Published by HQN Books on May 31st 2016
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Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past—until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the legionnaire soon finds himself trapped in paradise with a fiery, daring beauty who's nothing he expects…and everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he's made a critical mistake—one that could cost him everything.
Playing body double for a spoiled socialite was supposed to be Holly Ryan's ticket to freedom. But when she's snatched off her yacht by a tall, dark and dangerous stranger, the not-quite-reformed con artist will make a desperate play to turn her captor from enemy to ally, by any means necessary.
Yet as scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they're double-crossed, they'll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined…because in this deadly game of deception, it's their lives—and hearts—on the line.
Desperation drives Rafe Angelito to kidnap a woman who’s on a mission to sail around the world, believing that the ransom money will in turn free his son who’s held by a friend turned enemy. But appearances are not what they seem for both Rafe and Holly, who start their acquaintance based on deception and end their journey as lovers.
For a debut novel, ‘Deception Island’ packs a punch, filled with non-stop action and edgy scenes when things got ugly and confrontational. The premise is exciting, if somewhat removed from the experiences of the ordinary man: there’s talk of refugee camp upbringings, child soldiers, bloodied personal histories, the French Foreign Legion and so on. It is all very mysterious (as though watching the action unfold behind a veil separating reality and fiction) and very exotic – character- and location-wise at least – but also due to the lack of grounding information about the main characters that I’ve found myself wanting to know but was frustratingly not told about, whether intentionally or not. Where is Rafe really from and what is his native tongue? How exactly did Holly, an ex-con, manage to even find herself in a position as a body double for a spoiled American heiress?
Rafe, more so than Holly, remained ambiguous even after the revelations of his dark past, which takes on preternatural life of its own in the way it consumes him. Holly on the other hand, was more an open book to read, even if I did cringe when she tried to use seduction as a means to get away or when her thoughts about Rafe’s bulging muscles kept popping up at inappropriate times. It is as though we’re pushed to simply live their story in the here and now, with a foot already planted in the future somewhere in the sunny climes of Corsica.