This review is the start of a series of posts surrounding the releases of Stephanie Tyler’s first two Shadow Force books, LIE WITH ME and PROMISES IN THE DARK. There are books to win and a grand prize at the end of November. More information after the review.
Forced together by fate, bound together by desire.
Framed for a double murder, Delta Force operative Cameron Moore is given a new lease on life by the CIA—provided he pays them back by doing their black ops dirty work. Now Cam is ready to renegotiate their deal, and he thinks he’s found the perfect bargaining chip: Skylar Slavin, bestselling author of espionage thrillers and the daughter of the CIA man who saved him from a prison sentence.
Skylar has been living in anonymity, never suspecting that someone so dangerous—and so desirable—would plunge her into a world as treacherous as one of her spy novels. But how can Cam go through with his plan to kidnap Skylar when just the sight of her sets off an explosive attraction he’s never experienced before? And when Skylar falls prey to an even more perilous threat, this special ops soldier must call upon all his combat skills to protect the one person who can help him win his freedom—and the only woman he’s ever loved.
Title: Lie With Me
Author: Stephanie Tyler
Series: Shadow Force, book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Military Romance
Publisher: Dell Books
Year of release: 2010, October 26
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Received digital ARC from author for review
First line: The sleek, dark bitch tailing him over the crest of the mountain was definitely not standard Army issue.
– Riley and Dylan by the pool scene> dampen-the-panties hot!
– Zane contemplating taking coffee through IV > funny
– Car chase scene > I was literally holding my breath
Cameron ‘Cam’ Moore is Delta Force. Hard, proud and honorable. Thanks to things in his past he’s indebted to Gabriel Creighton and forced to do black ops for him as it’s either the black ops or 2 consecutive life sentences in jail. Easy choice. There’s no love lost between them and Cam wants out. He’s had enough and is going to use Gabriel’s only daughter as leverage to get out of from under the man’s thumb.
This only daughter is author Skylar ‘Sky’ Slavin, who writes thrillers. She recently (5 months earlier) had a kidney transplant, donated by her father, after which he’s disappeared of the grid. With both parents in the CIA she’s been taught to distrust military types and knows her way around explosives, firearms, self-defense and locked places. As all Stephanie Tyler’s heroines, Sky is tough and resilient, having survived stuff she’s determined to hold on to her strength, yet she has a vulnerability that makes it impossible for me not to like or admire her.
I love enemy’s daughter tropes, and LIE WITH ME has that trope written all over it! But it’s so much more too: it’s intricate with complex and characters that are fleshed out well with back-stories that delve deep under the surface. The romance did feel a bit rushed in the beginning, relying very much on instant attraction and sexual chemistry. Though it was really hot I expected a little more build-up there. That being said, the love scenes are awesome and beautifully written, rough, raw, intense and fitting the characters and the story. And I liked that the characters themselves (Cam and Sky) were questioning the speed with which their feelings were developing.
Next to Cam and Sky there are two important secondary characters that are also the couple having the secondary romance in this book. Cam’s best friend Dylan Scott is a former fellow Delta Force now turned sort of a rogue spy-for-hire. He’s paired up with Riley Sacadano, former Navy now on her own, a private contractor and in search of what happened to her dad, a CIA agent who was murdered in the line of duty. Both Dylan and Riley play crucial roles both the main plot and a few subplots.
When an author writes a villain that I feel tempted to sympathize with for his crappy childhood while at the same time despising him for what he puts other the people in the book through, you deserve my praise! Also when you give me a semi-villain with so much back-story delivered gradually enough to slowly come to the conclusion that even though he’s not a good or honorable man, he would go through fire for his loved ones.
And this is the kind of characters Stephanie Tyler gave me in LIE WITH ME next to the awesome main and secondary couple. How can I not love her books?
There were quite a few plots going on in the book and the common factor in the different plotlines seems to be Gabriel Creighton, actually he was an element in all the plotlines except for the romances. It was fascinating to slowly figure out how everything locked together and find out what was going on and working towards the inevitable and climactic conclusion where all loose ends get tied up and the separate threads come together.
I am not telling anything more about the plots than I already did as with romantic suspense, you need to find out and put things together for yourself when you read it. Suffice to say that I love the multiple plots that come together approach that is familiar in romantic suspense and which Stephanie Tyler takes on splendidly. I had several aha-moments where seemingly unconnected things clicked together, linking the plots and offering deeper knowledge and understanding for events earlier or later in the book. Awesome how Stephanie Tyler does this with all her military romances. And I’m a big fan of the “come full circle” feel her suspense plots have.
Romantic suspense books are filled with characters; primary, secondary and walk-ons, however Stephanie Tyler keeps it very manageable, only introducing characters that are necessary for the plots that are unfolding. And those characters all contribute with their own POVs, some –understandably– more than others.
I must also include a warning that I don’t think LIE WITH ME is for people who didn’t like Stephanie Tyler’s first trilogy. I know there are people who didn’t like the many POVs Steph uses, I however love that. To me they give insight and depth to the suspense and the characters. LIE WITH ME is written in that same style with multiple storylines and POVs and the occasional flashbacks. I loved the tiny reference to HOLD ON TIGHT, no matter how small if you’ve read HOLD ON TIGHT you’ll pick up on it.
I adore Stephanie Tyler’s writing and her brand of romantic suspense. Her men are capable, unapologetic and ruthless, yet tender and passionate with their woman. The women are vulnerable yet strong and independent. The suspense in LIE WITH ME is thrilling, intricate and awesomely put together including some kick-ass fight sequences. I was jumping from one speculation to the other. The romance is poignant and intense, the love scenes fog up will your glasses and an added treat was the secondary romance and the way she set up the next book’s couple without giving away too much.
If you like a romantic suspense with several subplots coming together from different angles combined with a touching and complicated romance, you’ll love LIE WITH ME as much as I did.
She raised her chin defiantly, her voice shook hadn’t held her against him and let her take a piece of his heart, when he hadn’t thought he had anything left to give to anyone.
Sleeping with Sky now would be wrong. Cam knew that and somehow couldn’t shake the ridiculous notion that she could somehow heal him. Fix the pain inside. Unbreak him.
“I can forgive a lot, Cam. But don’t keep up the charade if you don’t feel anything.”
He dipped his head and kissed her neck, letting his lips linger on the soft skin there before he responded. “You melted me, Sky. I was fucking ice before this. Before I met you, things were just getting worse.”
She wanted to ask him why, but the need to kiss him, to succumb to the seduction, was stronger. The brazen, open lust she felt showed in her face, she was sure.
Dylan and Riley (secondary romance)
“Feel good?” he asked.
“I thought . . . you wanted me . . . to shut up.” The words were punctuated by moans, and he smiled, a lopsided grin, his eyelids heavy. His voice was thick when he spoke. “I want you to scream my name. Long and loud. […]”
“Because I love you, Riley. I goddamned, no holds barred, can’t not admit it any longer, love you!” he yelled. Probably wasn’t the most romantic declaration ever uttered. But it had been honest.
Over the course of about a month (from October 24 until November 30), Stephanie Tyler and I will be giving away:
– 2 copies of LIE WITH ME
– 2 copies of PROMISES IN THE DARK and
– a grand prize of a signed set of one of her trilogies (either the Hold trilogy or the Blaze trilogy).
All you have to do is leave a (meaningful) comment with the review and/or guest-post and you are entered. Each comment is entered for the grand prize in the end.
First up to win is a copy of LIE WITH ME , provided by me and anyone can enter, provided you reside in a country where The Bookdepository delivers.
This giveaway ends November 2 (winner announced November 3) and note your comment will be entered for the grand prize.
Make sure you come back on October 28th for Stephanie Tyler’s guestpost and another chance to win LIE WITH ME, provided by Stephanie.