If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review: Denver Heroes Series, Books 1 & 2 by Kathy Clark / @TastyBookTours @93NightWriter

Series: Denver Heroes, Books 1 & 2
Author: Kathy Clark
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Romance 
ARCs Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours

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Title: After Midnight
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Re-Issued June 9, 2015

Perfect for fans of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards, Kathy Clark’s suspenseful, seductive Denver Heroes series kicks off as a dedicated cop and a beautiful actress get wrapped up in a world of danger and desire.

Aside from the reporter riding along in the passenger seat of his cruiser, it’s a typical Saturday night on the job for Sam Morgan of the Denver Police Department. Then shots ring out, and a routine stop involving a pimp and a hooker spirals into senseless violence. Now Sam is lying in a hospital bed, haunted by fleeting memories of the stunning blonde who saved his life—and then just disappeared.

Kate McKinney was hired to play a prostitute on a reality-TV show, not stand around as actual bullets start flying. Unable to shake the feeling that trouble is stalking her, Kate turns to the only man she can trust: the wounded cop whose blue eyes send chills through her body. He doesn’t believe she was just playing a role, but the predator hiding in the shadows is all too real—and, as Sam and Kate edge closer to the truth, so is the heat that ignites between them.

A little bit of everything--action, suspense, mystery, attraction, lust, and love--made this a pleasant story but the reality infused into it made it an incredible one.

I liked that it started before Sam was injured, before he watched his partner get gunned down, because his recovery and his partner's funeral are things I've never had the opportunity to experience as a story progresses. The mandatory time off for Sam was common sense. Gun injury means physical therapy means no normal officer duties. But he didn't stop being a cop, especially after he located Kate and got her side of things from that fateful night.

Kate's guilt over that night showed through a good portion of the first half of this story. Before Sam found her and before she gave her statement, she struggled with what to do with what she knew. But she did something incredibly touching despite her internal struggles. She attended the fallen officer's funeral to pay her last respects. Oh, she did it from a distance (I didn't blame her) but I love that she went. It showed me what kind of person she really was more than words ever could.

This isn't an insta-lust story. The attraction is immediate but desiring one another came after spending time together, even if it was originally to keep Kate safe after it became obvious someone was out to get her.

This isn't a dark story either. There is a lot of sadness and grief in it, but Ms. Clark didn't linger on that. She punctured that darkness with light, letting something incredibly good shine through it.

This story begins and end with action. Everything in between kept the momentum going. Ms. Clark is a new author for me and this story is a great opener to her series.

Title: Cries in the Night
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Re-Issued June 9, 2015

Fans of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards will love this pulse-pounding novel of romantic suspense, as a red-hot firefighter reaches out to save a courageous beauty from the terrors of the night.

As a victim’s advocate for the Denver Police Department, Julie Lawrence is always on call for survivors of abuse, fighting for the justice she never got for herself. It’s a high-risk job that makes a lot of enemies—one of whom seems to be now targeting Julie. But teaming up with firefighter and local hero Rusty Wilson sparks a different kind of danger. As Julie surrenders to intoxicating passion, she finds herself breaking her own rules, caring about Rusty in a way she thought she’d sworn off forever.

When a domestic incident escalates into a deadly hostage crisis, Rusty is willing to risk everything to protect those who really need his help—like Julie, the breath of fresh air who fills his days with purpose and his nights with pleasure. He just hopes he’s not too late to stop a chillingly orchestrated act of payback that puts the woman he loves at the mercy of a madman’s rage.

(Please note: This story deals with domestic abuse and the opening scene is graphic. Please take this into consideration before reading further and/or purchasing this book.)

This was a surprisingly heavy story. After reading the first story in this series, I was (admittedly) expecting this one to carry a similar vibe. But that got tossed out the window after reading Chapter 1.

Rusty and Julie's relationship was overshadowed by an unseen threat to Julie, a stalker who made it known they were out for their pound of flesh. Her fear and Rusty's urgency to protect her are damn near tangible. I won't lie, I felt chills at times reading this story.

But I also felt incredible warmth and joy. Unlike his brother Sam who admitted he was a one woman man, Rusty was more like a love-'em-and-leave-'em man but Julie made him want to be more than that if just for her. That's not to say he didn't influence change in Julie though. He did, just not in a way I thought he would.

It took me a bit to realize that Julie was only existing, keeping herself from others because of her past. But existing, even if you do so with a purpose, isn't living. With Rusty, she found the courage to live again, to grow, to be stronger than before, to move forward. The woman she was at the end was a stunning contrast to the woman she was at the beginning.

Ms. Clark is an author who knows what she's writing about. The details she puts into this story about what it means to be a Victims' Advocate are so well written that I had no problem understanding what these men and women do and how much abuse survivors can benefit from them. This was a fantastic story to read because the light and life at the end made all of the darkness throughout it worth reading.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need someone to talk to, if you need resources about domestic violence, or if you have questions regarding unhealthy aspects of your relationship, please know that someone is waiting to help you. They're just a phone call away.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Kathy Clark is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have sold more than three million copies in eleven languages. Her plot lines have always championed women’s empowerment, placing strong female characters in real-life situations. Her stories will make you laugh and cry, and her characters will live in your heart forever. She lives with her husband and co-author, Bob Wernly.

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