Falling for a con man is the most dangerous game of all…
Con artist Austin Shaw’s been in disguise so long he’s not sure where his fake identities end and he begins. Now that he’s been strong-armed into working for a specialized undercover unit working with the Chicago police—criminals with unique “skills”—the last thing he needs is to risk his iron control. Especially when it comes to a certain stunningly sexy hacker who tempts him with every look of disdain.
Polly Banks will never, ever trust a con man. On the trail of a ruthless crook who destroyed the only family she’s ever known, Polly is unnerved by the shadow who follows her every move. The one who makes her pulse pound and breath short with lust. Austin. He’s infuriating, enigmatic, and pure sex appeal, and she’s determined to resist him.
But an untrustworthy man of disguise can become anyone he wants…including a man that Polly must trust if she’s to escape their dangerous game alive.
“Ms. Banks.” He made a savoring noise in his throat, dragging his gaze from the tips of her boots upward. “Should I assume from your punctuality that you were hoping to clock some alone time with me? I usually only take scheduled appointments, but you’re always the exception.”
She knew better than to take the bait. Another facet of Austin she had memorized was his sexual gravity. Step off the ledge when he challenged you with innuendo and, well, splat. There was no way to compete with innate charisma like he’d been blessed with. Dammit. “I had no idea you would arrive first. I assumed it would be Connor.” Their resident ex-SEAL insisted on neat edges and precise plans, was usually fuming by the time all six members showed up. “If I’d known, I would have killed some time in Starbucks.”
“Connor used to arrive first,” Austin said, sauntering toward her. “Until I realized it got under his skin when I do instead. So here I am.” He ran a hand over his sculpted mouth, his attention locked on the base of her neck. “And here you are.”
The hard wall against her back felt more like a trap the closer he came. “You go to such lengths to get under people’s skin, but you can’t get under mine.” She tilted her head. “That must drive you crazy, Shaw.”
“You. Are the only thing that drives me crazy.” The tips of his shoes bumped hers, sending a bolt of energy straight up her limbs. “And you damn well know it.”
Boiling Point had a slow start–it took a while for me to really get into the book; I’m not exactly sure why–maybe because I haven’t read the first two in the series? We were dropped right into the story where Austin’s watching/stalking Polly, and it wasn’t immediately clear if/how he knew her and I felt a bit lost.
It all becomes a lot more clear a little bit in, but again, not having read the other books, I’m not sure if we realize his fixation on her in either of them if this book’s the first indication we have. As a result I’m a little iffy about saying if this worked okay as a standalone–um, sure? While it’s clear from the reading that the other two couples in the group have pasts, it doesn’t appear that those pasts have much if any bearing on what happens in this one–but having a feel for the Austin/Polly dynamic going in might have been helpful. Unless there wasn’t any indication of it in the first two…so, yeah, I’m back at not being sure. I did okay.
I really like the idea of a group of (former? or are they really?) criminals banding together in a undercover police unit to right wrongs. That part of the plot–along with the main con operation that they have going on–feels very slick and well-orchestrated blockbuster-movie-like. That part alone was enough to add the first two books to my TBR; the epilogue and what we see of the new guy to the team, Henrik, added the next. (Will their fearless leader get a story too? I really hope so.)
Once I got a feel for them, I did like Polly and Austin together–their scenes together were very hot, if a bit tricky to picture in my head. (I’m still not 100% how that one in the house they broke into actually works…) I liked how she made him become Austin again after all the roles he’s played and how he describes what he’s feeling and thinking when they’re together. Plus, all the internal conversations he has about being her almost boyfriend/boyfriend…very sweet, and almost makes up for the fact that he doesn’t say it out loud very much. (Though with that British accent, he really should say more out loud. In his own voice, that is…) I enjoyed their connection, and the bits with the tea bags were cute.
I’m wavering between a 3 1/2 and 4 star rating–because the last third or so had me thoroughly gripped, I think I’ll go with a 4.
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: One more game. And this time, there are no rules…
After a life of pool hustling and living on the wrong side of the law, Ruby Elliott is living on the straight and narrow with sexy-as-all-hell NYPD detective, Troy Bennett. Now the only trouble Ruby has with the law is the naughty kind, pinned against the wall by Troy’s strict and spectacularly hard body. Obeying his every command. Both of them losing themselves in a lust that borders on obsession…
But then her father returns with an offer she can’t refuse: one last hustle in exchange for information. Information she’d die to have. As the pieces and the players of the game reveal themselves, Troy feels the fine edges of his control slipping—control he can’t channel without hurting Ruby. The stakes are high, and the risk higher. Because losing this final game could cost more than Ruby’s heart…it might cost her life.
NYPD detective Seraphia Newsom will avenge her brother’s death at any cost. Even if it means insinuating herself into a rough, Brooklyn street gang and going so far undercover, she’s not sure she’ll be able to get out. Every minute she spends in their midst means the clock ticking down on her life, especially when she overhears something that could get her killed.
Bowen Driscol is the heir to a crime enterprise. He never asked for the job, but with his father behind bars, he has no choice but to step in and keep the operation running. But when the NYPD blackmails him with a piece of damning information in exchange for aiding an undercover cop, he finds himself on the other side of the law for the first time in his life.
Bowen knows the danger Sera is in, and keeping her safe trumps saving his own ass. The problem? She can’t know he’s on her side. And there’s the matter of the seriously inconvenient heat sparking between them that’s incinerating his resistance. But Sera only sees Bowen’s past, and men like him are the reason her brother is dead. If they’re to get out alive, he’ll have to risk exposing the man beneath, and hope to hell he doesn’t blow the whole operation in the process.
Never start a fire you can’t control…
Connor Bannon is supposed to be dead. Dishonorably discharged from the Navy SEALs, he’s spent the last two years working as a street enforcer in Brooklyn for his cousin’s crime ring. Through a twist of fate, he’s now in Chicago, working undercover to bust criminals. But when a cute little arsonist joins the team—all combat boots, tiny jean shorts, and hot-pink hair—Connor’s notorious iron control slips.
Erin “she’s getting away” O’Dea knows two things. She hates authority. And… Nope, that’s it. When she’s forced to operate on the “right” side of the law, her fear of being confined and controlled blazes to the surface. The last thing she expects is a control freak like Connor to soothe her when she needs it most. Worse, something behind the sexy ex-soldier’s eyes ignites a dangerous inferno of desire. One that invites Erin to play with fire. And one that could get them both killed…
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.