the man who will leave as soon as he can.  Kyle begins to thaw as he witnesses the doctor’s life and marvels at the lives she’s touched, but he feels her pain when a cancer diagnosis touches her family.  Soon, he is not able to deny what is building between them as she starts wanting to understand his faith.   

These two characters fight through danger, family pain, and fear of intimacy—together.

THE DOCTOR’S DEFENDER stands alone, but you’ll want to catch up with Terri Reed’s other Protection Specialist Miniseries titles including THE INNOCENT WITNESS (Love Inspired Suspense July 2011), THE SECRET HEIRESS (Love Inspired Suspense January 2012), and don’t miss her next Protection Specialist title coming in 2013!