Stone Walls is a standalone romantic suspense novel from A.M. Madden, and I have to admit that I couldn't wait to read this one. I was really intrigued by the blurb, and the fact that it was a standalone story was very refreshing! It seems like all books anymore are a part of a series or they are released as serials, so this was exactly what I was looking for. I really enjoyed the book, and I liked the characters. This is definitely worth giving a shot if you are looking for a one and done type of book with some romance and suspense.
Ella Parker and Benjamin Stone want nothing to do with each other when their friends first set them up. As an NYPD Narcotics agent, Ben has no time for anything more than a casual arrangement with women. He isn't looking for more, yet he can't help but be drawn to Ella after meeting her. Ella just got out of a relationship with a perfectly nice guy, and she definitely isn't looking to start anything with someone as arrogant as Ben. But she can't get him off her mind, and soon she is hoping for more. As Ben and Ella spend more time together through their best friends, they find themselves developing feelings for one another. But when Ben's new case suddenly has ties to Ella's past as well as his own, they quickly find themselves dealing with a danger they never expected. Will they be able to make it through safe, or will their relationship be over before it ever really began?
Ben and Ella were both great characters. They were both strong and independent. They had so much in common, and I loved seeing them circle around each other at first. They were stubborn and so alike that the tension between them was thick. But when they finally started letting each other in, it was clear that they were perfect for one another. Ella had been through a lot with her mom and she was devastated when she lost her in such a horrific way. I was glad that Ben understood her so well and didn't even flinch when finding out her story. He was supportive and caring, and I liked that he was so protective of her even though it annoyed Ella at times. Ben had also been through a lot, and I loved his determination when it came to doing his job. He was loyal to those he cared about, and would do whatever it took to keep them all safe. He hadn't wanted anything serious with anyone before Ella, but it was clear that he just hadn't met the right one before her. He had no problems committing to her, and I loved that about him. Once he realized his feelings, he was completely in. Ella and Ben had a great connection and chemistry and I liked seeing them together as they figured out how to adjust to their feelings for one another.
I will say that for me their relationship seemed to happen pretty suddenly though. One minute they were both fighting it, and the next they were wanting more. It was almost as if a switch had been flipped over night from not wanting anything to calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend. While I felt their connection was real, it just seemed that they skipped the part where they went from wanting nothing to developing feelings before going all in. I wanted to see them as they made the transition from strangers to a couple, maybe dating a bit or developing a friendship first. I just felt like we missed that whole part of their relationship, and it seemed a bit unrealistic with how things changed between them. But besides that, I really thought that this was a good story. The suspense was enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat without taking over the story. I never knew exactly what would happen next, and I enjoyed seeing how A.M. Madden wove their stories together and connected all the dots. I think that readers looking for some suspense with their romance will like this book and the characters. I will definitely look for more from A.M. Madden in the future, and I really enjoyed her writing style.
**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**