Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beneath The Surface by MJ Fredrick

Beneath The Surface by MJ Fredrick
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (196 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Queen Anne’s Lace

When past and present meet, secrets lie beneath the surface.

In retrospect, perhaps archaeologist Mallory Reeves shouldn’t have delivered the divorce papers to her estranged husband mere weeks before her marriage to another man. She knew seeing Adrian again would stir up memories, but she didn’t expect so many of them to be good, not after the mess they both made three years ago.

She also didn’t expect to want to stay at the dig site on the Yucatan Peninsula. But the lure of the ancient ship and, yes, her sexy ex provide more of a draw than the white picket fence she thought she wanted.

Marine archaeologist Adrian Reeves has good reason to trust no one. His former partner—and former best friend—made off with his last archaeological find. And his wife left him, frustrated by his obsession for professional revenge.

Now both Mallory and his nemesis have returned, and it can’t be an accident that they’ve turned up in the middle of the most important excavation of his career. Seeing her again unearths old pain—and rekindles never-forgotten desire. Now he has to decide if he can trust Mallory again. More importantly, if he can trust himself with her.

Ready for a little fun searching for a lost ship, unraveling ancient curses, and of course a sexy hero complete with washboard abs and a Scottish brogue (is it hot in here anyone? **Fans self**), Beneath The Surface delivers.

Upon reading the blurb, I hesitated. A couple estranged and the heroine bringing divorce papers to the hero. Yikes! But have no fear, the plot improves.

So enters our heroine. The smart and emotionally wounded Mallory Reeves. After a nasty fight, she left her husband and life behind, determined to change everything so she will have no reminder of the man she still loves. No longer diving or working in the great outdoors, Mallory has taken a corporate job—and fiancé—trading a life of adventure for manicures and lacy underwear.

The tall and handsome Dr. Adrian Reeves is shocked when Mallory arrives on the Yucatan Peninsula complete with divorce papers and a large diamond engagement ring. The poor hero! But, dear reader, he’s no saint. He’s snide, and yes a little arrogant, but we can forgive him these flaws as we learn more about the couple’s emotionally explosive history together, which includes many heated words and mistaken wrongs.

Now that we have a great plot line and conflict, the story needs atmosphere. The beautiful underwater scenery, including the sunken ship, gives Beneath The Surface a surreal imagery. Ms. Fredrick paints the pictures so well, the reader feels as if she/he are swimming with scuba gear canvassing the ocean.

And, no good story develops without a diabolical villain. Beneath The Surface is no exception. Reeves ex-partner, Valentine, who made off with his last archaeological find, comes back to create havoc just as Reeves uncovers the find of his career. And to add a little more cayenne pepper (love it!), Reeves is left to wonder if Mallory has been helping Valentine—oh, the irony of a villain being named Valentine—the whole time. Talk about a knife in the back! Ouch!

Beneath The Surface, although not offering a beginning I would choose, tells a satisfying story, with heart-pounding suspense, jalapeño hot sex, and finally delivers a satisfying conclusion. Don’t miss out on this treasure hunt! Great job, Ms. Fredrick.