by Nancy Herkness
The Consultants - Book 2
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
Dawn Galioto is an expert in self-defense and the most in-demand personal trainer at her Jersey gym—a perfect position for a woman fighting her way out of a troubled past and the anxieties that come with it. Then, after complaints about baffling Wi-Fi glitches at the gym, Dawn calls in disarmingly hot, high-powered computer consultant Leland Rockwell. If she can trust anyone to fix her on-the-job problems, it’s Leland. As for healing her off-hours fears, time will tell.
The cybersecurity genius of KRG, Leland sees a lot to admire in Dawn. She’s strong, quick-witted, and sexy. And something of a puzzle—one Leland wants very much to solve. If only she’d let him. Every new reveal brings him intimately closer to Dawn, but there’s another, more dangerous riddle to decipher. After going undercover to solve her Wi-Fi problem, Leland’s found a dark workplace secret. As Dawn’s past threatens a burgeoning romance, the deepening mystery they’re discovering threatens their lives.
I'm really enjoying this new series from Herkness that marries sensual contemporary romance with tightly-woven suspense. Dawn and Leland have smoking sexual chemistry, and I thoroughly enjoyed that part of their relationship, but I was even more invested in their emotional connection. Both bring some emotional baggage with them; Leland is still grieving the recent death of his mother and Dawn struggles with a traumatic event from her college days. I like how their deepening relationship gives each of them the courage to share their stories with one another. Dawn, especially, begins to finally heal and allow herself to be vulnerable. I was glad to watch that process take place slowly and not be an "insta-fix." By the end of their journey, I was fully confident in their ability to have a strong, trusting, happy life together.
The suspense portion of the book slowly builds until hitting a crescendo near the final chapters. While the bad guys are pretty obvious throughout much of the book, it's still fun to watch how everything plays out.
Another facet of this book - and the entire series, really - that I especially enjoy is the tight bond of friendship among business partners Derek (The Money Man), Leland (The Hacker), and Tully as well as the close female friendship among Alice (The Money Man), Dawn (The Hacker), and Natalie. Herkness brings them all to life on the page, so much so that reading The Hacker was like a visit with old friends that has me already eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.