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.

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?