by Kate SeRine
Series: Protect and Serve #1
Published by: Sourcebooks
Genres: Romantic Suspense
When a high-profile investigation goes wrong, FBI Agent Kyle Dawson is transferred back home where he is forced to confront his demons…and the only woman he ever loved. Three years ago, Kyle and Abby Morrow shared a wild, passionate summer—then Abby broke his heart. NOW SHE NEEDS HIS HELPKyle never stopped loving Abby. So when Abby uncovers evidence of a human-trafficking ring, leading to her sister’s kidnapping, he swears he’ll stop at nothing to bring her sister home and keep Abby safe. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse and blindsided by their own explosive desires, they must set aside the past before it’s too late.
I enjoyed Kate Serine’s Transplanted Tales series, so when I discovered she was releasing a romantic suspense featuring FBI Agents and local police there was no doubt I would read it. Stop at Nothing is the first in the Protect and Serve series. The series will features Dawson brothers Tom, Gabe, Joe, and Kyle. The Dawson family has a long history in law enforcement. Hello Brothers! Y’all know I was hooked at the mention of brothers. SeRine delivered heat, a second chance romance and intense action making Stop at Nothing a page-turner.
We meet FBI Agent Kyle Dawson in the middle of a chase in NOLA. We quickly learn that despite his strong skills as an agent he really is not a team player. When the perp claims roughing, Dawson’s boss, anxious to get rid of him transfers Kyle back to his home state. Kyle has a chip on his shoulders, but SeRine quickly shares the whys. Now that Kyle is heading home, he will have to deal with his demons. An ex-girlfriend named Abby Morrow who broke his heart and unresolved family issues. Despite his attitude; I liked Kyle’s snark and was anxious to discover what made him tick.
Abby Morrow works at the local sheriff’s office and her specialty is digital forensic. A side job has her uncovering a human-trafficking ring. This discovery has her sister kidnapped, and her brother-in-law might be dead. She quickly finds herself caught up in a dangerous situation.
I loved how SeRine had these two reconnect. It was clever and felt genuine. We quickly learn these two still love each other, and the reasons Abby broke it off. You could feel the sexual tension between the two of them and those feelings were only intensified by the situation surrounding Abby. I knew these two were going to tango, it was only a matter of when. SeRine kept the drama low and I appreciated how the complications were realistic.
The case was far-reaching, with men whose pockets are deep. These are the kind of men who can pay to make problems disappear. Yikes! Abby and Kyle soon find themselves caught up in a lethal game of cat and mouse. SeRine added an interesting twist with a skilled contract man. I actually liked the guy, which is rather twisted. The man is a kidnapper, extortionist, and kills people for a buck. The authored weaved in twists and linked threads as she pulled the case together.
Stop at Nothing struggled a little in finding balance between the romance and case. I felt SeRine tried to give equal page time to both, which is not necessarily a bad thing but at times the intensity of the case was pulled too thin. I will say that the characters were fully developed. I loved Abby and Kyle, their romance felt genuine, as did their actions. Secondary characters like Kyle’s partner and the villains added interest and were unique giving depth to the tale. We meet his brothers and I already have a favorite whose story I am anxious to read. (I will let you pick your own) Both the case and the romance wrapped up nicely giving the reader closer.
Stop at Nothing was an enjoyable start to the Protect and Serve series. I am anxious to read about the rest of the Dawson brothers and look forward to Safe From Harm.
Read an Excerpt
Abby suppressed a shudder as that one word speared straight through the heart. When Kyle Dawson had suddenly appeared in the doorway of her sister’s living room, she’d thought she was hallucinating. But there he was, coming to her when she most desperately longed for him, his black brows drawn together in a frown, the already angular planes of his face even harsher in his distress.
Kyle ducked down a little so he was at eye level with her, those intense sapphire blue eyes showing the depth of his concern as he searched her gaze. “Abby?”
“I interrupted the intruder,” she explained, her gaze flitting briefly toward the Sheriff, who’d looked skeptical from the start and was giving her the stink-eye even now. She cleared her throat a couple of times, before adding, “We scuffled. He got away.”
Kyle nodded, his eyes narrowed. “Was that before or after he cut the power to the house and managed to get by the alarm system?”
She should’ve known Kyle would see through her story. He seemed to have almost a sixth sense when it came to crime scenes. But the photo of Emma bound and gagged suddenly came to mind, her concern for Emma’s safety preventing Abby from confiding in Kyle.
“Clearly, he’d done his homework and had been casing the place, watching for an opportunity to break in when the family was out of town,” she said.
That at least wasn’t a lie. The guy had been prepared. He’d known exactly what he was doing. And she’d hazard a guess that he’d also known Curtis was out of town and that Abby and Tyler were there alone.
Speaking of Curtis… Where the hell was he anyway?
Kyle gave her a knowing look. “Abby—”
“I’m sure Mac and the boys can handle it,” she interrupted, inwardly cringing, knowing that the reference to his father was a low blow. But it had the desired effect.
“You heard the young lady,” Sheriff Dawson interjected. “Gentlemen”—he motioned to Gabe and Tom—“please escort Agent Dawson from the premises.”
Gabe took a step forward to obey his father’s order, but Tom put a restraining hand on his arm and shook his head.
“You look like you could use a little air,” Kyle said, gently but firmly taking hold of Abby’s elbow and leading her toward the doorway. She glanced over her shoulder at Tyler, reluctant to leave him after what they’d been through, but she saw Joe sitting beside him, chatting quietly to put the boy at ease.
Still, as great as it was to see Kyle, she wasn’t exactly eager to be alone with him again. Silence had a way of opening the door to some really uncomfortable questions that she wasn’t exactly ready to answer. That didn’t even include the total bullshit she was feeding everyone about what had really happened.
“Excuse me, Agent, but I have some additional questions for my deputy,” Mac said, his tone even in spite of the anger that flashed in his eyes. “And I would thank you not to interfere with my investigation, young man.”
Kyle lifted his free arm to his side and bent slightly at the waist, offering his father a mocking bow. “Wouldn’t dream of interfering, Sheriff.”
Before his father could offer another word, Kyle ushered Abby from the room and out the front door. Abby’s heart began to race as he led her farther into the growing darkness beyond the headlights and flashing blue-and-reds on the various vehicles.
Once they were out of earshot of any of the other officers, Kyle finally released her and turned to face her, hands on his hips. “Spill it. And don’t give me any bullshit about interrupting a robbery. I could hear some of what was going on. I know he was after something you have—or he thinks you have.”
Abby turned her head away, staring into the darkness crowding in along the dense tree line that bordered the property. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I told you what happened.”
Kyle grasped her chin and forced her gaze back to his. “Abby, it’s me. You could always talk to me. Let me help you.”
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