Title: “Damned If You Don’t”
Author: Linda J. Parisi
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: 18th March, 2014.
Publisher: Loose ID
Andrew Jackson “Jack” Kent’s on the hunt for white collar criminals, and as a private investigator he always gets his man. Except in this case it’s a woman, the brilliant cellular kineticist Dr. Morgan Mackenzie, whose next thrilling discovery is—him.
On the run from her employers with the formula for a priceless but deadly diet drug, Morgan agrees to a night of pleasure with the outrageously sexy stranger. But when she leaves the next morning, Jack won’t let her get far, and that’s when she realizes the horrible truth. Her cowboy on a white horse isn’t a hero after all. He’s part of the posse.
Yet when Jack goes to turn Morgan in, he learns who the real criminals are, and suddenly, it’s a race against time to find a murderer before they’re killed themselves. To do that Jack needs to convince Morgan he’s on her side. Even though she doesn’t trust him, Jack is a drug she can’t resist, leading her to find out that more often than not you’re Damned If You Don’t fall in love.
Complimentary copy given by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I have said it before but I will say it again: I honestly believe that romantic suspense is one of the most difficult genres to write. Some will disagree with me, of course, but I cannot help but admire an author who is able to keep the reader fully invested in the suspense aspect of his/her story while at the same time getting the reader to focus on the romantic connection between the main characters. I am very happy to say that Linda J. Parisi had me riveted to the pages of this book.
You are immediately thrown into plenty of angst and drama when you start reading. Meet Morgan Mackenzie: a very gifted scientist at a company called BioClin, she has invented a drug to help very obese persons to lose weight, but having discovered that the product is far from perfect yet, she tries to get the company to hold back instead of announcing it to the world. She is too late, however, and soon she finds out that someone has stolen the formula, trying out the drug on a human being – and failing miserably. The test subject does not survive. So she does what she believes to be the right choice: she steals the formula from BioClin and she runs.
Enter Andrew Jackson Kent (Jack): he is a “tracer” and has been hired by BioClin to find and turn Morgan in to the police. But there is more than meets the eye when dealing with Jack – and that is all I will say about the matter, otherwise I will ruin the story for you.
I really liked Morgan – I liked how she was a bit of a geek, fiercely loyal and, naturally, very smart. As you read her story, you will come to really feel for, and her guilt – although misplaced – is understandable. I also love that she has quite a temper and that she knows how to make Jack feel rather small when he has hurt her.
“He was an addiction. He was the dream she had no right dreaming.” (Morgan)
Oh, Jack – he is really swoon-worthy! Definitely an alpha male to a certain extent, which I approve of, but he is also rather vulnerable and sweet. Learning about his past, what made him leave the army, almost broke my heart in two, and I just wanted reach into my Kindle and hug him!
“I can’t explain what happened except to say that I stopped breathing the moment I saw you.” (Jack)
Now, the reason I am not giving this book five stars is due to two matters:
Although I like being almost thrown into a good story immediately upon starting it, I would have liked for this one to be a bit more sedate; meaning, I would have liked having a detailed scene of how Morgan and Jack meets. Not having this meant that it took me a rather long while to fully connect with both Morgan and Jack.
And the second reason is the fact that the book is told in third person, which, I admit, almost always means that I find it difficult to become fully invested in the characters until having read a big part of their story. And yes, that is what happened here.
These may seem to be small issues, but I am being honest here and that is the point of a review, right?
“No, the times for one-upmanship were over. They’d seen each other naked, truly naked, soul-bearing naked. Neither one of them was beautiful. But together they created a masterpiece of art.” (Morgan)
Apart from these issues, I enjoyed the book a great deal. This is the kind of romantic suspense novel where you find yourself unable to unravel all the different leads – and I love that! Furthermore, the main characters are portrayed very well, making you feel that they could be real – not to mention that their chemistry is really hot – and once I got used to it, I enjoyed Miss Parisi’s writing style immensely.
So would I recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense? Absolutely! And I will most definitely be picking up more books from this author in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Let multi-published author Linda J. Parisi take you through the darker, spicier side of Romance with her Paranormal, Paranormal Romantic Suspense, and Romantic Suspense tales. Winner of the New Jersey Romance Writer’s Golden Leaf Award for Best First Book for her novel, Noble Blood, and winner of the 4th Annual Stroke of Midnight Contest for her novel, The Joining: Bound by Blood, Linda is a long-time member of the RWA and the current secretary of Liberty States Fiction Writers. Linda has seen the publishing industry turn upside down yet stay the same because everyone loves a well-written Romance. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, John, and a family which includes Audi, a Cocker Spaniel mix who had her at woof!