Hidden Crimes by Emma Holly

CRIMES

Hidden Crimes by Emma Holly
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (234 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Cats and dogs shouldn’t fall in love. Like any wolf, detective Nate Rivera knows this. He can’t help it if the tigress he’s been trading quips with at the supermarket is the most alluring woman he’s ever met—sassy too, which suits him down to his designer boots.

Evina Mohajit is aware their flirtation can’t lead to more. Still, she relishes trading banter with the hot werewolf. This hardworking single mom hasn’t felt so female since her twins’ baby daddy left to start his new family. Plus, as a station chief in Resurrection’s Fire Department, she understands the demands of a dangerous job.

Their will-they-or-won’t-they tango could go on forever if it weren’t for the mortal peril the city’s shifter children fall into. To save them, Nate and Evina must team up, a choice that ignites the sparks smoldering between them . . .

This is a book worth reading more than once. I was so thrilled with the mystery, the sense of urgency to solve the crime and the dynamic relationship building between two characters that were not supposed to fall in love, that one time was not enough. I did read it twice and I’m amazed as to how completely the world Ms. Holly created sucked me in the second time around.

I realize that Ms. Holly is known for her scenes of sexual complexity and imagination but with Hidden Crimes she proved that she can make a reader’s heart thud triple time for entirely different reasons. This novel is hard-edged, driven and it barrels through any preconceived notions that this was to be a sexy bit of fluff. The conflict is a bit harsh and horrifying to even contemplate. I can’t even guess what the author must have gone through in putting words to paper considering the young victims of the crimes. I can assure readers that she didn’t get graphic or gross, but like the great filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock, less is more because I used my imagination to fill in the rest and my emotions and feelings of sadness and shock were effectively affected. One of the earliest of scenes with the hero, Nate, was truly impressive. It was how Ms. Holly described him holding what he did in his hand and how she showed it affecting him that made it one of the most profound moments in the book. It was a turning point for the hero because from that moment on he was driven to succeed at something he wasn’t entirely sure of. It was his tenacity and his unwillingness to be placated or mollified that I respected. His is a strongly written character that I found vastly appealing and sexy.

The heroine, Evina, was refreshing. She’s not just a tiger in bed; she IS a tiger, and a firefighter. I’m tickled that the author thought of putting together that kind of combination for a woman. It’s not only sexy but unique, intriguing, and totally wonderful. She is strong, capable and excellent at her job. The one extra item of her personality that makes her such an amazing heroine is her being a mother. I did not find one misstep in how her character was portrayed. Even after two readings, it holds firm and true. Evina made one awesome heroine for Nate, the wolf cop.

And that is one of the major conflicts beside the evil, totally whacked and twisted villain; cats and dogs living together don’t necessarily cause mass hysteria but what it does do is create one heck of an interesting romance. It ends up being one of the most entertaining and fun relationships I’ve read about in quite some time. I mean, they had to overcome the general consensus against interspecies romances. The fact that she’s alpha of her people and he’s a frustrated man who somehow has ended up with alpha tendencies but is only third in command causes him no end of internal angst. At this point in his life it’s really getting to him that he has to be subservient to his alpha especially when his instincts are screaming that there’s more to the initial crime than his fellow cops are willing to entertain. In fact, that is another conflict because he loves his alpha who is also his boss – they’re like family and he’s an honorary uncle to the alpha’s daughter. There are so many personality twists and turns weaving among so many characters, it’s like having an inside track on an extended family. Each encounter that Nate has with the secondary characters acts like a window into the hero – and I liked what I saw.

This wouldn’t be a story by Ms. Holly if there weren’t some incredibly hot skin on skin action and this book delivered. Oh my! When Nate and Evina take turns being both dominate and submissive, it was hot stuff; the cuffs didn’t hurt either. One of my favorite lines that Nate says to Evina is this, “Women like you in underwear like that make life worth living”. What happens after that is sweat-worthy. ::fans self:: There’s plenty more great dialogue like that sprinkled like potent sugar throughout the novel and the scenes where they get together are well placed, descriptive, effective and integral to the advancement of their relationship. They made the story better.

The final few chapters where the villain and flunkies make their move is hard hitting. Mind games, magic, betrayal, fisticuffs, and ferocious growls and snapping jaws all keep those last pages flipping speedily because the action and revelations come fast and furious. This novel has an explosive ending where the bad guys get their comeuppance, boy do they ever, and to top all that excitement off, there’s a scene where a fireman does what they do best. I was a puddle of relieved stress when he came out of that building. What a hero. Granted, he’s an imperfect hero but still, there’s room for everyone in this book.

Hidden Crimes is one of Ms. Holly’s best books to date. It has every element that I look for in a paranormal suspense romance and it included every bit of what makes this author’s books memorable, popular and looked forward to. She didn’t miss a trick when she wrote this and I’m really impressed. The ending when Nate proposes is incredibly romantic and beautiful and it made my day. Hands down, this is a must read that should not be missed by anyone who is serious about romantic suspense with an erotic edge. You can bet that this book is on my keeper shelf and if you pick up your own copy, you’ll see why. It’s that awesome.

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