I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Barefoot with a Bad Boy by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Barefoot Bay Undercover #3
Published by South Street Publishing on February 16, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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A man who trusts no one is forced to believe the unbelievable...
For years, former spy Gabriel Rossi has been secretly searching for CIA linguist Isadora Winter, a woman he loved and lost long ago. But recently, he learned of her untimely death in an accident...and death of her son named Gabe. Angry, hurt, and uncertain of his next move, Gabe is stunned when a woman he's never met approaches him on the beach and claims to be Isadora. She doesn't look, act, or talk like his beloved Isa, but she knows things about their past that only a lover could know, and she assures him that his son is alive as well. As much as he wants to believe her and knows that in the spy world, anything is possible, doubts and distrust plague him. Still, he sees glimmers of the woman he once knew shine through and she begins to melt his hardened heart.
A woman who is tortured by emotions must endure the pain of love...
Lila Wickham has been working deep undercover for so long that sometimes she's forgotten who she really is. Now that her assignment is over and the surgeries she endured left her utterly changed, she is determined to fix the broken life she left behind and assure that her little boy is safe. With lingering threats from an unknown source and blinding headaches that torment her whenever she feels deep emotion, she seeks Gabe Rossi for help and protection. But instead of setting her up with a new undercover identity, he insists on luring her nemesis to Barefoot Bay so he can end the threat to Lila and her son once and for all.
Can they survive the worst betrayal of all?
Even if they succeed in drawing out the killer who has Lila in his sights, a much more serious threat hovers over them...a treacherous, deadly truth that could not only destroy their love but end their lives as well.
Gabe Rossi is still reeling after learning of Isadora (Isa) Winter’s death. Unfortunately, soon after learning she had his son, he finds out he died before he was two years old. He’s rudderless until a mysterious woman named Lila Wickham approaches him one night with an incredible story that completely changes his life.
I won’t say much about the details of the story but this was one I couldn’t put down. It surpassed my expectations and was worthy of Gabe Rossi. Lila’s history was pretty incredible and it was an interesting concept to explore…how much does one’s outer package define a truly committed relationship? Would you be able to relate to that person in the same way if he or she later looked nothing like the person you fell in love with? These aren’t necessarily easy answers as I discovered in this exploration.
The mystery involving Lila is always in the background but wasn’t difficult to untangle. I figured out most of the “who” and a part of the “why” but it wasn’t as important as Gabe and Lila’s relationship journey. Uncle Nino and Poppy added Italian flavor and Jamaican spice, as well as hilarity. I’ve loved the Barefoot Bay enterprise and was initially a bit leery of Gabe Rossi. However, he was just what this resort needed. Loved everything about this book and while it has a satisfying ending, I’d be ready for more.
Francesca Rossi might be the youngest in a long line of badass siblings, but this computer whiz would rather hack a database than pack a pistol for the family business in Barefoot Bay. When an assignment forces her out of her comfort zone and into the field, Chessie decides to amp up the excitement quotient and has her first one night stand with a sexy stranger she’ll never see again.
Former CIA agent Malcolm Harris is fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and knows the government is watching his every move, waiting for him to slip up. But the only mistake he makes is to assume the sexy, sassy woman he seduces on the way to Barefoot Bay is a spy. He learns too late that the beauty he’s bedded is really his best friend’s sister…and his undercover partner on a risky mission.
Chessie and Mal have to stay one step ahead of the CIA, navigate their way through a perilous country, and fight the insane chemistry that sizzles between them. It doesn’t take long for this hacker and spy to discover the power of their unplanned partnership…and learn that falling in love might be the riskiest business of all.
Francesca (Chessie) Rossi is on her way from Boston to see brother Gabe in Barefoot Bay after discovering he may have a child by his deceased former lover and colleague, Isadora Winter. She’s grounded in Atlanta due to weather and has a chance encounter with Malcolm (Mal) Harris that turns into a one-night stand. He doesn’t know she’s Gabe’s sister, she doesn’t know he’s Gabe’s closest friend and neither realizes their headed to the same destination. Great start to an interesting relationship.
I loved that there were so many layers to this story…Gabe’s relationships with Mal and Chessie, Mal’s past that figures strategically in this story and Chessie’s discovery of her identity outside of the Rossi family. Not to mention the smoldering romance between Mal and Chessie where, despite their bizarre start, they proceed down a pretty good path. I really liked that there weren’t any tedious and protracted misunderstandings. Their relationship developed honestly, realistically and with maturity.
Much of this story takes place in Cuba and I got quite the education about the current environment, both political and otherwise, and the realities faced by its people. This was an unexpected and welcomed aspect of the story, especially as it was in the context of changing US political policy towards the country. Very well done.
Loved the story, the characters and the setting. The underlying mystery regarding Gabe’s maybe son and Mal’s past just made an interesting book even better. And, given how it ended, I’m glad I’ve got the next book in the queue.