Review: Run the Risk by Lori Foster

Format read: print ARC received from the tour company and an ebook from NetGalley
Formats available: Mass Market paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Love Undercover #1
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: September 25, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

When Detective Logan Riske goes undercover to find Pepper Yates, a potential link to his best friend’s unsolved murder, he vows to gain her cooperation by any means necessary. But the elusive beauty is more suspicious—and in far more danger—than he expected. And the last thing Logan needs is to start caring for her…. Pepper has spent years dodging the corrupt club owner who will stop at nothing to keep her silenced. She can trust no one, not even the handsome new “construction worker” who’s moved in next door. The heat between them is undeniable. But will surrendering to passion bring her the safety she so desires—or will her feelings for Logan draw them both into a killer’s crosshairs?

Everyone in this story is hiding something. Or someone. Or themselves. Make that all of the above.

But it’s the assumptions that surround the case that trip everyone, including Detective Logan Riske, up, over and over again. Especially his initial assumption that he can sweet-talk the elusive sister of his material witness without getting involved himself.

Everyone assumes that Pepper’s brother, Rowdy Yates, was the witness to a murder committed by corrupt night club owner Morton Andrews. But brother Rowdy went underground and stayed underground for two long years.

The murder victim had been Riske’s best friend. He wanted payback. He wanted Andrews convicted. Except that Andrews had bought, and paid for, too many cops, too many judges, too many politicians, to make it easy, or safe, to get him the usual way.

Instead, Riske went undercover, moving in next door to Pepper Yates, trying to get close to her, never letting “Sue Meeks” know that her construction worker neighbor was really a cop.

But Pepper had been hiding her real self under “Sue’s” incredibly meek and extremely drab exterior for much too long. Logan was a temptation she just couldn’t ignore. Especially when he pursued so intently.

As Logan expected, getting close to Pepper brought her protective brother Rowdy out of the woodwork. What Logan didn’t expect, was that Rowdy was being protective for a very damn good reason, and that Logan had just blown everything to hell.

Even worse, now that Logan knew why Pepper needed protection, he wasn’t sure exactly who he should be protecting her from. Just which cops are corrupt? His partner is hiding something. So is his Lieutenant.

But the person he really needs to protect Pepper Yates from is himself.

Escape Rating B+: Lori Foster always does a fantastic job of drawing out the romantic and sexual tension between her main leads, and Run the Risk absolutely continues the trend. The attraction between Logan and Pepper steams off the page, and the emotional conflict that makes them hesitant to get involved is gripping. Their relationship starts out with lies. It’s not a good foundation for anything lasting.

Pepper’s relationship with her very protective brother Rowdy was also a highlight. He definitely skates the edge of the law, but at the same time tries to protect her from the worst part of what he does, and from the bad parts of life in general. Possibly unreasonably so, but it’s who he is, and Pepper understands that even when it drives her crazy.

Part of the suspense angle–the part with Logan’s partner Reese and his Lieutenant–wraps up just a little too conveniently, or too simply, at the end. There was a lot of build-up during the story, and then the ending of that sub-plot felt a bit “flat” to this reader.

However, I still stayed up until 2 am to finish Run the Risk, and I’m absolutely looking forward to the next story of Love Undercover. I wonder if it’s either Reese or Rowdy? Both could sure use an HEA of their very own…

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