Winter 2022 Investigator Blog Tour
His to Defend
by Sharon C. Cooper
Release Date: December 28, 2021
Publisher: Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Number of Pages: 288
Source: ARC from publisher and NetGalley
Ages 14 and up
CW: domestic abuse, mugging, shooting, robbery
A romantic reunion…threatened by their past. Amina Kelly broke Sergeant Maxwell Layton’s heart when she married his best friend. But the detective never forgot her…or the sizzling attraction they never acted on. Years later, while Maxwell and Amina work together to find her ex’s killer, Maxwell finds his desire for the nurse stronger than ever. As he puts his life on the line to keep Amina safe, Maxwell realizes that the greatest risk of all might be to his heart.
“Do you think the break-in is connected to the mugging?” Amina asked.
Maxwell’s eyebrows shot up. If he didn’t know better, he would’ve thought she was a mind reader. Earlier, when he considered the two incidences might’ve been connected, he hadn’t planned to say anything to her just yet. But in case they were, he needed to do some digging. What he didn’t want to do was scare her, but he also wanted her to be on alert.
“Yes,” he said honestly. “It’s too much of a coincidence. I’m even wondering if that botched mugging wasn’t an attempted kidnapping.”
Her hand went to her chest. “If you’re trying to scare me, it’s working.”
“Sweetheart, the last thing I want to do is scare you, but something is going on. Until we figure out what, I think you should stay here. In the meantime, can you think of anything you have that someone might want? A family heirloom? Gold? Bonds? A limited-edition book? Anything?”
“No, nothing like that. I have a pair of diamond earrings that my parents gave me when I graduated from high school.”
“I might be way off with this next question, but I have to ask. Do you have anything of Jeremy’s?”
She frowned. “Not that I can think of—why?”
“I don’t know. I might be way off, but I wonder if any of this has to do with his murder?” Maxwell wiped his hands and grabbed his cell phone off the counter. About a half an hour ago, Danny had texted him a still shot of the suspect.
Maxwell held up his phone to her. “Do you recognize this guy?”
Amina stared at the photo for a few minutes. The quality wasn’t great, and much of the man’s face was hard to make out, but she might know him.
She eventually shook her head. “He doesn’t look familiar. Should I know him? Who is he?”
“The suspected killer.”
Another lovely story from a new-to-me author. I really enjoyed the connection the main characters in this book have. Their chemistry is a medium simmer, always under the surface until it gets loose. But the friendship and care these two have for one another is beautifully written.
I’m classifying this story as romantic suspense more because the publisher it categorizing it that way. It definitely has suspense, yet I felt the relationship between Amina and Maxwell often takes precedence over the mystery and suspense of what threw them back together. I feel it’s more of a contemporary romance/mystery with suspense thrown in here and there. It’s not the usual roller-coaster ride a lot of romantic suspense I read usually are.
Both Maxwell and Amina are extremely kind and generous people and instantly had me rooting for them, separately and together. Their origin story is a bit tragic but really helps to set up the intense feeling they have for one another from the start. The hardest thing to reconcile about this story is how either of them felt any sort of love and kinship with Jeremy, Maxwell’s former best-friend and Amina ex-husband. Maxwell, especially, thinks often of how Jeremy had changed since they first met. Yet I felt as though that Jeremy, the one Maxwell thought he knew, was never real. And if he was, it wasn’t adequately explained why these abrupt changes came about.
This story is engaging and kept me guessing. Sometimes I was right, other times I was not. The author had the pieces fall into place in a such a way that the payout came over time instead of all at once. That worked very well for this book. I’m interested to reading more from this author.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**
About SHARON C. COOPER:
Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, loves anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies, or real life. Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She’s been nominated for numerous awards and is the recipient of an Emma Award for Romantic Suspense of the Year 2015 (Truth or Consequences), Emma Award – Interracial Romance of the Year 2015 (All You’ll Ever Need), and BRAB (book club) Award -Breakout Author of the Year 2014. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course).
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