Author: Anne Conley
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Age: New Adult and up
Is This Book Part of a Series?: Yes (Book #2 of the Pierce Securities series)
*I received an unedited Advanced Reading Copy version of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I also have chosen not comment on or include typos and such in my review or rating.
Evan Rocco is a skilled hacker, an AI expert, and a member of the team at Pierce Securities. Paige Lawson is the CEO of gaming software company PSL. When PSL’s game Realm of Worlds character The Crimson Lady begins brainwashing teenagers into attacking real life people, Evan and Paige have to team up in order to save Paige’s company and the people of Austin. But will their one-night stand from six months earlier get in their way?
This book appeals to the geek in me, and the fact that the “star” of Paige’s company is based off of fairy tales appeals to the writer in me. The characters are fun and well-matched as a couple. The bad guy is suitably slimy. In other words, it was worth the read and had some great qualities.
The Nitty Gritty:
This book opens up with a bang, featuring Paige–fresh off winning a hostile takeover–prowling a bar looking for a one night stand. She finds it in Evan Rocco, a man she has admired physically and intellectually for years. They have a very hot night of sex, which is well-written, with just enough on-stage action to keep it interesting and just enough off-stage action to keep it from being repetitive. This takes the book from the typical trajectory of the couple fighting their physical interest in each other and shifts it to looking at how the pair can deal with the attraction they admittedly have, while doubting whether or not that is all that the other person feels. It is a small change, but it is a nice one, keeping the romance aspect of this book feeling more fresh and unique than is typically the case. In addition to this, it sets it up so that Evan is already aware of how much he likes Paige. He never really doubts whether or not he has feelings for her. Just whether or not she has feelings for him. And a man being willing to admit to himself that he cares for a woman is a nice change for a romance.
Dialogue was one of the things that stood out for me in this book, for a couple of reasons. When Paige and Evan were talking, I noticed several times that it felt like their scenes seemed a little bit forced feeling, like they were saying what would be expected to be said at that scene, rather than what truly fit them. The thoughts that accompanied these “forced” scenes also seemed to also be on the overly-telling side. Instead of just having the words flying back and forth between Paige and Evan, there were pauses to share their thoughts. Thoughts that were really rather redundant based on the actions that were accompanying their dialogue. It wasn’t horrible, by any means, but it was certainly noticeable. Especially when you put it next to the very smooth, well-written dialogue that exists between Evan and the other employees at Pierce Securities. Those scenes were downright good. I fell right into them and could easily picture the scene, actions, and the individual, unique characters that were interacting.
As for the suspense aspect of this book, there were some positives and negatives both. First, I saw the bad guy coming a little sooner than I would have liked. (In other words, I figured things out sooner than I wanted). This in and of itself isn’t that unusual for me, however. My biggest issue with this is that Evan, who is in the securities business, had such a hard time seeing the truth. I could get behind the idea that perhaps he was too wrapped up in figuring out his relationship with Paige, but that only allows him a certain amount of slack. And I feel like he stayed in the dark a bit longer than is truly realistic. (Not that I have ever been in a “real” mystery myself, of course, so perhaps it is accurate. How it feels, however, is that Evan is a bit on the slow side). The saving grace here is the tension. Despite knowing, more or less, who the bad guy was and how he was enacting his plans, I was still tense over the idea of whether or not Evan and Paige would win in the end. Who knows? Perhaps Evan being slow to catch on even added to the tension. Either way, this was a suspenseful books and gets good marks for that, even if there are things I wish were different.
Goodreads Rating: 4.39 (33 Reviews)
Amazon Rating: 4.9 Stars (21 Reviews)
My Rating: 4 Stars
The writing is solid, the story is solid, and I found it to be an enjoyable read over all. I would like to go back to read Ryan’s story (Craze, Pierce Securities book 1) and plan on following this series to its conclusion, however many books that may be.