Series: Unguarded, Book 1
Author: Ivy Stone
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Between the Sheets Promotions
One explosive encounter brought them together.
One infatuation led to a love like no other.
One secret tore them apart.
As head of the NYPD Organized Crime Control Bureau in Manhattan, Chief Detective Mason Cole walks in the line of fire every day. Between dodging bullets and braiding his daughter’s hair, Mason is tormented with haunting memories that refuse to relinquish control over him, no matter how hard he tries. After a bust gone wrong, he’s thrown for a loop by a woman who will fill his life with more chaos than ever before.
Lindsey Jenkins is a self-made woman. Bold and independent, she lives unapologetically in a life of deception. That is until her facade is threatened by a force stronger than anything she’s ever felt before—love.
Leaving their hearts unguarded could lead to destruction. Even worse, it could expose them both to a war they never saw coming.
In a city coerced by corruption and treachery, what happens when your greatest passion becomes your biggest weakness?
I readily admit I wasn't prepared for how...intimidating this story was going to be. Given that I've felt the need to cheer myself up a lot lately, I've chosen books of the lighter sort. Not entirely humorous, but definitely not dark. While I wouldn't say this book is a completely dark romance, its intensity makes it seem so.
Lindsey and Mason are similar souls. They have their pasts, their demons, their secrets. They paid for them then and are paying for them now. A chance encounter in the building they live in guarantees the chemistry between them will be nothing less than explosive. But the shadows that hover over them make it hard to believe there's a happy ending for them.
Lindsey isn't my favorite heroine. It isn't that she isn't a well-developed character, because she is, but I it's hard for me to connect with her. Though I know why. She comes across as cold. Not heartless or uncaring. Just...cold. Maybe it's the life she lived, the choices she made, the people she'd come in contact with before now, but that iciness makes it hard for me to warm up to her. It doesn't mean I don't like her because I begrudgingly do. She is extremely protective of her sister. She wears her public facade very well. She is loyal to her sister's well-being and to her friend. I like those qualities about her. I just struggled to like and connect with her.
Mason is a different story. I think it's because of his daughter. She softens the hardness around him that seems typical of the male lead in this kind of story. His love, affection, and devotion for his little girl is heart-melting, and it's nice to see that side of him when he's out of uniform and at home. Like Lindsey, Mason has a past that nips at his heels. Unlike Lindsey, I feel like Mason's past isn't so thoroughly explained or explored. I would've loved to delve deeper into that, but maybe more of it will come to light in the following book(s).
This is a fast-paced story. There are moments where the wording is pretty...descriptive, maybe a bit much too, and seemed to pull me away from the scene but there were plenty of other moments where the writing kept me engaged. And while the action wasn't my cup of tea (again, it's just because of what I've been reading before this one), I liked it. In the end, it isn't just about pain and secrets and lust. It's about love, redemption, and striving for a future that was no longer impossible to have.
"Mother. Lover. Dreamer."
Ivy Stone is an Australian author and self-confessed lover of alpha males and happily ever afters. Getting lost in a fictional world is how she discovered her passion for writing. When she isn’t daydreaming up new romantic stories she’s likely to be found spending time with her family.