My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Anna Key Marshall is about to get what she’s always wanted: a baby. Granted, it’s through a sperm donor instead of her ex-husband, but you can’t have everything. She has no idea why someone wants her dead, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her unborn child—even if it means turning to her ex, the Black Ops specialist who broke her heart.
Five years ago, British Intelligence agent Nick Marshall slammed the door on the woman who betrayed him. But now Anna’s back in his life with a vengeance, pregnant and full of attitude. He’d like nothing better than to walk away, but with her life on the line, he has no choice but to do what he does best—protect her at all costs.
As old wounds resurface, Nick begins to doubt his version of what went down with Anna so long ago. And he begins to believe they might have a second chance together. But with Anna’s would-be killer on the loose—it will take the full force and fury of his protective instincts, fueled by a powerful love he can’t leave behind, to hold on to the woman he still loves.
When I was given the opportunity to read this novel in return for an honest review, I eagerly accepted, as I love nothing more than reading an author’s debut. Apart from the need to satisfy a craving for another exciting story, I am generally curious to read work by another author, to discover their voice, their style, and whether or not they can keep me turning the page.
After starting just a few days ago, I read the second half of Hard to Hold in one evening and closed the last ‘page’ on my kindle just before midnight. I loved the opening, which throws you right into the action and the conflict immediately, including the love/hate relationship between the heroine, Anna, and her ex-husband, Nick.
In this romantic suspense novel, Anna Key Marshall quickly finds that she’s a target – someone’s trying their best to get rid of her. To add insult to injury, Nick Marshall reappears in her life after five years of separation, much to her annoyance, and because of his status – an agent within the British Intelligence Service – he has no choice but to protect his former spouse and get to the bottom of whoever is making attempts on her life. No easy feat when the woman he once loved (and still does) keeps complicating matters further. In his opinion, she’s just a magnet for trouble, and he’d rather not get involved. The problem is, the history between the pair runs too deep for him to leave her future – and the dangerous plight she’s found herself in – in the hands of the Service.
Ms Black’s voice oozes dry wit and sarcasm, which is portrayed through both characters as they fight not only each other, but the attraction which still burns between them. Although I found there to be quite a lot of introspection within the story, the dialogue is sharp and the story is intense as both of these well-flawed characters try to outwit one another in a struggle of emotional self-preservation, as well as trying to protect each other. Add into the mix the author’s ability to write a great action scene and an antagonist to make your skin crawl, and you have yourself a page turner. This suspenseful novel is tightly woven and neatly wrapped up, with a nice little twist at the end.
4.5 stars from me. Great first novel, Incy Black, I look forward to your next one.