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Currently Browsing: military/suspense romance
Sep
28

Review: Every Breath She Takes by Norah Wilson

Review: Every Breath She Takes by Norah Wilson Every Breath She Takes Author: Norah Wilson Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012  Publisher: Montlake Romance ISBN: 978-1612184685 Genre: Romantic Suspense  Format(s): Paperback (312 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Previously published as Lauren’s Eyes. Veterinarian Lauren Townsend has good reason for hiding her psychic ability. Not only did her “freakishness” earn her pariah status in the small town where she grew up, it cost her a fiancé and her faith in love. When Lauren foresees a murder—through the killer’s eyes—she traces the victim to a sprawling ranch, never guessing what waits for her… Cal Taggart’s rugged ranch life doesn’t need any more complications. His stubborn determination cost him his marriage, and now may cost him his livelihood. But then beautiful Lauren enters his corral…with danger close behind. And Cal wants nothing more than to protect her. They can’t deny their intense attraction. Nor do they want to. What begins as a fling with no strings becomes a fight for survival—and for true love. What VampBard’s talking about: Even if you’ve never read a western story in your life, pick up Norah Wilson’s Every Breath She Takes; it’s witty, intellectual, and steamy.  Something for every reader of the genre!  I was a bit nervous when I read the synopsis of the book, but I’m game for new stuff.  I’d never read a contemporary-romantic-suspense-western, and I’d say Ms. Wilson did an excellent job breaking me into the genre.  Is that a genre?  If not, it should be. I had a LOT of passages that I felt were well-crafted throughout the book, and while composing this review, I’ve struggled with choosing those representative of Ms. Wilson’s craft, as well as those that exemplify her characters.   First, I’d like to note that Lauren, our heroine, is a strong, independent woman.  She also has premonitions.  The only thing that can shake Lauren’s confidence in herself is sharing her visions with someone else.   Cal, our rugged, swaggering cowboy / ex-rodeo star / ranch owner has his own demons to battle, beginning with his childhood and his relationship with his father.  The difficulties followed him through his adult life and into his marriage with his now-ex wife – currently a guest at his ranch.   Marlena, Cal’s ex-wife, is the target of the killer.  Lauren knows, because she’s seen his hands reaching out and choking the life out of her, during her premonitions.  However, I’d like to go on record as saying...
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Sep
14

Review: Guardian by Catherine Mann

Review: Guardian by Catherine Mann Guardian Author: Catherine Mann  Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Sensation Dark Ops #5 ISBN: #978-0425250990 Genre: Military/Suspense romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: THEY’D DO ANYTHING FOR COUNTRY. AND EVERYTHING FOR EACH OTHER. After a dark ops malfunction, Major David Berg finds himself dead center in a military trial. It’s a race against time to root out the truth, and Major Sophie Campbell isn’t making that any easier. The hot JAG wants to bring down David’s unit and fast. His testimony is crucial to winning a case that will make her career. All Sophie has to do is ignore this witness’s unflappable charm, his unnerving good looks, and a strong, solid presence that commands her attention. It’s not easy for David, either. His attraction to this take-charge beauty is turning him inside out. But these adversaries have more in common than secret, mutual desire. There’s a traitor somewhere in the dark ops and now, to find him, David and Sophie must work together—relentlessly, tirelessly, and so intimately it could be damn near fatal. What B is talking about: As a member of the group of men responsible for creating and testing new military technology with the hope of shortening dangerous missions for all members of the armed services, Major David “Ice” Berg has plenty of burdens to shoulder. As a single father, he’s looking forward to being promoted to another assignment that will let him spend more time with his daughter. But, when one of his own men is put on trial for a horrible accident, he’s determined to discover the truth, no matter where it leads. Determined to find justice for a young boy who was wounded during a test flight, Major Sophie Campbell is ruthless in her pursuit of those responsible. As a widow with a son of her own, she’s fighting to hold on to the life she and her son still have after the death of her husband, but is finding it increasingly difficult to resist the comforting strength of the gentle test pilot who’s vowed to protect her as the danger surrounding the case begins to escalate. Working together might be their only chance to solve the case, but winning could cost them both more than they have to give.  As a newcomer to the Black Ops series, I was relieved that Guardian read very well as a standalone novel. While characters from previous novels make...
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Aug
21

Review: Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux

Review: Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux Stars & Stripes Author: Abigail Roux  Release Date: Aug. 13, 2012 Publisher: Riptide Cut & Run #6 ISBN: #978-1937551582 Genre: Romantic Suspense, GLBT – m/m Format(s): Paperback (292 pgs), e-book Book Source: Purchased with my own funds About the book:       Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have managed the impossible: a few months of peace and quiet. After nearly a year of personal and professional turmoil, they’re living together conflict-free, their work is going smoothly, and they’re both happy, healthy, and home every night before dark. But anyone who knows them knows that can’t possibly last.        When an emergency call from home upsets the balance of their carefully arranged world, Ty and Zane must juggle family drama with a perplexing crime to save a helpless victim before time runs out.        From the mountains of West Virginia to a remote Texas horse ranch harboring more than just livestock and childhood memories, Ty and Zane must face their fears—and their families—to overcome an unlikely enemy and bring peace back into their newly shared world. What B is talking about:       For several months of relative calm and stability, Ty and Zane have finally been able to enjoy being together. Aside from the constant need to hide their relationship from their coworkers and families, things are going better than ever. But, as living magnets for chaos, it’s a sure bet that such bliss couldn’t last for long.       Stars & Stripes covers a lot of ground, both figuratively as well as geographically. From the mountains of West Virginia to the Hill Country of Texas, Ms. Roux puts her heroes to the test, and proves once again that she is adept at multitasking; writing not only an endearing romance, but a compelling whodunit, as well. Subtle where it counts, and funny in the most unexpected places, this story expands on the solid foundation that’s been built by the previous novels in the series, while giving the two main characters a chance to evolve along with the relationship they’ve been working for.       I was very happy to see Ty’s family again, even though I have serious issues with Ty’s father, as was certainly intended. Every family is different, and things turned out well, but I couldn’t help feeling a strong connection to Zane and his desire for retribution during one particular scene. However, meeting Zane’s family was...
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Aug
13

Review: Fragile by Shiloh Walker

Review: Fragile by Shiloh Walker Fragile Author: Shiloh Walker   Release Date: Aug. 7, 2012 (reissue) Publisher: Berkley Rafferty Book #1 ISBN: 978-0425250954 Genre: Romantic Suspense Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: BATTLE SCARRED Six years after trading in his combat gear for hospital scrubs, Luke Rafferty still hasn’t found what he’s been searching for: a normal life. At his job, Luke is faced with things just as heartbreaking as those on the battlefield, none more so than the abused children brought in by a pretty red-headed social worker.      HEARTBROKEN For Devon Manning, being a social worker is a rewarding job, but also a constant reminder of her own troubled youth. Devon takes everything one day at a time–unable to form a relationship with anyone except the children she rescues.      A DESIRE TO HEAL When Luke meets Devon, he thinks he might have found what he’s been looking for, but in order to get the life he wants, Luke has to break through Devon’s emotional barriers and make her realize that his healing touch might be just the complication her life needs… What VampBard’s talking about: I should have listened to my fellow reviewers a LONG time ago and picked up Shiloh Walker’s other titles.  Seriously.  I’ve read a TON this summer, and by far, Fragile, originally published in 2008, is the best book I’ve read.  Ms. Walker’s story-weaving, grasp of characterization, and the way she can keep the suspense in a story, even after the reader thinks they’ve got a grasp on the plot is nothing short of amazing!  If you’ve never read anything by Shiloh Walker, you’re in luck – there are two books available in this series, and Ms. Walker has four other series available to sate your reader! Twins!  Luke and Quinn Rafferty take me back to Zhadist and Phury.  If you’ve read Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood and don’t see the similarities, we gotta talk.  Luke is the good brother, and Quinn is the messed-up one.  Legitimately.  They were split at birth – druggie mom took Quinn and Luke was with his awesome dad.  They were reunited when they were eleven, and druggie mom died.  Seems like Luke & Quinn have the twin ‘connection’.  They seemed to do everything together until Luke was injured (they’re Special Ops in the service) and was medically discharged, later becoming a doctor.  Their group of Special Ops buddies are a tight-knit group.  Unfortunately, several of the...
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Jul
19

Review: Dangerous Proposal by Jessica Lauryn

Review: Dangerous Proposal by Jessica Lauryn Dangerous Proposal Author: Jessica Lauryn  Release Date: July 3, 2012 Publisher: BookStrand Publishing The Pinnacles of Power #2 Genre: Romantic Suspense Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: At nineteen, Alec Westwood nearly committed the most horrific of crimes—murder in cold blood—and narrowly escaped the assignment with his life. When a stunning young woman crosses his path wearing the insignia for the organization that recruited him, he vows not to let fate get a second chance. But when the enchantress gives him a kiss that leaves him spellbound, Alec realizes the power she holds is greater than all his strength and fortitude combined.  On the run from her psychotic fiance, Lena Benson vows to forge a new life. But when her new friend Jack tells her to stay away from Alec Westwood—the man she believes her fiance hired to track her down—she takes matters into her own hands. Alec may have the charm, but she’s calling the shots, even if that means resisting a man whose eyes and touch rob her, literally, of sense.  What VampBard’s talking about: I was excited to read Dangerous Proposal after reading the series opener for Ms. Lauryn’s Pinnacles of Power series, Dangerous Ally.  While I don’t generally read contemporary romance, Ms. Lauryn surely gets this vampiric reviewer’s seal of approval.  I look forward to future installments of this series.  It’s a welcome break from the ‘other worldly’ literature I generally read. For starters, Dangerous Proposal ACTUALLY takes place before Dangerous Ally.  As a clarification from Ms. Lauryn, Dangerous Proposal is the second book in the series.  Dangerous Ally is book #4.  I’m told the next published will be book #3 in the Pinnacles of Power series.  Lena Benson, our damsel-in-distress, was involved with Lucas Ramone.  We don’t see exactly how things transpired with Lena and Lucas, but we do see that Lena escaped from the prison that was the Ramone compound.  Lucas is made-out to be an absolute monster, which is contrary to what we learned about him in Dangerous Ally.  Lena’s sister is actually the heroine of Dangerous Ally, and Lucas… well, you’ll have to read to find out!  Knowing up-front that Dangerous Proposal takes place prior to Dangerous Ally certainly helps the reader place things, and understand some of the context of the first novel, as well as this title.   We don’t see much of Raphael Ramone in this title.  What little we do see cements my opinion of...
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May
3

Review: Under Fire

Review: Under Fire Under Fire Author: Catherine Mann  Release Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: Sourcebooks Elite Force #3 ISBN: #978-1402245015 Genre: Military Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: No Holds Barred, In Love or War… A decorated hero, pararescueman Liam McCabe lives to serve. Six months ago, he and Rachel Flores met in the horrific aftermath of an earthquake in the Bahamas. They were tempted by an explosive attraction, yet parted ways. Still, Liam has thought about Rachel every day—and night—since. Now, after ignoring all his phone calls for six months, Rachel has turned up on base with a wild story about a high-ranking military traitor. She claims no one but Liam can help her—and she won’t trust anyone else. With nothing but her word and the testimony of a discharged military cop to go on, Liam would be insane to risk his career—even his life—to help this woman who left him in the dust. What G & U are talking about: Under Fire is the third book in the Elite Forces series by Catherine Mann.  In this novel, we see the PJ’s leader, Liam McCabe finally reunite with Rachel Flores after their energized meeting in Hot Zone during an earthquake rescue. Gikany and Una enjoyed Under Fire; it was a fast read.  The action/mystery/drama progressed quickly as did the romance. In contemporary romances, and considering that Gikany and Una are more fantasy fans, the development of the romance often seems to progress a little too quickly for us.  However, what we really did enjoy is that the romance for our main characters started in the previous book.  We were already introduced to them and felt their chemistry.  Therefore, their romance in this book had a stronger feel.  Watching them reunite, because of the conspiracy Rachel finds herself in, was very touching.  The witty banter between Rachel and Liam lightened the novel. There is a very sweet side romance in Under Fire between Catriona, a dog sitter, and Brandon, a military police officer suffering from PTSD and Rachel’s patient.  This side romance was a wonderful addition to the story.  Their interactions were heartfelt and tender and we enjoyed the richness they added to the overall story.  We aren’t sure if they will play a role in the next novel since it felt, at least to Gikany and Una, that their story was fairly well resolved. We hope that Ms. Mann continues to introduce the main characters...
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Apr
13

Review: Sleeping with the Frenemy

Review: Sleeping with the Frenemy Sleeping with the Frenemy Author: KT Grant  Release Date: May 2, 2011 Publisher: Ravenous Romance Genre: GLBT/lesbian, Suspense Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Deborah Murnay has a life most women would die for. She has a loving wife of four years who gives her anything she wants. But, Deborah hides a dark secret. Her wife Genevieve not only enjoys kinky, dangerous sex, but is insanely jealous and possessive. When a violent argument between the two leaves Deborah bruised and battered, she has no other choice but to run away. Through some intricate planning on Deborah’s part, she’s able to trick Genevieve into thinking she’s dead. Deborah becomes Sharon Wade and ends up hundreds of miles away in the small town of Woodberry Creek where she can start over again, even though she lives in fear that Genevieve will find her and kill her.  When grade school teacher Bridgette Woodberry notices her new neighbor, she quickly figures out Woodberry Creek’s new resident is hiding something. Deborah knows she can’t have a future with Bridgette, but finds herself attractive to the kindhearted redhead whose kisses and warm embrace makes her feel protected. As Deborah turns to Bridgette to help heal her scars, Genevieve is waiting for the right moment to take back her wife and make her pay for deceiving her. What I’m talking about: Sleeping with the Frenemy is a lesbian retelling of the 1991 film, Sleeping with the Enemy, starring Julia Roberts. For those unfamiliar with the story, it involves a wife’s escape from an abusive husband by faking her own death. In Ms. Grant’s version, we witness the extremely HOT yet harmful relationship between Deborah and Genevieve. The women have been married for 5 years, and at first it appears they have a wonderful relationship and ideal life. Yet as the story progresses, we witness the extent to which Gen abuses and controls Deborah. Similar to the movie, Deborah escapes the marriage by faking her death and moving to a small town far away. However, soon enough Gen finds out that Deborah has betrayed her and plots her revenge. The story reads well and moves at a good pace. Even though I saw the movie (many years ago), I still experienced a suspenseful thrill. Although there weren’t any major surprises, Ms. Grant changed enough of the details that kept the book fresh, and she makes it her own story. Even though I knew everything...
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Mar
13

Review: Fever

Review: Fever Fever Author: Joan Swan  Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012 Publisher: Brava/Kensington Phoenix Rising #1 ISBN: #978-0758266385 Genre: Romantic Suspense Format(s): Paperback (354 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish… But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with a ripped body, a determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she’s in deep trouble…. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more.       A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose… Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever. What I’m talking about:       Teague Creek (yes, that is his name!) is a wrongfully convicted felon in a high-security prison. His only wants are to escape, reunite with his young daughter, and live a long life away from those who want him behind bars, hurt or worse. His plans involve kidnapping a technician from a local hospital, who happens to be the girlfriend of the man who is guardian over his daughter. Of course, when he kidnaps Dr. Alyssa Foster – the wrong woman – things go from bad to worse. Top that off with a fellow inmate who is pure evil joining the escape plans, and you have a mix for an action-packed, suspenseful journey towards freedom. Nothing goes right for Teague, and he is being hunted by government officials that would rather see him dead than free again.       Right from the start I was engrossed in this story. The details and events unfolded before me in the perfect manner. The reader is given little nuggets that are just enough to keep you going and find out more. The tone is harsh, the mood is dark, but our heroine, Alyssa, seems to find a way to make it lighter and easier. In addition, Ms. Swan demonstrates excellent descriptive abilities, smoothly integrating rich detail about the scenery and plot into the story.  ...
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Jan
25

Review: The Departed

Review: The Departed The Departed Author: Shiloh Walker  Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012 Publisher: Berkley Trade FBI Psychics Book 2 ISBN: #978-0425245217 Genre: Suspense Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: A LIFELONG OBSESSION FBI Special Agent Taylor Jones has made it his mission to save those in harm’s way by any means necessary—including employing psychic agents like Desiree “Dez” Lincoln, who can communicate with the disembodied spirits of the dead. Taylor is haunted by his own ghost, his kid sister, gone missing at age six. For a quarter of a century he has been tortured by her loss and the mystery of her disappearance. A NIGHT’S INDISCRETION When Dez is seriously wounded, Taylor can no longer hide his feelings for her. Getting involved could spell disaster for both of them—not to mention those who rely on them for help—but once Dez lays her hands on him, he can’t resist the fierce attraction. But after giving in to his desires, Taylor pulls back, and Dez strikes out on her own. AN INESCAPABLE PASSION Responding to the call of another anguished spirit, Dez is led to Taylor’s old hometown. As the two are forced to come together to save a girl in peril, Dez may be able to help Taylor finally find the answers he’s been looking for… What I’m talking about: When Dez Lincoln is seriously injured while saving a child from a horrible predator, her boss, Taylor Jones cannot get the gruesome images out of his mind. Although he is as cold as they come, inside Taylor is a wreck – trying to control a situation that is beyond his reach. The fear of losing Dez pushes Taylor to act out his inner-most desires and makes Dez’s fantasies come true. Until the next day… When Taylor does the unthinkable and orders Dez on a mandatory leave of absence. Dez knows that he’s doing it to put distance between the two so Taylor can rebuild his walls. But Dez isn’t going to take it and walks. Fast forward fourteen months. Dez is working free-lance and overwhelmed with the spirits of those that have passed. Taylor is making his annual visit home to pay tribute to his baby sister, who was abducted when she was six.  Both individuals are near their breaking points when they find each other again. Now they have to work together to unscramble cryptic clues left by the ghosts of French Lick, Indiana before...
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Jan
9

Review & Giveaway: Dangerous Ally

Review & Giveaway: Dangerous Ally Dangerous Ally Author: Jessica Lauryn Release Date: July 6, 2011 Publisher: BookStrand Publishing The Pinnacles of Power Series ISBN: #978-1610346979 Genre: Contemporary Suspense Romance Format(s): Paperback (334 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: For five lonely years, diamond smuggling kingpin Lucas Ramone has hidden himself from the world. With a father who has baited him all his life, made a game of trying to trip him up at every turn, Lucas will do whatever is necessary to protect what is rightfully his. What he isn’t prepared for is Lilah Benson… Upon accepting a job in the home of her sister’s maniacal ex-fiancé, reporter Lilah Benson believes she has finally found the perfect way to make her mark on the world. Exposing the criminal endeavors of Lucas Ramone won’t soon be forgotten. But as she comes to know the man who was supposed to be her adversary, Lilah is tempted by a passion far stronger than the desire to see her name in print… Power and control are tools of survival, critical in a world of thievery and deception. Lilah, an innocent in a land of criminals, may be the one person capable of bringing Lucas to his knees. But Lucas will stop at nothing to keep his empire secure. He will have it all: His Fortune, His Legacy, and Lilah Benson in his bed… What VampBard’s talking about: I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon reading Jessica Lauryn’s Dangerous Ally.  I really enjoyed the story.  Filled with espionage and HOT bow-chicka-wow-wow, it was overall a great read.  The plot arc was action-packed (and not just with the HOT scenes – get your mind out of the gutter!) and had several twists.  While it wasn’t a completely unpredictable story, I found it to be quite telling of unhealthy relationships across the world.  Kudos to Lauryn for showing readers that men are capable of overcoming adversity at the hands of abuse.   Bad Dad was quite the villain in this story.  Raphael hopefully gets what he deserves in the long run.  Mr. Power-Hungry-Cold-As-Iceberg-That-Sunk-the-Titanic was the worst parent imaginable for young Lucas as he was growing up.  I can’t even give a comparison to a movie character/star for this dude… he’s so negative and hideous with regard to his behavior, he must be hideous.   Lilah, our heroine, originally entered the life of Lucas to expose his diamond smuggling endeavors.  BUT… she fell for him and that kinda never happened.   *snap*  The NYT...
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