A CRY IN THE WOODS
The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood—she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger. Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim. But Lena knows what she heard—and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.
Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can’t escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams. When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her. He aches to touch her—to be touched by her—but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close? When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman’s screams, his instincts tell him that Lena’s life is also at risk—and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.
Title: IF YOU HEAR HER
Author: Shiloh Walker
Series: Ash Trilogy, book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Year of release: 2011, October 25
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received a digital ARC from author for review
Her name was Carly Watson. The final hours of her life were brutal.
– Lena and Ezra’s first love scene > awesome, awesome scene!
– Ezra’s declaration of love > awesome! Not some sappy all-of-a-sudden-in-the-middle-of-nookie epiphany but a heartfelt, almost involuntary, spontaneous outburst
– the stuff that happened after Hope and Lena went shopping > OMG OMG OMG!
Lena Riddle, chef at Running Brook Inn. She lost her eye-sight but despite her blindness she is perfectly able to take care of herself. She’s confident, outspoken and quick-tempered.
Ezra King is a police detective on leave due to an injury on the job. His past involves being betrayed by a woman he loved and trusted both personally and on the job. This leaves him guilt-ridden and untrusting of women. He’s sharp and direct.
I loved the chemistry between Lena and Ezra. It was hot but still had this laid-back ease about it. That is, until the first love scene…everything they (especially Ezra) were holding back came out full-force and made it a memorable scene. The romance was perfect! The love scenes were sizzling hot and scorching. Ezra was a (dirty) talker and he and Lena were perfectly balanced and matched. What more could I want?
As is usual in romantic suspense there are a lot of secondary character introductions and quite some walk-ons and mentions. I wondered how many of them will survive to appear or star in future books. While reading and getting introduced to these intriguing characters I kept wondering how it all fit together because I just knew Ms. Walker wasn’t introducing these secondary characters and giving them POVs just for the fun of it.
I really liked how Shiloh Walker inserted the multiple men into Lena and Hope’s lives. Lena had Ezra, Law and Remy. Hope had Remy and Law, though Law was more protective in a friendship kind of way than really smitten with her. I definitely liked how Ezra and Law were circling around each other, scoping each other out while vying for the same woman but again Ms. Walker did an awesome job of keeping it all focused on the main romance.
The first page immediately grabbed me and I wasn’t let go until the very last page. The suspense is gritty as heck. Mind-blowing good! The last few romantic suspense novels I read didn’t have the villain POV and reading IF YOU HEAR HER, which does, made me realize once more how much I like that. For me it adds another layer to the suspense, which I like a lot.
While reading and enjoying this book I was analyzing the different POVs and that of the villain to see if I could deduce who the villain could be…adding suspects to my list, crossing suspects off when the villain’s POV would give me little pieces of information that didn’t fit certain suspects. Now THAT’S a perfect romantic suspense!
Shiloh Walker’s writing never fails to amaze and captivate me. Her suspense is awesome. Her characters, both primary and secondary, are fleshed out with back-stories and great characterization, giving them depth and likeability (and making them horrifying in the case of the villain). The romance is in perfect balance with the suspense.
I was at about 65% into this book when a friend asked me what I thought about it as both she and I were anxious for this book to come out and both ecstatic when I got an ARC. When in answer all I could do was make unintelligible sounds and weird sighing and grunting noises I knew this was a book headed to another 5-star/perfect 10 read. Individually the suspense and the romance were awesome! Put together and combined with the characterization, back-stories, intertwined character connections and Shiloh Walker’s brilliant emotionally gripping writing style they turned IF YOU HEAR HER into the nearly perfect read for me.
That is until I got to the end, because when I got there I wanted to kill and hug Shiloh Walker at the same time. The ending could have made this a perfect 10 read but because it did not give me what I wanted, I have no choice but to give this book an almost perfect read stamp. I am not telling what it is that I wanted because that would spoil this book. All I can say is that Shiloh Walker is a brilliant and evil genius when it comes to romantic suspense and the start of this trilogy!
His mouth came down on hers, easy and light, keeping it slow at first. She opened for him and shuddered as he traced his tongue along her lower lip. He tasted like coffee and chocolate cheesecake and man. Delicious.
Looking at her mouth had him all but drooling for another taste, just like looking at her body had him wanting to touch. No. Forget want. Need. He needed to touch.
Don’t you “Hello, Lena” me, she almost snapped. She managed to bite it back simply because she didn’t want him to know she’d been looking forward to him calling her . . . like he’d said he would. Bastard.
“You okay, Lena?”
“Oh, I’m just peachy,” she drawled, resisting the urge to cross her arms over her chest. Just the sound of that low, sexy drawl had her body doing bad, bad things—her nipples beaded up, her belly went hot and loose, and her heart was racing.
Sexy, so damned sexy, the sort of voice a woman wants to hear murmuring in her ear during just the right moment— hell, with that kind of voice, any moment would be right.
“He talk to himself a lot?” Ezra asked, trying to distract himself. It was either that . . . or lean in and press his face against the curve of her neck. She smelled good, something light, almost citrusy, but not quite. Female, and sexy. Completely delicious.
Friends, he reminded himself. They were just going to be friends. F#ck . . . that smell was killing him. He desperately wanted to find the source of it and just start licking it right off her skin.
[…]and his hands . . .whoa. He could do things with his hands that just might
be illegal in some countries. Then there was his mouth— his mouth could almost put his hands to shame and if she wasn’t careful, she just
might start whimpering in need if she thought about it too much.
“I started to fall for you that night, Lena. I guess it’s why I backed away . . . maybe I didn’t think I could handle it.”
“And what makes you think you can handle it now?”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure I can’t. But then again if I wait until I can handle things, then I never would do anything,” he murmured, rubbing his lips against hers.
“Things happen when they happen, not when you’re ready for them.”
She sighed against his mouth, a smile curling her lips. “That sounds kind of . . . well, romantic, Ezra. Never would have thought it of you.”
“Hmmm.” Lifting his head, he smiled at her. “Oh, I can get plenty romantic.”