BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Review & Excerpt: Agent Under Siege by Lena Diaz



Series:
The Justice Seekers #2
Read As A Stand Alone: Yes
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: January 1st, 2021
Buying Links: Amazon* | Apple Books* | Barnes & Noble | BooksAMillion | Book Depository | Google Books | Harlequin | IndieBound |
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Blurb from publisher:

Can they outsmart a killer …who’s already escaped justice?

The Kentucky Ripper is in prison…or is he? When no one will help Teagan Ray find the man who really abducted her, former profiler Bryson Anton agrees to investigate. But soon their search takes two jolting turns—brutal attacks from a cunning suspect…and a powerful mutual attraction.


My Thoughts:

I like the concept of this series - a modern day Camelot and knights of the round table (I was always a sucker for that story) but composed of former law enforcement officers. A man named Mason Ford leads a team of twelve men and women, the Justice Seekers, who’ve had their law enforcement careers destroyed by scandal and accusations by others, or they got burnt out. They refuse to let adversity keep them from doing what they were born to do—fight for justice for others when conventional means have failed. These modern-day knights, the Justice Seekers, strive to make the world a safer place ,while falling in love along the way. Currently there are four books planned.I didn't read the first book so I may have missed some story about the group  (like how they are funded; money doesn't seem to be an object) but it didn't affect my enjoyment of this book or affect the story. 

"Agent Under Siege" gives Bryson, us an injured, burnt out former FBI agent who wants to hang up his suit or armor, and sulk. His last case took a lot out of him and left him doubting his skills. Then a whirlwind Teagan crashes into his life. She has a different take on his last case with a theory about the responsible parry but no one is listening. No one except Bryson's boss at the Justice Seekers.

 Bryson annoyed me at times; he was such a pessimist. Granted, being shot and needing to use a wheelchair or cane to get around will put a crimp in your day/week/month/year/life. Fortunately he moved away from his personal pity party pretty quickly once Teagan crashed into his life. She was flirty, sassy, sexy, smart, a little naive yet cautious, and super determined to get her life back on track. It was a steamy case of opposites attract. The sparks between the two were strong but both agreed they needed to be hands off while working together. Well, they tried. :D I thought the HEA was a little rushed but I loved that they talked about important matters such as sexual history and the potential challenges of interracial dating. The latter was acknowledged and discussed but it wasn't the focus of the relationship, it was one aspect. 

The mystery moved very quickly; the story was fast-paced and full of action. There were some twists and turns and a couple of heart-stopping moments. I knew they'd make it cuz this was a romance but that didn't do much to alleviate the tension when they were in danger. That said, the romance did move super fast and then it slowed waaay down and I thought that Bryson could have done a better job communicating with Teagan. 

I enjoyed the story, the series premise, and Teagan and Bryson. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next two books. 

 

Long before the shadow fell across the end of the dock and hovered over Bryson Anton’s wheelchair, he knew the man was there. Motion sensors and security cameras had made Bryson’s watch buzz against his wrist when the man parked his car in the driveway. More messages warned when the man crossed the back patio. And again, when he’d descended the gently sloping lawn that ended at the creek. Bryson didn’t care who was now standing behind him, as long as he didn’t have to engage in conversation.

“Nice place,” the man’s voice rang out. “Probably one of the highest views in the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains. I’ll bet at night you can see nearly every light in downtown Gatlinburg from here.”

Bryson sighed but didn’t turn around. “My former boss took pity on me after I got myself hurt on the job. He gave me a boatload of money, and I was selfish enough to take it and buy this property. But that doesn’t mean he can drop by any time he wants.”

“I’m still your boss. I haven’t accepted your resignation.”

“That’s not how it works, Mason. I resigned, whether you accept it or not. I’ll never be a Justice Seeker again. I’m not going back to Camelot. You and your knights of the round table are better off without a washed-up former profiler jacking up your investigations.”

“Is that why you’re sitting out here drinking like a fish, because you think you jacked up everything?”

“Something like that.” Bryson grabbed a can of beer from the cooler beside his wheelchair and popped the top. He took a deep long swallow, more to irritate his unwelcome visitor than because he wanted it.

Mason retrieved a beer and eyed the label, then tossed it back unopened. “Fish biting?”

“Do you see a fishing pole around here somewhere?” Bryson emptied his can in the water and dropped it on his lap before wheeling around. “Enjoy the view as long as you want. You paid for it.” He rolled his chair up the flagstone walkway toward the house.

“Dalton and Hayley missed you at their wedding last week.” Mason fell into step beside him.

“Yeah, well. I didn’t have time to learn the latest dance steps.” He stopped at the sliding glass doors and tossed the empty beer can in the recycle bin. When he reached for the door handle, Mason leaned past him and held it closed.

Bryson swore. “What do you want from me?”

“I want you to do your job. A new client came to Camelot yesterday. She specifically wants to hire you.”

He scoffed. “You expect me to believe she asked for a washed-up former FBI agent to screw up her case so someone else will die? If she did, send her on over. I can accomplish that without lifting a finger.”

Mason leaned back against the door. “That’s a heck of a guilty conscience you’re nursing. Or are you just feeling sorry for yourself?” He waved toward the wheelchair. “If you’d actually go to your physical therapy appointments instead of being a no-show half the time, you’d be out of that thing by now. Don’t look so surprised. I pay your insurance premiums. I see what’s billed. And there’ve been a surprising lack of medical invoices lately. You’ve given up, Bryson. The question is why?”

“Why?” he gritted out. “Let me remind you that when I was the FBI’s golden boy, everyone treated my profiles like biblical text. So when I presented them with a profile for the Kentucky Ripper, they focused all their efforts on Avarice Lowe, the suspect at the top of my list. Meanwhile, Leviathan Finney—the real Ripper—was no longer under surveillance. To celebrate, he kidnapped and gutted another woman. Because of me, he was able to kill again.”

“Because of you, the police were able to significantly narrow their list of suspects much faster than they could have otherwise. The choices they made after that weren’t your fault. Hell, Bryson. If it wasn’t for the work you did, it would have taken far longer to catch the Ripper and put him in prison.”

“Tell that to the family of the last woman he killed.”

Mason shook his head. “I hear someone anonymously sends money to the last victim’s family every month. While I admire the generosity and kindness of the gesture, that person is making payments on a debt he doesn’t owe. The only person responsible for that woman’s death is the man who killed her—Leviathan Finney.”

Bryson fisted his hands on the arms of the wheelchair. “Are we about done here? It’s getting late.”

“Big plans tonight?”

“I have to wash my hair.”

Mason let out a deep sigh. “Just explain one thing, then I’ll go. Why now? You left the FBI over three years ago and started working for me as one of the Justice Seekers. Why is the Ripper case bothering you again after all this time?”

Bryson stared at him incredulously. “Bothering me again? It never stopped bothering me. But I tried to make something good from the bad, atone for my sins by working investigations for you. And what did I do? I nearly got Hayley killed, got myself shot and here I sit with shrapnel they can’t dig out of my hip without risking the loss of my leg. Do I sit here feeling sorry for myself? No. I don’t deserve anyone’s sympathy, least of all my own. The people who deserve sympathy are the ones I’ve hurt, those who nearly died because of me, and the one who did. Accept my resignation and leave me alone. I’m not going to risk hurting anyone else. I’m done.”

********************

About Lena ~

Lena's heart belongs to the rolling hills of her homestate of Kentucky. But you're more likely to see her near the ocean these days in northeast Florida where she resides with her hubby and two children. A former Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® finalist, she's also a four-time winner of the Daphne du Maurier award and a Publisher's Weekly Bestseller. When not writing, she can be found sprucing up her flower beds or planning her next DIY project.

Find Lena online ~




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