From the hellhole of a Taliban prison to sweet freedom, five brave military heroes have made it home—and they’re ready to take on the civilian missions no one else can. Individually they’re intimidating. Together they’re invincible. They’re the men of ARES Security.
Rafe Vargas is only in Newton, Iowa, to clear out his late grandfather’s small house. As the covert ops specialist for ARES Security, he's eager to get back to his new life in Texas. But when he crosses paths with Annie White, a haunted beauty with skeletons in her closet, he can't just walk away—not when she’s clearly in danger…
There’s a mysterious serial killer on the loose with a link to Annie’s dark past. And the closer he gets, the deeper Rafe’s instinct to protect kicks in. But even with his considerable skill, Annie’s courage, and his ARES buddies behind him, the slaying won’t stop. Now it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s next—unless they can unravel a history of deadly lies that won’t be buried.
I’ve enjoyed the Bayou Heat series and have always wanted to read more books by Alexandra Ivy based on her contributions to the series, but never found the time. So when I saw that she was starting up a new series there was no way I could pass it up but while I liked the book I didn’t love it. Much of it has to do with the fact that while I thought the mystery/suspense side was done well, the romance side of things just fell flat for me.
I liked Annie. The poor girl has had to live with the stigma of her father being a serial killer and ramifications of that have caused her to keep herself somewhat secluded from the world, not that I blame her. But despite all of that she has an innate kindness surrounding her as well as a steely determination to do what she feels is right. Rafe is charming, protective and while has a good alpha streak rolling through him isn’t an asshat and has something of a hero complex, but comes by it honestly. My issue with Rafe though is that I honestly never felt as if I got to know him. I got bits and pieces of his life and how he felt about them, but it all felt as if it was only surface information.
This lack of connection with him made it difficult to really get into the romance that was developing between him and Annie. I got that they were attracted to each other and there was that gut level pull between them but much of it was because I was told that was what was going on, not really shown. There were a few moments that I caught a glimpse of why they’d be good together, and enjoyed the fact that Annie didn’t allow him to run rough shod on her, but I needed more.
Though the romance part didn’t really get me going, I did enjoy the hunt for the serial killer side of things. There were some twists and turns that I saw coming, but there were also some that I didn’t so I enjoyed being able to say “Ha! I knew it” as well as being surprised by the ones I didn’t see coming. I really liked Teagan, Hauk and Max, Rafe’s friends and business partners, didn’t get much time with Lucas but a bit of mystery is always good. They added a good bit of humor as well as gave a little more depth to Rafe and who he is through their bantering and their knowledge of his character.
The Bottom Line: Decent start to a new series and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next one.
~ ARC provided by Kensington Books - Zebra via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Alexandra Ivy is a New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author. From Alexandra: “I’m not exactly sure when I fell in love with books. Probably on my mother’s knee listening to her read Dr. Seuss to me. I do remember that I was barely old enough to cross the street by myself when I discovered the delights of the local library.
Could anything be more wonderful than spending summer days surrounded by stacks of Nancy Drew mysteries? Over the years I fell in love with Victoria Holt, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien just to name a few. I read poetry, essays, biographies, and plays. In fact, I read anything I could get my hands on.
Years later (no, I’m not admitting how many) I’m still an avid reader, and my tastes are still as varied as they were in my youth, which I suppose helps to explain why I enjoy writing regency historicals under the name of Deborah Raleigh, as well as my contemporary paranormals as Alexandra Ivy. For now that is enough to keep me busy, but who knows what the future might hold!
I do have a few other loves in my life besides reading and writing, the most important being my unbelievably patient husband, David, and my two sons, Chance and Alexander. Without their constant support and belief in me, I never could have been able to follow my dreams. They are truly my heroes.