Title: A Love Restrained
Author: Becky Flade
Genre: Romantic suspense
Spring in the city brought people out of winter hibernation like a siren song but as the temperature rose, so in turn, did the crime rate. Cops had to be sharp as they walked the streets of Philadelphia. In her ten years on the force, on these streets, she’d seen a lot of crazy and often stupid criminals do a lot of crazy and often stupid things. But to be so brazen, or so plain dumb, as to do a hand-to-hand drug buy right in front of two uniformed officers rode high on her list of top ten. “Tell me you saw that?”
“Saw what?” Hunks of half chewed soft pretzel fell from Sherman’s mouth.
Pete Sherman’s not a bad cop, just not an observant one whose paunch portrayed his love of all things fried and his reupholstered recliner. He hadn’t seen a thing in the last six months. But he took direction well, despite the fact he had seniority.
“There, across the street.” She pointed. “The junkie walking east just scored off the guy in the leather bomber heading west. I swear the dealer looked right at us before the exchange. Call it in, Pete, and grab the junkie. I’m going after the dealer.”
Sherman didn’t argue. She took off into a quick lope, kept her footsteps light so as to not alert the man she pursued. The spring day had drawn people out and the complaints of the pedestrians she weaved through grew loud. The guy glanced over his shoulder, and the edge of his mouth tipped into a grin before he sprinted around the corner.
“Cocky jerk.” She turned the corner, and shouted, “Stop! Police.”
She ran clean and fast, closing the distance between them with little effort. The dealer ducked into an alley she knew to be a dead end. She slowed and put one hand on the butt of her service pistol as she approached. He had his back to her, his hands on his hips as he stared at the brick wall in front of him.
“Philly PD, you’re under arrest. Slowly put your hands above your head and against the wall to your left.” She closed the few feet between them, using her free hand to release the handcuffs from her belt, the other remaining on her weapon. She cuffed him, with practiced efficiency, and then read him his rights before leading him out of the alley, preferring to do the pat down with her partner present.
“Kylee Parker, I’ll admit I daydreamed a time or two about you cuffing me, but it was never in this context.”
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Old secrets, new threats…What are they willing to sacrifice?
Philadelphia police officer Kylee Parker is dedicated to protecting and serving. She sees the work in absolutes: right and wrong, black and white, good guys and bad guys. That is, until she chases a drug dealer into a dead-end alley and finds the bad boy she had a painful crush on throughout her teen years has turned into a more dangerous and more attractive man.
Jayson Donovan knows he doesn’t deserve someone as good as Kylee Parker. As the right hand man to a local drug-pushing mobster, he’s solidly on the wrong side of Kylee’s moral compass. But he can’t help reaching for her time and again when he knows he shouldn’t.
Even when his secrets threaten them both.
I am giving this story 3.5 stars because while I found the plot engaging, the characters were a challenge to get to like.
I wish this story had started halfway through part two and gone to the end. That was he most exciting, nail-biting, and character-centered part of the whole book. We learn more about Kylee’s secret feelings in this, the second half of the story, and more about Jayson’s true motivations, not to mention how they mesh as a not-quite couple.
However, as all stories do, this one begins at the start—and spends numerous pages giving one dimensional motives for the two main characters. I wouldn’t have even minded this so much, would have assumed that they would be explained more as the tale went on, if not for the complete lack of justification for the secondary characters’ actions. I was completely distracted by a long-time abuse victim suddenly turning her life around and the never-explained lying Kylee endured from her supposedly loving parents.
I did enjoy the six-year gap between parts one and two, and the surprise of what happened to both main characters during that time. It was wonderful to find out Jayson’s true reason for being gone for over half a decade, and this is where Kylee’s motivations picked up some depth and wherewithal. Even the assumed main bad guy gains some three-dimensionality. But again, the book falls short when it comes to the real bad guys’ reasons for being the bad guys.
I’m giving this book a three and a half (3.5) star review because if you skip to the middle and read to the end, it’s a fabulous and well-paced read. I’m also giving it that extra half star for the scene I’ve excerpted. If you like passion, read this book. If you like bad boys and kickass cops, definitely read it. I’m looking forward to another book from this author with the desire to give a higher rating.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A city girl, born and bred, I tend to place my stories in and around southeast Pennsylvania, or at least have a character or two from the area. Home is where the heart is and I make mine with my very own knight in slightly tarnished armor, three beautiful daughters, my son-in-law and two grandsons. When I’m not busy living my own happily ever after, I’m writing about someone else’s.
I’d love to have you visit with me at any of my virtual homes or write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
The book will be on sale for $0.99.