A Love Restrained
by Becky Flade
GENRE: Romantic suspense
Old secrets, new threats…What are they willing to sacrifice?
Philadelphia police officer Kylee Parker is dedicated to protecting and serving. She sees the work in absolutes: right and wrong, black and white, good guys and bad guys. That is, until she chases a drug dealer into a dead-end alley and finds the bad boy she had a painful crush on throughout her teen years has turned into a more dangerous and more attractive man.
Jayson Donovan knows he doesn’t deserve someone as good as Kylee Parker. As the right hand man to a local drug-pushing mobster, he’s solidly on the wrong side of Kylee’s moral compass. But he can’t help reaching for her time and again when he knows he shouldn’t.
Even when his secrets threaten them both.
Spring in the city brought people out of winter hibernation like a siren song but as the temperature rose, so in turn, did the crime rate. Cops had to be sharp as they walked the streets of Philadelphia. In her ten years on the force, on these streets, she’d seen a lot of crazy and often stupid criminals do a lot of crazy and often stupid things. But to be so brazen, or so plain dumb, as to do a hand-to-hand drug buy right in front of two uniformed officers rode high on her list of top ten. “Tell me you saw that?”
“Saw what?” Hunks of half chewed soft pretzel fell from Sherman’s mouth.
Pete Sherman’s not a bad cop, just not an observant one whose paunch portrayed his love of all things fried and his reupholstered recliner. He hadn’t seen a thing in the last six months. But he took direction well, despite the fact he had seniority.
“There, across the street.” She pointed. “The junkie walking east just scored off the guy in the leather bomber heading west. I swear the dealer looked right at us before the exchange. Call it in, Pete, and grab the junkie. I’m going after the dealer.”
Sherman didn’t argue. She took off into a quick lope, kept her footsteps light so as to not alert the man she pursued. The spring day had drawn people out and the complaints of the pedestrians she weaved through grew loud. The guy glanced over his shoulder, and the edge of his mouth tipped into a grin before he sprinted around the corner.
“Cocky jerk.” She turned the corner, and shouted, “Stop! Police.”
She ran clean and fast, closing the distance between them with little effort. The dealer ducked into an alley she knew to be a dead end. She slowed and put one hand on the butt of her service pistol as she approached. He had his back to her, his hands on his hips as he stared at the brick wall in front of him.
“Philly PD, you’re under arrest. Slowly put your hands above your head and against the wall to your left.” She closed the few feet between them, using her free hand to release the handcuffs from her belt, the other remaining on her weapon. She cuffed him, with practiced efficiency, and then read him his rights before leading him out of the alley, preferring to do the pat down with her partner present.
“Kylee Parker, I’ll admit I daydreamed a time or two about you cuffing me, but it was never in this context.”
You know when you start reading a book with an opening like that, you keep thinking that the book would be snarky? This book is NOT snarky. It’s an emotional rollercoaster about a second chance at love between two people that on paper shouldn’t be together but the heart knows what the heart wants. This book got me from the beginning. I loved everything about it. And I mean EVERYTHING! If I had to say, it’s probably my top pick of the year.
Kylee Parker – my kind of heroine. Strong, smart and a cop. She has some baggage associated with being a cop but she is good at her job. I liked that about her. She has issues and that doesn’t include the issues surrounding Jayson. Her confusion over her feelings about Jayson is relatable but not predictable. Sure, she hates him, then loves him but doesn’t fall into bed with him at every turn. As childhood friends, they’ve both grown and that’s where the confusion starts.
Jayson Donovan – just delicious. But I digress. Hearing his backstory and his family issues, your heart will break but he does try to rise above it. The one thing that keeps him sane is Kylee. I won’t go into all of Jayson because he holds many secrets that spill out in the course of the book that are just jaw-dropping. Yes, jaw-dropping.
The plot – The blurb is totally misleading. But I completely understand why Ms. Flade wrote it that way. Any more and she would have spoiled the book. You will get to know all about Jayson and Kylee when they were growing up and how they ended up as adults. Ms. Flade does an excellent job of more jaw-dropping moments in the book and you think, will she stop? Nope. Not until the very end. Yes, the very end. Hang on for a wild ride in the third part of the book.
Writing style – Its written more in 1st person (Kylee) but you also get Jayson’s thoughts and feelings, too. She does a great job of never dumbing down the characters in the book and fleshes them out. The secondary characters are just perfection. Everyone has a part to play in the book. Ms. Flade writes beautifully and her characters come to life. The book is written in three acts. I’ve never read a book like that and I really liked it.
Emotional – the book will have you on a rollercoaster. Literally. Between the budding relationship between Jayson and Kylee, you have both of them with their separate families and then when the families are together. Both sets of families have secrets that they have kept from Kylee and Jayson and when things are starting to be revealed, your mind will be blown. Also, don’t expect a lot of smexy times. They are there but honestly, I don’t think they were needed. Of course, they ARE needed but Ms. Flade makes us care about her characters without all the unnecessary stuff.
Suspense – Oh my word. This book never stops after the first act. The second and third acts are riveting and will leave you second guessing. Especially the third act. That act literally had me on the edge of the couch. I held my breath for most of it and threaten my son if he tried to talk to me. Ms. Flade does suspense like no one else. And yes, I read a lot of suspense books so I can spot formulaic suspense anywhere. Not here. She keeps you on your toes with all the twists in this book. *sigh*
I connected with the characters from the beginning. Both of them are flawed, have baggage but love each other so much that they are willing and do sacrifice their own happiness for the other. *sigh* What Jayson did at the end of the first act? *swoon-worthy* but I had tears.
I can’t impress you to read this book. I’m so sorry that it ended. I miss the chaos, the love but most importantly, Jayson and Kylee. I could read more about this couple for years to come.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A city girl, born and bred, I tend to place my stories in and around southeast Pennsylvania, or at least have a character or two from the area. Home is where the heart is and I make mine with my very own knight in slightly tarnished armor, three beautiful daughters, my son-in-law and two grandsons. When I’m not busy living my own happily ever after, I’m writing about someone else’s.
I’d love to have you visit with me at any of my virtual homes or write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The book will be on sale for $0.99.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Becky Flade will be awarding $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.