Series: Harp Security #1
Format Read: Kindle galley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 17,2015
Buying Links: Amazon* | Kobo | ARe* | Barnes & Noble |
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Blurb from goodreads:
Who is she?
A single photo of herself as an infant on a beach, taken before the date on her birth certificate, throws everything Calliope Pearson knows about herself into question. Hoping to find answers, she takes advantage of her job as a travel writer to make a reservation at the Caribbean island resort in the picture.
Resort security chief Mac Brody distrusts Callie on sight. After all, she looks exactly like his deceitful missing wife, Nikki, who owns half the resort. But when Nikki’s found dead, Mac's facing murder charges, and he’s sure that Callie must hold the key to proving his innocence.
The deeper Callie and Mac dive into the mystery of her past, the more bodies surface. And they’ll have to learn to trust each other, or become victims of a dark danger neither could've imagined.
First, that cover. WHAT was Berkley thinking? If I weren't already a fan of Curtis's books, I would have taken one look at that cover and kept going. It's so poorly done and cheap looking. This is one of those times when you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
Okay, with that complaint out of the way, time for the story. Callie's father died recently and in going through his belongings, she found a picture that has engendered many questions. She takes a trip to St. Martin in the Caribbean to search for answers. Almost instantly, she's drawn into a second mystery: her uncanny resemblance to the hotel co-owner and missing wife of the hotel security chief. She's met by suspicion and distrust and shortly after arriving, her room at the luxurious resort is burglarized. Events escalate from there and it isn't long before she's running for her life and wondering how her life got so crazy:
Oh. My. God. What had happened to her life? When had she become the person the police chased and strange men shot at?
Of course, there's an attraction between Callie and Mac. Mac, I must say, started out by being rude, arrogant, and obnoxious. He does later redeem himself but at first he was a real ass. He doesn't trust her but that hardly excuses his rudeness, an example of which can be found in the excerpt below. At times I found the attraction between them to be a little squicky as he seriously believes her to be his missing wife's sister. Uh, dude? I know in some countries and in some eras it is/was common to hook up with a dead mate's sibling, but you're really going to jump from your missing wife's bed to the bed of a woman who may possibly be your sister-in-law? Ick. But that's me, and you may feel differently. Familial relationships aside, Callie and Mac are good together. They're passionate but not stupid, although their relationship does move quickly. Mac is very much an alpha male while Callie is his equal. She's his partner and she gives as good as she gets. As for whether or not Callie and Mac's wife Nikki are actually sisters, well, read the book. :D
There are mysteries galore and the story gets complicated, with many interconnected threads to keep track of. At times, there was too much going on but if you like mysteries, conspiracies and action, you'll probably like "Echoes". I particularly enjoyed Callie's search into her past and the connections to Nikki. It was sick and twisted and much too viable. Later elements of the mystery were more of a stretch for me but not over the top. Curtis weaves them all together and ties up the various threads, though there is one loose thread at the end. Perhaps it will be addressed in the next book?
Callie is smart, resourceful, loyal, compassionate, and able and willing to kick butt and to rescue herself. But she's also able and willing to accept help; she knows she's in over her head and accepts help from Mac and later Nash, the owner of Harp Security. Nash and Mac are former military teammates and while they aren't close, Mac knows he needs Nash's help. Lots of cooperation going on this book. Except for the bad guys; they refuse to cooperate with the good guys and they don't always cooperate with each other. But that's okay, a little dissension among the villains can be a good thing. But, hoo boy, Curtis does like to torture her heroines. Though Callie gets off easy compared to Tara Jean in Curtis's book, "Lost".
"Echoes" gives us mysteries, action, suspense, romance, sexy times, and an island I'd give almost anything to visit right now (I'm so sick of winter). Callie is someone I'd like to call a friend and Mac is sexy, brooding, dangerous, and more of an adrenaline junkie than I could live with. But he's not a bad book boyfriend. I loved the Harp Security team, their quirks, their resources, and their willingness to jump in but to be smart about doing it. Stupid heroics are not how they work. I'm ready for the next Harp Security book, which should be out later this year.
Callie drove through slowly, flicking glances backward at the guard as she did. He had checked her driver’s license against a clipboard, leading her to assume he had a list of guests and approved visitors, but if she hadn’t been on it, he hadn’t said so. Could he tell, just by looking, that she was more than a simple travel writer looking for a story? A little shiver ran up her spine as she realized he hadn’t closed the gate. Instead, he stood in the center of the road, speaking into a walkie-talkie she hadn’t noticed when she drove up and watching her as she parked and approached the sprawling mansion of a hotel.
A plump woman standing behind a mahogany desk just inside the entrance greeted Callie with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. And those eyes didn’t blink. She never even looked down at the reservation book open on the desk. Callie resisted the urge to look down and see whether she’d spilled something on her clothes.
“Madame Pearson. Welcome to Paradis de la Mer.”
“Thank you. And please, call me Callie.”
“I am Claudine.” The woman paused as if debating what to say next. “I see you have suitcases. Let me call Ben to take them upstairs for you.”
“That would be great.”
But the woman didn’t pick up the phone on her desk. Instead, her gaze shifted over Callie’s shoulder.
“Christ,” said a deep voice to her left, tinged with accusation beneath the distinctive thickness of the American southeast, “where did Nikki find you?”
“Excuse me?” Callie turned to give the stranger a piece of her mind but momentarily lost her train of thought. The man was too close, too big. He stood with his back to the door, so that her first impression was of an impenetrable void rimmed in bright light. Closer examination proved no more comforting.
A gun rode in a holster threaded onto his belt, a silent, matte black threat. In a separate holster, the man wore a walkie-talkie, which probably meant the gate guard had called him. But why? What threat could she possibly pose? Ragged ebony hair and stubble the same color contrasted with an almost military posture, and a vicious, ropy scar running from just above one cold, green eye down his cheek and angling toward the corner of his mouth gave the harsh planes of his face a dangerous cast. But the worn jeans covering his slim hips and molded to his muscular thighs were presentable, and the charcoal gray T-shirt stretched across his broad shoulders sported a Paradis de la Mer logo embroidered in red and gold over his heart. He belonged. Still, Callie took an involuntary step back, which brought her up against the desk without placing nearly enough space between the newcomer and herself.
“Maybe it’s a coincidence,” said Claudine in French.
“Not on your life,” said the stranger. “This is one of Nikki’s games. She found a fatter, plainer version of herself and brought her to stay here while we were all worried sick.”
Callie balled her hands into fists at her sides and gritted her teeth against the words of outrage threatening to pour forth. She’d decided long before her arrival her purposes would be better served by pretending to speak only English. Sure, she could stand to lose five or ten pounds, but she wasn’t fat. And she’d never cultivated a dramatic appearance because it didn’t fit her lifestyle. Middle of the road, that was her: average height; average weight for her height; medium length, medium brown hair; and perfectly happy with her position smack in the center of the bell curve, thank you very much.
Breathing in for four beats and out for eight, she achieved a modicum of control. The byplay had been quick, so much so it wouldn’t have been offensive to someone who didn’t understand the content. Whatever was going on, it couldn’t be related to a riddle almost three decades old, so her best bet was to continue on as planned.
“Is this how you welcome all your guests? Speaking to one another instead of to them? It’s a wonder St. Martin dares call itself ‘the friendly island.’”
The man ignored the touch of sarcasm she’d allowed to creep into her words. Instead of taking the easy out and backing off, pretending the exchange was meaningless, he moved even closer. “Do you have a sister, Miss Pearson?”
Never let them see you sweat. It was the defining rule by which her father taught her to live. She drew herself up and gave him her best superior glare. “Not that it’s any of your business, but no. Maybe I just have one of those faces. People often think they know me.”
“Not likely. You have fairly distinctive features. And you share them with Nicole Lewis.” Those jade eyes, opaque, shadowed, and unreadable, pinned her like a specimen fastened to a display board. “Or, more accurately, Nicole Lewis Brody. My wife.”Nicole Lewis, half owner of the Paradis? Nicole Lewis, his wife? Not some casual acquaintance with a vague resemblance, then. The slight sheen of sweat Callie had acquired on the drive from the airport cooled abruptly, leaving goose bumps in its wake. She’d come to St. Martin to solve a mystery, but she hadn’t anticipated being forced to dive into a second one.