December 13, 2013

Book Review: Halfway Hidden by Carrie Elks

Title: Halfway Hidden (Halfway Hidden #1)
Author: Carrie Elks
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense

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When fear mixes with desire, who can you trust?

Rachel Stone is stuck, contemplating that very question. Spending her time as a bartender in an isolated West Virginia town, she hides behind dark hair and an assumed name. She exists from day to day, trying not to let her past overwhelm her.

When a tall stranger walks into the bar at closing time, her attempts at hiding turn to dust. Muscled and intense, he is attractive enough for Rachel to ignore her instincts and listen to her baser desires. As a storm brews in the skies of West Virginia, confusion builds in Rachel’s mind. What begins as flirtation explodes into a darker, more primal passion, leading her to question everything she thought she knew.

While snow blankets the outside world, they are forced to remain inside, confronting their demons and the sizzling attraction between them. Submitting to their urges is easy; learning who to trust is anything but.

This 30,000 word novella contains references to past abuse and rough, consensual sex.

Halfway Hidden (Halfway Hidden, #1)Halfway Hidden by Carrie Elks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a short novella that is first in the Halfway Hidden series. I enjoyed it even though it was a very fast read. Carrie Elks did a good job setting up the plot and the characters in a way that felt real and not forced. It's a tricky thing trying to get the pace just right in novellas, and I always hate when it feels rushed. I think that Elks hit just the right balance of moving the story along fast enough that everything that needed to happen, happened, but it didn't feel like it was at a breakneck speed.

The characters in this book were very interesting. Rachel has a very dark past that she is running from. She left Boston 14 months ago and disappeared. She ended up in West Virginia laying low and working in a bar. She is just starting to feel relatively safe and not looking over her shoulder all the time when a handsome stranger turns up in town. Murphy claims that he has business in the next town over and is just looking for a bar to hang out in on his downtime. After he's been around for a week or so, a definite chemistry develops between him and Rachel. One night during a snow storm Rachel offers for him to stay with her in her apartment above the bar. It's then that she learns that his interest in her may not be strictly sexual - even though that's undoubtedly a huge part of it.

The sex scenes between Rachel and Murphy were hot. My only complaint with the whole book though is that it seems like they connected on a much deeper and more emotional level than virtual strangers would. I understand that for the sake of the story this needed to happen, but where nothing else seemed rushed or contrived, their emotional bonding did. Not to say that I don't like what happens between the two of them, but still.

While this book doesn't have a cliffhanger ending per se, it is the first in a series, so it does leave you hanging in a good way. Definitely enough that I will pick up the next one to see what happens with Rachel and Murphy.

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Author Bio:
Carrie Elks lives near London, England and loves to write sexy stories with a dash of intrigue. At the age of twenty-one she left college with a political science degree, a healthy overdraft and a soon-to-be husband. She loves to travel and meet new people, and has lived in the USA and Switzerland as well as the UK.

Nowadays, she spends her days sorting out people’s problems at work and her evenings glued to a computer keyboard. An avid social networker, she tries to limit her Facebook and twitter time to stolen moments between writing chapters.

Her favorite authors include L.H. Cosway, Samantha Young, Cara McKenna and C.J. Roberts.

When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found baking, drinking wine or working out how to combine the two.

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