Despite being stuck at home, the year continues to fly by. But thanks to this crop of exciting romantic suspenses, it’s never boring. Check them out:
Pamela Clare’s latest romantic suspense, Hard Line, is one of the best books I’ve read all year – and my favorite of the Cobra Elite series. It’s set in Antarctica, and after the seriously hot summer we had in North Carolina, the frozen tundra was a welcomed locale. Dr. Samantha Park is an astrophysicist, and her head is in the stars. Literally. She a winter-over studying relic light, which is light emitted from shortly after the Big Bang. She’s got big brains to go with her subject matter, and big bravery, because she gets swept up in a government operation to recover technology from a downed satellite. On hand to manage and secure the recovery effort is Thor Isaksen, a giant Dane known to his Cobra International Security teammates as Viking. He’s an expert at winter survival; he’s strong, intelligent, and drawn to Samantha. As dangerous as the Russian operatives trying to get their hands on the technology are the extreme elements of the Antarctic winter. I loved everything about this book, from the fast-paced plot and intelligent setup, to the robust characters and equitable focus on gender strength. Samantha might be smaller in stature and untried as a military operative, but her brain and her balls are mighty. This book is awesome.
Laura Griffin is kicking off her Texas Murder Files duo with Hidden, and man is it great. She’s a perennial favorite of mine, and I feel a real affinity with her because of our shared background of newspaper reporting. She writes from the perspective of an observer, taking in all elements of the surrounding details. I love that her stories often feature investigative reporters. Like Stan Lee always used the newspaper to add to the plot (Peter Parker is a photographer, Clark Kent is a reporter), Griffin uses the news to tell the story. She balances the stubbornness, drive, and empathy between investigative journalist Bailey Rhoads and Detective Jacob Merritt, which makes for a powerful combination.
Julie Rowe is back with Hell & Back, the fifth book in her terrific Outbreak Task Force series. In many ways, this is a ripped-from-the-headlines story, with the CDC in the hot seat, international intrigue, and a bio-engineered pandemic. Rowe always writes the most riveting and plausible scientific thrillers, and this one is no different. CDC Microbiologist Ruby Toth is being blackmailed by terrorists who kidnapped her brother, and she has to give up the deadly virus or else he perishes. Outbreak Task Force member (and ex-special forces badass) Henry Lee is tasked with rooting out the traitors—and keeping an eye on Ruby. There are a ton of twists and turns, and the resolution is supremely satisfying. If only Rowe could wrap up the current real-life pandemic as neatly, the world could keep on keeping on.
Katie Reus has tapped into one of my very favorite circumstances in Deadly Past: witness relocation. This is the second book in her Verona Bay series, and it’s every bit as compelling as Dark Memento. Nowadays, everything is caught on camera somewhere. But it’s not a new concept. Take, for example, Autumn Perez. Ten years ago when she was Ana Diaz, she witnessed a murder, took photos, and turned them over to the cops. Jump forward to today, when she’s got a new identity, new career, and a new life, the past has finally come back to haunt her. She’s got everything to lose now—all those aforementioned perks, plus a sexy fella and a bun in the oven. It’s all worth fighting for, particularly since she’s got a dynamo like Sheriff Lincoln Jordan on her side. Lincoln was drawn to Autumn from the get-go, but he’s a standup guy and took his time to get to know her and ease her into the idea of a relationship. Autumn is no damsel in distress and insists on being her own shero, but even the baddest badasses need help every now and then. Lincoln is strong and determined, sexy and protective, and completely hers. Between the two of them, they figure out how to escape her deadly past, once and for all, so they can move toward a very promising future.
Shazam, romantic suspense! It gets me every time. Happy reading, y’all.