Saturday, May 21, 2016

Colton's Texas Stakeout - C. J. Miller (HRS #1892 - Apr 2016)

Series: Coltons of Texas (Book 4)

A cowboy falls for the beautiful cop investigating his sister! 

Hailing from a family full of law enforcement officials, rookie cop Annabel Colton expects to be treated like the dedicated officer she is. But her overprotective brothers want her off the dangerous case of the serial killer stalking their tiny Texas town. Her determination lands her a stakeout mission at the farm of the prime suspect's brother. Cowboy Jesse Willard -- too handsome, too challenging, too sexy -- claims he's not helping his estranged sister evade capture. But as Annabel gets closer and closer to the irresistible rancher, bullets start flying. And their lives -- and hearts -- will depend on the two of them working together.

Good book with plenty of suspense and terrific chemistry between Annabel and Jesse. The search for the serial killer continues, and has been tentatively identified as Regina Willard. She is half-sister to Jesse, who hasn’t seen or heard from her in six years. However, the local cops aren’t convinced and Jesse remains a person of interest to them.

When Jesse and Annabel meet, he has just finished a conversation with her brothers, trying to convince them to leave him alone. Their frequent visits and accusations against his sister are wrecking his business. As Jesse leaves in frustration, he bumps into Annabel. Both of them feel a sizzle of attraction, but doing anything about it would be a bad idea. Annabel is a cop who is involved in the investigation of the Alphabet Killer, and can’t get involved with a suspect’s brother. Jesse just wants them all to leave him alone.

Annabel is new on the police force, and with brothers who are also cops, is suffering from too much overprotectiveness. She's really tired of getting assigned to the missing animals and other nuisance calls. Her persistence finally gets her a shot at doing the surveillance at Jesse's farm. This leads to a confrontation with him, as he vents to her about his frustration with the whole issue, and his belief that there's no way his sister could be a murderer. He counters her arguments with comments about her connection to her father, another infamous serial killer. When she goes back later to try to mend fences, she and Dylan come under fire from an unknown assailant. He gets away, but in the meantime Annabel and Jesse have formed a connection that both want to pursue, in spite of the obstacles.

I liked watching their relationship develop. Annabel tries to resist because of what she sees as a potential conflict of interest, but she just can't do it. Despite her previous all-work attitude, her attention is now divided between work and Jesse. Both of them have issues from their pasts that have affected who they are today. Being the daughter of a serial killer has Annabel determined to show the world that she is nothing like him. It makes her very focused on doing everything right. Jesse came from an abusive father, whom he and his mother escaped from, but had to leave his half-sister behind. The hardships he and his mom faced have made him very sensitive to the difficulties of others. There are several places where his caring nature really shows, and adds to what Annabel is beginning to feel for him. One of the things I really liked about Jesse was the way that he respected Annabel's capabilities. Since she is still fighting for that respect from her brothers, it makes her feel really good. He still becomes very protective of her, but it isn't the same as the smothering she feels from her brothers.  I loved their way of working through the problems and coming out the other side without any major drama. The scene outside her house at the end was perfect for them.

The suspense of the story was really good. The search for Regina goes on as there is another attack. Some more information comes from this one, leading them to believe they are on the right track. When Annabel and Jesse are on the receiving end of gunfire at his house, and then her house is bombed, they must figure out if it is the Alphabet Killer or someone else. The pursuit of leads continued to increase the danger. The final confrontation is intense, and I loved seeing Annabel finally earn the respect of her brothers and coworkers. However, there are still unanswered questions that will carry over into the next book.

There are also ongoing issues within the Colton family. All of them are still dealing with the effects of what their father has done, and now have to go along with his latest whim. He has agreed to give each sibling a clue to where their mother is buried, but is really obnoxious about it. There is also the issue of what happened to their youngest sister Josie, who ran away at the age of seventeen. There have been several sightings of a woman that some of them believe is Josie, but others are skeptical. I suspect that it is, and I am looking forward to her story.

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