Blood Money #1
Adult Romantic Suspense
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Born into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.
That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business.
But someone, somewhere, hasn’t forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.
As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies—MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she’s ever loved. And the one she thought she’d killed in the desert.
Blamed is a thoroughly impressive first installment, chilling us with a prologue wherein our heroine is in the brutal hands of a sadistic man before catapulting us back in time a week earlier, allowing the weight of our knowledge as to her future to settle heavily in our bones. We spend much of the opening third of this book dancing through time, our initial week-long rewind followed by flashbacks to years prior so we can follow the unusual courtship of Beth and Vick in their younger (and bloodier) incarnations before returning to the two of them in the present. This type of setup can sometimes be extraordinarily frustrating, our desire to stay in the moment with the couple far outweighing our need to relive the moment they met, but in the case of Blamed, the flashbacks are done exceedingly well. Very specific and pivotal moments are chosen, and by living through them with both Beth and Vick, we're drawn further yet into their story, as attached to them as we could ever hope to be to fictional characters.
Beth is amazing from beginning to end, our initial fear-filled moments with her in the prologue transforming into sheer awe as we marvel at her will to survive despite the odds stacked against her. When we rewind a week to a Beth who's doing everything in her power to live a normal life–a life where her eye isn't glued to the scope of her sniper rifle–we find a woman just as impressive, haunted by the events of a job gone wrong a year prior but still able to be a bit of a smartass when Vick reenters her life and causes havoc. She's loved him for years despite knowing very little about him that's real, but through her love she's able to see that he's still keeping secrets, and she's nothing but honest with Vick about her reservations regarding their relationship.
Vick, while not as likeable as Beth in the beginning given what we're able to deduce from Beth's capture and torture in the opening scene, manages to still win us over frightfully easily as he crashes back into Beth's life with his spy arrogance and British charm. Even when our suspicions about him are confirmed, it's hard to work up an appropriate level of hatred, his feelings for Beth clear as day and his genuine regret over some of the choices he's made palpable. He knows full well his moments with Beth as a happy–if hunted–couple are numbered, and we can't help but share in his hope that perhaps Beth will be able to forgive the nearly unforgivable.
Overall, Blamed is a romantic thrill ride from beginning to end, forcing our hearts up into our throats on page one and leaving them there until the last page is turned. Supporting Beth throughout this story are her three brothers, all various forms of badass in their own right, delighting us with their clear affection for their sister even as they drive her crazy with their over the top protective instincts. Tobias's story is next, and I simply can't wait to return to the Faraday family and their gritty world of neutralizing terror threats.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.