I don’t know about you, but here in North Carolina it’s hot as hell. Summertime, right? And you know what goes best with hot, sultry summer nights? Hot, sultry sexy romances. Check out June’s Romantic Suspense Must-Reads:
Toni Anderson has her finger on the pulse of the world right now with Cold Wicked Lies, the third installment of her exciting Cold Justice series about an FBI hostage negotiation team. Anderson is on pointe with a suspenseful tale of environmental protests and radical preppers. When a forest ranger encounters a teenage boy leaning over a dead woman on a remote mountainside, his pursuit sparks a combustible reaction within the radical prepper group. Charlotte Blood of the FBI’s hostage negotiation team is called in to lead her first case, but she’s tempered with Payne Novak of the FBI’s hostage rescue team. The two are pitted against one another, in a sense, because philosophically Charlotte’s team negotiates to peace, while Payne’s team busts in and takes action. Anderson weaves a satisfying tale of compromise and learning to work together in the face of a literal powder keg of tension.
Donna Del Oro was new to me, but I’m happy I rolled the dice with her. A Bodyguard of Lies came out a couple years ago but fits right in with what’s happening today. This is a tale of espionage and deceit, spanning the years from World War II to today as FBI agent Jake Bernstein is assigned by his Investigations unit to determine if a nice old grandma was a Nazi spy. It follows the chase of The Hummingbird and The Black Widow, and weaves in a lot of interesting history, focusing on the horrors and hardships from WWII that still linger. I like the character of Jake Bernstein and appreciate that he’s typically a data analyst rather than a field agent. There’s a full cast of characters in this story, with time jumps between the past and the present, but it’s nicely done. I found the story to be more suspense than romance, and the romantic cliffhanger made me want to smack Del Oro (’m an immediate gratification kind of reader), but I liked her voice. One final note: Del Oro alludes to President Truman’s dictate from 1945 that “Nazi war criminals would be hunted to the ends of the earth.” If you’ve been watching the Amazon series, Hunters, this is a good book to read.
I’m a huge fan of Julie Rowe’s Outbreak Task Force series and her Biological Response series, so it was exciting to try her new venture away from the science with Trapped with the Secret Agent. It reminded me of one of my favorite suspenses from a decade ago, Shadows at Midnight. Peter Welis is a burned-out CIA agent who is on hand the morning terrorists take over the American embassy in Koutu, a small middle eastern country. Posing as a photographer, he is tasked with not only saving Ambassador Theodore Mitchell and diverting nuclear war, but in getting the Ambassador’s claustrophobic assistant, Georgia Masters, out alive. But unbeknownst to the terrorists (and Peter, for a while), Georgia is also the Ambassador’s niece. Peter is equal parts soldier, secret agent and MacGuyver, and their escape requires all parts equally. This story hits the ground running and never slows down.
I’ve been a perennial fan of Rachel Grant’s from the get-go. She’s educated me more about the lives and adventures of real-life archaeologists than a lifetime subscription to National Geographic. Who knew all archaeologists weren’t out raiding tombs on the hunt for the Holy Grail or ancient artifacts from the Illuminati? And who knew archaeologist’s actually faced real danger that required the support of hot-ass soldiers like Pax Blanchard and Keith Hatcher? She’s back with the tenth installment of her supremely satisfying Evidence series, Tainted Evidence, and let me tell you, it’s a gripping read. The world has woken up in this new decade, and is taking a collective stand racially, culturally, environmentally—and Grant is on pointe with a suspenseful tale of white supremacy, racism, the repatriation of Native American remains, and gender equality. It’s not surprising, really, because Grant is an ardent supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion in the romance industry, and the world in general. Tainted Evidence brings us the story of RAPTOR operative Josh Warner and museologist Maddie Foster, who face peril at the hands of an active group of white supremacists operating in secret. While danger is around every corner, navigating their attraction is actually the most distressing thing in their lives because both Maddie and Josh both once loved the same woman. And when that fact is discovered, it forces a wedge between them at the most inopportune time.
Heavy stuff this month, but all exciting. What are y’all reading?