Self-Published | February 15, 2016 | Contemporary with Dark aspects
Series Title Unknown, book 1
SOURCE: HEA BOOK TOURS
There’s danger that neither of them can escape.Reclusive author, Xanthe Malcolm, likes her private and quiet life. However, when her wildly-popular series Paranormal Hunters gets picked up by a big-time publishing agency, she’s thrust into the limelight alongside sexy, photographer-turned-cover model, Oliver Fairfax. Upon meeting, the chemistry between the quirky writer and arrogant model quickly intensifies, creating a steamy page-turner of events made for romance novels.Then comes the plot twist.Xanthe has secrets that have kept her bound to silence.And the truth has Oliver questioning every unspoken word.
Even though these two have lived in the same small town, they've never crossed paths -- until the beginning of this journey.
When they first met, Ollie ran her down in an airport and figured she was another crazy fan, in her poor clothing choice, glasses, and frizzy hair. However, as much of an ass he was at that moment, his true colors show on the plane and he went to introduce himself and apologize, something that he admits is against his normal character. As they talk, Xanthe decides to keep her writing identity to herself -- Ollie has strong opinions, after all.
The closer these two got to Friday and Xanthe keeping her faux-identity to herself, the more anxious I began to feel. Thankfully, the pretense of her hidden identity only takes up maybe a quarter of this book -- this book is more about the suspense and drama of Xanthe's secret life than about the deception of her identity, which worked extremely well for me.
Occasionally, and I do mean only occasionally, Oliver's ability to drop everything and go into a fit of rage was annoying. Here was this man who professed his love, but something as simple as her seeing her friends had him seeing red (granted, I did completely see where he was coming from). When Oliver is hurt, he lashes out this way. But the more Xanthe came to mean to him, the more scared he was for her -- so his hurt and anger where often infused with fear and love, and not knowing how far to let her wander. While I loved his protectiveness and the amount of love he felt for her, I did feel that it showcased the maturity level between his twenty-six to her twenty-nine -- but once I put it that way in my head, I could no longer be annoyed with him. There was also the small fact that he didn't truly know everything that Ricki, Rex, and Ronen did, whereas Xanthe did and she fully trusted whatever friend she was with at any time because of that knowledge. And let's be honest, Oliver's way of apologizing was both pantie melting and incredibly sweet (such as his project that is the namesake of this novel).
Oliver's nerves throughout the story, his need to keep the hurt off Xanthe's face, and his desire to keep her warm and safe, set him up to be an extraordinary book boyfriend. And let's not forget his 'fighting' with the cat, Beefcake.
Beefcake growled at him in reply. My boyfriend flipped my cat the bird.
This story sets us up beautifully for the series. As a reader, we only get hints of what's going on behind the scenes. We're almost as in the dark as Oliver, but with short little thoughts from Xanthe. However, the Locals and all that world entails is something that Xanthe keeps guarded heavily -- even from the reader. What little we do see, especially toward the end, gives the reader a teeny tiny taste of the darkness that Kelli Jean will thoroughly explore with the rest of the series.
And I have to say, I'm super excited. The drama, the emotional angst, the suspense... everything in this book was written incredibly well. Kelli Jean's ability to fully look into the psyche of these characters was extraordinary. I felt that I had a good grasp on both Xanthe and Oliver, and absolutely loved their relationship. As for the rest of the series, I'm curious of what characters we will be seeing. I love Jamie and Ricki's relationship (as well as their friendship with Xanthe, and Jamie's love of watching Oliver's protectiveness...), Rex and Trey were superb secondary characters with a story deep in there that's dying to be told. There's Ronen and Lilla, and their daughter...
Ronen came back down and headed to the kitchen before bringing out three beers. "You ladies want pizza?"
"Sure," replied Lilla.
He returned to the kitchen to place a delivery order.
"So, tell me what's going on!" said Lilla. "Jamie said you met someone?"
"Jeez, how long did she wait before she told you?" I huffed.
"So, it's true!" she crowed as she clapped. "Tell me!"
"You fucking hold up with that shit till I can listen, too!" Ronen's voice came from the kitchen. "Yeah, I'd like a large mushroom, sausage, and spinach..."
"I met Oliver Fairfax on the flight over here," I said quickly.
"I told you to hold up with that shit!" shouted Ronen.
What I loved most about that scene was likely the friendship but protectiveness of Ronen and Lilla for Xanthe. Does Ronen have ulterior motives for knowing? Yeah, probably, but I still cracked up while reading it.
Beyond those characters, let's not forget to mention every other unknown in this organization. I'm super pumped to see where Kelli Jean goes with this and can't wait to see more of the dark she'll be bringing -- because the sex and emotion are certainly well done.