New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin raises chills as danger stalks a woman determined to make it in a man’s world . . .
Five weeks ago Carly Drake stood at her grandfather’s grave. Now she’s burying Drake Trucking’s top driver, and the cops have no leads on the hijacking or murder. Faced with bankruptcy, phone threats and the fear of failure, Carly has to team up with the last man she wants to owe—Lincoln Cain.
Cain is magnetic, powerful, controlling—and hiding more than one secret. He promised Carly’s granddad he’d protect her. The old man took a chance on him when he was nothing but a kid with a record, and now he’s the multi-millionaire owner of a rival firm.
But Linc’s money can’t protect Carly from the men who’ll do anything to shut her down, or the secrets behind Drake Trucking. If she won’t sell out, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close . . . and fight like hell.
About the Author
A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She and her author husband, L.J. Martin, spend their winters in Ventura, California. She is currently writing her next Romantic Suspense. Visit Kat at www.katmartin.com. Or join her Facebook page. (www.facebook.com/pages/Kat-Martin).
Read an Excerpt
By Kat Martin
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Kat Martin
All rights reserved.
Iron Springs, Texas
For the second time since her return to Iron Springs, Carly Drake stood in a graveyard. On the opposite side of the coffin, between rows of granite headstones, the Hernandez family huddled together, a wife weeping for her husband, children crying for their father.
Carly bowed her head, her heart aching for the loss of a man she had known only briefly. With her grandfather's recent passing, she understood the pain Miguel's family was suffering. Joe Drake, the man who had raised her, the only father Carly had ever known, had died just five weeks ago.
But unlike a heart that had simply worn itself out, Miguel Hernandez, Grandpa Joe's number-one driver, had been shot in the head, the criminals who had committed the truck hijacking still on the loose.
In the weeks since her grandfather's death, Carly had been doing her best to run Drake Trucking, to keep the company afloat and its employees' checks paid. She was putting in twelve-hour days, but Miguel had been killed on her watch and Carly felt responsible.
The harsh Texas wind kicked up, whipping blades of grass in front of the casket draped with a blanket of bloodred roses. The end of September weather was fickle, hot and humid one day, rainy and overcast the next. Strands of heavy blond hair tore free from the tight bun at the nape of her neck. As Carly smoothed the strands back into place, her gaze paused on a man at the far edge of the mourners, a head taller than the men in Miguel's Hispanic family, taller than most of the truckers or any other man in the crowd, big and broad-shouldered, with dark brown hair, and a strikingly handsome face.
Carly leaned over and spoke quietly to the woman beside her, Brittany Haworth, a willowy brunette who had been her best friend in high school. As if it had been just days instead of years, their friendship had resumed the day Carly had returned to Iron Springs.
"The man across from us ..." Carly said. "The tall one? He was also at Grandpa Joe's funeral. I remember him going through the line to pay his respects, but I was hurting so much I barely paid attention. Do you know who he is?"
Brittany looked surprised. "You're kidding, right? You don't recognize him? Obviously you don't read the gossip rags. He's in the newspapers all the time. That's Lincoln Cain. You know, the multimillionaire?"
Carly's gaze swung across the casket on the mound above the grave to the big man in the perfectly tailored black suit and crisp white shirt. "That's Cain?"
As if he could feel her watching him, his eyes swung to hers, remained steady on her face. Carly couldn't seem to look away. There was power in that bold, probing stare. She could actually feel her pulse accelerate. "So what's Cain doing in Iron Springs?"
"He owns a ranch here. He was born close by — Pleasant Hill, I think. He left to make his fortune, came back a few years ago megarich. It's a fascinating story. You'll have to Google him sometime."
"I still don't understand why he was at Joe's funeral, or why he's here today."
"For one thing, he was one of Joe's competitors. Texas American Transportation is one of the biggest trucking companies in the world."
She nodded. "Tex/Am Transport. I know that, but —"
"Cain credits Joe Drake as one of the people who put him on the path to success. The Iron Springs Gazette published a couple of articles about him and Joe."
Guilt swept over her. She'd been gone so much. Off to college at the U. of Texas in Austin ten years ago, which her grandfather had paid for, then a job in Houston as a flight attendant.
She had always wanted to see the world, so instead of coming home to help Grandpa Joe, she'd gone to work for Delta. She'd been transferred here and there, worked out of New York for a while, come back to Iron Springs a couple of times a year, but her visits never lasted more than a few days before she was gone again, flying somewhere else, off on another adventure.
Six weeks ago, she'd quit her job, given up her apartment in San Francisco where she had been based, and come home to stay. Joe's heart condition had worsened. She'd started worrying about him, decided to come back and help him run Drake Trucking, take over some of the responsibilities, and lessen the stress he was under.
She'd only been in Iron Springs a week when Joe had suffered a massive heart attack. He'd died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. By the time she'd received the call, rushed out of the office, and driven like a maniac to Iron Springs Memorial, Joe was gone.
She hadn't been there for him when he needed her.
Just as she had so many times before, Carly had failed him.
She glanced up at the sound of Brittany's voice. The service had ended. The mourners were breaking up, people walking away.
"He's coming over," Britt whispered. "Lincoln Cain."
Carly honed in on him, at least six-five, a man impossible to miss. She straightened as he approached.
"Ms. Drake? I'm Lincoln Cain." He extended a big hand, and as she set hers in it, felt a warm, comforting spread of heat. Since being comforted only made her feel like crying, she eased her hand away.
"We met briefly at your grandfather's service," Cain said, "but I doubt you recall."
His eyes were green, she realized. The color of money, she thought, with gold flecks in the center. He had a slight cleft in his chin and a jaw that looked carved in stone. "Yes, I remember seeing you there. I don't recall much else. It was a very bad day."
"Yes, it was."
She turned. "This is my friend, Brittany Haworth."
He made a faint nod of his head. "Ms. Haworth."
"Nice to meet you," Britt said. She'd always been shy. The way she was looking at Cain, as if the year's sexiest man alive had just dropped by for a visit, Carly was surprised her friend was able to speak.
Cain's gaze returned to Carly. "I realize how difficult it must be, going through all of this again so soon. Once more you have my condolences."
"Thank you. It's been difficult. But my grandfather lived a long, full life. I can only imagine how terrible this is for Miguel's family."
A muscle in Cain's jaw tightened. "Maybe catching his killer will ease some of their pain."
"You think they will?"
There was something in the way he said it. Surely he didn't intend to involve himself in catching the men who'd murdered Miguel.
"I didn't realize you were a friend of my grandfather's."
His features relaxed as if a fond memory had surfaced. "Joe Drake was a good man. One of the best. He gave me my first job. Did you know that?"
Her eyes burned. That sounded so like Joe. Never a hand-out but always a hand-up whenever one was needed. "I wasn't around much after I got out of high school. I should have come home more often. You'll never know how much I regret that."
His expression shifted, became unreadable. "We all do things we regret." Up close he was even better looking than she had first thought, his dark hair cut a little shorter on the sides, narrow brackets beside his mouth that only appeared once in a while, not dimples, but something more subtle, more intriguing. "Your grandfather loved you very much."
A lump swelled in her throat. She had loved him, too. She'd never realized how little time they would have. "Thank you for saying that." She needed to leave. She was going to cry and she didn't want to do that in front of Cain. "I'm sorry, but if you'll excuse me, I need to say good-bye to Miguel's wife, Conchita, before we go."
He nodded. "There's something I need to discuss with you. After Joe died, I waited. I wanted to give you time to grieve, but after what happened to Miguel, it can't wait any longer."
She tried to imagine what Cain wanted. Something to do with Joe, she thought. "All right. You can reach me at the office. I'm there every day."
"I know the number. I'll be in touch."
She watched as he turned and walked away, wide shoulders, narrow hips, long powerful legs striding across the grass as if he had something important to do. What could one of the wealthiest men in Texas possibly want to talk to her about?
Carly watched as Cain slid into the back of a shiny black stretch limo waiting for him at the edge of the graveyard.
"I wonder what he wants," Brittany said, voicing Carly's thoughts.
"He's in the transportation business, so it must have something to do with Drake Trucking."
"You're probably right. But Tex/Am Transport is only a small part of his company. Cain owns half of Texas American Enterprises, which means it could be anything. Or maybe it's something personal, something to do with your grandfather."
"Maybe. I guess I'll find out." Carly started making her way through the tombstones. Up ahead, Conchita Hernandez and the rest of Miguel's family stood on the church steps, accepting condolences. Carly squared her shoulders and kept walking.
* * *
She wasn't what he had imagined. Oh, she was as pretty as the pictures her grandfather had proudly shown him: late twenties, taller than average, with big blue eyes and wavy golden blond hair past her shoulders. Joe had shown him a photo of her playing volleyball on the beach so he knew what she looked like in a bikini, knew she had a dynamite figure.
She didn't seem concerned with her appearance the way he'd expected. He thought she'd be more aloof, more self-absorbed. He hadn't expected her to be grieving her grandfather so deeply.
He'd been sure he wouldn't like her. Not the young woman who had accepted so much and returned so little.
And yet as he had watched her with Miguel's family, as he read her sorrow, the depth of her concern, he had been surprisingly moved. She felt responsible in some way for her employee's death. She blamed herself, and he couldn't allow that to happen.
Linc had made a vow to her grandfather. He'd promised Joe Drake he would look after Carly, make sure she was okay. Linc planned to keep that vow. And the best way he could take care of Carly was to send her packing — before she ended up as dead as Miguel Hernandez.
* * *
Carly turned the corner and pulled up to the curb in the white F-150 pickup she was driving. DRAKE TRUCKING gleamed in dark blue letters on the doors, along with the logo of a stylized male duck in flight — a drake.
"Thanks for the ride." Britt cracked open her door.
"Thanks for going with me."
"Miguel was a really nice guy. I can't believe someone killed him."
Sadness rolled over her. Such a senseless murder. Why hadn't Miguel cooperated with the hijackers? A piece of equipment, no matter how valuable, wasn't worth his life. Or maybe he'd given them what they wanted and they had murdered him anyway. Maybe they were just cold-blooded killers.
"I'm calling Sheriff Howler as soon as I get back to the office," Carly said. "I need to see if he's made any progress on the case."
"I hope they catch whoever did it."
Carly hoped they sent the bastards straight to hell, but she didn't say that. "So do I."
"You want to come in, have a glass of iced tea or something?" Brittany asked.
"I need to get back. I've got a ton of work to do." Including writing paychecks. Not easy when you had to juggle accounts, borrow from Peter to pay Paul, try to keep all of the balls in the air so none of the checks would bounce.
"Okay, I'll call you later." Britt slammed the pickup door, turned and headed up the sidewalk to the front door of the small gray brick house she rented. It had a white picket fence, white shuttered windows, and a perfectly tended lawn. Flower beds overflowed with yellow and purple pansies.
Britt was a homebody, always had been. As a substitute teacher at Iron Springs Elementary, her dream was to marry and have a family. So far that hadn't happened.
After a five-year engagement, Britt had come home early to find her fiancé — what was the legal term? — in flagrante delicto with the voluptuous neighbor who lived down the block.
Britt had been devastated, but Carly hadn't been all that surprised. Being a flight attendant, she had met and dated men from all over the world. In her experience, guys were fun for a while, but as soon as you fell in love with one, he was gone, looking for another conquest.
Britt might seem as if she'd weathered the heartbreak, but inside she was still hurting. Carly wasn't sure how long it would take her tender heart to mend.
It wasn't going to happen to her — not again. She'd been engaged two times. Both had ended in disaster when the man she thought loved her had found someone to replace her.
For the last several months, she'd been taking a break from men. She'd had enough disappointment to last a lifetime. She wasn't ready to jump into the dating world again.
One look at Brittany told her she had made the right decision. Add to that, the fact she had inherited her grandfather's trucking firm, a fleet of fifteen Peterbilt tractor trucks and an assortment of trailers. With a company that grossed in the millions each year and employed twenty-eight people, she didn't have time to date.
Thinking of the afternoon ahead and the pile of work she faced, Carly pulled the pickup onto Highway 67 and headed back to Drake Trucking.
* * *
Returning to his office in Dallas, Linc loosened his tie as he stepped out of the elevator on the executive floor of Tex/Am's corporate headquarters building, a six-story, mirrored glass structure on the North Central Expressway.
The receptionist, Leslie Bingham, sat behind a sleek teakwood desk that matched the low wooden tables in the contemporary seating area. The smooth, rust-grained wood posed a warm contrast to the nubby texture of the oatmeal fabric on the sofa and chairs.
Linc walked past the desk, heading for his private office.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Cain."
He smiled absently, his mind still back in Iron Springs. "Afternoon, Les."
She smiled in return, a perky, freckle-faced redhead in her late twenties with a pleasant disposition and plenty of ambition, just what he liked in an employee.
There were only two offices on the top floor of the building, his and that of his partner, Beau Reese. Each of them had a personal assistant who worked in a private area behind the receptionist desk. Staff worked in cubicles nearby, serving both him and Beau.
Linc waved at Mildred Whitelaw, a brunette in her early forties who was one of his most valuable employees, the lady who had kept him organized and on track since he and Beau had first started building the company.
He pulled open the door leading into his private office and walked inside, his gaze going to the wall of windows that wrapped around the room and looked over the busy Dallas streets.
The teakwood theme he had personally chosen for the executive floor continued in here, though the sofa and chairs were caramel leather instead of fabric.
Linc stripped off the black suit coat he had worn to Miguel Hernandez's funeral, draped it over the valet along the wall, sat down behind his desk, and went to work. He had a four o'clock conference call with the mayor of Ruidoso regarding a road construction project in New Mexico on Highway 48 north of the city. The job was just getting started. He didn't want any glitches so he needed to be prepared.
He picked up the file Millie had set on his desk, but instead of flipping it open, his mind went back to his graveside encounter with Carly Drake. He hit the intercom button.
"Millie, I need you to set up a meeting with Carly Drake at Drake Trucking. Tomorrow would be best. Whatever time works in my schedule, but the sooner the better."
"I'll take care of it," Millie said.
Linc turned back to the file, but his thoughts strayed again to the pretty little blue-eyed blonde, Joe Drake's granddaughter. She wasn't a slender woman, not overly buxom, either. She had more than enough curves to look feminine, but there was something solid about her that gave the impression of strength.
He remembered the first heart attack Joe had suffered. Linc had gone to the hospital to see him, been surprised at how frail the tough old man had looked. Lying in that hospital bed, Joe had stared at his mortality and faced it head on, the way he did everything else.
He had asked Linc a favor that day, as he had never done before, asked that if something happened to him, Linc would look after his granddaughter, make sure Carly was okay.
Joe didn't give his trust lightly and Linc didn't make promises he didn't intend to keep. The day Joe had died, Carly Drake had become his responsibility.
He owed Joe Drake more than he could ever repay. This last small favor was the least he could do.
Excerpted from Beyond Reason by Kat Martin. Copyright © 2017 Kat Martin. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Easy read. Not her best but it was enjoyable.
Loved the new book. Perfect !
Great storyline, mix of suspense and romance with a hot alpha male hero.
I really enjoy reading books by Kat Martin. They have a mystery and romance.
Thrilling Story filled with intrigue and romance! I always get a thrill of anticipation when a new series by Kat Martin becomes available! She is an expert at creating alluring characters and involving them in fascinating plot twists that keep a reader intrigued until the very last page of the story. That is exactly what happened to me as I lost myself in the pages of Beyond Reason, the first book in Ms. Martin's Texas Trilogy series. I greatly recommend this first book of the series and I eagerly anticipate reading the entire trilogy.
It's been awhile since I read a Kat Martin book and this was an excellent one to jump start my love of her books. I've kind of gotten tired of the excess of billionaire romances out there but this was nicely balanced with the blue collar trucking industry. This was a great read with a lot of action and suspense.
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. I had forgotten how much I enjoy suspense novels, and I do enjoy Kat Martins her heroine's are never the weak type, they are stubborn, resourceful, and smart. Her hero's tend to be gorgeous, virile, and resourceful. In this one we have Carly, whose grandfather has recently passed away, and she has so much guilt because Joe (her grandfather) was who raised her, and she feels like she has let him down by now being there when he needed her the most. His business is on the verge of bankruptcy and one of his loyal long time employees has been murdered, so she is resolved to bring back the company to its former glory and get to the bottom, of who killed the employee. In comes Linc Cain, a handsome millionaire, it ends up that Joe was the only person who had believed in him when he had come fresh out of jail, and he gave him a chance and was his friend, and Joe had asked to look out for Carly, and he was going to do so, especially when he knows their is trouble. When they meet, there is instant attraction, but they are going to fight it, because neither is interested in a relationship, but that does not last for long, they are combustible together. Unfortunately, their are a lot of issues, Carly is threatened and her life is in danger, so many things start happening, and thru all of this, she is trying to keep her heart from breaking, because she does not believe in HEA. When all of the issues are taken care of, she does the biggest stupidest thing in her life, and I wanted to jump thru the pages of this book and slap her, luckily things get resolved, and she does get her HEA, I encourage you to read it, the only thing that I do not like, is that I have to wait along time for the next book in this trilogy...
I loved this book. Kat Martin is an author that I will always read! Another hit!
This was so, so good! Beyond Reason was a great romantic suspense story with likable characters and a really intriguing mystery happening. I totally enjoyed it. Lincoln and Carly were awesome. I really enjoyed these two and their relationship. They were just good together and had a great connection and I loved their chemistry. I liked their ease of coming together and getting to know each other in the middle of everything that was going on. There was some push and pull since they're both stubborn but it made them coming together entertaining. I loved how Linc took care of Carly and how he was there for her. There were some nice heated moments but nothing over the top, definitely a lower heat kind of read. I loved the mystery element and even though this was romance I felt it was equally balanced with the intrigue that was playing out. I loved the little breadcrumbs being discovered as the story built. I couldn't wait to find out who the bad guy was. It was exciting to read! There is good drama throughout and a great supporting cast. This was a solid story, it had a decent pace but did drag a bit in the second half for me, there were great details, and there was really good development. There were a lot of different things thrown into the mix to keep me on my toes. That being said, I felt this was a bit of a lighter read, so even though I loved the mystery, it wasn't super intense or gritty. A few elements came into play I wasn't expecting and I loved the fact that I was surprised. It was a totally entertaining who-done-it! There is something nice about a mystery that isn't to taxing, just a great story with a good flow full of obstacles that really hooks you and keeps you turning the page. Complimentary copy received for honest review.
I really like Carly and Linc. I like all the characters and am looking forward to hearing about all of them in future books. Carly's grandfather has died and left her all alone. He left her his trucking company and a whole lot of problems. Someone has killed one of her drivers. At the driver's funeral, she meets Linc. Linc promised Joe that he would look after Carly and keep her safe. While keeping Carly safe, LInc gets to know her and realizes that she is the one he has been looking for. They just have to stay alive long enough to be together. They are dealing with terrorists, betrayal by long-time employees and an old grudge with the local sheriff. Carly has a big trust issue and isn't sure she set that aside to trust in Linc's love.
"Beyond Reason" is a wonderful book written in my favorite genre, Romantic Suspense! Linc and Carly's story had a steady but growing love between them that took its time to completion with high drama throughout. The dynamics between the two and the great details of the ongoing fast pace of the storyline, the flow of the story, only enhances the book. We have background and details on their lives and how they got to where they are today, as well as action in the story that never lags or lets down the reader. For all the suspense enthusiasts out there, what is better than having a complete novel with drama, suspense, action, and romance, with a pace that will keep the reader turning pages to find out how they got to their HEA? I have yet to read a bad story written by Kat Martin and I recommend you pick this one up. I look forward to Beau's story next. I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Books for gifting me "Beyond Reason". My opinion is my own. This is mine 5 Stars!
Beyond reason is a well crafted story that will keep romance readers happy and suspense readers enjoying every last word. Each characters has a purpose that drives the story forward bringing together or pulling apart the leads in the story. The secondary characters in the story comes to life as well as Kat Martin sends readers into the lives of two completely opposite individuals who were meant to fall in love. Beyond Reason takes a readers into the lives of Kat Martin world that comes to life with each passing page. While there was a lot of sex in the book sometimes the author closed the door and other times she let the readers in the bedroom. I can't wait to read more by this accomplished writer. Thank you to Netgalley for this advance Copy and I can't wait to read the next in the series.
Beyond Reason by Kat Martin is the 1st book in her new Texas Trilogy series. Beyond Reason is a fantastic read that had a bit of everything; action, suspense, romance, great couple, and a bad villain. Carly Drake, our heroine, has just recently come home to take over her deceased grandfather’s trucking business. Before she can settle in, one of her top drivers is murdered, adding to her other problems, which includes a failing business & threats on her life. Enter Linc Cain, our hero, who is determined to help Carly survive. Linc, a wealthy entrepreneur, has fond memories of Joe Drake (Carly’s grandfather), who helped him when he was a kid; Linc always felt he owed his successful life to Joe. When Linc tries to buy Drake Trucking to take away her burden, she flatly refuses; Carly wants to fix things on her own. But when things start happening that threatens Carly, Linc will force himself into her life to help her no matter how she feels. In a short time, their romance will heat up, but neither wants any long term relationship. The action in this story is non-stop, and always in the forefront, with the romance being sweet and sexy, but not overtaking the story line. Linc and Carly was such a great couple, I loved everything about them. She was a strong, independent woman, who also felt that there was no future for her in Linc’s fast paced, wealthy life. He was a pure alpha male, determined to use his resources to help and protect Carly, and along the way he found himself falling in love with her. The villain in this story was bad all the way through, keeping his identity hidden, and forcing Carly and Linc to do his bidding or lives will be lost. The last half of the book was a thriller a minute, filled with attacks and even weather destruction. It was so suspenseful, with a few surprises and traitors within; but Martin did such a great job balancing the wild ride with the beautiful romance building between Linc and Carly. I thought their chemistry was sizzling, and sweet at the same time. Besides this great couple, the secondary characters were also very good. I cannot wait to read more about them in the next two books of this trilogy. If you enjoy action, suspense, thriller and a sweet wonderful romance, then you need to read Beyond Reason. I was impressed with how well it was written by Kat Martin, as she held my attention throughout the entire book, and I could not let go. Awesome read.
Carly inherited her grandfather’s trucking business and with it a whole lot of trouble, financial and deadly. One of her drivers is murdered and she is receiving phone threats, her only option is to team up with Lincoln Cain. The man her grandfather helped out when he was a kid, Lincoln was able to turn his life around and became a billionaire. Can these two work together to find out who is trying to destroy her grandfather’s business? Tons of suspense and drama. I really liked this read as well as the characters and am looking forward to more in the series.
Romantic suspense at it's best! The story had enough twists and turns to keep the story interesting and the romance that develops between Carly and Linc is a sweet slow build. As Carly takes over her grandfather's trucking business she finds herself not only on the threshold of bankruptcy but also burying the company's top driver. She finds herself in a position that she has no choice but to rely on the help of Lincoln Caine. Linc had a special relationship with Carly's grandfather and he gave the man his word that he would look out for Carly. It becomes clear quickly that someone is trying to drive Carly out of business. Who and why isn't something they seem to be able to tie down. I highly recommend this one.
This is the beginning of a new series by Ms Martin, a series that promises to be a winner. The main characters in tyhis story are Caryl Drake and Linc (Lincoln) Cain. Caryl is the new owner of Drake Trucking, a company her deceased grandfather owned. She is facing bankruptcy, had one of her employees was murdered and she is receiving threatening phone calls. Linc is a millionaire that thanks to Carly’s grandfather, had a second chance in life when he got out of prison. His promise to a dying man, has him going to Caryl to offer his help. These two have an immediate attraction. Though at times, I wanted to give Caryl a shake to bring her to her senses. Her insecurities were the only negative thing in the story. Otherwise, it was a story filled with suspense, bad guys, whodunit, vandalism, hunky guys and of course romance. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I was gifted this book by Netgalley. The opinions expressed are solely my own.
Drama, trouble, murder, and burning romance are the key elements of Beyond Reason. Kat Martin has always been a one-click author to me, I enjoy her style to tell a story. Beyond Reason didn't end up being one of my favorites from her, but that doesn't stop me from continuing to follow the series. Lincoln Cain was a charismatic hero. He is protective, stubborn, and controlling, but his intentions are good, and he is only trying to keep Carly safe and alive. Lincoln has several layers in his personality, the wilder side with an MC club and his time in prison made me expected more from him, a bit more darkness, a bit more edge and danger around him, not just another billionaire with luxurious habits. Carly Drake was in a tough spot in her life. Trying to keep her grandfather's firm going and alive while renovating a home and grieving for her grandfather. Adding to that the problems with the cartel, and inside the company, and she barely holds her head above the water. But her stubborn and independent nature doesn't make it easy to accept the help that Lincoln so eagerly wants to offer to her. From her experience, Carly doesn't belive that love will last, that there can be a happily ever after. She is afraid to be hurt again and lets the fear control her behavior. The characters are charming, the basic plot was intriguing and held my interest through the tale, even though the ending with the suspense was a bit overboard. I felt that the story could have moved on with a faster tempo. There were often details of products in the scene - guns, cars, clocks, clothing, you name it - that to me was unnecessary. The other thing that surprised me was the dialog, it often felt like it was added to the story after completion, and felt like it was missing the flow and wit I am used to and look forward to in Ms. Martin's stories. Same was with the sexual thoughts and moments that were plentiful, yet felt like add-ons, awkward and even inappropriate at times with the timing in the story. Despite all that, I was fascinated by the tale and will be looking forward to the next book in the series. ~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Carly Drake returned to help her grandfather run his trucking business only to have him die suddenly. The business is threatened financially and also by a “bad guy” named El Jefe. Wealthy businessman Lincoln Cain got a hand up from Carly’s grandfather and promised he would look out for Carly should she ever need help and with her grandfather gone, the company in trouble and then her in trouble, too, he feels more than obligated to do what it takes to make sure all is right with Carly. He doesn’t always see eye to eye with Carly but they get along for the most part. This romantic suspense novel has a lot going on. I wrote a partial list and it definitely was not a short one: embezzling, murder, protesters, smuggling, human trafficking, terrorists, gun battles, bad guys, relative never heard of before shows up, motor cycle club friends, Linc’s friends that could have books written about them, Cary’s friends that could have books written about them…and more. It kept my interest but at times, especially toward the end, I thought “really?” a time or two. I liked the fact that Cary was strong and able to stand up for herself but sometimes I thought she was had “fits of stupid” that I found hard to believe would occur in someone who had been on her own so many years and was otherwise rather intelligent. Her reasons for thinking men are all players might fly – as did she as an airline attendant – but they didn’t ring true to me as a valid reason for one of her decisions near the end. So, did I like the book? Yes. It was a fast-paced page-turner that kept me interested from beginning to end. I liked the relationship between Carly and Linc and felt they made a balanced couple. I am taking off a star for my in ability to believe all that happened but otherwise thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the next book in the series. I know it is about Beau, Linc’s business partner, but wonder who book three will be about. Will it be Linc’s brother or one of his three good friends from high school OR someone else entirely. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC – this is my honest review.