All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

In Safe Arms – Lee Christine

In Safe ArmsIn Safe Arms
Lee Christine
Harlequin Escape
2013, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Legal secretary Josephine Valenti is home alone when a notorious bikie figure in Sydney contacts her on Skype. Before he can say whatever message it is that he has for her, Josephine watches in horror as he is attacked by two men and murdered in front of her eyes. She kills the connection as quickly as she can but she’s pretty sure that one of the men saw her…and that he knows her.

Two years ago Josephine made a bit of a fool of herself by attempting to seduce Nate Hunter (a friend of her bosses husband) and she hasn’t seen him since. When she flees her parents house to go to the police with what she has seen, it is Nate that intercepts her and he is a lot…different these days. He’s dressed like a biker with long hair, driving a muscle Ute and it’s pretty clear as he manhandles her out of her car, ties her up and forces her into his that he’s not going to be helping her get to the cops. He’s been ordered by the head of a Sydney bikie gang to kill her for what she knows.

Nate has been deep undercover with the Altar Boys for two years, trying to get close enough into the circle to be included in the drop offs for the money laundering so that he can bust it wide open and make the arrests from the top of the chain down. When he agreed to go with the leader to the tattoo parlour of a rival club, he didn’t expect anyone to be there. Nor did he expect to watch as the leader of the Altar Boys murdered the leader of the rival club. Thankfully though it was Nate who saw Josie on the computer screen and knew who she was and where he could find her.

Now Nate and Josie are hiding from everyone. The world believes Josie kidnapped and probably murdered. The bikies believe Nate is a loyal member who has taken care of business and is now ready to step up to be granted full member status. Little do they know he’s looking to take them apart and when he does, it’s going to impact on Josie in ways that she could never have imagined, endangering the fledgling romance they’ve managed to build during their time together.

In Safe Arms is somewhere between a sequel and a companion novel to In Safe Hands. It features a different couple but Luke and Allegra are a part of this story too and make a couple of appearances. Josie works as Allegra’s assistant and given Allegra often defends bikies, she’s more than familiar with some of the faces but she’s unsure why the leader of one of the gangs would want to contact her instead of Allegra. It’s a bad night for Josie and it gets a lot worse when she’s kidnapped by the man she used to crush heavily on…but then it gets a lot better.

Josephine is only twenty and Nick is in his early thirties so at times the age gap between them in terms of life experience is quite significant. Josephine has been brought up in a wealthy, privileged lifestyle and although she regrets the slightly distant relationship she has with her mother, until she sees a bikie murdered on her computer screen, she hasn’t had to deal with much in the way of tragedy although she does cope remarkably well with being kidnapped, especially as she doesn’t know for a while that Nate is working undercover. By contrast, Nate has worked a difficult job for a long time and has been immersed in the bikies operation for two years, living as they do and witnessing things that he would’ve no doubt loved to stop (the murder for example) but couldn’t because it would blow his cover and the operation wasn’t finished yet. He knew there was a big man behind the scenes and he wanted to get him as well and for that he had to be patient, earn the trust of the Altar Boys and act just the way they did. Obviously he couldn’t “take care” of Josie the way that the bikies wanted him to and if they discovered that he hadn’t, it would be the end of both of them so he has to be very careful where he chooses to hide her. He takes a big risk for both of them.

I really loved In Safe Hands when I read it last year and I have been eagerly awaiting this novel ever since. And whilst I did enjoy this one too, I don’t think that Nate and Josephine had the same impact on me that Luke and Allegra did. The story is very good and unfolds nicely with clever pacing and plenty of action. I don’t know much about bikies but I’ve read a few stories revolving around them (and seen more than a couple of eps of Sons of Anarchy) and it’s such an environment that is ripe for so many different types of characters and stories. However I think I just didn’t warm much to Nate, especially his tendency to call Josephine “princess” all the time which got on my nerves a little bit. They did have some interesting chemistry and they were also quite an interesting match but I didn’t really find myself truly invested in them until right at the end and the final scenes between them made up a lot for not quite getting Nate earlier on.

I liked the character of Nate’s undercover handler….I hope he might crop up in a book soon (hint hint Lee Christine?!)

8/10

Book #324 of 2013

AWW2013

In Safe Arms is book #111 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013

 

 

1 Comment »

Guest Post: Escape Publishing’s Lee Christine

HappyBirthday_v2

As part of the celebrations for Escape Publishing’s 1st birthday, the digital first imprint of Harlequin Australia are offering lots of exciting opportunities and giveaways. I’m hosting several writers here on the blog to talk about their forthcoming titles and where they get their inspiration from. We’ve already had Georgie Tyler and now we welcome Lee Christine, author of the very successful In Safe Hands which I reviewed here on the blog when it was released. On January 1st, the companion novel, In Safe Arms will be released and I am so excited about this one! Lee Christine has perfected a blend of romance and suspense….here’s a little about In Safe Arms (from the publisher/Goodreads):

9780857991157_500

Smooth, seductive and savage: Lee Christine returns to the dark, criminal underbelly of Sydney with her follow-up to In Safe Hands.

Legal secretary Josephine Valenti has no idea why a notorious bikie president would be contacting her, but when he is murdered in front of her eyes, she knows that she is in very deep trouble. Fleeing to her home, she’s intercepted by Nate Hunter, a man she used to know and lust after…a man she used to care about.

However, Nate has changed. His leathers and his bike tell of a lifestyle that Josie can’t begin to accept or understand. His is a life of drugs, money laundering and prostitution.

Though, all is not what it seems, and Josie must fight harder than she ever has before — for the truth, for what’s right, and, ultimately for the man who still has a hold of her heart.

***

LeeChristine

Where do writers find inspiration?

I’m often asked where I find inspiration for my novels. People are always interested to know where my ideas come from, and some have come right out and asked, ‘How did you think that up?’ While I’d love to say I dreamt the entire thing one night, hopped up and scribbled it all down, the truth is, my interest is usually captured by real life events, most of which come straight from the news.

The idea for my first book, ‘In Safe Hands’, came from watching the fallout suffered by certain celebrities after indiscreet postings of photographs on social media. While the celebrities, usually sports stars and models, received little more than a slap on the wrist, I began thinking of how it could spell the end of a person’s career should they be employed in one of the more conservative occupations. What if a high profile member of the judiciary, or a top surgeon, or heaven forbid a politician, was snapped naked in the shower a la Lara Bingle? And what if that photograph went viral on the internet?

I constructed a story of a high profile female lawyer, on a fast track to a partnership, who is blackmailed by naked photographs taken in her youth. Of course I upped the stakes. She’d already broken through the glass ceiling, but she needed the job and she needed the money. Publication of this kind would leave her career in tatters. This wasn’t going to end well.

The inspiration for my follow up novel ‘In Safe Arms’, due to be released on January 1, 2014 again came about from a news report. Tragically, one person had witnessed the death of another while chatting on Skype. It struck me at the time how horrifying it would be to ‘remotely’ witness something like that, and be helpless to do anything about it.

I began thinking how hundreds of millions of people use Skype every day, including myself. It struck me, that if someone witnessed the tragedy of another person having a stroke or heart attack while speaking on Skype, it wasn’t inconceivable someone could witness a murder the very same

In the opening scene of ‘In Safe Arms’ my heroine witnesses the murder of a notorious member of Sydney’s gang world on Skype. Because of the physical divide separating them, the heroine has time to flee. But she can identify the killer, and this event sets up the ‘cat and mouse’ game that drives the story forward.

I guess I have some strange preoccupation with technology, and how it can irrevocably change our lives in ways we could never have anticipated.

So, while others author may begin with a place, with observing the people who live in that place and their triumphs and tragedies, my inspiration evolves from a situation I’ve observed. And with that situation in mind, I create a character. Not just any character, but a person who stands to lose everything because of that situation. And because I write romantic suspense, naturally that’s the heroine.

My novels are very fast paced, with the story unfolding over a short period of time, usually no more than a week or two. And they centre on modern day crimes that could potentially affect any one of us.

I’m also very fortunate that my editor at Escape Publishing, Kate Cuthbert, likes romantic suspense featuring a variety of different crimes. She’s not so much into serial killers. As I don’t write serial killers, that situation suits me just fine.

***

Thank you to Lee Christine for stopping by and sharing a little about where she gets her inspiration from. I’m also happy to share the trailer for the upcoming In Safe Arms here as well.

Don’t forget you can still enter to win a giveaway of 5 Escape Publishing titles. Just see this post.

5 Comments »