Series: McCoy's Boys #1
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Challenges: NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
Long days, precious nights…
Mima Etu lives a quiet life with her sled dogs in the stunning Canadian Rockies. But that all changes when she stumbles upon a plane crash while out on a supply run. She’s shocked to discover the pilot is still alive—though barely. With the sun setting and the temperatures quickly dropping, Mima knows he’d never survive the trip to the nearest hospital. So she takes the stranger back to her cabin. As he heals, his vague answers to Mima’s questions about the flight tell her he has secrets. But more disturbing is the consuming, immediate attraction she senses between them.
Before he lost control of his Cessna and plunged into a pilot’s hell, Gabriel Miller was on a deadly mission with precious cargo. Now he’s awakened in the comfort of a log cabin with a gorgeous woman tending to his every need. Her soft-spoken beauty sparks his longing for a different kind of life….and it isn’t long before they surrender to a blazing passion. But their blissful days are numbered. For the owners of the cargo are bent on finding Gabriel—and once they do, they don’t intend to leave any witnesses behind.
While the blurb appealed to me, it also gave me some qualms. A criminal as the good guy? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. This one mostly worked for me.
Gabe works for a drug lord but he wants out, he's tired of the life. While making a delivery, his plane crashes and he's rescued by two local women, Mary and Mima. They take Gabe to Mima's cabin where he recuperates. There's a lot of heat between Gabe and Mima and some sweetness as well. The sex scenes were hot yet sweet. Given that this is a short story, the attraction and the love happen quickly and I did wish that there had been more time allowed for development. Their bond was awfully strong for such a brief acquaintance. It's one of those stories I wish had been developed into a full-length story.
There's action too as some of Gabe's co-workers come seeking him and his shipment. He's been out of contact since the crash and they're not sure what's going on. Oh wait, they're being led by someone who is Gabe's arch-nemesis in the gang for reasons that are murky at best and he wants Gabe dead at any cost. To be honest, the whole criminal set up felt off to me. The series is named for the drug kingpin, McCoy, who was a mix of cruel and decent and his son is so kind that his actions toward a person they're interrogating for information are simply unbelievable. I'm having a hard time seeing how Grace will rehabilitate the criminals or if, like the motorcycle club books, we're just supposed to buy into the protagonist's inherent goodness despite his illegal activities.
Her pretty eyes locked on his, and they made him nervous. She was so innocent, probably clueless to what went on outside of her world. Did she know that when a man or a woman buys a gram of coke, that money contributes directly to the death of another? And that in some small way, Gabe was a part of it? He stared down at his hands, flipping them over. These hands had taken lives, whether by pulling a trigger or snapping a neck. He'd handled everything from coke to heroin, pot, and meth-and everything else illegal under the sun.
Mima's a little too naive to be believable, but she's brave, capable, independent, and has a good heart. She was absurdly optimistic about Gabe and his willingness and ability to change and give up illegal activity. It was also a little too convenient that Gabe didn't use drugs and was ready to change his life. Again, more development would have been beneficial.
Despite some of the implausibilities, I liked Grace's writing style and her humor. Also, I thought she did a fantastic job with the setting and making Alaska come to life; it was more than just a postcard setting. I liked Gabe too, and Mima. Some of the secondary characters needed more definition. Now, with all my griping about development, I did like the story. I picked it up and flew through it, enjoying the story and wanting to know how things turned out. I'm intrigued enough that I want to read the next installment, though I do hope it's a full-length story. Although flawed, "Beautiful Criminal" is a promising start to a new series.
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Some people find the word 'nice' to be insulting and Gabe apparently is one. :D
Mima's eyes widened and a stunning smile lit her face. "I love your laugh. It makes you so...nice."
Gabe arched a brow. "Nice?" He pushed up on his elbows, his face mere inches from hers. "Handsome, daring, charismatic would be better. Nice seems so cheap."
This was just so expressive and made me laugh.
Either the pilot lost direction or he had to fly over this area. Either way, he had a rabbit's foot up his ass that she and Mary had taken the old trail today. Otherwise, he would have died out here, alone, in that wreck of a plane.
And this just appealed to me.
Although he hadn't given her reason to worry, Mima's heart thumped wildly. What is it about him? She wanted to kiss him, but she wanted to keep her distance at the same time. He exuded danger and sexuality, and it confused her. She wouldn't even know what to do with a guy like him.
About Shady Grace ~
Shady Grace makes Northern Ontario her home, where the bush is so thick you can’t see two feet past the tree line. Perhaps the mystery of the woods was what initially sparked her need to write. She adores strong alpha males who fall for fiery, independent women, in settings with humorous dialogue and action-filled plots. Shady believes love and sex should be exciting and unforgettable. Being able to write about it is better than cheesecake.
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