Now that I'm writing a romantic suspense series, I'm finally catching up on reading some awesome romantic suspense authors like Pamela Clare. Extreme Exposure
is the first novel in the I-Team series, and I can't wait to read the rest of the novels based on my enjoyment of #1.
The book cover says "The hardest exteriors hide the most vulnerable places", which is true of the romantic leads Kara McMillan and Reece Sheridan. Kara is an investigative reporter on the I-Team, specializing in environmental crimes. She has an adorable 4 year-old son Connor, who loves dinosaurs and smells like baby shampoo. The main reason Kara has a hard outer shell is that Connor's father is a total cad who wants nothing to do with his son. Kara has to fight to take care of Connor as a single mother, and is terrified of getting hurt again.
Reece is a Colorado state senator. How refreshing that Ms. Clare portrays a politician as one of the good guys, which is hard to believe in today's political climate but Reece's kindness and integrity make it more plausible. He's a former schoolteacher who wants to make the world a better place, inevitably smacking up against the corruption and greed making his goal quite difficult.
I LOVED the first meeting between Kara and Reece. Kara is drunk on the powerful margaritas served at Rio del Sol (I think I might have tried one of their margaritas in Boulder if I remember correctly) and she says some outrageous things to Reece as a result of her loosened inhibitions. Then their relationship begins to develop, a slow burn that was delightful to read. An environmental crime threatens their romance but I liked the way Ms. Clare handled the characters' quick attempts at resolving the misunderstanding.
The secondary characters, including Kara's tantric-loving mother, best friend Holly, and caddish ex Galen, as well as Reece's friend Miguel, are well-drawn and fun to read. Even the police chief has his own special style:Chief Irving arrived in less than ten minutes. He was a big, beefy man with a beer gut that made him look eleven or twelve months pregnant. His white hair was cropped short and stood almost on end, giving him the look of someone who'd recently gotten an electrical shock. But the pale blue eyes that gazed out at them from beneath bushy white eyebrows were intelligent, appraising---the eyes of a lifelong cop.
Kara is totally smitten by Reece's hotness:Her gaze traveled from his feet, which rested on the coffee table---could feet truly be sexy?---up his long, muscular legs, over his navy silk boxers with their appealing bulge to his bare torso. What must it be like to live in that body, to have all that delicious muscle and velvety man-skin within reach all day every day? If Kara had his body, she'd be too busy touching herself to make it out of bed in the morning.
(p. 271) Ha!
I assume future books in the series will explore other I-Team characters, and I look forward to learning more about Kara's colleagues. This is an excellent read!