Title: Deceived Series: Dark Alliance #1
Publisher: Zebra Books
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Luke Rogan's assignment is simple: secure young Elijah Scoffield and his mother and bring them back to headquarters--just an ordinary mission for an operative of the Dark Alliance. But Elijah is no ordinary kid. He's the grandson of one of the country's most influential politicians--a man privy to the Alliance's most valuable secrets, including its centuries-long connection to the Knights Templar. And someone else is attempting to capture the boy--someone who's proven he doesn't give a damn about collateral damage. . .
Heartbroken at the lies that tore her world apart, Sarah Scoffield will do anything to protect her son--even if that means teaming up with a deadly stranger. But Sarah soon finds herself falling in love with her dark hero. And as danger stalks ever closer, the fiery desire that claims them awakens in Sarah passions she'd thought dead and buried long ago. . .
Also by this author: Stop at Nothing, Safe From Harm
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*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Welcome to our tour stop for DECEIVED by Kate SeRine!
Deceived is the first book in the Dark Alliance series, released on June 28, 2016 by Zebra.
Praise for Kate Serine
“Dark, dangerous, edgy, and deliciously sexy!” –Julie Ann Walker, New York Times bestselling author
“Kate SeRine knows how to pack a punch!” –Donna Grant, New York Times bestselling author
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“I thought we were safe here,” Sarah said, her arms crossed over her chest.
“We’re as safe here as anywhere until we get to my place,” Luke assured her.
She lifted a brow. “Yet you’re acting like you expect someone to come barging in and attack us at any moment.”
He took a step closer and immediately realized his mistake when his heart started pounding at the nearness of her. Shit. He shoved his hands into his pockets to keep from touching her. “If being paranoid is what’s going to keep you and your son alive,” he said, “then guilty as charged.”
“Please don’t take this the wrong way, Luke,” she began, edging closer, damn it all, “but why does it matter so much to you if Eli and I are safe? You don’t know us. I get that you’ve been given an order, but I also heard you talking to your commander and know you’d rather be somewhere else. If you’d insisted that someone else watch over us, I would’ve understood. I can just go to the police, tell them what happened. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
Luke stared at her for a long moment, trying to figure out the answer to her question. Hell if he knew why it mattered so much to him that he keep them safe. In the technical sense, he protected people every day and had for going on fifteen years when he added up his time in the military and then working for the government and now with the Alliance. But she was right—this assignment was hitting him on a level he hadn’t anticipated.
“I guess because, when I wasn’t much older than Eli, someone took my mother and me in, watched over us when we needed it,” he finally said, not sure where the explanation was even coming from. “And someone else did the same thing for me again a few years ago when I was in a really dark place—except this time the enemy I was up against was myself. If it wasn’t for that person stepping in, I don’t know where I’d be. But dead is a damned good bet.”
Sarah straightened. “Oh. God. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Luke told her. He shook his head as his vision went a little blurry. Suddenly too tired to stand, he leaned against the edge of the sink. “I made a promise to keep you and Eli safe, Sarah. I’ll keep it. There’s no way I’d abandon you, so don’t worry about it.”
The next thing he knew, Sarah’s arms were around his neck, hugging him tightly. He resisted the urge to wrap his arms around her and hold her close, to bury his face in her hair and let the warmth of her wash over him. But when she pressed a kiss to his cheek and whispered, “Thank you,” in his ear, he almost gave in.
Fortunately, before he could move, she stepped away and hurried back into the room with Eli, leaving Luke gaping at the empty doorway and wondering exactly what the hell he’d gotten himself into…
- Point of View: third person, alternates characters
- Tense: past
- Setting: by 27% into the novel, they have made it to Wyoming
- Sexual Content: explicit, for ages 18+
- Pet Peeves: “her sex” — sex is not a body part
Hot in and out of the bedroom!
Deceived is a fast-paced novel, packed with action and romance. The story is about a senator’s daughter, Sarah, whose son is in danger because he is the successor of her father in the Templar organization, meaning he may know the locations of Templar treasures. Luke is assigned to protect them. He finds himself becoming more attached to Sarah and her son than he should be in his position.
I really enjoyed the character development. Both Sarah and Luke have reasons they shouldn’t get involved with one another. They have an instant attraction, yet the author doesn’t make it overwhelm them. Their reactions were believable. The progression of the romance was natural, not forced.
I appreciated that Luke was a gentleman. He was an alpha male without being rough, abusive, or sexually aggressive. He allowed Sarah to make the first move.
I also enjoyed how the author made the villain have more than one side to him. I liked that she humanized him by allowing him to feel some regret about his past and future actions. Even the minor characters like Will, Maggie, Jake, and the senator were all well-developed; I thought Kate SeRine put a lot of thought into every character.
Although there isn’t much mystery in this book–the villain is identified early on, there is plenty of suspense. It was a hard book to put down. The middle of the book focuses on the romance more than the danger, but it still held my interest.
If I had to give criticism, it would be about the Dark Alliance (Templars) organization. They seemed inept. In one part of the book, for example, they are supposed to have people in Chicago following Jacob from the airport to his mansion. Everyone is very confident that Jacob would be under surveillance until Luke and Will could arrive. Somehow, this didn’t happen, and I didn’t see an explanation for why that was so. If the Dark Alliance was so great, how did all hell break loose at the mansion? Where were all their agents, which should have been a considerable amount due to the fact that Chicago was a major base of operations?
Other than that, I don’t have any complaints. I enjoyed reading Deceived. I recommend this book to readers who like a blend of romance and suspense. The basic idea of the protector falling in love with his charge is very common in this genre, but Kate SeRine gave it a new twist by adding in secret societies and villains bent on world domination and treasure. I give Deceived five out of five stars (an A) for fast pacing, likable and believable characters, and clean, concise writing that allowed me to visualize everything easily.