UP IN SMOKE by Natalie E. Wrye

June 25, 2019

Up in Smoke by Natalie E. WryeRules were made to be broken. Until I broke the wrong ones...

Jackson Reed knew the only thing harder than his head was the insatiable one between his legs.

Sandwiched somewhere between following the law and his own instincts, he made up his own rules in the game of “private investigations”: his sacred version of the Holy Trinity.

And more sex.

He towed the delicate line between the “three” until Penelope Castalano—a former flame he equated to the plague—re-enters his life…and obliterates it. Fresh from Paris, his best friend’s attorney breaks the only deal they’ve ever made, sauntering back onto the Manhattan scene at a costume party with more to hide than just her face.

And now one fugitive best friend and two broken promises will ignite a new Holy Trinity in Jackson’s hazardous life.

Caught in the midst of a government coverup that compromises everything he’s ever cared for, Jackson will discover that certain scandals never die.

Only their victims do.

And he’d better make damn sure that he and Penelope aren’t next…

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Standalone - Kisses and Crimes #2
Release - February 27, 2017
Genre - Romantic Suspense
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 3 out of 5
Format - ebook purchased from Amazon
Length - 286 pages
Publisher - Wrye Writing

My awkward thoughts


This book had all the makings of an entertaining and suspenseful novel, but somehow it fell a bit short. The intensity was high, but dropped off before actually reaching anywhere. The characters themselves were hard to connect to - Penelope was selfish and annoying, Jackson was suffering from tunnel-vision, both wanted each other and both were playing games. I enjoyed the push and pull of these people, especially when Jackson would find new ways to distance himself from Penelope. I couldn't help but laugh. However, I could never truly bond with them because their relationship felt very one-dimensional. Throw in the fact that Jackson acknowledges his deep feelings for Penelope (and hers for him), even when she comes back on the scene, he's still entertaining thoughts about other women. He even attempts to move on.

So while this story was easy to read and kept me interested, I was more in it to see if everything would come together, finally, or what. Even in the end, I was still a bit lost. That ending wasn't even an ending. I didn't get it and I feel like I missed the punch line. To make matters worse, the author changed the title to The Investigator, which works because Jackson is an investigator, but the series itself is now called The Gafanelli Mob series. What?! Who were the Gafanelli Mob and why is it only when I went to post my review is the first I'm hearing of this? I get the author wanting to rebrand or take her series in another direction. It's her story, her work, and her prerogative. But I think if you're going to change things up, it should make sense.

Would I read from this author again? Probably. I didn't have a problem with her writing. Her words are what kept me hooked in the first place. I'm sure many people will love it for not only the tangled relationship between Jackson and Penelope, but for the suspenseful elements. I just think that this particular book wasn't for me.

About the Author
Natalie Wrye is a tequila connoisseur, Game of Thrones addict and author best known for writing page-turning Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense.

A fan of the beautifully polarizing anti-hero, she crafts sexy stories about hard-bodied, complex men and the strong-willed women who crave them.

She provides an inappropriate laugh (or ten) and a FREE book here: http://eepurl.com/b4A6_r

Reader Roundtable: http://eepurl.com/bkUdof

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