Out of Control, by Shannon McKenna

>> Tuesday, April 11, 2006

book coverI really liked Shannon McKenna's first two romantic suspense titles, Behind Closed Doors and Standing in the Shadows. The suspense was exciting, and the romance even more so. I even enjoyed the cavemen heroes. Her latest, Out of Control (excerpt), features Davy McCloud, brother of Connor, from SITS.

In Behind Closed Doors and Standing in the Shadows, Shannon McKenna introduced the McCloud Brothers: intense, rugged, super-sexy, and deliciously sensual. Now, Davy McCloud is about to meet a woman he can't trust--or live without . . .

Disillusioned P.I Davy McCloud has learned the hard way not to follow blind impulse when it comes to women. He'd rather play it safe, and keep his life simple, calm and uncomplicated. But he's prepared to make an exception when Margot Vetter shows up to teach at the gym next door. The luscious, mysterious woman stirs a hunger he hasn't felt in a long time, as well as a fierce protectiveness he can't quite explain, expecially when her background check reveals she's hiding secrets--secrets of the ugly, deadly kind.

Margot is at the end of her rope. It's bad enough that she's broke and on the run, framed for a murder she didn't commit. Now, she's being terrorized by a malevolent stalker. The only person she dares to turn to is buff, scarily gorgeous Davy McCloud, a man who seems like nothing on earth could intimidate him. But Davy has questions of his own, and the closer she gets to him, the more Margot discovers that she can't hold herself back from this enigmatic, sensual man in any way.

Neither of them expected passion to flare this quickly--or to drag them into a danger as real as their love. Margot's past has finally caught up with her. And for Davy McCloud, life is about to get more than complicated . . .

It's turning deadly...
While as hot as the other books, and with a hero who's not as much of a caveman as Seth and Connor, I liked this one a little bit less. Still, it was a good book, and I'd rate it a B.

Margot Vetter has been running for months now, after waking up alone and naked in a hotel room, only hours after she walked into her boyfriend's office and found him strung up and dead. She soon realized she was being framed for his murder, so she left her whole life behind and ran.

Now in a new city, and with a new name and hair colour, Margot still hasn't left trouble behind. She seems to have acquired a truly creepy stalker, and she can't help but suspect that this isn't wholy independent from the whole murder mess she's running away from. With no one else to turn to, she asks the guy next door to the gym in which she's working for help. After all, the guy's brother has mentioned that he's a PI, so maybe he can give her a few pointers about how to deal with the situation.

Davy McCloud has been watching Margot since the first time she taught a class at the gym, and he's been lusting after her. When she asks him for advice with her stalker problem, Davy gets the feeling she's hiding some crucial details. No matter, her problems are his problems now, and when Margot tries to retreat, Davy refuses. He'll protect her, whether she wants him to or not.

This was fun to read, mostly. While the protagonists of the first two books were kind of similar, Margot and Davy broke that mold. Rather than caveman macho-man, Davy's more an icy, calm, zen martial arts master. Nothing flusters him, except for Margot, who makes a point to try to make him as bothered as possible, as often as she can. And rather than a quietly strong, innocent young woman, Margot is pretty pushy and aggressive, as dominating as Davy. They clash often, and though the constant bickering did get old after a while, it was mostly entertaining, especially seeing cool Davy losing his cool.

The sexual tension and love scenes are top-notch, as I'm used to with McKenna. This aspect of the book is exciting and never, ever feels gratuitous, as what goes on between the sheets very definitely works in the development of their relationship.

I also liked that, though Margot is isolated now, it's made clear that this is not the way things normally are. Margot used to have a good support network, before the traumatic events happened and she had to go on the run. She really misses her girlfriends and her normal, succesful life, and I found myself liking her all the more for it.

The suspense is interesting enough, though I must confess some of it really turned my stomach. McKenna very definitely doesn't shrink from the tough stuff. Unlike in SITS, where the conflict pretty much continued from the events in BCD, you don't need to have read either of the previous books to understand what's going on in OOC. You do catch up with some of the characters of those books, but nothing that will leave you scratching your head.

I'm really looking forward to laid-back, clownish Sean's story, but the next one, Hot Night, doesn't seem to be about him. I wonder if it will be out any time soon?


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