Reviewed by Helyce
Arresting Desire by Shayla Black
Two years ago, Jon Bocelli was working a case that ended with his brother framed for the death of Lucia’s DiStefano’s father. Jon’s brother was no angel, he knew that, but he also knew that he hadn’t killed Lucia’s father. Jon had more than noticed Lucia DiStefano back then, but she was very young and innocent and he just couldn’t bring himself to act on his feelings. Now back in town, investigating Lucia’s father’s death on his own in the hopes of finding anything that might clear his brother, he comes face to face with Lucia and realizes that he still has feelings for her and this time he won’t be able to let her go.
I liked this story, for the most part. I was intrigued by the characters and the story’s plot. It was well thought out and carries through the story well and I really liked how the author used Lucia’s childhood relationship with her dad and the “game” that they’d often played to leave clues for her that led to the capture of the person truly responsible for her father’s death. I did not, however, connect too well with Lucia. Clearly a child prodigy, she’d flown through school and at only 25 was already a professor. I found it a bit unbelievable that she was still a virgin which in turn made it difficult for me to buy that she so easily falls into the submissive role that Jon requires of her. Just didn’t sit well with me.
On Fire by Sylvia Day
Fire inspector Darcy Michaels thinks it’s time to bring in the big guns when a series of fires take out some local businesses in her small town. While no one is hurt, there is something about the fires that bothers her so she goes against her colleagues and calls in a specialist. When Deputy Marshal Jared Cameron arrives at the station and meets Darcy for the first time sparks fly, literally. The heat between these two is unmistakable. They give into their attraction pretty quickly, while at the same time following the trail of clues that will put them both into serious danger before they are able to conclude their investigation.
Whew! On Fire is a very appropriate name for this story. I have not read Sylvia Day before, but I plan on changing that immediately. I was pulled in immediately to this story and I cannot lie, Ms. Day writes sexy hotness very well. Jared is sex-on-a-stick and Darcy wastes no time licking that bad boy up and down! In addition to the super hotness, though, there is a well thought out plot that had me guessing till almost the end. The author does give out a few clues throughout the story and if you try, you’ll figure out who the bad guy is. Definitely my favorite of the three stories in this anthology!
The Unwilling by Shiloh Walker
Mica Greer seems to be one step behind with the recent murder case she’s been assigned to. There is something there; she just can’t put her finger on it. She’s butting heads with her partner which makes it even worse. When her captain tells her it’s time to bring in the FBI, she calls an old contact who informs her that he doesn’t have anyone he can spare at the moment, but he knows someone who might be able to help. Enter ex-FBI agent Colby Mathis who happens to be Mica’s X as well. They’d worked together in the past, using their psychic gifts to work cases; each able to anchor the other and avoid the debilitating down time that occurs after using their gifts. But Mica couldn’t handle her gift or her growing relationship with Colby, so she leaves him. Now 15 years later, they are working a case again and their connection is still there. When the clues they uncover point them toward one of their own and Mica looks to be a target as well, they’ll realize what they’ve given up; but maybe it won’t be too late for them.
This story was just okay for me and was my least favorite of the three. I didn’t quite understand why Mica and Colby’s relationship hadn’t worked previously and why Mica had left him in the first place. So when they are reunited and those feelings are still there and as strong as ever something didn’t sit right with it. Additionally, the fact that Mica’s captain has her keeping Colby’s involvement on the “down low” also didn’t make sense to me as Mica was forced to keep anything that she and Colby uncovered secret from her partner. The story didn’t pull me in as strongly as the other two and the smexy factor was definitely missing in this one.
I’m on the fence about anthologies. I usually don’t read them unless there are stories included by authors who have a running series I follow-like Nalini Singh, Lora Leigh or Sherrilyn Kenyon. Otherwise, I’m almost always a little disappointed; especially if the story is strong and then over too soon. I’d read two of the three authors featured in this anthology, Sylvia Day being new to me. I’m not sure if the other two stories are in any way related to any on-going series by Shayla Black or Shiloh Walker so I cannot speak to that. I will say, though, that an anthology is a terrific way to check out a new to you author. In this, I have found Sylvia Day and I look forward to checking out her work.
Overall Rating: B-