Mary Martinez
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Canyonland Press
Release Date
August 2012
Book 2 of The Beckett Series
Action/Adventure Romance, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

All Jessica wants is a home and family. So how did she suddenly find herself falsely accused of a felony and then kidnapped by a hit man?

Jessica Beckett loves teaching high school algebra. That is until Coach Brinley makes her life miserable because she actually has the audacity to fail his three staring football jocks. Maybe if they'd done their homework they would have passed. She refuses to be intimidated. He on the other hand refuses to admit defeat and manipulates the boys into accusing her of sex in exchange for passing grades.

Gabriel Despain loves being an FBI agent. But falling for his partner's sister has complications. It would be easier to ignore his feelings if Jessica hadn't found herself in trouble. Now he must keep her safe. If he can't remain objective, they might end up dead.

Book Review by mellysw
Jun 23, 2018   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
34 people found the following review helpful
Jessica is a young, sweet math teacher who still lives at home with her parents. Gabe is an FBI agent who spends his nights (and sometimes days) operating undercover – often in disguise as a homeless man. Their wildly different lives merge with a few different odd twists of fate and friendship, and romance follows in INNOCENT by Mary Martinez.

Well…kind of. I mean, there IS romance. And a lively adventure with an outstanding bad guy I thoroughly enjoyed, a couple bad kids that seemed like an afterthought and a creepy football coach. All fun things…but I expected far more romance than there was. This was more of an adventure/suspense book with some romance, than a romance book with some adventure in it. At times, it felt like the author was trying to find reasons to push Jessica and Gabe together, when really neither of them wanted it. Well, Gabe didn't want it. I almost felt sorry for the poor guy. It was like a kindergarten playground when giggling little girls try to chase hysterical little boys around and steal kisses. Throughout most of the book Gabe kept saying no, and everyone blissfully ignored his protests and brushed them off. THEY knew better.

While the characters had some issues in my opinion, they were still fun characters to get to know. I enjoyed the tight family bonds of the Beckett family, and how they close ranks when one of their own was in danger. The plot machinations they found themselves a part of were believable and well written. Not too extreme, but enough suspense and excellent pacing to keep any reader on the edge of their seat. The only time I thought it got a bit bogged down was in explaining some of the legal aspects of the story, but if I was not so familiar with the law anyway I probably would have welcomed the explanations. Even then, the explanations are well concealed in dialogue.

This is a standalone book (which I like), there is no question about that. But I might have been able to bond with the characters better if I had read the first book. And near the end of this one, it is pretty clear that the characters for the next romance book in the series are being set up. As a matter of fact, there were a LOT of characters in this book. More so than I usually see in romances. It got a bit confusing at times but was never a big issue since they were not main characters.

My favorite parts of the book? The main bad guy! He was awesome! And the whodunit twist – I won't give it away but I never saw it coming! This was a fun, entertaining book to read, but I am still somewhat skeptical of calling it a "romance" book.
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