Tuesday, January 27, 2015

review || PLAYING DIRTY { blog tour }


Playing Dirty by Helen Kay Dimon
Publisher: Avon Romance (1/27/2015)
Series: Bad Boys Undercover, book 1
Genre: Military Romance, Romantic Suspence
Buy from || amazon | bn | itunes | kobo 



As an elite Alliance agent—the joint undercover operation of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, and the CIA—Ford Decker lives for the adrenaline. But when he befriends sexy property manager Shay Alexander in hopes of finding her cousin, a known national security threat, Ford crosses the line, getting to know her better . . . in bed.

After being burned by her last relationship, Shay wants to take things slow. Yet she can't keep her hands off the drop-dead gorgeous hottie who's moved into her apartment building. So when Ford's identity as an undercover agent is exposed, his betrayal cuts deep. Shay never wants to see him again, but Ford can't let her go, not when her life is still in danger. He will sacrifice everything to protect her, then be prepared to walk away from the only woman he's ever loved, even if it breaks him.

about HelenKay || HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce attorney turned full-time romance author. Odd transition, right? She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including Kensington, Harlequin and Penguin, Samhain, Carina Press, and HarperCollins. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named "Red-Hot Reads" and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose.

{ excerpt } .  
...this is one of my favorite scenes. It's from early on in the book. I feel that it shows normalcy -- and that is something romance readers seldom see, simply because it's not the nature of romance novels. And while this book is very much a romantic-suspense, the relationship is normal -- even when laced with lies ;)
It was almost four o’clock in the afternoon when Ford walked into her apartment. One firm knock, then the keys jingled in the lock before she could get up from the kitchen table. Seeing him walk in—was that a beer ad on his shirt?—had her brain misfiring.
His biceps bunched under the edge of his tee. Be- tween the scruff around his chin, big smile, and dark brooding good looks, she felt something gurgle in her throat. It was as if she were treading water and getting tugged under. She’d talked about having someone steal her breath before. With Ford she lived the sensation.
While she loved seeing him, she had no idea why she was right now. He worked long hours and four o’clockqualified more as lunch than his quitting time. With one leg crossed over the other and her foot bouncing against the floor, she stared him down. She held her pen in a death grip to keep from fidgeting and flinging it around.
The more still he stood there, leaning in the doorway, the more nervous she became. Energy rolled through her, all jumbled and making her twitchy. Maybe if he’d stop staring back. “Ford?”
 “That’s hot.”
 She followed his gaze to her hands. The edge of her checkbook dug into her palm from where she clenched it. With her elbows balanced on the table, she tried to ease the tension in her shoulders and relax, though that rarely worked with him around. “What?”
This time he gestured with his chin. “You. Right there.”
She lifted her hand and pointed the bottom of the pen in his general direction. “I’m writing a check.”
 You should see me vacuum.” She wanted to laugh but no sound came out. His effect on her scared
“Are you trying to break my concentration?”
“I don’t even know what you’re doing here at this time of the day.” Standing, leaning, generally making her insides jump and jiggle.
She noticed that, too. “Okay . . . why?”
“All that traveling, all those times I leave . . .” His voice trailed off as he pushed away from the door and came toward her. “I want to remember your face.”
That sounded like a goodbye or a break. Like some- thing she did not want and would fight to fend off. “Are you telling me you’re leaving again?”
He kept walking until she stood next to her chair. “Just for twenty-four hours.”
Just. "Honestly, Ford. Who needs this type of non- stop computer service?"
He made a face. “Uh, everyone?”
{ review } .
While it took me a bit to get into the story, I really liked it (I do believe my issue is simply that I was in a bit of a book coma from having read so many books in the last week, so I'd been having issues connecting and staying connected to books).
If you've read my reviews, at least once a month or so I read a story about deception and I make a point to state how much I despise these stories. They're written well, sure, I just don't like lying...
...well, Ford lies in this book...
...but I didn't mind it so much in this instance.
Maybe it was because he was Ford and acting as Ford... maybe because he fell for her so early... I have no clue, but the deception worked for me here. I just...

I liked Ford. He is sarcastic -- both in life and on missions:
"You run out and get a sandwich or did you get confused about the concept of backup?"
He's a pretty fun-loving kind of guy. He wears shirts with animals on them, with idiotic sayings; he's a mans-man who isn't afraid to get down and dirty... I just liked the guy.
That meant he had to explain to Shay one more time why he’d drop out of her life for at least a day.
Lying and deceit came with the job. He’d been trained in subterfuge and subjected to random screenings and lie detector tests while in the CIA. He now counted beating the machines and skirting the truth among his skills. When he tracked terrorists or killers or hung out with assassins and mercenaries, that was fine. But Shay deserved better
...The simple things about her comforted him. Him, the same guy who never sought out comfort or security in his life. She brushed her hair while sneaking peeks at him over her shoulder and his insides went wild. She would make him dinner and shake her hips, so slight, as she stirred something in a pot, and he all but ripped the kitchen towel out of her hand.
Hell, he caught her changing a lightbulb and got hard. It was as if she represented everything solid and good, all the things he fought for but eluded him in his personal life.
And he’d spent every single minute since he knew her lying to her..
The lying to her kills him, and I think that it's a great characteristic of Ford -- it's one that made me want to keep reading. He would do anything to tell her the truth, but knows better than blowing his cover -- which his teammates are afraid he'll do. Ford wants her in his life and knows that the longer their 'relationship' goes on such as it is, the worse off he will be in the end.
“You think you can have me go out of town and have Reid or Josiah take my place in her life and her bed?”
“I didn’t say—”
“What the fuck, Ward?”
The reaction told Ward everything he needed to know. There was no hiding the rage now. Ford wore it like a robe. It showed in the way he seethed and clenched his teeth together, in the stiffness of his body and hands balled into fists on the armrests.
- - -
He was a piece of shit. Ford had decided that last night as he watched Shay drop to her knees in front of him in the kitchen. He didn’t stop her when she stripped his briefs down his thighs. Or when she took him in her mouth. Or when he came on a crashing wave and wanted nothing more than to carry her to bed and start all over again.
He didn’t feel any better about himself tonight. She was part of an assignment and he shouldn’t care about her feelings, but that was no longer possible. Every hour wrapped their lives tighter together and magnified his deceit. She depended on him and shared with him . . . and he’d lied to her every fucking minute he’d known her.
- - -
“Go to hell.”
He reached around her and touched the keypad. The door opened with a click. “Already there.”

The beginning the book made it hard for me to follow along -- there was a lot of jumping around. You would be in one scene, and the next chapter would start essentially in the middle of another, in the... mmhm... climax of that particular scene.

And it drove me crazy.

I almost put the book down.

But once the story found it's rhythm, the scene jumping stopped and it was easy to get lost in.

End verdict? I liked it -- and I can't wait to see what else this series is going to bring!

{ the blog tour } . 

{ giveaway } .


1 comment:

  1. Love the review! You have a great way with words! Thank you for hosting!