Tag Archive: Romantic Thriller


About the Book
 
Title: Save Your Breath
Author: Melinda Leigh
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Publisher: Montlake
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Summary
 

When true-crime writer Olivia Cruz disappears with no signs of foul play, her new boyfriend, Lincoln Sharp, suspects the worst. He knows she didn’t leave willingly and turns to attorney Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger to find her before it’s too late.

As they dig through Olivia’s life, they are shocked to discover a connection between her current book research on two cold murder cases and the suicide of one of Morgan’s prospective clients.

As Morgan and Lance investigate, the number of suspects grows, but time is running out to find Olivia alive. When danger comes knocking at their door, Morgan and Lance realize that they may be the killer’s next targets.

 
Author Biography
MelindaLeigh
 
#1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A lifelong lover of books, she started writing as a way to preserve her sanity when her youngest child entered first grade. During the next few years, she joined Romance Writers of America, learned a few things about writing a novel, and decided the process was way more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, She Can Run, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She’s also garnered Golden Leaf and Silver Falchion Awards, along with two nominations for a RITA and three Daphne du Maurier Awards. She holds a second-degree black belt in Kenpo karate; teaches women’s self-defense; and lives in a messy house with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs, and two rescue cats.
 
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Author Interview: Melinda Leigh
 

1) Your newest release features two of your most popular characters, attorney Morgan Dane and P.I. Lance Kruger. While this couple has a habit of getting involved in difficult (and dangerous) criminal cases, the mystery in this book is much more personal for them. 

In Save Your Breath, Morgan and Lance aren’t working for a client. They’re looking for Sharp’s girlfriend, Olivia Cruz, who vanished from her home in the middle of the night. After Olivia goes missing, Sharp realizes his feelings for her run much deeper than he’d thought. As the investigation continues, with no trace of Olivia, the usually calm and centered PI begins to unravel. Morgan and Lance had always depended on Sharp for his insight and stability. Save Your Breath reverses these established roles.   

2) How does the personal nature of the crime affect the other characters? 

Morgan and Lance are also thrust into unaccustomed roles. In the previous five books, Sharp has been the source of stability. He is their rock. Now Morgan and Lance have to step up and help him hold it together. The book deliberately challenges the cohesiveness of the team.

3) The story starts with a terrifying scene where Olivia is kidnapped. It is raw and visceral and plays on everyone’s worst fear—being unsafe in our own home. How do you get into the mindset for crafting this kind of scene?

I close my eyes and envision the scene in my mind from beginning to end. Everyone has been woken by a strange noise in the middle of the night. We’ve all stared at the ceiling, listening for the sounds of a stranger moving through the house. Being attacked in our sleep is a basic, primal fear. That’s the vulnerable feeling I wanted to generate in the reader, so I imagined it happening to me. Basically, I’m channeling the overactive imagination that got me into so much trouble as a child. 

4) Morgan and Lance are planning a wedding and solidifying Lance’s place as a step-dad to the Dane girls, all the while dealing with terrible crimes around them. How do they disconnect from the violence around them in order to create a space just for themselves and their family?

The family demands their full attention, and in their world of chaos and crime, their home is what keeps them sane. Both Morgan and Lance operate best when they have the support and love of their family to return to at the end of the day.  

5) Can you give readers any hints of what’s next for Morgan Dane and her crew?

I wrote Save Your Breath as the final book in the Morgan Dane series, but my next project is a spin-off. The Bree Taggert Series will take place in Grey’s Hollow. Morgan and the crew will likely make appearances. 

***

 
Excerpt: 
 

Her weekly dinner with her family had distracted her earlier in the evening. Her mother had served frijoles negros, Olivia’s favorite traditional Cuban dish. Olivia had overindulged, and the minute she’d left her parents’ house in Albany to make the hour drive back to Scarlet Falls, her true crime research had flashed right back into her mind and unsettled her stomach. 

Chewing an antacid, she mulled over her stunning discovery. The implications of what she’d learned further stirred the black beans and rice in her belly. As a journalist, her job was to seek the truth, not play judge or jury. But should she choose to pursue and publish this truth, other people could pay the price for her revelation—possibly with their lives. 

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Her new book proposal was overdue, but Olivia’s predicament felt like a no-win situation. Ignoring the truth went against all her principles. Then again, so did putting other people in danger. 

But how much risk was involved? Could she live with being responsible for even a single innocent person’s death? 

Obsessing about her book research had translated into three consecutive nights of insomnia. Enough was enough. Olivia didn’t need to make this decision alone. What she needed was outside perspective. She brought the antacids with her into the bedroom, picked up her phone from the nightstand, and checked the time. Eleven o’clock. She sent a CALL ME IF UR UP text message to Lincoln Sharp, her . . .

The word boyfriend seemed silly at their ages. She was forty-eight. Lincoln was fifty-three. They’d been dating for several months, and they spent the night together once or twice a week. She assumed their relationship was exclusive, although they hadn’t specifically discussed it. 

Labels weren’t important to either of them, but when she saw him or he called unexpectedly, the stirrings of excitement and joy in her blood made her feel like a teenager. Beyond her attraction to him, she respected him both personally and professionally. 

So why had she been stewing over her decision instead of asking for his opinion? 

Lincoln owned and operated a private investigation firm. As a retired police detective, his practical experience with the legal system—and his knowledge of criminal behavior—exceeded hers. She valued his insight and trusted him to keep her research confidential. If she decided to pursue the story, she would hire his firm to help with the investigative legwork anyway. She may as well bring him on board now. 

She burped. Her indigestion began to burn its way up her esophagus. She chewed a second antacid, the chalky taste coating her mouth. She reached for the glass of water on her nightstand and sipped. 

A few seconds later, her phone rang, and she pressed “Answer.” 

“Is everything OK?” Lincoln asked in a worried tone. Her late-night text was unusual. 

“Yes,” Olivia assured him. 

“I’m sorry I missed dinner with your parents again,” he said. “I wrapped up my case tonight. I should be able to make dinner next week.” 

He didn’t talk much about work, which was fine. She understood his professionalism and appreciated his need to maintain client confidentiality. But he had mentioned the case had involved a great deal of evening surveillance. 

“They understand,” she said. “I called because I’m stuck in my research, and I’d like your opinion. Are you free sometime tomorrow afternoon? I can come to your office.” 

“Sure.” Interest brightened his voice. “How much time do you want me to block out?” 

“An hour should do.” She considered his associates. Lincoln’s business partner, PI Lance Kruger, and Lance’s fiancée, defense attorney Morgan Dane, could also provide useful insight on Olivia’s dilemma. Morgan’s legal advice might be particularly helpful. “I’d like Morgan’s and Lance’s thoughts as well. Could you see if they’re available?” 

“Hold on. Let me check their digital calendars.” The line went quiet for a few breaths. “Lance should be here in the afternoon. Morgan has a client meeting at nine a.m. Her calendar is clear the rest of the day. How about I put you in the one p.m. spot?”

“Perfect.” Olivia lowered the phone and made a note in the calendar app. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.” 

“You know, when you texted”—Sharp’s voice deepened—“I had hoped this was a booty call.” 

A little thrill rushed through her, followed by another burp. Olivia rubbed the fire behind her breastbone. “Tonight isn’t a good night. I ate way too much of my mother’s food.” 

He snorted. “That happens. She’s an incredible cook. Get some rest and feel better.” 

“Good night.” Olivia lowered the phone. 

Satisfied he would help her make her decision, she slid into bed and picked up a book. At midnight, she still wasn’t sleepy. She set down the book and redirected her mind. Lincoln was teaching her to meditate. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on her breaths. She conjured a mental image of the beach in her mind and synced her breathing to the ebb and flow of the imaginary waves. At first she had trouble concentrating, but eventually her body felt heavy. 

Olivia jolted, her heartbeat quickening, sweat dampening her T-shirt. 

What was that? 

A glance at the clock on her nightstand told her hours had passed. It felt as if she’d just closed her eyes, but she must have fallen asleep. She scanned the darkness of her bedroom. Her gaze passed over her dresser and chair. Had she heard something real, or had it been a dream? 

She concentrated, listening hard to the sounds of her house, but she heard nothing unusual. A thunk and hum signaled the heater switching on. Hot air blew out of the floor vent and moved the sheers that hung over her windows. 

The alarm hadn’t sounded. She reached for her cell phone. It was far too early to rise for the day. She double-checked the security system app on her phone. The house was secure. She needed to go back to sleep. 

She shifted her legs under the covers, closed her eyes, and tried to get comfortable. 

Something whooshed. Her eyes snapped open. A large shape rushed toward her. A heavy body landed on top of her, pinning her to the mattress. The weight and size of her attacker felt male. She flailed and tried to push him off, but her arms and legs were trapped as he straddled her. She was cocooned in her comforter like a swaddled baby. Her throat constricted. She couldn’t scream. 

Panic sprinted through her bloodstream as she stared up at the dark assailant looming over her. His face seemed distorted, his features brighter and flatter than normal. He was wearing a mask. 

With a bolt of gut-twisting horror, she recognized the character as Michael Myers from the movie Halloween. 

A flash of terror shot up her spine. She inhaled, preparing to force a scream out of her tight throat. 

He slapped her across the face. Pain, bright and sharp, sang through her cheekbone but faded in seconds as her adrenaline surged. The scream died in her chest.


***
 
 

Gosh! I can never get tired of reading Laura Griffin and her “Tracers Series” is one of the best romantic suspense and one of my top favorites.

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Book #12 of the series, “A Touch Of Red” brings CSI Brooke Porter and Homicide Detective Sean Byrne together as they get involved in a grisly murder investigation. As they get deeper into the investigation, the possibility of a young witness to the crime, takes Brooke deeper into the case than required, becoming a target for the killer. With Sean having deeper feelings for Brooke, the case becomes personal as well as deadly as he tries to protect Brooke.

It’s hard writing a review for a thriller without giving away spoilers. It’s always a pleasure to revisit her amazing characters of this series as they keep making appearances in the various stories. And as the Delphi Center and the Wolfe Security co-exit and crossover, it only adds an element of suspense and danger to this series, making it even more irresistible to avoid and get caught up in the danger and evil surrounding these characters.

Laura Griffin is one amazing writer of thrillers as she maintains a tight plot, a balance of the dark with the light, the humor with the grim and the powerful chemistry and vibes between the main characters.

Received an ARC from Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

My second read of Loreth Anne White started a tad bit slow, but sure picked up speed along with my heart beat, as “The Drowned Girls” kept resurfacing, brutalized, sodomized and victims of a larger, more powerful and unspeakable evil.

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And Detective Angie Pallorino is trench deep in finding a serial killer targeting young girls, a case that can actually make her or break her. With her personal life shattered with a sick mother, and a wary relationship with her father, Angie is thrown into battling repressed memories of a childhood she can’t really reconcile.

Working alongside her new boss turned lover James Maddocks, both have a shitload of personal baggage they need to take care of, yet there are sparks and enough chemistry to support each other, work alongside to catch the killer or together die trying to save more innocents. They care, they help, and they have some kick-ass cops as family to protect and serve.

First of her new Angie Pallorino Series, “The Drowned Girls” sure will drown you in pages of suspense, the evil that hides behind power, of innocent lost and of secrets that people carry, that always have painful repercussions. I have to admit the beginning started off a bit slow, but boy did it pick up speed and action after the first few pages.

And coming to Loreth Anne White, she is an eloquent writer wielding a mighty pen or maybe her laptop, and a brilliant creative mind! She did a fabulous job with Pallorino and Maddocks. They may have different family dynamics and diverse personalities, but the common goal of justice gives them a purpose and the abundance of care gives them hope to do their jobs, protect the innocent and maybe manage a relationship amidst the crazies. The plot is captivating, enough twists to keep you guessing, and the secondary characters are the special condiments adding flavor to this thriller.

I shall definitely follow Pallorino and Maddocks, now that my curiosity is piqued with Angie’s mysterious past and how Loreth will develop Maddocks’s and Angie’s relationship.

Received a copy from Montlake Romance via NetGalley for an honest review.

 

As the little town of Solitude is reeling under the shock of the death of the hot shot TV star Chase Ryan, and the killer is handcuffed, Detective Seth Harding takes the responsibility of guarding the killer as Zane and Stevie Duncan finally go off on heir honeymoon.

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But all is not what it seems as Seth and his Deputy are literally thrown off the road to death, and the killer disappears. As the search for the killer continues, secrets come to light and the fury of an obsessed fan crackles the quite town of Solitude. With a teenage girl caught in crossfire of her obsessed mother, his wife Carly Taylor steps in to protect her, putting herself in danger. With so many suspects lined up, and a celebrity’ secrets revealed for money, Seth has to race against time to save Carly as she sits on a ticking time bomb.

“Burned By Her Devotion” is the conclusion to the two part series Rogue Vows. Co-written by Kendra Elliot (Death By Her Devotion/Novella#1) and Melinda Leigh, here’s another chance to revisit Seth and his wife Carly, and the little town of Solitude where the original Rogue River Series started.

Brilliant at what she does best, writing romantic suspense keeping her readers enthralled, Melinda Leigh pens a thrilling conclusion for Seth and Carly.

For the uninitiated or new readers, this series would be a great start to get to know two wonderful authors/writers. And you would be tempted to read the Rogue River Series where all the suspense, evil, death and romance started.

Received an ARC from Montlake Romance via Net Galley for an honest review.

 

 

Dead No More – Ghostly Terror!!

There are very few writers that I hold in high regard and L.R Nicolello is definitely one of them. Writing is a laborious task that takes plenty of research, taking time away from family, endless dialogue with characters, and a detailed eye to the flow of the story. Some are born with the talent and harvest their skills with a passion and some hone their skills to get to that point. Nicolello is definitely from the first category and her books are an ultimate treasure trove of pure reading pleasure.

“Dead No More” brings us up close and personal with Lily Andrews. A woman of epic qualities of courage, loyalty and fearlessness, she was once the sought after agent of the covert Unit 67, buried deep under the layers of the US Intelligence. A career that she walked away from, without a second thought, when she was betrayed and thrown to her death by her partner and fiancée Jackson. Anger burns in her veins, rage rules her heart and revenge gives her a breath of life. She lives for the country and she can never ever forgive a person who betrays her country.

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Special ops agent Derek Moretti breaches her Fort Knox as he needs Lily to help him pursue a sociopath who is selling advanced weaponry to terrorists and is hell bent on taking down a country for personal revenge. Having surveyed her for months, living in close proximity yet not beside her, breathing her daily life for months puts Derek in the crossfires of a love he never saw coming. Meeting Lily face to face only hits close to home the feelings this sexy alpha has been hiding; Working side by side on the mission only brings out the fear and protective instincts for the woman who has stolen his heart.

If Nicolello’s first book “Dead Don’t Lie” is loaded with pain, sympathy, torture and loss of loved ones, “Dead No More” is an adrenaline ride of rage, revenge and fiery anger for rich and powerful, planning nuclear destruction. If the first book brings out heart-wrenching sorrow, agony and trauma, “Dead No More” brings out the fierce loyalty, allegiance and the pride soldiers breath to keep their homeland safe from threats, domestic or foreign. Both books stand alone as intense and powerful stories of courage, endurance and love. The contrast between these two stories is so immense; it just brings out the writing prowess of the writer!

You will not encounter another pair like Lily and Derek. Fast and furious, passionate and sizzling, honest and loyal, defiant and kickass!!!! Nicolello has done an amazing job of etching these two perfect people to the point of human imperfection. Giving them equality within their professions, yet keeping them vulnerable to the daily pleasures and insecurities of life is just perfect. Their union is just pure magic with thunderstorms and lightening!

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“Dead No More” is another brilliant romantic suspense, and putting the book down for a break is not an option. Revisiting Evelyn and Marcus was pure delight and emotional, and it actually brought a lump to my throat as I remembered their story and union.

A winner for me all the way and it comes alive January 5, 2015

Received an ARC from Harlequin via Netgalley for an honest review.

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