Series: Rarity Cove

In Dark Water by Leslie Tentler

In Dark Water by Leslie TentlerIn Dark Water by Leslie Tentler
Series: Rarity Cove #3
Published by Left Field Press on February 5th 2019
Pages: 236
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four-half-stars

One year after the tragic loss of her husband, Mercer Leighton returns home to Rarity Cove to be near family and resume her former job at the St. Clair resort. Feeling adrift in life, what she doesn’t count on is being witness to a double murder in nearby Charleston’s French Quarter.

Charleston Homicide Detective Noah Ford is no stranger to the dark, violent side of humanity. Nor is he happy about the lone eyewitness in his investigation being part of one of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s most prominent families. However, when an attempt is made on the beautiful widow’s life, Noah vows to protect her.

As it becomes increasingly clear that the killer will stop at nothing to eliminate the witness, Noah also begins to suspect the presence of a traitor in his own department. After a stunning betrayal, he is forced to take Mercer into hiding to keep her alive. As the two fight for survival, they also fight the simmering attraction between them.

But the killer is out there, and he refuses to give up.

A return to Leslie Tentler’s Rarity Cove after so long took a bit of re-orienting, a bit of catching up, but the slow build-up of ‘In Dark Water’ makes it very easy to jump into Mercer Leighton’s and Noah Ford’s story after Mercer unwittingly witnesses a murder and eventually finds herself at the hands of law enforcement as they scramble to take her into protection when it becomes evident that she’s next on the hit list.

There isn’t much unpredictable about the plot however: the homicide detective and widowed witness fall for each other, the leak in the law enforcement ranks, a criminal out for revenge, but I thought the execution of it was quite well done and that alone made the story worth savouring. Mercer and Noah were not just believable together, but Tentler’s measured pacing, the explosive action in the last quarter and the sensitive way she writes of their progressing relationship—adulting is done pretty well here, so no complaints from me—probably made ‘In Dark Water’ my favourite in this series.

My preference for more explicit, lusty smut between them and higher-octane action—essentially higher highs and more breathtaking swoops of passion I guess—that most likely stems from B-grade movie leftovers is probably a petty one, considering how much I liked this.

By and large, this latest offering from Tentler reminded me why I do wish her new books could some somewhat faster. I do like her law enforcement heroes and Noah’s one whom I immediately grouped into this odd, cop-sized shape compartment that I have for them. And while it might be a story that’s probably done in some variation or other, ‘In Dark Water’ is one I’ll remember for some time.

four-half-stars

Low Tide by Leslie Tentler

Low Tide by Leslie TentlerLow Tide by Leslie Tentler
Series: Rarity Cove #2
Published by Left Field Press on June 12th 2017
Pages: 321
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two-stars

Hollywood leading man Carter St. Clair had it all—until a brutal stalker attack nearly takes his life. Seriously injured, he returns to his hometown of Rarity Cove, South Carolina, to recover in private, his outlook on fame forever changed by someone claiming to be his “number-one fan.”

Physical therapist Quinn Reese fled San Francisco to be free of her soon-to-be ex-husband, professional football player Jake Medero. Staying at her mother’s house in Rarity Cove seems like her only option until she can get back on her feet financially. When the St. Clair family makes her a lucrative offer of employment, Quinn sees the potential for starting over, even if it means working with Carter, who broke her heart years ago.

As Carter heals under Quinn’s care, a fragile bond forms between them. Carter also recognizes a parallel between his own stalker and the possessive pro baller who considers Quinn his property. But even as Carter steps into the role of Quinn’s protector, another dangerous storm is brewing…one for which neither of them is prepared.

I barely remember the characters in Rarity Cove’s first book, but ‘Low Tide’ sounded like an enticing read. Coupled with the fact that I generally like Leslie Tentler’s storytelling and characters, Carter St. Clair’s and Quinn Reese’s book sounded like a good fit.

And mostly, it was, objectively speaking. The St. Clair family’s drama slowly came back as I got into the plot; the pages turned, the story flowed (albeit slowly at times), and I pretty much was glued to the plot as the twist came at the very end.

My reservations slid in however, when it came to the characters, whom I didn’t think I actually liked and were invested in as much as Tentler’s other couples.

A man at the height of his career and the world at his feet and having it suddenly taken away, only to meet a woman way back from his past, whom he’d treated badly sounded like poetic justice. But this also dropped a big hint that Carter was enough of a prick to stay that way until his entire life was upended in an attack that had to have him reevaluating his priorities. Consequently, I didn’t exactly like Carter enough to root for him and Quinn, not when he only questioned his womanising, jet-setting and superficial lifestyle in the wake of this tragedy. That it had to take her rehabilitation and that time spent together for him to ‘develop’ real feelings for her couldn’t make me shake off the idea that he somehow needed to be brought down more than a notch when he returned to Hollywood, expecting that Quinn would be in tow with some concessions that he’d be making. Maybe I’d expected a bigger form of sacrifice on his part, or that he’d look somewhere else, away from the vitriol of that shallow life and was disappointed when that didn’t happen.

Quinn, on the other hand, was easier to relate to, as she did all she could to flee an abusive marriage yet finding herself trapped where she was. I liked how she could put aside her issues more than Carter could, but she was a bit too much of a damsel in distress for my liking and her easy acquiescence to Carter’s magnetic charm made me wish that she’d given him a harder time with it.

Frankly, I’m simply going to call ‘Low Tide’ a bit of a glitch. Tentler has always been an author I watch out for and it’s not going to stop me from what she comes up with next.

two-stars