Deception Island by Brynn Kelly (Amazon Link)
Source: Blog Tour
Description: A stolen boy. A haunted soldier. A cornered con woman... Rafe Angelito thought he was done with the demons from his past - until his son is kidnapped. Blackmailed into abducting an American heiress, the legionnaire soon finds himself trapped in paradise with a fiery, daring beauty who's nothing he expects ... and everything he desires. But when he uncovers her own dark secret, Rafe realizes he's made a critical mistake - one that could cost him everything. Playing body double for a spoiled socialite was supposed to be Holly Ryan's ticket to freedom. But when she's snatched off her yacht by a tall, dark and dangerous stranger, the not-quite-reformed con artist will make a desperate play to turn her captor from enemy to ally, by any means necessary. Yet as scorching days melt into sultry nights, Holly is drawn to the mysterious capitaine, with his unexpected sense of honor and his searing touch. When they're double-crossed, they'll have to risk trusting each other in ways they never imagined... because in this deadly game of deception, it's their lives - and hearts - on the line. (From Goodreads)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Why I Picked This Book: I love a good romantic suspense story and the blurb grabbed my attention.
My Impression: I love a good romantic suspense book but sometimes they are a little light on the suspense or the suspense element feels like it's contrived for the sole purpose of getting the two main characters together. This is not the case with Deception Island! Right away we're in the middle of the action with a pirate kidnapping at sea and it doesn't let up.
The characters in this book - Rafe and Holly - are fully formed and seriously damaged. Kelly does a good job of making Rafe a dangerous guy but not a bad one. He's got a lot of demons and rightfully so and he's pushed into a situation that he doesn't want to be in again. He's honest about his emotions and his motives and fights hard to maintain his code of honor in a circumstance that he's been forced into. In her own way Holly is just as damaged as Rafe is. She trusts no one and her past has made it clear that that's the only way to survive. Just as she's seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of her bad luck she ends up in worse luck and in more danger than she's ever been in. I really liked how the attraction was handled between the two of them. Even when it wasn't the most appropriate it made sense and I loved Holly's inner dialogue. Their growing friendship and connection also made sense and felt really authentic.
The suspense itself grabbed me and kept me turning pages. I had no idea how it was going to work out and I couldn't wait to see how Rafe and Holly got themselves out of one disaster after another. This isn't a suspense where their concern seems a bit over the top and it isn't really that dangerous. The situation is literary life and death and at times even more is at risk. The bad guys aren't just cardboard villains. They're as bad as bad can be and as a reader I had no doubt the risk was very very real.
The pacing was solid. Sometimes the story was gripping and made you hold your breath and at other times it was a little slower - particularly when Holly and Rafe were getting to know each other. Overall, it was a fun read without being silly or unrealistic. I enjoyed getting to know these two characters and watching everything come together.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, I enjoyed this one and would definitely read more by this author.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes if you enjoy romantic suspense with some darker elements I think you would enjoy this one.