Review: Angel by Janie Crouch

angelTitle: Angel

Author: Janie Crouch

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Bakery worker Jordan Reiss

The hero: Former Navy SEAL/CEO Gabriel Collingwood

The blurb: Jordan Reiss is well aware that if she was on fire the entire town of Oak Creek would probably go inside and make a sandwich. She can’t blame them. Her father scammed half the town out of their retirement funds, and then she…

She did so much worse.

She doesn’t expect forgiveness. But she’s back in town with no other options and just wants to be left alone to live on the fierce Wyoming land she’s missed so much during her six years in prison.

Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Collingwood’s callsign may have been Angel, but he’ll be anything but to protect his sister. Especially from a pretty ex-con who has somehow weaseled her way into a job at his sister’s new bakery.

He doesn’t trust Jordan, even with her big gray eyes and quiet smile.

But when someone decides its time for Jordan to leave Oak Creek—preferably in a body bag—Gabe will have to put his distrust aside. Jordan needs her own guardian angel. And he happens to be one.

Standalone or series: This is the fourth book in the Linear Tactical series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: This series continues to get better with every book, something I didn’t think possible after the diamond that is Shamrock. Jordan Reiss, the heroine of Angel, is doing it tougher than most. Ostracised by pretty much everyone in town for an innocent mistake she made that shattered people’s lives, and for the actions of her despicable father who stole from most of the townsfolk, she’s also tormented and bullied at every turn.

Gabriel Collingwood, brother of Shamrock’s heroine Violet, doesn’t trust her as blindly as his sister does. He watches her closely, ready to pounce as soon as she makes a mistake… but he comes to realise that Jordan is not the monster everyone makes her out to be. Underneath the quiet, lonely exterior is a young woman who is haunted by her past and desperate to make it right so she can finally move forward with her life again. She’s clever with computers, smart, funny and beautiful. Soon enough, Gabe is more than willing to take on the role of protector.

There’s no smooth sailing in their relationship, though, thanks to others in their lives, and Gabe finds himself wondering if he was wrong to trust Jordan. I myself wanted to smack some sense in to him on a few occasions! Jordan I just wanted to hug. She shows a strength and tenacity few others do, and most in her situation would have given up. A wonderful heroine and a book that will leave you both breathless and smiling for days to come.

Review: Shamrock by Janie Crouch

shamrockTitle: Shamrock

Author: Janie Crouch

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Chemical engineer/baker Violet Collingwood

The hero: Ex Green Beret/Linear Tactical employee Aiden Teague

The blurb: Every mission has a price. He never meant for her to pay it.

Aiden has never left anyone behind. Not a comrade and certainly not an innocent. But when an undercover mission goes wrong, he’s forced to abandon a woman trapped in a human trafficking ring.

Violet learned brutally that no one is promised a happy ending. She knows Aiden blames himself for his part, but she refuses to let her abduction define the rest of her life.

She won’t be a victim again. And she’s going after what she wants: Aiden.

Watching Violet transform herself into a fierce warrior is the sexiest thing Aiden has ever seen. The honorable plan would be to stay away from her—let her heal and grow without the shadow of his mistakes clouding her progress—even though every instinct tells him to claim her for his own.

But when they discover the danger they thought they’d left behind is closer than ever, they’ll have to confront their fears and fight side-by-side in order to survive.

Standalone or series: This is book three in the Linear Tactical series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Just when you think this series can’t get any better, along comes Shamrock. Aiden Teague is my favourite of the Linear Tactical heroes so far – he’s loyal, protective and caring. An ex-Green Beret who speaks six languages fluently, he’s undercover as an arms dealer, trying to catch a traitor, when he notices something different about one of the scantily clad women at the club he’s in. She looks terrified, and when he spends some time alone with her, he realises she’s being held against her will.

He’s determined to get her out, even if it means blowing his cover, but something happens and he’s not able to get to her in time, which weighs heavily on him. When she’s identified as the younger sister of an ex-Navy SEAL he’s worked with before, Aiden knows he has to save Violet Collingwood because things are not going to get better for her. He and his team are able to extract her safely, but they still don’t know who kidnapped her and why.

After her release, Violet decides it’s time she lives her life the way she wants to. She’s a trained chemical engineer, working for her family’s technology company, but her passion is baking. So she decides to open her own bakery in Oak Creek, and pursue a relationship with Aiden. She makes the first move, which I loved, and it doesn’t take long for them to end up in bed together.

Violet sets up her bakery and hires Jordan Reiss, whom we’ve met in the first two books, as her assistant. Aiden trains her in self defence, and Violet grows stronger in every way possible. She’s a wonderful heroine, one who refuses to wallow in the bad that happened to her, instead choosing to take control of her life and go after what she wants.

Aiden starts to wonder if perhaps their age difference of eleven years is too big a gap, and thinks that perhaps Violet would be better off healing on her own, so he ends the relationship, breaking her heart. But she’s determined to make him see she can still grow as a person with him by her side, and after Violet and Jordan are injured in an incident, Aiden realises he was wrong to walk away.

When the identity of not only Violet’s kidnapper but the mysterious Mr Stellman is finally revealed, it’s such a clever plot twist that you won’t have seen it coming. This book has enough action and mystery to keep those who love romantic suspense happy, and a hot, steamy romance to make your little romantic heart sing – and if you prefer your romances less steamy, there’s a version for you, too!

If this book is any indication of how book four is going to be, we’re in for a real treat. Another five star read from this author.

Review: Eagle by Janie Crouch

eagleTitle: Eagle

Author: Janie Crouch

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Tutor/bartender Charlotte Deveraux

The hero: Ex-special forces soldier/survival skills trainer Finn Bollinger

The blurb: He’s fighting for what’s right.
She’s fighting just to survive…

When former Special Forces soldier Finn Bollinger is asked to help with a deadly government mission, he’s up for the task. His job teaching survival skills to civilians at Linear Tactical keeps him sharp, and he can still handle himself in the field.

But the Army damn well didn’t teach Finn how to handle Charlotte Devereux. She’s back and she’s all sorts of bad news.

Charlotte can’t change the past. Can’t change the choices she made or the fact that they cost her everything. All she can do is endure the fallout. Even if that means putting her future in the hands of Finn, the man who has every right to want to destroy her.

And can in so many more ways than he thinks.

When the undercover mission goes impossibly wrong, they’ll all have to depend on Charlotte’s strength in order to survive. But everyone has a breaking point…

Standalone or series: Book two in the Linear Tactical series, but can be read a standalone

The review: Eagle is the second book in the Linear Tactical series and it just keeps getting better. We met Finn in book one, Cyclone, and were very briefly introduced to Charlotte.

Finn and Charlotte were in a relationship years ago, until Charlotte broke Finn’s heart – very publicly – by marrying another man. Finn believed it was because his rival came from a wealthy family, and Charlotte never told him the reason why she chose Brandon over him. Despite almost losing his career, Finn got over his heartbreak to make it as a Marine and then start Linear Tactical with his teammates.

Eight years later, Finn is a father to seven-year-old Ethan, who has some learning difficulties thanks to his mother. When a tutor is suggested for Ethan, Finn is keen to meet her – until he learns the tutor in question is none other than Charlotte. His anger at their past leads him to turn her down flat, and Charlotte is devastated – she can’t work as a teacher full time because of her ex and his family, and she needs all the money she can get. Her family was once rich, but their money is long gone, and Charlotte’s father is battling a serious illness for which he requires constant care.

Charlotte does whatever is required to make ends meet, and that means sleeping in her car, missing meals, and working two jobs. When Finn spots her coming out of the town’s dinghy motel, he’s stunned – and can’t work out what she’s doing there. He agrees to let her tutor Ethan after her employer tells him Charlotte is the best in the field, and as they spend time together, Finn begins to notice how much Charlotte has changed. She isn’t wearing designer clothing or driving a new, flashy car. She’s lost weight. He’s determined to find out what she’s hiding from him.

The Linear Tactical team has accepted a job from their former commanding officer to try and catch someone within the military who is trying to sell secret codes to people who wouldn’t do anything good with them. Aiden Teague is undercover, with Finn and his teammates helping where they can. The meets are taking place at a strip club, where Charlotte works as a bartender, and when she finds a piece of paper with some weird codes on it, she memorises them as they are similar to the ones she uses to help Ethan.

This leads Charlotte to be in danger, as someone wants the codes she has memorised. Finn, who has realised he still loves her and is able to forgive the past without explanation, will do everything he can to stop the woman he loves from being hurt. But will all his expertise be enough to save her?

This book has everything: characters you’ll grow to love, a mystery you’ll want to solve, and a romance that is both sweet and hot. Another excellent instalment in the Linear Tactical series, one of the best romantic suspense series out there.

Review: Cyclone by Janie Crouch

cyclone

Title: Cyclone

Author: Janie Crouch

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Doctor Anne Nichols

The hero: Ex-marine/Linear Tactical specialist Zac Mackay

The blurb: Doctor Anne Nichols is back in Oak Creek, Wyoming, only because she has no other options. Here, she was always the shy, stuttering girl, invisible to everyone.

Except Zac Mackay. The very reason she left in the first place.

Zac’s years in Special Forces taught him survival skills, and he’s created a company—Linear Tactical—to teach those skills to others, so they never have to live in fear. Then why is Annie, the last person he’d ever want to hurt, afraid of him?

Zac’s determined to wipe the fear from the eyes of the woman who has never been far from his mind. And fix the mistakes—his mistakes—that put that look there in the first place. But a predator has set his sights on Annie. And now survival skills will become much more than lessons…

Standalone or series: Book one in the Linear Tactical series but can be read as a standalone

The review: If this book, the first in the Linear Tactical series, is any indication then we are in for one whirlwind of a ride! Zac Mackay is a widower, having lost his wife, Becky, and his young son, Micah, in an accident. Becky’s best friend all through high school and beyond was Anne Nichols, an introverted loner who was mocked for her stutter. But underneath the facade was an intelligent, funny young woman who happened to be in love with Zac.

Nothing happened between them until one drunken night after the funeral. Their whole world already turned upside down, Annie fled, unable to stay. Zac can’t remember that night, as much as he wants to, so when Annie turns up again six years later, he can’t understand the fear in her eyes. Why is she afraid of him? What really happened that night?

As Zac and Annie try to establish whether there’s any relationship to salvage, there’s a serial rapist on the loose. When Annie is targeted by this monster, Zac and his Linear Tactical teammates will stop at nothing to bring him down. When the truth about that night six years ago comes to light, will Annie be able to forgive Zac? Can he forgive himself?

It was Annie who really shone for me in this book. One of this author’s strengths is her ability to have her heroines rise above difficult situations and become warriors who are determined not to be defined by it. Annie was lovely, gentle, and kind, but also determined and fierce. She’s my perfect kind of heroine!

Cyclone has everything you want – romance, suspense, characters you’ll fall in love with and cheer for. If this is just the start, I can’t wait for the rest of the ride.

Review: In The Lawman’s Protection by Janie Crouch

in the lawmans protectionTitle: In The Lawman’s Protection

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Artist Natalie Anderson Freihof

The hero: Omega Sector agent Ren McClement

The blurb: An agent will do anything to take down a terrorist. Even if that means using a woman as his weapon.

To locate a terrorist, Ren McClement must find the criminal’s “dead” wife Natalie. His plan: use the innocent beauty as bait. But when his duplicity leads them into grave danger, Ren reveals his secret to Natalie…and his passion for her. Will furious Natalie be able to forgive his lie? And will they get to the mastermind before he unleashes mass destruction?

Standalone or series: This is the sixth and final book in the Omega Sector: Under Siege series, and the sixteenth and final book in the whole Omega Sector series. They can all be read as standalones.

The review: In the Lawman’s Protection is the sixteenth and final book in the richly written and enticing Omega Sector saga, and while I’m excited to read Janie’s forthcoming books, I’m sad this series is over.

Damien Freihof, the sociopath who has been hellbent on taking down the Omega team for what he perceived to be their part in the death of his wife, Natalie, is continuing on with his mission to destroy the team and their loved ones. After finding out by accident that Natalie Anderson Freihof is still alive, Ren McClement, the man responsible for the Omega Sector’s formation, is determined to finally stop this criminal once and for all. He’s firmly convinced that Natalie is aiding and abetting her ex, so when they track her down in California, Ren handles it personally. He’s going to do whatever it takes to get Natalie to help them stop Freihof and finally capture him.

After following her for days, the Omega team makes their move and sends Natalie running right into their arms. After befriending her on a train, Ren and the team go to extreme lengths to arrange it so that he and Natalie are ‘trapped’ in a cabin in the woods. Ren is prepared to do whatever he has to do to convince Natalie to give up Freihof’s location, but after arriving at the cabin and spending time with her, Ren realises something he’d never really considered – Natalie is a victim of Freihof’s, too, and she’s been on the run for six long years.

Ren is drawn to Natalie in ways he never imagined he would be – his world is dark and full of evil, and Natalie represents the good and the light. He doesn’t want to involve her in his shadowy world, but she lived there for years during her marriage to Freihof, a controlling and sadistic man who abused her physically, mentally and emotionally. Natalie is a survivor, and her spirit shines… and Ren finds himself unable to resist her.

He’s on a deadline to bring Natalie in and gain her co-operation, but a run in with a mountain lion throws everything off and he’s not able to tell Natalie who he really is before time is up. Once she finds out, she’s understandably withdrawn, but determined to stop her ex at all costs – even if it means risking her own life.

Freihof’s final act of terror towards Natalie is both horrific and a testament to the strength of a woman who refuses to give in to evil. It will make your heart skip a terrified beat or two, but the bad guy FINALLY gets what he deserves and true love conquers all, which is exactly how I love my romance books to end. A triumphant conclusion to what has been a stunning series.

 

 

 

Review: Armed Response by Janie Crouch

armed responseTitle: Armed Response

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: SWAT team member Lillian Muir

The hero: Special Forces soldier/SWAT team member Jace Eakin

The blurb: Is the woman he once loved the traitor they’re searching for?

Former Special Forces soldier Jace Eakin must find the mole inside Omega who’s leaking intel to a terrorist mastermind. Despite their complicated history and the fact that she is keeping a secret, he can’t believe it’s SWAT team leader Lillian Muir. As they give in to long-denied passion, Jace vows to protect Lillian with his life. But he’s been wrong about her before…

Standalone or series: This is the penultimate in the Omega Sector: Under Siege series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: This book is everything you want in a romantic suspense book. It has amazing characters you’ll fall in love with, a mystery that you want to solve, twists that will leave your jaw on the ground and a romance you want to succeed more than anything.

We’ve met Lillian in previous Under Siege books and she’s one of my favourite heroines. Petite but can kick any man’s ass, she’s a valued member of the team. Her gender is not seen as a weakness, but a strength. But she has secrets from her past that nobody knows about, not even her boss, Steve Drackett. Secrets that have been slowly consuming her emotionally for years.

Steve and Ren McClement call on Ren’s former colleague, Jace Eakin, to step in and help them out by becoming a temporary SWAT team member to help out with numbers. He also has a more covert job to do: try and find the mole who has been helping Damien Freihof take the Omega team out one by one. Jace and Lillian have a history – they’re former lovers. Jace knows some of Lillian’s secrets, but the most shocking one has been hidden from him for years.

Their relationship ended with misconceptions on both their parts, and now the years have passed and they’re adults they agree they can work together with no issues. That proves harder than they think, however, when the spark that once burned between them ignites once more.

It becomes clear that Freihof and his insider cohort are planning to blame Lillian for their actions, which places her in danger when they attempt to take her life. But it’s not only Lillian they’re targeting – a big conference being attended by hundreds of law enforcement officials is happening, and all clues point to this being the endgame.

Lillian, Jace and the team have a tough assignment ahead: work out the identity of the mole and stop him and Freihof from killing hundreds of innocent people, and stay alive long enough to do it. Amidst all the madness, Lillian and Jace find out what they didn’t know about each other and have to decide if they want to resurrect their relationship or leave it in the past.

I loved Lillian. Her resilience and determination not to be defined by the terrible thing that happened to her made her a wonderfully complex character. I also loved Jace. He was the perfect yin to Lillian’s yang. This book was a great read – I’d give it six stars for ticking all the boxes if I could!

Review: Major Crimes by Janie Crouch

major crimesTitle: Major Crimes

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of Publication: Released today! The author kindly gave me an ARC to read for review.

The heroine: Hacker/computer genius Hayley Green

The hero: Omega Protection and Recovery Division agent Cain Bennett

The blurb: Hayley Green never wanted to see Omega special agent Cain Bennett again. Ever. He seduced her, then sent her to prison for hacking, and Hayley’s only just started piecing her life back together. Except now Cain needs Hayley’s help to catch a murderer. Their past is colliding with their still-smoldering attraction…and the only thing more dangerous than the killer is the secrets Hayley’s been keeping.

Standalone or series: Book four in the Omega Sector: Under Siege series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: This is the latest in the fabulous Omega Sector series (which will soon end, wah!). Cain Bennett works for Omega in the Protection and Recovery Division. He’s asked by Steve Drackett, head of the Critical Response Division, to help find the mole who’s been aiding sociopath Damien Freihof in his quest to take down the entire division because he wrongly blames them for the death of his wife.

Cain needs someone who can hack the Omega system and flush out the mole. Fortunately for him, he knows an excellent hacker – Hayley Green, the woman he once loved. Unfortunately, Hayley’s been in prison for the last four years and he was the one who arrested her, so she’s not likely to feel inclined to have anything to do with Cain. Four years previously, Cain asked for Hayley’s help as a computer expert; law enforcement was trying to find a group of hackers who were selling fake college entrance test scores to rich kids. What Cain didn’t know until it was too late was that Hayley was one of the hackers. Her reason for doing it was heartbreaking, but she still broke the law and she’s never shied away from admitting that. What hurts her most is that she believes Cain slept with her in order to get close so he could arrest her.

Cain also didn’t know that Hayley was pregnant when she was arrested. At most, Cain thought she’d get a slap on the wrist and some community service, since she pled guilty and was a first time offender. However, the judge decided to make an example of her and sentenced her to ten years, with a minimum of four. So Hayley gave birth inside prison and made her cousin, Ariel, baby Mason’s legal guardian.

When Cain comes back to Georgia four months after Hayley’s release, he finds her working herself to death at a local diner, owned by some douchebag they both went to school with. Cain can’t understand why Hayley needs the money so badly, but she has a good reason why – just before Hayley was arrested, she discovered someone was using the hacking as a cover for darker activities. Hayley managed to set a trap online to catch them just before she was jailed, and she knows that once she looks into they’ll know she’s onto them.

Hayley has a lot of secrets and Cain’s determined to find out what they are. When Hayley is caught in a fire at the diner, it’s only Cain’s quick thinking that saves her. Determined to find out what’s going on, he follows Hayley when she goes to meet Ariel and Mason for ice cream, and he sees a birthmark on Mason that is identical to one of his own… first mystery solved. Mason is his son.

Cain doesn’t have time to get to know their child, because someone has taken a hit out on Hayley’s life. Other hackers have died in mysterious circumstances, too many for it to be a co-incidence. He gets Hayley, Ariel and Mason to safety, and then he and Hayley work together to find out who’s after her and who the mole is. Along the way, they realise they still love each other.

If you want a book with romance, a happy ending, and a mystery that will keep you on the edge until the very end, then this is the book to pick up 😀

Review: Cease Fire by Janie Crouch

cease fire Title: Cease Fire

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2018 – this book is being released on May 22. The author very kindly gave me an ARC to read and review.

The heroine: Ex stripper/hairdresser Keira Spencer

The hero: SWAT team member Roman Weber

The blurb: One perfect weekend changed his life. And now he’d die to protect his unborn child…

Two months ago, Roman Weber and Keira Spencer spent a breathless weekend together. But her sordid past and his privileged upbringing conspired against any happily-ever-after. When Keira is targeted by a killer, Omega Sector assigns Roman to safeguard her—and possibly win her back. Then Keira reveals she’s pregnant, and Roman knows the killer must be stopped…if they ever hope to become a family.

Standalone or series: Book three in the Omega Sector: Under Siege series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Keira Spencer is a remarkable heroine. Orphaned at seventeen, she has no family and no money because her well-intentioned parents tied up her inheritance until she turned twenty-five. Alone in the world, she falls for a man from a wealthy family with political connections, Jonathan Cunningham. When she marries him at nineteen, she finds out the hard way he’s not the man she thought he was – he’s a violent, abusive sociopath. Keira lands in hospital more than once, and instead of supporting and helping her, her in-laws do nothing. Worse still, her father-in-law threatens her, telling her nobody will believe her if she tells them what happened because his money can buy silence.

Eventually, Keira finds the strength to leave Jonathan and flees the state with absolutely nothing. She finds work in a strip club, where she meets Andrea Gordon (you can read her story in Man Of Action, where we first meet Keira). When she turns twenty-five she receives her inheritance, and it’s enough for her to buy a building. She puts in a hairdressing salon down the bottom and converts the units upstairs, because not only does she run a salon, but also a shelter where battered women can flee their abusers and have somewhere safe to go. Keira takes them in and teaches them a trade, so they can support themselves.

Keira is a fighter. She’s a survivor. She doesn’t let what happened to her define her, but instead uses her experiences to help other women. She won’t, however, ever consider marriage again.

It’s at Andrea and Brandon’s wedding that she sees Roman Weber. She knows him through the bride and groom, but they get talking at the reception and she’s attracted to him, so she throws caution to the wind and agrees to leave and go up to his hotel suite. They stay there for a few days before eventually heading back to reality.

Reality intrudes with a bang when Keira finds out eight weeks later that she’s pregnant, despite them using protection. She’s never really considered having a child before, but finds she really wants to keep the baby. She tells Roman about the baby and he warms to the idea instantly, of not only being a father but making a go of his relationship with Keira because he’s drawn to her. He finds out about the shelter and admires her quiet strength and determination to do good out of bad.

However, a few things start to get in their way: his snooty mother, for one, who is none too impressed to find out her beloved son, for whom she has great political aspirations, has knocked up an ex-stripper. She believes Keira is only after the Weber money and is determined to get rid of her, no matter how much it costs. She goes out of her way to blindside Keira at every turn and even offers her money to terminate her relationship with Roman – and the pregnancy. Keira, who won’t kowtow to anyone ever again, refuses.

But their biggest problem is the person who’s trying to kill Keira. Damien Freihof is back in the picture; if you’ve read previous books, you’ll know he’s the psychopath who is determined to make every single SWAT team member pay because he lost a loved one in a hostage situation gone wrong. He’s cunning and manipulative, and won’t stop until he succeeds in killing them all. He does take the life of an Omega Sector member in this book and badly injures another, and I can’t wait for them to finally catch up to this monster and take him down. He’s only managed to avoid them so far because there’s a mole inside Omega Sector feeding him information (and I think I might finally have figured out who it is – I love a good mystery!).

Old demons come back to haunt Keira and it’s only with Roman by her side that she manages to survive. I’m not going to spoil you as to who’s after her or how Freihof plays into it, but all will be revealed and Roman and Keira get their happy ending. Yay! Another great instalment in the Omega Sector series.

Review: Survival Instinct by Janie Crouch

survival instinctTitle: Survival Instinct

Author: Janie Crouch

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: TV show creator and writer Chloe Jeffries

The hero: Ex Special Forces soldier/bodyguard Shane Westman

The blurb: The voices in her head have decided to kill her.

Most people joke about hearing voices in their heads. For Chloe Jeffries, they’re real. And as the creative force behind one of the most popular shows on television, she has used the constant flood of voices in her mind to her advantage: fuel for entertainment.

But now one of the voices has decided it wants Chloe all for itself.

Ex-Special Forces soldier Shane Westman just wants to make it back to his ranch in Wyoming to begin to heal from the horrors of war. The last thing he needs, even as a favor for a good friend, is to take on bodyguard duty of a flighty television writer. But once he does, he realizes there are threats at play he doesn’t understand. And the woman who has somehow begun to thaw his frozen heart is in desperate danger from a menace they can’t see, but is always close.

Someone determined to be the last voice Chloe ever hears.

Standalone or series: Book three in the Instinct series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: This is the final in the trilogy about the Jeffries triplets, all of whom have a gift. Chloe is the creator of one of the biggest TV shows out, Day’s End, a paranormal show filmed in Black Mountain, North Carolina. As an aside, I was excited when I saw where it was set because I’ve been to Black Mountain several times on holiday and I love it there!

So Chloe, like her sisters Adrienne and Paige, has a gift. She can hear other people talking in her head. She has one voice in particular that bothers her; a man she refers to as Conversation Hearts because all he talks about is a woman he’s obsessed with. When he’s loud enough, Chloe screams in pain, blacks out and gets nosebleeds. She also has something else to worry about – someone is stalking the cast and crew of Day’s End and making threats.

Shane Westman is in Black Mountain after the recent death of his beloved grandmother, who raised him. He’s cleaning out the house he’s inherited when he’s asked to take a side job on the set of Day’s End for the private security firm he’s about to head to Wyoming to join. He’s reluctant at first, but eventually agrees to co-ordinate and head the security team until the stalker is caught.

Chloe very reluctantly allows security on set at the studio’s insistence. At first, Chloe tries to fire Shane. She doesn’t want him there because he rubs her the wrong way. She surrounds herself with the other writers on set – Nadine, her best friend since childhood; Travis, who’s been on the show for years and has recently started dating Nadine; and Justin, a temperamental, unreliable person who’s also a fabulous writer. She doesn’t want anyone else around her constantly, but Shane takes his job seriously and finds himself attracted to Chloe.

The attraction is mutual, even though Chloe doesn’t want it to be. It’s only because she’s fighting with Shane in the early hours of one morning that she avoids being killed when an explosion takes place on set, and combined with a few other near misses with the crew, Chloe realises they have to find this stalker, no matter what it takes.

The lead actress on the show is Alexandra Adams, and she’s all over Shane like a rash, which annoys Chloe to no end. When the threats become specific and Alexandra is targeted, Chloe has no choice but to give in to Alexandra’s demand that Shane personally guard her body.

Chloe doesn’t want to fall in love with Shane because she knows he’s heading to Wyoming once the stalker is caught. Shane doesn’t want to fall in love with Chloe because he doesn’t think she wants him to stay. Chloe realises that the voices become quiet when Shane is near her and she takes solace in that. She doesn’t want him to go.

All is revealed in the end. I was correct about the identity of the stalker, although I was surprised by the twist revealed when he was discovered. I was also correct about the identity of Conversation Hearts and the woman he was obsessed with (I so rarely get these things right when reading!), but there were quite a few possible suspects that it was hard to know for sure if you were on the right track. Another great book from Janie! This series is definitely worth reading.

Review: Critical Instinct by Janie Crouch

critical instinctTitle: Critical Instinct

Author: Janie Crouch

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Artist Paige Jeffries

The hero: Detective Brett Wagner

The blurb: Paige Jeffries is the darling of the art world. Her works are original, compelling. But after a brutal attack two years ago —a savage beating from an unknown assailant—Paige has become all but a recluse. She knows her mind is broken. In her sleep she’s drawing scenes of violence. Murders. Going to the cops isn’t an option because they already think she’s crazy. And they may be right.

Seasoned homicide detective Brett Wagner is asked to look into a cold case nobody wants: the assault and battery of a local artist who claims to have drawn a picture of her own attack before it even happened. He remembers shy Paige from high school, and is driven to find her attacker, to believe her when nobody else does, to protect the innocent beauty.

Because when he witnesses firsthand what Paige is drawing in her sleep, Brett realizes they are scenes from actual cases. Cases that had no connection until now. Portland has a secret serial killer, and Paige is somehow linked to his mind.

Standalone or series: Book two in the Instinct series, but can be read as standalone

The review: This book is about one of Adrienne’s sisters, Paige. Like her sisters, Paige has a gift – she can see auras. Every person has colours that surround them and Paige can see evil people because their auras are black.

Two years prior to the book opening, Paige was attacked by a man who nearly bashed her to death. He left her in a burning warehouse but somehow she managed to escape. In the two years after, she’s become a recluse, rarely able to leave her fortified house and be around people. Professionally, she is a talented artist whose paintings sell for a great deal of money, which means she can afford the round-the-clock security guards she has at her home.

The man who attacked her has never been caught. After her attack, Paige discovered she had another ability – she can draw in her sleep. Her pictures are so good they look like photos. Over the span of two years, she has drawn hundreds of pictures of women in her sleep – some of them are alive, some are dead. She doesn’t know who they are or why she’s drawing them, but it takes its toll on her. Like her sisters, she gets nose bleeds and becomes so weak she collapses.

Homicide detective Brett Wagner has moved back to Portland after spending fifteen years in Florida after the deaths of his parents and two sisters in a car crash when he was a senior in high school. Brett is asked by his father’s best friend, who happens to be the chief of police, to look into Paige’s cold case and see if he can spot anything others couldn’t. He knows Paige is hiding something after their first meeting, but he finds himself drawn to her.

Paige feels the same about Brett. They knew each other vaguely in high school – she knew his sisters – and his aura is peaceful: all blues and teals and purples. Slowly, she lets him in and trusts him, even when she knows how crazy her story sounds. In the early hours of one morning, Paige sleepwalks into the room where she draws and Brett follows her, where he watches her sketch a picture of a woman who soon turns up dead.

Brett and his partner, Alex, soon follow a lead that a number of dead women may be part of a pattern that links them to the same killer, the man who attacked Paige. Brett starts to believe that Paige should have died that night and that the killer will come back for her to finish what he started.

Paige eventually shows Brett the hundreds of pictures she’s drawn while asleep and with Alex, they realise they’re all of the same women who were killed by the man who attacked Paige. Eventually, Brett and Alex track down who he is, but not before he manages to kidnap Paige from right under their noses. Paige, who had already drawn a picture of herself dead, is determined not to let that picture come true and so she fights. The heroine wins and gets her hero. Yay! Another book worth reading 🙂

Review: Primal Instinct by Janie Crouch

primal instinctTitle: Primal Instinct

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2014

The heroine: Rancher/FBI profiler Adrienne Jeffries

The hero: FBI Special Agent Conner Perigo

The blurb: On the crowded streets of San Francisco, a serial killer watches and waits. Known only as “Simon Says,” he lures his next victim while the FBI grasps for answers. Desperate, they turn to Adrienne Jeffries. Adrienne has an uncanny talent for getting inside the city’s most dangerous minds. But first she’ll have to get past FBI agent Conner Perigo. Skeptical of Adrienne’s abilities, Conner begrudgingly enlists her help…unprepared for the powerful attraction that could jeopardize their focus. With little time, and everything to lose, they must work to find Simon’s next victim—before he does.

Standalone or series: Book one of the Instinct series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: FBI Special Agent Conner Perigo has heard of The Bloodhound, a woman who used to work for the FBI years ago as a civilian profiler. Her reputation precedes her; she helped solve an untold number of cases in a two year period. However, eight years ago, she suddenly stopped working with the FBI and has become somewhat of a legend whispered about at the water cooler.

San Francisco has a serial killer named Simon Says in its midst, and the FBI are desperate to find him. He’s been taunting them by sending boxes with locks of hair, and the women the hair belong to turns up dead shortly after. The body count now stands at five, and Conner and his partner, Seth Harrington, are willing to do anything to find him.

Adrienne Jeffries now owns a horse ranch a couple of hours outside San Fran, and her manager, Rick, has a warrant out for his arrest for failing to meet the conditions of his parole for minor crimes. So when Conner’s boss tells him and Seth to go to Adrienne and bring her in to help them with the Simon Says case or else they’ll arrest Rick, Conner is torn – he doesn’t like the idea of blackmailing this woman, but he has to follow orders.

He expects to find a middle-aged woman when he turns up at Adrienne’s ranch, but what he gets is something quite different: Adrienne is a softly spoken, petite twenty eight year old. He learns that she was only a teenager when she worked for the FBI and she has a gift – she’s able to sense malevolence and evil in people. She can hear their thoughts in her head. She has a constant buzz whenever she’s around people, which is why she chooses to live on a quiet ranch out of the city, and using her gift takes a very big toll on her in every way. The evil voices scream inside her head. She gets nosebleeds and migraines. She’s barely able to stand in their presence. But the FBI did not look after her in any way, just demanded she kept helping them solve cases, and eventually it became so hard for her that she had to walk away.

Which is why she is reluctant to go back to the FBI, but she does to help Rick. Something about her just gets under Conner’s skin and he’s rude the first time they meet, causing Adrienne to amusingly refer to him as Special Agent Jackass. But as he starts to become aware of her gift and how it works, he’s in awe of what an amazing woman she is, to live with what she does and not go totally insane. Adrienne realises that when Conner is around her, she can’t hear anything in her head – he seems to take away her ability to sense anything, leaving her in blissful silence.

When Simon kills another woman, Adrienne knows she can’t walk away, no matter the personal toll it takes on her. There is one scene where Adrienne is in a coffee shop one morning and can hear a man intent on murdering two of the people in the coffee shop with Adrienne that is just incredible. The closer he gets, the more Adrienne can hear him in her head and his rage is so overpowering that she’s close to collapse, but she manages to call for help in time and saves the couple, who turn out to be the man’s estranged wife and her new boyfriend.

I did guess the identity of Simon Says, but there was a twist I didn’t see coming that explained why Adrienne didn’t identify him straight away at first; it was very cleverly done. Even though they’ve known each other for a short time, Conner and Adrienne realise they’ve fallen for each other, so once Simon is caught, they plan a life together.

This is the first in the Instinct trilogy – Adrienne is a triplet, and her sisters Paige and Chloe also have a gift. The next two books are their stories. Be prepared to be sucked into this book – I read it one night for hours until my phone fell out of my hand because I was so tired!

Review: Man of Action by Janie Crouch

man of actionTitle: Man of Action

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Omega Sector behavioural analyst Andrea Gordon

The hero: Omega Sector profiler Brandon Han

The blurb: At nineteen, Andrea Gordon’s life was forever changed. After proving herself instrumental in a bank hostage crisis, she became one of Omega Sector’s top agents. Four years later, her skill at reading people is unrivalled—until she meets fellow profiler Brandon Han.

Paired together to track a serial killer who has been targeting at-risk women, the two become entangled beyond the case. Their mutual attraction deepens as they get closer to the truth. But when Andrea’s own sordid past surfaces, they will both be forced to question everything about the assignment…and each other.

Standalone or series: Book four in the Omega Sector: Critical Response series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: You know what I love about reading a book by Janie Crouch? I know I’m going to enjoy it before I’ve even read a word. This book was no exception. I’ve seen Brandon pop up in other books before and was curious enough to want to read his book.

Andrea Gordon is an amazing heroine. Brought up by an abusive, alcoholic aunt and uncle, she finally leaves at seventeen and gets a job in a strip club. She hates every minute of it, but does what she has to do to survive. When she goes into a bank one day and gets an uneasy feeling about three men who’ve entered, she leaves immediately – and becomes the last person to leave before they take the bank hostage.

When she overhears the authorities talking about storming the building, she realises they don’t know about the third man. She approaches Steve Drackett, the Omega Sector director, and Grace Parker, the psychologist, to tell them about him, and something about her intrigues Steve enough that he and Grace seek her out after the crisis is over. Andrea is naturally gifted at being able to read people’s emotions and body language, better than some people who have been trained for years. When Steve sees where she is working, he offers her an out – do some testing and he’ll hire her at Omega Sector.

Four years later, Andrea has turned her life around. Her previous life is behind her, but she’s afraid of getting too close to her colleagues at Omega Sector in case they find out she’s a dyslexic high school dropout who used to strip. Brandon is aware of her reputation around the office as an ice queen, but he’s attracted to her for reasons he can’t work out. Having worked solo for the previous year since the death of his partner, he’s not happy when Steve partners him up with Andrea on a serial killer case. It makes sense – Andrea is excellent at reading people and one victim is from her hometown, so she knows the area well.

Home is the last place Andrea wants to go, especially with the man she’s been attracted to for years, but she has a job to do and she doesn’t want to let down Steve, the only man who’s ever given her a chance. While they’re there, they can no longer fight their desire and Andrea’s sordid past comes out. Brandon disappointingly doesn’t take it well at first, and I could have smacked him for it, but eventually he realises how amazing Andrea is to have overcome her past to be who she is now. They do eventually catch the killer, whose identity I did not guess, but not before Andrea is taken hostage. Brandon saves her, is injured, and they get their happily ever after. Read this book because Andrea is awesome, and I love reading about awesome heroines 🙂 Oh, it is must be said – that guy on the cover is hot!

Special Forces Savior by Janie Crouch

special forces saviorTitle: Special Forces Savior

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Forensic scientist Molly Humphries

The hero: Omega Sector agent Derek Waterman

The blurb: Omega Sector: Critical Response agent Derek Waterman is hunting some very bad men. After weeks of chasing cold leads, he has found the evidence that could expose the architects of a lethal terrorist bombing. But before Derek can start busting bad guys, he needs help from Dr Molly Humphries, Omega’s lead forensic scientist.

Molly works to retrieve the data — and overcome her debilitating crush on the super agent. And Derek carefully suppresses his mutual smoldering attraction, sure that his dark past will drive Molly away. But when Molly’s kidnapped, Derek will stop at nothing to save her. Even if a lethal enemy will do everything to keep him from doing so.

Standalone or series: This is part of the Omega Sector: Critical Response series, which precedes the Omega Sector: Under Siege series. It can be read as a standalone, but you will see crossovers of the same characters.

The review: I think Janie Crouch is fast becoming one of my favourite M&B authors! I got this e-book free for signing up for her mailing list and completely devoured it.

Dr Molly Humphries is intelligent, diligent and well-liked and respected by all who know her – but she’s also called Mousy Molly, because she dresses sensibly. She doesn’t wear make up. Nobody really seems to have any idea of Molly the woman vs Molly the scientist. What is well known, however, is her crush on Derek Waterman.

Here’s what nobody else knows: Derek feels the same way about Molly, but refuses to tell anyone because his job takes him to dark places. He fights evil, and he’s unwilling to drag sweet, kind Molly into his dark world. She is his light and he won’t taint that. So while he knows exactly how she feels about him, he won’t act on it, even though Molly sees the way he looks at her sometimes. Oh, and another thing nobody else knows about? They slept together three years previously, when Derek turned up on her doorstep drunk one night.

Molly gets involved in processing evidence from a major case Derek and his team are working on, narrowly avoids being blown to smithereens, and is then kidnapped by some very bad people. Derek lets nothing stop him in rescuing her, but it’s not over when they get home – Molly is being framed for the bombing at her lab, and someone high up in the government is involved. The conspiracy is cracked and the players are caught, but not before Molly is hurt by the man who kidnapped her – and you can just feel Derek’s anguish as he listens to her finger being broken over the phone.

Derek and Molly’s relationship was just wonderful to read, and in the end they refuse to hide how they feel from everyone else. Another excellent book worth reading.

Daddy Defender by Janie Crouch

daddy defenderTitle: Daddy Defender

Author: Janie Crouch

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Social media specialist/press secretary Summer Worrall

The hero: Omega Sector SWAT team sharpshooter Ashton Fitzgerald

The blurb: What a serious case of mistaken identity. Ashton Fitzgerald is no unassuming handyman, but a highly trained sharpshooter intent on protecting Summer Worrall and her baby daughter. The Omega SWAT member has a debt to pay and he isn’t about to let Summer out of his sight.

For someone else has set their sights on the lovely widow. Her unexpected relationship with Ashton has put Summer and her child straight into a madman’s line of fire. Suddenly a mission to make amends becomes Ashton’s quest to defend this little family with his life.

Standalone or series: Part of the Omega Sector: Under Siege series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I loved this book. Loved loved loved it. Two years previously, when Summer was six months pregnant with daughter Chloe, her husband Tyler was killed in a hostage situation gone wrong. The Omega Sector SWAT team on site that fateful day included Ashton Fitzgerald, affectionately known as Fitzy to his teammates. He had a chance to take out the bad guy that day, but stuck to his orders and waited for the negotiator to talk the bad guy down. Alas, bad guy had a grenade and killed several people, including Tyler Worrall.

Ashton feels incredibly guilty about not saving him that day. When Ashton is asked by a colleague to organise a handyman to fix something in Summer’s condo (which belongs to said colleague, Joe) he decides to take care of it himself. Summer then believes him to be the maintenance man for the property, and the more time that passes, the harder it becomes for Ashton to tell Summer who he really is. And what makes it worse is that he’s attracted to her, and Chloe adores him, calling him Ah-ta.

Summer starts to find reasons to call Ashton to her place and, thinking he’s shy, makes the first move, kissing him (which I loved!). She invites him into her bedroom, and while he wants nothing more than to go, he refuses until he tells her the truth about who he really is. All the while, his teammates have been teasing him about being in the friend zone, which makes for amusing scenes. I also got vibes between two of his teammates, Roman and Lillian – I wonder if they get a book of their own?

Summer does eventually find out who Ashton really is when she stumbles upon him and his team at a potential hostage situation. In the meantime, someone is targeting Ashton and his team, someone out for revenge with a partner or two. Summer is just collateral damage. Ashton will do whatever he can to protect Summer and Chloe, to whom he’s rapidly become attached to.

Summer finds out the entire truth, about Ashton being there the day her husband died and how he could have made the shot. I thought it was very nicely handled; Ashton’s biggest fear is that Summer would blame him for Tyler’s death – and she didn’t. Their relationship was handled nicely and I adored them both. My only complaint, if I could call it that, is that there was no actual sex scene between Ashton and Summer – the author chose to leave it to the reader’s imagination. Wah! You should definitely read this book.

And seriously, how freaking adorable is that cover?