23 October, 2016

Almost Forever: An Austin Heroes Novel by Kathy Clark #review

Genre -  Romantic Suspense
Series -  Austin Heroes #2
Pages -  246
Publisher -  Loveswept
Pub Date -  July 26, 2016
Kindle Edition -  Link
Voice -  3rd P
Sexual Content -  3/5
Language -  mild

A cold case leads to blazing-hot temptation in this novel of romantic suspense from bestselling author Kathy Clark. For readers of Nora Roberts and Karen Robards, Almost Forever pairs a rugged lawman with a woman who may just be a murderer.

Justin Archer is a Texas Ranger through and through, a loyal man devoted to the dangerous job he loves. But when the grisly discovery of a skeleton in a local vineyard turns an old missing-persons case into a vicious homicide, Justin finds that the toughest challenge of his professional career will be keeping his hands off his chief suspect: the dead man’s beautiful, young trophy wife. Did Lori Roberts kill for vast material gain? The only thing Justin knows for sure is that their chemistry is instantaneous—and overpowering.

Lori worked hard to build a new life for herself and her daughter. She turned her husband’s struggling vineyard into a thriving enterprise, and now she stands to lose it all over something that happened eight years ago. Justin could lock her up and throw away the key, but Lori desperately wants to trust him. More than that, she wants to let him into her wounded heart. Because Lori’s been running from the past for a long time . . . and she’s ready to start living for the future.

I liked it.

Good amount of suspense.

Interesting plot.

Like-able characters.

I liked Justin and Lori, which is unusual since I tend to favor one over the other a majority of the time, but these two stood out in both personality and attraction.

I wouldn't say the cover model did Justin justice (although said cover model is pretty hot) because he is not at all the sexy Ranger I conjured up inside my head as I read this novel.

The suspense aspect worked really well to keep me guessing until the very end, but it was weird to me how the entire story never grabbed me by the throat and made me anxious the way other suspense novels do.

I just kept reading and reading and wanting to know who was behind the murder and if our two leads were ever going to get a break.

The author did drop a big hint that made me suspect who was the real culprit, but had also tossed in a few red herrings to keep me off the scent. which I refused to fall for yet still made me wonder -- am I right or am I wrong?

I began to suspect I was right about half-way through, but could not figure out the how or the why of it all, which was pretty cool.

So, we can add FUN to the list of why this is a good novel and worth reading.

The writing was relatively flawless and the sex scenes were as simplified as they were tasteful but no less heady in their need/desire aspects.


The only drawback to this (and why it received less than 5 from me) was that the two leads, while deserving of their romance, spent far too much time on the case instead of the romance.

The two dwelt more on their emotions than actually showing one another how they really felt, and those emotions were of the light-switch variety

Damn, she's hot -- no, I'm on the job.
Wow, he's sexy! -- no, he thinks I'm a murderer.

making it difficult to decide if it was a murder mystery or a romantic suspense novel.

Justin did a majority of the dwelling, too.

It was almost like it was his story but with Lori's version tossed in for 3rd P effect, which just says the author studied the Texas Ranger lifestyle (and wine makers) to create a believable story line.

I just wish the two leads had been more honest with one another, both vocally and in gesture, rather than having to read a lot of inner monologue on the same topic.

What bugged me most was the author's decision to go the PC route by reminding us (and the two leads) that while desire is okay, Lori's child is more important and so is Justin's career.

It doesn't make any sense even if he was there to investigate a murder, and with Lori being the prime suspect.

Texas Rangers don't have human emotions and neither do mothers?

Parents can have sex with children sleeping in another room, but adult lovers cannot?

A Texas Ranger known for his 6th Sense can decide if a person is guilty or not but cannot feel anything for anyone at any time during the course of any investigation?


I felt the restricted decision-making throughout because of those ridiculous PC rules, which is a drag and ruined an otherwise great novel.

It didn't bug me at all that Justin continued to argue with those emotions before eventually pressing his desired against a hallway wall and taking her sans condom.

It didn't bug me too much that the author injected her opinion since it was very mildly worded.

The only other issue I had was near the end of the story.

Justin and Lori are in their underwear, outside, and with people scrambling to their rescue.

Which is fine, except that Justin is also bouncing around trying to capture the culprit, help Lori recover, and contact the authorities -- in his underwear.

NO ONE says anything -- except for Lori when Justin starts hurrying to his car in the parking lot when Lori reminds him he's without pants.

And a shirt! Don't forget the fact that he's in his undies, in broad daylight, with other people standing around, including Lori's little daughter!


This reads like a standalone but with Justin's two brothers involved, so I searched and found it is one of a three-novel Austin Heroes Series.

Info Link

Yes, I'd be interested to read the other two Brother's stories and would also recommend them to anyone interested in Romantic Suspense.

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