This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Zebra Books
Released on September 2, 2014
This was a case of getting grabsie because I saw it was about a US Marshal and was in the mood for some romantic suspense. I hadn’t read the author’s works before under any of her pen names and this was a new series so it seemed a good place to start. I would love to say that I found it a wonderful or even just a pleasant experience, but unfortunately, it got me worked up and not in a good way. I’ll get to that all later, but first I’ll summarize the story.
The story opens with Galen going out to the bar with his fellow US Marshal and buddy, Landon, to celebrate his graduation from a special elite marshal training he passed and getting picked for a prestigious security detail in Paris. While they’re enjoying their drinks, Galen spies a beautiful woman right as a sleaze bag drops a pill into her drink. He turns into the hero of the hour when he prevents her from drinking the drugged liquor and captures the guy. After a little flirtation, he ends up going back to her place for a truly memorable night of sexy times. In the morning, he gets a look at a line of texts from ‘Chris’ acting very boyfriendish and realizes that he slept with a cheater. He sneaks off angry and hurt.
Harper is a geek for Superheroes and dreams of being a star political reporter. She has her job at a big Portland newspaper and is on the hunt to discover what the ‘honest’ Senator Ellis is hiding. If, on occasion, she painfully remembers the one hot night she spent with her mystery man and wonders yet again what she did to drive him to leave with no word, it’s probably good that she is so focused on her work because she just knows no other guy will compare. It is after an attempt to snare Ellis for an interview in his parking garage only to witness him gunned down that she meets her mystery man in a startling way- he’s the US Marshal assigned to protect her, the witness. He also seems oblivious that they even met which wounds her enough to throw caution to the wind and turn into a hostile witness.
Galen is sent reeling at the sight of Harper, but he pulls it together in front of his boss. He can’t help how hard he is on her when she turns into a brat and refuses to cooperate with the safety measures going so far as to do a runner refusing to see the danger. Meanwhile, the FBI agent in charge of the case has a hard on that Harper is involved in Ellis’ death and someone is still out there willing to do murder to protect their secrets. Galen and Harper spend the next several days circling each other both still attracted, but both still hurt.
Okay…sigh…this book started out so good with that opening scene and the subsequent trouble caused by the misunderstood text messages, but then it went downhill fast for me. I ran up against two big issues for me: Harper’s personality and behavior and not being able to suspend belief that a rookie political journalist and a well-trained US Marshal would behave this way even in fiction.
Okay, I’ll start with the disbelief. Honestly, Harper and Galen took turns pulling stuff that I just couldn’t believe people in their positions would do. If the villain hadn’t also been inept considering his background and training then she would have been dead so many times over with Galen right beside her. It grew to the point where I sat there and made a game of all the things in the scene that were a problem and I only have my knowledge from fiction books, TV and movies. This weakened the story for me. And their ‘we met as strangers in a bar jumped into bed with no promises’, but then both spending most of the book acting hurt and betrayed had me scratching my head. I know fiction relationships happen quicker and deeper, but my stars!
But the bigger issue for me was Harper. *deep breath* The first scene in the Marshals’ office left me with my jaw hanging. I haven’t seen a heroine act so immature, spoilt, selfish and- I need to stop. You get the idea. She is one of the stupidest heroines I’ve encountered in a while. She witnessed a political murder with the murderer actually getting her voice recorder before being driven away by people arriving on the scene. He later uses the recorder to send her messages with it to remind her that he has her in his crosshairs, but she’s all ‘It didn’t all go down that way if I just pretend it never happened (ostrich/sand). I need my normal life. I will work. I will live at home with the flimsy little locks and my blinds wide open. I will runoff from my protectors every chance I get particularly if I get a donut craving.’ Then throughout the book, she hides evidence from the investigators because she, of course, can investigate better than any people professionally trained to do so. She constantly pushes and questions Galen’s security measures and even plans to seduce him to do one of her runners even after realizing she really cares for him. He’ll lose his career and maybe get prosecuted right along beside her, but if they survive and then get caught obstructing justice at least she can claim to care for him. Who lets their best friend come over to their home just to chit chat and push your point with the nice Marshals that you are in charge when you know you are a target and may now have just made someone think your bestie now knows what you know? Then later bullnosing her way with Galen to take her to a meeting with another person involved in the case then insisting on going in unguarded when– surprise, shots are fired and Galen took one for her to protect her. Oh and now she’s going to come clean about all the evidence, but right before that she’s got to smart off at the man (she claims to love) she endangered just because he might feel a teensy bit upset about being used and lied to and might lose his career for you. Oh and the grand finale scene? Shouldn’t have been necessary, but you see, she wasn’t done going for the stupid moves. Ugh! Why did I even stick with this girl’s story? Because I was totally waiting for her to grow the heck up. Didn’t happen.
Now it wasn’t total misery for me. I did enjoy the suspense of learning why the Senator was killed and who was behind it. They were pretty scorching together as a couple too. I also think the idea of a series about US Marshals and learning about what they do is fascinating. Landon was a fun secondary character and his story is next. I might pick it up just to see if a change in heroine will make a difference.
In the end, I had troubles with this one, but I think others that enjoy mild romantic suspense might want to try it.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.