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In Too Deep by Kimberly Kincaid

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 30th September 2017
In Too Deep by Kimberly KincaidIn Too Deep by Kimberly Kincaid
Series: Station Seventeen #3
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Amazon Publishing, Kimberly Kincaid Romance on October 17th 2017
Pages: 345
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four-stars

As Station Seventeen’s rookie, Luke Slater knows his fire and EMS training will be both rigorous and risky, but he never imagined having to partner up with the one woman he wants to keep at arm’s length most of all. Quinn Copeland is as wide-open as Luke is reserved. He has no interest in letting the sweet and sexy paramedic rock his hard-earned control. But the need for composure becomes the need to survive when they find themselves in the crosshairs of a brutal gang leader on their first shift together.

Paramedic Quinn Copeland’s station mates aren’t just her friends. They’re her family. She’d do anything to keep them safe—including reluctantly trusting her impossible-to-read, impossibly gorgeous new partner with the one thing she holds close. As the passion between Luke and Quinn goes from a slow burn to a sizzle, their steps grow more and more dangerous, both in the fire house and out. Can they outwit a cold-blooded killer and face the fears that could cost them everything? Or are they in too deep?

Kimberly Kincaid’s Station Seventeen isn’t just a bunch of firefighting men who go out to battle the blazes, although the mention of bunker gear, sexy times involving dirty firemen and fire-heroics is probably enough for many readers. But Kincaid serves up a hefty dose of good ol’ romantic suspense where characters from law enforcement and emergency responders mingle and rally around each other to get the plot going. Not only is this right up my smelly, cat-littered alley, but I love it when a story surprises me…the good way.

‘In Too Deep’ just had one of those great combinations that did it for me: a solid, believable suspense plot, likeable protagonists who don’t cross TSTL lines and sufficient twists and turns that just ramp up the tension. It was thoroughly addictive as a result and I hadn’t expected to like Luke Slater and Quinn Copeland as much as I did along with the interaction of the secondary characters that helped pad out the narrative and shape both Luke’s and Quinn’s contrasting characters. Kincaid’s handling of these interactions was top-notch and it was balanced quite nicely with the unfolding drama that got more intense and riveting as the pages went on.

While I appreciated Kincaid not making light at all about the younger man (rookie) and the slightly older woman (an experienced paramedic), what impressed me most was the way Kincaid tried to level the characters by giving Luke the bigger, calmer voice of reason and Quinn, a character who in turn, didn’t use her age or professional experience to belittle him. I liked their similar backgrounds, their latent attraction and chemistry, which was why the short rift and the easy resolution between them at the end felt forced and written for the sake of creating conflict, when there was already plenty enough to go around.

Overall though, ‘In Too Deep’ exceeded my expectations once it was established that the plot wasn’t going to revolve around a decision that could have made Quinn look like a TSTL heroine. The book was absorbing enough that I didn’t want to put it down, which made me impatient by the end for what Kincaid already has up her sleeve for the next book in this series.

four-stars

Deep Burn by Kimberly Kincaid

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 30th May 2017
Deep Burn by Kimberly KincaidDeep Burn by Kimberly Kincaid
Series: Station Seventeen #2
on June 5th 2017
Pages: 269
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three-stars

Firefighter Shae McCullough is all-in, all the time. When her reckless response at a fire earns her a two-week penance filing paperwork for the arson investigation unit, the rules and routines are enough to bore her senseless. But the discovery of a possible arson at a murder scene has her instincts fired up, and when Shae is assigned to assist Remington’s elite intelligence unit with their investigation, she’s all too ready to jump in with both boots first.
To tech and surveillance expert James Capelli, logic isn’t just a job requirement, it’s a way of life. He’s less than thrilled to work with Shae, whose impulsiveness threatens his sanity and whose curves threaten his composure. Despite their differences, they uncover a case bigger than anyone could have expected—along with an attraction that burns deep.
But this killer is no stranger, and Capelli’s got a dark past. Can he and Shae outsmart a ruthless murderer, or will his secrets bury them both?

I’ve been waiting a long while for Kimberly Kincaid’s Station Seventeen series to come back and I’m happy to see ‘Deep Burn’ mark its return. A case of arson and murder kicks it all off and Kincaid pits total opposites—a reckless, impulsive firefighter and a rational, tech guy with a guarded past—in this one when it seems as though the previous case and this are linked by a shadowy criminal figure intent on pulling everyone’s strings.

I’ll admit from the start that it took me a long time to warm up to Shae McCullough, if I could even at all. Reckless, impulsive—with a load of adjectives in between—and always straining at the leash to do something, there was a part of me that wondered if that rogue bit of her was going to endanger someone at the end, if it hadn’t already had at the start. But her open honesty and her loyalty to Capelli did help make up for it, particularly after he told her about his criminal past.

I do appreciate Kincaid’s unusual take on James Capelli though; there’s this borderline, repressed almost-manic air to him if that energy isn’t channelled into logical, rational crime-solving, which would probably lead him straight back into his criminal hacking past that he’s desperate to bury. The brooding, careful calculation with which he does things is admittedly more attractive than the impulse that Shae shows, though this is probably my own OCD showing up, and I really liked how tech and surveillance guys can be heroes in their own right as Kincaid has shown.

From the onset, it seemed as though this unlikely pairing wouldn’t be able to cut it together—that great is the social and metaphorical distance between them, but as the arson/murder investigation goes on, Shae and Capelli do balance each other out in a way I didn’t quite expect. I’d hoped though, to see more of a moderating influence that Capelli might have had on Shae, just as she could have had him becoming more spontaneous and less buttoned-down, which didn’t exactly happen.

Despite this, Kincaid’s writing is as solid as ever (it’s a style that appeals personally to me) and as always, I can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeve with Station Seventeen.

three-stars

Skin Deep by Kimberly Kincaid

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 30th August 2016
Skin Deep by Kimberly KincaidSkin Deep by Kimberly Kincaid
Series: Station Seventeen #1
Published by Kimberly Kincaid Romance on September 20th 2016
Pages: 355
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four-stars

Where there’s smoke…

For firefighter Kellan Walker, checking his emotions at the door doesn’t just keep him on the level. It keeps him alive. A gut-wrenching find at the scene of a blaze threatens to blow his ironclad composure, but when the detective assigned to the case is the same woman who put his sister’s life at risk three months ago, all bets for Kellan being calm, cool, or collected are definitely off.

There’s bound to be fire…

Keeping people safe is Isabella Moreno’s number one priority, no matter how tough the case. Working without solid leads and with the gorgeous, broody firefighter who believes she’s responsible for endangering his sister on a previous case isn’t ideal. But someone is hurting women in the here-and-now. Isabella will do whatever it takes to find justice.

As Kellan and Isabella reluctantly team up to catch a criminal, they realize they have more in common than they’d ever imagined. With every move, the stakes grow higher and the passion sizzles hotter, but can they race against the clock and the odds to catch a killer? Or will they lose their hearts—and their lives?

Kimberly Kincaid surprised me with this one. I’ve come to expect many firefighting books to be about arson-related cases or about bush-firefighting, but ‘Skin Deep’ deals more about sex-trafficking crimes and sexual slavery than it is about firefighting itself. It works very well as a standalone, even if it’s a full-fledged continuation of Liliana Hart’s Kindle Worlds Mackenzie series, which Kincaid was a part of.

’Skin Deep’ is quite a ride from start to end, with a deliciously filthy villain (channelling all sorts of odd shades of serial killers, Lady Macbeth and the local mafia) and characters who could well be plucked out from primetime TV. The criminal case that emerges is engrossing enough and I found myself liking the pacing as well as the solid cast of characters that come and go from the story.

The leads were credible, even if I did find myself gravitating towards Kellan Walker more than I did Isabella Moreno. Closed-off and distant, Isabella assumes the role of most male protagonists in the romance genre, staying off commitment and relationships because they tend to hurt more if they care – along with the rather stupid belief that forming close relationships would somehow lead the other person to die.Despite this clichéd behaviour trait, she did seem competent initially, if reckless and foolish for launching a private investigation without telling everyone else about the danger she’d placed herself in. I liked how she was called out for her lonewolf, untrusting behaviour early though, first by her colleague and then by Kellan, who muscled his way into Isabella’s private investigations and past her defences. Kellan on the other hand, seemed like a godsend: loyal, discerning, not afraid to show her as much tough love as her colleagues do, then led by example by putting his faith in her so she could do the same for others.

Even if I’m not entirely convinced by the rightness of this pairing (after all, sex did seem be a way to skip the serious talking business too much here), the slight twist at the end upped my enjoyment of the book, leaving me only hanging a little by the abrupt ending and a very battered HEA.

four-stars
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