Tag Archives: Entangled Ignite

Undercover Cops and Prophetic Dreams Make Dream Huntress by Michelle Sharp Fabulous Paranormal Suspense

30 Jun
Dream Huntress (Dream Seeker #1 - Jordan and Tyler) by Michelle Sharp (Entangled: Ignite, June 23, 2014)

Dream Huntress (Dream Seeker #1 – Jordan and Tyler) by Michelle Sharp (Entangled: Ignite, June 23, 2014)

I’m not actually sure that there is such a category as “paranormal suspense” but there should be. Mostly focusing on the romantic suspense storyline, but with distinct paranormal elements, Michelle Sharp‘s Dream Huntress would appeal to both lovers of solid romantic suspense as well as readers who love a dash of paranormal.

Jordan Delaney has jumped the gun by getting a job in a hick town’s stripper bar as a cocktail waitress a week ahead of schedule. An undercover narcotics cop in St. Louis, she witnessed two members of her team get gunned down attempting to apprehend members of the cartel pushing China White heroin. When her department agrees to again partner with the FBI, together they come up with the idea of getting her in the bar that’s a local supplier for a nearby college. Her long blond hair and body qualify her to wear the standard short shorts and bikini top and, with the club’s handsy son interested in her, Jordan is hoping she can crack the supply line wide open, and she’s not about to wait for the okay from her uptight FBI supervisor to organize a wire and backup.

A problem of being undercover for Jordan, though, is that she is plagued by the dreams she’s had since childhood – dreams of either murders to come or murders that have already happened. She’s used these dreams to help solve or prevent the crimes using the guise of her position, but since she has to live through them via the victim, it makes a tough assignment even harder, particularly when she again dreams of her family’s death, an incident which Jordan believes she could have stopped if she had only tried harder. When a local cowboy comes to her aid in the bar, taking her to the hospital after a patron blindsides her, Jordan is astonished at the wave of connection she feels to disgraced cop Tyler McGee. Hoping to minimize distractions while she’s focusing on work, she’s dismayed when he takes a job as head bouncer of the club. The potential to have a real relationship – something she’s managed to avoid all these years – is not what she needs right now.

Jordan’s waitressing “uniform” makes this one look like full coverage.

Tyler is first wowed by Jordan’s killer body and gorgeous face, but his initial assessment categorizing her as a blond bimbo waitress is blown out of the water the instant he’s subjected to her lethal wit. She’s a puzzle he’s desperate to figure out, particularly as she comes alive in his arms in a way he’s never experienced with another woman. Having allowed himself to get shunted off the force for his own purposes, Tyler is determined to find out what is really going on at the strip club, particularly as he’s sure it connects to a recent, very personal loss of his own. Keeping Jordan safe while uncovering her secrets is one of his top priorities, but Tyler might not be able to handle what she has to tell him.

I cannot say enough about Michelle Sharp’s outstanding debut novel! Her writing was laced with great attention to detail (the horror of Jordan’s furnished rental was particularly wonderful) and she wields a tight, excellent use of subplot with Tyler’s family loss and Jordan’s workplace tensions. There was a realistic heat between the couple, one that still was fueled by an extra connection perhaps brought about by Jordan’s paranormal abilities, which, while central to the plot, did not take up an inordinate amount of page space, making this novel slightly more suspense than paranormal. I loved the nice depth of Jordan’s FBI colleague who could have easily been a cardboard cutout but instead was a fully fleshed out person with his own motivations. While so many suspense (and paranormal) novels flag at the end, Sharp gave a fantastic resolution by revealing the true story behind the death of Jordan’s family and her strong connection to her father.

Since this book has the benefit of falling under Entangled Publishing’s $.99 early release price, I think it’s easy to sample this new author, who has clearly listed this novel as the first in her Dream Seeker series, so pick it up at that price while you can. To celebrate the release, there is also a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $50 gift card (!), so get on that as well. Michelle Sharp is an author I’ll be purchasing again, for sure.

Happy reading! 🙂

Delicious Heat and Plenty of Romantic Suspense Fills Teri Anne Stanley’s Debut, Deadly Chemistry

23 Jun
Deadly Chemistry (Sex, Lies, and Science Geeks #1 - Mike and Laura) by Teri Anne Stanley (Entangled: Ignite, June 23, 2014)

Deadly Chemistry (Sex, Lies, and Science Geeks #1 – Mike and Laura) by Teri Anne Stanley (Entangled: Ignite, June 23, 2014)

A natural extension of the cultural phenomenon of not just tolerating but celebrating the nerd (understandable in an economy increasingly based on information and scientific development) is to see this trend turn up more frequently in romance novels, which reflect popular culture. Add to that mirroring the fact that a lot of writers were undoubtedly…ahhh…a bit bookish growing up, and you have a recipe for a kick butt portrayal of the sexy nerd.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to hear that new author Teri Anne Stanley might have also worn that moniker (her love of superheroes in her biography is a giveaway), as her debut book, Deadly Chemistry, is spot on, both in terms of its wonderful romance as well as its depiction of lovable brainiacs. Since this is the first in her Sex, Lies, and Science Geeks series, I am rubbing my hands gleefully together knowing that there are more books coming.

Mike Gibson has a pretty stressful life. A disgraced former cop, he is using his position as maintenance man at Tucker University to ferret out that institution’s connection to a new designer drug that’s hitting city streets. He wants to capture the drug dealer he let get away last time in favor of rescuing his younger brother who had joined the gang, and since that same brother is currently working in the science building of the university, Mike has a sinking feeling there’s a connection. That dread is the opposite of the feeling he gets when he spots Laura Kane, the gorgeous scientist whose innocuous-looking algae is possibly spreading addiction and violence. Mike’s gut, however, is telling him that the woman who feeds possum in a garbage can on the sly is not a drug dealer by any stretch of the imagination. While he knows he needs to clear his name and save his brother, this former cop wonders if what’s been missing from his life is Laura and the feeling of rightness he gets when she’s in his arms.

I love a smart heroine and a good lab environment. Thanks, Teri Anne Stanley!

I love a smart heroine and a good lab environment. Thanks, Teri Anne Stanley!

Scientist Laura Kane harbors a serious crush on the hunky maintenance guy who is related to her wonderful student lab assistant. She’s horrified at the discovery that the latest drug problem she’s heard on television could possibly be her research baby, but her stage 2 solution has been providing suspiciously low yields prior to its being processed into an innocuous pain reliever, and Laura knows that until that change occurs, it’s more addictive than heroin. As she spends more time with Mike, she sees that he’s not only sexy and funny, but an honorable man trying to do the right thing by redeeming his name and pulling his brothers together as a family, no matter how hard they are all fighting it. But Laura has seen in her own mother how love and family derails a career, and she’s determined to not let that happen to her, no matter how tender and hot Mike can be. When danger rears its head, Laura realizes that she might have only one chance to save her future – both her career and the man she loves.

The reason for the veracity of the lab environment in Deadly Chemistry is because the author (like so many romance novelists) is a scientist and her description of lab work and attachment to algae is definitely something anyone who has done research can attest to be 100% real. Since for me the best books are smart books, ones that teach me something or have me pondering an intellectual idea while I am also enjoying a great romance unfold, Teri Anne Stanley has been shunted into my “buy” pile. That she also can write a hot romance laced with plenty of humor puts lots of yummy icing on the romance cake (and let’s face it, we love icing!).

Considering that Entangled Publishing makes it very easy to try a new author with their terrific $.99 deal for new books, I’d run not walk and download Deadly Chemistry into your ebook reader ASAP to get that price. Stanley and Entangled are also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway and participants can win a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 Paypal credit, so be sure to enter. Wouldn’t it be nice to offset your summer reading with this kind of windfall?

I’m overjoyed that Teri Anne Stanley has joined the romantic suspense scene and hope I don’t have to wait too long for the sequel to Deadly Chemistry.

Happy reading! 🙂

Mystery and Murder in a Private School Setting Makes You Again by Ashlee Mallory a Page Turner

2 Apr
You Again by Ashlee Mallory (Entangled Ignite, March 24, 2014)

You Again by Ashlee Mallory (Entangled Ignite, March 24, 2014)

One of the reasons I am so faithful at trying out Entangled Publishing’s new authors is because they do such a good job picking new talent that I am rarely disappointed. Ashlee Mallory, with her debut book, You Again, is just such a talent, combining strong writing, excellent plot structure, and a unique voice to give readers a wonderful romantic suspense novel, yet one completely devoid of the military/mercenary/investigative reporter characters so overdone in that genre.

Having worked at private schools for most of my working life, You Again‘s setting of a private school in the heart of Salt Lake City was downright juicy and immediately sucked me in. The heroine, Allie McBride, patiently waits with her extended family for a relative to get back from his two-year mission. While Allie is Catholic, her stepmother and sister are Mormon and everyone has come to terms with loving each other while not necessarily sharing the same faith. With her mind wandering, she’s shocked to see none other than her high school crush Sam Fratto walk through the airport. He’s now a best-selling true crime author and any heart flutters she experiences upon looking at his still-athletic body are quickly quashed when he 1) doesn’t recognize her and 2) makes a dick comment about one of Allie’s nephews.

Sam is less than thrilled to be back in Utah. His distant father died a few years ago and when his mother was recently diagnosed with Stage Three breast cancer, Sam made the decision to take time away from his teenage son and come home at least for a while. Disillusioned about his parents marriage years ago, his own experience with women has only bolstered his distrust of the fairer sex, yet he can’t help having a strong reaction to seeing the blonde from the airport. Unfortunately, it’s in the principal’s office at Sam’s alma mater, St. Andrews, and the gorgeous and understandably icy blonde in question is his fellow English teacher. Sam was happy to fill in when he heard one of the older teachers had some health issues, but the lovely Allie does not appear to be welcoming.

A lovely shot of Salt Lake City with the surrounding mountains and distinctive architecture. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

A lovely shot of Salt Lake City with the surrounding mountains and distinctive architecture. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Both of them are shocked the next day, along with the entire community, when the school’s under construction Peace Garden reveals the dead body of a former English teacher – one who had been a mentor to both Allie and Sam. Allie’s proposal to include a short tribute video as part of the school’s upcoming centennial celebration is met with a mixed response and her digging quickly results in a series of threats and attacks, a circumstance that has all Sam’s protective instincts rushing to the fore. Yet with his track record of not trusting women, he’s not sure he can negotiate the many feelings he’s having for Allie, particularly when what she uncovers opens up the closet on some family secrets.

I loved the eccentric secondary characters as well as the well-drawn hero and heroine with their strengths and weaknesses. Mallory’s writing has a clear, distinctive personality and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a range of Mormon characters handled in such an honest and respectful way. Of course, being an Ignite book means that the entire, single love scene is behind a very closed bedroom door, but that’s what their readers enjoy. The romance in an Ignite book is always secondary to the suspense plot, but Mallory handles the mystery element with such aplomb that I sincerely hope she keeps writing them. I’ll keep reading them!

What a great debut novel for a wonderful writer who has clearly found a supportive home with Entangled. I look forward to reading her future books and hope she has a terrific response from readers! She made this one quite happy. 🙂

 

 

You’ll Sweat in the Desert Heat Reading Molly Gets Her Man by Julie Rowe

27 Jan

Molly Gets Her Man by Julie Rowe (Entangled Ignite: January 27, 2014)

Entangled’s Ignite line for romantic suspense (or mysteries or thrillers) appears well named. Despite absolutely frigid temperatures outside, I found myself reaching for a cold beverage while vicariously sweating in the Las Vegas heat with the new novel from Julie Rowe, Molly Gets Her Man.

This came as a surprise to me since I had only heard Rowe’s name in association with a trilogy of interesting historical romances set in Europe during World War I (they are on my to-read shelf). A Canadian with a medical background, I gather that Rowe has had success with some medical romance stories and even her historicals utilize her knowledge base as the characters are often doctors and nurses, albeit with a different level of medicine available to them in their era.

After reading Molly Gets Her Man, I was impressed that someone without a suspense background could write such an excellent debut in this subgenre. Rowe managed to have a relentless plot pace which had me turning the pages to figure out how our hero and heroine were not only going to work through their emotional baggage to find love, but how they were just going to survive all the twists and turns of their predicament.

Molly McLaren cannot seem to catch a break. With some demons in her past in the form of an abusive father and an ex-boyfriend who wanted to follow in his footsteps, she’s shy of large men, especially angry ones. Her anxiety actually led to the loss of her last job as an interpreter for the court system when she was deliberately intimidated by a convict, an incident that frightened her so badly that she quit her job. Now she’s dressed in uber-tight capri pants, a glittering top and enough make-up to work a department store counter in order to be a hair dresser, albeit one that speaks seven languages fluently.

The seamy backdrop of Las Vegas is perfect for this tale of drugs and organized crime. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

The seamy backdrop of Las Vegas is perfect for this tale of drugs and organized crime. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

That unusual ability has just bitten her in the ass as she overheard a client arrange the assassination of a congressman three days from now. Although she reported it to the police, she’s got a bad feeling, enough that she called her former military brother in California to ask for help. He’s relayed that help will be appearing on her doorstep in the form of a truck driven by his friend and it’s none too soon as two Russian enforcers are searching for her in a deserted parking garage. She manages to get away, not before they get off a few shots at her, only to find herself trapped in the cab of a semi, with the biggest, angriest guy she’s ever seen. Cue anxiety.

Grey Wilson is trying to redeem his career from the major cock-up that was his last mission, one that involved discovering his former girlfriend was a drug addicted woman using him for information and resulted in his almost losing his leg after getting shot. He’s currently on the path of a Russian group smuggling drugs in and out of Vegas, using the cover of a truck driver to gather information. Helping a former military buddy’s bimbo sister is not what he signed up for, but it quickly becomes apparent that the nervous Molly is no intellectual lightweight and that she is in really deep trouble, trouble that intersects with his mission. As the two of them succumb to the attraction between them, can they each work through their past betrayals to find something real before they have to part from one another?

This was a great story about two people forced by circumstances to look beneath their surface and discover the error of their first impressions. Molly is obviously a brilliant linguist and Grey a gentle soul around Molly who would shoot his good leg before her hurt her (he’s a badass around a perp, however). The suspense plot was well done with a few really good red herrings and twists I enjoyed, and I’m hoping that Molly’s brother crops up in a future book. If I have any criticism, it’s that Rowe’s sex scenes are rather brief and seem to be more about releasing sexual tension rather than about revealing more character development or inspiring a closer connection between the hero and heroine.

I would definitely encourage Julie Rowe to continue to develop her astonishing versatility between subgenres and continue to write romantic suspense since her first offering was such a good one. I’m glad Molly got her man and hope that Julie Rowe continues to get her contracts so I can enjoy more books by her.

Happy reading!

%d bloggers like this: