by Pam Champagne
Jenna Green struggles to make a name for herself on the racetrack after her father’s untimely death. Rye Cameron’s offer of a job to train his horses comes out of the blue. Aware of his reputation with women, she accepts the job despite her doubts. Soon she discovers the real reason Rye hired her and finds herself fighting for her life.
Warning! Don't start Dead Heat by Pam Champagne unless you have a couple of hours. Once started this book is near impossible to put down. It's like getting on a roller coaster - you can't get off until the ride is done or, in this case, until the book is done. Dead Heat offers as much heart pounding excitement as any roller coaster!
Jenna Green may possibly be one of the best heroine's I've ever read. Ms. Champagne struck the prefect balance between independence and dependence. Jenna is a strong woman but not so strong that she is annoying. Jenna is human, a woman the reader will instantly bond with. You will clearly understand her motives and her actions. Rye Cameron is 'Mr. Heartthrob' in every sense of the word. Ms. Champagne develops his character as well as Jenna's. While Rye isn't a knuckle dragging caveman, he is definitely an alpha male--a hot alpha male. In so many of today's romances, the heroine and hero spend so much time trying to establish 'whose boss' the romance part is hollow. Jenna stands on her own but is smart enough to realize, when people start dying around her, that she needs help from Rye. Rye wants to protect Jenna, but not in a "I'll lock you in my closet until you're safe" manner. He respects Jenna. This opens the door to a 'hot hot hot' romance.
The romance part of Dead Heat is great but the suspense part is outstanding. The action never stops! Jenna and Rye barely have to catch their breaths before yet something else happens. Again, Ms. Champagne's talent as a writer shines, while the action is non stop it's not overwhelming. I never shook my head thinking 'give me a break! This is soooooo out there.' The plot is well-developed with enough twists and turns the reader will easily be pulled in. The only disappointing thing about Dead Heat is the lack of development among the secondary characters. Jenna and Rye carry the entire story. Jenna's best friend, Dani has possibilities but they are never developed and what is alluded to is then ignored. The same is true with Brett, Rye's brother. Brett offers some resistance to Jenna and Rye's relationship, but because Brett is not fully developed, I really didn't care a bit about his thoughts.
Dead Heat takes place on a horse ranch in Lexington, KY. I'm not at all familiar with horse racing, but Ms. Champagne included enough detail with explanation that I was neither overwhelmed by it or left wondering. Jenna and Rye's compassion and appreciation of the talent the horses possessed adds yet another layer to their character development. The horses and racing are constantly kept in the story and always dealt with in a realistic manner.
Dead Heat will provide a great read for anyone looking suspense with a hot romance.
Review by Magnolia