I really felt that this book needed to come with a strong warning, or at least a more accurate blurb. For much of the first two chapters I felt as if I was reading a different book to the one described, although with a similarly named and described heroine. The book begins with Rachel being pressured into dating her best friend’s cousin (I really wanted to tell the best friend to date the cousin herself if he was that wonderful, but then I remembered that you mostly don’t do that sort of thing across the pond). The cousin in question turns out to be first a player, then borderline abusive, then a potential rapist in a scene which was harrowing for me and a potential trigger for others. No one believes Rachel, and she inexplicably continues in her plan to spend the summer break sharing an apartment with her best friend – the cousin and ardent admirer of the guy who tried to rape Rachel! Then suddenly, at the beginning of Chapter Three, we meet the hero of the story…
Logan, aka Kash, is an undercover cop, working with his best friend Mason on narcotics cases. Their most recent case has gone badly with Mason being threatened with disciplinary action for punching a restrained suspect (didn’t that sort of behaviour go out in the 1970s?) and a hit has been placed on the two cops by the bad guys in that case. So they are randomly transferred to another state and a completely different type of undercover assignment – hunting a serial killer who preys on young women (yes, this book repeatedly stretches credibility). Naturally, this being Romancelandia, they rent the apartment opposite that rented by Rachel and her best friend, Candice.
Candice and Mason hook up almost immediately – although not on a remotely exclusive basis – and Rachel is ejected from the apartment (in her pyjamas!), even though she and Candice now have multiple rooms in which to conduct their separate activities. She and Kash then go shopping (with Rachel still in her pyjamas – you’d think he’d lend her jeans and a T-shirt at the very least!) and they blow vast sums of the police department’s budget on furniture for the bare apartment. Not that this is at all suspicious behaviour, of course, when the boys are posing as drifter-bartenders.
The book then turns into a good-girl/bad-boy friends-to-lovers story, which occasionally remembers that Rachel was raped (the attempted part having been forgotten in her flashbacks) and that Kash is an undercover police officer, until Rachel gains a stalker, who turns out to be working for her would-be-rapist ex- (who no one has considered might be linked to Kash and Mason’s investigation). So Kash drags her off on an impromptu holiday and then proposes to her, still without telling Rachel who he really is, or anything about his reason for being in town. And am I missing something, or does no one in this story use social media to communicate and/or search engines to check out potential partners? In a story with characters in their early to mid twenties, I find that a little unlikely these days.
Of course, Rachel becomes the target of the serial killer, and Kash’s mission is revealed when he charges in to rescue her (at which point we learn that the villain of the piece has managed to outwit the police pair and their allies in all kinds of unlikely ways). The pair fall out over this, are reunited at last and then start planning their wedding, including one of my pet peeves: the abandoning of condoms as proof that this is a lasting relationship (because in Romancelandia true love means never having to be tested for STDs first). We then get ‘treated’ to the epilogue… which turns out to be a set-up for the next book: no happy ending here after all, so don’t read this book if that’s what you want from a romance.
I have no intention of reading the next in the series after all those let-downs, and really can’t understand why the book has had such good reviews elsewhere. Read it if you want a bad boy hero who really isn’t, and don’t mind the happy ending being destroyed by the epilogue, but avoid if you want any sort of police competence in your characters and plot, or require a story in which the heroine doesn’t repeatedly get almost ‘fridged’ (to use comic book parlance).
A matter of secrets . . .
Undercover cop Logan “Kash” Ryan can’t afford a distraction like his new neighbor Rachel Masters, even if she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. To catch a serial killer, he needs to stay focused, yet all he can think about is the feisty, long-legged coed whose guarded nature intrigues him.
A matter of lies . . .
Deceived and hurt before, Rachel would rather be a single, crazy cat lady than trust another guy, especially a gorgeous, tattooed bad boy with a Harley, like Kash. But when his liquid-steel eyes meet hers, it takes all of Rachel’s willpower to stop herself from exploring his hot body with her own.
A matter of love . . .
As much as they try to keep it platonic, the friction between them sparks an irresistible heat that soon consumes them. Can Kash keep Rachel’s heart and her life safe even as he risks his own? Will she be able to forgive his lies . . . or will she run when she discovers the dangerous truth?
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: