Series: Southern Comfort #3
Published by Self Published on June 2, 2013
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Samantha Martin’s carefully reconstructed life is teetering on the edge of disaster. After surviving an abusive childhood, Sam is only months away from completing her hard-won college degree when she gets devastating news about her brother. Donnie, her protector and best friend, lies in a coma in a Charleston hospital.
Sam struggles with the question of who shot her beloved brother as well as the monumental expenses of his ongoing care, and in desperation seeks ready cash by agreeing to act as the “entertainment” for a local man’s bachelor party – where to her everlasting mortification, she encounters the one man who’d ever meant enough to her to break her heart.
Forensic artist Josh Harding recognizes the butterfly tattoo on the curvaceous hip of the wig-bedecked stripper. After all, he’d spent hours sketching her lovely figure while a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Now here she is, eight years later, and it becomes clear that Sam is in trouble. Seemingly unrelated threads weave into a pattern surrounding her and her brother. Exposing criminal enterprise among the upper echelon of local society and the shocking truth behind the city’s most famous murder, the unexpected connections that neither Josh nor Sam saw coming draw them both into a tangled web of love and Deception.
Charleston police detective and forensic artist Josh Harding is recuperating from his injuries incurred during the last case. While attending his friend’s bachelor’s party, he recognizes the hired stripper who he fell in love with eight years ago. Samantha (Sam) Martin can’t believe her first assignment as a stripper lands her in front of the only man she’s ever loved.
A bit of background
Sam’s brother, Donnie, lies in a coma after having been shot and hit by a bus several months ago. She’s sat vigil by his side, believing that he’s in there and will recover, despite his doctors prognosis to the otherwise. Josh and Sam knew each other when he was an art student in Savannah and she was a class model.
What I loved about this story
Josh is so wonderful and the only person who doesn’t know immediately that he’s still crazy about Sam…is Sam. That’s because he knows her history and bends too far over backwards not to show up like the men in her past. Sam is just lovely, gifted with a killer body that tends to eclipse her other attributes. She and Josh have a great friendship that was an ideal foundation for the romance that followed.
The suspense stems from Donnie’s mysterious attack. There’s also a serial rapist and someone who appears to be stalking Sam. While we get the henchman’s point of view, which was chilling, we don’t know who’s calling the shots. It was really interesting trying to connect the dots and scary as I worried for some of the characters who were clearly targets.
The bottom line
This series is three for three in finding perfect balance between suspense and romance. I loved Josh and Sam’s romance and the stunning disclosure as to what kept them apart…never saw it coming. The suspense was chilling, causing me to imagine the bogeyman around every corner. The mystery wasn’t hard to unravel but it still had some surprises in the end. Loving this series.
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