by Debra Kayn
Publisher: Breathless Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
What I liked
The sexual tension in this novella was absolutely fan-tas-tic! The building up of Tom & Charlise's relationship kept me turning page after page. I liked the writing, I liked the pacing, I liked the plotting. All-in-all, a five-star read. But what really pushed it up to that extra star was the fantastically tense relationship between these two main characters. Honestly, I tend to assume that the characters are going to jump in the sack right away, and the longer I kept waiting, the more I realized how invested I'd become in the relationship. I wanted to see what would happen, and I cared about them. I thought, especially for being such a short novel (or a novella), it was really a fantastic story, and very well-done. Sure, there were times when I thought, "seriously? they're flying a kite when there's a maniac after them?", in fact, I may have actually said that out loud while I was reading. But I forgot all about my disbelief as soon as their relationship took the center stage again. Really, well worth the time to read, just to get to be part of Tom & Charlise's love story for a little while! Kudos on a great book.
On the run and in hiding, Charlise wasn't surprised that her ex-husband found her again at the hunting lodge. The sick bastard would stop at nothing to have her back, and that included murder. Abused and a former shell of herself, she wants to find the woman she was before ever meeting the elusive Jared Blatwell. This time her ex catches up with her and it appears that her time has run out.
Coming off a three-day stakeout, Tom Brannet looked forward to the hunting trip with the other men from G.P. Investigations. Rest, relaxation, and a little hunting is exactly what he needed.
Instead, he's thrown back into his job protecting the beautiful woman behind the counter at The Ridge. No longer the hunter, he does everything in his power to keep Charlise from being the prey. Unable to stop Jared Blatwell from finding his ex-wife, Tom and his partners set up a trap that goes terribly wrong.
"Charlise?" Tom’s loud whisper came from the dining room.
He crawled into the kitchen from the dining room and moved to lean against the cabinets next to her. "I’m gonna go check this out."
Charlise grabbed his arm. "You can’t. He’s just trying to draw you out to get to me. He’ll kill you."
"He can try. No one’s getting past me." He tilted his head. "When are you going to trust me?"
He removed the nine-millimeter pistol from his underarm holster and slipped the clip in. Faster than lightning, she reached out and caught his arm in a death grip.
"Don’t do it."
"Stay here, below the window. I’ll be back." Tom cocked an eyebrow at her in challenge. Charlise’s chin went up. He didn’t know how stubborn she could be. She wasn’t going to let him go outside and get himself killed.
"You’re a fool if you think he won’t kill you." She set her mouth. She refused to back down.
"Don’t worry, Charlise." He leaned closer and took her lips in a hard kiss.
Surprised, Charlise loosened her strangle hold on his arm as warm jolts of pleasure shot through her body.
The kiss was hard and fast, and by the time she gained her equilibrium, he’d already scrambled across the floor and out of sight. She touched her lips with her fingertips. Damn him.
What kind of person let a kiss distract them from the situation at hand? The lack of sleep, plus the stress of having Jared on her tail was hampering her good judgment.
She wanted her life back. One that didn’t involve a man who controlled her. What’s wrong with me? First Jared and now Tom. I’m pathetic.
The simple fact she sat on the floor because Tom ordered her to stay there burned a hole in her stomach. The way he used his masculinity to leave her breathless and forgetful irritated her. The waves of pleasure he produced low in her belly pissed her off.
The slamming door interrupted Charlise’s thoughts. She crouched on the balls of her feet and tried to hear past the roaring in her ears for footfalls.
I need a weapon.
She reached up and opened the silverware drawer. Peering over the edge of the drawer, her fingers made quick work at picking out the biggest weapon in the drawer. A steak knife would do, but she’d have given anything for a machine gun.
Charlise slid the knife in the back pocket of her jeans. She knew a knife wouldn’t hold Jared back, but if he made a grab for her, it might do enough damage to gain her freedom.
The squeak of shoes on linoleum echoed across the hardwood floor toward her. She held her breath and spread her arms wide. She’d knock him down and try to get past him first. If that didn’t work, she’d stab him.
Launching from the tips of her toes, Charlise sprang up, put her head down, and threw her whole body at the shadowed figure that dared to enter the kitchen. Her shoulder slammed into the person. She ricocheted off the human steel wall, and found herself falling backwards.
Pain radiated down her back, and paralyzed her. A pair of strong hands grabbed her shoulders and yanked her upright.
"What the hell are you doing?" Tom gave her a shake that rattled her teeth.
The bravery whooshed out of her at the realization Tom held her imprisoned against him, and not her ex-husband.
"Didn’t I tell you to stay on the floor?" He pushed her back to look at her face, but didn’t relax his hold. "You know how serious this situation is. Jesus, woman, if anything happened to you—" Tom brought her back within the circle of his arms and smashed her against his chest. His hands roamed over her back.