Barely Undercover

Sarah Castille
Barely Undercover
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Samhain Publishing
Release Date
December 2013
BDSM, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

With passion at full throttle, there's no turning back.

When private investigator Lana Parker follows a dangerous biker into an underground sex club, James Hunter is the last man she expects to see. But there he is, all dark looks and chiseled charms, ready to break her heart all over again.

Danger is the name of the game for an undercover cop. And the last thing James wants is for the fiery beauty to come anywhere near the notorious biker gang he's trying to take down. Yet Lana has no intention of giving up her case, which means he'll have to keep her close to keep her safe. A risky proposition—especially when their blazing sexual chemistry reignites an unforgettable passion.

But when a dark terror emerges from the past, Lana goes on the run…and James gives up everything to save her. Backed into a corner, Lana must face her fears, including the one thing that frightens her most…her overwhelming feelings for the man whose searing glance sparks her most hidden desires, the man she should not trust, but cannot resist.

Warning: The book contains violence, explicit sex, light BDSM, heavy swearing, motorcycle sexytimes, bad-ass biker naughtytimes, and an exceptionally hot hero who will get down and dirty anywhere but under the covers.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Nov 19, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
153 people found the following review helpful
Sarah Castille's second Legal Heat novel is a smoldering, emotionally intense story that will no doubt delight series fans and win over a number of new readers. Though uneven at times, Ms Castille's ability to craft compelling characters with electric tension will keep the pages of this story flipping feverishly until the final, explosive showdown.

Lana Parker, PI, is following the head of a powerful and extremely dangerous motorcycle gang, determined to collect evidence of his illegal activities to help his wife secure a divorce. But as her case stretches on and she fails to catch Rex in any compromising situations, Lana is getting desperate. Until the night when she follows him into an underground sex club, and runs right into James Hunter, hard-nosed Toronto cop, and the man who broke Lana's heart by walking out on her two years ago. Now James goes by the name Ice and is apparently a member of Rex's inner circle. But it's obvious he still remembers Lana, and is willing to go to any lengths to keep her safe--and by his side.

James has never forgiven himself for leaving Lana, but knew that severing all ties was the only way to start a long-term undercover assignment. For the past two years, he has been working to take down Rex's gang from the inside, but when Lana appears on the scene, James knows in his heart that he is ready to put his entire investigation in jeopardy if it means keeping her safe.
Lana and James struggle to keep up their facade in front of the gang, and battle an overwhelming attraction that has never cooled, but when Lana's past reappears, she has no choice but to run, prompting James to put everything, including his own life, on the line to keep the woman he loves from getting away again.

Lana is a remarkably strong woman and a proven survivor. Though her past is never too far from her memory and her fears threaten to swamp her at times, her resolve to face them down and fighting alongside the man she loves makes her quite the courageous heroine. Her backstory is carefully incorporated into the course of the plot, making readers aware early on of the personal battle that Lana is waging. Though some of her reactions, especially around James, felt contrived in places, I still felt for her through the ups and downs of this rollercoaster plot.

James is as dark, brooding and forceful as alpha male as one could want, and his sense of duty, both to his mission and his woman, are unshakable. I loved that readers got a chance to see the guilt that his leaving Lana caused, and his constant need for her despite the time and distance that stood between them. It gave an emotional edge to this stormy, seemingly unflappable hero, and made me root for his success even during the most tense moments of his case, or his fights with Lana. These two stubborn, driven and secretly emotional characters worked wonders together, and the tension in their every conversation drove the plot of this book relentlessly.

The chemistry between James and Lana is palpable from the first moment they meet. The way that Sarah Castille works their history into the story effortlessly strengthens the bond between them and consistently draws them together despite their best efforts to the contrary. While I delighted in watching these two together, there were some other parts of this book that didn't work as well for me. Though there was a fair amount of exposition that was necessary in the course of the book to explain the characters' backstory, this lead to a lot of awkward dialogue that kept me from really associating with all the characters.

In addition, while I could understand the feelings of hurt and betrayal that colored so many aspects of Lana's relationship with James, the hot-and-cold changes in their relationship felt unprovoked at times, and I had particular difficulty understanding all of Lana's motivations. There is no doubt that I loved these characters together, but as individuals, they didn't draw me as strongly as many of Sarah Castille's characters usually do.

That said, there is no doubt that Sarah Castille knows how to tell a story, and that this book kept me turning pages to find out how Lana and James would ever find a way out of their case and a chance at happiness together. The chemistry between them is absolutely blazing, and Ms Castille's sense of humor remains strong even through the darkest moments of the plot.

I'm interested to see how the rest of the Legal Heat books unfold, and what surprises this inventive author has up her sleeves for her readers.
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