Tuesday, May 26, 2020

BLOG TOUR - Buried Angels


Today I am very pleased to be a part of the Blog Tour for Broken Souls by Patricia Gibney. An extended review of the first seven books in this series is here.

Title:   Broken Souls
Author:  Patricia Gibney
Series:  D.I. Lottie Parker #8
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   451
Date of Publication:  May 26, 2020
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

Bubbles of cold sweat trickled down Faye’s spine. The hole wasn’t empty. Before she could turn and run, she caught the two sightless eyes staring up at her. Only then did she scream.


When Faye Baker discovers a fragile child’s skull behind the walls of her new home, Detective Lottie Parker is called to investigate. The house has been owned for years by the family of Faye’s boyfriend Jeff, so when Jeff starts acting suspiciously, Lottie wonders what he might be hiding…


Lottie doesn’t have long to dig deeper before a child’s bones are found by eleven-year-old Gavin on nearby railway tracks. The bones don’t match the small skull behind the walls, but Lottie can’t ignore the coincidence. Someone out there must be missing their loved ones and it’s up to her to put right a terrible wrong.


Unable to shake a feeling of foreboding, Lottie goes to speak to Faye, and discovers that she hasn’t turned up for work. When Faye’s body is found stuffed in the back of her car, Lottie needs to find out who wanted her to keep quiet.


As Lottie hunts for Faye’s killer, the case takes a darker turn when Gavin goes missing. Faye and Gavin are connected only by the grisly body parts they discovered. But who are these little victims and why has their killer come back? Can Lottie find the answers before another precious life is taken?


This thrilling new novel from bestselling author Patricia Gibney will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. If you like Lisa Regan, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine, you’ll love Buried Angels.  


PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2zTH9T3
Apple: https://apple.co/2Zjp2Am
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Xgk0C6
Google: https://bit.ly/2ZniMYG


MY THOUGHTS:

In this intense 8th book in the D. I. Lottie Parker the case Lottie is on begins with Faye Baker finding a child's skull in the walls of a home that was owned by her boyfriend Jeff. In short order, more bones are discovered by an eleven-year-old boy named Gavin and then Faye's body is discovered. Lottie is positive that all three cases are tied together, and Faye's boyfriend Jeff is one of the suspects.

Having read all seven of the previous books in this series has prepared me for the grittiness that comes with the cases that Lottie is working on. The fact that children are among the victims increase the chilling tension in this book tenfold.

Meanwhile readers are reminded of Lottie's difficult and painful past and what she is dealing with Boyd's cancer treatments. Her husband died of cancer, so now that her lover Boyd is suffering with the brutal disease is taking its toll on Lottie. Furthermore, even though Boyd isn't well, he is trying to offer support to his sister Grace.

I absolutely love this series by Patricia Gibney. In every story readers get to see how the strong, resilient Lottie, along with her team, solve difficult cases. And, at the same time, her vulnerabilities show, and this makes her a very well-rounded character. As I have felt after reading each book in this series, I am looking forward to seeing more of Lottie in future cases, as well as to see where her future with Boyd lies.

Many thanks for Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patricia is the million-copy bestselling author of the DI Lottie Parker series. She yearned to be a writer after reading Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene and even wanted to be Nancy Drew when she grew up. She has now grown up (she thinks) but the closest she’s come to Nancy Drew is writing crime! 

In 2009, after her husband died, she retired from her job and started writing seriously. Fascinated by people and their quirky characteristics, she always carries a notebook to scribble down observations. 


Patricia also loves to paint in watercolour and lives in the Irish midlands with her children.



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Review - The Second Wife

Title:   The Second Wife
Author:  Rebecca Fleet
Publisher:  Transworld Digital
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   March 5, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars
DESCRIPTION:

Alex is walking home along the seafront one evening when he smells smoke and realises his house is on fire. His wife, Natalie, has escaped, but his daughter, Jade, is still inside. She is rescued by a firefighter, but when she wakes, she tells her father that she was hiding when the fire began, because there was a man in their house.

Her words prompt Alex, already furious with his new wife for leaving Jade behind, to start asking questions, and as the narrative flicks back and forth between Alex and Natalie, and between past and present, it starts to become clear that there’s a lot she hasn’t told him about her past. 

MY THOUGHTS:

Alex is walking home and is feeling no pain due to a few drinks after work. As he approaches his home, he soon recognizes there is a fire, and it is his house! His wife, his daughter! When Alex gets close enough he sees that his wife Natalie is relatively safe, but where is his daughter Jade? He spots an unconscious Jade in the arms of a fireman and while he has an incredible sense of relief, he gets a tingle of real annoyance that Natalie came out of the house without Jade.

They rush to the hospital and Jade's prognosis is grim. Later, when Natalie is awake and able to talk she tells Alex that she was hiding in a wardrobe at the time of the fire because there was a man in the house and she was terrified. That annoyance that Alex had toward Natalie begins to grow, and he begins to try and find out what happened, even questioning Natalie about certain things.

The story then shifts to the past and gives the point of view of Sadie and the shady past she experienced. Who was Sadie and what do her experiences have to do with Alex and Natalie? Well, this is where the story proves to be quite intriguing and more than a bit chilling. 

Lies, motives, obsession and secrets, combined with duplicity, all play very dangerous roles in this compelling book by Rebecca Fleet. This incredible book has so many twists and turns and a major shocker that this book proved to be impossible for me to put down. I loved Alex in his role as a father with a teen daughter. Their relationship was strong and his protective nature shown through time and again. 


Many thanks to Transworld Digital and to Edelweiss for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rebecca Fleet was educated at Oxford and works in brand strategy. She lives in London. The House Swap was her US debut; The Second Wife, her second domestic thriller, is forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking.


Monday, May 25, 2020

BLOG TOUR - Accidentally Family



Today we have the blog tour for Accidentally Family by Sasha Summers! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!!


DESCRIPTION:

Welcome to Pecan Valley, where the town may be small but the townspeople will always lend a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on. Where good times, good humor, and good people will always lead to happily ever after.
Life for Felicity, and her teen children, is finally back on track. After her divorce, she wasn’t sure if her sweet family would ever be the same. But things are good––right up until her ex’s spirited toddler lands on Felicity’s doorstep. If the universe is going to throw lemons at her, thank God she has her best friend, Graham, to help her make lemonade out of them. How did she never notice how kind and sexy he is?

Graham is still recovering from his wife’s death years ago and trying to help his teen daughter get her life together. Who is he kidding? His daughter hates him. Forget lemons––he’s got the entire lemon tree. So when Felicity suggests they join forces and help each other, he’s all in. And suddenly he can’t stop thinking about her as more than just a friend. Too bad their timing couldn’t be worse…

Because life rarely goes as planned. Luckily there are many different kinds of family to hold you together and lift you up...plus maybe even a little love between friends.

BUY LINKS:

Publisher Weekly Review:

“… Readers will find it easy to root for their mutual care to blossom into love, but the pair’s children have a tougher time adjusting to their new relationship, providing some thorny obstacles for the budding couple. Graham and Felicity are great parents and they make great partners, and Summers does a good job of grounding all the drama of their lives in sweetness. Readers will be pleased.”


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   Accidentally Family
Author:  Sasha Summers
Publisher:  Entangled: Amara
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   368
Date of Publication:   May 26, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars

It is the night of Felicity's daughter's high school graduation and they get a sudden call when her ex-husband is involved in a tragic car accident. Felicity speeds to the hospital with her two teens, Honor and Nick. Although her divorce was difficult, quite naturally Felicity wants her children to be their with their father. With her ex being critically injured from the accident he makes a very difficult request to Felicity - for her to look after his toddler son, Jack.

Meanwhile, her best friend Graham, a doctor on scene at the hospital, is there for her. His rebellious daughter Diana is also at the hospital at the time because Graham wants to keep an eye on her. 

These are all of the characters in this wonderful book - Felicity, Honor, Nick, Graham, Diana and Jack...

I don't know how Sasha Summers did it with this book, but each and every character played remarkable roles in this book. Those six characters that I just listed will come together as a family. No, that is not a spoiler. I wouldn't do that to any reader of this review. The genre is romance, which pretty much guarantees a happy ending. What I will do is to tell you that the Ms. Summers crafted a very emotional story about two families becoming one. The journey is indeed troubled, but proves to be very much worth it.

I'd like mention something about the parents in this story - Felicity and her relationship with her kids, and Graham's relationship with Diana. They were exceptional parents, even though there was so much angst involved with the teenagers. I also loved that the author did not shy away from some of the problems that the teens were facing during the transitions occurring in this book. Then there is baby Jack... You just have to read the book to see how this all played out.

Accidentally Family is a touching story with remarkable characters and delicate situations that kept me so invested while reading this book that I could not put it down. Kudos to Ms. Summers for creating such a warm story, one that will have an impact me for a long time to come.

Many thanks to Entangled; Amara and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sasha Summers grew up surrounded by books. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance and travel--passions she uses when writing. Now a best-selling and award winning-author, Sasha continues to fall a little in love with each hero she writes. From easy-on-the-eyes cowboy, sexy alpha-male werewolves, to heroes of truly mythic proportions, she believes that everyone should have their happy ending--in fiction and real life.

Sasha lives in the suburbs of the Texas Hill country with her amazing and supportive family and her beloved grumpy cat, Gerard, The Feline Overlord. She looks forward to hearing from fans and hopes you'll visit her online. Facebook: Sasha Summers Author, Twitter: @sashawrites, or her website: www.sashasummers.com



Connect with Sasha Summers:


Sunday, May 24, 2020

SPOTLIGHT TOUR - The Outlaw's Daughter

In this blog post, I am happy to be hosting a Blog Tour for The Outlaw's Daughter by Margaret Brownley with her Hawywire Bride series. I am including a review for all three books in this series.


Title:   Cowboy Charm School
Author:  Margaret Brownley
Series:  Haywire Brides #1
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   September 4, 2018
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

When Texas Ranger Brett Tucker accidentally derails a wedding, he's determined to bring the estranged couple back together...but he never dreamed he'd start falling for the bride!

Texas Ranger Brett Tucker hates to break up a wedding, but the groom—notorious criminal Frank Foster—is a danger to any woman. So he busts into the church, guns blazing...only to find he has the wrong man.

STOP THAT WEDDING!

Bride-to-be Kate Denver is appalled by her fiancé's over-the-top reaction to the innocent mistake and calls off the wedding—for good. Guilt-ridden, Brett's desperate to get them back on track. But the more time he spends with Kate, the harder he falls...and the more he yearns to prove that he's her true match in every way.

(previously published September, 2018)

MY THOUGHTS:

Brett Tucker is doing his darnedest to display altruistic behavior. Brett is a Texas Ranger and manages to interrupt a wedding as he has just caught his man, Frank Foster. However, it is the wrong Frank Foster! The wedding is nearly ruined and Brett approaches the bride to offer his apologies. The problem is, Frank, the groom, has an insane jealous streak and immediately chaos ensues and a fight breaks up. Bride-to-be Kate Denver has had enough of Frank and his jealous behavior and ultimate calls the wedding off.

Brett feels incredibly bad. So, he is determined to do whatever it takes to bring this couple back together. I immediately thought of the Cyrano de Bergerac tale. Brett soon discovers that Frank is far from the romantic type as he begins coaching him. After all, he suggests to Brett that a tire jack would serve as the perfect make-up gift to Kate. Meanwhile, Brett is still looking for the criminal he tried to find at the outset and continues on in that endeavor as well. Brett soon discovers that a match should truly be made - and that perhaps he should be the man in Kate's life. What does Kate have to say about things? Determinedly she resists Frank's attempts at a reconciliation. Does her letting Frank go for good have anything to do with her growing feelings towards Brett?

Cowboy Charm School is a warm and delightfully sweet love story. There was so much humor in this story. There were Frank's allergies, Brett's attempts and Kate's responses - and all of these made this quite the pleasurable read. I thoroughly loved the characters in this story, even Frank. The story takes place in Texas in the late 1800s and Kate was a candy maker, which I thought was an admirable profession for a woman to have during those days. She also was an animal lover, which I really enjoyed. This engaging story captured my heart and I was able to read it in one sitting. This is the first in the Haywire Bride series and I am looking forward to the next story.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Title:   The Cowboy Meets His Match
Author:  Margaret Brownley
Series:  Haywire Brides #2
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre:   Historical Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   May 28, 2019
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:


His first mistake was marrying her.

His second was falling in love.


Chase McKnight will do anything to secure his family's ranch—but marriage to a complete stranger? That's a hard pill to swallow. Yet the will is clear: Chase needs a wife by his side if he wants to keep his home, so he meets his veiled lady at the courthouse steps and reluctantly says "I do."

Too bad he married the wrong bride.

When Boston runaway Emily Fields agreed to marry a Texas stranger to escape her family's scandal, she wasn't prepared to get hitched to the wrong cowboy! Stuck in a secret compromise, she has one year to learn the ways of the ranch and convince Chase's family they're happily married. But when the lie becomes true, the past catches up to them and they must save the love they never expected...

MY THOUGHTS:

In this second book in the Haywire Brides series, a marriage similar to mail-order bride goes completely wrong. Emily Fields has run away from Boston and was following through and planning to marry a man in Texas. This gives her a chance to get away from a scandal that is chasing her. However, when she looks into the angry eyes of Chase McKnight, she wonders if she has made the biggest mistake of her life.

Chase McNight is furious about what he has to do. His family ranch could be lost due to a stipulation by his father that whoever married first - Chase or his brother - the ranch would go to them. So, Chase agrees to marry a widow, which would end up helping her too, as she is also a mother. In a rushed ceremony confusion reigns and before they realize it, Chase and Emily are now husband and wife.


The two are very poorly suited, but now they have to try and make it work, because the ranch means everything to Chase. His new wife is in no way suitable for ranch wife. So, Chase does his best to teach her, no matter how frustrating it is, and eventually, feelings begin to stir within the couple. But, what of the ones they were supposed to marry in that rushed wedding? What about the true reason Emily fled in the first place? Well, in this wonderful story, these questions are answered.

In this delightful story, readers are presented a couple who find that they could indeed find love, and along the way, resolve difficult situations and creating a wonderful future together.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

***SPOTLIGHT POST***

Title:   The Outlaw's Daughter
Author:  Margaret Brownley
Series:  Haywire Brides #3
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre:   Historical Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   May 26, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

He may be a Texas Ranger but 
he only has eyes for the outlaw's beautiful daughter...

Texas Ranger Matt Taggert is on the trail of a wanted man. He has good reason to believe that Ellie-May's late husband was involved in a stagecoach robbery, and he's here to see justice done. But when he arrives in town, he discovers the thief has become a local hero...and his beautiful, young widow isn't too happy to see some lawman out to tarnish her family's newly spotless reputation.

Ellie-May's shaken by her encounter with the Ranger. Having grown up an outlaw's daughter, she'll do anything to keep her children safe―and if that means hardening her heart against the handsome lawman's smiles, then so be it. Because she knows Matt isn't about to give up his search. He's out to redeem himself and find proof that Ellie-May's husband wasn't the saint everyone claims...even if it means losing the love neither expected to discover along the way.

PURCHASE LINKS:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RoM4Ag
B&N: http://bit.ly/3augPN8
Apple: https://apple.co/2ynUNgS
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3fnPZbN
BAM: https://bit.ly/3fn9Wzx
Bookshop: https://bit.ly/3dgVQ0P

MY THOUGHTS:

Matt Taggert is a Texas Ranger bent on finding out the truth behind a stage-coach robbery. At the same time, he thoughts are never far away from his brother, who is a man running from the law. When he heads to a small town and meets a woman named Ellie-May, he does his best to prove that her now deceased husband was responsible for the robbery.

Meanwhile Ellie-May has never had it easy. For starters, as the title suggests, her father was an outlaw, thus leaving her to a lifetime of taunts and disrespect from others. Something happened in her life that took that nasty opinion of Ellie-May and her children away. In fact, now the town shows more than a little appreciation for her. With the Texas lawman in town, asking questions that might prove her husband was a thief, is about to destroy any sense of comfort Ellie-May has. 

Meanwhile, Matt does not let up in his investigation, even though he is rather drawn to Ellie-May. She herself finds Matt to be appealing. However, with the questions and the accusations that Ellie-May has to contend with, it is hardly likely that any feelings the pair have towards one another will lead to anything more promising.

The Outlaw's Daughter was a wonderful read. The conflicts were apparent as the dilemma always was front and center. It was very easy to be drawn to Ellie-May and her children. Also, Matt was just the perfect hero in this book, especially as he was bound by duty, all while he proved to be a genuinely kind and caring man. I loved this book, as well as the first two books in this series and hope to read much more by Ms. Brownley.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:

Haywire, Texas

1887


“Hold it right there, mister!”

Matt Taggert froze in place. The woman’s voice sounded serious, as did the metallic click announcing she was armed.

Not wanting to alarm her, he held his hands out where they could be seen and turned to face her, taking it nice and easylike.

The owner of the voice stood at the entrance of the barn, the sun behind her back. The woman was small in stature but nonetheless looked like she meant business. Least her shotgun sure enough did.

Loosely braided hair the color of silken corn fell from beneath a floppy felt hat. Keen blue eyes looked him up and down, stopping momentarily to study the Colt hanging from his side and the badge on his leather vest. Apparently, nothing she saw relieved her mind as her weapon remained pointed at his chest.

“You can put your shotgun down, ma’am,” he said. “I mean you no harm.”

Matt’s assurances won him no favor, and the shotgun didn’t budge. “What are you doing, snooping ’round my property?” she demanded.

“Name’s Taggert. Matt Taggert, Texas Ranger,” he said. When even his name and profession didn’t convince her to lower her weapon, he added, “I’m looking for Neal Blackwell. I knocked on the door of the house, but there was no answer. Thought maybe I’d find him here in the barn.”

“Well, you thought wrong, mister.”

He studied the woman with narrowed eyes. “If you don’t mind my asking, ma’am, who am I speaking to?”

“I’m Mrs. Blackwell.”

“Mrs.—” That was a surprise. If her husband did indeed rob a stage, he sure in blazes hadn’t spent any of the stolen loot on his wife. Her sinewy body looked like it had been shaped by hard work and even harder times. If that wasn’t bad enough, her dress had enough patches to shingle a roof. The scuffed leather boots showing beneath the frayed hem of her skirt fared no better.

Nor did the animals in the barn, which included one skinny milk cow and a swaybacked mare.

Nevertheless, the woman earned his begrudging respect. Despite her shabby attire, she held herself with a quiet dignity that seemed at odds with her circumstances. He sensed that her squared shoulders stemmed from hard-earned inner strength.

“I need to talk to your husband,” he said.

Some emotion he couldn’t decipher flickered across her face. “Well, you won’t find him here.”

“If you’ll kindly tell me where I can find him, I’ll be on my way.”

Suspicion clouded her eyes, and he could almost see the cogwheels turning in her head. “What business does a Texas Ranger have with Neal?”

Before he could answer, a boy no older than five or six appeared by her side and tugged on her apron. “Mama?”

Dressed in knee pants and a checkered red shirt, the child peered at Matt from beneath a black slouch hat. A handsome lad, he had his mother’s blond hair and big blue eyes. He also matched his mother’s determined demeanor.

Matt grimaced. He hadn’t counted on Blackwell being a family man. Nothing worse than having to arrest a man in front of his children. It was bad enough cuffing one in the presence of his wife. But if Blackwell couldn’t answer Matt’s questions, arresting him was a real possibility.

The woman’s stance didn’t waver, but her voice softened as she addressed her son. “Go back to the house, Lionel. Mama’s busy right now.”

Before leaving, the boy looked Matt up and down, curiosity written on his little round face. “Is he a bad man, Mama?”

“Let’s hope for his sake he’s not,” his mama replied. “Now, go.”

Lionel’s face grew more solemn as his probing eyes met Matt’s. Matt winked in hopes of relieving the boy’s mind, but the stoic look remained. Never had Matt seen a child so young look so serious.

“Go,” his mother repeated, and this time Lionel left without further ado.

Mrs. Blackwell gave her shotgun a shake as if to remind Matt she meant business. “You still haven’t told me what you want with Neal.”

Matt couldn’t think of a tactful way to explain his business, so he came right out with it. “I need to talk to him about a stage robbery that took place last year.”

Her gaze sharpened. “Why?”

Partly because of the shotgun and partly because something about the woman brought out his protective instincts, Matt chose his next words with care. “I have reason to believe your husband has…certain information that would be helpful in my investigation.”

She discounted his explanation with a toss of her head. “Why would you think such a thing?”

“I’m not at liberty to say, ma’am. Least not till I talk to your husband.”

Her blue eyes narrowed. “If you think Neal had anything to do with that robbery, then you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

“That may be true,” he said slowly. “But I still need to talk to him. It’s the only way I can wrap up my business and—”

“You’ll wrap up your business a whole lot quicker if you just leave now.”

Matt drew in his breath. If she were a man, things would be easier. For one thing, a man would have been disarmed by now. He would have seen to that. After letting his outlaw brother escape, Matt couldn’t afford another blunder. Not if he wanted to keep his job. Still, he wasn’t about to use physical force on a woman. Not unless he had to.

“I’m sorry, ma’am.” He ever so slowly lowered his hands to his side. “I can’t leave. Not till I talk to your husband.”

“That’s gonna be a little hard to do,” she said with a wag of her shotgun.

He arched an eyebrow. “Why is that?”

“Well, mister, it’s like this. My husband, Neal, is dead.”

***

Excerpted from The Outlaw’s Daughter by Margaret Brownley. © 2020 by Margaret Brownley. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

New York Times bestselling author Margaret Brownley has penned more than forty-five novels and novellas. She's a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap. She is also a recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer Award. She makes her home in Southern California. Visit her online at margaret-brownley.com.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

BLOG TOUR - Running Out of Time


A new miniseries from Harlequin Intrigue.

Stopping criminal activity wherever it happens. The agents at the Tactical Crime Division are ready for anything.


More and more, federal law agencies have to mobilize to remote locations to address large-scale crime scenes and criminal activity—terror, hostage situations, kidnappings, shootings and the like. Because of the growing concerns and need for ever increasing response times to these criminal events, the Bureau created a specialized tech and tactical team, combining specialists from several active divisions—weapons, crime scene investigation, protection, negotiation, IT. Because they are a smaller unit, they are more nimble for rapid deployment and assistance to address various situations. This joint team of agents is known as the Tactical Crime Division (TCD).




Love CSI and Criminal Minds? Meet the Tactical Crime Division.
Get to know a team of dedicated crime solving experts as they fight for justice, safety, and one by one are rewarded by finding love.


BOOK DESCRIPTION:


When a terrorist is on the loose, the Tactical Crime Division is on the case. To find out who poisoned medications, two of TCD’s agents are tapped to go undercover posing as a married couple and infiltrate the company. But as soon as Jace Cantrell and Laura Smith arrive at Stroud Pharmaceuticals, someone ups the ante by planting explosives in their midst. Turns out that the small-town family business is hiding a million secrets. Could they unknowingly be protecting a vengeful killer?

PURCHASE LINKS:

● Goodreads
● Amazon
● Barnes & Noble
● Barnes & Noble
● IndieBound 

● Harlequin.com


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   Running Out of Time
Author:  Cindi Myers
Series:  Tactical Crime Division #4
Publisher:  Harlequin Intrigue
Genre:   Romantic Suspense
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   256
Date of Publication:   June 16, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars

Laura "Smitty" Smith and Jace Cantrell go undercover as a married couple in order to investigate Stroud Pharmaceuticals. Apparently, product tampering has taken place at the pharmaceutical company and this has resulted in several deaths. The local police was only too happy to turn the case over to the FBI, so the Tactical Crime Division (TCD) prepare a cover for Smitty and Jace.

Due to the fact that the business is run by a tight-knit family, Smitty and Jace have to tread carefully. The director of the TCD feels that someone at the company is knowledgeable about the truth. The deeper Jace and Smitty dig to find out the truth, the closer to danger they become. This works in their favor, however, because the last thing they want to do is to raise suspicion as to why they both suddenly took jobs at the company. Even with their strong cover, danger quickly is on their tails. It is hoped that Smitty and Jace can stay one step ahead of the culprits and get to the bottom of things before any more deaths occur. 

Running Out of Time is the fourth and final book in the Tactical Crime Division series. This story, with a romantic element taking second place to intrigue and danger, is an excellent addition to a thrilling series. Whether or not Jace and Smitty have a future together depends on if they can stay alive. 

What a wonderful and fitting end to this series. In this book I enjoyed Smitty and Jace and the sparks that flew, as with all the couples in the series. What this book and the others did was to create exceptionally realistic and dangerous stories that were riveting and impossible to put down.

Many thanks to Harlequin Intrigue and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.



Excerpt, Running Out of Time by Cindi Meyers


***

“We’ve got another tough case on our hands.” Jill Pembroke, director of the FBI’s tactical crime division, surveyed her team from the head of the conference table in the Bureau’s Knoxville headquarters. “One that re-quires a great deal of discretion.”


Something in the director’s tone made Agent Laura Smith sharpen her focus. Pembroke, with her well-cut silver hair and feminine suit, might be mistaken for a high society grandmother, but she was as hard-nosed as they came, and not prone to exaggeration. That she reminded her team of the need for discretion pointed to something out of the ordinary.


The door to the conference room opened and a man slipped in. Tall and rangy, Agent Jace Cantrell moved with the grace of an athlete. He nodded to the director and eased into the empty seat next to Laura. No apology for being late. Typical. Laura slid her chair over a couple of inches. Cantrell was one of those men who always seemed to take up more than his share of the available space.


“We’re going to be investigating product tampering at Stroud Pharmaceuticals in Mayville, West Virginia.”


Director Pembroke stepped aside to reveal a slide showing a squat factory building set well back on landscaped grounds.


“The antacid poisonings.” Agent Ana Ramirez spoke from her seat directly across from Laura. She tucked a strand of dark hair into the twist at the nape of her neck, polished nails glinting in the overhead light. “That story has been all over the news.”


“Do the locals not want the FBI horning in?” Agent Davis Rogers—the only member of the team not wearing the regulation suit—sat back in his chair beside Ramirez, looking every bit the army ranger he had once been. “Is that why the extra discretion?”


“No, the local police are happy to turn this over to us,” Pembroke said. She advanced to the next slide, a listing of the deaths—six so far, with two additional people hospitalized—attributed to Stroud’s Stomach Soothers, a natural, organic remedy that claimed a significant share of the market as an alternative to traditional antacids. “This hasn’t been released to the public, but the poison in the contaminated tablets was ricin.”


Laura would have sworn the temperature in the air-conditioned room dropped five degrees. “Any suggestion of a link to terrorism?” Hostage negotiator Evan Duran, bearded and brooding, spoke from the end of the table. “Anybody claiming credit for the deaths?”


Pembroke shook her head. “At this point, we aren’t assuming anything. Obviously, we want to avoid panicking the public.”


“The public is already panicked,” Rowan Cooper, the team’s local liaison, said. “People have been organizing boycotts of all Stroud products.” She absently twisted a lock of her jet-black hair, brow furrowed. “We’ll need a strategy for managing the public’s response.”


“The facility where the Stomach Soothers were manufactured has been closed for the time being and the product is being pulled from store shelves,” Pembroke said. “But another facility in town, which manufactures other items, remains open, and the company has reduced hours and reassigned as many employees as possible to the single plant. The company, the town, even the state officials, are very anxious to downplay this tragedy and get Stroud up and running full-speed as soon as possible.”


“Why do that?” Kane Bradshaw, Agent-at-Large, said. Laura hadn’t noticed him until now, seated as he was behind her and apart from the rest, almost in the shadows. Kane always looked as if he’d just rushed in from an overnight surveillance, all wind-blown hair and shadowed eyes. The fact that he was here spoke to the gravity of this case. While always on hand when the team needed him, he wasn’t much on office decorum.


“Jobs.” Cantrell’s voice, deep and a little rough, like a man who smoked two packs a day, sent a shiver through Laura. He didn’t smoke, but maybe he once had. “Stroud Pharmaceuticals is one of the biggest employers in Boone County,” he continued. “The coal mines are shutting down, and there isn’t a lot of other industry. Stroud has been a savior to the community. They—and the officials they elected—are going to do everything in their power to keep the company running and redeem its reputation.”


“Even covering up murder?” Laura asked.


Cantrell turned to her, his gaze cool. “I doubt they want to cover it up, but they’ll definitely downplay it and keep it quiet.”


“They want us to help, but they don’t want us to be obvious.” The youngest member of the team, computer specialist Hendrick Maynard, jiggled his knee as he spoke. A genius who looked younger than his twenty-six years, Maynard never sat still.


“Precisely.” Director Pembroke advanced to another slide of a small town—tree-shaded streets lined with modest homes, some worse for wear. A water tower in the distance displayed the word Mayville in faded green paint. “Agents Smith and Cantrell, you are to pose as a married couple and take jobs at the Stroud factory. Investigations so far point to the poisonings having originated from within the plant itself, so your job is to identify possible suspects and investigate. Agent Rogers, you’ll be in town as well…”


Laura didn’t hear the rest of the director’s assignments. She was focused on trying to breathe and holding back her cry of protest. She and Cantrell? As a couple? The idea was ridiculous. He was rough, undisciplined, arrogant, scornful…


“You look like you just ate a bug.” Cantrell leaned to-ward her, bringing with him the disconcerting aroma of cinnamon. His gravelly voice abraded her nerves. “Don’t think I’m any more excited about this than you are.”


***




About Cindi Myers: Cindy Myers became one of the most popular people in eighth
grade when she and her best friend wrote a torrid historical romance and passed the manuscript around among friends. Fame was short-lived, alas; the English teacher confiscated the manuscript. Since then, Cindy has written more than 50 published novels. Her historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction have garnered praise from reviewers and readers alike.