Deadly Obsession (Brown and de Luca #4) by Maggie Shayne
ISBN: 9780778316800 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781460343333 (ebook)
ASIN: B00L0XO282 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

A cold-blooded killer with a burning obsession… 

Rachel de Luca has a bad feeling about the new woman in Detective Mason Brown’s life, the nurse taking care of him after he’s injured in the line of duty. She’d like to think it’s just jealousy, but intuition tells her it’s something more, maybe something dangerous. 

Mason knows Rachel’s wary of commitment, and asking her to stay when he’s in this condition would be the worst thing for their relationship. Then they receive chilling news that drives everything else from their minds. 

Mason’s psychotic sister-in-law has escaped from custody, putting her sons — the nephews he’s raising — in the crosshairs. When his house is burned to the ground, he and Rachel are relieved that there are no bodies in the smoldering rubble, but now his nephews are missing and the clock is ticking. 

As Mason and Rachel try to find the boys, she senses a new and unexpected danger stalking them. Soon, everyone close to Mason is in deadly peril — Rachel more than anyone…

They’re back . . . Rachel de Luca and Mason Brown are back in the fourth book in the Brown and de Luca series by Maggie Shayne, Deadly Obsession. Rachel is preoccupied by Mason’s recent use of the “L-word” (love) but their relationship is steady and progressing. This book starts off with a bang . . . literally; a house explodes and erupts in fire. Fortunately Rachel and Mason have just finished a date and are on their way home when they spot the fire. Since Mason is one of the first on the scene, he enters the home to rescue two children. His rescue attempt is successful in more ways than one because he now has attracted the attention of a killer. Will he be able to survive this killer’s attempts to rid him of all of his loved ones, including Rachel? Better yet, will Rachel be able to survive?

Rachel is still quite mouthy, speaks first, thinks later in this book, but she quickly comes to realize that her life is nothing without Mason and the boys, Jeremy and Joshua. She takes charge of Mason’s nephews after he is hospitalized from the fire rescue, and learns that she no longer yearns for those quiet, peaceful evenings at home. She’s still adamant about not being psychic but rather having NFP (not-effing-psychic) abilities. These abilities will be put to great use in Deadly Obsession as she is realizing that something isn’t quite right with Mason’s nurse. She also realizes that she’s just a little bit jealous and wants to delve into the visiting nurse’s background. Unfortunately she’s talked out of it by her assistant Amy, whose new title is “She Whose Quitting Will Result in My Complete and Utter Annihilation.” While Rachel sulks about Mason not coming to stay at her house after his release from the hospital, Mason’s sister-in-law Marie has had a major meltdown at the psychiatric hospital. Marie knows that someone is out to get Mason and her sons but she can’t convince anyone because she’s psychotic. It probably doesn’t help that she refers to this person as a demon. Meanwhile Rachel is trying to write a new book, dealing with two young boys, falling in love, preoccupied and stressing about falling in love, stressing over her lover’s injuries, dealing with a psychotic in-law, planning a blowout graduation party, and now dealing with an obsessed want-to-be rival love interest. 

I found Deadly Obsession to be a fast-paced read. As with all of the books in this series, it was filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, romance, suspense, family drama, teen angst and drama, and one stylish blind bulldog. Rachel and Mason’s relationship is sweet, tender, and prickly. Neither wanted to fall in love and both are trying to figure out the best way of dealing with it. Mason’s nephews, Jeremy and Joshua, add a nice built-in family component to their relationship since Mason now has custody. Take two fiercely independent adults – one a police officer and the other a renowned motivational author, add in romance and suspense then watch the sparks fly. I enjoyed reading about the progression of their relationship. I also enjoyed reading about both Rachel and Mason coming to grips with the idea that they are in love. The suspense from a crazed and obsessed would-be love interest and a psychotic sister-in-law just added to the drama. Each book in this series reveals more about Mason and Rachel’s characters, to the point that they feel more like long-distance friends than characters in a book. Most of the characters that appeared in previous books reappear in Deadly Obsession, including Rachel’s sister, brother-in-law, twin nieces, as well as her perky, personal assistant Amy. Mason’s partner, Rosie, his mother Angela, his sister-in-law Marie, and nephews are also featured. The cast of characters is rounded out with the new bad guy, Gretchen, Rachel’s beloved bulldog Myrtle, and a new four-legged addition to the family, a bulldog pup – Hugo. The characters are wholly realistic and the situations, some more farfetched than others, seem just as realistic. Ms. Shayne adds more pieces to the puzzle of who are Rachel and Mason and where are they heading with each book. Deadly Obsession reveals just how much Mason and Rachel truly care about one another and solidifies them as a unit. If you enjoy light-hearted romantic suspense reads, then you’ll enjoy the Brown and de Luca series. If you haven’t read any of the books in the Brown and de Luca series, read them! Start at the beginning with Sleep with the Lights On, before moving on to Dream of Danger, Wake to Darkness, Innocent Prey, and finally Deadly Obsession. If you’ve read the previous books in this series then you’ll want to grab a copy of Deadly Obsession as soon as it comes out. This is one series you don’t want to miss out on (can you tell I like this series).

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book 338: INNOCENT PREY Review

Innocent Prey (Brown and de Luca #3) by Maggie Shayne
ISBN: 9780778316589 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781460340219 (ebook)
ASIN: B00JZFPH4U (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 1, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

To save innocent lives, they’ll have to risk their own. 

Self-help superstar Rachel de Luca and Detective Mason Brown have finally given in to their overwhelming attraction to each other, but neither of them is ready to let physical passion turn into full-blown romance, so they carefully maintain an emotional distance. Then a judge’s daughter disappears, and Mason has a terrible sense that it’s connected to the most recent case they solved together: the abduction of Rachel’s assistant. 

The discovery of a string of missing women—all young, all troubled—seems like a promising lead. But there’s no clear connection between the missing girls and the high-profile young woman Mason is trying to find. He realizes that once again he’ll have to rely on his own well-honed instincts and Rachel’s uncanny capacity to see through people’s lies in order to catch a predator and rescue his captives. But can they do it before Rachel becomes his next victim?

Rachel de Luca and Mason Brown are back and in prime form in Innocent Prey. Mason is asked to look into the disappearance of a judge’s blind daughter, Stevie, and keep it off-the-record. Mason enlists Rachel’s assistance on the case because she adds a little something extra with her NFP (not-f***ing-psychic) abilities. The more they dig into Stevie’s disappearance, the more they feel this is an abduction that has possible ties to the abduction last year of Rachel’s assistant. Before they know it, this case isn’t just the abduction of one young girl but of nine girls and all ties lead back to the judge.

Innocent Prey is the third installment in the Brown and de Luca series by Maggie Shayne. Rachel is in a no-holds-barred frame of mind and speaks her mind with no fear of the consequences. She’s also finally adapting to the idea that her vision is here to stay. What she isn’t adapting to is the possibility that she may have psychic tendencies, such as the ability to read emotions, and gain information from a simple touch. Her refusal to accept these abilities as being from the psychic spectrum gives rise to new nomenclature, NFP. In addition to Rachel’s forceful attitude, this story shows the progression of Rachel and Mason’s relationship. Both are afraid to use the L-word, but it quickly becomes clear that they do love one another.

I found Innocent Prey to be a fast-paced and enjoyable read. I particularly liked Ms. Shayne’s inclusion of pop culture references and Rachel’s snarky sense of humor. Innocent Prey is a great addition to the de Luca and Brown series and combines romance, suspense, the paranormal, humor, and family drama into one great story. If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you’ll definitely want to read them all: Sleep With the Lights On (Brown and de Luca #1), Dream of Danger (Brown and de Luca #1.5), and Wake to Darkness (Brown and de Luca #2). I’ve enjoyed reading this series and I’m looking forward to Deadly Obsession (Brown and de Luca #4) scheduled for release later this year.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book 403: WAKE TO DARKNESS Review

Wake to Darkness (Brown and DeLuca #2) by Maggie Shayne
ISBN:  9780778315551 (paperback)
ISBN:  9781460322482 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00DPAN5O0 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 26, 2013 
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Stranded with a murderer…

Rachel de Luca’s uncanny sense of perception is the key to her success as a self-help celebrity. Even before she regained her sight, she had a gift for seeing people’s most carefully hidden secrets. But the secret she shares with Detective Mason Brown is one she has promised to keep. As for Mason, he sees Rachel more clearly than she’d like to admit…

After a single night of adrenaline-fueled passion, they have agreed to keep their distance—until a string of murders brings them together again. Mason thinks that he can protect everyone he loves, including Rachel, by taking them to a winter hideaway, but danger follows them up the mountain.

As guests disappear from the snowbound resort, the race to find the murderer intensifies. Rachel knows she’s a target. Will acknowledging her feelings for Mason destroy her…or save them both and stop a killer?

Rachel DeLuca is a renowned self-help author. She recently received a cornea transplant that restored her vision after twenty years. Unfortunately her corneas were taken from the body of a serial killer (you’ve got to read Sleep with the Lights On, Brown and DeLuca #1 . . . trust me!). Rachel teamed up with police detective Mason Brown, the brother of the deceased serial killer, and their efforts resulted in the death of the Wraith (read the first book!). Now there’s a new killer on the scene and this killer is retrieving the donated organs. Can Mason keep Rachel safe or will she become a victim of this new killer?

Wake to Darkness starts with a gruesome murder of a transplant recipient and once again Rachel seems to be linked to the murders . . . again. She feels everything the victims feel, and sees the murder take place in her dreams. Rachel is still grieving the loss of her brother at the hands of another serial killer and adjusting to being sighted. She’s also visually experiencing the joys and wonders of winter and Christmas. Add in spending the holiday with one of her twin nieces, a new killer on the loss, an on-again/off-again/I-don’t-know-where-we’re-going relationship with Mason Brown and you’ve got quite a story. Mason is dealing with his own stresses. He still feels guilty about his brother’s suicide and learning that he was a serial killer. He’s trying to stand in as a father figure for his nephews and be supportive to his sister-in-law and mother. Holiday stress, ongoing grief and guilt, a fragile new romance, a teenage alcoholic, a depressed sister-in-law, a blind dog, and a blizzard all add up to one fantastic mystery. Ms. Shayne has provided another great read with Wake to Darkness. I love the tension between Rachel and Mason, and this story ratcheted up the tension by adding in teenage angst, drama and alcoholism. I started reading Wake to Darkness late at night and couldn’t sleep until I finished the story. I found Wake to Darkness a fast and entertaining read and hope there’ll be more to come in this series. If you’ve read Sleep with the Lights On then you’ll definitely want to read Wake to Darkness. If you haven’t read either book and enjoy mysteries mixed with humor and romance, then you need to add both of these books to your TBR list.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The father of the vampire race has been resurrected with the hopes that he’ll be able to save the vahmpeers or vampires. But Utanapushtim, or Utana – an ancient Sumerian king, has been buried for five thousand years and believes that if he kills all of the vampires he’ll finally be able to rest and end the punishment of the gods. The only thing standing in his way is Brigit Poe in Twilight Fulfilled by Maggie Shayne.

Brigit has grown up believing that her gift reflects her dark nature and is destructive. She is able to kill with laser-like precision. Her twin brother James or J.W. has been gifted with healing. But James can no longer heal because after raising Utana, his gift of healing was absorbed by Utana. Since both Brigit and James aren’t wholly human nor wholly vampire, they don’t suffer many of the same limitations as true vampires. Brigit is off to hunt down Utana and kill him in order to save the few remaining vampires in the US. 

Utana has a lot to learn about this modern world. He also has a lot to learn about modern women. Brigit impresses him with her skills and fortitude. Brigit also has a lot to learn about Utana. She comes to understand that he is not the bogeyman her people believe him to be. She also knows that he is being used by the government in their efforts to eradicate the vampire problem. If that isn’t enough to deal with, the government is also secretly holding all of “the chosen” (those with the Belladonna antigen in their blood and capable of becoming vampire) hostage in a secure, central location under the guise of protecting them from harm. Both Utana and Brigit realize that this is an elaborate trap to attract the remaining vampires and kill them all at once. Will she and Utana be able to stop the government before it’s too late? Will she be able to convince the remaining vampires that Utana isn’t their enemy before they carry out their plan to bury him again?

When I first started reading Twilight Fulfilled, I immediately thought “oh no, another vampire series.” Admittedly I hadn’t read any of the preceding books but I had grown weary of the entire vampire-paranormal scenario. Although Twilight Fulfilled used elements seen in other stories (the Blade III movie sees the father of vampires being resurrected with hopes of saving if not strengthening the vampire race), the story reads as original and refreshing. Brigit is a strong and formidable woman with a certain frailty that she fights hard to shield. Brigit and Utana complement one another as a couple and help each other overcome their weaknesses and shortsightedness. I’m sure reading the previous books in this series may have helped to better understand the vampire family dynamics, but it is possible to read this without any prior series knowledge. Ms. Shayne has provided a fast-paced, paranormal romance that enchants from beginning to end.

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”