The Coltons of Shadow Creek series comes to a shocking Christmas climax in two heart-pounding stories
Special Agent Cowboy by Regan Black
When hackers strike Colton, Inc., they put executive Marie Meyers in their crosshairs. FBI agent Emiliano Ortega is charged with protecting the beautiful city girl on his ranch. But keeping their mutual attraction professional under the mistletoe is impossible…
The Marine’s Christmas Case by Lara Lacombe
When Dario Ortega meets Felicity Grant, the lovely marine-turned-PI spurns his advances. Instead, Dario offers his tech expertise to help Felicity solve the Colton, Inc., hacking. Working the case together softens Felicity’s steely heart and makes Dario rethink bachelorhood. But can they catch a killer Colton in time for Christmas?
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Two novellas filled with thrilling suspense and exciting romance as the brothers of Ortega are trying to solve the Colton, Inc., hacking case and deliciously and completely falling in love in the process of protecting and investigating. I don't know if I should even call them novellas because the story continues seamlessly from Special Agent Cowboy by Regan Black to The Marine’s Christmas Case by Lara Lacombe like it is one story with two authors and two couples fumbling with life and love while trying to survive the violent threats and solve the bizarre case. In both stories, the connection and chemistry between the hero and heroine are sizzling hot yet true and belivable. Yes, things are moving at a fast pace, but the attraction and interest are genuine, the scare and fright of the threats intensifying all the emotions. Emiliano Ortega is back at his parents' ranch after his divorce left him broken and broke. He is a hotshot FBI agent, his kindness shows in his eyes, and his love for the animals at the ranch witness it. His constant companion, the corgi named Scrabble, steals the scenes as both the dog and its owner fall head over the heels for Marie Meyers. Marie is used to be alone, growing up in the system has made her tough as steel. Her career has been her companion, her focus, and her 'family' for a long time. The one thing missing in her life, family, has always been her heart's deepest wish yet so distant possibility. Looking into Emiliano's eyes makes her want to believe in the impossible. If only they could solve the case and defuse the threats so she could get back to her safe life, to guard her heart. Dario Ortega, Emiliano's brother, offers to help with the investigation as he is home for the holidays and in-between assignments. Dario has a reputation with the ladies, his flirty ways charming women of all the ages, but one look at Felicity Grant and his thoughts shift a gear. Felicity is fresh out of Marines and still not comfortable with the civilian life. She keeps her distance and has no interest in being one of Dario's attractions. Working as a team to solve the case gives them an opportunity to get to know each other, the threats towards them making that connection unavoidable. Yet the fragile, tender feelings take root as the magic of Christmas touches their hearts. These two couples made me smile and swoon as there is something rather adorable and touching about all of them. The foreboding danger and menace give the stories a sharp edge, the fear for their and their families lives are palpable and real. An entertaining package of arresting investigation and vicious action mixed with delightful and rousing romance, and the cutest four-legged friends ~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
There are two stories in this book, and they must be read in order, as THE MARINE’S CHRISTMAS CASE takes place immediately after SPECIAL AGENT COWBOY in the timeline. The two short novels tell one story, which concludes in Lara Lacombe’s novel; it’s an ideal formula for the busy Holiday Season, especially as the Christmassy feeling is very much present. SPECIAL AGENT COWBOY by Regan Black Marie Meyers couldn’t believe her eyes: Shadow Creek crime boss Livia Colton was not dead! Marie is chief digital officer for Colton Incorporated, and the company’s firewall has been breached, information was leaked, and Marie is wanted dead or alive by the Cohort, a hacktivist group, whose mission is to destroy entities they see as abusing the use of personal information. The FBI has been called in by Colton Inc. enquire into the mess, as well as provide protective detail for Marie, who is asked to take a leave of absence. Emiliano Ortega, of the cybercrime team is assigned to Marie; he wonders if she is part of the scheme, and Marie is not happy with the situation. But I was! Because Marie acts like a rational adult and does not, never ever do anything stupid to get away from Emilio and endanger everything! While both Emiliano and Marie cannot ignore that they find each other attractive, they still behave like professionals, even though Marie is bored. They are staying at the Ortega ranch, and Ms. Black makes our stay quite delightful with her descriptions of the small Texas town, the ranch, the animals, mostly Scrabble a corgi herder. The romance progressed organically and was quite lovely indeed. SPECIAL AGENT COWBOY also gives a new meaning to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. THE MARINE’S CHRISTMAS CASE by Lara Lacombe Dario Ortega is attending a family gathering, and he has been ogling a beautiful woman: Felicity Grant, back in town after a twelve-year stint in the Marines, has just started working for her friend Adeline Kincaid’s PI agency. Felicity has also noticed the handsome Latino, but Dario’s attempts at charming Felicity don’t work. Felicity has been assigned the Cohort case, the Coltons hired Adeline’s agency to track down the Cohort’s leader. Dario hasn’t given up on Felicity, he knew his brother Emiliano was working on the Colton cyber attack, and since he has a few free weeks, Dario offers to assist Adeline’s agency; he’s a cyber expert and his skills complement Felicity’s. It’s also a way to get closer to her; will Dario’s strategy work? While Dario and Felicity worked perfectly well on the job, their mutual attraction was a bit more complicated to handle, and Ms. Lacombe dealt with everything very well. For a while, I thought the story seemed more focused on the romance, which was lovely by the way, and then POW! And what a ride it was from there, building on what Regan Black had started in the first story. Ms. Lacombe writes great dialogues, and such great characters that I thought Maggie Colton might steal the show! And best of all, Ms. Lacombe had not forgotten that Felicity was a former marine: Felicity is positively awesome! Both Regan Black and Lara Lacombe impressed me with their vast knowledge of cybercrime and technology, and in both stories, it was riveting and I learned quite a bit. 5 stars for each story, that makes 10 stars, right? KILLER COLTON CHRISTMAS is a fabulous suspense read with a real Christmas atmosphere! I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.