Kiss, Marry, Kill
Iron Clad Security #1
By: Sidney Halston
Releasing March 28, 2017
He’s been chasing a memory . . .
It was just supposed to be a regular Thursday afternoon…and then he saw her. Sitting in seat L214, one seat over from his at the baseball game, right next to her douche of a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. An impromptu kiss for the kiss cam, and Jax knew his life would never be the same. Five years and a tour in Afghanistan later, Jax is back stateside running his own private security firm, Iron-Clad, with his best friend. He isn’t the man he used to be… but Megan isn’t the sexy and sweet, though sheltered, twenty-two-year-old he left behind, either. And she’s in trouble.
…but now they’re on the run.
Megan Cruz has made something of herself. She’s turned her dreams of pop stardom into a reality. But when a deadly stalker breaks into her home claiming to be her number-one fan, the only person she can turn to is the boy who got away. But Jax isn’t the same carefree charmer who stole her heart, then broke it when he joined the military. This man is seductive, hard, guarded. And he’ll do anything to protect what’s his.
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
I read Sidney Halston’s Pull Me Close and was really, really impressed with the way she wrote her characters and the issues they were dealing with. She writes with a lot of empathy and she had obviously done quite a bit of research for that particular novel. So when I was given the opportunity to read Kiss Marry Kill, I was very much onboard. I love romantic suspense!
Kiss Marry Kill started out with a bang so that I was immediately sucked into the action. This is exactly how you want your romantic suspense–in the midst of action and just keep it coming. Unfortunately that’s where Kiss Marry Kill falls a bit flat. Halston tries to do just a little too much with this first effort at romantic suspense and as such it comes off more new adult romance bookended with a side of suspense. While the characters are initially sweet and layered and interesting, I felt that the novel could have been tightened up a lot in order to keep the suspense going. Instead, alternating chapters told the background story when one would have been sufficient; this significantly diluted the suspense that was created at the beginning.
The manner of storytelling also made the romance grow a bit boring for me, which is kind of unfortunate since I was initially loving it. I loved that Jax was this sweet, but rash hero and that he introduced Megan to new adventures. I also thought it was a wise (although somewhat cliched) structuring of character to have him be closed after he returned from Afghanistan and that Megan would want to bring back some of the boy she knew. Jax’ internal struggle of whether to be Megan’s lover or bodyguard just didn’t seem like enough of deterrent to keep them apart. Even the sex scenes became kind of rote and I oddly found myself skipping over them, also kind of disappointing.
As for the suspense, the issue of Megan’s stalker flits about in the background for probably a little more than half of the novel when the action resumes. If you read a lot of romantic suspense or mysteries, the ending will come as no surprise and again, I was disappointed as I was expecting more.
So while Kiss Marry Kill is well written with likeable characters, it works more on the level of a romance novel than as a romantic suspense as the primary focus was on the romance rather than the suspense. I hope that the next installment in the series, if it’s also supposed to be romantic suspense, gives us a lot more action.
This is definitely for you folks who want a heated romance with a tad of suspense.
I was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
rating: (3 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies)
USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It”–Nike. And that’s exactly what she did.
After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative, romantic side and wrote Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second. When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
signed print copy of KISS, MARRY, KILL
“Promise me, you’ll be happy,” he sang from the other side of the door. “Promise me, you’ll always sing. Promise me you’ll never settle . . .” He jiggled the door handle. “Meggy? Where are you, my little mouse?” he said in a sing-song voice, sounding nice enough. Soft enough.
Safe enough. But Megan Cruz knew better. The man trying to lure her out of her enormous walk-in closet was deranged. Megan huddled in a corner behind all of her cocktail dresses, her knees pushed up and a butcher knife in one of her trembling hands. Just waiting. Waiting for the cops to show up, or for Ryan to finally find her. If she could stop breathing, she would. Trying to stay perfectly still and utterly quiet was an impossible feat with her hands shaking so violently. Surely he could hear her fear from where he stood on the other side of the door. If he walked deep enough into the closet, the dresses that served as a barrier between them would not be sufficient to shield her. And the fact that he’d broken into her house in the middle of the night was a good indication that he did want to hurt her.
Twenty minutes earlier she had been sitting on her bed, completely immersed in writing some lyrics in her notebook, when she heard the sound of a window shattering downstairs. Her house may have been huge, but it wouldn’t take long for whoever had broken in to find her, especially since her room was the first one up the grand staircase, even more obvious because of its huge double doors. Not about to sit and wait to find out if it was her stalker or a robber who had broken in, she immediately sent a text to her parents who lived close by, praying they’d understand the message: Break in. 911. Help! Then she silenced her phone and tucked it into her bra. She had also grabbed the enormous butcher knife she’d hid under mattress six months ago when Ryan had started sending her disturbing emails and letters.
At that time she’d thought he was just an overzealous fan and had worried she was being overly cautious, but now, as she cowered in fear, she realized how wrong she’d been. Megan actually held her breath when she heard the squeaky noise of the hinges of her closet door. He was inside now. Sweat dripped down her back and her heart pounded so loudly it seemed he had to have heard it. It felt as if it was going to physically come out of her chest, together with the sandwich she’d eaten a few hours ago. Peering under the hanging clothes she could see green
Converse sneakers moving closer to where she sat curled into a small ball, her arms around her knees.
“Oh Meggy, where are you? Sing for me, my naughty little mouse. Just one song. Just ‘Promise Me,’ that’s my favorite.”As he stepped closer, she tightened her grip on the knife.
“You’re supposed to make your fans happy.” His voice was louder and more agitated this time.
She could hear the fabric running through his fingers as he caressed her clothes, shifting the fragile curtain of dresses and shirts she was hiding behind.
“Oh, this is what you wore to the Grammys last month!” He pulled the dress out, and Megan tensed when a sliver of light cut through her hiding place. The small gap where the dress had hung made her more visible, and if he happened to look down he’d undoubtedly see her on the floor behind the rest of the clothes. She shut her eyes. “This is perfect. You can wear this when you sing for me at my house. Does anyone else know how much you love the chase, Meggy? Am I the only one that knows your secret? I have your new room all ready for you. We can play and sing all the time…It’ll be so fun, Meggy.”
His feet were moving slowly, as if he had all the time in the world. She could tell he was directly in front of her now by how close the sound of his heavy breathing was and by the way the rubber soles of his sneakers skidded against the wood floor. She shut her eyes harder and braced herself. She didn’t need her eyes open to see him—the memory was burned into her brain. His face was unassuming and his body unimposing. White skin, rounded cheeks, kind-looking face, maybe even cute, if he wasn’t a complete sociopath. He wasn’t too thin or too large, not too tall, not too short. Just an ordinary-looking guy. One you would smile at in line for coffee or at the grocery store. The non-threatening Good Samaritan who helped you with your flat tire. Completely harmless, completely average, except for his eyes, gray eyes that were a bit too large and had a slight tilt upward, reminding her of a cat. Gray eyes that could be considered attractive if it weren’t for the coldness behind them.
Megan didn’t want to die looking into that coldness. She didn’t want to die hiding in her closet, with the creepy man asking her to sing the song that was about the best four days of her entire life. The four days that also changed the course of her life. Ironic, she would potentially die thinking of those memories.