Taken by Surprise by Valerie J. Clarizio

Taken by Surprise by Valerie J. Clarizio
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Everyone is shocked when Clare Ulster leaves her rich and handsome fiancé, chucks her well-to-do Milwaukee city life, and moves into her grandparents’ old homestead in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The quiet small town of Iron City is just what she needs to get her life in order and learn to stand on her own. No men needed!

Unfortunately, disaster follows her. Unable to let her go, her abusive, cheating ex- fiancé finds his way to the U.P. and sets out to make Clare’s life more of a living hell then he’d done in the past. Additionally, Clare’s alleged involvement with the Fire Chief, aka, town player, lands her in a world of trouble with his ring of female admirers, sending her on a dangerously chaotic adventure including murder and kidnapping. With Clare’s life in danger, irresistible Police Chief Jack Ricco will do whatever it takes to keep their newest resident safe.

Will Clare and Jack be able to survive the deceptively peaceful Iron City?

This book started off rock solid. I thought I found another winner. I was proud of Clare, the heroine, for making the brave decision to walk away from her troubled Milwaukee city life to start a new life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She’s finally going to stand on her own and achieve her dreams. I enjoyed reading her pull from her inner strength to accomplish her goals in spite of her insecurities.

Jack, the hero, was equally brave and irresistible and thankfully well equipped to keep Clare safe from the relentless danger that followed her from Milwaukee. The chemistry between Clare and Jack was “Awe” worthy. I especially loved how and why Jack came to Clare’s rescue when she was cleaning the garage. I got quite the chuckle. Jack always came through just in the nick of time, thank goodness.

The synopsis refers to a plot thread about Clare’s alleged involvement with the Fire Chief and his “ring of female admirers”. Unfortunately, this is where I felt that the book faltered. The premise was farfetched. Another thing that hit a wrong note for me was the last chapter. It was as if the author pushed the fast forward button to quickly wrap-up the book. I kind of felt cheated.

Up until the last speedy chapter, the novel was consistently filled with suspense, mystery, and developments that were unpredictable, and that kept me turning the pages. Thankfully the evolving love story between Jack and Clare was well written and kept me plugged in until I reached the happy ending.

Taken by Surprise was a well-paced read with all the threads nicely tied up with a successful satisfactory conclusion. I would recommend this book.

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