The BookLikes companion to The Romance Evangelist (mharvey816.mh2.org).
Reviewer for Seductive Musings, Night Owl Reviews, and Romancing Rakes For the Love of Romance.
I live for the HEA/HFN and am decidedly pro-epilogue.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
Anyone who follows my reviews at all knows that I’m not a big fan of serials, but one of the best romances I read last year was Shelly Bell’s four part romantic suspense serial, WHITE COLLARED. So naturally I was excited about reading her full length follow-up novel, RED HANDED. The previous story introduced us to the super exclusive BDSM club Benediction, and now in RED HANDED, we get to see that club’s mysterious owner Cole DeMarco find his own HEA with a woman we meet at the worst time in her relatively short but turbulent life.
Danielle Walker was still in shock after her father had gone to prison and died there soon after, apparently by his own hand. But now that Danielle’s seen her own stepmother kidnapped by the same people who’d helped send her father to jail, she has only a few short days to infiltrate the BDSM club of the only man she’d desired but could never have, Cole DeMarco. The kidnappers want whatever Cole’s hiding in his private office safe, and the kidnappers want her to get there by offering herself up to Cole as a sexual submissive trainee. So off Danielle goes into certain danger, never suspecting that what she’ll find along the way is her one true love.
Cole had known Danielle as the lovely but off-limits daughter of a man who’d gotten over his head with a dangerous crowd. Now that she’s old enough to be naked and under Cole’s control, he’s the one who’s over his head in what is definitely overwhelming sexual attraction but could also be the love he’s tried to avoid his whole life. With the impending danger to them both, there’s no time to take things slowly, and when everything Danielle believes in gets turned on its head, it’s Cole and Danielle’s love that will ultimately see both them and the reader through.
I love this author and this new series, but I’ll admit I was seriously put off by the initial premise of RED HANDED. Romantic suspense is always a bit tricky for me, as there’s only so much violence I can handle as a reader, so the opening scenes involving Danielle’s stepmother and the kidnappers’ threats were almost too intense. The idea that Danielle was being forced to participate in a 24/7 BDSM relationship under duress really didn’t sit well with me, but I continued on, trusting that the author would get me to the place where everything made sense. When that moment arrived, my relief was palpable, and my enjoyment of the story unconditional. Cole and Danielle are more than equally matched in both body and spirit, and as the story progresses, we see how their romance was inevitable in spite of the evil forces that had brought them together. The twists and turns are never too over the top, and the final HEA is well earned. If you love romantic suspense with a BDSM flavor, Shelly Bell’s Benediction series, including RED HANDED, is a must read.