Review: Guilty as Sin by Jami Alden

Format: E-bookguiltyassin
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Tommy Ibarra
Heroine: Kate Beckett
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 30, 2013
Started On: August 1, 2013
Finished On: August 3, 2013

Jami Alden is one of my go-to authors for novels of the romantic suspense variety. She has a style of writing similar to that of authors like Cynthia Eden that makes a book hard to put down. Thus when I came across the publication date of Guilty as Sin which happened to be the 30th of last month, I didn’t hesitate to mark my calender and purchase myself a copy the very day it was released.

33 year old Tommy Ibarra is ex-military, specialized in the weapon of information retrieval amongst other things. 30 year old Kate Beckett is the daughter of a US Senator, working with families of child kidnappings, a calling she had paid heed to after the fateful night 14 years back when her younger brother Michael had been kidnapped and brutally killed. The guilt that Kate has harbored since then proves to be one of the reasons that the budding romance between Tommy, the son of a rancher and Kate had not accounted to much.

When a fresh kidnapping brings an altogether more poised, collected and a professional Kate to Tommy’s hometown once again, the feelings that he had pushed aside into a deep and dark corner of his heart clamors to be let out from its prison and embrace the only woman that Tommy had ever truly loved. However, with the dark shadows that linger between them, reconciliation of the feelings that are very much alive between them is easier said than done, especially when things aren’t what they seem to be and the case puts Kate’s life in danger in more ways than one.

Guilty as Sin is sort of a spin off from the trilogy that featured the books, Beg for Mercy, Hide from Evil and Run from Fear. I remember Tommy making an appearance in one of the books, don’t know which for certain. Tommy is a brooding hunk of a hero with an army tattoo to complete the package. His past run-in with Kate, an altogether younger, softer and a much less cynical version of him had been burnt badly and Tommy is of the mind that nothing would make him take that step towards Kate and claim her as his, no matter how much his body might want him to.

Kate knows she has a lot to apologize for where Tommy is concerned. And though being in close quarters with Tommy is the last thing she wants, Kate finds she has little choice where the matter is concerned, and if truth be told, Kate is as much enamored by the brooding and a much cynical version of the boy she had fallen head over heels in lust and love with all those years ago. But the ugly sword of guilt that she harbors inside of her heart rears its ugly head, especially when the new case brings too close to comfort the memories of a night that has tainted her life so much.

The villain though is twisted as they come is easy to figure out even from the very beginning of the story. Even though that’s the case, the outcome of the story is not affected because Jami certainly knows how to keep the pages turning and the momentum going. I loved Tommy and Kate and felt for both of them, especially Kate who struggles with a lot of dark memories. It is a wonder that she can stand as she does and work so closely with families who are going through something that she herself had gone through with much more terrible an outcome.

The heat between Tommy and Kate is classic Jami Alden, and I say classic because Jami is an author who definitely knows how to turn the heat up.

Recommended for fans of Jami Alden and fans of romantic suspense with heat and twisted villains.

Final Verdict: A villain who’s beyond twisted, a love that defies the most terrible a tragedy & heat of the scorching variety. Jami Alden’s signature shines through & through!

Favorite Quotes

Her memories of Tommy’s kiss, his touch, didn’t come close to what she was feeling now. It was like being thrust into a vortex full of heat and light, where nothing mattered but the taste of him, the soft rasp of his tongue against hers as he tasted every corner of her mouth. She opened her mouth wider, pressed her lips harder, sucked his tongue into her mouth like she was starving for the taste of him.

Then he was there, as deep as he could go, deeper than any other man had ever been.
Tommy Ibarra is inside of me.
That was all it took to send her careening over the edge. Her orgasm hit her with sudden, stunning force. He didn’t even have to move—just the feel of him, buried deep, so big and hard her body could barely contain him, was enough to make her shudder and clench around him as waves of pleasure like nothing she’d ever known poured through her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

[xrr rating = 4/5]

Caliber SEAL: GREAT READ!

ARC Review: Run from Fear by Jami Alden

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Trilogy, Book 3
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Jack Brooks
Heroine: Talia Vega 
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 1, 2012
Started On: February 25, 2012
Finished On: February 28, 2012

Run from Fear by Jami Alden is the much coveted 3rd book in the untitled trilogy that showcases Jami’s remarkable ability in delivering romantic suspense the way we readers crave them. Anyone who has read the 1st book in the series entitled Beg for Mercy would have encountered the larger than life Jack Brooks and definitely craved to learn more about the man behind the intimidating figure. I belong in the said group and when I saw this title up for grabs at Netgalley, I quickly seized my chance get my hands on a copy. Though I was disappointed in the book when compared to the previous 2 books in the series, Jami Alden still manages to deliver a decent romantic suspense that makes for a none too shabby a read.

Talia Vega is slowly making a life for herself in an affluent corner of California, having survived one of the most horrific incidents a woman can ever go through. Two years of her life spent in hiding with her younger sister Rosario in tow means that Talia appreciates the freedom that life has offered her with the death of the man who had made her a slave of his in every way. Talia’s regrets in life are many, and the way she looks at herself and comes up lacking is one of the many scars left behind with many more, some of them even physical in nature. Talia’s only aim is to give her sister everything she has got to give and though she feels those tendrils of unease coursing through her every now and then, she lets them slide through never knowing that her days of enjoying peace, serenity and order in her life are quite numbered.

Jack Brooks is ex-military and works in the security business. From the moment Jack had encountered the sexy siren version of Talia, Jack had been a goner. And watching Talia pick up the pieces of her tattered life and come out fighting the demons that must haunt her just makes Jack feel emotions of a stronger nature towards a woman who already has him on a dangerous edge. Jack stays on the sidelines, never letting Talia know just how much he is affected by her, and only re-enters her life 2 years later in order to severe the ties that binds him to her, or so he tells himself.

But so it happens, danger is never too far from Talia and Rosario and once again Talia is the focus of a stalker who would stop at nothing to complete a legacy that he claims to be rightfully his. Jack once he learns of the danger is as unmovable as a ton of steel and whether Talia wants it or not, Jack is around to stay until he can once again breathe easy, knowing that Talia and Rosario would remain safe from the clutches of mad men.

As always, Jami Alden does a superb job out of creating a villain, whose vicious thoughts alone is enough to give a person the shivers of the bad variety. But knowing who the villain was right from the very start somehow stole all the glory from the suspense aspect of the story, though the nature of the villain’s fascination with Talia and how he goes about securing access to Talia is one that was splendid.

Talia was a tough nut to crack. Though she is beautiful, smart and independent, she has a lot of self esteem issues, understandable when throughout her life men had deceived and made use of her. Talia is not ready for a relationship, especially not with someone like Jack who makes her feel uncomfortable and tingly all over, all at the same time. Talia is cautious with whom she gives her trust, and comes across as a bitch sometimes and makes life pretty much miserable for Jack who adores the very path that she walks on. And maybe it was because of that reason that I couldn’t like Talia much though she makes for a strong heroine in most of the ways.

Now, Jack Brooks is the type of hero that I salivate over all the time. I like larger than life heroes and Jack is one of them whose sheer size is in direct contrast with his gentle nature. He has “knight in shining armor” syndrome, something that had been triggered due to the abuse he had witnessed and gone through as a child. And when it comes to Talia, Jack’s over protectiveness is something to behold, his utter lack of control around Talia something to be savored. His gentleness around Talia who is skittish as a newborn colt when it comes to expressing sexual desire was one of the best aspects of his character. I totally fell for him because Jack is a man who is willing to do anything, and I mean literally anything to be with the woman he loves, to protect and cosset her and give her the life that he feels she deserves. 

So, even though certain elements within the story didn’t work that well for me, Run from Fear still made for a great read, Jack Brooks’ character the reason I am bumping the rating from the “good read” range to the “great read” range. 

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Jami Alden. Jami certainly knows how to deliver on heroes that would appeal to the female readers and Jack Brooks is no exception.

Favorite Quotes

[Jack] “Don’t kid yourself for a f#cking second that I don’t feel anything for you.”
Her lips parted in shock, but before she could get a word out, he covered them with his own. She made a high, startled sound in the back of her throat.
Pleasure, red, blinding, exploded through him at the first taste. Sweet, spicy, better than all his fevered imaginings. Her lips soft and giving against him, her tongue delicious and moist as he sucked it into his mouth.

She couldn’t deny him anything. She reached behind her and unhooked the bra, leaving breasts completely bare to his stroking hands.
Her mouth sought his, licking, sucking, leaning into his touch as she tried to tell him without words how much she wanted him, needed him. How desperate she was for his touch, how she’d needed him, needed this, all along and hadn’t even realized it.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BoB | Book Depository

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

ARC Review: Hide from Evil by Jami Alden

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Sean Flynn
Heroine: Krista Slater
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 1, 2011
Started On: October 30, 2011
Finished On: October 30, 2011

Hide from Evil is the second book in an untitled trilogy by Jami Alden, the first book of which skyrocketed its way towards my favorites book shelf earlier this year. If you are tempted to pick this one up, not that you can’t read this as a standalone, but in my opinion you definitely need to read book 1 first to experience the full impact of the story as it unfolds and for you to be invested in the characters and the outcome of their happily ever after as much as I have been ever since finding out about the expected release date of this book.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Krista Slater is a woman on a mission. Krista who has a vision of her working her way towards the top of the Prosecutor’s Office, always sticking to the rules and never straying from them finds herself wallowing in a conflicting mass of guilt and regret when she finds out that she has wrongly prosecuted and sent an innocent man to the death row. It had only been the tenacious work of Sean Flynn’s sister Megan who had refused to give up on her brother against all odds that had brought to light the actual killer who had neatly tricked everyone into believing that Sean had been the Seattle Slasher.

Refusing to put the case to rest though Sean has walked away a free man, something about the case and its loose ends pricks and prods at Krista until she uses her own resources to find out whether there could be more to the Seattle Slasher case than everyone had originally thought. Her digging opens up a can of worms that she never comprehends, putting her and Sean in the path of a powerful family who would do anything and everything in their power to keep the secrets that they hide from ever seeing the light of day.

The last thing Sean expects is for Krista to turn up out of the blue and make him confront all those feelings that he has bottled up inside, having numbed himself for the past three years of his life because remembering the past just causes him nothing but endless grief, rage and pain. But Sean’s dormant libido seems to have its own agenda when it comes to the classically beautiful and reserved Krista, behind whose propriety lies a wicked sense of humor that cracks through his numbness right from the very start.

Though Krista knows that she shouldn’t let her wayward hormones rule when it comes to Sean, she can’t help but be drawn towards the man buried deep inside the mass of seething resentment that she had previously seen and brushed aside as the egoistic mannerisms of a psychotic killer. But as passion bursts forth and refuses to be denied in its quest to be fulfilled, neither Sean nor Krista is powerful enough to deny each other the need that they have for the other.

As a nationwide manhunt ensues for both Sean and Krista with no way of finding out whom they can trust, the harder they dig their quest leads them to places neither expected, forcing both Sean and Krista to face their changing feelings towards each other as the clock ticks towards the hour of reckoning.

Hide from Evil though a bit toned down in the darker aspects that we come across in Beg for Mercy is still a book of the unputdownable variety. Sean Flynn was everything that I had imagined him to be in my mind and I damn near swallowed my tongue from salivating over his tortured hotness that just about seeps through the words each and every single time he comes into the picture. His desire for Krista that spills over the tight control he holds over all his emotions was one of the best aspects of the story, his resentment towards the woman who helped put him behind bars no match for the red haze of lust and need that nearly blindsides him with its ferocity.

Krista is a heroine basically carved out for my favorite heroines shelf. She is beautiful & smart with a heart of gold, a woman who has the best of intentions at heart and whose truthful nature forces her to face the one mistake she has made in her career and put it to rights. It was the way she seemed to understand Sean, the fears that he battles with each and everyday of his life since he walked out of prison and the way that she wants him with that a no holds barred passion that makes her the type of heroine that I just adore.

Once again, I loved how Jami seems to know just in which direction to steer the story forward, when to bring in the action and when to bring in those intricate details about the past events that teases the memory to recall what happened in book 1 of the trilogy. The scenes of passion between Sean and Krista are of the scorching hot variety, not overly erotic but with just enough action to really make one heat up as you read along. Paving the way for book 3, Run from Fear which is to come out early next year starring the sexy ex-Green Beret Jack Brooks that I just know is going to invade my heart as soon as I get my hands on the story, though Beg for Mercy proved to be a tough act to follow, Jami Alden comes darn close in delivering what the reader expects from her in this second installment.

A taut, gripping novel of suspense with underlying sexual tension hot enough to keep the adrenaline pumping; Hide from Evil is another superb installment in Jami Alden’s unbeatable trilogy of dark romantic suspense!

Favorite Quotes

(Sean) “The therapist calls it cleithrophobia.”
“That sounds like a fear of something else,” Krista snorted before she could stop herself. She bit her lip, as shame washed through her.
Sean turned, his startled laughter sounding rusty as it erupted from his chest. “No, I’m definitely not scared of that.”

Like punch through the brick wall he’d built around himself and give in to the sudden, desperate urges to touch, to taste, to feel. Krista Fucking Slater. Of all the women in the world, why was she the only one who managed to remind him he was still alive in a way no one had been able to in three long years?

“Jesus, you’re beautiful,” he murmured and she felt the warmth of his breath on her face and yes, he was going to kiss her. His mouth came down on hers, hot and fierce. She parted her lips and licked into his mouth, loving the way he shuddered and groaned at the contact.
Her response was fast, ferocious, startling in its intensity. One kiss and she was fired up, more turned on than she could ever remember being.

(Sean) “Sometimes the system fails. And sometimes you have to break the rules to get what you want.”

“I wish I could tell you this was all just because I’m desperate and horny, making up for lost time after being locked up.” He slid his palm under the hem of her T-shirt, groaning at the feel of warm, smooth skin. “It would be so much easier if that was all this was.” He cupped a breast and flicked a nipple through the silk of her bra, loving the way it jumped to immediate attention against the pad of his thumb.
“There hasn’t been anyone,” he said between kisses. “I haven’t wanted anyone. I’ve been walking around like I’m dead inside and then you show up.” He couldn’t keep the edge out of his voice, angry at his own lack of control. Like she needed anything more on him, but he couldn’t keep himself from spilling his guts. “All of a sudden all I can think about is how you smell, how you might taste.” He sucked her tongue into his mouth for emphasis. “How soft your skin would feel.” He whipped her shirt over her head and slid his hands down the smooth line of her back, down the curve of her waist and hip.

He smelled like sweat and sex and Sean, a potent combination that made her want to hold him here inside her and never let him go.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Hachette Book Group

[xrr rating=4.75/5]

Caliber Seal: FANTASTIC READ!

ARC Review: Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Cole Williams
Heroine: Megan Flynn
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 2011
Started On: April 26, 2011
Finished On: April 28, 2011

If I were asked to describe this book in one word, Intense is what comes to mind. Beg for Mercy is a title that sums up what romantic suspense is all about from the very beginning till its very last pages.

Beg for Mercy features the very sexy, rough and tough 37 year old Seattle Police Detective Cole Williams and the beautiful 29 year old Megan Flynn who meet one another 3 years prior to the start of the story. Megan is on her way to spinning dreams of happily ever after with her broody and silent Cole when the stuff that nightmares are made of comes true. Megan’s older brother Sean Flynn is arrested for murder by none other than Cole himself and sentenced to death by lethal injection and in the process shatters whatever fragile bond that has been forming between Cole and Megan.

The story continues 3 years later with Megan the only one who is convinced of her brother’s innocence, trying to find even a shred of evidence that might shed light onto her belief that her one and only remaining family in the world, that the brother who had sworn that he would protect her with his life could not have killed someone in cold blood. Megan’s search for the truth catches a break in the most unlikely manner when she gets up close and personal with the work of the Seattle Slasher, a killer who has been brutally slaying women in the Seattle area. What Megan is not prepared for at all is to once again meet Detective Cole Williams, the man whom she fell in love with 3 years ago only to have her heart crushed and her hopes and dreams shattered by the indifferent manner in which Cole killed their budding relationship upon the arrest of her brother.

Cole feels as if he has been sucker-punched real and good when he comes face to face with the woman who has been haunting his dreams ever since he had walked out on the best thing that had ever happened to him. Though it is hatred for what he did to her brother that shines in Megan’s eyes whenever she looks at him, Cole can’t deny that Megan still has the power to bring him to his knees because whatever that had brought them together in the first place all those years back still simmers good and strong between them.

With Sean’s impending execution looming closer, its a race against time for Megan who leaves no stone unturned in her quest to free her brother. What Megan slowly begins to uncover is the work of a killer who is well versed in the art of deception, a killer who is depraved enough to get off on the hurt that he inflicts on the women that he kills, a killer who is closer to Megan than she can even comprehend.

As the race to the finish line draws closer, so snaps the control both Cole and Megan exerts on the desire that binds them together, lending an extra richness to a story that already has enough moments of heart pounding variety packed into it. The scenes of passion between Cole and Megan are borderline erotic and very tastefully done that I couldn’t get enough of the very sexy Cole who had my heart racing doubly hard whenever he entered the picture.

There are so many things that rate Beg for Mercy as a solid 5-star read. For me the pace that Jami Alden sets with the story is the best thing about this romantic suspense. I love it when stories are intense, barely letting me take a breather before the next scene comes plummeting through which makes for very compelling reads. Of course let me not forget the impact the very intriguing Cole Williams who makes the story come alive just by his mere presence in it. He is the broody and silent warrior  type who feels so much deep inside, but shows an impeccable facade to the outside world until his hard earned control shatters around him in the most sinfully delicious way possible. His protectiveness when it comes to Megan is what endeared him most to me and Megan is a heroine who matches Cole in every way possible. I loved Megan for her unwavering faith in her brother when everyone else believed him to be the worst sort of killer possible and for Megan’s undeniable need for everything to do with Cole even when she tries so hard to tell herself otherwise.

Even as I loved so many things about the story that makes this a memorable read for the year, I was still a teeny weeny bit peeved because it was quite easy to figure out who the villain is even before halfway through the story. I like a bit of suspense in novels such as this, for the author to keep me guessing towards the end which makes the game of figuring out who the heinous killer is a lot more fun!

As I said earlier, Beg for Mercy is intense, graphic and details the gruesome bits involving the killings which makes this book that much better. If a fast paced thriller is what the doctor ordered with a healthy dose of romance between a sinfully alluring hero and a delicate yet spunky heroine then you should definitely go buy this one. For fans of Jami Alden, I am sure you would need no further convincing. Now, I can’t wait for book 2 in this series which is to be Sean’s story to come out on November this year entitled Hide from Evil.

I will finish off my review with a glimpse into the heady passion that takes a hold of Megan and Cole whenever they are together, refusing to let go until they both give in.

He bent his head the last few inches, tasted her soft gasp as his mouth covered hers.
Ah, sweet, so goddamn sweet. Even that slight pressure sent heat surging through him. One taste, one brush of her lips and he was as hard as a spike.
His hips rolled under her, pure reflex as he sought to get closer. He wove his fingers into her hair, angling her face to kiss her deeper, harder.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!