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Thursday, July 18, 2013

ARC Review: Reunited in Danger by Joya Fields

REUNITED IN DANGER was my first Joya Fields novel—but it definitely will not be my last! It seamlessly combines a tautly paced plot rife with suspense, action, and danger with the right amount of reunion romance angst between two great characters shaped by their childhoods to create a well-crafted, gritty page-turner you will not want to put down.

It’s rare for me to like both the hero and heroine equally and not want to strangle one or the other repeatedly throughout the course of the novel, but Ms. Fields has written two incredibly strong and realistic characters with their share of issues that manage to do just that whilst burning up the pages. Heroine Keely Allen is a social worker that bounced around several foster homes after the death of her heroin-addicted biological mother before being adopted by a pastor and his wife. She’s the antithesis of the whiny, TSTL heroine that sometimes crops up in romance and drives me absolutely mad: her compassion and fortitude drive her to enter potentially dangerous situations to rescue children from unfit parents and to investigate a vicious attack on her adoptive father, Ben. Her teenage romance with hero Logan North and his abrupt & unexplained disappearance from her life ten years ago, combined with her childhood before being adopted, has left her with abandonment issues and unwilling to entrust her heart to anyone. Especially not to Logan, who walks back into her life to unofficially assist with the investigation into Ben’s attack—even though she is still desperately in love with him. She has secrets and issues that make her an intriguing and realistic heroine, and I was truly invested in (and rooting for) her journey to the HEA.

And then there’s Logan North, former messed up kid from an abusive household going nowhere fast and current Baltimore homicide detective after a stint in the Marines. Logan is my favourite kind of hero: he’s got that protective, alpha-male persona that is undeniably sexy but without tipping over into overbearing and autocratic. And he has the right amount of emotional baggage to make his relationship with Keely require work and make me want to give him a hug without veering into excessive melodrama. Raised by an abusive father who beat him and his mother, Logan is convinced he has that same uncontrollable anger inside him and believes he doesn’t deserve to have—and can’t risk having—the family Keely ultimately wants. I often find the “you deserve better so I’ll leave for your own good” hero/heroine dynamic a bit too histrionic, but Ms. Fields handles it with a light enough hand that makes it believable and poignant rather than overdone and exasperating. Keely and Logan are truly a great couple, and watching them navigate all their hangups and issues to an incredibly sweet HEA is heartwarming and satisfying. And, boy, do the two of them sizzle: from the moment they are reunited, the sexual chemistry is palpable and the inevitable love scenes do not disappoint.

The plot is fairly typical of dark romantic suspense, but the hard-hitting investigation into drug dealing and human trafficking is well written and suitably paced. I found myself continuously turning pages to see how things would turn out and whether my suspicions were correct. Ms. Fields’s writing also brings the community Ben and Keely live in to life and introduces a couple of truly memorable secondary characters. I’m intrigued to learn fellow social worker Nevaeh’s story, and I want to be kickass like Margaret when I grow up!

Overall, REUNITED IN DANGER mixes suspense, action, and romance to create a thoroughly enjoyable, intense story that makes a great read for fans of dark(ish) romantic suspense. I’m glad to have discovered this new-to-me author, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |


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