Series: Spark #4
Author: Jennifer Ryder
Release Date: February 28, 2015
Going undercover has its challenges. When Detective Ryan Clark is sent to the sleepy coastal town of Fremantle to dismantle the country’s most lethal drug syndicate, it’s worth the risk. Even if he becomes a fatality, in the war against drugs.
Ryan finds himself coming back to the same coffee shop. Blondie, the local barista, has him hot under the collar and reaching for his piece. He knows the attraction isn’t just one-sided.
She’s trying to keep her distance.
It only makes him want her more.
Willow Asher left it all behind, but not by choice.
After two long years, she’s finally getting somewhere. Willow has a busy café with her buxom business partner, Gabby, who is the closest thing she has to family.
Although Willow’s past still plagues her thoughts, she’s determined to have her happily-ever-after. As soon as her demons stop haunting her.
What she doesn’t need is the complication of Mr Sexy-Brown-Eyes, who seems to be drinking more and more coffee.
She doesn’t want the questions.
She’s still trying to get her story straight.
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** Barb’s Review **
Book 4 in the Spark Series has arrived. And… just dayum… This book focuses on Ryan Clark. Yes, that tall, dark drink of water we met in Spike and saw bits and piece of since then. The hot as sin undercover cop who has a hard-on for the ladies and a way about him that makes hearts thud and panties drop. And just.. sweet baby Jesus, he’s sex on legs.. just yeah. In all honesty, if I could give this book higher than a 5 I would. I loved them all, the whole series is awesome but this particular one is just fin-fucking-nominal. (nods lots) Its totes a 8.5… best 8 and a half hours I’ve spent nose deep in a book! HA!
The feel roller-coaster was in high demand during this book. I laughed, cried and swore like a sailor a few times. Plus Jennifer is helping me add to my “what in the hell is that?” Aussie dictionary. (laughs) I can’t wait for the next installment in this series.
***small spoiler alert***
When Ryan Clark is offered yet another undercover gig he jumps at the opportunity. Not only is he trying to prove himself to the men and teams around him, he’s doing something that he loves. Dedication is one thing he has going for him…. well okay one of many but still, he’s a good cop. As long as he can keep his dick in his pants. When he arrives at his new location in Fremantle things are looking good. He is close to the beach and his surfboard has missed him. Finding a coffee shop, a random act of finding a good cuppa… means he meets a girl that catches his eye. He is a man after all. But when Willow, the little barista sees him it turns out she has seen him before and with a lot less clothes on. Seems the time he spends at the beach has caught her attention. Even if he doesn’t know it yet. Gabby though, the red head who makes it blatantly obvious she is ogling him enjoys getting to them both.
When he meets up with the other undercover already on the case in hand things start to pick up. Lets just say, Ryan does not have his sea legs yet. I almost feel sorry for him.. almost. (laughs hard) But it means he is late going to his now.. (dare I say it?) favorite cafe? The little blonde who caught his eye the first day is what he is really going for. Men are so predictable. As he makes a habit of frequenting the little cafe his admiration for Willow or blondie as he calls her grows. Its obvious they need to man up (so to speak) and take that plunge. Talk more than a few words together. Go out, do something.. creative. (grins) But when a conversation they have over gardening of all things sparks a memory for Ryan (As his mum likes to garden) he makes a plan. If she is too busy to keep up with the gardening, maybe he can help her out that way.
So with the help of Gabby giving her address to him Ryan uses his day off to stake out her garden, her yards really and makes a plan of action. Including making time to go to the cafe at opening and get his cuppa. One he gets back to Willow’s house from the hardware store (plants, wood and tools in tow) he gets busy. Remaking potting beds, trimming hedges and anything else he can find that needs to be done. Hours later he has it all done and is exhausted. He manages to fall asleep on her swing. So when Willow comes home and there is a strange truck in her drive she gets pissed. Then she sees the hedges have been trimmed.. she assumes Gabby has sent a yard man over for her. Well in a way I guess she did. (laughs) But all she finds besides her new planter boxes is a passed out Ryan snoring on her porch swing.
When she gets a good look around at the hard work he put in she is overwhelmed. Her had done that for her. (I’d have been all over him like white on rice.. just saying.) Once he shows off his handy work Ryan asks her to his house for dinner. Thankfully the man has a few skills and can follow a recipe so when they get to his place they have a hearty stew waiting on them. After dinner is finished Willow offers to clean up while he showers quickly. Once that shower is over though.. the night doesn’t end. They spend a few hours really getting to know each other…. in a biblical way. But the next morning when he wakes she is gone. Thankfully that does not discourage him in any way. He is determined if nothing else. Willow keeps her secrets closer to her now but is able to push them back enough to actually start enjoying her time (when she can get it) with him. Weeks later they have a nice routine in place to the point that Ryan’s feelings for her have grown even more. So much that he promises her that ‘he will never hurt you again” because he knows (call it a cops instincts) that she was hurt before. And now he just wants to keep her safe.
Ryan even contemplates getting permission to tell her who he is and what he does. That in itself says a lot. But now the question is does he really want to lay this on top of her? Would it be too much for her to handle? The next day he has free he goes, of course to the cafe first and find her (Willow) in a not so good mood but tells her he has plans for them. And when he shows up later that night she sees a clean shaven, semi dressed up tall hunk of a man at her door. She definitely approved of the fresh looking man before her. Once she was dressed he took her out on an actual date. A nice Italian restaurant, dinner, wine and a little (coughs) playtime on the beach. That’s when she lets it slip that today was her birthday. Ya know the born on date not the fake on she was given when she was relocated. She is emotional to say the least. Thankfully Ryan had made tonight all about her and making it special. Even if he didn’t know.
Their relationship is steadier and growing heavy in the way they both feel but one night while working (aka spying on the enemy and making a move) Gabby, Willow and their friend Sarah happen to walk into the pub they are in. Well both Ryan and Mick (his undercover partner) decide to use the free time before Ryan is to make the ‘buy’ from Bones to hang with the girls. They dance and have a good time. But fate had other plans after that. Ryan goes out to the alleyway and makes a buy from Bones.. but what he doesn’t count on is Willow ‘needing air’ and catching him in the act. Her past comes back and slaps her hard in the face. She freaks the feck out on Ryan when he tries to calm her down. And… as the days pass they both suffer. Ryan tries to go to her house and tell her what’s going on but he hurtful words throw him off his game so they are back to square one. Ryan tries to give her space. Willow tries to move on but her heart is breaking. Broken really. She can’t go down the ‘I love a druggie’ path anymore. And its killing Ryan that he can’t tell her what’s going on.
After a couple of days, a very long week and a few more awful days Gabby notices more changes in Willow. More than the bags under her eyes and her foul mood. Was she pregnant? Or was it just PMS? She decided to get a test on the way home and see. Well 3 tests and a mild panic attack later she has 3 very positive tests. Willow. Is. Pregnant. With. Ryan. Clark’s. Baby! (happy dances) Though she is happy, scared and about to flip her shit she doesn’t know what to do. Needing air she run to her car and heads for the beach. She just needs to think. Clean fresh air can help. What she doesn’t count on is that Ryan has been (coughs) stalking (coughs) her since the break up. So when he sees her fly out of her house and high tail it down the road he follows.. and when he finds her on the beach he decides to put caution to the wind and his career on the line to say fuck it. He tells her he in an undercover cop. And of course she doesn’t believe him. Not until he tells her what she is hiding from. Seems Mr Ryan was not going to lose her. He called in a favor, did some snooping pieced together what he wasn’t told.
When she figures out he is telling her the truth, I mean how can he not be with what he knows about her. No one knows that… she’s thrown for another loop. How was she supposed to handle that news on top of everything else? She needs time.. he is willing to give her that. After getting a call from Mick he finds out tomorrow is D day (so to speak). He will have an early morning and an even longer day tomorrow but starting now he decides to text Willow as many truth’s as he can until its bed time. This of course is what she needed to see now. Its the small things that make you grow as a couple and fall in love. He is putting in the effort as he gives her time away.
Ryan and Mick’s day sitting out in the water, in the water ‘fishing’ is really spent watching the boat in the water not too far from them. All they need is to get the pictures they need. Then the Coastguard and others who are on standby are notified they’ve had action and.. the shit day goes straight to hell. In a hand basket. A fiery one at that. The yacht they had been watching, the one behind this shit storm of drugs and corruption. Then, it happens. The worst thing to happen during an undercover sting. They were busted. The bad guys boarded the boat and they (Ryan and Mick) both went down. Before he can call for help Ryan blacks out. By the end of the day both Gabby and Willow are dead on their feet. An hour to go and they’ll be out of here. What they didn’t know was that with one phone call both of their lives would be upturned and in a mad rush to get to the hospital.
They see Mick first thing when they get in the hospital and its Mick that has to break the news to Willow that Ryan had been shot. He’d lost a lot of blood and was in surgery. To say she lost her shit would be putting it lightly. Not that anyone could blame her. When the Doctor finally comes to tell her he made it through surgery she is relieved. She would get to tell him that she loved him. As the Doctor gets ready to leave he is paged and nurse runs to tell him “he’s crashing”. What told her it was Ryan, I don’t know but Willow runs after the Doctor and when she gets to the room she sees Ryan being shocked. She goes into hysterics and is drug out of the room. Then… as if this day couldn't get any worse she has a pain in her lower belly and then there is blood running down her thighs. That’s all she saw before the world went dark.
Thankfully Mick was at his side when Ryan woke up. He was in bad shape, hurting like hell and panicking to get a phone to call Willow. When Mick told him he had called her and that she was there in the hospital he needed to see her. But when Mick told him she had been admitted, the big teddy bear was demanding. He wanted out of the bed and now. He called the nurse and of course she did not want to let him out of bed… but that did not stop until Mick had him in a wheelchair and out of the room. When he went to her room he found her sleeping. Right after she woke up she was elated to see him. But then had to tell him what happened. And finally they got an answer to the lingering question. Was there a baby still in her… would they get the chance to be a real family. A family built of love.
When the babies heart beat started to play in the room they both knew there lives would never be the same again.
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New Adult and erotic romance writer, and author of the Spark series.
A sexy imagination, a life-long love of books and a sucker for romance, Jennifer Ryder couldn't stifle her creativity any longer.
Writing steamy adult romance has become her new focus. Living on a rural property in New South Wales, Australia, she enjoys the best of city and country.
Her loving husband is ever willing to provide inspiration, and her two young cherubs, and sheep that don't see fences as barriers, keep life more than interesting.
Jennifer placed third in the International Stringybark Erotic Short Fiction Award 2013.