Advanced Reading Copy
Published: October 21, 2013, Cynthia Eden
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
For the last 9 years Claire Kramer has been trying to stay under the radar, but every time she thought she was getting her feet under her again, her past would come back to haunt her. The man responsible for murdering her family all those years ago was behind bars, but there were those who would never be able to let her live down the responsibility they felt she carried. She had once loved a monster. At the end of her rope, she turns to one man she is hoping will be able to give her work and who will not be easily scared off.
Former military man and covert extrication expert, now successful hotel owner, Noah York has never quite eliminated all the dark shadows from his life. Having met Claire once before, only 6 months prior in an incident involving his best friend and Claire's sister, he had been drawn to the woman whose life had met with so much tragedy and loss already. The fact that his every protective instinct roared to the surface when confronted with the near innocent beauty covering a core of steel.
Noah is not hesitant in making his intentions and desires known right off the bat and leaves no room for any misinterpretation. Not used to such a direct approach and not comfortable doling out her trust to any man after her misjudgement nine years ago, Claire makes it clear she much prefers a simple professional work relationship. But having only had herself to rely on for all those years and feeling herself responding to Noah in a very physical way, she slowly allows herself to feel all she has missed for so long.
When a threat to Claire becomes to close for comfort, Noah no longer feels the need to restrain himself and assumes full control of Claire's safety as well as her comfort and pleasure. Claire can't remember clearly what she was objecting to in the first place, as she is swept along. Claire should not be counted out though, because when Noah's life is at stake, the steel core is back full force, and Claire shows not to mess with her man!
Every time a Cynthia Eden book comes out, my stomach does a little jump, and I try to actually schedule solitary time without any distractions to do my reading in. Her books are to be savored when alone!! So suspenseful and deliciously hot!!! I just don't want anyone else near, I get too jumpy and too sensitised and am irritated by any kind of demand on my being. Let me sink into this book and drown myself into sensation..... that is what it is like for me, each and every time!
Cynthia has a way of making her characters completely full-bodied and rich, without spending entire chapters on describing childhoods and past history to give us a good, deep-core, insight in and sense of the people we are dealing with.
Her heroes tend to be strong Alpha males with a wide protective streak, a hang up or two, usually about committment, and a suitcase full of bagage and secrets.
The heroines have often been damaged and are under threat, but are by no means incapable or weak. they are always first and foremost survivors and often find a deep source of strength during the course of their story.
Claire has coped relatively well for nine years, being that she was left as a virtual teenager still, up against an influential family. Yes, she moved from place to place, but there is strength in recognizing when you are or are not ready to take on the big battle, and sometimes a strategic retreat is the better move. The crippling event for Claire was the incident with her sister, that left her more exposed than ever and had her looking for outside help.
Noah, through a somewhat troubled childhood and his work for the military, harboured a dark side that he himseeelf does not feel comfortable with. He feels it is too much of a threat, an uncertainty, to tie himself to someone when he knows that darkness is a part of who he is. He is unable to see it as a necessary part of a whole and instead chooses to see it as almost a darker alter ego of himself. Claire helps him be more realistic aabout who and what he is.
What a seriously exciting book this is!! A great workout for all of my senses!! Stimulating, compelling, red-hot and with some wild twists and turns at the end! Fantabulous!!!!
✨Dark, dangerous and scorching hot!!✨
**ARC provided by NetGalley in return for an honest review.**