Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback, audiobook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Love Undercover, #2
Length: 476 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Date Released: April 30, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
As the person responsible for taking down a brutal human trafficker, Alice Appleton fears retaliation at every turn. No one knows about her past, which is exactly how she prefers it…until the sexy cop next door comes knocking.
Detective Reese Bareden thinks he knows what makes women tick, but his ever-elusive neighbor keeps him guessing like no other. Is his goal to unmask Alice’s secrets? Or protect her from a dangerous new threat? One thing is certain: their chemistry is a time bomb waiting to explode. And with no one to trust but each other, Reese and Alice are soon drawn into a deadly maze of corruption, intrigue and desire—and into the line of fire….
The way to a man’s heart may be through his stomach, but the way to a woman’s heart is through a dog…at least if the dog is as adorable as the former stray Cash seems to be.
Cash snuffles his way into Alice Appleton’s guarded heart with his doggy grin and open-hearted need for affection and discipline, allowing his owner Reese Bareden to slip in along with him. Alice didn’t stand a chance.
Alice makes her first appearance in Run the Risk, lending her calm manner and her Glock to the takedown of the bad guys stalking Rowdy and Pepper Yates and staking out Reese’s apartment. Up until then, she’s been Reese’s intriguing pet-sitter for the young and rambunctious Cash.
But her focused demeanor in the midst of utter chaos sets off all Reese’s cop senses. He’s always been interested in Alice as a beautiful woman, but now he knows that she’s hiding some serious secrets, and he can’t help but want to know more. Something about the shy woman with the heart of a lioness brings out his protective streak.
While the cleanup crew washes “death” out of his apartment, Reese uses Alice’s care for Cash as an excuse to stay in her apartment. They all need someone to be with after the shootout. But the close proximity leads to explosive chemistry that neither of them can resist.
And as Reese begins to peel back the layers that have made Alice into the determined, and determinedly protective, woman that she it, Reese Bareden discovers that he wants, no he needs to discover not just what made her that way, but whether they can bare both their bodies and their souls to each other.
If they can get past the need to keep so damn many secrets.
Escape Rating B+: The group dynamic in this story is tremendously fun! We see Logan and Pepper, the couple from the first story (Run the Risk, reviewed here) still working out their relationship. And we see Pepper’s protective brother Rowdy trying to find a new way to live now that he doesn’t have to spend 24/7 guarding Pepper.
Rowdy’s spent several years skirting the edge of the law, so he’s having a hard time adjusting to the idea that his soon-to-be brother-in-law is a cop. Best of all, the first “job” that Rowdy takes on is protecting Alice. They immediately bond as quasi-siblings, and it drives Reese nuts. The banter between Rowdy and Alice was hilarious, and listening in on Alice egging Reese on was great!
The suspense element in Bare It All was terrific. Not just about Alice’s past, but also Alice’s steps into becoming a vigilante, and getting it all to tie into the crooked cops in Reese and Logan’s squad and Rowdy’s new business. The danger to Alice, and to the whole crew, really ratcheted up the tension!