Series: Evidence

Winter Hawk by Rachel Grant

Winter Hawk by Rachel GrantWinter Hawk: A Raptor Holiday Novella by Rachel Grant
Series: Evidence, #9
Published by Janus Publishing on 6th December 2019
Pages: 200
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Raptor operative Nate Sifuentes isn’t thrilled to find himself back on the job on the first day of his winter vacation, but he can’t say no when his brother asks a favor. At least he’ll earn an easy Christmas bonus—after all, driving a fired military contractor home after she’s been escorted off base by military police can’t be that hard.

In a matter of minutes, Leah Ellis has lost everything, and now she’s left stranded in the nation’s capital on the first night of Hanukkah without money, phone, or bed. All she has is a mysterious driver who might be after her technical knowledge of the US military’s drone operations.

The former Green Beret’s protective instincts—and skills—kick in when he discovers the alluring AI engineer is being hunted. On the run, they escape the winter cold by generating their own heat, but will they find answers in time to stop a terror attack on Christmas Day?

Nate Sifuentes is the marginalised Raptor operative sent to pick up fired employee and drone engineer Leah Ellis, in what looks like a simple assignment until it blows up in their faces. That in essence, is ‘Winter Hawk’ , a short holiday novella in Rachel Grant’s Evidence series that is classic romantic suspense—non-stop action, tension, a conspiracy to unravel, with hot boinks in the midst of escaping the bad guys while clearing one’s good name. Think Bond or Bourne, just more compressed, with breathier scenes.

What feels like secondary characters become the protagonists here—older, jaded, done anything and everything with a ton of sexual partners—though the suspense is in no way compromised just because both Nate Sifuentes/Leah Ellis hadn’t been at the forefront of Grant’s books.

But I thought the brevity of the novella however did the pairing little justice given the speed at which everything went down. There’s the meet and greet to the sex (with a near-stranger) that felt more like a one-nighter than a start to a meaningful relationship and then the resolution, all of which didn’t erase the instalove feel I got from this—more so because it felt adrenaline-fuelled rather than genuine chemistry, heartfelt connection and mutual dependence. At the end of it all, I didn’t get or like this pairing, nor could I properly get invested in them at all, seeing as much of this couple was literally ‘wham-bam-thank you ma’am/sir’ and then it was the happy ride into the sunset along with a few out-of-place TSTL moments at the start.

Oddly enough, I think I might have enjoyed this more without the romance as a result, since this felt like the only questionable element in the story that proved a little too distracting. So not quite a disappointment, but also not the stellar read that I’ve come to associated with Grant’s kind of calibre.


Poison Evidence by Rachel Grant

Poison Evidence by Rachel GrantPoison Evidence by Rachel Grant
Series: Evidence #7
Published by Janus Publishing on October 25th 2016
Pages: 300
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After creating advanced mapping technology that intelligence agencies itch to add to their arsenals, Ivy MacLeod can’t turn down the perfect opportunity to test it: mapping a vast World War II battle site in the islands of Palau. The historic survey is more than an all-expenses-paid trip to paradise, it’s also an opportunity to distance her reputation from her traitorous ex-husband.

Disaster strikes when her ex-husband’s allies attempt to steal the equipment, but the man she turns to for help might be the bigger threat to her mission, her country, and her every waking thought. Is he protecting her as he claims...or is he a foreign agent? Her compass is skewed by the magnetic pull of him and further thrown off when she learns her own government has betrayed her.

Stranded on a tropical island with a man whose motives remain a mystery, Ivy must decide who is the spy, who is the protector, and who is the ultimate villain. Choose right, and she gets to keep her country’s secrets—and her life. Choose wrong...and she risks nothing short of all-out war.

A postcard from Palau arrives at Luke Sevick’s home – a plea for help. But the man who has sent it has his own identity buried so deep that we don’t know who he is until partway through the book, when he finally reveals it to Ivy Macleod, the woman whose equipment and help he needs to finish his endgame.

Of all of Rachel Grant’s leading men, I think none have captured my imagination as much as Parker Reeves/Jack Keaton/Dimitri Veselov, the man with many faces, identities and a past that has been a noose around his neck. Played by everyone, betrayed by those he loved, I fell hook, line and sinker for his story the moment he appeared in ‘Cold Evidence’ and devoured every breathless moment as Ivy threw his well-laid plans into disarray and him into a tailspin as they both gave each other as good as they got.

Grant doesn’t disappoint with a complex web of intrigue, shadow ops and a huge dose of romance that in no way compromises the breakneck pace of the suspense and the tightly-woven plot that twists and turns—and keeps ahead of the reader always. Brilliantly written and so intricately done, ‘Poison Evidence’ is such a stellar example of the genre that few books live up to.


Cold Evidence by Rachel Grant

Cold Evidence by Rachel GrantCold Evidence by Rachel Grant
Series: Evidence, #6
Published by Janus Publishing on February 2nd 2016
Pages: 300
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The frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest are about to get hot…

The only thing Navy underwater archaeologist Undine Gray fears more than facing former SEAL Luke Sevick is never scuba diving again. But when a dive on a Cold War-era US Navy submarine ends with an accidental explosion, she’s terrified of going into the deep, forcing her to beg the most experienced diver she knows to take her back to the bottom of the cold Salish Sea.
Luke wants nothing to do with the woman who destroyed his career a dozen years ago but finds it impossible to turn his back on her plea. Caught off-guard by an attraction he doesn’t want to feel, he’s eager to be done with this mission of mercy. But when they dive on the wreck, he only gets sucked in deeper. Someone has been digging on the Navy sub…and it appears the explosion that almost killed Undine was no accident.
To find the truth, Undine must navigate murky waters and the unexpectedly hot undercurrents swirling between her and Luke. Worse, divers are searching for something lost in US waters during the Cold War, and they’ll do anything to keep Luke and Undine from finding it first.

An explosion on a technical dive brings Undine Gray back into Luke Sevick’s life, which is a turn of events he could never have conceived. Nor is it a welcome one, considering how Undine had thoroughly screwed his life up 12 years ago. But what starts as a normal deep dive on a Cold-War-era submarine soon becomes a matter of national security, ultimately forcing Undine and Luke to work out old hurts and grievances neither could have thought the years could erase.

Meticulously researched and intricately presented, ‘Cold Evidence’ provided more than a day’s worth of entertainment. Rachel Grant doesn’t skimp on the details or the action (or even the steamy scenes); the result of which is a satisfying, drawn-out read that also unravels the depth of her characters and their motivations.


Covert Evidence by Rachel Grant

Covert Evidence by Rachel GrantCovert Evidence by Rachel Grant
Series: Evidence, #5
Published by Janus Publishing on May 26th 2015
Pages: 302
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“With a believable plot, an exotic setting, a smart heroine and a sexy hero – Rachel Grant’s Covert Evidence is the definition of fabulous Romantic Suspense.” – New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Toni Anderson
Falling in love was never part of his mission…
With visions of professional glory, underwater archaeologist Cressida Porter embarks on a research trip deep into the heart of Eastern Turkey. Her dreams turn into nightmares when she becomes the unwitting courier for a terrorist network. Stranded and unable to speak the language, she turns to a handsome and enigmatic security specialist for help, even while fearing he may be behind a violent assault that leaves her vulnerable.
CIA Case Officer Ian Boyd’s mission is clear: follow the courier, identify the terrorist leader, and intercept the microchip before it falls into enemy hands. For Ian, cozying up to the alluring archaeologist to find out where her loyalties lie isn’t exactly hardship duty. But spending time with her proves dangerous when she awakens a longing for a life he can never have.
Attraction wars with distrust as Cressida and Ian are forced on the run. When violence erupts in the already unstable region, Cressida discovers everything she knows about Ian is false. With all secrets revealed, Cressida must decide if she can trust the spy with her life, while Ian faces his own impossible choice: Cressida or his mission.

Cressida Porter is desperate for validation, both personally and professionally, and it’s her glaring insecurities that has put her in a perfect position to be used as an unwitting courier in a much larger terrorist plot and in the crosshairs of Ian Boyd, a CIA case officer whose job is to intercept the microchip that Cress is carrying. There’s distrust all around and the lies they’ve told each other start Ian and Cress on the wrong foot for quite a while.

The mystery here is a twisty, winding road of political intrigue and archaeology in the volatile middle-east and while it does become a little bogged down at times, I certainly appreciate Rachel Grant’s effort in bringing the larger context of the current conflict into the book even as Ian’s and Cress’s story play out in the foreground.

There’s a hint of character growth, especially on Cress’s part which I can appreciate even more – I found her distasteful at first – but her own admission of her myopic views of selfish academic glory showed at least, some measure of self-awareness and self-worth. The same goes for Ian really, who has to learn about operating in a non-solitary way for the first time ever. Even if I don’t take to them as much as I did with Alec and Isabel, Covert Evidence is a solid read just for the subject matter and the unrelenting action.


Incriminating Evidence by Rachel Grant

Incriminating Evidence by Rachel GrantIncriminating Evidence by Rachel Grant
Series: Evidence #4
Published by Janus Publishing on March 24th 2015
Pages: 290
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From enemies to allies…

When archaeologist Isabel Dawson stumbles upon an unconscious man deep in the Alaskan wilderness, her survival skills are put to the test. She tends his wounds and drags him to shelter, only to discover she’s saved the life of Raptor CEO Alec Ravissant—the man who may have covered up her brother’s murder to save his senatorial campaign.
With no memory of the assault that landed him five miles deep in the forest, Alec doesn’t know what to believe when he wakes in the clutches of the beautiful redhead who blames him for her brother’s death, but he quickly realizes he needs her help to uncover the truth about his lost hours.
Isabel never imagined she’d find herself allied with Alec, and he’s the last man she ever expected to find attractive. But the former Army Ranger-turned-politician proves seductively charming, and he’s determined to win much more than her vote. When their quest for answers puts Isabel in the crosshairs, Alec must risk everything—his company, his campaign, and his life—to protect her.

I’ve sort of forgotten what the other Evidence series books were about (except for a vague memory of Curt?) but this definitely pulled me back into the series. In fact, I felt Incriminating Evidence is probably the best so far, of all the books. Great chemistry between Alec Ravissant and Isabel Dawson and their friction is always, part attraction and part animosity, the former winning out at the very end. There’s a mystery to solve, retrogade amnesia to overcome and a baddie to catch – and I was definitely left guessing my way through.