Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Broken Justice (Justice Brothers #1) by Suzanne Halliday

What it’s about
Cameron Justice - Once a throw away kid heading for trouble, he found a sense of purpose in a war zone. Years later, successful, handsome and wealthy, Cam's mistrust of women and relationships in general have left him a brooding loner

Lacey Morrow - Abused and neglected, she's a lost girl determined to make something of her life- if only she could catch a break

Unlikely Companions - Fate throws them together. Now the rest is up to them.
Will Cam be able to leave the past behind and learn to trust?
Will Lacey be strong enough to fight for what she wants- Or will the past be too much for them to overcome?

Three extraordinary men and the women who love them
How much distance do you need from your past before the dust settles?
If it's all about the journey - this one is just beginning.

Dorsey’s Review
4 Debut Stars!!

This book starts with the prologue where we meet the "Justice Brothers"; Jason Cameron, aka Cameron Justice, Alex Velleja-Marquez, and Draegyn “Drae” St. John, while they are serving in Afghanistan. They were all lucky to get out alive after their HQ was the site of a suicide bomber’s target.  After leaving the military and lengthy recoveries from injuries, they form an exclusive agency, The Justice Agency, based in Sedona, AZ, which specializes in surveillance, protection, and cyber security.

This first book in the series focuses on Cam Justice, although we are introduced to all three of the Justice Brothers and get to know a little bit about them.

Cam is taking a breather after a lengthy assignment in Mexico and decides to go back east where he was born and barely survived his youth, poverty and neglect were a part of his young life.  We learn the circumstances of his troubled youth and what lead him to join the military, and that basically set him on a path of survival.

While sitting at a diner he notices a young woman sitting alone, trying her best to go unnoticed and undetected. Cam being in the business he's in, he knows there’s a story there, not to mention he's attracted to the lovely young woman. He watches her routine for a couple days and decides to follow her. Cam knows she's in hiding, she’s poor, and she’s scared, after following her to a shelter he decides to watch her the following day and winds up saving her from a couple of thugs.

Lacey Morrow is very weary of her "Dark Night", but decides to trust him, having no other immediate choice. Cam takes care of her and gets her to open up a little. He persuades her to stay at his motel where he proceeds to further take care of her and gain her trust. Lacey is young, 22, and she has been on her own since she escaped a life of abuse at 17, she's not sure what to think of Cam. Cam is very respectful, kind, and considerate, and there’s definitely a mutual attraction between them. 

Cam convinces Lacey to head to Arizona, with the promise of a stable job and housing, it's too good an opportunity for Lacey to decline, and she craves stability and a home. During the road trip we learn more of Cam and Lacey's past and eventually one night they both succumb to the attraction they've been fighting, and good Lord the sex is smokin' HOT!!!!!. Lacey thrives in her new environment with Cam, Alex, Drae, and the rest of the "Hacienda" family. Cam is determined to remain alone and Lacey knowing he's the one for her, sets out to prove to him that he deserves to be loved and to have someone love in return.

It's was a bumpy road for Cam & Lacey, one that I thoroughly enjoyed!! I'm looking forward to the next installment Fixing Justice, set to release Spring 2014, which will be Draegyn “Drae” St. John's book....the excerpt at the end of Broken Justice made me want it NOW!!!!!

*A copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Want to know more about Suzanne Halliday?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Day He Kissed Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #3) by Juliana Stone

What it’s about
He can't wait to leave...

Mac Draper finally has everything he's always wanted: An amazing career. A New York City apartment. He's this close to being free of his past forever. But a mind-blowing encounter with the sexy yet tough-as-nails Lily St. Clare has him delaying his plans to put Crystal Lake in his rearview mirror for good.

She's finally found a place to stay...

For Lily St. Clare the charming small town of Crystal Lake is her haven - a place she can hide from her famous, back-stabbing family. It's as close to happy as she's ever been. Until an unforgettable night with tall, dark and tortured Mac Draper gives her a glimpse of what true happiness feels like.

Lily can't help but melt a little under the sizzling heat of Mac's touch. But Mac's scars run deep, and Lily's afraid she may be falling for the one man who can never return her feelings..

Karla’s Review
4.5 Stars!! Best in the series!
I love this series and with each book it's gotten better, and The Day He Kissed Her was an absorbing read…the pages flew by. It tugged at all my emotions, took me on a whirlwind ride that left me completely satisfied. Mac and Lily were the perfect pairing, emotional baggage and all. While there was angst, particularly when a life changing dilemma presents itself, it was dealt with in a way that the reader felt the character's stress and uncertainty over the situation, but wasn’t wallowing in fabricated drama. I thought it was handled well, fit the circumstances, and gave Mac and Lily the push they needed, even though it was unexpected. The author didn't drag it out for chapters on end, which this reader appreciated. The ending was pure bliss!

I'm hooked on this series and the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake, I love them all, and I hope that it will continue. Even though the "bad boys" each have a story, there are other characters that I would love to read about, and it would also give readers a chance to re-visit the boys again!

*A copy of the book was provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley*

Want to know more about Juliana Stone?

Monday, April 21, 2014

You're Not Safe by Mary Burton

What it’s about
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary Burton lets loose an obsessed killer who’s granting the wishes of four former friends the only way he knows how—by killing them—in her latest suspense novel, YOU’RE NOT SAFE. It joins Burton’s highly praised novels NO ESCAPE and THE SEVENTH VICTIM to complete her Austin-set trifecta featuring Texas Rangers confronting multi-layered crimes of passion and deceit.

YOU’RE NOT SAFE is Ranger Tec Bragg’s and vineyard owner Greer Templeton’s story. Greer has had enough pain in her life and has worked hard to move forward, to ensure the fulfilment of her aunt’s dreams for her fledgling Texas Hill Country vineyard and to stay out of the limelight of her past. Then Tec shows up on her doorstep questioning her about a suicide on the adjacent property, her relationship to the dead man and why her photo was found at the scene.

Tec, a no-nonsense, hardened professional isn’t sure what he expects to find when he heads to Bonneville Vineyards to question Greer. A broken body has been found hanging from a tree and his gut tells him it wasn’t a suicide. Greer is his best lead, and possibly his top suspect, and he’s determined to find out what she knows, despite her refusal to betray confidences of the past.

Soon, another death—also an unlikely suicide—makes it all too clear that something from Greer’s teen years ties her to the killer and his victims. The question is what. And, as not one but two more murders are discovered, can Tec find and knock down the walls Austin’s elite are hiding behind before the killer gets to Greer?

As he approached the building, a woman pushed through the glass doors of the main entrance.  She wasn’t tall, barely standing over five feet, but she held her shoulders back and her clear green eyes cut.  Not more than thirty, she had gently tanned smooth skin that accentuated a high slash of cheekbones.  She wore her light brown hair in a braid that brushed slender shoulders, a white Bonneville Vineyards T-shirt billowing over full breasts and tucked into faded work jeans hugging gently rounded hips.  Her boots were dusty, well-worn.  “Can I help you?”
Her voice had a rusty, whiskey quality giving this wholesome farm girl a seductiveness enjoyed by older more sophisticated women. 
Elizabeth Templeton.
She was a far cry from the girl in the old image or the pictures Rory had taken.  The last dozen years had leaned out her frame and face adding maturity and an appealing naturalness.  But Rory’s picture images had gotten her all wrong.  What he’d taken for as anger and bitterness in the photos, in person, appeared to be a fascinating intensity.  He suspected this woman did no job halfway.
                “I’m with the Texas Rangers.”
Elizabeth cocked her head, studying him close, as if sensing this place wasn’t his kind of place.  However, even as her gaze catalogued his large frame and the scar on his face she showed no fear.  “How can I help you?”
He managed a smile.  “You Elizabeth Templeton?”
Mention of her name triggered waves of tension that straightened her spine and narrowed her eyes.  Hesitation flickered as if she seemed to toy with a lie.  “That’s right.  But I go by my middle name now.  Greer.”
Elizabeth Greer Templeton.  Greer.  The woman who’d offered his boy a job.  “Sergeant Tec Bragg.”
He studied her expression closely.  “I investigated a murder bordering your land yesterday.”
A hint of remorse darkened her gaze.  “I heard about that.  Some fellow hanged himself.”  And then as if to head off his next question, “A cruiser came by yesterday and spoke to my farm manager while I was in town.  I’m supposed to call him back but haven’t gotten to it. “
“You hear anything else?”
“No.  I don’t have time for gossip and news.  So if you’re here to ask me about the dead person I’m afraid I can’t do much for you.  I spend most of my days here working.  I don’t venture out much.”
And yet you’d made your way into town yesterday to talk to my boy.  “I think you might know the victim.”
“Could be, but I only know a handful of people in the area.”
He studied her face closely.  “The victim’s name was Rory Edwards.” 
Irritation gave way to surprise.  Pursing her lips she drew in a deep breath, letting it out so slowly he barely saw her move.  “Is this some kind of trick?  Are you trying to prod information out of me because I hired your nephew?”
“No trick.  The medical examiner confirmed the identity of the body yesterday.”
She folded her arms over her chest.  “I’ve not seen Rory in a long time.  At least twelve years.”
“You’ve had no contact with him in this time?”
                Her lips pursed.  “I had a message on my voice mail a week ago.  The caller said he was coming to see me.  He was an old friend.  I did not return the call.”
                “Why not?”
                Green eyes clouded before sharpening.  “Some matters are better left in the past.”
                “I get the impression he still cared about you after all this time.”
                She shook her head.  “I have no idea.”
                “I searched his room last night.  He had a box full of recent pictures of you.”
Her face paled.  “I don’t know about that.”
“Can I ask how you two met?”
                The grip on her biceps tightened.  “I get the sense you already know.”
                Apprehension rolled off her and all but slammed into Bragg.  Rory Edwards and her past were sore subjects.  “Answer the question.”
                She glanced around as if making sure no one was around.  “We met when we were teenagers.  We were both in a clinic for troubled teens.”
                “You both tried to kill yourself.”
                The lines in her forehead deepened.  “I’m not proud of that time, but what does it have to do with Rory’s death?  Like I said, I haven’t seen him in a dozen years.”
                Bragg unclipped his phone and scrolled to the picture he’d taken of the photo found at the crime scene.  He held out the phone, coaxing her closer toward him.  “You remember this picture?”
                She didn’t approach right away but then moved closer.  The soft scent of soap rose up around her.  No flowery perfumes or exotic scents but simply clean soap.  His body tightened, unmindful of logic or reason.
For a long moment she didn’t say a word and then she cleared her voice.  “It was taken the last night we were both at the camp.  Rory left the next morning.”
                “How’d he end up with the picture if he left?”
                “I sent him a copy from camp.  I didn’t want him to forget me.”
                “His brother said you wrote to him several times a week but Rory’s father threw out the letters.”
Her jaw tensed, and he suspected an old wound opened.  “I guess one letter made it through.”
“Rory never forgot you.”
                She stepped back.  “I wish he had.”
                “Why’s that?”
                “Really, do you have to ask?  It was a painful time, and I’ve done my best over the last twelve years to forget about it.”
                He locked his phone and tucked it back in its cradle.  “Were you really able to forget?”
                She cleared her throat.  “Rory’s family did us a favor by keeping us apart.  But the rest?   No, I have not forgotten that I wrecked a car and killed my brother and his girlfriend.  I ruined so many lives.  I carry that with me every day.”
                “That why you tried to kill yourself?”
© 2013 Mary Burton YOU’RE NOT SAFE
Steffi’s Review
4.5 stars!
Another winner by Mary Burton, You’re Not Safe is a thrilling, gripping romantic suspense which approaches the delicate subject of suicide in an enlightening and insightful manner.

You’re Not Safe follows Texas Ranger Tec Bragg and starts off a fast-paced plot with two murders made to look like suicides. So far this is nothing special or particularly alarming but as more personal details about the victims come to light, it becomes apparent that they are closely connected through events in their teenage years and their troubled pasts. Our heroine, Greer Templeton had a close relationship to the first victim when she was young and her name pops up again and again in Bragg’s investigation. Mystery surrounds Greer, as well as an inherit sadness that seems to follow her everywhere. Greer’s past is difficult but she is also an incredibly strong character, a woman who needs to forgive herself and accept happiness in her life. She lives for others, but Bragg shows her how to live for herself.

The investigative plot is one of the best I have ever read in a romantic suspense. It wasn’t an unsolvable puzzle, but the setting Mary Burton chooses with the Bonneville winery and Shady Grove added to the atmosphere perfectly and as the mystery unravelled, an average suspense turned into a phenomenal one.

I particularly enjoyed that Tec and Greer meet very early on in the story. Their attraction builds slowly as well as the respect they have for another, while the get to know each other better. I wish this getting-to-know phase had been shorter, though. The investigation takes over and the romance takes a back seat until the end of the story. I wanted the romance and suspense to develop at the same pace, but I was still very happy and satisfied with the romantic aspect of this story.

I will always remain a fan of this author. Her attention to detail and perfect construction of the plot never fail to draw me in. Once I pick up a Mary Burton book, it is a guarantee that I won’t put it down until I’ve read the last word. I really hope there’ll be more books in the Texas Rangers series as I’ve enjoyed all of them greatly so far!

*A copy of this book was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

About Mary Burton
New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Mary Burton has been intrigued by investigative work and the people who do it since Virginia, her home state, was stung by a string of serial killings that spanned more than twenty years. Not surprisingly, many of her suspense novels are fuelled by the acts of multiple killers and the people who pursue them, as is YOU’RE NOT SAFE, which completes the trio of stories set in and around Austin she began with The Seventh Victim and continued with No Escape.

The author of twenty-one novels and three novellas, her earlier work includes I'm Watching You, Dead Ringer and Dying Scream, set in her home town of Richmond, and Senseless, Merciless and Before She Dies, set in Alexandria.

Mary’s intensive research has led to meetings with key members of law enforcement, to seminars and classes, and to the firing range. She is a graduate of the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy and the Richmond FBI Citizen's Academy, and has attended Sisters in Crime's Forensic University program and the Writers Police Academy in Jamestown, North Carolina.

A Richmond native whose family roots run as deep as the nation's, Mary has lived there for most of her life. She graduated from Virginia's Hollins University and had a career in marketing before deciding to write full time. Her first manuscript, a historical romance, was published in 2000.

She is a member of Thriller Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She travels often for signings, speaking engagements and other appearances. She is a frequent speaker regarding writing and genre fiction, and continues to present her "Unraveling Romantic Suspense" workshop and her day-long program "Writing Your Book...The First Step."

Mary is currently finishing work on her new suspense novel, Cover Your Eyes. The first of three thrillers set in Nashville, it is being published in November. In October her novella, A Ranger for Christmas, will be featured in the holiday anthology, Our First Christmas, along with works by Lisa Jackson, Mary Carter and Cathy Lamb.