Monday, January 11, 2016

review || RELENTLESS { blog tour } by Vanessa Dare

Vanessa Vale | December 15, 2015 | Romantic Suspense


A fun weekend at a friend’s wedding in Denver takes a bizarre twist for Anna Scott when her rental car is pulled over due to an “anonymous tip.” In her trunk…a dead man linked to warring crime families in Denver and New York. It should be easy for an innocent woman to be cleared for an simple mix-up. But was it a mistake? The police aren’t so sure, and neither is the crime boss who wants vengeance for his son-in-law’s death. Suddenly appearing on the radar means that now Anna Scott is in real trouble. Two years ago, Anna Scott didn’t exist. The police think she knows way too much about criminal procedures and they’re determined to find out her secret. Their attention forces Anna to play a deadly game of cat and mouse with both the mafia and the police. This twist of fate could not only expose her, but place her, and anyone close to her in jeopardy.

Jake Griffin is playing a deadly game. He’s spent the last few months undercover in the Moretti crime family. The mysterious and beautiful Anna Scott is a big problem. Moretti assigns him to find out who she is and what she’s after, and to kill her if she becomes a problem. Jake needs to focus on taking down Moretti, not risking his life and career protecting a sexy woman who is a complete mystery. Unfortunately, he can’t stop wondering about her. He knows she’s lying, but his gut instincts, and the bone deep desire he feels every time he sees her, won’t allow him to walk away. He discovers that he’s willing to go to war with the whole world for one alluring, yet vulnerable woman. He can’t seem to stop taking desperate gambles where she’s concerned. The most dangerous of all might be trusting her with the truth.

{ about vanessa dare } .

Vanessa Dare does it all: Urban contemporary to time traveling to Scotland and everything in between. Her bestselling alter ego, Vanessa Vale, sticks with steamy Wild West romps.

{ excerpt } .

The woman remained by my side while the man went around the car to the driver’s door, leaned in and popped the trunk. At the sound, I turned around. Watched him walk to the back, lift the lid and stood. Staring.

Giving a little shift of his head, the woman joined him. So did I.

“Oh my God,” I whispered, my throat closing up at the sight. There, in the trunk of my full-sized rental, was a dead man. Forty-something, receding hairline, overweight, suit and tie. Glazed eyes stared up at me. There was a bullet hole in his forehead. And he was starting to smell. God, the horrific scent lifted up in the breeze. It wasn't powerful, yet. I assumed the only way I didn't notice it was that the windows had been open.

I felt the blood rush out of my head. Little black dots danced in front of eyes, making it look like flies were crawling on the body. I pivoted on my heel as I felt my stomach revolt, vomiting all over the concrete. Once the dry heaves subsided, I stayed bent over, one hand on my knee, trying to catch my breath. I wiped the back of my hand over my mouth, wishing I had some water to wash away the acidic taste in my mouth. All this time neither officer hadn’t moved, the woman's black work shoes and creased pants in my periphery.

The police probably thought I’d thrown up because of seeing the dead body. I hadn’t. I’d thrown up because I knew I was in big trouble. It was happening again. All my fears, all my worries over the past twelve years had come to life. Or death, like the body in the trunk. God, I knew I shouldn’t have left New York, shouldn’t have left the safe structure I’d made of my life for a little fun. I didn’t do fun. I wasn’t allowed. Because the moment I had some fun, just a tiny lit bit, this was what happened.

{ review } .

I gave up on this book entirely too quickly the first time I picked it up.

And honestly? I couldn't tell you why.

Because the second time I picked it up, I was completely engrossed and didn't wan't to put it down.

Ms. Dare's use of descriptions keeps the reader drawn in to the story. Have you ever truly paid attention to a traffic cop when he's pulled you over? After you read the description when it happens to Anna, you may just go, "Oh, yeah...". The descriptions used paint a great picture, but they also were strategically placed in areas where Anna is having moments of panic -- and the descriptions very much portray her meticulous organization of thoughts as she tries to keep calm.

Anna was a strong character. Right from the beginning, you know she has a dark past -- she refers to it slightly again and again, without giving the reader true clues. She holds herself extremely well though -- something that undercover detective, Jake Griffin, reads on her the first time he sees her and she's being interrogated.

Grif was a great character. I loved him -- I usually like a well written alpha. He'd been undercover for a mob boss for the last six-plus months, and he's found he's at the point where he has a difficult time differentiating between his persona and who he truly is. But the moment he's pulled in the back and asked to read Anna through the two-way mirror, his skills as a detective come across the pages, leaving little to no doubt about this man's ability in law (even when he fears he's been deep too long).

My heart hammered against my ribs as if trying to escape.
It wasn't twelve years ago. I wasn't eighteen anymore...

This was a fast-paced romantic suspense. Finding a dead body in your rental car and being questioned for it, when you already have fears of being found again, certainly will do that. When Grif's undercover world collides with Anna's safety, the real fun begins.

Like I said, I honestly could not tell you why I had a hard time starting this book the first time -- I re-read the synopsis and gave it a second chance, and absolutely fell in love with these characters. The writing style, the descriptions, the plots, the hero/ine... everything was well written and well executed. I've not read any other titles by Ms. Dare, but I'll definitely look into them.

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