Tuesday, June 9, 2015

review || DENVER HEROES « books 1+2 » { book blast }

After Midnight and Cries in the Night by Kathy Clark

Publisher: Loveswept (Re-issued 6/9/2015)
Series: Denver Heroes, books 1 & 2 
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Tasty Book Tours/NetGalley

After Midnight: Denver Heroes # 1 
purchase links || Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Perfect for fans of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards, Kathy Clark’s suspenseful, seductive Denver Heroes series kicks off as a dedicated cop and a beautiful actress get wrapped up in a world of danger and desire.

Aside from the reporter riding along in the passenger seat of his cruiser, it’s a typical Saturday night on the job for Sam Morgan of the Denver Police Department. Then shots ring out, and a routine stop involving a pimp and a hooker spirals into senseless violence. Now Sam is lying in a hospital bed, haunted by fleeting memories of the stunning blonde who saved his life—and then just disappeared.

Kate McKinney was hired to play a prostitute on a reality-TV show, not stand around as actual bullets start flying. Unable to shake the feeling that trouble is stalking her, Kate turns to the only man she can trust: the wounded cop whose blue eyes send chills through her body. He doesn’t believe she was just playing a role, but the predator hiding in the shadows is all too real—and, as Sam and Kate edge closer to the truth, so is the heat that ignites between them.

Cries in the Night: Denver Heroes # 2
purchase links || Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Perfect for fans of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards, Kathy Clark’s suspenseful, seductive Denver Heroes series kicks off as a dedicated cop and a beautiful actress get wrapped up in a world of danger and desire.

As a victim’s advocate for the Denver Police Department, Julie Lawrence is always on call for survivors of abuse, fighting for the justice she never got for herself. It’s a high-risk job that makes a lot of enemies—one of whom seems to be now targeting Julie. But teaming up with firefighter and local hero Rusty Wilson sparks a different kind of danger. As Julie surrenders to intoxicating passion, she finds herself breaking her own rules, caring about Rusty in a way she thought she’d sworn off forever.

When a domestic incident escalates into a deadly hostage crisis, Rusty is willing to risk everything to protect those who really need his help—like Julie, the breath of fresh air who fills his days with purpose and his nights with pleasure. He just hopes he’s not too late to stop a chillingly orchestrated act of payback that puts the woman he loves at the mercy of a madman’s rage.

{ excerpt } .
After Midnight

Kate leaned against the closed door of her apartment, then whirled around and scrambled to lock all three locks. Her fingers were trembling so violently, it took several seconds to get the safety chain into its small round hole. Her first impulse was to crawl into bed, pull the covers over her head, curl into a ball, and not move for at least a week. If she was lucky, this would all be an awful nightmare, and at any moment, she would wake up and everything would be just as it had been several hours ago. Back to the worries about coming up with the rent, getting a good long-term job, having enough extra money to get the brakes on her car fixed and maybe even being able to afford a new pair of shoes.

But tonight Kate wasn’t so lucky.

She glanced down at her hands and realized they were splattered with dried brownish-red spots. Blood. She pressed her lips together and struggled to swallow the rush of bile that suddenly filled her throat. With increasing panic, she saw there were more dark red splotches all over the front of her tube top and skirt and even on the bare skin of her shoulders and chest.

Oh God, she had to get them off. Frantically, she clawed at the fastener of the skirt and yanked it off. She peeled off the tube top and dropped it on top of the skirt and added her shoes to the pile. Finally, she pulled off the long blond wig and tossed it on a chair.

Wearing only black bikini panties and a black strapless bra, she hugged herself, trying to stop the shivering that had wracked her ever since the first shots were fired. Her jaws ached from being clenched for so long. She needed a shower—a long, hot shower to wash away the blood and the horror and the death.

Kate crossed the room that served as a combination living/dining room with a kitchenette blocked off in one corner by a folding screen. Small, run-down, yet barely affordable, her apartment had, nevertheless, been her cozy hideaway . . . until now. Even with all the blinds closed, her drapes pulled, and the door locked, she still felt vulnerable and alone. At any second there could be a knock on the door from the police. She wasn’t ready. Not yet.

Kate knew she shouldn’t have run away. It wasn’t even a conscious thought as much as an instinctive reaction to flee. When she heard the sirens, she knew help was near, and there was nothing she could do for any of the men lying on the sidewalk. She melted into the growing ring of curious bystanders and watched the emergency activity. As more and more people arrived, she had slid farther into the background until she just stepped away and disappeared into the night. Sooner or later she would have to talk to the police. Later seemed to be the better plan.

She entered the bathroom and turned on the shower. It would take at least five minutes for the hot water to reach her second-floor pipes, so she finished undressing while it ran. Her fingers fumbled as she took off her left earring, then reached for the right one. Touching the empty lobe of her ear, she sighed. Damn! The sparkling crystal hoops had been her favorite pair. She stepped out of her panties, then unhooked her bra. As she tossed it on the bed, a hundred-dollar bill fluttered to the floor.

She blinked and stared at the crumpled bill for a few seconds without moving. Jameel had given it to her earlier in the evening, and because she hadn’t brought a purse, she’d tucked it into the cup of her bra. In all the excitement, she’d completely forgotten about it. Stepping over it as if it were a poisonous snake, she entered the shower and pulled the curtain closed behind her.

As expected, the water was barely lukewarm, but it still felt good, pouring over her, washing away all the physical reminders of the night. She scrubbed her face and body with a soapy washcloth until her skin felt raw. Even after the water ran cold, she lingered in the protective cell of the tiled shower until she started shivering again. Reluctantly, she turned off the faucets and picked up a towel.

She made a halfhearted attempt to blow-dry her hair, then wrapped a fluffy robe around her naked body. Suddenly overwhelmed by a debilitating exhaustion, she succumbed to her earlier instinct and crawled into bed. With all her lights blazing and her ruined clothes littering the floor, she closed her eyes and willed herself to sleep. As much as she hated to think about it, she knew nothing would change before morning. Sooner or later, she’d have to deal with it all . . . but for the few hours left until dawn, she would try to find peace in the depths of sleep.

{ reviews } .
After Midnight

I'm just going to start this by saying this: 

This very first paragraph can, and will, be copy-pasted to the review for CRIES IN THE NIGHT. First, the cover redesign was brilliant. Not that the old covers for these two titles were terrible, but the new ones are just so much more aesthetically pleasing; second, the beginning. My goodness, the beginning...

{ ..and now for original content ;) }

The very first scene in this story will grip you. What seems like a normal night on the job for Sam will turn into a harrowing experience -- and that's saying a lot for this cop who prefers the night shift and he prefers this side of town. Sam is the kind of cop who wants to help everyone -- the good, the bad, the ugly. He drives his cruiser around with the windows down so he can talk to the kids. He's an all around good guy. But on this night, he has a ride-along with him who mentions the prostitute on the corner and where he would typically just leave her be, because he has this guy with him he at least needs to make conversation.

It turns out to be a life changing conversation on more than one front.

Kate is a wanna-be-actress who does small stage things in Denver. She's made friends with a pimp and he's a pretty nice guy, always talking to her and joking around with her. She never expects the one night to turn so sour.

Watching Sam and Kate interact throughout the story was fun -- in the beginning, Sam was concerned about her welfare; a little while later, he was saying not so kind things to her, only to regret them the moment they left his mouth (yet again showcasing his good guy self); and at the end, of course, the falling part.

Sam has struggles to overcome in this story, emotionally and physically, but beyond that, after he starts to want Kate around, he has a case to solve in order to keep Kate safe.

Kate isn't a wilting flower by any means -- she's shaken where she should be, and strong in places you wouldn't necessarily expect it. She was a well-rounded character.

AFTER MIDNIGHT was a great beginning to this series that showcases a few of Denver's finest, showcasing the brothers, Rusty, Sam, and Chris.

Cries in the Night

This very first paragraph can, and was, copy-pasted from the review for AFTER MIDNIGHT. First, the cover redesign was brilliant. Not that the old covers for these two titles were terrible, but the new ones are just so much more aesthetically pleasing; second, the beginning. My goodness, the beginning...

{ ...like I said; original content now }

In this second book, our lead male is none other than Sam's older brother, Rusty (baby brother, Chris, is next). You may have fallen in love with him a little bit in AFTER MIDNIGHT (gotta love those siblings). His lady? None other than Sam's friend, Julie, the civilian who runs the victim/survivors group for the department. 

We start this book with a bang too -- an inside look at a brutal domestic altercation scene. Like most scenes like this one, it hits Julie particularly close to home -- her ghosts and demons are what lead her to helping the survivors, after all. When Julie arrives to the scene, she runs into Rusty, who is there with the fire department.

I liked Rusty from the glimpses we got of him in AFTER MIDNIGHT, but I really enjoyed him here in his book, in his element, in his heart. We had even fewer sights of Julie in AFTER MIDNIGHT, but you could tell that this woman had her problems, and I personally was excited to uncover them.

Well, maybe excited is too happy a word.

What I liked most about this second book in the trilogy was watching Julie unfold -- watching her slowly learn to trust and allow Rusty in. She has her reader-hair-pulling moments, those moments where you just wish she would talk to him and tell him her secrets, but I felt that with the way the story was set up, the timeline was appropriate.

Coming soon is Chris's story. I'm sad to see these brothers go, but I'm excited to see where Kathy is going to take the youngest brother!

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