Closer… by Jo Leigh

closerTitle: Closer…

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2006

The heroine: Designer Christie Pratchett

The hero: Ex-Delta Force soldier Boon Ferguson

The blurb: A stalker has destroyed Christie Pratchett’s life. He’s stolen her job, her friends and her freedom. The police can’t help her, nor can the FBI. Now with a single call for help, it’s all up to ex-Delta Force member Boone Ferguson

Boone lives under the radar … with a secret that could cost him his life. But he’s going to train Christie to become a warrior princess – and his lover. Together, they’re going to risk it all… on the street and in the bedroom.

Standalone or series: Book one of the In Too Deep series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I have mixed feelings about this one. Christie has been terrorized for five months and she’s lost pretty much everything – her job, her friends, her freedom. She’s terrified of her own shadow, and the stalker has friends in high places – he’s had the IRS freeze her bank accounts so she can’t even flee the house she loves. All she has left is her dog, Milo, after the death of her older brother, Nate, seventeen months previously.

He gave her a phone number and told her to call it if she was ever in trouble, so in desperation she rings… only to get a pizzeria. Soon afterwards, Boone turns up. He was in Delta Force with Nate, and once he realises Christie is being stalked, he agrees to help save her life as Nate once saved his.

So he starts to train her to defend herself and teaches her how to shoot a gun, all the while ignoring his attraction to her. Theirs was a bit of a strange romance, I found. Christie ran a bit hot and cold – one minute she just had to have sex with Boone or she was going to die, the next she was mad at him for some perceived slight. She knew something had happened on a mission that Nate, Boone and co did in the Balkans, and Boone reluctantly admits they were all working for some shadow company that sat outside the government, and therefore the law, but with their approval. The team was told to take down a scientist, but when they got there they discovered they’d been lied to and refused to do the job. Now, they’re all on the run and off the grid – they’ve changed their names, their appearances, and only pay in cash.

Christie saw Nate get blown up in a car bomb, so she wants to know what happened in this mission and why her brother had to die. Boone is reluctant to tell her, not wanting to drag her into their mess on top of the stalker she’s dealing with, but eventually he relents. SPOILER ALERT – Nate is not dead! He rocks up towards the end of the book, having been in hiding like the rest of them, because they’re all targets and someone is after him in particular. The stalker is caught when he tries to kill Boone and Christie and dies when Nate shoots him, and Christie is forced to leave her life behind and go on the run like the others because now she knows too much and is a target.

At the end of the book, she’s living in Montana under an assumed name and working as a waitress. One day, a man shows up on her doorstep… and you know who it is. Boone has finally tracked her down and decides that if they both have to live on the run, they may as well do it together.

One Breathless Night by Jo Leigh

one breathless nightTitle: One Breathless Night

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: English teacher Jenna Delaney

The hero: Storm chaser Rick Sinclair

The blurb: Jenna Delaney has her life all mapped out — work, fiancé, financial plan. But when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, Jenna’s best-laid plans disappear. Instead, she finds herself lip-locked with the hunkiest of all hot male strangers. And whoa, serious fireworks. The kind that makes a girl plan on how to get best laid!

Rick Sinclair is blown away by the sheer force of their chemistry, especially when they end up at his borrowed high-tech ‘smart’ apartment. Except that this apartment seems to know just how to set up a seduction because suddenly Jenna is in Rick’s bed. And this one breathless night could take them anywhere…

Standalone or series: Part of the Three Wicked Nights series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Jenna is with her fiancé at the same New Year’s Eve party they’ve gone to for five years when she catches him kissing an old acquaintance at the stroke of midnight. This woman isn’t alone, either – her boyfriend, Rick, who has a diamond ring in his pocket, also spots them. Jenna and Rick, both devastated by the betrayal, don’t want to stick around. After kissing each other, they flee the party and head to where Rick is staying – his friend Sam’s amazing apartment, which also features in One Sizzling Night. This apartment is technologically a marvel – mood lighting that automatically comes on, rooms that adjust the temperature to suit the individual, etc.

They’re snowed in, thanks to the blizzard outside, and Jenna tries to sleep but finds herself freezing in the bedroom she’s in. So she wanders into Rick’s bedroom and climbs into bed with him at his invitation, and the next thing you know they’ve found a very enjoyable way to heat each other up.

Once they finally leave the apartment, they realise they miss each other and don’t miss their exes, so they end their relationships and see if they can forge one together. Living in separate states makes it harder – she’s in Boston, he’s in Oklahoma. There is a bit of anxiety; he thinks she wants someone with a stable job, and as a professional storm chaser he has to leave at a moment’s notice at any time of the day or night. They meet up a few times for hot sex, but come to realise they want more.

I enjoyed this book more than I did the previous one, because I liked both Rick and Jenna. Worth a read.

One Sizzling Night by Jo Leigh

one sizzling night

Title: One Sizzling Night

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Curator Kensey Foster (Roberts)

The hero: Former black ops soldier turned security specialist Logan McCabe

The blurb: First come lies…then comes temptation.

Former Black Ops soldier Logan McCabe is in high-tech heaven. The ‘smart’ apartment he’s staying at has it all — luxurious amenities, walls that change colour and a seductive and nearly naked woman in the living room. Now that’s everything a man can ask for. Except Kensey Roberts is no pixel pinup…and the sexual tension between them is most assuredly real.

Kensey is in way over her head. She’s undercover to expose a possible art thief and clear her absentee father’s name. She doesn’t need a distraction — especially the ex-military, crazy-sexy hot kind. ‘Captain McBabe’ is over six feet of pure, delicious temptation. But one sizzling night won’t just compromise her reputation…it could blow her cover sky-high.

Standalone or series: Part of the Three Wicked Nights series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I’ve read some books by Jo Leigh before and I’ve always enjoyed them. I liked this one, but I felt myself going back and forth about the romance between Logan and Kensey. They seemed to vacillate between hot and cold just a little too much for me, and neither of them appeared to trust the other a whole lot. They were both hiding secrets, and while I understood the reason for them, it just didn’t seem to be a good basis to build a relationship on.

I loved the supporting characters, especially Sam (who features in the last book of the series). She’s a tech genius and the apartment she’s designed sounds absolutely amazing – I’d love to live in it! Lighting that adapts to your mood. An awesome bathroom. The ideas were incredibly clever.

Kensey’s on a secret mission to prove her absentee father didn’t steal a painting worth millions, and she goes to the home of the man she suspects stole the original painting in an attempt to prove it – knowing he plans to have sex with her, and she has no idea how she’s going to get out of it. Even when she does end up proving it (with Logan’s help), she still doesn’t know if she even wants to make amends with her father. That had me wondering: why did she bother?

I noted that this is the first M&B book I’ve ever read that used the technical term for going down on a woman, and it jarred. I’m surprised they put it in, to be honest.

I liked Logan, but I found Kensey annoying at times. I wanted to like her more, but I just didn’t. Alas, earwax. But hey, let’s hear it for that cover – hot!