The USA TODAY bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths series and Burying Water—which Kirkus Reviews called “a sexy, romantic, gangster-tinged page-turner”—returns with a new novel packed with romance, plot twists, and psychological suspense.
Ivy Lee, a talented tattoo artist who spent the early part of her twenties on the move, is looking for a place to call home. She thinks she might have finally found it working in her uncle’s tattoo shop in San Francisco. But all that changes when a robbery turns deadly, compelling her to pack up her things yet again.
When they need the best, they call him. That’s why Sebastian Riker is back in California, cleaning up the mess made after a tattoo shop owner with a penchant for blackmail got himself shot. But it’s impossible to get the answers he needs from a dead body, leaving him to look elsewhere. Namely, to the twenty-something-year-old niece who believes this was a random attack. Who needs to keep believing that until Sebastian finds what he’s searching for.
Ivy has one foot out of San Francisco when a chance encounter with a stranger stalls her departure. She’s always been drawn to intense men, so it’s no wonder that she now finds a reason to stay after all, quickly intoxicated by his dark smile, his intimidating strength, and his quiet control.
That is, until Ivy discovers that their encounter was no accident—and that their attraction could be her undoing.
I’m a huge fan of K.A. Tucker and really enjoyed the first three books of this series. While Ivy’s role was minor in Chasing River, I found her intriguing and couldn’t wait to get her full story. There was so much hidden under her icy and sometimes aloof personality. Whatever the storyline, Tucker always delivers strong heroines, and Ivy is no exception. She is fiercely independent, and secure in her body and sexuality, and I absolutely love that about her. I was thrilled to finally meet the man and storyline that was finally going to break the tough exterior of this sassy tattoo artist.
…I’m guessing it’s a side of Ivy that most people don’t get to see. And I’m afraid it’s a side of Ivy that actually cares.
Sebastian has not appeared in any of the previous books, and it took me a while to warm to his personality. Right away, it is obvious he is hiding a lot about himself and his past. Despite his secrets and questionable motives, I found myself enjoying the chemistry between him and Ivy. While there is an instant connection, there is definitely angst and a slow burn. Ivy does not make it easy to let someone in. Most of the book takes place over a short period of time, but it is realistic given the circumstances and events that transpire. I love the suspense element, and how all the pieces fall into place throughout the book. Tucker’s writing is always superb and contains some twists, without being over the top or drawn out. It’s a delicate balance she always excels at.
I can’t wait to read whatever K.A. Tucker writes next. She is one of my automatic one-click authors, and I’ve never read a book from her that I didn’t love. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this series to any romantic suspense fan.
And don’t miss the previous titles in the Burying Water Series!
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With my keys in the ignition, I pause once to get another look at the old storefront signage, at the playful eyes staring down at me, and smile. They belong on a puppy or kitten, not on a feral fanged jackrabbit. Kind of like the exotic girl with razor-sharp attitude inside. Though her eyes aren’t necessarily playful. Soft, yes. Veiled behind a tough act, but I saw the vulnerability there. The need to appear strong when she doesn’t really feel it inside.
She is strong, I’ll give her that. Her uncle was murdered a week ago and she’s not sitting in there, crying about it. She’s set her grief aside to do what needs to be done, and that’s a quality not everyone possesses. She’s doing it on her own, too, I presume, because I don’t see anyone around to help her.
But she’s definitely not unaffected by what’s happened. I could see it in the dark bags under her eyes, as if she hasn’t slept in days. I saw it in the way she reacted to me entering the shop, her tiny fist curled around the wrench, ready to defend herself if she needed to.
I knew about her two-hundred-dollar-an-hour rate before stepping inside, thanks to a quick website search. That, along with an impressive portfolio of work, confirmed to me that I have nothing to worry about if I were forced to have her hold a needle to my flesh. But for now that’s not necessary because I got what I needed.
She’s going to be busy here for a good few hours, which means her house is waiting for me.
I feel the pull, though, to go back and just drag that chair out for her, despite her attitude. She’s too arrogant or suspicious or plain fucking mule-headed to accept help when she clearly needed it, stretching her tiny body—that I could snap in two in a heartbeat—to her full five-foot-two stature in defiance, even as I towered over her. She clearly wants it out for emotional reasons, to try to unsee whatever she witnessed that led to her uncle’s murder. I want to tell her that it’s pointless. She’ll never be able to shed those memories.
But I’m not here to be her shrink or her confidant.
And if she knows anything about this videotape, then I’m about to become her worst nightmare.
Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.
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