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Release Day Review! DEEP TIDE by Laura Griffin (The Texas Murder Files #4)

Deep Tide cover

With two brothers on the police force, Leyla Breda is well aware of the rising crime in her small beach town, but she never expected it to show up on her doorstep. When Leyla finds one of her employees murdered in the alley behind her coffee shop, she’s deeply shaken, and as a new law enforcement officer in town begins to circle her place of business, her instincts only sharpen.

Sean Moran is on an undercover assignment. The seaside community of Lost Beach may look like a picturesque postcard, but his team suspects it’s a point of intersection for several crime syndicates that the FBI has been investigating for years. Even so, when the brash and beautiful Leyla Breda starts bossing him around, he’s immediately intrigued. He knows her brothers want him to back off, but every time he sees her, he feels more of a spark.

Leyla’s connections in the local community and Sean’s skills allow them to go deeper into the case together than they would be able to go alone. But when a single crime spirals into something much darker, Sean’s carefully planned mission takes a deadly turn.

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It shouldn’t be possible, but I swear this series keeps getting better and better…

Layla and Sean’s story was *chef’s kiss* perfect. I loved that as a lifetime resident of a vacation destination and the younger sister of two police detectives, Layla did not let Sean get away with a single thing. She knew better than to start anything with tourists, and she saw right through his “I’m just here for the fishing” BS from the start. (Including laying a trap for his fibbing butt right from the start. That one made me LOL with surprise and respect.)

Because of those two facts–he’s temporary and in law enforcement to boot (and oh, yeah, there’s a murder)–their romance is a bit of a slow burn. It’s steeped in *longing* though, and their chemistry is OTT, so I for one didn’t even mind much. (Though TBH I am one of those people who gets mildly annoyed when MCs actively on the run from baddies take a time out to get busy. I mean, I enjoy those scenes as much as the next person, but are they worth getting caught by homicidal maniacs? Surely we can find a more opportune time slot?)

I also loved that–despite her brothers’ suspicions–Sean did his darnedest to keep Layla as far from his investigation as he could. It’s not his fault that one of her employees turned up murdered outside her shop, and he told her to stay far, far away from his main suspect and his ginormous mansion. But hey, a growing businesswoman’s gotta hustle, amirite? And if she accidentally finds some evidence along the way, is that really her fault? She was looking for the bathroom, honest… 😉

Fingers crossed that Ms Griffin has more coming from this series–another Rhoads sibling, maybe? I’m not ready to see these characters go just yet! Deep Tide is the 4th book in the series–Layla’s brothers Joel ( Flight ) and Owen ( Midnight Dunes ) starred in books 2 and 3, and Joel’s sister-in-law Bailey was in book 1 ( Hidden )–and though series readers will *love* seeing previous characters here (not to mention a brief glimpse of Joel and Miranda’s wedding!) it could also work fine as a standalone. But why do that to yourself? Read them all ASAP!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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