Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Reviews: "Love You Madly" (Ashlee Mallory)

Remember high school? All those cliques, and you either belonged or you didn't?

So does Travis Brennan, who started out the biggest geek on the planet and suffered terrible torment and abuse by his classmates all through high school, mostly at the bidding of the head cheerleader and undisputed class queen Meredith Sanders. Now, he's a former United States Navy SEAL, hardened by years of training and battle, and he works as a private security specialist.

And his latest client is none other than Meredith herself, whose step-daughter is missing without explanation. Meredith is as gorgeous, imperious, stubborn, and impossible as she used to be. He can't afford to be attracted to her, and would be crazy, in fact, to find her desirous after so many years of torture, but it's getting harder to conceal his growing feelings.

Meredith, meanwhile, is terrified for Darcy. Having raised her step-daughter as a single mom, Meredith was determined to toughen Darcy up, withholding any praise or appreciation she considered excessive ... which was pretty much all of it. Consequently, she can't shake the thought that maybe Darcy has simply run away to get away from her. Still, something isn't right, and the only person who seems to be in a position to help is Travis, whom she really doesn't trust ... as sexy as he is.

Their search for Darcy turns into a race against the clock to stop the unthinkable from happening, before Meredith never sees her daughter again.

Entangled Publishing introduces the romantic suspense/thriller Love You Madly, by Ashlee Mallory, released this month from its Select Suspense imprint.

This story errs more heavily on the side of the suspense and thriller genres than on the romance, although the attraction between Meredith and Travis is both undeniable and extremely sexy. From page one, there's humor here and there, but the majority of the novel is a hard-fought thriller as the protagonists chase one lead after another --- some futile, some confirming their growing fears and suspicions that Darcy's life is in danger.

It takes great skill to incorporate a touchy topic like the sex slave industry into the usually lighthearted and more carefree line of books for which Entangled Publishing is universally known. Author Mallory does a spectacular job, however, weaving together the elements of suspense and mystery right alongside the steamy romance. Readers will undoubtedly keep turning pages to find out what happens next in both aspects.

At first, Meredith comes across as truly unlikable, with almost the only thing going for her being her genuine fear and concern for her daughter's safety and well-being (even if Meredith only recently realized how hard she's been on the girl). Otherwise, well through the majority of the work, Meredith remains the same stuck-up, spoiled control freak readers can easily picture her being all the way through her high school years. Perhaps the depths of her snobbishness are what make her transformation mid-story so satisfying.

Travis, too, is a complex, interesting character, for lack of a better term. Having grown up the brilliant computer geek, he rounded out his abilities and attributes when he joined the Navy and then specialized with his SEAL team. Nowadays, he has some trust issues, granted, but also boasts an eclectic assortment of useful connections and talents that make him perfect for the role he inhabits.

If you're a fan of suspense or thriller, with a hint of romance thrown in for good measure, I invite you to check out Love You Madly. You won't be disappointed!

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Author: Ashlee Mallory
Title: Love You Madly
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Select Suspense)
ISBN: 978-1-63375-300-6
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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