Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Untitled Series, #2
Hero: Marshall Hayes
Heroine: Josephine Maxwell
Date of Publication: December 23, 2013
Started On: January 26, 2014
Finished On: January 28, 2014
Toni Anderson is an author who landed on my auto-buy list after reading my second book from hers, i.e. Dark Waters that served to give everything that makes a Toni Anderson a worthy read. There are very few authors who can combine elements of romance and suspense with creepy enough villains to make you look over your shoulders even while reading, and Toni Anderson is one of them for me.
Her Last Chance is the second book in an untitled series, I say untitled because I couldn’t find the name of the “series” that ties this book to the first one, Her Sanctuary which was published in 2009. My impatience to read Her Last Chance saw me skipping the first book, something I regretted a wee bit when I delved into this one because I somehow seemed to miss out on a large chunk of the “relationship” that had forged between the protagonists in this novel.
Josephine Maxwell (Josie) is being hunted by the killer who had left without taking her life almost 20 years back. A serial killer whose thirst for inflicting pain and scarring his victims leaves the law enforcement including the FBI reeling to uncover every single clue they must in order to stop the nefarious killer from taking any more lives. Within Josephine’s memories of her encounter with the killer all those years ago lies the crucial clues that could finally lead them to the killer whose thirst for death, violence and spillage of blood of his victims seems to be escalating exponentially.
Special Agent in Charge Marshall Hayes who is in charge of the Forgeries and Fine Arts Division has a hard time putting the image of the woman who had stamped herself on his very soul from their very short and fiery acquaintance a couple of months back out of his head. The fact that a woman who is the antithesis of everything that he believes in and has worked more than half of his life to uphold irks Marshall and the irony of being in love with a woman whose only strong feeling towards him is the despise she feels towards him is one that is not lost on Marshall.
All of Marshall’s feelings towards Josephine explodes in his face when faced with the news of the attack on her, and nothing and absolutely nothing stops the determination with which Marshall steps forward to protect Josephine at any cost. With the frustration of trying to keep Josephine in line while his work brings forth its own challenges, Marshall practically has his work cut out for him trying to make Josephine see that for him there would never be any woman who would entice him and call out to his soul like she does.
I must say that the suspense element Her Last Chance was top-notch. It kept me guessing, on tenterhooks, willing the killer to reveal his identity when all the while he was right there close enough to scent out if dots had only connected before. Toni has definitely mastered the art of spinning a tale that is hard to put down, especially for a good crime story lover like myself and I must say that Toni is an author you should definitely look out for if you are a fan of the genre.
When it comes to the characters, of course Marshall is the one that I fell in love with, wholeheartedly. The core values that he believes in that never shatters even when the going gets tough was one aspect of his character that I was immensely drawn towards. There exists few people like him in the real world and though the obstacles in his way are many, the need to do the right thing, the zeal to find justice even when everything else points in the other direction was the aspect of his character that I totally fell for. Of course it doesn’t hurt the man when he is obscenely good looking, well-mannered and protective to a fault when it comes to Josephine. The power that emanates from him, the way he can just stride into a room and have everyone come to his attention is a part of his character that practically leaped out of the pages for me. In short, his character was done well enough to leave a girl wanting more.
Now Josephine was a tough nut to crack so to speak. She has led a tough life, and I think part of what makes her character tick was lost on me, perhaps owing to the fact that I skipped out on reading the first book in the series. I found Josephine a bit irritating at times, but then I also understood where she was coming from, her insecurities making her lash out at the one good thing that has happened to her in all her life. While the sizzle between Josephine and Marshall was kept real, I felt a wee bit disappointed when Toni skipped out on giving readers a full fledged scene of passion between the two. Nevertheless the story worked on many other levels which mostly made up for an aspect perhaps only readers like myself would point out.
Final Verdict: Top notch suspense that keeps the reader guessing till the very end.
His lips released hers, cruised her neck, her ear. Shivers danced along her skin, heat thrumming along her veins like liquid craving. He lifted her off the ground and she wrapped her legs around his hips, his erection rubbing against her center, feeling so amazing she wanted even closer. He braced her against the wall. The unrelenting hardness at her back felt good against her spine. Solid and reliable while the rest of her world crashed around her.
“I want you. I always want you even though you drive me crazy.” His breath blistered her ear, his hand rough on her breast, playing with her nipples, making her damp. Making her tremble with desire. He ground against her and she wished he was inside her, filling her as she cascaded over that inexplicable edge, lights flashing, sirens blazing, crying out with astonishment.
“I haven’t been with anyone since you…since we…had sex. You’ve ruined me for anyone else.” There was a raw honesty in his tone that froze her to the spot.
“That was six months ago.”
His smile was pained. “I know. I can’t get you out of my head.”
“I love the way the light moves through the picture.” His other hand slipped lower, the coolness of her dress spilling over his wrist. Blonde hair trailed over his shoulder as she tilted her head to the side and he tasted the pulse hammering in her throat.
“I like the light too…” She gasped when he slipped his finger inside her. She was hot as Hades, as smooth as Chinese silk.
The distance between them was just a few yards, but stepping toward him felt like crossing the galaxy. Feeling his heat, running her hands up through his crisp dark hair, she drew his mouth down to hers. Kissed him with a fierceness that bordered on possession.