by Kiersten Hallie Krum
I don’t know about you but, holy cats, have I been waiting for summer. We all know how bad the winter was across the board with previously unseen depths of cold. My pipes froze for the first time in my life, it was that cold.
Sunshine is scientifically proven to be necessary to good mental health. Me, I have the moon roof on my CR-V opened every chance I get, turning the heat on when needed in the cooler months of May. I may be getting sunburn on my scalp and I do not care. I need the air and the sun and being out and about and off on an adventure, even if that adventure only ends at the supermarket.
People talk of spring cleaning as something done only to one’s home, but the mind and the soul likewise require the rush of fresh air through their rooms and halls, a cleansing of spirit as much as that of body. Likewise, one’s TBR pile can always do with a new book. I picked up Edie Harris’ RIPPED this past week, the second book in her Blood Money romantic suspense series, but my first for her. In short, I loved it.
Attorney and political heavyweight Tobias Faraday is the Ice King, a man alone in the eye of a deadly storm. And in the wake of his sister’s torture, he’s out for blood. The key to Tobias’s revenge is the disavowed British spy he’s kept imprisoned for weeks. Chandler McCallister can get him behind enemy lines in Russia, but the clever double-agent has a demand of her own before she puts her life on the line in the name of redemption.
Posing as Chandler’s boyfriend at an aristocratic wedding in the English countryside won’t kill Tobias. Not in theory.
As the threat of Moscow looms larger and the enemy reveals himself to be crueler than any human can imagine, Tobias reluctantly partners with his prisoner to derail the immediate threat—to their families, to Faraday Industries, and to their lives. What he finds in the process is a feverish, relentless need already melting the ice from his veins.
Tobias and Chandler should be enemies. Their relationship begins with him imprisoning her in a secret Faraday holding cell. Hardly the start to a promising relationship. On the surface, Chandler recently betrayed Tobias’ sister to a criminal who viciously tortured her and Tobias is pissed. But he’s also intrigued. Because Chandler is an accomplished spy in her own right and her secrets run far deeper than even the genius Ice King can fathom. Their courtship is a verbal duel, sharp and quick, that soon confuses the issue of just who is captive to whom. Tobias’ icy exterior slowly melts under the heat of Chandler’s growing appeal while Chandler eases her tight grip on the burdens that shaped her difficult decisions. But soon the trappings of aristocratic life are stripped to reveal the rot beneath, putting both their families in jeopardy. And when it all hits the fan and their lives are on the line, Tobias has to decide whether he can trust the woman for whom he’s fallen or be the next victim to a clever double agent.
Romantic suspense series are catnip for me and particularly clandestine organizations working without and (mostly) without official sanctions. Add a family dynamic and it’s Christmas, which explains why I’m a huge fan of Tara Janzen’s (early) Crazy/Loose books and Maya Banks’ KGI series.
RIPPED is like a mash up of James Bond’s Skyfall with a Working Title British Rom Com Production a la Bridget Jones or Sliding Doors and a soupcon of a Christie mystery movie. Mind you, it’s not a comedy, but the wedding setting at the posh estate kept me expecting some comedy of manners. There’s even shooting! I’m intrigued by the Faraday family and all their sibling dynamics as they’re embroiled in clandestine operations on the world stage. I can’t wait for the next Blood Money book from Edie Harris.
If you’re sitting on a beach this Memorial Day weekend or lake side or pool side or fire side, do yourself a favor and pick up or download RIPPED.
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