Author: Misty Evans

Deadly Secrets by Misty Evans

Deadly Secrets by Misty EvansDeadly Secrets by Misty Evans
Series: Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce, #7
Published by Beach Path Publishing, LLC on August 22nd 2017
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He killed my best friend when we were only girls…but I got away. Now he’s hunting me again.

Well-renowned anthropologist and religious studies expert, Dr. Brooke Heaton, came face to face with evil as a ten-year-old, barely escaping a vicious, ritualistic serial killer. Now The Reverend, her childhood attacker, is hunting her once more, determined not to let her get away this time—and there’s only one man who can keep her alive.

Homeland Security agent Roman Walsh wants two things: to end The Reverend’s reign of terror and to get the sexy Dr. Heaton into his bed. When the two goals collide, can he keep his own deadly secrets buried?

Agreeing to consult on The Reverend’s case, little does Brooke realize the emotional chunk it will carve out of her soul and the burning need Roman will ignite inside her. She’ll have one last chance to stop the killer, or the ghost from her past will get his cold-blooded revenge—on her and everyone she cares about—once and for all.

‘Deadly Secrets’ started out very well for me, reading like a suspense thriller with a little bit of the Da Vinci Code thrown in. Put in ancient symbols, the occult and folklore and I’m sold on the creepiness factor. There’s loads of action, good pacing and dialogue—there isn’t a bored moment, especially for a sub-genre like romantic suspense—and it all went very well for me, up to a point.

I do realise that that is the typical Misty Evans read for me: it’ll all go swimmingly until a certain point when something goes awry with the characterisation or plot which will throw off the entire experience. I’d completely dug both Brooke and Roman till then as well, more the latter though, as he seemed more like a stable character than the former.

The Brooke Heaton of the first half of the story seemed like a completely different person from the one in the second half—she seemed a wee bit more TSTL, more headstrong and became a seductress to boot as the ‘frumpy’ academic, detached and closed-off appeared to have had a personality transplant.

But Brooke is also the meta-figure for the romance reader, as I soon found out, and I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that, especially when Evans used her own book as an example (that was just bloody strange) of how readers start to compare their own situations (sometimes fancifully) to what real life is, only to get disappointed. While it was cute to start with, it popped up too frequently though, even being mentioned as part of the conflict between Brooke and Roman, which got annoying.

The mystery of the serial killing also turned out to be something more ‘mundane’ than I’d expected too, as the theories that Evans built up from the start were simply put to the side when the conflict came down to Brooke’s past. Without revealing too much, I found myself bewildered and not entirely convinced by the ‘revelations’ at the end and even much less so by the quick resolution and the even quicker proposal.

I do think that ‘Deadly Secrets’ could have been much more for me; unfortunately, the last half—despite the great action—fell flat in a way that made it hard to get behind the characters, much less their abrupt HEA.


Fatal Courage by Misty Evans

Fatal Courage by Misty EvansFatal Courage by Misty Evans
Series: Shadow Force International, #3
Published by BeachPath Publishing on August 20th 2016
Pages: 297
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He ruined her career…
In twenty-one missions, CIA golden girl Ruby McKellen has failed only once. Thanks to Navy SEAL Jaxon Sloan, the man who stole her heart and forced her to choose between him and her partner Elliot, she’s on probation and Elliot is in prison for national security crimes. To prove Elliot’s innocence and save her damaged career, Ruby is running an unsanctioned mission—but the only way to get the proof she needs is to go to Jax with her tail between her legs.
She wrecked his heart…
Jaxon left the Navy after the mission with Ruby in Morocco went south, but that one hot, unbelievable night with her will haunt him forever. Working for Shadow Force International now, his new assignment has brought him full circle—the CIA operative Jax’s testimony sent to prison has escaped and Jax has been ordered to hunt him down. Just like in Morocco, the one thing standing in his way is Ruby.
A second chance at love could prove fatal…
When Ruby’s life is threatened and Jax stumbles on information that might prove Elliot is innocent, guilt over putting the man in prison compels him to join her unsanctioned mission. What really happened that night six months ago? Is Elliot an honorable spy or a mastermind at manipulation? Ruby is the only one who can help Jax navigate the world of undercover lies and betrayal to find the truth.
In a battle of wills—and of hearts—Jax and Ruby must have the courage to face the truth about themselves, their past, and what it really means to betray someone you love.

Misty Evans knows how to plot a book – with such élan that it’s clear it’s not her first rodeo dealing with this particular sub-genre of romantic suspense. In that shadowy world of spies, counterterrorism, misleading intelligence and double agents, she takes us for a merry ride through characters who live and thrive in the grey areas and well, sort of fall in love (or lust).

Jax’s and Ruby’s story however, isn’t a simple one. There’s loads of history between them and a huge information dump that I found distracting – the first installment of SFI was an excellent example of suspense that subsequent books moved away from – and while the action merely amped up as the pages wore on, Jax and Ruby struggle to find their HEA, not least because of conflicting interests and motivations that could seem more selfish than noble.

I’m neutral about this one; there were bits I liked and bits I didn’t, so those cancel each other out fairly evenly. The action was entertaining as hell, if a little hard to believe because it inches closer to Mission Impossible or the Bourne movies complete with the special effects and superhuman feats. But for the characters and the changing POVs (why was it necessary to have one in Elliot’s POV when he’s a secondary character who faded out towards the end?) were harder to get into. Jaxon’s own personality quirks and temper issues gave him that knife’s edge, I found Ruby’s insistence on prioritising the job, doing things only her way, keeping her plans secret and her quickness to shift blame onto others – to the extent where people got hurt because of it – more difficult to like. And perhaps there is nothing worse than a self-aware heroine who knows that she has treated the male lead badly (but does nothing about it), then asks in self-recrimination why he’s still being so good to her when there is only one night of unforgettable sex between them. Somehow working on the assumption that asking for forgiveness is better than giving collaboration a chance, Ruby irked me so much at times that I wondered if Jax would indeed be better off without her.

My other quibble is the rather abrupt closure…or lack thereof, rather. Loose ends didn’t seem fully tied up and while we’re given a hint of where and how things would wrap up, the ending wasn’t as unequivocally certain as i’d hoped it would be.


Hit & Miss Groom by Nana Malone and Misty Evans

Hit & Miss Groom by Nana Malone and Misty EvansHit & Miss Groom by Misty Evans, Nana Malone
Series: Hit Wedding #2
Published by Beach Path Publishing on February 2nd 2015
Pages: 161
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Marketing Program Manager, Vanessa Rodriquez, is driven to succeed and keeps the finish line in sight at all times…until one unexpected pit stop at her best friend’s wedding sends her skidding off course. Sleeping with Alex McIntyre wasn't supposed to make her feel this way—scattered, unfocused, and in need of another sexual tune-up. If only he didn’t make her feel so alive.

Alex can’t resist the beautiful Vanessa any more than he can resist his need for speed as an amateur race car driver. Even though she claims to hate him, she keeps coming back for lap after lap in his bed. When he ends up moving in next door to her, their sexual chemistry turns to deep desire. Ready to go full throttle, he convinces her to be his grid girl on—and off—the track. Van, however, puts on the brakes.

If Van can just course correct, it’ll be smooth sailing toward her goals. Or will it? Alex is smart, sexy, and way too much of a distraction, but maybe she needs to shake up her world and do the one thing she swore she’d never do…follow her heart. Will she risk it all to cross the finish line? Or will she and Alex crash and burn before they have a chance at love?

The battle of the wedding couple’s best friends is what I’d like to call this book, which isn’t really in any way that much of a standout save for the unusual occupation and hobbies that the lead characters have going for them. A meeting at a wedding turns explosive and while the sex is steamy, no-holds barred and hot, ‘Hit & Miss Groom’ is pretty much a tale of two characters wary of emotional ties coming together in a way that isn’t unexpected at all.

My rant here, as I suspect, has much to do with my intense dislike of manwhores and players and my inability to get over their ‘one-and-done’ throwaway attitudes written which I personally think has been treated with so much disrespect especially in fiction. All it took was a short period of time for Alex to turn from manwhore to committed man to potential husband and fiancé and that change for me, is like a flip of a switch, akin to a personality transplant that’s too difficult for me to take in. Convincing Van is an uphill battle – and rightfully so – until he scares himself away and breaks it all off by being a general arse after a long treatise about wanting more than a casual fuck. The grovelling begins, but not after he has some sort of personal revelation that he is in fact, able to do a committed relationship…because it only takes the right woman that he finds irresistible and very very good sex to change his mind.

*cue massive eye-rolling*

And frankly, it’s difficult to swallow when I’ve always been planted in the camp that really thinks that a leopard can’t change its spots. That Alex, like many other players, somehow erases those spots and wears a new coat of whiteness so easily that I’m nearly wont to reject the HEA that follows. Like Vanessa, I couldn’t shake the impression that he was a farce, and unlike her later, that impression never quite changed. I thought that the only thing saving the story was Van herself who was a strong female lead, whose flawed consistency at least, led to me cheer for her and the big girl panties she never failed to pull on when Alex as a lead failed so badly up until the end.

Maybe it’s precisely these flaws – the revolving women, the player changed – that draw such readers to books like these. I’m getting tired, though. Tired and so wary of stereotypes, of characters who blithely walk the straight and narrow paths of these tropes because of mass appeal.


Fatal Truth by Misty Evans

Fatal Truth by Misty EvansFatal Truth by Misty Evans
Series: Shadow Force International #1
Published by Beach Path Publishing on January 25th 2016
Pages: 274
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She’s an investigative reporter who lives to uncover the truth.

Feisty television host Savanna Bunkett exposes government cover-ups on her award-winning show, The Bunk Stops Here. When she digs into a rumor about a top-secret government project that's producing “super soldiers” for the president, she suddenly finds herself on an assassin’s hit list.

He's the man who knows the truth.

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Trace Hunter is the only soldier to survive Project 24. After refusing a direct order from the president, he was branded a traitor, and his career imploded after the sexy reporter turned him into a national headline. He now works undercover for Shadow Force International, a secret group of former SEALs helping those who have nowhere else to turn, using his enhanced skills to fight for justice and protect the innocent. His first assignment? Protect Savanna from the one man who wants them both dead—the president.

One wrong move and they’ll be silenced forever.

Helping Savanna is the last thing Trace wants to do, but her unwavering determination to expose the president's dark truth matches his own. She's his one chance to set the record straight, and he’s her only chance at survival. When their mutual enemy closes in, can they put the past behind them and trust each other? Even if it means losing their hearts in the process? Or will secrets, lies, and forbidden passions cost them everything?

Intriguing, riveting, with many pieces of the puzzle to be put together that kept me going for half the night and the day after. Pulling together a slew of conspiracy theories with loads of panache, ‘Fatal Truth’ does get you to suspend your disbelief with generally likeable characters, even if the heroine teetered on the edge a little on being TSTL and the villain too much of a cackling, moustachioed caricature on pirate seas.