Series: Station Seventeen #4
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: June 18th 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
Ian Gamble has a past he’d rather forget—which is exactly what he’s doing at The Crooked Angel Bar and Grill when the place catches fire. Between his active duty in the Marines and his experience as a firefighter, his instincts get him and hot, headstrong bar manager, Kennedy Matthews, to safety. But those same instincts kick into high gear when the fire is ruled an arson, and he discovers Kennedy’s got secrets of her own.
The only thing that matters more to Kennedy than her bar is her brother. When she finds out he’s in over his head with a dangerous arsonist, she’ll do anything to keep him safe—even if it means teaming up with Gamble, who’s too sharp-eyed and hard-bodied for his own good. With every step, their attraction flares hotter and the risks grow more dangerous. Can Gamble and Kennedy face their fears—and their secrets—to catch a terrifying enemy? Or will they go down in flames?
I’m a sucker for well-written suspense, the kind that keeps you turning the pages while afraid of what those pages will hold, and that is the best thing about DEEP DOWN. Ms. Kincaid wrote a villain who really is the stuff of nightmares and knowing that he would get his is poor comfort when the scope of terror he could unleash before getting his comeuppance is so limitless. The fast pace of the action and the tense suspense make every minute of reading this book so worth it!
The synopsis of the book is detailed enough to give a reader a very good idea of what to expect in the romance department, so I’m just going to stick with my impressions of Ian and Kennedy. Unfortunately, I was not a huge fan of these two characters. Ian takes ‘stiff upper lip’ to a whole other level that was not very attractive to me and Kennedy’s prickly exterior had the same effect on me. Both of them were too closed off from everyone and it made the speed and potential longevity of their romantic involvement unconvincing, beyond the flash of lust/passion.
Kennedy’s determination to go it all alone by herself and her protectiveness of her brother, while sort of admirable, was also foolish and could have had worse results than it did, so not in my pro column.
Kennedy’s brother was actually my favorite character (hard not to root for the underdog) and I liked that he choose to be grown up and take responsibility, but I was unable to connect with the main characters and the abrupt ending of the story also threw a damper on my final rating. I hope there is another installment where we can catch up with and get the ending we need.
Kennedy exhaled for the first time in ten minutes. When faced with fight or flight, she’d go with fight every single time and twice on Sundays. That still didn’t change the fact that the adrenaline was a bitch to manage. Add to it that she hadn’t needed to forcibly boot anyone from The Crooked Angel in over a year—even then, Javier had done the actual handiwork—and she was definitely out of practice with the defenses that had once been daily survival skills.
You sure you’re not going to get soft on me if you move out of the neighborhood, sis?
Setting her shoulders despite the ache that was making a comeback now that her nervous system was (sort of) returning to business as usual, Kennedy spun toward the pass-through at the far end of the bar. Gamble followed her to the customer side, taking a decent-sized draw from his water before putting it out of the way, shrugging out of his leather jacket, and grabbing the nearest bar stool. She had to admit, having him stick around and walk her to her car was smart from a strategic standpoint, and his quiet, steadfast presence calmed her down.
Even if the way he’d trusted her to handle herself had revved her way up.
“So,” Gamble said, yanking her back from crazytown as he turned the stool in his grasp upside-down and put it on top of the bar. “How did a woman like you end up managing a place like The Crooked Angel, anyway?”
“A woman like me,” Kennedy repeated, treating the stool in front of her to an expert flip.
If Gamble had caught the steel in her tone, he didn’t show it by backing down. “Yeah. Something tells me they don’t teach hammerlocks like that at Remington University.”
She released her bar stool to cross her arms over her chest. “Are you saying I don’t look smart enough to have a college degree?”
“I’m saying you look like you have a story,” he qualified, and her muscles burned with a fresh shot of fatigue.
“Yeah, well, I’m not about to tuck you into bed with a glass of warm milk and tell it to you.”
Gamble flipped another bar stool over, the ink on his left arm dancing with the flex and release of his ridiculously well-defined biceps. “Why not? We’ve got a little time to kill while we finish up in here, right?”
“We do,” Kennedy said slowly, moving another stool to its proper place. They’d reached the end of the bar, where one last stool remained in front of four shots of tequila. Gamble’s eyes met hers, glinting briefly, and God, she wasn’t the only one with a story. But since she knew he wasn’t about to get all loose-lipped, and he was right about them having some time to kill while she finished closing the bar down, she figured what the hell. Her background wasn’t exactly top secret information, and it was less awkward than shooting the shit about something mundane, like the weather.
“I guess I ended up here the way most people end up where they work. I applied for the job and got it.”
Bypassing the shots of tequila and the last bar stool—at least, for now—Kennedy moved back to the pass-through at the other end of the bar with Gamble right behind her.
“Did you always want to manage a bar and grill?” he asked, mirroring her movements as she began restocking clean wine glasses in the racks behind the bar.
“Not always. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Wonder Woman.”
He rumbled out a laugh. “Not a bad pick, but something tells me there’s not a lot of availability for a position like that.”
Kennedy bit back the urge to tell him there had probably been an equal likelihood of her honestly working her way out of North Point as there had been of her becoming a superhero. “Exactly. And while office jobs work out great for a lot of people, they’re not really my jam, so I decided the restaurant industry was a good way to go.”
“Yeah, I’m not a nine-to-fiver, either,” Gamble said. “Not that I don’t respect those kinds of jobs. I just wouldn’t last more than two minutes doing one.”
Curiosity flickered in her mind, and she put it to words. “So, what did you want to be when you were a kid?”
“Race car driver,” he said, taking the last wine glass from the tray in front of them and putting it carefully in place. “But I decided it’d be safer to run into burning buildings instead, so here I am.”
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