Bounty (Brantley Walker: Off the Books) – ARC review

by Nicole Edwards
Release Date:  September 20, 2022
Publisher: Nicole Edwards Limited
Book #8 in the Brantley Walker: Off the Books series
Number of Pages: 349
Source:  ARC from author
Romantic Suspense
Ages 16 and up
CW: kidnapping
Recently engaged and moving forward, Brantley Walker and Reese Tavoularis are enjoying a bit of downtime with friends and family. But anyone in their line of work knows that sitting idle never lasts long.

When Reese’s brother, Z, asks for their assistance in finding a man who skipped bail and is now on the run from the law, as well as a few unsavory characters, the pair find themselves on a mission that’s a little outside of Reese’s comfort zone. No, make that way outside his comfort zone when he learns that the man they’re looking for is one of his mother’s former lovers.

As is usually the case, nothing is as it seems, and Brantley, Reese, and the rest of the Off the Books Task Force find themselves mixed up with the mob as they try to uncover the truth.

In an afterword from the author, she says of the Off the Books Task Force, “The team continues to morph and grow…” That is so true. There are now characters in this series I am fully invested in who weren’t even in the first book. This series is most definitely a continuation series, meaning these books are not meant to be read as standalone stories. There aren’t cliffhangers, each story is about a case or situation the task force is working on, and that part gets resolved in each book. But the story of the characters, their relationships, and their lives, is ever-growing and expanding. My emotions have had the highest highs and the lowest lows reading these books. As with my other reviews about the books in this series, there will not be spoilers for this particular book, but there may be spoilers about previous books in the series.

Although Reese and Brantley get a case to work on in this book, they try to keep it a bit on the down low due to the personal nature of the person they’re looking for. Plus, it’s not their usual bread and butter. They’re looking for an old family friend who jumped bail, hence the title of Bounty for this story. Of course, the rest of the task force gets roped in eventually, but that’s not how it starts. To be honest, this job, for most of the book, seems pretty low stakes. Instead, I found this story to be more about cementing the relationship between Brantley and Reese after everything they’ve been through. These two connect physically a LOT in this story. Not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing. As I said, I felt there was an element of showing how solid the couple is now.

With so many people added to the task force as of late, this story also serves to help us get to know everyone better. Who is crushing on who? Are feelings reciprocated? Is there any animosity in the group? I enjoyed getting to know a few more tidbits and seeing some of the friendships forming. There was also a lot of Baz and JJ in this book and it is so wonderful to see them together and happy and thriving.

There are residual issues Reese and Brantley need to deal with in regards to Reese getting shot, how it happened, and the fallout after the shooting. Some of those parts, when dealing with Max, seemed tedious at first. Then Brantley’s careful calm started to crack and I understood why the author was doing what she was doing.

As usual, I will anxiously await the next installment of this series. I am especially looking forward to seeing where things go for Evan. I’m hoping his backstory is their next case.

4 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the author. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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