Former undercover cop Mike Gibson has been lying low, working as a maintenance man to put his troubled younger brother through college. But when a beautiful scientist enlists Mike's help to repair the damage done to her lab by a group of vandals, Mike finds that his, and his brother's pasts, are about to be brought to light.
Lauren Kane was happy having a secret crush on the hot maintenance man at Tucker University, but when the drug she was studying is stolen, Lauren has a chance to get to know Mike in person. The problem is, he seems to know more about what's going on than any maintenance man should. But then the drug turns up in the wrong hands, and Mike and Lauren have to decide if their own chemistry will help, or hinder, the race to save innocent lives.
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Read an Excerpt
Lauren wasn't hoping to find a knight in a shining Tucker University Maintenance uniform when she left her lab at the crack of dawn. She was hoping to find the car keys she'd tossed in true absent-minded professor style into the bottom of her bag when she'd been worrying about why her alarm system was malfunctioning, worrying about her project, worrying about getting funding for her project, and worrying about dying in obscurity as a failed scientist in the event a tractor trailer ran the one stop light in the center of town and smushed her — so she didn't see the man who knelt next to the door until she tripped over him.
As she flew ass-over-tea-kettle, he caught her in his — whoa — incredibly, uh, firm arms.
She sprawled, half on the concrete, half on the lap of — she looked at the breast pocket of his shirt — Mike. Mike The Hottest Maintenance Man In History. But of course, that last part didn't quite fit on his name tag. Dark brown eyes, a chiseled jaw, curly-but-not-girly black hair. There was something edgy and dangerous about him that said, I'm all man and you'd better watch out.
She was trying to figure out how to thank him and stand up without making more of a fool of herself when he spoke.
"Are you all right?"
He had quite the voice. Not quite Darth Vader deep, but damn close. Like that country singer, the one with the bad reputation — low, with a touch of bluegrass twang.
"Oh boy," she murmured.
His lips rose at one corner. "Are you hurt?" He waited, one long, muscular arm stretching around her shoulders to keep the glass door from shutting on her head.
She thought for a second — maybe two — about staying there for a while, next to his Irish Spring and fabric softener-scented self.
"You said that already."
Now the lips were in an official smile.
Oh, hell. "Oh, hell."
Mike The Smiling Hot Maintenance Man's expression took on a hint of confusion, jolting Lauren out of her sex-starved, pathetic, crazy cat lady — who'd never been so close to that much testosterone — daze.
"Do you need me to call 911?"
That voice again. It did stuff to her ... parts. "No, it was just another false alarm." She gathered the few wits she could find and clambered to her feet.
He rose with her, then bent to pick up a pen, a quarter, and — lovely — her tampon case, which had all fallen from her purse when she tripped. He didn't skip a beat, just handed her everything. "What false alarm?"
"Oh. You meant ... 911 because I fell." Her face heated. Apparently, the spill had jarred a few brain cells loose. "Thanks. I'm okay. The false alarm" — she waved her hand vaguely in the direction of the lab she'd come from — "is from a monitor on a secure cell culture incubator that keeps going off in the middle of the night. There's never anything wrong, but when it goes off, my phone buzzes until I come in and reset it. The alarm. Not my phone." There. That was almost coherent.
"I can come by later and see if you've got a bad electrical connection," he said, his forehead — his strong, high forehead — creased in thought.
Geez. When did foreheads get sexy? She really needed to get out of the lab a little more often. "Um, okay." Reaching into her bag and finding her keys on the first grab this time, she said, "That would be great. My lab is 403. Whenever you want to stop by. That would be fine. Good."
"Okay. Good." He was smiling at her again. "What's your name?"
For a moment she couldn't remember her last name, the one she'd had her whole life. "Kane. Lauren Kane."
"I'm Mike Gibson. Nice to meet you Lauren Kane. Dr. Lauren?" There were little crinkles next to his eyes when he smiled.
"Um, yes. Doctor. Not, you know, M.D. The other kind."
He nodded, that half smile cranked up at her. How did eyes so dark look that warm?
She totally had to get away from this guy. "Well, bye." She gave him a little wave, then scurried toward her green SUV and didn't glance back at the building until she was safely in her car — with the doors locked and the windows up. Not because she was worried about crime in tiny Tucker, Kentucky, home of the Tuck U Trojans. No, she was worried about protecting herself from the temptation to flirt with Mike Gibson.
He was not for her. Nerdy scientist girls had to stay away from hot guys with big, muscle-y arms and white smiles.
So why the heck couldn't she stop looking back at the biology building?
She shook herself. What was wrong with her? She had to get out of here. She could lust after him from a distance. That would be fine. Safe. He could be her pretend lover. She turned the key and threw the car into gear. With one last glance over her shoulder toward her new imaginary boyfriend, she stomped her foot on the accelerator.
And promptly shot backward over the curb, knocking over a trash can, which wound up wedged under the rear bumper.
"Gack!" She put the car in park and jumped out to survey the damage. Rounding the back end and seeing the trash can, she shrieked and stepped out of the way of a family of possums — a mom and three ... teenagers? They tottered about, blinking in the bright morning sunshine.
"Whoa, careful!" Maintenance Man Mike was suddenly there, grabbing Lauren's upper arms and shifting her out of the way of the scraggly little things. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she said. "But the kids — I ran over their house!" One of the little ones clung to its mother's fur, but two others careened blindly away from the scene of the home wrecking.
"I tell you what," Mike said. "You pull your car forward, off the trash can, then we'll see if we can't help 'em out."
"Okay." Lauren's heartbeat started to slow and beat a regular rhythm. Except where Mike had touched her arms. There, her skin seemed to be throbbing and tingling. Sheesh.
She moved her car forward and off of the sidewalk, then went back to Mike and the possums. Fortunately, there were no other faculty members' cars in the lot yet. What would she have told them? No, I wasn't texting and driving. I was mentally undressing a stranger.
Oh well. Nothing to do for it but to catch some possums.
The alarm on her phone chimed. She pulled it from her pocket and checked the time. "Shoot."
"Are you late for something?" Mike paused to look at her, pulling on a pair of leather gloves.
"Oh. I'm — I have an eight a.m. class. I was going home to change. But ..."
He waved her on. "I got this. I'm a master possum catcher."
"No, but how hard can it be?" He grinned.
Her parts — including her brain — tingled. "Are you sure? I can probably —"
"I'm sure," he said. Then that perfect bottom lip curved a little more. "Just watch the road. And try to put the car in drive before you hit the gas this time."
Mike shook his head as the scientist — Lauren — drove away. She was cute in a nerdy, awkward sort of way. Tall, blond, and curvy, but not the type of girl that he usually went for. His brother, Evan — reserved, proper, too-smart Evan — would fit better with her. Hell, Lauren and his brother already worked in the same building. He wondered if Evan had already asked her out, but he wasn't going to ask. He had a goal much more important than pacifying his libido and no business chasing women.
He just needed to keep his head in the game and bring down Dino Romain so he could trade in his Tucker Maintenance ID badge and get back the badge — and gun — that he preferred to carry.
Just thinking about the leader of the Devil's Rangers raised Mike's blood pressure. The fucker had managed to set Mike up as a dirty cop and walk away with a shit-ton of heroin — and now Dino had expanded into the designer drug market. But at least Mike had a line on those drugs. Devil's Dust was being made right here at Tucker University, and Mike was going to find the source, bust Dino, and get his damned job back.
A rustling from beneath the arbor vitae lining the walkway reminded him of his current quest. Possum retrieval wasn't part of his plan, either, but he didn't think rescuing animals would cut into his crime fighting time too much. "Come on, Mama," he said.
The mother hissed when he got within three feet of the bush, where she sat squinting at him. Should he call Dylan? His little brother had a way with animals. One of the only things he was good at, besides getting into trouble. Of course, it was Mike's own fault the kid had slid off the straight and narrow.
Mike had to hope he'd be able to find a way to keep Dylan on track, now that he was at least in school and working.
He checked his watch. Only six thirty? Still too early. Dylan would just get pissed and assume Mike was inventing reasons to check up on him. He gave up on Mama Possum and turned to the nearest baby, which had wandered out from wherever it had been hiding and was making some sort of sound that might be a possum cry. He sighed. He didn't have a chance in a million of keeping his own fucked up family together, but maybe he could figure out a way to reunite the over-sized, not-quite-naked mole rats. He crept forward. The baby looked at Mike and keeled over, dead.
Oh, shit! Had he scared it to death? He scooped it up and gave it a cautious poke. It was still breathing.
"Ah. You're playing possum. Funny," he told it before gently lowering it back into the trash can.
"Hey, Mike." Jason Dietz, Mike's maintenance department supervisor, and an old family friend, approached. "What are you doing?"
"Uh, just helping some natural resources along."
"Seriously? You're playing with the possum who lives in the trash can? What's that thing's name on Sesame Street? Oliver?" Jason squatted down and made kissy noises. "Come here, Oliver."
"Oscar. Oscar the Grouch. Except this one's a female. She's got babies."
"Come on Oscarina, baby." Jason gave up and straightened. "Anyway, can you go check out the electrical situation in the bio building? The alarms were going off again last night."
"Yeah, someone told me about that. I just finished replacing the card reader on the door. I'll go in a few minutes."
"Your brother thinks there's some sort of disturbance in the Force or something."
"Is the problem in Evan's lab, too?" God forbid his brother's tree frogs be disturbed.
"Nah, it's just in that hot scientist chick's space. You know, the tall blond with the nice, uh ..." Jason made the universal sign for bodacious ta-tas.
"If I didn't love you like that inappropriate uncle who shouldn't be invited to Thanksgiving, I might tell you what an asshole you are," Mike said.
Jason shrugged. "But you know exactly who I'm talking about, don't you?"
Mike had a mental vision of the hot scientist — Lauren — with her big amber-colored eyes and a charming blush. And, yeah, maybe a curve of soft breasts pushing against an old Tucker University sweatshirt. Her body was intriguing, but it was Lauren's smile that kicked him in the gut. He shook his head and picked up his tools. "I've got to go get some stuff from the office. I'll head over there after I take care of that plumbing thing in the History department."
"Seriously. You should go for her. She doesn't seem too stuck up to date a man in blue. Even if it's not the kind of blue you want to be wearing. If I wasn't happily married and twice her age ..."
Mike laughed in spite of himself. Unfortunately, his real purpose for being here didn't allow for romance. He only had one reason to be on the maintenance crew at Tucker University — and it wasn't to meet women. He had to find where that drug was coming from before it claimed any more victims. He knew that it was being sold to users across the river in Cincinnati by the Devil's Rangers, but if he was going to get his suspension lifted, he had to prove the leader of the gang — Dino Romain — was the link.
Lauren let herself into the lab after her class, and heard the radio she kept on her desk playing. Weird. She didn't remember turning it on earlier. Especially not to a news station. Probably another issue with her electrical wiring.
"A dangerous new drug is hitting tri-state streets and sending addicts to the emergency room in record numbers. Cincinnati police say they don't know where this drug came from or —"
She snapped it off. Thank God she lived in tiny Tucker, Kentucky — Cincinnati was almost an hour away. It was a college town — hardly immune to recreational drugs, but hopefully the big, bad stuff stayed out of reach in the big city.
She dropped her briefcase next to her desk and booted her ancient laptop, longing for the day when her project was well-funded and she could update her old equipment.
"Hi, Lauren," came a familiar voice from the cell culture room.
Crap. Alex Barker.
She whirled around, frowning. Dealing with the ex-boyfriend-turned-former-coworker was so not on her to-do list today. "What are you doing here?"
"I need a flash drive I must have left when I moved out. It's got all my notes from last year on it." He wore a pink, long-sleeved dress shirt, un-tucked, over expensively distressed jeans, and shoes that looked old but probably had been purchased last week at twice Lauren's monthly paycheck.
Huh. He'd aspired to Abercrombie-dom back when he hadn't quite been able to afford it, now it looked like he could. The new University of Cincinnati gig must either be paying pretty well, or he was still living on the edge of his credit limit.
"Oh. I put all that stuff in here." Lauren dug a plastic storage box from under her desk, then handed it to him.
"And I'm popping in for old time's sake." He smiled ruefully, running a hand through his blond hair. Lauren was surprised his fingers didn't get stuck in all the product he used.
"How's the new job?" she asked, though she wasn't sure she wanted to hear about it. The higher paying job at a bigger university apparently had come with the bonus of an expanded ego.
"Good." He started to sort through the miscellaneous junk and didn't look at her when he said, "I could still use a co-investigator. I can see about bringing you on, if you like. You know that if we collaborated, we could do twice as much than we do separately."
"Thanks, but I'm not really interested in starting all over somewhere new. I'm happy here." Besides, Alex's offer of a good word probably came with the expectation that they would resume their "friend with half-assed benefits" relationship, which had not helped her career.
He nodded as though he'd expected her refusal. "I really hope you'll change your mind."
He crossed his arms and looked at her. "You've got to get over this misplaced fear of losing your seat on the board of directors of Feminists 'R' Us. Working with a man isn't going to wreck your career."
Wow. He'd really never understood her, had he? She counted to ten. Working with a man wasn't a problem as long as she wasn't involved — currently or formerly — with him. Working with Alex was a problem. He'd tried to take over her projects in the past, which was eerily similar to what had happened to her own mother.
After all, how many times had she heard the story about how her dad had shown up one day and offered to help her mom, a budding scientist, with her project? Nine months later, Karen Kane was a stay-at-home wife and mother — with a useless Ph.D. In addition, only two of Lauren's female friends from grad school had gotten married. The first spent way too much time reassuring her husband that she was working in the lab after hours and not cheating. Another had gotten married to another scientist, but then quickly divorced when they couldn't find jobs in the same time zone. Lauren had grown up knowing she wanted to be a scientist, so her option was to give up relationships. She'd tried to have both with Alex, and that hadn't worked. He'd wanted to "help" her — right into obscurity.
She forced a smile. "Thanks anyway, but I think I'll stick around here for a while longer."
Excerpted from "Deadly Chemistry"
Copyright © 2014 Tracy Mort Hopkins.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
This was a good start to the series, which I hope to read more. The sizzle between the nerdy scientist Lauren and hot alpha ex-cop Mike was pretty instantaneous and hot. I always love a good connection right off the bat. It did not seem over the top but just right. I liked the story line of Lauren's drug story but felt I figured it out quickly. Mike and his brothers, along with their hang ups, were a great secondary plot too. I hope that in the next books for this series, we can see them repair their brotherly bonds. They appeared to really care for each other but not sure how to relate to one another. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Sex, Lies, and Science Geeks sum it up pretty well. Laura is creating something incredible in her lab at the university, that would help many with chronic pain, after it is developed. She is fully focused on her work, fighting for the financing of the project, and has no time for a relationship. Mike is an ex-cop, who had to leave the force for being set up as a bad cop. He decides to catch the drug selling gang by himself, to clear his name. The connection and attraction between Mike and Laura is immediate, and palpable. Mike, the big protective alpha, who wants to save and protect all he cares for, is drawn to Laura, and can't get her out of his mind. Together, against Mike's wishes, they try to find what happen to the drugs stolen from Laura's lab, who is behind it, and how to catch them. The action is believable, and bold. The situations they end up is dangerous, and the possible suspects are close to Mike and Laura. The story telling is flowing well, and it is fun and entertaining, I really enjoyed the author's voice, that was humorous and pleasant. The ribbing between the characters was lively, the issues with the brothers cut deep, but without too much drama. I was surprised how openly Laura talked about her science project, that didn't seem really realistic. But other than that detail, the story was a great feast for the romantic suspense fans ~ Four Spoons
I found this to be a fantastic read. The pacing was great and while I did suspect the ultimate villain because of some of his early actions that seemed to be a 'little' obvious (to me), I really hadn't expected him to turn out to be the villain. Mike was hot and so devoted to figuring out where the drugs were for. I could and do respect him for the job he does. I loved the uber-geek of Lauren. It's great to see a geek do well and not be ashamed or embarrassed of her geekdom. I did think she had a few communication issues, but that's all part of a fully rounded character (mom issue is what comes to mind with that comment). So glad I read this!
Deadly Chemistry ( Sex, Lies, and Science Geeks #1) by Teri Anne Stanley was a fun, light, suspenseful and romantic read. Stanley delivered a story that was enjoyable and suspenseful at the same time. The hero and the heroine were complete opposites but they definitely attracted! The author provided great main characters and also supporting characters. Mike Gibson is in a tough situation. He is working as a maintenance worker because of a set-up he was a part of when he was a cop. But although Mike is working as a maintenance worker he still has his eye set on taking down the man that ruined his career. Mike is also a very hardworking guy. He has a very special relationship with his brothers. I really loved this aspect of the story it really added to his already strong character. While Mike is working at the university he meets Laura. Laura is a scientist and working on very important experiments. She is in the process of creating a new drug. Mike and Laura are night and day. He is a tough, confident, no-holds bar tough cop. She is a nervous, self-conscious and very awkward scientist. When Laura fears that she is in trouble and that she needs protection she goes to Mike for help. Although I really like Laura I felt like there were some aspects of the story that just didn’t click. One aspect is that although she works with the brothers she doesn’t realize that they are related. Laura is very “geeky” but sometimes it borders on irritating. The qualities that made her endearing were also sometimes too much. Also, most of the issues that she has with her relationship with Mike are really self-inflicted. Most of the issues are things that she is insecure about. The suspenseful part of the story was fun. Once Mike is aware of the danger going on at the university he uses his undercover cop skills to trace down who is trying to steal the drugs and who is responsible for all the deaths as a result of a deadly drug that infiltrates the streets. The suspense really pushed the story along and I think also helped make the romance more believable. Overall, this was a fun and light story. It’s perfect for relaxing and laughing. Lauren is a funny character and her relationship with Mike was enjoyable. I’m looking forward to his brothers and their stories!
A very engaging novel. It kept me in suspense trying to solve the plot as well as very entertained with likeable characters, humor and steamy romance! Must have for your guilty pleasure reading collection.
At first, I think that Deadly Chemistry is a PNR book (or Sci-Fi) just based on the cover and its title. Turn that the first installment of Sex, Lies and Science Geeks series and also Ms Stanley debut is romantic suspense. Beside PNR, RS is one of my favorite genre. Deadly Chemistry is story about Lauren Kane, a scientist and Mike Gibson ex-cop turn to be maintenance man. Mike try to trace some drug that lead him into the university where Lauren's lab reside. Like the title, the chemistry here do not refer to Lauren and Mike's relationship but to drug that Lauren create that indeed deadly. There are some family drama, angst, chemical terms here and there and some suspense as well. What I like is the background about drug and science. Also Mike's step sibling, Evan and Dylan. I think that Mike sometimes can be jerk, even he can be charming. But guy must loosen up a bit, for Mike while he just want to protect his little brothers, sometimes he have a hero complex. Like all weight in the world rest in his shoulder. Lauren sometimes can be cute, awkward, and she love animal. But I will not said that she is a nerd or geek. I mean, even it's normal for woman to lust after Jason Statham or The Rock, but as nerd, uhmm, nerd women will choose another option. This is because I'm a nerd, so I can said about that, lol! I don't get what the appeal of The Rock and Jason Statham and believe me, I watch their movies. But,well to each of their own I guess. Because Deadly Chemistry is book #1, I wonder if there will be book #2. I hope that Evan will have his own story, for I like his stoic and devil-may-care attitude. Make him more interesting than Mike that soo predictable. Deadly Chemistry is well written, even there are some cliche that kinda overused. Like why Lauren try to track her lost notebook, ALONE, after her lab had been vandalized. That make no sense for me, because if Lauren indeed smart, she will call police. Not try to investigate by herself (even she did have a reason. But still). The ending also kinda cliche, but still imho, well written. I will recommend Deadly Chemistry if you search for a fun, light RS with a little bit family drama.
Laura’s one of those characters you can’t help but like. She’s incredibly book smart but she’s not obnoxious about it. She’s a people person and an animal lover, caring for a family of possums living in a trash can and convincing Mike to adopt a temperamental cat. She’s confident in herself but an adorable klutz around sexy men. Well, one sexy man in particular. She’s giving, believes the best of everyone, and sees the good in almost everything. It’s easy to see why Laura found Mike attractive. His ruggedness and hard earned edge give him that bad boy air that any woman would be drawn to. Despite that, he’s a good cop with a heart of gold who’s doing his best to solve a crime in order to clear his name and keep his younger brother out of trouble. Break-ins, cleanups, stolen data, and the potential for catastrophe culminate in a twist I suspected but doubted. The attraction between Mike and Laura flared to life and grew despite all of this until it exploded into passion that consumed and surprised them. The physical attraction and lust they felt for one another was now something more, something neither was expecting to find after such a short time together. The way they became involved wasn’t normal by any means, but that’s what made their relationship so interesting to read about. It managed to flourish despite everything they faced together and separate, and only proved that they could handle anything that came their way, be it a crazy ex, stubborn family members, or temperamental pets. ***Received from PYUB and Entangled Publishing for an honest review***
This book is a great read. Lauren and Mike story is when you finally let the chemistry come together, you never know how explosive it can be.
Nerdy girl scientist meet studley former undercover cop... What else needs to be said? This is a fun romantic suspense set in a college town. Mike and Lauren have a lot of baggage to work through as they become a couple. The supporting characters (especially Mike's brothers) are well written and funny. The pace was quick and the dialouge witty. It had the right amount of will they or won't they heat. I reccomend this book for those who are fans of big bang or moonlighting! I was given a free copy for an honest review
Lauren Kane may be a science geek but she is also a woman who needs to be loved. She is working hard to get a grant to continue with her drug research, but strange things keep happening. Who thought that chemistry would put her in danger? Her protector is Mike Gibson, college maintenance man. He is, also, the man she is crushing on. She doesn't know that he is working at Tucker College to find who is selling her drug. He needs to find who's doing this so he can get his job back. Do they stand a chance for a HEA? Deadly Chemistry is a potent mixture of romance and suspense. The book is filled with plenty of dangerous twists and turns as well as a hot romance. The story is well plotted and the characters add spice to the story. The ending is exhilarating. I enjoyed Deadly Chemistry. Teri Anne Stanley has a easy writing style that kept me interested and amused.
Title: Deadly Chemistry - Sex, Lies, and Science Geeks Book 1 Author: Teri Anne Stanley Publisher: Entangled Ignite Published: 6-23-2014 ISBN: 13-978-1-62266-739-0 ASIN E-Book B00KP86AVU Pages: 246 Genre: Romance Tags: Suspense Sensual Level: Overall Rating: Very Good Reviewed For: Entangled Publishing Reviewer: DelAnne Nerdy scientist and over-protective ex-cop finally acknowledge their attraction...trouble comes and together they make everything right. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Well forget it because this book is so much more. Mike Gibson a former undercover cop who was compelled to leave his job under a cloud of disgrace. He takes a position as maintenance man at Tucker University. His two brothers, one is researcher at the university and the youngest is Lauren Kane's research assistant, are two of the most important people in his world and he would give his life to protect them. He thinks Lauren is the sexiest thing on two legs but will do nothing about it because he feels she is so above him. Lauren Kane is a bit of an introvert. Outside of her work and her kitty she is unsure of her self. She finds the maintenance man just yummy, but she can not seem to keep from stumbling over herself when around him. How can such a brilliant mind turn to mush around the sexiest man she has ever seen. When her lab is vandalized and part of her research stolen Mike comes to her aid. Can she trust Mike? What is he hiding? Is he helping her find the thief or is he helping the thief? Such a wonderful story which moves smoothly and quickly from scene to scene. Using humor with a touch of slap-stick comedy to have you laughing as you read. There is also a touch of drama and suspense to keep you grounded. Add in two main characters who are intelligent and caring of those important to them. There is so many subplots to keep you on your toes. Indulge yourself with "Deadly Chemistry" and pick up a copy for yourself today!
This is a fun light hearted story with great humor, romance, and mystery. Down on his luck, shamed detective Mike Gibson is working hard to restore his name and honor by tracking the deadly strain of drugs that have hit the streets. When it is traced back to the nerdy yet sexy scientist Mike has been trying not to lust after things get interesting fast! I really enjoyed this book. Well written, funny, and a story that moves along at a good pace all work together to make this a very enjoyable read. Highly recommend it.
Every scientist knows that opposites attract – but Laura Kane also knows what happens when that attraction leads you to letting a man take over your life. After watching her mother give up her career as a scientist after getting married, Laura knows that there is no room in her life for any man…that is until she literally falls in the arms of “The Hottest Maintenance Man In History” – Mike Gibson. Mike Gibson is trying to pick up the pieces of his life, trying to get his younger brother on the straight and narrow, and trying to clear his name. After being suspended from the police force, Mike takes a job as a maintenance man at the local college – and little does he know that the demons from his past are about to slam right into his present…and have him falling for the sexy scientist who he helps when she has the drug she is developing stolen out of her laboratory. It was fun but also heartbreaking at times to watch Laura and Mike navigate through their relationship. They both had such issues to work through. Laura knows what her mother gave up in order to have a man in her life, and is so afraid of losing herself to a man that she never lets herself get close to anyone. Even after she begins to realize that a relationship is possible, she still has a hard time thinking that she, the scientist, could capture the attention of a man like Mike. "Aaaaand there she went. Just because she’d realized she could probably still manage a career and a love life didn't mean she could manage a love life with a guy like Mike Gibson. Or that, late-night condom runs aside, it was unlikely a guy like Mike Gibson would want that with her. He would want the big city and big adventures, bad-guy-chasing adrenaline highs and stiletto-wearing sex goddesses. Not bookish, cat-loving, sneaker-wearing homebodies like Lauren. Though she might like to try out the sex goddess thing for a while." Mike was such a great guy but had taken the weight of the world, or at least the world of his family, on his shoulders. And he couldn't forgive himself for the times that he feels he let his family down…especially since he’d been trying to take care of and protect his brothers since they were kids. Now that Laura is in danger, he has a hard time realizing that pushing her away isn't going to keep her safe. I really enjoyed this story and loved the fact that the female was the nerdy scientist. This seems like a great start to a fun series and I look forward to more….perhaps Evan’s story?!!! I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.