Book #1 of the ARES Security series: Published 12/29/15: 352 Pages
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.
From the hellhole of a Taliban prison to sweet freedom, five brave military heroes have made it home—and they’re ready to take on the civilian missions no one else can. Individually they’re intimidating. Together they’re invincible. They’re the men of ARES Security.
Rafe Vargas is only in Newton, Iowa, to clear out his late grandfather’s small house. As the covert ops specialist for ARES Security, he’s eager to get back to his new life in Texas. But when he crosses paths with Annie White, a haunted beauty with skeletons in her closet, he can’t just walk away—not when she’s clearly in danger…
There’s a mysterious serial killer on the loose with a link to Annie’s dark past. And the closer he gets, the deeper Rafe’s instinct to protect kicks in. But even with his considerable skill, Annie’s courage, and his ARES buddies behind him, the slaying won’t stop. Now it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s next—unless they can unravel a history of deadly lies that won’t be buried.
This is a new series for this established author whose finished paranormal series I’ve enjoyed and supernatural series I absolutely adore. So when I come across Ms. Ivy’s name on a book I don’t pass it by – unless it is a historical romance I just can’t get into those… I had remembered hearing about this book and when it popped up for review I put a request in then promptly forgot what it was about. When I started the book I was pleasantly surprised to see the action took place in Newton Iowa! Newton, I’ve been there! The story instantly became more interesting and spent much of the book trying to place locations from my limited time there. Oh Ms. Ivy, one of my favorite aspects of your stories are that many of them take place in the Midwest and locations I’ve been to. My dream is that someday you will set a story in the Quad Cities. Please, please, please I would so LOVE that! Okay shameless pleading done now.
This story was billed to me as a romantic suspense, a branch of the romance genre that I’ve not ventured onto before. I usually just stick to the paranormal side of the tree and hang out with my vamps and shifters. Being familiar with the author and curious about the sub-genre I wanted to give this book a try. It wasn’t bad, not sure I’m going to continue the series good, but I was invested in the story and wanted to see what happen next. It was the mystery and setting that saved the story for me. Some of the romance aspects like instant connection didn’t work for me with the story being based in reality. Most humans just don’t fall that fast, and if they do it usually doesn’t work out. When you are dealing with vamps and weres it is easier for me to suspend disbelief. The mystery as well done, some aspects I saw coming, but many I did not. The twists kept things interesting and it was easier to overlook some of the convenient access to all the gadgets and goodies these men had. Still nothing was too outlandish that it ruined the story for me.
The romance was alright, again it is probably easier to accept an alpha male when he has fangs, but I liked Rafe. I liked Annie too and hope their H.E.A lasts. It would be interesting to check in and see how things are with them in future books. The other men of ARES security were a fun mix that is pretty typical to these series romances. I expect we will get to know them each better in future books as Ms. Ivy works to pair each on of them up. I would have liked to know more about all of their pasts, but I think much was held back to keep them mysterious and to be revealed later. I would have to say the setting of the story was probably my favorite aspect of the read. I loved that it was set someplace I’d been and in all actuality it could be any small town in Iowa really. It was nice to have someplace where the politics and local “characters” felt so close to home.
I did like the story, but I’m still not certain I would continue as most likely the next one will not be set in Iowa. We will see though, never say never. I do enjoy Ms. Ivy’s writing and might pick up the next book if it sound interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good dark mystery with a bit of romance. The action was pretty steady and the plot had some twists that you might not catch until they unfold.