Monday, July 14, 2014

Concrete Evidence (Rachel Grant)

Concrete Evidence
(The Evidence series, Book 1)
Rachel Grant
Janus Publishing
Fiction, Romance/Suspense
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: A year ago, trusting the wrong man ruined Erica Kesling's life. An underwater archaeologist desperate for money, devastated when her own mother stole her identity and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, she foolishly signed on with the treasure hunter Jake Novak... and wound up blackballed on the West Coast for his artifact smuggling venture. Fortunately, the rumors haven't spread as far as the East Coast giant Talon & Drake - and it's here that she may finally have a chance to bring down Jake and clear her own name. Even better, she might bring down some of Jake's customers with him, in addition to doing important work for Talon's Menanichoch tribe. At least, that was the plan, before she got saddled with the world's laziest - and sexiest - intern, Lee Scott.
Lee's ties to the Talon family go way back. When Joseph Talon, Jr. suspected someone of using the company to smuggle artifacts out of war-torn Iraq, he called in a marker and sent Lee in to investigate, posing as a twenty-something playboy slacker. The name Erica Kesling is at the top of his suspect list, but the rot runs deep, and it's Lee's job to quietly root it out before the senior Joe Talon announces his run for presidency. A tall order, but nothing Lee can't handle, if he keeps his cool. The problem is, the moment he meets Erica, the job turns red hot.
Brought together by lies, bound by an unexpected and undeniable passion, how much betrayal can two hearts withstand?

REVIEW: This title promises danger, deceit, and sizzling passion, and it delivers in full. Erica and Lee get caught up in an intricate dance of half-truths, each unknowingly sharing a common goal as they try to ignore the sparks that fly whenever they're in the same room. Though both are wounded souls, they can and do stand on their own two feet, instead of the old idea of a fainting flower waiting to be swept up by a savior who solves all their problems. Most everyone in the cast turns out to have a hidden agenda, playing out in a tautly-written plot incorporating smuggling, money laundering, Native American history (and our country's shameful efforts to eradicate whole cultures), archaeological investigations, war crimes, and murder... not to mention bucketloads of sexual tension. Everything ties together in a thrill-ride of an ending. I enjoyed it more than I expected to, and wouldn't mind reading another title or two in the series, time and budget willing.

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