* Blog Tour / Review / Excerpt * SEARING NEED by Tracey Devlyn

I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.

* Blog Tour / Review / Excerpt * SEARING NEED by Tracey DevlynSearing Need by Tracey Devlyn
Series: Steele Ridge: The Kingstons #3
Published by Steele Ridge LLC on November 9, 2018
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three-half-stars

To escape a brutal killer, a brilliant researcher teams up with a tortured soldier who poses an even greater threat . . . to her heart.

Her sister might be the law and her brothers the brawn, but Riley Kingston is definitely the brains of the family. She's a talented botanist well on her way to a PhD--so why does she feel like a failure? Fired from a dream project in Costa Rica, Riley's stuck back in her hometown. Cataloguing plants on Steele land keeps her busy, but it's far from compelling work. Until she discovers a fascinating new specimen. One with a body made for pleasure . . . and eyes filled with a pain she longs to understand.

Delta Force operator Coen Monroe doesn't want to be studied. Not even by the sexy scientist whose inquisitive glances stir up desires he isn't ready to handle. He came to Steele Ridge to be alone, to battle his nightmares and the memories triggering them. But Riley's gentle seduction is as relentless as her curiosity. She soothes his wounded soul . . . and fires up his defensive instincts. But when her research sparks a deadly conspiracy, Coen is exactly what she needs.

When Riley is targeted by a sociopath bent on silencing her forever, Coen will do anything to protect her. But can he save the woman he loves without losing himself in the process?

 

Danger abounds as we head back to Steele Ridge! With the third book in the Kingston family spin-off, we get cousin Riley’s story. We get a nice glimpse into what’s up with the beloved Steele family as we delve into the extended family a bit more, which is always fun. Riley is the studious Kingston, and she’s a bit down on herself right now and looking for something to pass her time. A manly military man hanging out on Steele land just might fit the bill! I’m torn on this story. I loved seeing the Kingstons and the Steele’s again very much and the aspect of the story that involved them was a joy to read, but the rest came across very stilted. We started out getting the low down on Riley and Coen and then all of a sudden people we had never seen or heard of before were taking over a scene. I wanted more groundwork before being thrust blindly into secondary locations. The intrigue was rushed, and the happily ever after was left up in the air a bit. Overall, I enjoyed getting the next story and parts of the book were interesting, but it wasn’t one of my favorites in the series.

Botanist Riley Kingston is left feeling like a failure when a research mission in Costa Rica that she spent several years on is abruptly ended and she finds herself back home in Steele Ridge. Britt is keeping her busy cataloging plants on Steele land, but she’s hoping something more exciting comes around soon. She might be regretting that wish before she knows it when danger comes knocking!

Delta Force operator Coen Monroe is thankful the opportunity to become one with nature again on Steele land as he works hard to come down from the nightmarish aftermath of a mission gone wrong. He’s in the throes of the worst time of his life, and he’s not really in the mood for a snarky researcher setting her sights on why he’s hanging around, but the more time he’s around Riley, the more he starts to feel a connection with her. When her past comes back to haunt her, he’s the first in line to make sure she’s kept safe … and left hoping for a happily ever after in the end!

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Tracey Devlyn writes contemporary and historical romantic suspense and mainstream thrillers. An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website TraceyDevlyn.com.

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:

Her sister might be the law and her brothers the brawn, but Riley Kingston is definitely the brains of the family. She’s a talented botanist well on her way to a PhD—so why does she feel like a failure? Fired from a dream project in Costa Rica, Riley’s stuck back in her hometown. Cataloguing plants on Steele land keeps her busy, but it’s far from compelling work. Until she discovers a fascinating new specimen. One with a body made for pleasure . . . and eyes filled with a pain she longs to understand.
Delta Force operator Coen Monroe doesn’t want to be studied. Not even by the sexy scientist whose inquisitive glances stir up desires he isn’t ready to handle. He came to Steele Ridge to be alone, to battle his nightmares and the memories triggering them. But Riley’s gentle seduction is as relentless as her curiosity. She soothes his wounded soul . . . and fires up his defensive instincts. But once her research sparks a deadly conspiracy, Coen is exactly what she needs.
When Riley is targeted by a sociopath bent on silencing her forever, Coen will do anything to protect her. But can he save the woman he loves without losing himself in the process?

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EXCERPT:

An animal’s scream pierced the moist North Carolina air.

As she’d heard all manner of screeches, cries, chirps, ribbits, and howls, Riley Kingston’s radar barely blipped at the minor disturbance. She swiped at a bead of sweat on her nose before entering the GPS coordinates for the precious patch of Panax quinquefolius she’d located.

American ginseng, also known as seng, thrived in shaded, moist, well-drained slopes located across the middle and eastern United States. Many believed the root, resembling a windblown parsnip, cured diabetes, boosted energy, and managed sexual dysfunction, making it a coveted commodity across the globe, especially in Asian cultures.

Kneeling, Riley concentrated as her fingers wended their way between the compound prongs in search of the thick sympodium rising out of the rich black soil. “One, two, three…” She counted each plant with painstaking precision, careful not to miss a single one. In the growing shadows, she relied more on touch than sight.

Although she still had quite a bit of the Steele Conservation Area to survey, she was growing concerned about the scarcity of Panax she’d logged so far.

“Riley, you there?” barked a familiar, staticky voice.

She closed her eyes and drew in a deep, frustrated breath before resuming her counting. “Four, five, six, seven—”

“Riley, it’s Britt.”

No duh.

“Eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve—”

“Answer the damn radio, Riley, or I’m coming out there to find your scrawny ass.”

“Gahrrr!” She dug into one of the many pockets of her field vest. “Can’t a girl get some freaking alone time?” Being a female in the Kingston-Steele family was a royal pain in the butt sometimes.

Walkie-talkie in hand, she asked in her calmest voice, “What can I do for you, boss?”

After her Costa Rican research trip abruptly ended, she’d returned home in utter misery. Noticing her struggle, her cousin Britt offered her a much-needed distraction. A job.

At first she’d refused his offer, unable to bear the possibility of another failure, especially one where her strong, got-it-together cousin was concerned. But Britt’s annoying and persistent texts and the enticement of getting back into the field lured her into acceptance.

“Are you headed back?” Britt asked.

“Not yet. I want to finish this transect first.”

“Look around, Riley.”

“Okay.” She scanned her immediate surroundings. Patches of jewelweed intermingled with sprigs of Solomon’s seal and mayapples on the forest floor. Great canopies of oak, hickory, and maple darkened the landscape above. “Am I searching for anything specific?”

A very male, very big sigh preceded, “Daylight—or lack of it. You need to get out of there before nightfall.”

Riley blinked several times, only now realizing she’d been squinting into the shadows. “Um, right. I’m on my way.”

“Straight back,” he warned. “No distractions.”

“Did you miss the part where I grew up and became an adult?”

“No, but I think you did. Hurry up. Randi’s taking me out to dinner.”

“You don’t have to wait—”

“Chop-chop, Riley.”

The whole alpha-male thing was downright suffocating. So much testosterone surrounded her that it was a wonder she hadn’t grown a set of balls yet.

Clenching her teeth, Riley dropped her walkie-talkie back into her vest and stowed away her handheld GPS unit. With the coordinates marked, she would be able to return tomorrow and finish inventorying Panax.

If she didn’t love Britt so much, she would’ve taken the long way back just to piss him off. But no matter how much she’d like to kick his shins, he’d saved her in ways even she didn’t comprehend when he offered her this job.

Following her internal compass, she set off for where Britt awaited her at the wildlife research center. Rather than retrace her steps, she made a sharp ninety-degree turn, opting for a shortcut. She knew this land better than anyone. Well, maybe not Britt, but she was gaining ground on her cousin.

She’d spent hours traipsing these hills, conducting vegetative surveys and observing Britt’s beloved red wolves. Watching the emergence of a new pack of pups this spring had been amazing. Calypso and Apollo demonstrated as much tolerance of their babies’ antics as Ross and Sandy Kingston showed their five children.

The importance of the survey and the knowledge that Britt trusted her to do a good job went a long way in repairing her battered ego. But lately a restlessness had settled into her bones, scrambling her thoughts and feelings into a million different directions.

She needed… something more.

Another scream arrowed through the trees, sending ice shards down her spine.

“That was no animal.”

Riley sprang forward before her brain could catch up. Ascending a steep rise, she grasped small tree trunks as the toes of her hiking boots dug into the loamy earth.

Once she reached the crest, she spotted a creek cutting along the hollow, creating a shimmering dark ribbon in the gloom. Stands of towering silver-barked beech trees and glossy-leaved rhododendrons fanned out from the rushing water. Not a single bird fussed at her nor did a mosquito buzz at her ear. Every creature in the vicinity held its breath, anticipating.

What?

Another scream, more guttural, more wounded, barreled into her, stripping away her breath and shoving against her heart.

Sweat snaked down her temple as she stalked the ridgeline, searching for the source of so much torment, so much pain.

Time slogged by, though her pulse ticked away each nerve-racking second.

Another scream. No. A man’s roar of anguish and hatred and fear.

This time she caught movement up ahead. She sprinted the short distance, her chest near to bursting with anxiety. Below, a small two-person tent, the color of muddy grass, sat amid a blanket of ferns. The domed structure shook as if it straddled a seismic fault line.

Her instincts urged her to rush down the hill. But her too-stupid-to-live meter was clicking off the charts. What if someone was being attacked? Or murdered? Or…

Riley threw her imagination in neutral and reached for her walkie-talkie.

That’s when the tent’s occupant flung himself out of his shelter and clambered to his feet.

His hair disheveled.

Eyes wild.

And body buck-ass naked.

 

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three-half-stars

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