by Cynthia Eden
Genre: Romance / Suspense / Mystery / Thriller / Action
Ages: 17 and up
I received e-copies of Mine to Keep and Mine to Hold through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I decided to add Mine to Take to complete the trilogy and review them together.
Mine to Take
Sometimes you want someone so much…
Sometimes you need someone so much…
Lust can become love.
And love can turn into a deadly obsession.
***Skye Sullivan knows that someone is watching her. Not just watching—stalking her. Months ago, Skye was involved in a dangerous car accident. The accident ended her dancing career and sent her fleeing back to Chicago. Skye is convinced that her stalker caused the crash, and she fears that he won’t stop pursuing her, not until she’s dead.
When someone breaks into her apartment in Chicago, Skye turns to the one man she believes can protect her—Trace Weston. Once, Trace was her lover. Two lost souls, they’d come together in a firestorm of need and desire. But then Trace had pushed her away. He’d joined the military, vanishing from her life. She’d put all of her emotion into dancing, and she’d tried to forget him.
Now Trace is one of the most successful men in the United States. Rich, driven, and carrying dark secrets, he agrees to help Skye. He’ll protect her from the danger that lurks in the darkness, but Trace wants more than to just be a guard for Skye.
He wants her. And he’ll take her. The years have changed him, hardened him. He’s not just a poor kid from the streets any longer. Now, he can have anything—or anyone—that he wants. And the one woman he has always wanted has just come back into his life. He won’t let her go again.
But with the threats mounting against Skye, she suspects that her stalker may be intimately close. He’s a man who knows her too well. As his attacks grow ever more dangerous, she realizes that if she trusts the wrong man, she could be making a fatal mistake.
Lust. Love. Obsession.
Just how far would you go in order to possess the one person you want the most?
Mine to Keep
Love is the most dangerous obsession…
Skye Sullivan is trying to put the pieces of her life back together. She survived a brutal stalker and escaped his abduction, and now she is looking to the future—a future that includes Skye’s lover, billionaire Trace Weston. Skye thinks the danger is finally over for her.
She’s dead wrong.
When Trace’s past comes back to haunt him, Skye discovers that the man she loves isn’t quite who he seems to be. Trace has been leading a double-life. An ex-special forces agent, his military training turned him into the perfect killing machine. He made more than his share of enemies during his time in the military—and as he built his security empire—and one of those enemies is striking back.
He won’t lose her.
Skye is the one weapon that can be used against Trace—his only vulnerability. But he won’t let her go—he can’t. Trace will do anything necessary to protect Skye. Anything. Yet when she discovers the secrets that he’s tried to keep hidden, Skye’s pain and rage may send her running directly into the cross-hairs of a killer…
Mine to Hold
She was one man’s obsession…
Nine years ago, Claire Kramer’s lover brutally killed her family, and he tried to kill her. She escaped, but she’s been haunted ever since that attack. Too afraid to trust another man and too worried that her past will catch up with her, Claire never gets too close to anyone. But then she meets Noah York.
He must have her.
Noah York is a man with secrets. The world sees him as a billionaire hotel tycoon, but Noah has a dark and dangerous side. For years, he worked covert military operations before he built his fortune. When it comes to death, Noah is a master. He knows that he should steer clear of Claire, but the white-hot attraction Noah feels for the delicate beauty is instant—and consuming.
He will never let her go.
Someone else is just as consumed by Claire—someone who will kill to possess her. And if Noah can’t stop the hunter in the darkness, he may just lose the one woman that he can’t live without.
Ms. Eden first caught my eye when I read an excerpt from one of her books. The intensity of her writing caught me immediately, so I set out to find a full novel. I found the covers a little off-putting in an 'oh dear, is it going to all be about sex?' sort of way; I was hoping to see her intensity put to use in more action and drama than just straight romance. Once I started reading, however, any and all doubts were erased. Sure, there was sex, but it didn't take over the story, despite the blatant covers. All of that lovely intensity hinted at in the excerpt was put into making creepy, dark mysteries full of emotional anguish; suspense at its best.
Mine to Take had a great dynamic from page one; two characters who love each other deeply but have been separated for a decade are brought together when Skye seeks out Trace, who left her, as her last hope against a stalker. While she sees him as a desperate measure, he sees her as a second chance. The two of them dance around each other warily, and it is most engrossing to watch. With some stories, the author does such a good job with the characters that I can practically feel them, and this is one of those stories.
The mystery in this novel is fairly simple, taking second place to the interactions between Skye and Trace, but that was okay. The villain could have been slightly more fleshed out like in some of Ms. Eden's other novels, be he managed to deliver a couple of shivery moments.
Mine to Keep picks up where the first book left off, with only a short period of time passing between them. Both Skye and Trace are suffering from nightmares after the events of Mine to Take, unable to forget how close they came to losing each other. Watching the different ways they react to what happened was fascinating; Skye struggles to return to a semblance of normalcy, to prove that she is not a victim, while Trace is determined to make sure that nothing bad ever touches her again, protecting her even when she doesn't want to be protected. Their relationship is strained almost to the breaking point as secrets are revealed and they learned things about themselves and each other that they never suspected before.
The mystery in Mine to Keep is much more complex than the one in the previous novel; I spent the book guessing and wondering and never quite figuring it out, and in the end...Wow. I thought Ms. Eden was intense before, but with this book the angst and suspense was through the roof. This is a great sequel, both building on the first book and surpassing it completely and setting up for an interesting third novel by introducing some lovely new characters.
Mine to Hold takes the series away from Skye and Trace, giving them a well-deserved break from murder and mayhem, and tells the story of Noah and Claire. I loved both of them on sight when they appeared in Mine to Keep and was very interested in both their pasts and their future. Claire has been running since she was sixteen, and desperation has driven her to Noah's door in search of work. Their relationship was very well written; him protective, her afraid to trust, neither of them able to stop. Their romance becomes downright fascinating, taking on that signature Cynthia Eden intensity, when Claire's enemies start dying and each of them thinks the other might be the one killing them, both jumping instinctively to protect the other whether they are guilty or not.
I figured out most of the mystery in Mine to Hold pretty early on, but there were a couple of surprises along the way and I loved the darker tenor to the novel. The story was more focused on what the villains and peril caused Noah and Claire to learn about each other than it was about the villains and peril themselves, which was fine with me. This is a wonderful continuation of the series, opening it up for more books about certain other characters, especially a certain man who has the worst luck with women...Oh, yes, I would love to read that book.
I recommend this series to those who like an edge of danger to their romance and spine-tensing suspense.
Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.
I rate it an 8.10 for several uses of the f-word per book, as well as some mild and mid-level swearing.
I rate it an 8.10 for some fairly descriptive scenes, innuendo, references, etc. throughout the series.
I give it an average of 7.10 for murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, fights, blood, etc.