Yay! Brent’s book 🙂
Title: The Marshal
Author: Adrienne Giordano
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
His painful past is their present danger.
The last thing US Marshal Brent Thompson needs is distraction from his work. But distraction—in the form of a sexy Chicago investigator—is exactly what he gets. Jenna Hayward is as alluring as she is determined, driven to help apprehend the murderer who killed Brent’s mother twenty-three years ago. With a shared mission—and a steadily rising attraction that jeopardizes Brent’s resolve to stay unattached—the pair must work together to get answers…before the murderer makes them his next victims.
* * *
Oh, I really enjoy this series!
“Marshall Hottie” (aka US Marshall Brent Thompson) showed a lot of promise as a secondary character in The Defender –in fact, in my review of that one I requested that he be given his own book.
Brent and Jenna’s book doesn’t have the same lighthearted vibe that Penny and Russ’s book did, in large part because Brent’s entire adult life has been overshadowed by the murder of his mother more than twenty years before. It’s affected pretty much everything he’s done since–including his choice of careers–and has taken up a huge portion of his spare time as well. Since he did such a stellar job (ha! She was a major pain in the butt about it) keeping Penny alive in book two, Penny’s mother convinces her husband to put the law firm’s resources into solving the decades-old cold case.
Which is how Jenna Hayward enters the picture.
Jenna–the former Miss (runner-up) Illinois–applied to the FBI, once upon a time. They turned her down. Now she’s an investigator at Hennings & Solomon, skilled at using her beauty-queen assets to give her an assist when she needs it.
She doesn’t need it with Brent.
The two have been fighting a low simmer of attraction since they met in book two, but psychology major Jenna knows that the Brent Thompson who’s dedicated to bringing his mom’s killer to justice isn’t a good relationship prospect. The more time they spend together, though, the less that seems to matter. Especially when he is able to look beyond her exceptional (and fifteen pounds heavier–thank you, doughnuts)–ahem, assets–and see her keen investigative mind…
Quite frankly, I don’t know how Jenna was able to resist Brent as long as she did. Picture a brooding Bruce-Wayne-type hero, only minus the cool gadgets and plus a warm and loving relationship with his sister and aunt’s families. The brooding! The hotness! The cute family interaction! He’s not called Marshal Hottie for nothing, you know.
Since the murder they’re investigating is a cold case, much of their investigation seems more low-key than those in the first two books–until it isn’t. The big reveal happens in a more rapid-fire fashion (and slightly before I was quite expecting it–there’s a sizable preview of another book at the end of this one that threw me off) and it’s pretty surprising–the only early clues to how it’s going to play out in the end are very subtle.
In the end, the bad guy(s?) get theirs, our hero and heroine get together, and the world is once again made safe. The Marshallwas an enjoyable read all around, even if its vibe was different from the first two books.
Marshal Hottie still gets the girl, though, so all is well. 🙂
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jenna slid onto one of the worn black vinyl bar stools at Freddie’s Tap House, a mostly empty shot-and-a-beer joint on the North Side of Chicago.
How the place stayed in business, she had no idea. On this Wednesday night the sports bar down the block was packed, while the only people patronizing Freddie’s were an elderly man sitting at the bar and a couple huddled at a table in the back.
The bartender glanced down the bar at her and wandered over. “Evening. Get you something?”
You sure can.
“Whatever’s on tap. Thanks.”
He nodded and scooped a glass from behind the bar, pouring a draft as he eyed her black blazer and the plunging neckline on her cashmere sweater. “Haven’t seen you in here before. New in town?”
As much as she’d tried to dress down with jeans, she hadn’t been able to resist the sweater. When dealing with men, a little help from her feminine wiles—also known as her boobs—never hurt. “Nope. New in here though.”
“You look more Tiffany’s than Freddie’s.”
Already Jenna liked him. “Are you Freddie?”
“Freddie Junior. My dad is Freddie. I took over when he retired.”
He slid the beer in front of Jenna. Once more she looked around, took in the polished, worn wood of the bar, the six tables along the wall and the line of empty bar stools.
“Slow night,” Freddie said.
Lucky me. She opened her purse, pulled out a fifty and set it on the bar. Next came the photo taken the week prior by a patron in this very bar. He glanced down at the fifty, then at the photo.
“I’m not a cop,” Jenna said. “I’m an investigator working for a law firm.”
She pointed at the photo of two men with a woman in the background. Jenna needed to find that woman. “Have you seen her in here?”
He picked up the photo and studied it. “Yeah. Couple of times. When a woman like that walks into a beer joint, there’s generally a reason. Kinda like you.”
Figuring it was time to put her cleavage to work, Jenna inched forward, gave him a view of the girls beneath that V-neck and smiled. Most women would love the idea that a fifteen-pound weight gain had gone straight to their chest. Jenna supposed it hadn’t hurt her ability to claw information from men—and maybe she used it to her advantage. But she also wanted to be recognized for extracting the information and not for the way she’d done it.
Did that even make sense? She wasn’t sure anymore. All she knew was her need for positive reinforcement had led her to using her looks to achieve her goals. That meant wearing clingy, revealing clothing. Such a cliché. But the thing about clichés was they worked.
“Any idea what her reason for being here was?”
Freddie took the boob-bait and leaned in. “No. Both times she met someone. Why?”
All Jenna could hope was he’d gotten the woman’s name. “My client is being held on a robbery charge. He says he was in here the night of the robbery and he met this woman. Her name is Robin.”
“Where’d you get the picture?”
“Friends of my client.”
He dropped the picture on the bar and tapped it. “Birthday party, right?”
“Yes. My client and six of his friends. Any idea where I can find her?”
“Did she pay by credit card?”
If she paid by credit card, there would be a record of the transaction, and Jenna would dig into the Hennings & Solomon coffers and pay Freddie a highly negotiated sum for a look at his credit card receipts. From there, she’d get a name and two calls later would have an address for Robin-the-mystery-woman.
Freddie may have been lying. Jenna studied him, took in his direct gaze. Not lying. At least she didn’t think so. Again with the wavering? Didn’t she have a good sense about these things? Yes, she did. For that reason she’d go with the theory that Freddie seemed to be a small-business owner who wanted to stay out of trouble while trying to make a living. She dug her card and a pen out of her purse, wrote her cell number on the card and placed it next to the fifty on the bar.
“How about I leave you my card? If she comes in again and you call me, there’s a hundred bucks in it for you.”
Freddie glanced at the card. After a moment, he half shrugged. “Sure. If I see her.”
Jenna took one last sip of her beer, slid off the stool and hitched her purse onto her shoulder. “Thanks.” She nodded toward the fifty. “Keep the change.”
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.