Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Dawson Andrew Scott
Heroine: Amelia Wesson née Nolan
Date of Publication: September 24, 2013
Started On: December 26, 2015
Finished On: January 27, 2016
Deadline by Sandra Brown is another masterpiece by an author whose books rarely turn out to be a miss where I am concerned. Whether it be just plain romance or romantic suspense, Sandra has a way with putting the story out there that leaves the reader on tenterhooks. Deadline was such a book for me. While I felt that there was a brief lull towards the middle of the book, the revelations at the end that knocked me off my feet, made up for it in more ways than one.
Dawson Andrew Scott is a news reporter for NewsFront. His recent stint in Afghanistan, covering stories in the region had come with its own price. Suffering from PTSD which Dawson refuses to talk about or seek help for, it is Dawson’s godfather and FBI Agent Gary Headly that comes to his rescue with the tantalizing lead on a possible story that acts effectively as bait where Dawson is concerned.
Dawson turns up at the Chatham County Courthouse to follow the developing story on a murder trial that involves Marine Captain Jeremy Wesson, a decorated war veteran who is presumed dead. When Amelia, widow of Jeremy and mother to his two boys takes the stand to give her testimony, Dawson feels as if he has been sucker punched in his solar plexus. The reaction he has towards Amelia is one that he knows can cloud his judgement when it comes to following the particular vein of the unfolding story that he is interested in.
Dawson maneuvers his way into Amelia’s life without knowing just how close to danger he is skirting. Though Dawson resists the connection that exists between him and Amelia from the onset, the series of events that reaches its explosive conclusion is one that refuses to let Dawson remain unaffected. The ending when it came, delivered a book worth every moment of agony and helplessness that both Amelia and Dawson are subjected to throughout the story.
Deadline is a book that delivered one of the most explosive endings that I have read from Sandra Brown to-date. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I reached that point, having had to go back and re-read the passage a couple of times before the reality of it all could actually sink in. It was that good, that riveting and I truly never saw that coming, which was the best part.
Dawson is the hero of the variety that Sandra Brown excels at. Earthy, sexy and alpha in a way you can’t help but be drawn towards. Dawson’s character grows on you because of the PTSD he battles, and because he has that quality which ensnares you helplessly as you read on. Amelia’s finest quality is her protectiveness towards her sons. Having dealt with a husband who had suffered from PTSD and made life a living hell on Earth for her before, makes Amelia wary of putting herself in the same position again. But as circumstances would have it, none of what Amelia sees nor has experienced is what it seemed to have been and before the story is through, Amelia finds herself falling for a man who is determined to do just the opposite. Amelia’s adorable kids gives the story that wholesome edge which gave it the charm factor.
Final Verdict: The explosive ending alone, carves in stone, the sheer genius that is Sandra Brown.
“Pictures of me and my children, taken by a total stranger. You bet they made me uncomfortable. Especially since you failed to explain the reason for them.”
“I didn’t explain?”
“No. And I asked.”
“Oh. I took them so I could study you.”
“As part of your research?”
“No, so I could get to know you.”
“I don’t want you to know me.”
It could have been a trick of the lights along the dock, reflecting off the water. Or his gaze really did move down to her mouth when he said in a low and stirring voice, “That’s too bad.”
“Then why are you here? I told you that I wouldn’t cooperate with any story you intend to write. Why don’t you just go away and leave us alone? You weren’t even all that interested in the story of Jeremy Wesson. You said you were about to reject it and move on to something else more interesting. Why didn’t you?”
“Fair enough. You want to know why?”
He slid his hands under her hair behind her neck and drew her forward until her body was flush against his, his legs sandwiching hers, their faces not quite touching. “Why didn’t I leave this goddamn story alone?” He brushed his thumbs across her lower lip. “Because you walked into that courtroom.”
Her head tipped back. Taking that as encouragement, his kisses on her neck became more fervent. By the time they reached her ear, there was intent behind them, and she responded. Tension escaped her on a sigh. Her body settled, ever so slightly shifting closer to him. Tentatively she placed her hands on his shoulders.
He eased his head back and looked into her eyes. “I’m not him, Amelia. I’m not like him. I swear to you, I’m not. I have it under control.”
“I’m not afraid you’ll lose control.” Her voice was low and husky, and he wished it was something he could touch, stroke, taste. “I’m afraid I will.”
With a rasped curse, he cupped her head between his hands and claimed a kiss that was unapologetically deep from the start. There was no buildup to the intimacy, because he’d been thinking about making love to her mouth from the moment he saw her in the courtroom.
She didn’t shy away, but kissed him back in kind, with heat, her fingers alternately kneading his shoulders and tugging handfuls of his hair. Her unrestraint was as much a surprise as it was a delight.
Amelia rubbed against him seductively, each movement sweetly feminine and small but breath stealing. He wasn’t as subtle. His hands roved selfishly and impatiently, greedy for the feel of her skin. He pushed his hand into the loose waistband of her pajama bottoms and caressed the curve of her hip. In response, her thighs shifted, separated. He fit himself into the notch.
“I know.” But he didn’t stop at her collarbone. He continued down, placing soft kisses on her chest.
“Really,” she said weakly.
Through the thin cotton tank top, his hand cupped her breast and pushed it up to swell above the neckline. He rubbed his rough cheek against it, then turned his face into the plumpness and kissed it open-mouthed. Hard with arousal, he fit himself into the V between her thighs. The sensation was so intense, she gasped.
Ten minutes later, Dawson rejoined her in the kitchen. He went straight to the glass of tea she had dutifully poured and drained it without taking a breath.
“Well,” he said, stretching out the word, “they’ve both experienced what I assured them was a perfectly normal biological phenomenon.”
“Ah. I thought that might be it. I’ve noticed that phenomenon on occasion, but always pretended not to, as any lady would.”
“Hunter experienced a rather, uh, stubborn one today. He was afraid it signified something terribly wrong with him, which he wanted to keep from you so you wouldn’t worry or get upset.”
“Grant was just as considerate of your feelings. He felt you should be told about the affliction in case they both died of it and you found them dead in their beds without knowing what had killed them.”
She fumbled with the buttons on his fly and then her hand was claiming him, her fingers tightly squeezing, massaging their way up until her thumb was at the tip, pressing—
“Jesus.” Gasping with pleasure, he ground his forehead against the wall behind her shoulder in an effort not to come. “Wait, wait.”
The fabric of her skirt was as light as air against his hands as he slid them beneath it. He worked his fingers under a wedge of lace. She was soft and warm and wet. He quickly rid her of the underpants so he could luxuriate in the femaleness, the snug, silky, wonderful feel of her.
She pressed down hard on his exploring fingers, moaned his name, whispered, “More.”
He lifted her up to straddle his thighs and thrust into her, fully, completely, and without caution.
He fucked her. He gave, took, told her with every stroke what he hadn’t been able to convey with words, communicated what he’d felt from the moment he saw her enter the courtroom, and knew, in that instant, that he’d been blessed and doomed in the same heartbeat.
He changed the angle and the tempo to favor her. She clutched handfuls of his hair and squeezed his hips with her thighs. And when her orgasm pulsed around him, he came and came and came.
“So, is that it?” she purred. “Have we run out of fantasies?”
“Hell, we’re just getting started.” Sliding his hand beneath her bottom, he tilted her up. “Going real slow, like now.” He kissed her, his tongue sliding into her mouth with the controlled intensity with which he was pushing into her. He pulled out, almost entirely, before sinking into her a little deeper than before. And again.
She made a small, wanting sound and breathed his name. “What exactly do you call this particular fantasy?”
He buried himself inside her fully and, just as he kissed her again, whispered, “Making love.”
With very little movement, he pumped into her rhythmically while in shockingly coarse terms he described how it felt to be enveloped by her and the pleasure his fingers and mouth derived from pleasuring her. Soon his lyrics changed to those of poets, but the subtext was as erotically charged.
When both were on the brink of implosion, his voice became rough with emotion. His breaths became bursts of air against the back of her neck. In the language of raw need, he gasped, “Squeeze me. Tighter.” His body strained, and each shudder was marked with the harsh, choppy cry of a man in the throes of release that went beyond the physical. Finally, as his body relaxed and enfolded hers, he sighed her name like a benediction.
She fell asleep with all those wonderful words echoing in her heart.