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Dash of Peril: Love Undercover #4 by Lori Foster with Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I’m bringing you the New York Times #5 listed title Dash of Peril: Love Undercover # 4 by Lori Foster.  You can see my review, and then enter to win your own copy of the title in paperback (US only)  Drawing will end at 23.59 on 12 April, winner will have 24 hours to provide valid mailing address or another winner will be chosen.  You can also click HERE to see the tour calendar and plan your visits!

Book Review:

The fourth installment of Foster’s Love undercover series brings us Margo, a police lieutenant who is working to discover who is behind a rash of kidnappings where victims are coerced into making adult films.  Placing herself in the mix as bait, she has taken this case on as a personal challenge, and this will endanger her life.  Returning home after a night of surveillance, her car is smashed by the perpetrators who want to send a message, and if she dies, so be it.

Dashiel Riske (love the allusion to Dashiell Hammet the classic author of Maltese Falcon and Thin Man) is the brother of Logan, and has always been fascinated with Margo.  Fortunately for Margo, he has decided to keep an eye on her and act as a partner, even as Margo wishes to keep on ignoring the fact that she can use the help. 

Margo is an interesting character: determined, good at what she does, and constantly battling against the idea that she is a woman in a man’s job.  Even when the men in her circle don’t always see her as ‘weaker’, her hard-headed push everyone away attitude is more of an obstacle to her achieving her goals in the force than any actual weaknesses on her part.  It was difficult NOT to like her, even when she was acting without thinking of her own safety; this woman cares about the victims and truly wants to solve the case, not for the accolades but to protect those who can’t always protect themselves.

Dash is a bit of a ladies man, and has that protect the womenfolk streak that is miles wide: even when he is inserting himself in situations that make him appear a complete chauvinist, it is done with one goal as well: protect those who can’t always protect themselves.  And that is what really made him endearing in this story.  Even with his heavy-handed treatment of Margo, coming in the guise of caring for and partnering her in the case, his initial instincts are all for the end result: protection.

Of course, the two have a chemistry that is off the charts: even as Margo is running in the other direction, Dash has no option but to try and get her to see his perspective. He wants her, he is attracted to her, and she will, despite all decisions to the contrary acknowledge that she wants him too.  What struck me most about Dash was his willingness to allow Margo her space and recognize that she was competent and capable, and give her the opportunity to use her talents and brains rather than always inserting his opinions: Dash listens to Margo, he sees the strength there, he just wants to be sure she is as safe as possible.

The story is peppered with threads that have been running through this series: while this volume is more focused on human trafficking and the kidnappings, the issue of corruption within the force has had some movement, and Margo’s determination to weed out the ‘bad cops’ in the department has not endeared her to others who are operating on that razor’s edge.  And she is also struggling with the lack of parental pride or a job well done from her own father, the former Chief: those childhood moments and determination to be recognized as good, worthy and not just the daughter who went into policing weigh on Margo.  This take charge woman during the day is far more able to give that control away in the bedroom, a submissive by nature her pliancy and trust in Dash, when given is a gift that he treasures almost as much as the woman himself.

It was nice to see their relationship develop in a manner that felt natural, despite the fact that circumstances and Margo’s injuries threw them together and left her more reliant on another person than she would have wished.  Dash’s careful management of that delicate situation as he worked to show her that they would be good together was an exercise in patience: his and the reader’s.  As she started to feel more comfortable in her relationship with Dash, and allow herself to attach to him, that confidence and security started to show in her other relationship dynamics, and Margo started to display the strength that was there, rather than always telling people to search for it.  That small shift in her own confidence made huge changes, she’s growing and learning that being a woman isn’t a negative or something to overcome.

I really enjoyed this story and the growth that Margo attains in her struggles against then with Dash, finding her own identity and deciding that being a couple is also a source of strength and comfort for her.  Dash is seriously hot, and the two are steamy together, add in the tension from the corruption issues and the kidnappings, and this becomes a page-turner.

 

Dash of Peril: Love Undercover #4 by Lori Foster with Excerpt and Giveaway Author: Lori Foster
Also in this series: Getting Rowdy
Published by: Harlequin HQN
Format:Paperback
Source: Media Muscle/Book Trib
Audio Length: 14 Hours
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

A no-nonsense female cop reluctantly teams up with the one man who makes her lose control in a deliciously sensual new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster...

To bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret "Margo" Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is 6'4" of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life—and women—to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own.

Beneath Margo's tough facade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he'll have to prove he's all the man she needs—in all the ways that matter.

Excerpt

DASH LEANED AGAINST the wall outside the bathroom, listening to the occasional ripple of water. In his mind, he could almost see her, so strong and brave and independent.

But equally small and soft and so badly hurt.

He pressed the heels of his hands to his gritty eyes, trying to fight off the exhaustion. Now that he had Margo back in her own home, safe and sound, the adrenaline dump left him weary. “You’re not getting the splint wet, are you?”

“No, I’m not.”

Hearing the strain in her voice, he wanted to curse. The doc claimed her arm would cause considerable pain for at least a few days.

Struggling in and out of the tub, washing her hair, soaping up her body…
Damn, but the visuals were killing him.

“Margo? You sure you don’t need any help? You have to be hurting.”

“I’m okay.”

Damn it. Why wouldn’t she trust him a little?
He pushed away from the wall, paced a few feet and came back. He felt ridiculous, fretting outside her door, waiting for her to admit that she needed him.
He had a feeling she would prefer everyone see her as a hard-ass. When it came to him, she was doomed to disappointment.

He waited another five minutes, then said, “You need to come out now, Margo.” Much as he relished the thought of assisting her, if she fell asleep in the tub she could end up hurting herself more.

“I am.”

He waited. If she were any other woman he’d be treating her with kid gloves. But this was Lieutenant Peterson, the ballbuster, and he knew her well enough to know she’d detest sympathy.

When the door opened, he straightened in anticipation.

She hadn’t really dried her hair and little rivulets of water ran down her silky neck and disappeared into the collar of a large, soft robe that fit over her splint and was only loosely tied around her petite frame. Without makeup, the stitches and bruising were even more obscene.

His heart gave a soft thump—and he knew he was a goner.

 

Giveaway:

About Lori Foster

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. She also received the Romantic Times “Career Achievement Award” for Series Romantic Fantasy and Contemporary Romance.

Lori believes it is important to give back to the community as much as possible, so she routinely arranges events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

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