cover image Kill Without Shame

Kill Without Shame

Alexandra Ivy. Zebra, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4201-3757-6

Ivy’s second Ares Security romantic thriller (after Kill Without Mercy) hits the sweet spot for readers who like their alpha males extremely but not preternaturally competent and driven to protect the women they love, and their heroines strong and independent but willing to accept that protection when it comes in a caring, sexy package. Lucas St. Claire is appalled when an old acquaintance from his hometown of Shreveport, La., is discovered shot a few blocks from Lucas’s Houston apartment. The dead man is clutching a photo of Mia Ramon, the girlfriend Lucas dumped for family reasons but never quite got over; the photo is marked “Kill her or else.” Lucas rushes to Mia’s side to investigate, watch over her, and try to restart the relationship he rejected. Mia and Lucas’s renewed and mutually desired connection provides an appealing mix of emotional warmth and erotic heat. The involvement of the men of Ares Security is key in moving the investigation forward, but their brotherly camaraderie feels blander and less essential than in the first book, and the mystery’s solution is ultimately presented as a monologue by the villain. (Jan.)