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At Her Feet

At Her Feet - Rebekah Weatherspoon A first by Rebekah Weatherspoon, an author I discovered on twitter. The book sounded good and was a new release so I picked it up. Great pacing, characters were a bit thin but it was an enjoyable, quick read for me.
SPOILER ALERT!

Red Now and Laters: A Novel

Red Now and Laters - Marcus J. Guillory Not going to finish this right now. It seems very deep and cerebral and I just don't have the time to dig that deeply into it. I haven't connected with the characters or the story. I honestly don't even know what this book is about and I'm at 30%.
SPOILER ALERT!

The Chance (Thunder Point)

The Chance - Robyn Carr This is my second book by Robyn Carr and my second in the Thunder Point series of books, based in a fictional small town in Oregon. Being a northwest gal myself, I've enjoyed these books set in the Pacific Northwest.

In The Chance, we meet Laine Carrington, who's become like family after her job as an FBI agent led her to saving a Thunder Point resident and her child from a dangerous cult. After her on the job injury, she decides to recuperate and relax in small Thunder Point, a town on the water. She rents a house with one requirement-- a great view-- and moves right in. After having her car checked over by the local mechanic shop owner Eric Gentry, she finds herself smack in the middle of new love.

I shouldn't say she finds herself there. The one thing I love about Laine is that she's no shrinking violet, sitting around pining and waiting for a man to make his move. After giving Eric a few days to act on his obvious attraction, Laine takes the step to ask him out. I liked her confidence, displaying personality traits that made her an excellent FBI Agent.

The Chance takes us through the blossoming of Laine and Eric's relationship. He comes clean about his past as a troubled youth. She talks (a lot) about her issues with a strict father who never approved of her life as an FBI agent. Laine seems really hung up on the competition between her and her brother, Paxton, who became the doctor that Paxton, Sr wanted them both to become.

Throughout the story we meet other Thunder Point residents and revisit others we've seen before like Gina, Mac and Devon. Ray Anne, the local real estate agent, meets Al, a friend of Eric's and the definition of drifter. Romance blooms all over this book, people coupling up left and right, it seems. We also meet Justin, a seventeen year old with the world on his shoulders.

The overwhelming theme of this book seems to be conquering fear. In the past, these characters would have run from adversity- or even love, but something about the town and the people in it makes people stay and put down roots. Open their hearts to love and forgiveness and most of all second chances.

I really enjoyed the story line between Laine and Eric; their relationship was loving and easy, something that seemed to mean a lot to both of them. But I was especially interested in the rekindling of a relationship between Laine and her father, Paxton, Sr, who shows up on her doorstep and is obviously ill with Dementia. Suddenly a man that had disapproved of her throughout her entire life needed her more than anything. Laine is powerless to do anything but help him and in the process achieves a new bond and a rebuilt kinship with her father.

As always with romances, I have nits. Laine lands in town, only planning to stay a year, but launches into what seems like a serious relationship with the town mechanic. Moves him in with her and everything. The same with Al and RayAnne... a man admits that he's a drifter, known for blowing in and out of town on a whim, but Ray Anne lets herself get involved with him, and gets hurt in the process. Lots of InstaLove (defined as characters who fall in love in days or weeks), which isn't as annoying in this novel as in others.

While The Chance was a great read, it was also very dialog heavy. Lots of big blocks of dialog, some rather unrealistic. Felt much like a backstory dump, a bit like a screen play. Not impossible to read, but I could have gone with a bit more showing and lots less telling.

I think if you enjoy a lovely, romantic story set in a small, sleepy town where the residents are like family, you'll enjoy reading The Chance. It's available February 25th from Harlequin.
SPOILER ALERT!

All I Need is You

All I Need is You - M. Malone I've come to amass a small group of authors that I keep up with, stalking their social media pages, lying in wait for an update. M. Malone has joined that group recently with her tales of the Alexanders, a growing family that seems to never see a dull moment.

All I Need is You is installment #4. We got a tease of this story in the novella, Christmas with the Alexanders (available for free on Kindle here). Kaylee and Eli (Elliott) have been dancing around each other for awhile. They share a steamy kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas... and then Eli disappears. Kaylee decides she's done with him, her massive crush on him and her deeply running feelings for him.

Her stalker, however, has different plans. When Kaylee seems oddly targeted-- again, because Elliott thought he'd already captured her stalker and put him away -- Eli doesn't trust her saftey to anyone but himself. After a few close calls, he swoops in to whisk Kaylee and her daughter, Hope, to a safe, anonymous place.

This place happens to be a spot Eli knows well. It's where he can relax, be himself. All of himself, which includes an interest in BDSM and sex toys, something that will surely scare Kaylee away. So as much as he cares for her-- and cares for her he does-- he can't let her in, because she'll never truly understand who he is.

I love several things  about this book. There's nothing sexier than a man who can't stand to see a woman in a compromising, unsafe position. His first instinct is protection and this need to protect ramps to make Eli so sexy. His machismo jumps right off the page, it seems. I also like that Kaylee isn't your typical romance heroine-- twiglike, waif, never eats, had a baby and already back to a size zero, lives for nothing but the love of a man. Kaylee is thick and luscious with much to hang onto, making moves to make a better life for herself and her daughter.

This isn't just a romance book! Malone creates a great balance of sex and suspense in this novel, culminating in a very satisfying, Happily Ever After ending all the way around. Without spoiling the entire thing, I think fans of The Alexanders will enjoy this latest episode. I'm already ready for the next installment, coming this summer.

Till next time!

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Education of Victoria

The Education of Victoria - Angela Meadows Gave up at 20%... Could not get into it. Victoria was unlikeable for me from page one. Stilted dialogue, never ending sex scenes, flimsy plot to carry the scenes.

Not for me, sorry. No review posted.
SPOILER ALERT!

His Secrets (Inside Out Series)

His Secrets - Lisa Renee Jones I mentioned recently that being approved to read this novella was serendipitous, since I'd just happened to hear a fantastic interview that Lisa Renee Jones gave on the DBSA podcast, produced by Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Jane from Dear Author. I found her so knowledgeable, not only about the writing part of being an author but also the business planning and the marketing part, the two areas where writers feel like they don't know what they're doing and have to really step out of their shell to do well. She made me realize how little I know about an industry that I want to be a part of.

I found His Secrets via NetGalley and I was intrigued by the blurb (okay also the book cover) so I requested it. Also it is a novella and I don't know why I torture myself with novellas-- they're never enough-- but they do tend to be short and sometimes I need a little hit in between 442 page books.

His Secrets drops us after book three in the Inside Out series, a series I have never even heard of, let alone read. Let me say that this is not really a stand alone novella. There are so many details inferred from previous books that I was quite confused and tried hard to muddle my way through. To un-confuse myself, I purchased books one, two and three, so I can re-read the novella and know what the author is talking about.

The gist, as I can grab it is that Chris and his newly engaged fiancee Sara have escaped to Paris, but not purely for pleasure. Chris has taken her to his former home, a place where dark corners bring bad memories, something about a woman named Amber and a murder. The story opens with Chris completing a painting of Sara, replete with a dragon tatoo that matches his. I find Jones' writing to be beautiful and sensual, fraught with utterances like, "The painting isn't about you getting covered in tats.... it's about you being covered in me." Deep. I liked that line.

As this is an erotic romance, there is use of sex toys (nipple clamps) and Chris is called away to a club where it appears people enjoy being whipped. A BDSM club, it sounds like. These are usually details I skip over in BDSM books-- they seem to be part of the overall story in this series.

This novella is from Chris's POV which I've found to be a great change of pace. There's a definite difference in how men and women dissect a situation. Men are action oriented and straightforward-- this is happening, here's how I feel about it. Women are introspective, looking for meaning in every word, turn of phrase, expression. I get bogged down in looking for the meaning in everything.

I'm sure if i'd been following along, the characters of Amber and Tristan and Isabel would have meant more to me. The story that unfolded, however, was well written, with danger and excitement and emotion building to a crescendo. For not knowing what was going on, I was for sure interested in the story that was there, how these characters relate to each other, why are they important to the story-- Chris' story in particular.

I'm sure I'll enjoy this foray into Chris' mind after I finish the first three books.
SPOILER ALERT!

Yours Forever (Harlequin Kimani RomanceBayou Dreams)

Yours Forever - Farrah Rochon Rochon takes us to sleepy, quaint Gauthier Louisiana, where everybody knows your name, where you come from and who you're sleeping with. When Professor Tamryn West descends upon the town on a quest for answers about her past and a diary that could give her tenure at Boston's Brimley University, the first person she meets is handsome, rugged Matthew Gauthier, the town's favorite son. He shows up on a Ducati and rescues her from a busted radiator, depositing her at her hotel.

Tamryn knows who Matthew is-- after all, she's been trying to reach him for the past six months. Matt, on the other hand, doesn't recognize the name of the new beauty in town and he's already in deep lust before he realizes that she wants information and details on the recent discovery of a stop on the historic Underground Railroad, which just happens to be located under his law firm, a Gauthier institution.

Despite his attraction, Matt can't share his past with Tamryn, can't let her find out about the ugly sins-- past and present-- of the Gauthiers. He's about to run for a Senate seat against a nasty, mud slinging opponent and any scandal could ruin his chances. As much as he wants to help Professor West secure her teaching position, achieve tenure and make history with a book about how her great-great-great grandmother made history by creating a school for blacks with Matthew's great-great-great grandmother, he can't let his secrets be known. It could destroy everything he's worked for.

Rochon has quickly risen to the ranks of one of my favorite Harlequin Kimani writers. Her stories are always varied and intriguing, with a story line I can sink my teeth into and passion that draws me in and keeps me turning pages. I'm a lover of history myself, so I also enjoyed the lessons via the tours -- the old library archives at Xavier University, the pockets of history around Gauthier, and Rosemead, where Adeline West was born and worked as a slave.

Since this is a Harlequin Romance, I can't pass up the opportunity to present Yours Forever as a passionate love story that takes place in a romantic little town among two strangers destined to be together. The attraction between Matt and Tamryn jumped off the page from the beginning, and though Tamryn initially resisted, it seemed like the wait was worth it. I liked watching the sparks grow into animal lust and that lust grow into a love that would make a man risk his career so the woman he cared for could have what she's always wanted.

And in return, she gave him what he's worked for his whole life.

Yours Forever is an enjoyable read, I hope you'll pick it up when it's out February 18th from Harlequin Kimani.
SPOILER ALERT!

Dash of Peril (Hqn)

Dash of Peril - Lori Foster I discovered Lori Foster through the Harlequin Page on Facebook. One look at Rowdy's wide chest and muscular arms and I desperately wanted to read Getting Rowdy. Therefore, I came late to the Love Undercover Series but I have no problem with going back to read One and Two, just so I can know the entire background story. Much of what happens in the later books refers to the earlier stories but the stories are enough of a stand alone to get the gist.

I was intrigued, pretty quickly, by the plot in this book-- Lt. Margaret Peterson is close to uncovering a porn ring, even going undercover to try to get information and lure the ringleaders out. We heard a bit about this during Getting Rowdy and it continues in Dash of Peril. Peterson putting herself in harm's way puts her grave danger, and doing so gets hunky Dash Riske's blood pressure up. He's been in love with "Margo" for heaven knows how long and he's finally working his way into her heart when Margo is T-Boned by a car and then shot at.

Cue Nurse Dash, which is so endearing. I did enjoy him taking care of her, keeping her safe from herself as well as from the goons that have put a bounty on her head. As Rowdy put it, Dash is 'head over ass in love' and it shows.  I like the theme that Foster has going of this tight circle of friends and family who look out for each other, take care of each other and protect each other. Dash is as much there for Margo's pleasure as he is there to make sure she is safe and not alone.

Herein lies a few of my nits with this story.

I don't mind a hot story and in fact, I've come to expect a modicum of bedroom gymnastics from a lot of authors. However, there was just... a LOT of sex in this book. A LOT. And not that it was bad, but I felt the plot suffered for it. I understood that we were supposed to see Dash breaking Margo down, but after awhile, I skipped the pages and pages of nookie until I got to a part that advanced the story. I felt the story didn't really pick up for me until the last 40% or so. Then I found some great detective work and high action, some revelations made about Margo's father, brother and also her Commander (which I didn't see coming).

Secondly... Dash was really... how do I put this? Handsy. He interfered so much with Margo and how she did her job. She's a Lieutenant. She has a job to do. She needs to demand respect among her officers. Standing behind her, rubbing her shoulders, hugging her, long meaningful kisses in front of her subordinates... really just served to frustrate me. I really wanted Dash to get hold of his macho mentality and let Margo do her damn job. YES, it's dangerous but Reece and Logan would never, ever let her put herself in a situation she couldn't get out of. I felt like he was stripping her of respect from her team. But, I suppose it all worked out in the end. I did get the point of what Dash was doing but I spent most of the book saying 'down boy! Geez!'

I admit to being far more interested in Cannon's story, in case anyone can't tell. I've been raving about him since Getting Rowdy and I'm chomping at the bit to read his story in the fall. I'm touched by his dedication to his community and I'm interested to see where he takes his MMA career. And will Yvette be back? Don't know, but he seemed to have it bad for her. I hope he finds her again.

Don't get me wrong at all-- I have my gripes, however this is a great read. I love the conclusion and as always a hint toward the next book. I'm ready!
SPOILER ALERT!

Need You Tonight (A Loving on the Edge Novel)

Need You Tonight - Roni Loren Another five star read for me from Roni and this time I really, really mean it. Not like I didn't mean it the last time, but I really enjoyed-- no, devoured this book. I deeply love her work and I'm not just sucking up. Okay maybe a little.

There are some themes in this book that remind me so much of my upbringing. My parents are deeply religious, so I understand Tessa's past, both with her foster parents (expected to be the good girl, told what good girls do and don't do) and with her ex-husband Doug, a preacher who is expected to uphold a certain standard but is diddling everything on two legs in the background. Having grown up in the church with a front row view of what really happens once the Pastor says Amen, I was engrossed in Roni's interpretation of being embroiled in something sinister and nasty. And those two words exactly describe Doug, a man who is pilfering from a charity and his congregation but wanting Tessa to fall on her sword so he doesn't have to pay the consequences.

I could also really relate with Kaden--not the suave, debonair business man Kade, but Kaden-- the outcast, the stutterer, but the smart kid that every one leaned on to keep their grades up so they could remain on their various sports teams or stay in the parent's good graces. I remember being that girl that was smart so I was asked for help at every turn, but never asked to the parties or get-togethers. No one knew about the crushes I had on various boys... no one paid attention to me until they needed something from me. And then tossed me away into the pile of people only midly necessary for comfort of life. So yes, I understood Kade, at the core.

When Kade and Tessa reconnect many years later,they're both so different that they don't recognize each other. Rather, Tessa doesn't recognize Kade since he's all grown up and using a different name. She doesn't know it's him, the stuttering kid that tried to compete for her with Doug... until he confronts her with their past and gives her the chance to go back to a time when life was as simple as really liking a guy and not being able to do anything about it.

Can you imagine... getting a chance to seduce the guy or girl you always wanted back then? And knowing that s/he wanted you, too? To be able to go back in time, knowing what you know now, not held down by someone else's beliefs or opinions... that blew my mind.

Kade has his own secrets and problems. His nasty divorce and kinky lifestyle brought problems for him, one of which isthat he doesn't have custody of his daughter and isn't allowed to see her. His "deviant" behavior might rub off on her, so she's not even allowed in his home. When Doug crashes his way back into Tessa's life, he uses Kade's situation to lure her back to Atlanta. By this point she has been introduced to life as a Submissive and her teacher, Kade, is showing her what life can be like when you own your desires and fantasies and are open to a life of more than boring, vanilla, missionary sex.

Tessa has a plan, though. And with Kade's help, they'll bring Doug to his knees. Almost literally.

I feel like this book went so far, so deep into the psychology of need, both Tessa's and Kade's. Using their past experiences to shape their current realities, they're able to explore a more freeing life together. Lots of introspective, thoughtful dialog in this book and it seems like a lot less sex? Well, maybe I'm just getting used to the kink. ;)

I continue to be really pleased with how the Ranch is used for pleasure, for games, for erotic purpose and not as something mean or punishing. Everyone involved is consenting and everything that happens, happens because it is wanted. I've tried reading other BDSM themed novels and there's so much sadism, mean spirited almost rape-like sex. Doesn't sound pleasurable or enjoyable and there's no delight in reading it. There is no care, no love, no need to protect and please. Roni's approach to Dominance/Submission and BDSM makes all the difference.
Plus, I always get a chuckle or two in each chapter because she's actually a very funny person.

Can't wait for the next book!

I'll Catch You (Kimani Romance)

I'll Catch You - Farrah Rochon Short and sweet and chick full of football! A nice Sunday afternoon read.,
SPOILER ALERT!

The Marshal's Ready-Made Family (Love Inspired Historical)

The Marshal's Ready-Made Family (Love Inspired Historical) - Sherri Shackelford Jo Beth McCoy is the definition of a tomboy, but one thing is clear: when she meets the Marshall's newly arrived niece, there is a strong emotional connection. The two form an instant bond and are quite the pair.

Jo Beth is the strongest, wilyest, most unafraid woman in Cimmaron Springs. She can out fight, outshoot and out-argue any man in town, which makes her a perfect match for gruff and tumble, no nonsense Marshall Garrett Cain.

Cain has a "dark past"-- he's the son of a man who murdered his wife and then himself, leaving Garrett and his sister Dierdre to fend for themselves. Years later, Deirdre and her husband have perished in a house fire and his nice, Cora, is left to him. Garrett is up for the challenge, but his Uncle Edward has something to say about that. He intends to take Cora unless the Marshall can prove he's a fit parent.

But the Marshall can't. His job is dangerous and crime often doesn't take the night off. There's a group of cowboys that ride through town causing trouble, a drunkard hell bent on making life miserable for Jo and Garrett and an unsolved murder. He needs to acquire a wife, and soon. Enter Jo Beth McCoy, who's willing to marry Garrett out of convenience. She's never been one for love or flirting- all of the boys in town have always laughed at her plain, tomboyish appearance and picked on her unlady like ways. This doesn't matter to Garrett, though. And soon this marriage of convenience becomes so much more than either of them bargained for.

Slow Seduction (Struck by Lightning)

Slow Seduction  - Cecilia Tan I'm not even rating this book. SLOW is right. The only reason I finished it is because I need to do a review. I had zero interest in the MC's kinks and foray into submissive-Ville. I wanted her to find James and by the time she did, I was thoroughly bored. James is no longer compelling to me. I'm really not reading the next book. Just tell me what happens.
SPOILER ALERT!

Lost Lake

Lost Lake - Sarah Addison Allen “When your cup is empty, you do not mourn what is gone. Because if you do, you will miss the opportunity to fill it up again.”

Many of Sarah Addison Allen's fans have been waiting, with bated breath, for her next novel. Lost Lake comes just as Ms Allen is celebrating her second year in remission from her fight against breast cancer and I can't think of a better way to celebrate.

I've read all of Ms. Allen's novels and I have to say that I think Lost Lake is her best yet. I feel the blood, sweat and tears, the heart and soul poured into every word of this novel. She is reflective and very often humorous. I rarely laugh out loud when reading a novel since I don't read comedic material, but reading one of the ladies say to the other "You could find a flea on a pissant" made me cackle. This book is full of southern gems like country grocery stores where you just send a list and they pack you a box and a hybrid pizza restaurant/fix it shop named HandyMan Pizza. Charming.

I especially appreciate the theme of relationship running through the novel. Lost Lake is the Land of Misfits, and all the Misfits manage to find each other. Kate and her daughter Devin; Lisette and John (and Luc, the ghost of her lover that killed himself after she broke up with him); Bulahdeen and Selma (my favorites- I totally see Meryl Streep and Shirley McClaine in my head); Eby and the entire community of Suley, Georgia. I love seeing them make sacrifices for each other, saving each other, doing for the other what they wouldn't do for themselves and using last opportunities to help someone else when they could be selfish and use it for personal gain. These relationships, while separate, tie everyone together like a makeshift family.

As always, Allen includes a bit of magic in each book, but there was SO MUCH fun magic in Lost Lake! The alligator and the alligator box, Devin's magical ability to see things, the food (of course the food) and Selma's charms. Turning each page was a sheer pleasure. I genuinely wanted to know what was going to happen next. The ending is happy and satisfying.

What a perfect, enchanting read. This is the kind of book that I know I'll read again soon. It's full of great nuggets that one can apply to life. I'm already ready for another novel!
SPOILER ALERT!

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

The Invention of Wings: A Novel - Sue Monk Kidd Sometimes I just don't know what to say about a book that hasn't already been said. As per my usual M.O., I don't read reviews prior to reading most books. I read the synopsis and the back cover blurb and decide, from that, if I want to read it. I was alerted to a bit of flak about this particular novel but it did not deter me from wanting to read it.

The Invention of Wings tells the story of slavery and freedom through the eyes of two women- Sarah(based on historical figure Sarah Grimke) and Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a slave whom is gifted to Sarah on her 11th birthday. Sarah finds the fact that she owns a slave to be abhorrent, and tries to give her back. Then tries to emancipate her, but her family, especially her father will not hear of it. "It's our way of life!" Later, her older sister Mary insinuates that God has given them the slaves to care for. Thus sets the foundation for the swinging pendulum between the life of a privileged woman who is sympathetic to the plight of the slaves in her family's possession and the slave girl who is living the daily recurring nightmare that is being owned.

Over the next three decades, the girls become friends, almost co-conspirators. Sarah teaches Hetty to read, an act that is blatantly against the law. In my opinion, Hetty becomes too comfortable in her position as Sarah's Hand Maid. On one occasion, when the family had been away for some time and unexpectedly returned, Sarah happened upon Hetty bathing in her copper tub. In fact, Hetty and her mother Charlotte took great risks and liberties, leaning heavily upon the fact that they'd been with the family for so long and the Missus(Mrs Gremke) would not likely sell them.

Woven into this story is the great talent of quilt-making and tapestry. Charlotte is the best seamstress in the south, and she and Hetty are kept busy making curtains and clothing for the Gremke family, and the allotment of clothing for each slave. Mauma's true talent, however, is story telling, but Mauma doesn't tell stories in words; she tells them through images sewn onto fabric squares, then stitched together into ornate quilts. These quilts are their history, from Africa to the present and beyond.

There are a few eye rolling moments. Before I knew that Sarah and her little sister Nina were based on real women, I thought the incessant and increasingly bold preaching against slavery to be a bit much. I would not imagine two young girls, daughters of a South Carolina judge to be so vocal about a plight that is not their own. They hold true to their beliefs, even going so far as to become Quakers because of their opposition to slavery and commitment to wearing 'slave labor free' fabrics. Even among the Quakers they become radicals and outcasts and garner fame from traveling the country making speeches that rail against owning people as property and encourage emancipation.

This book reminds me very much of The Kitchen House, not really in story trajectory, but similar themes along the lines of a kinship between slave and slave owner. Considering The Kitchen House was one of my most favorite reads, I consider it a high compliment to liken The Invention of Wings to such a great work of fiction.

I truly enjoyed this book, as much as I enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees and I'm already looking forward to the next release from Sue Monk Kidd.

Betting on You: A Danvers Novella (Danvers, #4.5)

Betting on You: A Danvers Novella (Danvers, #4.5) - Sydney Landon A fun and funny romp (pun intended) involving Seth, owner of Oceanix Resorts and Mia, assigned to replace the Communications Systems for Oceanix. Seth had been expecting an awkward reunion with a woman he used to date... who was now pregnant by another man, but he happens upon open, flirty Mia, his mind settles on more than business.

From here, the story is predictable... sort of. Boy and girl like each other; Boy participates in a charity auction; girl's mother buys boy for her daughter, because the attraction is obvious. Seth and Mia are soon involved in a tawdry affair but (there's always a but) there's fear of becoming more. Why is there always fear of becoming more? If I had to describe women based on modern romances lately, I'd peg them as women who wan't all of the sex but none of the picking up his socks off of the floor; all of the elegant dinners out, none of the picking cheese off of the wrappers of fast food burgers. So much glitz, no hard work. But hey, that's cool.

When Mia finds Seth in a compromising position, it seems her fears are well founded and she, of course runs. Cue the hunky man not being able to live his life without this spunky ray of sunshine, bim bam boom... I'll let you all fill in the steamy blanks.

This was a fun afternoon read, a novella so the action starts quickly and strikes hot without dragging scenes on and on. WRiting is okay, but why do rich people call their loved ones darling? That's the stiffest greeting I can think of.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley and a review will be posted on my blog at TheSweetEscape.net
SPOILER ALERT!

Lethal

Lethal - Sandra Brown I thoroughly enjoyed this read from Sandra Brown. I was hooked from page one and felt the story got underway right away. No prologue, no wasted introductory scenes. I like when I feel like I've stepped into a huge mess and I get to ride along on the journey to sort things out.

As usual, Brown takes us on a eventful trip through the plot as the story dives deeper. Everyone that Honor Gillette trusted the day before can no longer be trusted. Her husband, decorated fallen policeman, may have been murdered and Lee Coburn thinks she holds the key to the reason why. After rescuing Honor from what might have been a deadly situation, he has no choice but to drag her along while he solves the mystery. Oh, and while he's running for his life.

There are some great characters here and a little twist that I honestly didn't see coming. Lee Coburn is a gruff, rough and tumble former marine turned deep undercover FBI agent. Under that rugged exterior beats the heart of a man who's never had anyone, so he doesn't realize that he needs Honor. And Emily, her daughter. The BookKeeper is frighteningly menacing, ruling the cartel and dirty cop operation with a iron fist. Diego is a ruthless murderer with a secret to keep. Local FBI Director Van Allen is in a marriage so broken it's on life support.

Brown keeps us wondering, thinking, mentally investigating each character, because we don't know which ones are clean and which ones are out to get Honor and keep her from helping Coburn uncover her husband's secret.

Sandra Brown is great at romantic suspense and as usual, she places a few tasteful love scenes and the pacing toward characters feeling for each other is gradual. There is no declaration of love entirely too soon. It really irks me to see that in so many romance novels. Maybe it's less romantic but its more believable.

I waffled as to give this book four or five stars. I ultimately decided on five stars because I have so few complaints and I was thoroughly entertained. Bring on more Sandra Brown!