By Brynn Kelly
Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past—until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the legionnaire soon finds himself trapped in paradise with a fiery, daring beauty who's nothing he expects…and everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he's made a critical mistake—one that could cost him everything.
Playing body double for a spoiled socialite was supposed to be Holly Ryan's ticket to freedom. But when she's snatched off her yacht by a tall, dark and dangerous stranger, the not-quite-reformed con artist will make a desperate play to turn her captor from enemy to ally, by any means necessary.
Yet as scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they're double-crossed, they'll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined…because in this deadly game of deception, it's their lives—and hearts—on the line.
Holly and Rafe are not your typical romance hero and heroine. Stolen from his village as a small child, Rafe was forced into the life of a child soldier and did things in his early years that haunt him still. Escaping several years later, he was fortunate to be educated by those who took him in and finally ended up in the French Foreign Legion where he learned to be a soldier of honor, leaving his years as a Lost Boy in the past. Or so he thinks. Holly is an American con artist who has a chance at freedom after a Senator gets her released from prison so she can impersonate his daughter. He's killed more than his share of people. She's conned more than hers. Both have regrets. Both are determined to have their way. Neither has a reason to trust the other. Yet that is exactly what they must do if they have any hope of surviving the perils in their path.
Wow! Wow! Wow! What an incredible debut novel! Deception Island is a dark, unrelenting journey of non-stop action, passion, and suspense from the first page to the final one. Once I began reading, everything else fell by the wayside. All I could focus on was what was happening in the moment and what twist Ms. Kelly was going to throw at her characters next. And, wow, what twists she threw!
The bad guys in this novel are really bad; wealthy, soulless, and bent on revenge. Not the type you'd want to run into in a dark alley...or a deserted island. Murder, extortion, kidnapping, and human trafficking are only a few of their enterprises. Their world is not a pretty one and Kelly cuts no corners in bringing the reader into that world. My heart raced with fear for those in their sights and broke for those in their grasp.
Kelly did an outstanding job of creating atmosphere and a sense of place with her words. I could feel the sultry heat of the island on which Rafe and Holly are stranded, the breathless fear and desperation when staring death in the face, the love and caring that slowly, almost reluctantly develops between two unlikely people, and the fragile hope of a seemingly impossible future between a man and a woman who thought they never wanted what they ultimately discover they need most.
Deception Island is different from anything I've read in a while. I couldn't put it down. I was in this unlikely couple's corner the whole way; gasping at the seemingly insurmountable obstacles they were forced to overcome, sighing at the unexpected, tender moments, delighting in the verbal swordplay, and clueless as to how the author was going to pull off the impossible, happy ending they deserved. It's one heck of a ride from an exceptionally talented writer. I can't wait to see where Brynn Kelly takes us next!
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Author's website: http://brynnkelly.com