Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Intimate Enemies by Joan Swan

A new month brings me to a fresh New Year's Resolution Book. For April I once again selected an author from my Twitter feed. I also once again selected an author that doesn't fill my newsfeed with spammy "by my book" tweets. 

Cassie Christo and Rio's book

Intimate Enemies (Covert Affairs book 1)

By Joan Swan

Book Blurb:She is on a quest for answers; answers that could just get her killed.
Six months after the mysterious yacht explosion that killed Cassie Christo’s mother and stepbrother, authorities still have no answers to the cause. Searching for closure, Cassie returns to her childhood home on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico, where she launches her own investigation into the accident. She never expected to find an adversary in the man who had once touched her heart with kindness in her darkest moment.
Rio’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with Cassie for months. But not here and sure as hell not now. As an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he’s working the biggest sting operation in all of northern Mexico, and he definitely doesn’t have time for the wild attraction he feels for Cassie.
Not only is his cover on the line, so is his heart. Because as the end of a yearlong operation draws closer, Rio knows if he tells Cassie the truth about who and what he is, it won’t only jeopardize his mission, it may result in him losing her forever. And if he doesn’t, his lies and deception could get them both killed.

Intimate Enemies got to me right away. Within the first chapter the female protagonist, Cassie is driving a lonely and dusty highway in Mexico and as the reader you are immediately plugged into her thoughts. She encountered a terrible van accident that involved badly injured women and two scary armed thugs. She quickly determined that she had stumbled onto a dangerous human smuggling ring but her hippocratic oath overides her gut instinct and she moved forward to provid care to the injured women. This entire chapter was gripping and suspenseful. The writing was top notch. The carnage, the setting and the feel of the entire situation was riveting. Even though the scene was already suspenseful enough, the author Joan Swan kept escalating the angst and had Cassie use her phone to video tape the scene for possible future evidence. I was petrified that Cassie was going to get caught. What a beginning!
The first chapter had me committed to the book and the rest of the story held my interest right up to the climatic ending.
Cassie, a young doctor was in the midst of grieving for her mother and step-brother. Suspicion heavily surrounded their deaths and her villainous step-father was at the center of that suspicion. It made me want justice for Cassie.  Cassie’s character came off as a real human being with a real story. I believed all the struggles and road blocks she experienced. Cassie’s actions throughout the story were written similarly to what a non-fiction woman would have done. She wasn't a super tough lady threatening to kick butt. She wasn't a super sleuth with super powers. She was a woman trying to investigate and gather enough evidence to use against her criminal step-father by whatever means was available to her. Granted she had a best friend who was a lawyer and her friend’s husband was an undercover cop but Cassie did a lot of the daring leg work herself.
Rio, the mouthwatering undercover cop was also building a heavy case again the evil step-father. Working as the villain’s right hand man, Rio was constantly battling Cassie’s interference while trying to protect her. I felt all the frustration Rio experienced. I was routing for Cassie to get the information that she needed and then at the same time, I was cursing her for constantly messing up Rio’s undercover work. Rio was an interesting character trying to play so many roles. What I liked was that although he was pulled in so many directions, I was never lost. The author’s direction was crystal clear. Rio’s mounting attraction to Cassie was real. It was genuine. It also worked in favour of the overlaying criminal plans that her step-father had dangerously laid out for her. There was so much conflict and emotion.
The pace for a suspense romance was perfect. I didn't feel the middle of the story dragged at all and I felt the entire plot landed well at the end. For only being .98 on Amazon, I'd say one heck of a deal! I'd like to add that I never really had the urge to ever vacation in Mexico and after Intimate Enemies, I'm still in no rush. The corruption always scared me and it further petrified me in Intimate Enemies
Teasers: Mexico, donut tease, midnight visit, gangs

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