Series: Karen Rose's Interconnecting Books, Baltimore, MD
Author: Karen Rose
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: February 4, 2014
Baltimore Homicide Detective Stevie Mazzetti has suffered losses no woman should have to endure. And, despite it all, she’s still a fighter. When she learns that her ex-partner might have miscarried justice, she’s determined to put the past to rights, even when she becomes a target.
It’s former Marine Clay Maynard’s job to see the risk in every situation, but he doesn’t have to look hard to find the danger surrounding Stevie. Since the minute he first saw her, Clay has wanted to protect the wounded officer, and he started loving her not long after that. So when Stevie attracts the attention of a vicious psychopath, Clay will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. That is, if he can stay ahead of a killer with everything to lose—and something terrifying to hide...
To save his own son's life, a man shoots Paul Mazzetti and his son Paulie in a convenience store, not knowing the effect the double murder would have on many lives, even years later.
Eight years after the convenience store shooting, Mazzetti's widow, a police detective, is still grieving, still pushing people away. She might want to rethink that strategy since someone is gunning for her. Ever since she's started digging around her former, and very dead, partner, one of the dirty cops in the BPDP, bullets and knives started flying.
And there's only one man she might trust enough to keep her, and her young daughter safe. The very man she'd sent packing months ago when he'd laid his heart bare to her as she lay in a hospital bed. The very man, that's just about lost all hope of ever having her love him back. Clay Maynard, doesn't have much time left to convince her, because someone really, desperately wants her dead. And they might even succeed...
In my (first) review of the previous book in this series, I bemoaned the fact we wouldn't get to read Deacon Novak's book next, and I had to endure the melodrama that is Stevie and Clay's story. In my second review of said book, my feelings toward them and their "romance" have improved exponentially, hence my second (after a re-read) review of their book has changed accordingly.
Although it was still a tad too melodramatic for my taste with all the baggage and boatloads of issues they both had, I really enjoyed reading about them again. I guess reading the whole series back to back and not having to wait between books improves the reading experience...and mellows my possible animosity toward any of the characters, their choices, and/or their decisions.
I'm not changing the labels/tags, though. I really hoped someone would (bitch)slap both Clay and Stevie multiple times at the beginning of the book (up to page 390 *grin*).
She had absolutely no clue as what she wanted until she almost lost it (the usual romance novel trope), and he, the formidable Marine-turned-cop-turned-PI, was so bloody whiny it made my teeth grit. I still rolled my eyes every single time he had one of his inner monologues about how he loved her, but how he couldn't have her, because she didn't want him...Boohoo. This was a forty-one-year-old guy! I like my book characters in touch with their feelings, but enough is enough.
I kept hoping he'd man up and go through with his plan to leave for good in the end. But I knew it wouldn't happen, because this is Romancelandia we're talking about. It all sorts itself out in the end and lots of HEAs ensue.
Despite all this I really enjoyed the "drama" that was CAS (Clay-and-Stevie as per the betting pool among their friends and colleagues), and I've come to realize they truly were made to be. They fit, baggage, issues, idiocy, and all.
The rest of the story, that this second time around slightly paled, compared to CAS (I'm a sucker, I know), the suspense part, was spot on. It kept the pace going nicely, the plot was tight and gripping, I got to revisit old "friends", saw Deacon Novak again (I'm starting his book today, promise), and it kept me, more or less since we all knew who the villain was, intrigued until the very end as to why this particular villain wanted Stevie dead so badly. I loved it, until somewhere toward the later chapters, when one of the secondary plots about the young cop and assistant ME also looking for answers, that, granted, happened to coincide with the main plot, slowed the pace in some paragraphs.
A nicely woven (and told) story.