The Green-Eyed Doll
by Jerrie Alexander
Published: December 7th, 2012
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: eBook, Paperback
Heat Level: Steamy
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Length: 94,000 words
Catherine McCoy is on the run. For the past year, she’s been on the move, hiding the secrets and guilt in her heart. When she lands in small-town Texas and meets Sheriff Matt Ballard, he ignites a flame she thought lost forever.
Matt has scars of his own. He left the big city after an undercover operation went bad and his partner was killed. Now, as Matt hunts for a serial killer who paints his victims’ faces like porcelain dolls, Catherine becomes a safe haven for him. Two tortured souls finding comfort in each other’s arms—until he uncovers her secret, and their bond of trust is broken.
When Catherine disappears, Matt races to find her, fearing the murderer has found his next green-eyed doll. But the killer has a surprise coming. Catherine will fight to the death before she’ll be a victim again. Will her determination be enough?
Catherine paced and argued with herself. Should she stay or go home? She’d told Matt he’d need a friend after the first woman went missing and now this. She couldn’t imagine the pressure he must be under. Her plan was to have a hot supper waiting for him. She’d basted and basted until the roast withered and fell apart. The once firm potatoes? Mush. The gravy was a light brown paste.
Benedict Arnold stood and trotted to the back door before Catherine heard Matt’s pickup. The dog was glad to know Matt was home, too. She leaned back against the kitchen counter and waited.
“Hey.” A lame greeting, but seeing him stunned her speechless.
Dark circles and cold, weary, blue eyes marred his Michelangelo face. His black hair fell in disarray and looked like he’d raked his fingers through a number of times today. His chiseled jaw and chin were dark with a long day’s stubble. With a couple of long strides, he pinned her between him and the counter. He framed her face with his hands, closed his eyes, and lowered his forehead to hers. They stood in silence for a long time, unmoving, their bodies not touching. Fear for the missing woman radiated off him.
His anguish, more than she’d planned for, hit her hard. His dedication and concern, traits she admired, shook her conviction that no man could be trusted. His tenderness, something she’d never had, touched a long-neglected place in her soul.
In that small space of time, where no one else in the world existed, Catherine’s heart found hope. Tears, she’d promised herself never to shed again, slid unchecked down her cheeks. But these tears weren’t because of her pain or grief. She cried because Matt suffered and grieved for the missing woman. She slid her arms around him, stroking his tense muscles.
“Hey, yourself.” He leaned back and studied her face. The warmth behind his eyes returned as he wiped away her tears with the pads of his thumbs. “Were those for me?”
She nodded and emotions swirled in her head. Catherine struggled to regain her perspective. “I have to remove no more tears from the Never list.”
“Why would you hold yourself to such a never?”
“The only thing crying gets you are red eyes.”
“Okay, tough guy. Maybe someday you’ll trust me enough to explain. Why’d you break a rule for me?”
“The worry for Annie Travers in your eyes broke my heart. I’ve never known anyone with your compassion and dedication.”
“Careful.” The corners of his mouth lifted. “You’ll be calling me John Wayne again.”
“Same soul.” She pushed a lock of black hair off his face. He caught her wrist in his hand.
“Stop, Catherine. I’m nobody’s hero. I failed miserably in that department.”
Catherine McCoy is a woman with many secrets. She’s running from her past, always on the move and never in one place for long. Never long enough for people to get close to her that they might get nosy enough to dig into her past. After the verbal and physical abuse she suffered in her marriage, she’s weary of men and intimacy, until Sheriff Matt Ballard shows an interest in her. He makes her feel things she doesn’t want to feel, but she can’t resist his charm, his honorable nature, or the way he shows his emotions for the victims of the town’s serial killer. I thought Catherine made great strides from a skittish and introverted to confident and brave over the course of two months. A lot of her progress was a credit to the way Matt treated her.
Matt was a wonderful hero. He was strong, brave, he had a sense of humor and an unshakable sense of honor. Like Catherine, he too had his demons, but he didn’t let them stop him from trying to connect with her. She was well aware that he had her entire history at his fingertips, but he never once betrayed her trust, no matter how tempted he may have been. There was a revelation about his past that caught me off guard. While realistic and plausible, it broke my heart a little to read the words and grasp the implications. If there was any one flaw that could trip him up, it would be his zero tolerance policy for liars. That was a fickle thing considering the woman he had come to care about was full of secrets.
This story was an absolute hit for me. I’m not kidding when I say that I started reading this at 11pm, and I didn’t stop until 5am. I just couldn’t put it down. The author managed to plant a romance in the middle of a very chilling and disturbing thriller. She did a wonderful job of transporting me right in the middle of the small town; I could see every building and every road she described. Even the townsfolk were easy to distinguish and remember. That could have been a really difficult task to pull off – to expect a reader to remember so many different characters (or in this case, suspects). It is a testament to her story telling that each one was memorable or had something that stood out about them. Be it a sweet old lady who became protective of Catherine, or the married couple that liked to get drunk at the local watering hole and cause a scene, or the sassy, older secretary in Matt’s office. The list goes on, but I’m sure you understand what I’m getting at. Where Ms Alexander really shined was in creating her antagonist. I felt nauseated reading his POV, and seeing the words turn into pictures inside my head. Ladies, he’s really creepy!
If there was one thing I didn’t like, it would be the many times Matt “distracted” Catherine from telling him about her past, and Catherine let him get away with it. As soon as that happened, I saw the cliché looming on the horizon. However, it served to drive the story towards it’s inevitable climax of which I spent every moment biting my nails. The conclusion of ending was so romantic and perfect for them.
Great suspense, a creepy as hell villain, great supporting characters and a steamy romance are all packed in between the pages of this terrific book. I for one can’t wait for the next Jerrie Alexander book. Grab your copy now. I highly recommend it!
“You growl like a mama bear, but look like a playboy model. Quite a contrast…threw me for a second.”
~Matt to Catherine
Humor danced in her eyes, she was up to something.
“I could hear them griping from my desk. Figured the mayors chewed most of your ass clean off.” She did her usual eyebrow wiggle. “Want me to check for you?”
“Your heart couldn’t stand it.”
~Sue and Matt
“I have one question before I can answer.”
His face grew serious, and his eyes never left her face. “By all means, ask away.”
“What would John Wayne do?”
“Nothing, he’s dead. His eyebrows dipped into a scowl. “I’m being serious.”
“So am I.” She glared back at him.
~ Matt and Catherine. I thought this was so cute, but it won’t make sense unless you have read the book. The John Wayne reference is special to them, and to the author as well, according to her bio.
About the Author
A student of creative writing in her youth, Jerrie set aside her passion when life presented her with a John Wayne husband, and two wonderful children. A career in logistics offered her the opportunity to travel to many beautiful locations in America, and she revisits them in her romantic suspense novels.
But the characters went with her, talked to her, and insisted she share their dark, sexy stories with others. She writes alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other. She likes to torture people, make them suffer, and if they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.
Jerrie lives in Texas, loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for her heroes and heroines.
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Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the author for the purpose of a blog barrage. A review in exchange was not promised. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own, and in no way represent the views or opinions of the publisher/distributor.
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