Monday, February 26, 2018

Claiming Felicity

Claiming Felicity (Ace Security Book 4) by [Stoker, Susan]

Claiming Felicity (Ace Security #4)- Susan Stoker
Montlake Romance/Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: February 27, 2018

Warning: Potential Spoilers!


Synopsis: Former mercenary Ryder Sinclair’s stunning discovery that he has three half brothers in Castle Rock, Colorado, is giving them all the chance to color in the spaces of their tragic pasts. For Ryder, establishing roots is made all the more desirable by Felicity Jones. But if Ryder’s instincts are correct, this breathtaking beauty is in trouble.

Castle Rock isn’t Felicity’s home. Like her false identity, it’s just a cover. All she wants is enough cash to keep moving to another temporary hideaway—to stay on the run from a secret that’s haunted her for years. As safe as Ryder’s strong embrace makes her feel, she fears that falling for him, and staying in Colorado, will put everyone she’s come to love in danger.
The more Ryder learns about Felicity, the more determined he is not to let her go. It’s time for her to stop running—even as a relentless danger closes in, threatening their love and their lives.

When Ryder Sinclair discovers he has three half brothers, he knows his life is going to change.  What he doesn't expect is to meet the woman of his dreams at the same time.  Felicity has known the Anderson brothers for years and joked that it was too bad there weren't four of them so she could have one too.  Now it seems there are four of them and the newest one has declared himself hers.  The timing couldn't be worse for Felicity, who's just discovered the stalker she thought she'd outrun has caught up with her. Ryder convinces her not to run again, but can he and his new brothers keep Felicity safe from her past?

Anyone who's read the rest of Stoker's Ace Security series has been hoping for Felicity's story and now here it is.  We get to see behind the tough exterior to the Felicity underneath: a woman so afraid of the ghosts of her past that she is constantly ready to run, lives off the grid as much as possible, and tries never to get close to anyone.  But she's been in Castle Rock for five years and become close to the Anderson brothers and their wives.  Leaving them would break her heart, but when threatening notes from an old stalker show up, she's ready to do it to keep them safe.  Ryder is a tough enough mercenary that he makes her feel safe, like she might have a chance staying in Castle Rock.  He's refreshingly honest about himself and his work and lays it out in a way that makes you like him even more.  You would trust Ryder even as you feel badly for the things he's seen and done over the course of his career. He doesn't brag, and there's nothing macho or testosterone fueled about who he is or what he does.  

While the insta-love Ryder feels for Felicity struck me as being more what I'd expect from a paranormal romance case of true mates than a contemporary romance love-at-first-sight, somehow Stoker makes it work. The reader accepts it as easily as Ryder does- though Felicity understandably has a few doubts.  Similarly, the relationship between the Anderson brothers and Ryder develops in a very natural and realistic way.  Neither side accepts the other completely at the beginning, and both sides are a little uncertain how to separate their parents's past actions from the present.  Felicity's stalker, Joseph, was a deeply creepy nut job and after learning a bit about how he's attacked her in the past it's much more understandable that Felicity would try to run than to turn to friends for help- even security expert friends. 

Claiming Felicity may be one of Stoker's best books to-date.  The emotions are raw and intense, the action is fast-paced, and the bad guy is terrifying. The book is stand-alone, although having read the other Ace Security books helped me with fully understanding the brothers and their interactions with Ryder.  There are a few brief cameos from some of Stoker's other books (Shelter for Sophie) but again, they were more cases of smiling when you realized who they were than people who's books you need to have already read.  And we get some tantalizing teasers of the group who will be a future series! All in all, a great book and one that leaves you wanting to read past series while you wait for the next one.    

received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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