Friday, 6 May 2016

Blog Tour / Book Musings - Smoke and Ashes by Danica Winters

Smoke and Ashes

Montana Heroes Series

Book One

Danica Winters

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue

Date of Publication: May 1, 2016

ISBN: Paperback: 9780373699070

eBook: 9781488005572

Large Print: 9780373749614


Number of pages: 224

Word Count: 50-55k

Cover Artist: Harlequin Intrigue

Blurb :

Montana's bravest…and hottest

With a mysterious arsonist on the loose in Missoula, fire inspector Kevin Jensen saves more than Heather Sampson's house. The sexy single father rescues her from an abusive marriage—and discovers his own past failures don't have to rule his life. Especially when sparks between him and Heather ignite irresistible desire.

But who's the arsonist? Why target Heather? What's his shocking motive? When Heather faces off with him in a brutal attack, she needs her "white knight" as much as he needs her. Both have looked into their souls and risked their broken hearts for each other. Now Kevin will have to risk his life and his heart.

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He looked down at Heather Sampson as he pulled the matchbox from his pocket. The box dropped from his hand, spilling matches on her bedroom floor in a heap of deadly promise. Crouching down, he scooped them back into the container, careful to move quietly, afraid that at any second she would awaken and find him standing over her.

Her eyes were closed and her lips slightly parted, as if she waited for a kiss from her Prince Charming. She should have known better. There was no such thing as Prince Charming. There were only toads and a precious few men like him—men who worked to make everything just.

The sad truth was that there was no justice in marriage—at least not in any of the marriages he had witnessed. No. Marriage was one lie after another. One hurt feeling masked with a fake smile, only to have another lie strip it away. It was an endless cycle of pain.

What was the point? What was it all for?

As far as he could tell, it was for nothing more than ego and some idealistic hope that if they acted happy, if they faked it well enough, maybe they could finally believe it themselves.

He was here to make her a martyr, not that she would understand, but this was his chance to show her and the world what her marriage truly was—nothing more than smoke and ashes. A fire that had yet to burn itself out. But at last the time had come. The hour was here for him to stoke the flames and let them consume every crumb of her failing marriage.

The inferno could have it all.

He walked out of her bedroom and made his way downstairs, where the glorious scent of gasoline filled the space. Unlike the others, Heather’s house would go up in a flash. In one giant fireball the whole charade would be over—the secrets, the lies, the fake smiles and hurt feelings. It would all be gone, and all her pain could be for a higher purpose.

The night air blew into the house, diluting the gas’s perfume. He made sure to leave the door open as he stepped out and walked toward the garage. A puddle of gas sat on the sidewalk, just waiting for him.

He struck the match.

It was so much easier this way.

The fire’s smoke curled skyward, creating a trail that led to the heavens. If he had his way, life would be better and she would be free.

My Musings : 

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is another first time author for me. After this book, I believe I would try out her other works. Though there were a few parts I didn't like in the book, the author's writing style was engaging.

The start of the book was fast in the sense the protagonists already knowing each other well and then the arsonist already present on the stage. The sense of the hero and the heroine trying to know each other wasn't there and it was a good thing since the romance and the suspense has to be done in a very short read. Inspite of their friendship, the protagonists still learn to surprise each other with their actions. The author has dealt well with the situation of abuse in a relationship and also the importance of family is also stressed subtly.

I will honestly say that the idea of a married woman falling in love with another didn't sit well with me. But then the way the author implies the end of the marriage and the subtle dancing around each other situation of the protagonists partly made me change my mind. I felt the side characters were well written than the main ones. Heather came across as too weak in the first half of the book. I know that the person in an abusive marriage becomes too weak to know how to get out of it. But I felt Heather could have had a bit more courage. It was nearly the end of the book when she discovered her inner strength. Kevin was better portrayed and he was a perfect hero and a perfect match to Heather with his strength and passion.

The romance part was sultry and passionate while the suspense was craftily done! I didn't guess till the end who the real villain was. I even had different suspicions while reading which turned out wrong. The author has a real strength in crafting a good mystery/suspense. Overall, the read was slow in the first half which picked up in the second part. Then I literally flew through the pages coming to a totally unexpected end.

So though I had few issues while reading, I would recommend the author to romance suspense lovers.

My rating : 3.5/5

About the Author:

Danica Winters is an Amazon bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs. She is currently the finalist for the Chatelaine Award.

When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing). She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.

Danica Winters is represented by Nicole Resciniti and Lane Heymont of the Seymour Agency.

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