ARC Review: Slow Summer Burn

Slow Summer Burn (Star Harbor 4)

Author: Elisabeth Barrett
Publisher: Random House/Loveswept
Date of Publication: August 12, 2013

Cameron Stahl has everything, so why does she feel like her life is incomplete? A beautiful Boston socialite and a successful entrepreneur, she’s just opened her second boutique in Star Harbor and business is booming. But one searing look from Val Grayson sends fire through her body and shows her exactly what’s missing from her life: a real man who doesn’t play games and who makes her feel like the most desired woman on earth. DEA agent Val Grayson has always looked after his brothers. Now it’s his turn to find love—though Cam is the last sort of woman he ever dreamed he’d fall for. When courageous Cam realizes she has the insider connections to help Val take down a major drug player within Boston’s political elite, he can’t stop her from putting herself in danger. But as the drug bust of his career looms, all Val cares about is saving the woman he loves before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

As the title above indicates, this is the 4th book in the Star Harbor series. While I was sort of aware of that (since there were a few references to other characters’ relationships and the chase for the drug kingpin was pretty strongly established and seemed to be an “I assume you know this”), I did not (and have not) read the first three books in this series and had no trouble falling into the story itself.

Cameron Stahl could have been a Mary Jane character, with a perfect life (she’s rich, beautiful and successful with her business). But Ms. Barrett didn’t let her be too perfect. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t go doing stupid things, but she’s also very human. There was a nice little subplot/issues with Cameron pushing against the stultifying atmosphere she grew up in (very VERY old money and the stuffiness that goes with it) and her mother that was resolved well.

Val is a strong character as well, devoted to his career as a DEA agent. At no point does he do stupid, lone wolf, “gonna get the bad buy no matter what” idiocy. No, he thinks he knows who the kingpin is, but is willing to put in the time, effort and paperwork required to get the guy legally so there won’t be any weaseling out of the charges on technicalities.

I liked Cameron’s growing business (antique shops) and how devoted she is, when she could have easily just accepted the life her mother wanted. However, that very life she wanted out of (and not in a poor little rich girl way), helped her get involved in Val’s investigation (as an official Confidential Informant, complete with paperwork, despite Val’s objections).

Of course Cameron didn’t know about Val’s investigation into an ex of hers (an up and coming DA and son of a US Senator) when she started getting to know him. All she saw was a handsome guy and sparks flying between them.

What stopped this from being a five-star review for me is the fact that I figured out relatively easily who the actual kingpin was. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Val and the DEA made a very compelling case for why it was the Senator, but it just felt wrong and I had my eye on the actual drug lord pretty early.

 I don’t get why they never really looked at him until the end, which almost resulted in Cameron’s death. And yeah, that was a pretty hairy situation. I was on the edge of my metaphorical seat to see how Val would get there. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect Cameron to need a knight to come swoop down and rescue her from her own stupidity. She wasn’t stupid in getting into the situation, not at all. Wrong place, wrong time, trusted the wrong person.

Overall, great book and I might just have to go back and read the first three books. Only problem is, I know where the series is leading now. 😦 So it might take away some of the drive to read. We shall see.

Thank you Ms. Barrett for writing such a great book!

Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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