ARC Review: Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss by Maya Banks

Format: E-booktemptedbyherinnocentkiss.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Pregnancy & Passion, #3
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Devon Carter
Heroine: Ashley Copeland
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 6, 2012
Started On: February 28, 2012
Finished On: March 3, 2012

Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss is the 3rd book in Maya Banks’ Pregnancy & Passion series. Though I missed out on book 1, I definitely became intrigued with the series after reading book 2, Wanted by Her Lost Love which turned out to be a great read.

Devon Carter has always been ambitious. Though he finds everything wrong with the deal that William Copeland forces on him, Devon goes along with the plan and dines and woos William’s only daughter Ashley Copeland, all the while beguiled by her innocence and drawn towards her in a manner that is altogether foreign for someone like Devon. 

For Ashley, who is blissfully unaware of the machinations behind Devon’s courting, she is head over heels in love for the very first time in her life. Agreeing to marry the man she loves because deep in her heart Ashley believes that beneath that reserved exterior of Devon’s lies a heart that loves her as much as she loves him, Ashley never foresees the ultimate betrayal waiting for her on the very night that her honeymoon is to begin.

Devon is devastated when his wife discovers the truth behind their marriage, and though he would rather cut off a body part of his than hurt Ashley, out comes the accusations that hurts Ashley just that much more. But Ashley is a determined woman who embarks on a mission to win the love of her husband even if it means turning her back on who she is deep inside, until the charade becomes too much and so comes her breaking point when everything becomes just too much.

Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss started out on a very slow note. But from the moment Devon and Ashley says their ‘I Do’s”, Maya brings in the angst and the overload of emotion that holds on to you until you see Devon and Ashley to their happily ever after.

Ashley is the type of heroine that we come across very rarely in romance novels oft late, a time when authors strive to go for the type of heroines who are independent and on a self-proclaimed war to prove themselves to be as competent as the opposite sex. Ashley is the sweet and sunny type of heroine who just makes you smile whenever she comes into the story. Her naivety is not surprising given the fact that she has led a sheltered life, loved for who she is by everyone that surrounds her. But being rejected for who she is by the only man she has fallen in love with leaves its own mark on her and Ashley gives everything she has to make her marriage to Devon work.

Devon is a hero who is a bit bewildered in the face of chaotic emotions. He is all about control and whenever Ashley is around, control of his emotions and surroundings is the furthest thing that he is capable of. Devon remains clueless even when he begins to lose the woman that at first drew him to her, the woman whose exuberant nature he starts to miss even though he doesn’t know what it is that he actually craves for. Devon is a lost soul who only begins to find his way towards the woman who makes him feel on top of the world a trifle bit too late, and from then on Devon does the grovelling bit like everything else he does, with dedication and utter focus, his sole aim to win back his wife and never ever let her go.

From reading this review one might think that Devon is a heartless SOB, but far from it. Devon is a character you fall in love because of those little things through which he shows his caring and love towards his wife even when he is not ready to show or acknowledge the depth of his feelings towards her. He might want to bury his head in the sand and forget the roller coaster ride his emotions take whenever he sees abject hurt on Ashley’s face, but he hurts right along and wants nothing more than to erase all her sorrows and see a smile upon her face. For those reasons alone, Devon is a character worth giving over your heart to and I found myself doing just that before half way through the story.

A wonderful addition to the Pregnancy and Passion series, Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss is a novel recommended for those who love quick, short and sweet reads with a lot of angst and toe curling passion in the mix. Cannot wait for Cam’s story to come out as he sounds exactly like my type of hero.

Favorite Quotes

He wrapped one arm around her waist, and cupped her nape with his other hand. This time when he kissed her there was none of the restraint she’d seen in the past. It was like kissing an inferno.
Hot, breathless, so overwhelming that her senses shattered. 

Instead of answering her, he moved over her in a powerful rush. He took her mouth roughly, devouring her lips as his tongue plunged inside, tangling with hers.
Her body surged to life, arching up into his. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he gathered her tightly against him. Their bodies were as fused as their mouths. Between her legs, she could feel him so hard. Hot.

Her eyes widened and a strangled sound escaped her throat as she sought to process the sudden wash of conflicting sensations that bombarded her from every angle.
He was deep. Impossibly deep. She surrounded him. He surrounded her. Their hips were flush against each other. His body covered hers possessively. There was a burning ache deep inside her, and she couldn’t discern whether it was pleasure or pain.

She smiled then, an adorable, sweet smile that took his breath away. He forgot all about trying to maintain an air of civility. His inner caveman came barreling out, grunting and pounding his chest and muttering unintelligible words.

He unraveled at light speed, his release sharp, bewildering and beautiful. His hips were still convulsively moving against her body as he settled down over her, too exhausted and spent to remember his own name. The one he’d demanded she say just moments ago.
He became aware of gentle caresses. Her hands gently stroking over his back. He was probably crushing her but he couldn’t bring himself to move. He was inside her. Over her. Completely covering her. She was his.

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


Review: Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks

Format: E-bookWhispersinthedark
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: KGI, Book 4
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Hero: Nathan Kelly
Heroine: Shea Peterson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 3, 2012
Started On: January 6, 2012
Finished On: January 7, 2012

The 4th book in the KGI series is a bit different from the previous 3 books in the fact that there is an element of paranormal added to the mix of suspense and romance that makes up the series. Whispers in the Dark tells the story of the youngest Kelly brother who happens to be Nathan Kelly, who gets captured during his last mission in Afghanistan and goes through hell at the hands of his captors.

Nathan’s savior comes in the form of Shea Peterson who reaches out to him in his darkest hours, when Nathan is ready to give up all hope that he would ever escape or be rescued from the nightmare that has become his life. Shea is a woman who has telepathic abilities that allows her to communicate with Nathan. The way their connection is forged during the toughest time in Nathan’s life makes the bond between them a powerful one. But once Shea knows that Nathan is going to be safe in his family’s hands, she disappears from his life, leaving a very much devastated Nathan behind who keeps questioning his very sanity, wondering whether the woman whom he cannot forget was a figment of his imagination that had been born out of his need to survive.

Six months later, Shea once again reaches out to Nathan, this time in her hour of need which of course Nathan responds to at a speed that baffles his family members who have been trying valiantly the past few months to bring the Nathan they remember back to life. From then on, it is the Kelly’s that band up together to protect the ones they consider their own, Shea being extra special because it had been her doing that had brought Nathan back safely from the throes of Hell. 

Unlike some readers who were offended by the paranormal element that is part of this book, I enjoyed the difference that element brought to the story. For me, the connection between Nathan and Shea seemed to be that much stronger and more believable because they have been through so much together, being there for each other when they had both needed it the most. 

Nathan Kelly is a typical Kelly hero. He is uber protective and when he forges that connection with Shea, there is no turning back for him, ever. Every Kelly hero is so endearing to most romance readers because they are alpha heroes who aren’t jerks, and they have protective instincts that just wraps up the heroine in this cocoon that seems to be a safe haven from the rest of the world. And as always, the best part about a KGI book is to experience the Kelly family as a whole, how they stand up for one another no questions asked and how they are there for one another unconditionally. The bits I loved the most were the banter between the brothers that brought a smile to my face every single time, even during those most tension wrought moments. 

Shea is the type of heroine that Maya Banks creates so well. They are kind, generous and giving and have an inner strength that shines through from the very beginning and Shea is no exception to that rule. The fact that Shea is on the run for her life doesn’t stop her from helping Nathan out, even she doesn’t know him from Adam, and that is one reason why I loved her character from the beginning.

I loved the scenes of passion between Shea and Nathan which were brought to life marvelously by the author. The one thing that didn’t work for me was the bit of rehashing of the growing feelings between Nathan and Shea. For me, the connection that Maya forged between them was already real and deep enough and I would have loved the story more if more elements regarding Shea and what she was running from had been included so that the pace of the story would never falter. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Whispers in the Dark and consider this a great installment in the series of which I am looking forward to the rest of the books to be published later this year and early next year.

Recommended for fans of the KGI series, fans of alpha heroes whose protective nature knows no bounds and those who are fans of Maya Banks.

Favorite Quotes

He inhaled her scent, uncaring of the blood and dirt and grime that permeated her hair and clothing. He was holding her. Finally holding her.
“You’re real. You’re real.”
She pulled away, looked up at him, the same answering emotion shining in her blue eyes. With a groan, he lowered his mouth to hers. He couldn’t hold back. Nothing in the world would have kept him from kissing her in that moment.
He was overcome.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo


Review: Wanted by Her Lost Love by Maya Banks

Format: Paperbackwantedbyherlostlove
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Pregnancy & Passion, Book 2
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Ryan Beardsley
Heroine: Kelly Christian
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1, 2011
Started On: November 8, 2011
Finished On: November 9, 2011

My first paperback read after AGES turned out to be a great one. Wanted by Her Lost Love by Maya Banks is a great romance to lose yourself in if you have got about 2 hours to spare. In the midst of the intense and lengthy reads that I have been indulging in, not to mention the stress of the last couple of days, Wanted by Her Lost Love delivered exactly what I wanted right from the very minute I turned the first page.

Ryan Beardsley is looking for Kelly Christian, his ex-fiance, whom he believes betrayed him in the worst possible way ever. But something about the way she left, and the fact that she had never cashed in the check that he threw her way upon their bitter break-up tugs at Ryan until he hires a private investigator to find her.

When Ryan does find Kelly, she is 7 months pregnant and working at a restaurant in Houston, looking almost done in with the stress and heavy work load. Though Ryan cannot be sure of the fact whether the child could be his, that doesn’t stop him from bulldozing his way into Kelly’s life and swooping in to take care of her.

When Kelly sights Ryan sitting in the cafe she works at, she seethes with anger and reels from the fresh sting of betrayal she feels at the sight of him. What his family and Ryan himself had subjected her to, she would never forgive and forget but what she doesn’t contemplate on is just how far Ryan is willing to go to prove to her just how much she means to him. But Kelly wonders all along; would the truth about what happened that fateful day drive them apart once again or would it cement the love between them for all eternity?

Maya Banks provides the reader with a story heavy on angst, with likeable characters and of course the baddies who just make your skin crawl with the vileness of their thoughts and deeds. I rooted for Kelly right from the very start, going as far as to actively cheer her on when she laid it out to Ryan. I wanted Ryan to really go through Hell for not believing in Kelly when she had needed his trust and love the most and I was not disappointed.

Ryan certainly redeems himself well and through before the story is done, those sweet little gifts that he leaves for Kelly that just tugged at my heartstrings as it must have for Kelly. And the way he takes care of Kelly, always putting her needs first, that was the ultimate winning point with Ryan’s character.

Let me not forget Cameron Hollingsworth who has got that reclusive brooding thing down to a fine art, whose story I am most definitely going to be on the lookout for.

With likeable characters and a story that plunges you into a sweet and satisfying romance, Wanted by Her Lost Love comes highly recommended from the sunny side of life! 

Review: Hidden Away by Maya Banks

Format: E-bookhiddenaway
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: A KGI Novel, Book 3
Publisher: Berkeley
Hero: Garrett Kelly
Heroine: Sarah Daniels
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 1, 2011
Started On: March 1, 2011
Finished On: March 2, 2011

It feels like it has been forever since I picked up my first KGI novel, The Darkest Hour which shot Maya Banks right into the top of my favorite romantic suspense authors list. The second novel that came out entitled No Place to Run was equally intense as it was emotional and since then I have been on tenterhooks waiting for the release day of Hidden Away which features the story of the broody and hot as sin Garrett Kelly.

My fascination for anything to do with Garrett started with the 1st book itself where he and his brother Ethan’s wife Rachel share a very close bond with each other. Though Garrett tends to growl and snarl at the rest of them coming off as the grouchiest and most anti-social brother in the family, it is the complete transformation that he undergoes whenever Rachel is around and needing him that made his character such an intriguing one. And Sam’s story just made Garrett seem more appealing because Garrett at first dislikes Sophie so much but nevertheless ends up taking a bullet for the woman his brother loves.

Garrett is the second eldest of the 5 Kelly brothers though his worrisome nature and overprotective tendencies makes him seem older than the rest of the brothers. Garrett too had served as his country as a soldier until six years back a mission which he led his group on had gone horribly wrong killing two of his team mates requiring his brothers to pick up the pieces. What Garrett would like more than anything else is to take his own sweet revenge on the man who double-crossed his team on that fateful mission, the chance to do so which comes unexpectedly through their CIA contact requiring Garrett to fly all the way to the small island of Isle de Bijoux where his mission awaits him.

Sarah Daniels is a woman who is on the run to protect the only man who has ever given a damn about her and tried to serve as her protector and savior in the only way he had deemed as fit. A year back, Sarah’s life had taken a horrible turn which had rendered her helpless and fearful of every man she encounters afterwards and it is with this fear still lurking in the depths of her soul that she runs to seek refuge in the serenity of the white sandy beaches and the deep blue sea that surrounds Isle de Bijoux.

When Garrett gets up close and personal with his mission, it takes only a couple of seconds for him to realize that there is so much more than that meets the eye where Sarah is concerned. The helpless fear that he sees in Sarah’s eyes makes Garrett’s blood boil and invokes the urge to do harm to whoever had inflicted such wounds on Sarah. Whilst the growing feelings of possessiveness and protectiveness about Sarah befuddle him, that doesn’t stop Garrett from doing what he does best; engulf the woman he loves in his protective warmth which is just damn near enough to make any woman sigh and flutter over the whole thing.

With unknown enemies on Sarah’s trail, Garrett’s job is a double hard one and it certainly doesn’t make things easier for him when he has to lie to the one woman who he wants unwavering trust and faith from. Once again, the whole of Kelly family makes an appearance together with the other team members who make this series so very appealing. Though the incidents of the heart thumping variety did not happen as much as it did in the 2nd book, Hidden Away too serves up on all the aspects which makes the book 3 of the KGI series a decent addition to an already 5-star rated series.

Couple of things I loved that I want to mention in my review. First of all, yes you ladies guessed it right, who wouldn’t love that drool-inducing cover featuring the hot as sin Garrett Kelly? I love the covers of each and every KGI novel that has come out and this one’s no exception to that rule.

Revisiting the characters from the Kelly bunch as well the rest of the characters that makes this series a kick-ass one is always a plus point in my opinion. It is heartwarming to see Ethan and Rachel making their way and their marriage growing stronger day by day whilst Sophie and Sam have a cute new addition to their family making things just perfect for this story. And let me not forget Rusty who I think is going to end up being my favorite character, if Maya Banks ever gets round to telling her story.

And needless to say, I loved both Sarah and Garrett and found Sarah’s courage and loyalty humbling which earned her my admiration in spades. Though the author does not go into details of her gruesome encounter, the fear and total humiliation that she must have gone through is  totally understood which made my heart just bleed for her.

But with all those things that I did love, I did find myself a bit disappointed with how Garrett’s character turned out in the end. I was expecting a bit more brooding and tortured hotness from him which ALWAYS has me predictably swooning into a puddle right next to my Kindle. And based on how Garrett is perceived by the rest of his family, I wanted some of that to come out in his own book which failed to appear and instead his soft and overprotective side which I love nevertheless took the center stage. Though for someone else that might not be a peeve, I found myself feeling just a teeny weeny bit letdown because of that.

All in all, an enjoyable addition to the KGI series, and I can’t wait to find out who gets their story told next from the delectable group of characters that Maya has created in this wonderful series. If you haven’t already read the KGI series, do start from book 1 because you need to experience the Kelly bunch right from the very beginning to fully appreciate each and every character as they unfold and grow with every story.

Favorite Quotes

She started to open her mouth, but to her shock, Garrett sealed his lips over hers..
It was electric, a jolt to her system that fried her entire nerve system. He curved his hand around her nape and dug his fingers into her hair as he held her in place. His mouth moved sensuously over hers, gentle, but so demanding that her knees shook under the power of his touch.

Reviewer’s note: After pondering much about the story and why this just didn’t come down as a highly satisfying read for me, I have brought down its rating from 4 to 3.5 stars because Garrett and Sarah just didn’t get enough time of their own in the story to make this one a magical reading experience. There were times I wished that the book would pick up pace because that’s what I have been accustomed to throughout the series. And Garrett’s character ended up being the total opposite of what he started out being from the start of the series which has made me re-think and then re-rate the book.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard



Review: No Place to Run by Maya Banks

Format: E-booknoplacetorun
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: The Kelly Group International, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Sam Kelly
Heroine: Sophie Lundgren
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: December 7, 2010
Started On: December 7, 2010
Finished On: December 7, 2010

I have been waiting for this book like forever (okay that was a tad wee bit dramatic), but it does feel like I have waited forever after reading and reviewing the 1st book in the Kelly Group International Series entitled The Darkest Hour, a story that just captivated me right from the very beginning and totally blew me away. So it would not be an exaggeration to say that I had very high expectations for the 2nd book in the series, each one of which was met with and some even exceeded by this delightful romantic suspense novel by Ms. Banks.

The Kelly Group International (KGI) is a family based business which takes care of situations such as hostage recovery missions, kidnap cases and the likes and also hire out their services to the numerous government agencies in the US for covert missions requiring highly skilled operatives in delicate situations. 36 year old Sam Kelly, the eldest of the 6 boys in the Kelly bunch acts as the leader and shares responsibility of running this covert group with his brothers Garrett (even saying his name makes me go just a tad bit weak in the knees ^_^), Donovan (Van) and Ethan who is yet to officially join the group. Each having specialized military background, Sam had served in the army before forming the KGI group with his brothers.

Sophie Lundgren on the other hand comes from a family right out of your worst nightmares. Alex Mouton,  her father is at the top of the most wanted lists in the US running his empire in everything illegal ranging from running prostitution rings to arms dealing. Sophie had witnessed the horrors of her father’s rigid control over his emotions and his ruthlessness at the tender age of 10 years, a man who always puts his business first and never tolerates any sign of weakness from those are close to him.

When a KGI mission takes Sam and his brothers to parts of Mexico on a mission to take down Alex Mouton, it is at a seedy bar in Mexico that Sam first encounters the blond, delicate and beautiful Sophie, making all his primal instincts come out to play right at the very first sight of her. Their affair though short, runs hot until his mission takes him away leaving Sophie behind, Sophie who calmly plans and executes a plot to murder her own father.

Five months on, a pregnant Sophie is at the very end of her wits trying to elude those hellbent on killing her to exact revenge for the murder of her father. Sophie holds the key to her father’s vast empire and its the only thing that’s keeping her alive and prevents her from being shot pointblank. Exhausted, with no place to run to except to the arms of the father of her child and the man who rocked her world for a brief period of time, it is a barely alive Sophie that Sam comes across, the woman who has haunted his dreams ever since he had walked out on her to complete KGI’s mission.

With more questions than answers running through Sam, trust is the hardest commodity to come by when Sam finds out just how truly deceived he had been by Sophie, the woman who now carried his child, who still manages to touch something deep inside of his heart, something no other woman had ever being able to do. Scared as Sophie is, the last thing she wants to do is to put the Kelly family in harms way, which is exactly what happens as things spiral out of control until at the very end when Sam has to decide whether he would be able to trade the life of the woman he loves more than anything for the life of his own mother, a decision no man should ever have to make.

My likes

  1. Boy, where do I start? This book packs everything and I don’t mean that lightly, EVERYTHING that I look for when I pick up a novel of the romantic suspense genre. Action packed, highly sensual and emotional with enough character development that keeps the pages turning, I resented the time I had to spend away from the story after I started reading. Yes, Maya Banks has done a splendid job with this one and I can’t literally wait for Garrett’s (*sigh* there goes the knee shaky thing again!) story to come out in March 2011.
  2. Sam Kelly. Oh boy! He is one yummy alpha hero, in fact I don’t know how Ms. Banks does it with the Kelly men, but the entire bunch just makes me salivate, sigh, drool and palpitate as the story unfolds. Even with the 1st chapter itself, Sam managed to knock my socks off, with his smoldering sensuality, the simmering need deep within him to claim the woman who is obviously meant for him which touched me in a deep, deep way. And as the story continues, I got to see so many sides of Sam, the responsible tough oldest sibling role he has to play, the gentle, kindhearted soul that comes out to play when he is around those who are weaker than him and the way he lays claim on his woman sealed the deal for me with this hero.
  3. Sophie! She is one hell of a heroine. Vulnerable, beautiful and fiercely protective as a mother lioness with her cubs when it comes to her baby and Sam, she totally won me over because she is exactly what Sam needs in his life to make it complete. I loved her because she doesn’t take crap from anyone, not Sam, not Garrett and not even her formidably frightening father and still managed to touch something deep inside of my heart with her need to belong, to be loved and cossetted by someone who would love her unconditionally.
  4. The family dynamics in the story. What pulled me in even from the very 1st book in the series is how well the whole Kelly family as well as other side roles within the series have been created, whetting the reader’s appetite for more from them. Apart from the obvious Kelly brothers whose stories every reader of this series must covet, I would love to read Rusty, Sean as well as P.J. and Steele’s story. It is a testament to how well the character development has been handled within the story that I as a reader have this deep, insatiable need to learn more about them, whom we just get to meet in a scene or two in the whole story. Kudos to Ms. Banks for a job well done!
  5. As much as I coveted the emotional, sensual and action-packed moments in the story, I loved the humor-laced parts of the story, though they were few and far in-between. The scene that stands out the most is where Sam has to find underthings for Sophie, and it is to his mom he has to turn to, and the conversation between Garrett, Sam and Donovan just had me laughing out loud – making my husband a firm believer of the fact that I am stark raving mad! ^_^
  6. And before I forget, I very much heart the man-titty cover! Would make a sensational addition to Pamela Clare’s MTM posts don’tcha think? ^_^

My Dislikes: Absolutely none! Just wish there was more of this stuff to read, is all!! ^_^

Favorite Quotes

He stopped, just a foot in front of her, so close that his heat reached out and circled her like the damp towel she wore so close to her breast.
The clothes were in his hand, but he didn’t move to give them to her and she didn’t reach for them.
His gaze was so intense. So penetrating. She felt naked. So itchy, and alive. She swallowed, but nothing she did ridded her of the knot in her throat. It ached like she ached.
The clothes dropped silently to the floor. His hands cupped her bare shoulders. His fingers caressed her skin.
Slowly and with infinite tenderness his mouth descended over hers. His breath danced across her skin, and then he recaptured his lips in a long hot kiss. Time melted away like ice on a summer day.

A moment later, the door burst open, startling her from her lethargy. She bolted upright to see Sam stalk in, his eyes blazing. She barely had time to register her alarm before he was in front of her.
He yanked her to her feet, cupped one hand around her nape and then dragged her to him. He kissed her long and hard, his mouth molded so tight to hers that neither of them could draw a breath.
She inserted her hands between them and shoved as hard as she could. He didn’t budge. Instead he deepened his kiss, as if convincing her of his ownership.

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Maya Banks.
  2. Fans of the KGI series.
  3. Fans of romantic suspense that love action packed stories filled with enough emotion and sensuality to knock your breath out! If you love them like I do, this one’s for you!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard



Review: The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks

Format: E-bookthe darkest hour
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Kelly Group International, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Hero: Ethan Kelly
Heroine: Rachel
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 7, 2010
Started On: September 10, 2010
Finished On: September 11, 2010

First of all, let me just say WOW! This novel grabbed me and turned me inside out from page 1. I was kind of wary at first to pick up this book because the only time I had read a book by Maya Banks which was Seducing Simon, it kind of fell flat for me. But I am so very glad that I put my reservations aside and went ahead and read the book, because this story is so very very good!

This story promises the start of a great new series by the author. This series centers around the Kelly family, 6 sons of local hardware store owner Frank Kelly and his wife of more than 30 years Marlene Kelly who was now a retired teacher. Sam, Garret, Donovan, Ethan and Nathan and Joe who are twins makes up the Kelly family. One would have thought that with 6 rambunctious sons to raise, Marlene would have enough on her hands. But with her kindhearted nature, Marlene tended to take in strays as her sons affectionately liked to tease her, and mothered them as well, showering them with as much love as if she had born them.

The Kelly Group International is a covert super-elite family run business that takes on missions such as hostage/kidnap victim recovery, intelligence gathering and sometimes gets hired by the US government to handle tough jobs that they cannot handle. Since all 6 of the Kelly men had served in different branches of the military at some point, Nathan and Joe still serving in Afghanistan, Sam, Donovan and Garret were the ones who owned and handled the KGI business.

Ethan Kelly, is ex-Navy SEAL, and drinks himself to oblivion every day and night to escape his memories and pain. Since that fateful day on June 16 a year ago, when he had received word that Rachel had been killed in a crash that had taken the lives of a small group of relief workers flying in from South America, Ethan and his family had been devastated. Rachel had not been just Ethan’s wife. Rather, Rachel had been taken under Marlene’s love and care when her own parents had been killed in a car crash. Rachel who had always been a favorite student of Marlene’s had been like the daughter she never had and her death had affected the Kelly family in more ways than one.

On the 1 year anniversary of his wife’s death, Ethan receives a package that contains evidence that Rachel is very much alive being held captive in a drug cartel camp deep in the jungles of South America. Ethan who had been praying for a second chance and can’t believe it when it does happen, convinces his brothers to help him rescue the woman who bears a remarkable resemblance to his dead wife.

The Kelly’s storm the camp to find Rachel hooked high on drugs and scared out of her mind. The only thing that Rachel does remember and dream about is a man whom she craves to be her knight in shining armor and who she knows will keep her undoubtedly safe. When Ethan rushes into the small hut in which Rachel is kept captive, she knows that the man who she keeps dreaming about has finally come for her.

With all her memories of her past life gone, Rachel is more than scared out of her wits when she is rescued. The only men she seems to remember are Garret and Ethan. On top of that the craving she has for a fix by the needle exhausts her more than anything. Recovery is a slow agonizing process and her return back home is made as stress free as possible by the family that awaits her eagerly.

But as Rachel’s memories slowly return, so does a dream that frightens her beyond anything she had endured. An angry Ethan who looks as if he loathes her and hates her keeps Rachel in constant agitation. Ethan knows that he is living on borrowed time with his wife until her memory fully returns. Ethan had done Rachel wrong in so many ways in their marriage and unless he can get his wife to give him a second chance so that he could prove to her just how much she is worth to him, Ethan knows that life would have no meaning for him if otherwise.

Meanwhile, the threat on Rachel’s life is not completely obliterated. Attempts on her life more than once leave all of the Kelly’s reeling. And the story of greed, corruption and murder of a power hungry politician emerges as the story unfolds which kept the pages turning.

This story has so many facets to it that made it so interesting. I know that all 6 Kelly’s would make delicious heroes if the way Ethan treats Rachel is any standard to uphold. Rusty, the newest stray that Marlene takes in also promises to be an interesting addition to the Kelly brood.

The Darkest Hour has all the essential ingredients in the right amounts that make up a great romantic suspense novel. Mouth watering hot men in combat gear is enough to shoot up any girls temperature right up. Added to the mix more emotion than my heart could handle at times with enough danger to keep the edge on the story made this book an instant winner.

Two more books of this series have already been announced on the author’s website. No Place to Run which would feature Sam’s story to be released this December and Hidden Away which is Garret’s story to be released in 2011 has me on tenterhooks already!

If you want to read romantic suspense that grabs your emotions right from the very start and delivers on all counts, this is a must-read!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo