The second novel in nationally bestselling author K.A. Tucker’s breathtaking romantic suspense series, about an undercover detective who is dangerously drawn to her target.
Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it—the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.
Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington, DC, major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the West coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year-old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.
As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to.
About the Author
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novels He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.
Read an Excerpt
It’s a modest Seattle suburban home, with two stories, steep gables, and cream-colored siding. A row of artless bushes lines the walkway, courtesy of the builder’s unimaginative landscaping. It looks exactly like the house to its left and too similar to the house to its right.
And yet the number above the garage marks this house as altogether unique.
I hunch down in the passenger seat of the cruiser, just enough to spy the glow from the second floor through the cold drizzle. A bay window frames the blond woman swaying, the little boy curled within her arms, his cheek resting against her shoulder in a way that suggests he’s asleep.
“Where are they going to go?” I ask, eyeing the large “For Sale” sign staked into the front lawn. Just another thing for the neighborhood to look at as they throw sympathetic glances on their way by.
“She can’t make the mortgage,” Officer Burk confirms through a casual sip of coffee, its pungent aroma filling the car’s interior. “Her parents have a farm outside the city. Sounds like that’s where they’re heading.”
“He had no life insurance? Nothing?”
“She had to take a loan out on the house just to pay for the funeral.”
A dull pang throbs in my chest as I watch Betty-Jo Billings drift over to the window, listless eyes resting on the driveway below, where puddles of water pool in the indents formed by the tires that used to sit there. The exact place where her husband waved to her for the last time before climbing into the passenger side of his cherry-red Ford F-250. The truck he had advertised for sale on Craigslist. The truck he was allowing a prospective buyer to test drive.
Seattle police found Wayne Billings’s body fourteen days later in a city dump. The truck hasn’t turned up and it probably never will. No witnesses to interrogate, except for Wayne’s wife, and all they could get from her was that the driver wore a baseball hat and he was dropped off by someone in a dark sedan. She hadn’t been paying any real attention and I understand why. With a two-year-old hanging off her leg and a three-week-old baby in her arms, the poor woman was asleep on her feet, exhausted. When Wayne left, all she was probably thinking about was the family-friendly minivan they would buy with the cash from the truck.
The wipers swish back and forth in a monotonous song and heat blasts out from the dashboard to counter the chill in the damp spring air. I arrived on the West Coast one week ago and, though locals swear it’s not usually this bad, it hasn’t stopped raining.
I don’t mind it at all. I find it soothing, actually.
“It’s a real shame. Everyone says he was a decent guy. His kids will never get to find out,” Burk murmurs in that wearied voice that tells me that this is just another case to him. He has succumbed to the job. It’s not his fault; it’s how many cops learn to deal with the kinds of things we see every day.
The case sits open, but the local police force has pretty much written it off. I knew that the second I made the request for the files. Under a generic guise of a Washington, D.C., cop researching similar cases on the East Coast, of course. None of these guys knows why I’m really here.
I peer up at the little boy’s angelic face again.
And make a silent promise that Rust Markov—and anyone tied to him—will pay.
I drop my glass onto the table with a heavy thud. “Miller can go. I’m ready to run the shop on my own.”
Uncle Rust’s eyes wander over an attractive woman passing by, on her way to the restrooms of The Cellar, her hips swaying in rhythm with the throbbing bass. “I’ll tell you when you’re ready.”
The mouthful of vodka barely quells the bitterness ready to leap from my tongue. “Seriously? What else do I need to do? Haven’t I proven myself yet?” I stare hard at him as he rolls his drink around inside his cheeks. Rust has always shown patience with me, but that’s a sign that his tolerance with my drunken persistence is running thin.
“All good things come to those who wait.”
“I have waited. Hell, I’ve done more than wait. I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do! Do you think I enjoyed changing tires and going home every night stinking of motor oil?”
He drops a hand down on my shoulder, slightly too hard. “All part of the plan, Luke.”
The plan. Rust starting singing “the plan” song to me when I was thirteen. He pulled into our driveway one day, in his latest ride—a silver Cadillac—and dressed in a sharp-looking suit, and I told him I wanted to be just like him. I still remember his words. “Listen to me, kid, and I’ll set you up for life.”
Eleven years later, I’m beginning to wonder if he really meant it.
“Yeah, well, maybe you can enlighten me on this master plan of yours so I have a better handle on it. Like, why I’m looking at Miller’s ugly face across a desk and taking his bullshit. You said the garage would be mine by now.” Facing off against the current manager of Rust’s Garage—an overweight, under-groomed jerk who barks orders at me like I’m his personal bitch—every day for the past two months since Rust moved me from the mechanics bays to the office as “associate manager” is wearing on my nerves. Miller’s no idiot. He expects that at some point his fat ass will be evicted from that squeaky office chair to make room for me, and he’s been making me suffer for it since the day my feet hit that dirty concrete floor.
“I need Miller there.”
“Until I say so.”
“And then what?” Rust keeps telling me I’m smart, I’m going to go far. I assume “going far” means more than the glory of filing paperwork, ordering parts, and being called “Nurse Boone” by a bunch of greasy mechanics for the rest of my life.
The revenue from the garage isn’t bankrolling Rust’s high-end lifestyle; that much I know. Neither does RTM International, the online vehicles sales company he co-owns, though that company puts him on the map as a legitimate global businessman.
I have a pretty good idea where his money comes from by now.
But he has yet to admit anything to me and, until he does, I’m nothing more than an errand boy. He can be such a secretive son of a bitch, even when it comes to family.
“I just . . .” I try to bite my tongue, but the dam breaks anyway. “Stop dangling this big plan in front of me like a diamond-encrusted carrot.”
I get a sour smirk in response. “How about you stop whining like a pissy brat and spend all this energy establishing yourself as a leader. Run the garage as well as Miller does. Better than Miller. Learn how to deal with people. You’ll meet all kinds when you’re in charge and you’ve got to be personable and keep them all happy, kid. I didn’t build up that place so you can drive it into the ground with your smart mouth.”
Same old spiel. “It’s hard to believe that’s really so important, considering you’ve got King Kong Grouch dealing with the customers right now.” Rust knows he doesn’t have to worry about my personality. I’m Prince Charming, for fuck’s sake. Just, maybe not after this much vodka . . .
“The customers come back. Plus, he has the guys’ respect.”
“That’s not respect. That’s working for a paycheck under constant threat. The dickhead told me he’d cut an hour from my pay today for being late. To my own fucking shop!”
“It’s still my fucking shop,” Rust throws back, his tone warning.
I hold my hands up in surrender. “Fine. But I need to start making real money, Rust. My own money.”
“You aren’t exactly suffering. I’ve taken good care of you.” His manicured fingertip taps the face of my gold Rolex—a hand-me-down from him when he upgraded last year. It’s part of the long list of gifts and cash that he’s easily doled out and I’ve gratefully accepted, just as easily as a son would accept something from his father. Because that’s the role Rust has played since I was six years old, ever since my dad skipped out on my mom, little sister, and me.
I lean back against my bench, trying to decide if this argument is worth it. I know I can’t win. Rust’s an unmovable bastard when he wants to be. “I’m just tired of Miller’s crap,” is all I say. I’m tired of punching in and out every day, of working Saturdays. It’s a sucker’s life and it’s not one I have any interest in living. It’s the one Rust promised me I wouldn’t have to live.
A harsh chuckle escapes Rust. “You’re only twenty-four years old. You’ve got too many years to go to be tired of people’s crap already. Go on . . .” He waves a lazy hand back toward the common area of the club—we’re sitting in the VIP section, as usual. It’s packed with bodies and thrumming with deep-bass trance music. “It’s a busy night here. Why don’t you cheer yourself up with a bliad.”
I roll my eyes. Go find a whore and get laid. Classic Rust advice when he’s trying to blow me off. Sometimes I listen. It’s never hard to find one. Not in this place, not looking the way I do. Like money. That’s what these kinds of girls like. And I’ve never minded playing the part of a guy who has it if the night ends with one of them naked and on her back in front of me.
I down the rest of my drink and flick the empty glass across the table. “I’m going home.”
“Probably a good idea. You’re obnoxious tonight. Doubt you’d impress anyone in your state.”
I have no interest in impressing anyone tonight. Not even Priscilla—a bartender and a sure thing, if she hasn’t already dug her claws into a true high roller for the night. “When you hear that I’ve beaten Miller to death with that fucking stapler of his, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I slide out of our booth to the sound of Rust’s booming laughter. Pushing my way through the crowd, I keep my head down to avoid all conversation.
A sudden splash of cold liquid hits my chest, doing nothing to cool my simmering rage.
“I’m so sorry!” I peer up through the dim club lighting to take in his face. It’s angular and masculine. He’s far prettier than the pictures do justice. And, by the deep furrow and the clenched teeth, he’s also oh so pissed.
He’s too busy glaring at the tumbler’s worth of Coke that I just dumped all over his steel-blue shirt to even bother a glance up at me. “Fucking perfect,” I hear him mumble.
“Let me get that dry cleaned for you. Please,” I offer, my voice a seductive purr, hoping the view down the front of this slutty overpriced dress will finally grab his attention. I place my hand flat against his stomach as I step into his personal space. Physical contact usually works.
Instead, he shoulders past me, pushing through the crowded bar and toward the exit.
Shit. I didn’t nurse a drink on this bar stool for the past two hours with the better part of my breasts on display so this asshole could ignore me.
Tossing a twenty on the counter, which will more than cover my bill, I weave through the other patrons, trying not to be too obvious as I chase after him. He’s at least two hundred pounds of muscle and he’s carrying himself well, but I watched him chug six glasses of vodka. He’s got to be drunk.
By the time I get up the narrow stairs of the underground club to the side street, Luke Boone is in the back of a cab and speeding off, leaving me staring at the taillights as they disappear around a corner, my ever-growing frustration weighing down on my shoulders.
“Strike five for Rain Martines,” I mutter, picking my way along the sidewalk in my painful stilettos to where my white Audi sits. “ ‘It’ll be easy,’ they said . . .” I slam the door shut behind me. “ ‘He’ll be all over you.’ ” I start the engine and lean back against the headrest. And sigh. “This isn’t going to work.”
My phone rings in response.
“Who told you this would be easy?” Warner’s heavy Boston accent fills the car’s speakers as it kicks into Bluetooth mode. “Don’t give up just yet, Clara. What happened tonight?”
I fumble with the gold dragonfly pendant around my neck until I feel the minuscule switch on the back. I flick it, deactivating the listening device. “You heard what happened.”
“Walk me through it. Step by step.”
I pull out of the parking lot and make the five-minute drive home, filling my handler in on the night’s events: how I watched my target stride to the booth—the same booth in the VIP section that he always sits at—as if he were on a mission, pour glass after glass of vodka from the bottle and toss it back, get into what looked like a heated conversation with his uncle, and then suddenly stand up and storm through the crowd.
How I did the first thing I could think of to stop him. “He didn’t even look at me,” I admit and, after a long pause, add, “I’m not his type, Warner.” Despite the posh outfit and the top-to-bottom grooming I’ve undergone to transform into the prototype of what Luke Boone typically brings home, I have yet to earn so much as a sideways glance from him.
“Yeah, you are. He just hasn’t laid eyes on you yet.”
“And probably never will, at this rate.”
I shake my head, though he can’t see it. “How many nights can I hang around that club, dressed like an escort, before you guys realize that you’ve got the wrong undercover on this?” It pains me to admit that.
“Fifteen minutes. Your place.” The phone line cuts out, leaving me to brood over my impending failure alone.
Weeks of case preparation, down the drain. I don’t know what I was thinking. When my boss called me in to his corner office and introduced me to the man in the suit filling the spare chair, my life changed. Assistant Director Josh Sinclair wanted me. Or, more appropriately, the FBI wanted me—twenty-six-year-old Officer Clara Bertelli from the Washington, D.C., Major Crime Unit. They had a big case, one that stretched internationally, one they’ve been working for eighteen months.
After two failed attempts to infiltrate the group, they were trying a new strategy and it required a very specific profile. One that they failed to find in their database of FBI agents, so they were reaching beyond their organization, as they sometimes do. They had been searching for a suitable undercover for weeks, and then my file hit their radar and winning bells went off.
My youthful look, my cool demeanor, my impeccable arrest record, my compelling court testimonials, even my diligent case notes . . . Sinclair said I was exactly what they were looking for. Then he asked me if I was interested in being a part of what could be one of the biggest car theft ring busts in U.S. history.
My own set of winning bells went off.
I didn’t give it a moment’s thought before I answered with an exuberant “Hell, yeah.”
But maybe I should have considered it a bit more. Maybe I shouldn’t have assumed it’d be as easy as a hooker sweep or busting some idiot john. All I thought about was what this could mean to my career if I succeeded—ideally a job in the Bureau, exactly where I want to be. A bit of my own digging uncovered that Assistant Director Sinclair is the kind of guy that can make that happen.
Maybe I should have considered what it would mean if I failed, where I could land if I don’t pull this off. A very likely possibility, if the past few weeks have been any indication.
I park my Audi in my private garage, appreciating the luxury car’s handling ease. Part of my undercover persona and definitely one of the perks, as is everything else that now surrounds me. Back home, my real life consists of a drafty one-bedroom apartment with cracked tiles and a squeaky fridge, a ’95 Jeep Wrangler with more miles on it than a retired cargo plane, and chain store clothing bought at 50 percent off. Sixty grand a year with student loan debt hardly buys me more. I’m not complaining—I’ve always loved my job and my life.
But then I take a smooth ride in this mirrored elevator that will lead me to the top floor with the slip of a key and step into “my” loft-style designer condo—with the computerized control panel for the lighting and sound system to my left, floor-to-ceiling windows to my right, and everything from Miele kitchen appliances to Brazilian walnut floors and travertine tile in between—and I get to experience how the other side lives. A lifestyle I will never afford to have on a regular cop salary.
I have to admit, it’ll be hard to leave some of this behind.
Kicking off my shoes, I head over to the wall of windows and take a peek out around the shades that are always drawn. A few condos in the twin boutique loft building next to mine are still lit, but most sit in darkness. There’s only one I really care about, though.
The one with my target in it.
Maybe the Feds thought this would be a cute, kismet story for Rust Markov’s nephew and me to giggle over when I finally succeeded in winning his attention—the fact that we have a perfect view into each other’s lavish homes. I certainly do, anyway. Luke doesn’t seem to believe in drawing window covers, regardless of time or state of dress. I haven’t yet figured out whether it’s due to ignorance or arrogance.
Flashes of light from the TV on the wall fill his living room, each burst highlighting his body, now clad in nothing but boxer briefs and a T-shirt. As with every other night for the past few weeks, I watch him drop down to the white shag rug and begin the nightly regime of crunches and push-ups that give him those hardened muscles. Without fail, drunk or not, he will go through this routine, his bulldog stretched out next to his head, tongue lolling. I’ve caught my own tongue lolling once or twice, when I had a brief lapse in memory and forgot what Luke Boone really is. For all else that he may be, he has a body and face for magazine covers.
Too bad he’s a budding criminal.
At least, that’s the assumption. That’s why I’m here.
I wonder if the women he brings home know. Or care. I’m guessing not. They’re not the type to care about much except what he can buy them. From what I’ve seen in the reports, the joke’s on them because this guy doesn’t wine and dine anyone. He’s after only one thing and he gets it. Thankfully, on the few nights I’ve witnessed a “guest” trail him through the door, the women had enough modesty to draw the blinds in his bedroom.
With a heavy sigh of frustration, I head to the pretty watercolor painting that hides my safe. I pull the case files for 12—our code name for Luke Boone—out, dropping them on the coffee table, one hand on my zipper as I head to the bedroom to peel off this uncomfortable dress and change into sweats.
I come back to find a six-foot shadow at my window, stealing the same glance across the way at our target that I had not five minutes ago. “Would you stop using your key? I could have been naked.”
“I was hoping,” Warner throws back over his shoulder.
I offer up a bottle of Chianti. He waves it away, instead helping himself to a can of Harpoon—a Boston I.P.A. beer that he insists on stocking in my fridge—before dropping his big body into my white leather sectional.
I flop into the couch next to him. “I just don’t know . . .”
“What don’t you know, Bertelli?” Warner stretches long legs out over my coffee table, fanning the thick folder of surveillance notes that I just set down over the glass. “That you’re a smart cop? That you were handpicked by the F.B.I. for a reason?”
I smile, giving his knee a friendly pat. “I can always count on you for a motivational pep talk.”
“We all knew this wouldn’t be a cakewalk.”
“No, I know. I just . . .” I yawn, the adrenaline that kept me wired through the night finally seeping from my body, leaving me weary. “We’ve been pinning all our plans on the expectation that 12’s going to fall to his knees at the sight of me. Dog me around and tell me whatever I want to know. That’s clearly not the case.” I won’t lie; privately, it’s a hit to my ego. I’ve never had a hard time attracting a target’s attention. With my long, wavy chestnut hair, olive skin, and light blue eyes, we all assumed I was Luke Boone’s type. On paper, I am. But either something else is at play or I just don’t quite fit into the lineup of gold-digging beauties.
Warner sucks back a mouthful of beer, his face pensive. “You said he was fighting with 24 tonight?” The Feds are so clever with their code names.
“Looked that way.”
Warner shrugs. “Drunk . . . arguing with the uncle . . . last thing he’s in the mood for is putting any work into a woman.”
“I guess . . . But what about last time?” He hadn’t noticed me last week either, and I had made sure my steps were as slow and purposeful as a peacock’s as I strutted past his table on my way to the restroom, my provocative dress clinging to my ass.
“He took the bartender home.” Warner stares at me like that answer says it all. Finally, my blank look compels him to elaborate. “Guaranteed lay with no effort and no hassle. He obviously wanted something easy that night.”
I roll my eyes. “He definitely had that.” And I got an eyeful, making it home just in time to see her do a Full Monty sashay to the bedroom blinds to draw them. Months’ worth of surveillance—pictures, written reports, videos—mark Priscilla Grishin as Boone’s “go-to girl.” Nothing more, nothing less. They’re certainly not exclusive. “I’m just not sure this is going to work. I mean . . . these women . . .” I let my words drift off. These women, they’re not common prostitutes working to pay their rent, like the ones I normally deal with. Like the ones I’ve learned to emulate. These ones stalk through life with their stunning faces and perfect figures—either naturally granted or acquired with the help of a plastic surgeon—with the single goal of climbing the boyfriend ladder until they reach the top and become the wife of a rich husband who will cater to their every high-maintenance need.
I can’t stand their type. And I can’t stand the kind of guys who are attracted to them.
“These women ain’t got nothin’ on you, kid.” His eyes dip down to survey my body, which, while well cut from a strict gym regime, can’t possibly look appealing right now.
I smack his stomach, a smile creeping out from behind my frustrations. At thirty, FBI Special Agent Warner Briggs is what a lot of women look for in their ideal man. Tall, athletic build, dark hair, square jaw. As charming as a southern boy, though he grew up in South Boston. Extremely successful. The first day he was introduced to me as my handler and lead cover on this case, I’ll admit I took a second glance. He certainly did the same of me.
But I won’t let my career or my goals get derailed by flings with coworkers and I have no interest in dating another cop. That just has disaster written all over it. Female officers already have it hard enough, without adding on opportunities to be accused of sleeping our way to the top. Besides, Warner has quickly become a friend and sounding board. Something I need far more desperately than a good lay.
“Come on, Warner. Honestly, between you and me . . . what did they think was going to happen if I actually managed to grab 12’s attention? Look at his file!” I gesture at it. Three months of gathering intel on Luke Boone. Five one-night stands. Three overnight visits with his bartender. “The guy’s not looking for a wife. He’s not looking for romance, or even great conversation. He’s bringing them home for the one thing I won’t give him! They would have been better off with an informant for this. At least they’re not bound by the same rules.”
Warner barks out a laugh. “Come on, Clara! Sinclair’s not gonna use an informant for a role like this. They’re too unreliable. Winning this case will move him up in rank, and Sinclair’s all about rank.” He stretches an arm over the back of the couch in a playful way. “Don’t worry, you’ve got this. All you have to do is string twelve along. Let him think that he’s got a shot at you. That you’re special.”
“I am special,” I mutter, earning his snort. “But this isn’t a guy you can string along. He’s not into virginal girls and he’s not looking to make money off me.” In hindsight, how the Feds thought putting an undercover on this target with the hopes of luring him with mere words and seductive gestures is beyond me. Desperation—that’s the only explanation I can come up with. They have plenty of evidence at the low level but nothing connecting it all, nothing concrete enough to pull the entire organization down. Not to mention two failed efforts by undercover agents to gain a foothold into the top level, attempting to earn their trust and friendship.
Apparently, neither Rust Markov nor Luke Boone is interested in making new male friends. Female “friends,” however . . .
Warner shrugs. “You say whatever you need to say to hook him.”
I sigh, knowing that Warner’s not going to give me the satisfaction of agreeing. He’s 100 percent committed to the job. “Well, I can’t sit in that bar week after week. People are going to start noticing.”
“I’ll get the guys to rotate. Make it look like they’re hiring you for the night.”
I shake my head. “Too risky. None of the girls 12 takes home are escorts. That may turn him off.”
“Okay then . . .” He leans forward to scoop up the case files, tossing them onto my lap. “What’s gonna work? You’re the one with your neck on the line. You’re looking to go Fed. This is a big deal for you. So you tell me . . .” He stabs the stack of paper with his index finger. “What’s our next move, boss?”
That’s one of the things I like most about Warner. He could be an arrogant, condescending dick. The big-show FBI agent versus a mere metro cop pawn. But he’s been nothing but a team player from day one. In fact, he reminds me a lot of the guys I work with back home. A tight group who take every opportunity to joke around and let loose, knowing how much we all need the release from what we see in our day-to-day.
Sipping on my wine, I start flipping through the pages of candid shots. Luke Boone is a decidedly handsome target by anyone’s standards, with wavy caramel-brown hair that he styles in a sexy mop and clothing that’s tailored to a well-honed body, courtesy of daily jogs with his dog and workouts in his building’s gym.
Son of Oksana Boone, single mother to him and his younger sister, Ana Boone. Biological father’s whereabouts unknown.
Nephew of Rust Markov, who has raised him like a son, footing his tuition for a bachelor’s degree in business, followed by two years in a mechanics program. The nephew of a man pegged as the leader behind one of the West Coast’s biggest car theft rings by a confidential informant avoiding heroin-dealing charges. The nephew who seems glued to his uncle’s side, who is now stepping into a managerial role at one of Rust’s legitimate businesses—a car repair garage—and who lives in a million-dollar condo that his uncle gifted to him, either out of the goodness of his heart or to protect his assets.
The nephew who the Feds believe is being groomed to step into a leadership role in the car theft operation.
“Be thankful. He could have been your target.” Warner taps a shot of Rust Markov leaving his office one afternoon. A man I can’t wait to see stripped of his Versace suits and sleeping in a bunk bed behind bars for a very long time.
“Wouldn’t be the worst I’ve had.” At forty-five years old, Rust’s fit and by no means bad looking. Likes younger women, from what I know. “May have been easier.”
“No, it wouldn’t. 24’s smart. You need the dumb nephew. Kid’s too new. Get him comfortable, get him drunk . . . He’ll slip and, when he does, we’ve got him.”
“I just don’t know what the best way in is with this guy. I don’t think it’s the bar scene.”
Heaving himself off my couch, Warner strolls over to the kitchen to drop his empty on the counter. “We have a few more weeks before the warrant’s up. Sleep on it. We’ll regroup in the morning.”
“ ’kay. Night,” I call out as the condo door shuts. As tired as I am, I know that the stress of looming failure—of being sent back to D.C. to bust pimps and drug addicts—is going to keep me up. I’m half-tempted to drink wine until I pass out, but I’ll only feel worse tomorrow. Not that I have anywhere that I need to be.
So I start flipping through the case files, beginning to end, like I’ve done over a hundred times. Luke Boone’s schedule is pretty basic: he’s either at the garage, at a club with his uncle, working out, or “entertaining” one female or another. There have been no reports of him disappearing into warehouses or storefronts at erratic hours of the night. The team’s never lost track of him in the few hours per day that they’re on him. Unlike his Uncle Rust, who continuously slides through their surveillance detail like a bar of wet soap.
Frankly, there’s no solid evidence that Luke Boone has any involvement with this ring. Only speculation. Enough to get a sixty-day warrant from the judge. I need to spend time with him to get a better read. Surveillance tapes and reports give me only background. They help me to speculate about what he might respond best to.
So far, all of our speculations have been wrong.
Closing the file, I pack everything back up into the hidden safe and pull out my personal phone, checking it for any messages. My parents are aware that I’ll be away for an indefinite amount of time on a case. That’s all they know, though, and that’s all I can tell them. As far as my mother is concerned, I’m only ever sitting at a desk, working behind-the-scenes detail. If she knew what I was actually doing—the kind of danger I put myself in on a daily basis—she’d beg me to quit with tears in her eyes and Sicilian prayers rolling off her tongue.
If they could see me now . . . This loft is a far cry from the small, semi-detached house they’ve owned for the past thirty-one years, complete with the original stiff-backed floral couches and the large vegetable garden they tend to in the backyard. It’s nothing special, and yet it’s their dream come true after immigrating to America from a small town outside Palermo, Sicily, with nothing but one suitcase of clothes and my grandmother’s white linen tablecloth. It took almost ten years and at least four honest jobs between the two of them at all times—my mother in bakeries, my father as a janitor—to scrounge up enough money for the down payment.
My brother Dino, older than me by eleven years, remembers those years being tough. Socks with darned toes and jeans with patches in the knees, used toys for Christmas, summer vacations at local parks. Cold winters, to save on electric bills.
By the time I came along—an accident when my parents were in their mid-thirties—they were living in luxury by comparison.
Still, it’s nothing like what I’m living right now.
No calls from the family tonight, which doesn’t bother me. I talk to them enough. A few texts from my girlfriend Aubrey, telling me about the upcoming girls’ weekend that I won’t be going to because I’m 2,300 miles away. It bothers me a little bit but I’m used to it. I miss a lot of birthdays and holidays and getaways because of my job.
What I still haven’t gotten used to is not seeing a message from David, my latest ex-boyfriend. Nine months of messages all day—every day—until I came home with a black eye and busted lip from a takedown and he decided that he can’t handle being with a cop.
I really liked this one, too. I thought he might be different. Stronger.
I thought I’d prove my police college instructor and that author with her PhD label wrong. That keeping a relationship in this field isn’t as hard as they made it out to be. I still have that stupid paperback that they handed us in class, about loving a cop. It’s at home, collecting dust. At first I thought it was a joke, until I started flipping through the pages and digesting everything I should expect in the years to come. How the long shifts and overtime coupled with the daily hazards earn this field high divorce rates. How the things I see every day make it hard for me to carry on a normal dinner conversation. How I’ll have a difficult time meeting men to begin with because of all the trust issues I’ll develop, dealing with liars all day long. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I pushed it off as a stereotype that wouldn’t fit me. I hoped that being aware of the challenges would prepare me enough to avoid them.
The dozen or so failed relationships since then have proven that little pocket book not so stupid after all.
My mentor—a staff sergeant in her early forties, who’s been divorced twice now—only validated it by warning me to expect a whole lot of heartbreak before I find the right relationship. If I ever do. Dating a female cop may be a fantasy involving handcuffs and wild sex, but marrying one isn’t a reality most guys can stomach. The day she told me that, three days after David ended things, I went home and cried into a bottle of red wine.
With one last gun check—a habit more than anything else—I lock everything back up into the safe and head for bed. My mind is still spinning, in search of the way into Luke Boone’s life. I have only a few shots at this before accidental run-ins become too much of a coincidence.
Another glimpse past my bedroom blinds finds him now stretched out on his back, a flurry of cars racing across his television screen. His arm is wrapped around his dog’s body, and he’s stroking its belly with slow, affectionate movements.
When I look at him, all I see is just another twenty-four-year-old guy. A guy I might meet at a party or at the club. A guy my friends and I would definitely notice, would probably drool over. Who I’d gladly give my number to. A guy I’d go home with if I had one too many drinks and needed a release.
A guy I wouldn’t believe could be involved in something that left two children without a father.
But that’s the thing with so many of the worst kinds of criminals. They don’t wear signs, they don’t don a uniform. They’re hiding in plain sight. It’s my job to reveal Luke for what he truly is, which will reveal the man we’re really after—his uncle.
Women. Dogs. Cars. Three things that seem to grab Luke’s attention.
I’m an attractive, smart, confident woman—you have to be both smart and confident in a job like mine or you could end up dead—so I have that going for me. You also have to be a little crazy, but I hide that well. Maybe the issue isn’t me; maybe it’s the surroundings.
I need to find a better place to meet. A place he can’t possibly miss me.
I hit “one” on my phone’s speed dial. Warner picks up almost immediately.
“Hey, I think I have an idea.” I smile. “But it involves messing around with that beautiful car of mine.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
We met Luke Boone in Burying Water but Becoming Rain features Luke in a whole new light. Throughout this read, I had to keep reminding myself this was a KA Tucker book. If this is your first Tucker read, I highly recommend starting with Burying Water. If this isn't your first Tucker read, then you are already aware of her literary genius as she plot weaves beautifully and develops her characters fully to achieve a solid read. Becoming Rain features Luke as a 24 year old man, trying to earn his place in Rust's world. Rain enters his life and while the reader knows the secret of Rain, Luke is unsuspecting and captivated. Their relationship unfolds and sometimes it gets awfully stormy as they discover who they are individually, together as a couple, and also in the world they have chosen to immerse themselves in. To me, the title Becoming Rain can be explained in Rain's dialogue, "People hate it, but the world needs rain. It washes away dirt, dilutes the toxins in the air, feeds drought. It keeps everything around us alive." As a reader I'm not sure I would classify this as NA or Contemporary Romance because it's so much more, so much deeper. The realness and the amount of research required to write this piece of literature had to be cumbersome for Tucker but thankfully she committed to telling Luke's story because it was enlightening.
Why oh WHY did I wait so long to read this book?! Seriously... why? I have no excuse. I loved Burying Water. So much, in fact, that I read it twice! I was over the moon when I got an early copy of this book because I couldn't wait to get Luke's story. But somewhere along the line, it got shoved to the back of the line and I didn't pick it up until this past weekend. I could kick myself for waiting this long, but at the same time, I'm thrilled I read it when I did. All you really need to know about Becoming Rain going in is that it's a story of the ultimate forbidden love – that between an undercover cop and her target. (Can we talk for a second about how much I LOVE that there was a female cop in this book? Hooray for strong, kickass women!) It's rife with suspense and enough twists that you're guaranteed to be on edge for at least half of the book. I certainly was. There were actually points in this book where I was afraid to turn the page for fear of what would happen next. But, all that said, it wasn't overly angsty or overplayed. It was just engaging as hell. Of course, I'm not going to tell you anything else about the plot because really you just need to experience it all for yourself. I loved Rain (er, Clara?). I adored Luke. I was as hopelessly wrapped up in their romance as I was the darker storyline of the underground car fencing and everything that came with it. As they started to get closer, I was both anxious for Luke to learn the truth and terrified of what would happen when he did. Not because he was dangerous, but because he was a genuinely good guy who was in over his head because he trusted his uncle and got in over his head. I didn't want to see him hurt. I didn't want to see Rain hurt. But I also knew that thinking they could escape everything without getting hurt was naive. More than anything, I just wanted them both to make it through safe to the other side. I hoped they could work through everything else at that point. Kathleen's books always have a way of grabbing ahold of me and not letting go until long after I've finished reading. This is exactly why I was thrilled to get a glimpse into Alex and Jesse's lives now, after the events of Burying Water. It's also how I know I won't be forgetting about Rain and Luke anytime soon, either. Excuse me now, it's time for me to jump right into Chasing River. It just seems like the right thing to do. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
I love everything K.A. Tucker has ever touched. This book is no exception. While I liked its predecessor far better, this still made a great read.
Loved it and coulf not put it down.
Becoming rain is a great follow up to burying water. K.A. Tucker got me into her books with ten tiny breaths and never seems to disappoint with her books. Becoming rain continues on after everything that happened in burying water and brings you deeper into the world introduced by it. You get to go deeper into Luke's life and are introduced to Clare as their lives are brought together. Becoming rain might just be my favorite one yet.
KA Tucker has done it again! I love the detail in all of her books. It is as if she actually becomes Rain, the FBI agent under cover, and makes you fall for her swoon-worthy bad boys :) This is my favorite series to date!
I really enjoyed this book. It was super suspenseful with all the action and drama. I couldn’t put it down! I was really surprised by Luke. I went into the book not really being a fan but as the story progressed, I found myself liking him more and more. He’s like an onion. Luke has a lot of layers to his character. The more you read, the harder you fall for him. Clara was a character that made me laugh. Her relationship with Stanley had me laughing so hard (especially when she first got him) and she had a goodness about her that was never really tarnished. Even with her difficult career, she was so very strong. I think Becoming Rain has to be one of my favourite books in this series. It had an excellent balance of romance and suspense. I would reccomend this book to readers who aren't afraid to think outside the box.
With every K.A. Tucker book, I am forever in awe of this woman's writing ability. She consistently delivers layered storylines that demand your attention from the very first pages. Becoming Rain was no exception. This tale of what appears on the surface to be a mystery and a bit of a detective yarn is so much more. Because beneath it all is a beautiful love story where a man and a woman fall for each other when they shouldn't, yet go against every instinct and let their hearts decide. This book is a spin-off from Burying Water. It's where we met Luke Boone, nephew of Rust, who was involved in business with Viktor Petrova, the man who hurt Alex/Water. Luke is such a great character. He is a good guy deep down but he wants to impress his beloved Uncle Rust, even when the business he may be carrying on outside his garage is anything but on the up and up. Luke wants the good life he has become used to, due to his Uncle's guidance and generosity, to continue. But when a woman shows up one day to have her car fixed under the name of Rain Martines, his world is never the same. With Rain, she could be the greatest thing Luke has ever had happen to him, or the worst. Only she holds the answers and what starts out as a simple flirtation becomes so much more. And only time will tell if both will survive the fallout from the secrets that Rain holds near. What a story. I don't want to give anything away but will just say that my heart went through the ringer with this one. At times I was literally gasping anxiously, never really knowing what direction the author would be taking next. The author makes us work for any scrap of happiness given to these two lovers. And when the story starts to truly unfold and the facade of Rain, a 'student' in love with the potential criminal in Luke, comes crumbling down, I was left somewhat of a distraught mess. You see it all coming. Nothing is held back. You get both POV's in this book yet even when everything comes to a head and secrets are finally revealed, you can't help but be a bit heartbroken. But I will say is the author masterfully manages to put the pieces of my heart together, even if is painful in the process. K.A. Tucker has once again written the kind of book you can get lost in. Her words draw me in like a moth to a flame. I just can't get enough! In addition, the secondary characters always add that perfect touch. Even when they are canine. Licks and Stanley balanced out the seriousness of the storyline with some much needed levity. They would often steal a scene in the most unexpected way. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is just wonderful in every way. 5 stars!!
Burying Water is still my favorite, which I was emotionally more invested in. I didn't really like Luke that much in the first book (I don't like spoiled playboys), but we saw a whole other side of him in Becoming Rain. I really liked Clara/Rain, because I just have a thing for strong heroines who can take care of themselves. Normally I am not a fan of undercover stories, but this one worked really well. I loved the beginning where Clara tried to get Luke's attention and that it took some time before she had it. Luke proved her wrong --> don't judge a book by it's cover. This was definitely the case with Luke. Eventually I warmed up to Luke more after getting background info on him, I understood why he tried to please his uncle so much and why he was involved in the criminal activities. The chemistry between Rain and Luke was of the chain. I loved the build-up in their romance. I do wish the epilogue was longer. What I love so much about KA Tucker is that she comes up with an unique storyline/plot for every book she writes. If you enjoyed her other books, then you will enjoy this one as well.
K.A. Tucker is one of my favorite NA authors and an immediate one-click. Burying Water was one of my most suspenseful reads of 2014, and I couldn’t wait to read the next installment of this series. While Becoming Rain can be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading Burying Water prior. The hero, Luke, is introduced in the previous book and is quite fascinating. He is set to inherit his uncle’s business that may have criminal ties. He has a deep affection for his uncle and seems to truly want to earn his place within his uncle’s business. He is a huge dog lover too. How can you not adore a guy who takes such great care of his puppy? He continues to have strong ties with Jesse and Rain, who we met in Burying Water. Despite some of his questionable activities, I really liked Luke. It is easy to see why Claire is attracted to him. “It’s not about what they know. It’s about what they can prove.” Claire/Rain is hiding a dangerous secret from Luke as she investigates his uncle. As with most K.A. Tucker’s heroine, Claire is strong willed and tough. Despite her tough exterior and work ethic, she finds herself drawn to Luke, who is likely involved in illegal activities. Thus, begins the slow buildup of their relationship. Claire is careful with her heart and emotions despite her unwanted attraction to Luke. Despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to fight her attraction. Which will she choose – career or love? What will happen if Luke ever learns her true identity? “That’s the trick in this business…everyone has a weak spot.” The research and depth that went into this book is obvious and shines throughout the entire book. As someone with a Criminal Justice background, I often find these types of story lines completely unbelievable. Tucker does a magnificent job balancing the realistic with the romance. While not all events are true life, it certainly is more fact based than the overwhelming majority of books in this genre. My only complaint was the book ended much too quickly for my tastes. There are lapses in times I wanted to know more about, and certain events were glossed over. Despite the less than detailed ending, I really enjoyed this book. I recommend it to any romance fan looking for suspense. I can’t wait to see the next book in the series
You know, I have not yet been disappointed by any of K.A. Tucker’s books. All of them manage to suck you into this storyline that you can’t help but want to get lost in. I love that there are strong female characters who can take care of themselves, regardless of the obstacles that lie ahead. And Clara Bertelli (aka Rain) is not an exception. For one thing, she’s a young undercover cop who can kick butt. She’s smart, driven, and sassy. I really enjoyed her character. She has her eyes set on getting on with the FBI, and when an opportunity presented itself, she doesn’t hesitate to get on it. Her case? To get close to one, Luke Boone, who the cops are sure is part of an illegal car ring. They are hoping that Clara’s womanly ways will loosen his lips, and give them the dirt needed to shut them down, and make the needed arrests. Not only are her female leads unforgettable, but the male counterpart is totally and completely swoon worthy. If you read the first book in this series, Burying Water, you get a slight glimpse of the character Luke Boone. Becoming Rain is all about this sexy, rich, Russian hottie (I can’t remember if he’s full Russian). Luke has been waiting and waiting and waiting for his Uncle to finally pass the business down to him, and mayhaps gain some respect from the guys in the garage. But his Uncle is slower on the pass off then he was hoping. When Rain pulls into the garage with car problems, Luke is hooked. But playing it cool is his way, and he seems to enjoy the fact that this rich girl has her eyes set on him. But there’s something about Rain that he can’t get out of his head, and soon he becomes the one doing the chasing…and Rain is enjoying every minute of it. Maybe too much? How far will she go, and what will she sacrifice to get the information needed to close the case and look good in the eyes of the FBI? Luke does not trust anyone. Will Rain be the one that changes the game for him? As in Burying Water, Becoming Rain is a darker read than the Ten Tiny Breaths series and was such a great read. I’ve always wanted to read something where the undercover cop falls for the criminal that she is scoping out, or vice-versa, and this one certainly did not disappoint. From beginning to end, the story of Luke and Clara is one that readers will fall in love with. My heart broke for both Luke and Clara (during different parts), and my heart sang with happiness in other parts. K.A. Tucker’s stories do exactly that, over and over again. It’s a no brainer why I keep coming back for more, and scramble to get the next book she has written. There’s something about the characters in her books that seem to stay with you well after the last page. Like, the next book that you attempt to read just can’t compare, and you go into a bookish hangover for a bit. If you haven’t read anything K.A. Tucker has written, I suggest you get on it stat. You can definitely read Becoming Rain as a standalone, but the fun for me is watching characters from the other books in the series make their appearances. Fans of reads involving crime mafias and falling in love when you least expect it will adore Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker.
Story: While this companion to BURYING WATER can be read as a stand alone, it does contain spoilers for book one. I enjoyed watching Luke and Rain's story unfold not only from two different POVs, but also from two different sides of the law. Catching glimpse's of previous characters was fun too. I'm curious to see whose story we get next and how it will all tie together. Audio: I'm still not a fan of either of these narrators. Her voice is too pitchy and she doesn't do well with accents, and his tends to be too monotone. But I liked the story enough to continue listening.
I love K.A. Tucker's books and After reading Burying Water, I couldn't wait to read Becoming Rain to see what she had in store for her readers with the next installment in this series. We originally met Luke Boone in Burying Water, and in Becoming Rain we really get to know him, and I absolutely loved him. His Uncle Rust has been like a father to him, and he has looked up to him since he was a child, wanting to follow in his footsteps. Luke is finally at the point where Uncle Rust is beginning to let him actively partitipcate in his business, but with this promotion, Luke also has to open his eyes to the not so pretty or legal aspects of the business. He's always known "how things worked," but as he gets more involved, the stress and danger are taken to a whole new level. Rain Martin is the undercover identity of Clara Bertelli, and this assignment has the ability to make or break her career. As she goes deeper undercover, she begins to fall for Luke, seeing what a good guy he is, despite what he's involved with. Suddenly her black and white world has a lot more grey in it, which makes this novel even more interesting. The chemistry between Rain and Luke is hot, and I enjoyed the romantic aspect of the story very much. Then there is the excitement, danger, and suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat as well. I enjoyed the way K.A. Tucker ended the story also. Becoming Rain is something contemporary romance fans, and romantic suspense fans will definitely want to pick up.
Becoming Rain. OMG. Quite Literally… (this will make much more sense after you read the book Winking smile). I have to say this book was pleasantly surprising. After reading Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths series, I didn’t think that this new series could exactly measure up. So come to find out I was completely wrong because Becoming Rain is amazing in a totally separate but equal way from the other series. This book is so crazy good! Like, in a, I never want to stop reading this book kind of way + after I read this book I just sat and stared at the wall for twenty minutes. Becoming Rain is this kind of thrill read that took me in and changed everything I thought I knew about K.A. Tucker and her writing style. This book is intense, yet a different kind of intense that I have come to expect. I loved the switching views that bounced from Luke to Clara “aka Rain”. It built up the tension for me as I slowly pieced together what was happening as the characters themselves were experiencing it. Clara is one of those cops that is slowly becoming jaded… at least until she meets Luke. Luke is this interesting mix of spoiled yet kind. Sometimes I just wanted to punch him in the face as he seemed to make all the wrong mistakes. Then he would do something un-expectantly sweet, throwing not only me but also Clara off guard. I think what made this book so great was how real the author was able to make the emotions and characters authentic. Luke was a hard character to understand. At some moments he seemed like a spoiled brat using his relationship with his uncle to move through the ranks faster and get more money. Yet at other times he would do these amazing acts of kindness that really showed another side. Throughout the book he kind of progressed and matured, aided by Clara. It was a great transition and without it, I would definitely not have fallen in love with this book.
I wanted to read Becoming Rain because I enjoyed the first in the series, and her other NA series. She writes perfectly flawed characters that are easy to love, and an addictive plot. I wasn't disappointed in Becoming Rain although it was a bit different than I expected. I liked Clara, and it was nice to see a woman who loves her career and is so driven. She is getitng to live the wealthy life as she is undercover trying to get into the suspected crime ring and her target is Luke. I did like meeting Luke, although it was different seeing him as a prospective criminal. He wanted in on what he knew was his uncle's real money making business, but he is stuck in the legit garage. It definitely was a book that examines the gray and take out of black and white of romance, what he might be getting himself into with the illegal aspects, and how far Clara/Rain will go and when it will be crossing the line and when she will be acting from a professional versus woman falling in love. Honestly it was a bit slow in the set up, and while I liked that it was a slow romance because Rain isn't supposed to actually fall for him, she was supposed to take him and his uncle down. But Luke is thoughtful and sweet. They have some serious chemistry. But their dual perspective in the beginning felt like I was getting too much back story. I am wondering if I am starting to burn out some on NA or if it was just timing for me and a bit of different set up. It did pick up though and I kept wondering how hard their hearts would break and how and if they would get a HEA. I was pretty happy with how it concluded though surprisingly enough, but wouldn't have been nearly there without the epilogue. Bottom Line: New main character type and concept for NA.
4.5 suspenseful, page-turning, complicated, intriguing stars! I have been anxiously waiting for the release of Becoming Rain from the moment I knew that Luke was going to get his own book. I really loved the role he played in Burying Water. He was a very interesting supporting character in the story. I was curious to see where is decisions of wanting to be more involved in his uncle’s business would lead him. This second installment, in the Burying Water Series, was very different from the first one, but equally intense and packed with unexpected twists. Becoming Rain is the story of Clara Bertelli and Luke Boone. Luke is finally getting the recognition he deserves at his uncle’s garage. He wants it all. The money, the cars and the power. What he never expected was for lies, secrets and betrayals to take over his life. Clara is an undercover cop who has the mission to bring down a powerful car theft ring. As an undercover cop, she has lived many different situations that have put her life in danger. When she meets Luke Boone she has no idea that not only her life will be in danger, but her heart as well. Luke turns out to be captivating and very different from the person she expected him to be. As days go by, Clara is getting closer to solving the biggest case of her career. Will she be able to walk away from Luke once her mission is accomplished without leaving a piece of her heart behind? I really enjoyed reading Becoming Rain. It felt like I was reading a different series even if some characters from the previous book made an appearance. I loved seeing Alex and Jesse again! I love these two to pieces!!! This book could be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend both books. K.A. Tucker’s writing style is absolutely breathtaking! You feel everything single emotions that the characters feel. My heart was beating furiously when the time came for Clara and Luke to have ‘’The Confrontation’’. I had an idea that it was going to be very intense, but Oh my God!!! My heart completely broke for Luke! I just wanted to reach inside the book and give him a big hug and whisper words of comfort to him. That was something he never saw coming. Clara had a very difficult role to play. She mixed business with pleasure and she got burned. She knew that getting close to Luke was dangerous. The more time passed, the more she fell for him. He really got under her skin. She got the chance to see who the real Luke was. That is who she fell in love with. I loved the slow building romance between Clara and Luke. My connection with both these characters was instant. I really felt like I knew these characters by the end of the book. Their life journey was very well explained and reading from both their POV’s was simply amazing! It’s such a wonderful gift to us readers to be able to know exactly how both characters are living their journey. This story was packed with little details and it kept me glued to my seat from beginning to end! Becoming Rain was a memorable reading escape with amazing characters and it was beautifully written. I’m crossing my fingers that Warner will get his own book. I loved his role in Becoming Rain! He's such a fascinating character! I give, Becoming Rain, by K.A. Tucker, 4.5 suspenseful, page-turning, complicated, intriguing stars!
A Suspense-filled drama with a twist of romance! Note: This review contains NO spoilers Wow! And I thought Burying Water had its fair share of the suspenseful drama, Becoming Rain also has its own flair for the dark drama. This time, this story focuses on Luke and Clara/Rain. Being that this is the second book in a series, it also can be read as a standalone. However, since I read the first book, I would suggest reading Burying Water first since readers are introduced to Luke's character in this first book. But then again...that's just me. Despite that many series can be read as standalone novels, I always like to start from the beginning...that's where we get introduced into the world that the series is written in....right!?! So, anyways, K.A. has done it again with this second book. That dramatic and suspenseful "slow-burn" to solve the case with a little twist of romance to complicate things. I loved how K.A. had Jesse and Water tied in to this story...Jesse is, after all, Luke's best friend. This was in no way a "light" read. It has its fair share of suspense, mystery, and intrigue as both characters navigate through their world filled with secrets and lies. How will Luke take it when/if he finds out who Rain really is? Well, I'm not going to tell. All I will say is...."Wow, just Wow!" I found myself wrapped up in the case with Clara! Yes, I could not put the book down...page after page! With well-defined and developed characters, an engaging plot, and incredible storytelling, K.A. Tucker kept me riveted to these characters and their story.
4.25/5 stars Despite a slower start, this book blew me away! Tucker did an amazing job with the intricacies of the plot and I remember thinking, 'Wow, this is so detailed and well thought out!' I absolutely adored the plot of this one. I know I mentioned a slower start, but I think it's because I was getting antsy with the romance. I wanted things to start happening sooner than they did. But once they do... oh my. I really ended up loving Luke and Rain together and I was heartsick over the fallout you know is eventually coming for them. I think what got me in the beginning is that Luke didn't really notice Rain and it took awhile for her to work her magic on him. I felt bad for her because she's a little confused as to why she's not drawing him in. She's everything he could want, so why so much work? Luke has a lot going on, what with trying to get into his uncle's secretive business. As the blurb states, Luke isn't quite sure of what exactly is uncle is involved in, but knows it will bring him everything he could want, including his respect. Luke's uncle, Rust, is a father figure to him, and while he might not be involved in the most legal of things, he didn't come across as a bad guy- just that of a businessman. This business however, has attracted the watchful eye of the FBI and that is where Clara, I mean, Rain, comes in. It is her job to get close to Luke and hopefully bust open the entire illegal car ring operation. I love how Rain works her way into Luke's life, making him reevaluate his stance on relationships. He hasn't had time for one previously and is happy with his set up with a no strings waitress, Priscilla. However, he likes the way Rain carries herself and how real she is. It's funny that he thinks this, considering Rain is an alias, but still- she does let parts of her true self come out, so I don't feel it was a complete lie. I felt for Rain. As she gets to know Luke, she can't help but hope that he isn't a bad guy- but just a misguided one. The deeper Rain gets with Luke, the more the lines start to blur between the man who is her target and the man she's slowly falling for. Seeing her so torn over what she knows she has to do is heartwrenching and the fact that she is hiding things from her team really worried me because I didn't want her to lose Luke, but I didn't want her to sacrifice her job either. Overall, I really liked this one. I would have liked a bit more from the epilogue, but I feel it was still a fitting way to end the book. I am also so happy we got to see a bit of Alex and Jesse too. It always makes me happy when we get to check up on previous characters and make sure they're doing well together. Even though this book started off a bit slower paced for me, I promise you it picks up and I was completely enraptured with the story, the romance, and the anticipation of what was to come and how it would all end. K.A. Tucker is one of my favorite authors and I am happy to report that this one did not disappoint!
4.5 stars: Becoming Rain is such an electrifying and thought-provoking story in all its uniqueness filled with suspense and enough romance to keep the reader wanting more. Clara Bertelli dream is to work as a federal agent. In order to prove herself and get her name at the top of the list, she goes undercover as Rain Martines in order to take down a car theft ring in Portland. She needs to bring down Rust since he is the one at the top of the thefts but in order to get to him, Rain needs to get close to Luke, Rust’s nephew. It is definitely not easy to get his attention but when she finally does, he can’t leave her alone…and neither can she. Rain must put her feelings aside or she will lose her career. But when love comes to play, what will she do: choose her career or fight for Luke? You’d be surprise by the outcome. Going into the story, I didn’t fully know what to expect. I knew it would good but this story exceeded my expectations. What I loved about it was that the author didn’t mainly focus on the romance, she really put a lot of thought into the undercover aspects and the suspense, which gave a thrilling feel to the story. Starting from the beginning, it was rather slow but I was so excited to find out what was going to happen that I speed-read for the first few chapters. When things start to pick up and the action feel to it starts making light, I knew I was sucked in for the whole story. There were a lot of aspects that the reader needed to know first in order to understand what was happening when the excitement started. As soon as Luke made an appearance, I gravitated towards him—it was like an instant pull. I was 10% in when I posted on Goodreads: “I can see why it would be so easy to fall for Luke *sighs dreamily*”. He is actually a decent human being. He doesn’t know what exactly he is getting into. All he wants is to have the acceptance of his uncle and make him proud and he will do anything for him. What I didn’t like a bit was that he was way too confident, the kind that makes you want to doubt if his intentions are true but besides that, I was in love. Rain and Luke are complete opposites and watching both of these characters grow to practically be “one” and their connection was gratifying. While Rain lived a very strict and middle class life, Luke was surrounded by money from the get go. His uncle made sure Luke had everything he needed and even got him a Porsche! But as I mentioned before, Luke was so different when his work and the money weren’t involved. I loved getting into his head and discovering the real Luke. I love K.A. Tucker a lot. Her stories are always so thought-provoking and engaging. She really delivered a great story with Becoming Rain and I cannot wait for the third book, Chasing River, to come out. Like the girls over at Lost In Lit, I’m hoping this third book has Warner as the main character. Warner is another FBI agent that always kept an eye on Rain, always looking out for her and protecting her as best as he could. I really want to know more about this character and really want him to have a happy ending.
LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! I put this book down with a smile on my face thinking, “Damn, that was so good!” K.A Tucker has written a brilliant story that had me addicted from the very beginning. The author has clearly done her research before writing book centered on an undercover FBI investigation. It’s incredibly tricky to create the story you want when you’re bound by something so realistic. But, there wasn’t one moment when I stopped and thought, “That would never happen!” The story had a continuous flow and the characters, places, and events all came to life for me. Clara is a fabulous heroine. She strong and determined, focused on her career and righting the wrongs of the world. At the same time, she has a great sense of humor and is able to laugh at herself and see the amusements of a situation. She’s comfortable in her body, feeling attractive without being cocky or overly vain. Once she is able to get Luke to notice her, it’s these traits that truly reel him in. Her struggle with the situation, fighting her attraction and feelings for Luke, just kept her human in my eyes. Luke has so much good in him, he’s just been caught up in a whirl wind of money and duty to the man who practically raised him. The fact that he is so patient with Rain, falling for her despite the lack of sexual activity, just speaks to the man he really is. It’s impossible not to fall for Luke. He is sweet, caring, sexy as hell, and he has a vulnerable side that just melted my heart. He also proves that he is more of a man than a boy, accepting his responsibilities and proving his true character. There is a definite sizzle between these two and it added a subtle spice to the story. The expectation, the tension, and ultimately the release from giving in, made their love story even more beautiful. I cannot give this book enough stars! I was captivated and completely lost to the real world while I read it. It’s my first K.A. Tucker book and it will certainly not be my last. I’m off to read the first book in the series, Burying Water. 5 spectacular stars!
Wonderful story and and amazingly real characters, as always, K.A. Tucker delivers another 'can't putdown' read!