The second book in the Justice Seekers series is filled with non-stop action and is a fast-paced thrill ride. The female protagonist, Teagan Ray, is a survivor of a vicious attack and torture at the hands of a man who is supposedly in prison. Teagan was studying for a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice when she was attacked. Stopped in her tracks and working on her own mental health, she has decided that the way to get closure is to find her attacker. She wants the help of former FBI profiler turned Justice Seeker, Bryson Anton. Bryson is way off the grid because he was injured, so he is having a pity party and working on getting stronger. Motivated by Teagan’s persistence, Bryson decides to help her solve the case, if for no other reason than to find out if her attacker is really the Kentucky Ripper or not. The two of them together form an indomitable team. Both are curious, intuitive and have sharp wits with their repartee. The plot is very complicated, but the romance between the two main characters gives breaks from the constant tension and angst over what may happen next. This is a Harlequin Intrigue with the emphasis on “intrigue.” The mysteries are deep and seem to pile up, a part of the book that I really enjoyed since I’m a real mystery buff. I also enjoyed the budding relationship between the two characters and the way they played off each other. Both have injuries and are quick to react because of it and that made both of them realistic to me. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
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Excerpt from AGENT UNDER SIEGE by Lena Diaz
Long before the shadow fell across the end of the dock and hovered over Bryson Anton’s wheelchair, he knew the man was there. Motion sensors and security cameras had made Bryson’s watch buzz against his wrist when the man parked his car in the driveway. More messages warned when the man crossed the back patio. And again, when he’d descended the gently sloping lawn that ended at the creek. Bryson didn’t care who was now standing behind him, as long as he didn’t have to engage in conversation.
“Nice place,” the man’s voice rang out. “Probably one of the highest views in the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains. I’ll bet at night you can see nearly every light in downtown Gatlinburg from here.”
Bryson sighed but didn’t turn around. “My former boss took pity on me after I got myself hurt on the job. He gave me a boatload of money, and I was selfish enough to take it and buy this property. But that doesn’t mean he can drop by any time he wants.”
“I’m still your boss. I haven’t accepted your resignation.”
“That’s not how it works, Mason. I resigned, whether you accept it or not. I’ll never be a Justice Seeker again. I’m not going back to Camelot. You and your knights of the round table are better off without a washed-up former profiler jacking up your investigations.”
“Is that why you’re sitting out here drinking like a fish, because you think you jacked up everything?”
“Something like that.” Bryson grabbed a can of beer from the cooler beside his wheelchair and popped the top. He took a deep long swallow, more to irritate his unwelcome visitor than because he wanted it.
Mason retrieved a beer and eyed the label, then tossed it back unopened. “Fish biting?”
“Do you see a fishing pole around here somewhere?” Bryson emptied his can in the water and dropped it on his lap before wheeling around. “Enjoy the view as long as you want. You paid for it.” He rolled his chair up the flagstone walkway toward the house.
“Dalton and Hayley missed you at their wedding last week.” Mason fell into step beside him.
“Yeah, well. I didn’t have time to learn the latest dance steps.” He stopped at the sliding glass doors and tossed the empty beer can in the recycle bin. When he reached for the door handle, Mason leaned past him and held it closed.
Bryson swore. “What do you want from me?”
“I want you to do your job. A new client came to Camelot yesterday. She specifically wants to hire you.”
He scoffed. “You expect me to believe she asked for a washed-up former FBI agent to screw up her case so someone else will die? If she did, send her on over. I can accomplish that without lifting a finger.”
Mason leaned back against the door. “That’s a heck of a guilty conscience you’re nursing. Or are you just feeling sorry for yourself?” He waved toward the wheelchair. “If you’d actually go to your physical therapy appointments instead of being a no-show half the time, you’d be out of that thing by now. Don’t look so surprised. I pay your insurance premiums. I see what’s billed. And there’ve been a surprising lack of medical invoices lately. You’ve given up, Bryson. The question is why?”
“Why?” he gritted out. “Let me remind you that when I was the FBI’s golden boy, everyone treated my profiles like biblical text. So when I presented them with a profile for the Kentucky Ripper, they focused all their efforts on Avarice Lowe, the suspect at the top of my list. Meanwhile, Leviathan Finney—the real Ripper—was no longer under surveillance. To celebrate, he kidnapped and gutted another woman. Because of me, he was able to kill again.”
“Because of you, the police were able to significantly narrow their list of suspects much faster than they could have otherwise. The choices they made after that weren’t your fault. Hell, Bryson. If it wasn’t for the work you did, it would have taken far longer to catch the Ripper and put him in prison.”
“Tell that to the family of the last woman he killed.”
Mason shook his head. “I hear someone anonymously sends money to the last victim’s family every month. While I admire the generosity and kindness of the gesture, that person is making payments on a debt he doesn’t owe. The only person responsible for that woman’s death is the man who killed her—Leviathan Finney.”
Bryson fisted his hands on the arms of the wheelchair. “Are we about done here? It’s getting late.”
“Big plans tonight?”
“I have to wash my hair.”
Mason let out a deep sigh. “Just explain one thing, then I’ll go. Why now? You left the FBI over three years ago and started working for me as one of the Justice Seekers. Why is the Ripper case bothering you again after all this time?”