I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Musa Publishing on September 13, 2013
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense
Undercover Lover: Her lips are sealed
When Reiki therapist Pamela Krupin is attacked by thugs who work for her client, a Russian mob boss, the boss orders his godson, Detective Drake Logan, to protect her. Their attraction flares across Pamela's line in the sand: She will not violate her patient's confidentiality. But when Drake's godfather is murdered and Pamela is targeted, together they have to find out what the mob is really after.
My Initial Reaction…
I pick up novella’s from time to time when I want a quick fun read, but I tend to go into them expecting less. Less character development, less mystery, less plot. I was shocked when Undercover Lover delivered quite the opposite in a mere 164 pages. I grew to love the characters, was shocked more than once by the twists and turns, and found that every moment of the story pulled me forward. It may be short, but Undercover Lover certainly isn’t less!
Pamela Krupin is a Reiki therapist, working at the hospital in the bad side of town. When I think therapist, I tend to think of ritzy and loaded. That’s not Pam. She had a rough up-bringing and she put herself through school – studying a form of therapy that’s made fun of frequently – not to get rich, but to care for her patients. I loved the descriptions of her centering herself for the Reiki therapy – I hadn’t heard of it before, but it sounded really relaxing and Schmidt wrote it really well. I loved Pam. She’s tough and smart, but still feminine. And she’s assertive! I loved the way she never really backed down, no matter what situation she was in. She certainly had more guts than I do!
Then there’s Detective Drake Logan. He’s a complex character and I was really thankful that we got to see inside his head as well as Pam’s. Detective Logan grew up in the same neighborhood as Pam did (for a while), and it set him up for a rough life. He wanted to be in the mob; in fact, being a double-agent was the only reason he ever went into the police force, but somewhere along the way he shifted gears. Good thing for Pam, because when we first meet him he’s saving her from a potentially really bad situation. She’s been cornered by a couple of members of the Russian Mafia and she’s already used her tazer gun (did I mention I love her?), so if he hadn’t appeared on the scene she probably would have been toast.
I was on the fence about Pam and Drake as a couple. I loved their flirtatious moments – particularly a scene where Drake gives Pam a bit too much to drink – but their relationship moved a bit too quickly for my liking. I realize it’s a novella, but this was the only moment where I felt things were too rushed. Yep, I’m talking about insta-love, which tends to be a big turn off for me. Thankfully, it didn’t feel suffocating and it certainly wasn’t without hurdles, so I could overlook it and enjoy the story. And it least it did result in some delicious scenes.
We meet Pam when she’s leaving the late shift at the hospital (as in 2am!) and is greeted by a couple of flunkys from one of the local Russian mobs. Seems they have a problem with one of her patients and want to know what she’s been told. This was the moment I knew I’d like Pam, because she didn’t take it lying down. Nope! She got out her tazer gun – which, come on, you know you’re impressed she had one – and fought back! Thanks to a homeless man (who turns out to be Detective Drake Logan undercover – this isn’t a spoiler, you find out right away) she gets away safe. But you know the mob doesn’t walk away from things that easily.
This sets things in motion for an action packed mystery, with lots of great twists and turns to keep you on your toes. I was really impressed with the complexity of the mystery – I guessed some elements, but there were definitely a few surprises – and how well the characters were developed. It’s a multi-layered story, with lots going on. And when you consider that this is a novella, that equates to a fast-paced plot with something significant happening on every page.
If you’re looking for a fun, quick-read I really recommend picking this one up. You’ll get the fun of a full-length novel in half the time. I really enjoyed it and hope to see more of Pam and Drake in the future!
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