Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on June 26, 2016
Source: Kindle Unlimited
I pressed onward to the third Barrett siblings’ story in the Scarlet Falls trilogy and I’m pretty sure this was my favorite of the three. Mac and Stella were great characters and all the suspense surrounding them had me riveted to my audio.
Seconds to Live is the third and final leg in a trilogy. It works best in order as the characters were introduced in earlier books and the previous lead characters have a strong presence in this one. In fact, I accidentally grab the first in the spin-off (Morgan Dane) series first of all the books and now I can see the strong ties with that one since this one showed the actual scenes that were only referenced in that one.
Seconds to Live was shot out of a canon right from the beginning. Mac Barrett is facing danger down in South America with drug runners in the jungle and Stella Dane is put on the case of a new sadistic killer roaming around Scarlet Falls. Mac comes back when Grant leaves him a message that their dad is dying. He has issues with his dad and his choices in the past just like Grant and Hannah and his coping mechanism has been to draw away from the rest and stay away. After Lee’s death and the near misses for both his remaining siblings and his bewildered young nephew, he knows he has to stop running and face things. This decision coincides when he nearly runs over a woman’s body in the road only to have it disappear. Fortunately, Detective Stella Dane believes him because it matches the description of a missing woman from her case. Now, Mac and Stella must catch a killer who tortures his victims.
I’ve always enjoyed how this author balances the romance and suspense elements even while delivering a compelling character growth element, too. Mac and Stella both carry around their fair share of grief and guilt. He feels bad for turning to drugs and gang back in high school and failing his family by always doing a runner while she feels bad for a missed shot that allowed a killer to go on killing others. They both learn to face their issues while teaming up on the case and exploring their personal attraction.
Stella is a sensational heroine. She’s a cop through and through and she wants to prove herself, but she’s not stupid about it and keeps her head even when she has doubts after her missed shot. Mac was a pretty great guy to have along and I loved that surprised twist the author pulled out about him.
Like the previous stories, the villain gets some moments and they were truly chilling. I actually figured out who it was not long after I met all the characters involved in the story and was thrilled to discover that I had it right and even got the motive (which is scary since this person is not sane). Besides the killer, there are a few other plot threads that offer more villains so Stella and Mac’s story was never lacking for excitement.
What more can I say after my fourth encounter with the redoubtable Cris Dukehart that I haven’t already said? Her narration is consistently on point for this series and the genre. Her characters and approach to the story was fantastic.
All in all, this last of the Scarlet Falls trilogy and bridge to the Morgan Dane series did its job. It was strong on action and suspense and spicy romance while delivering characters that were well-developed and providing a compelling layered plot.
Romance Roundabout #325 RS
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