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Monday, April 9, 2012

Found in Bliss by Sophie Oak

Found in Bliss by Sophie Oak
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (304 pgs)
Other: mild BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Eight years after being tossed aside by the husband who took her son away, Holly Lang finds herself caught between two lovers—the exotic and dangerous Alexei Markov and the gentle but haunted Dr. Caleb Burke.

A former hit man for the Russian mafia, Alexei has been in witness protection while he testified against the mob. Now that he is done, he will do anything to earn Holly’s love.

Dr. Caleb Burke is a walking contradiction. His love for Holly is obvious, but he keeps her at a distance. Underneath his gruff demeanor is a tortured soul that only Holly can heal.

As their passions burn out of control, Alexei and Caleb discover someone is trying to kill her. The only way to discover the identity of the killer is for all three to face up to the secrets of their past and work together to fight for everything they have found in Bliss.

Dr. Caleb Burke has gone native and the sexiest Russian to ever infiltrate the mob is back in Bliss. Grab your gun, fearless reader, 'cause someone’s gonna die.

Caleb, Holly and Alexei together bring whole a new meaning to “miscommunication”. Alexei is Russian, so I gave him a pass on sentence structure screw-ups. The English language, with all the slang we use, is difficult enough. Alexei has the added issue of trying to talk Caleb through the fear and guilt that haunt him when the sun goes down. I have to give Ms. Oak major kudos for keeping Alexei in character throughout the book. There wasn’t a moment where I felt he slipped in speech or personality.

Alexei’s would-be partner in this trio is Dr. Caleb Burke, bless his heart. Ms. Oak knows how to torture her heroes. Caleb was once an idealistic medical crusader. Betrayal and the death of innocent civilians stole his security and sense of self-worth. Caleb can put more meaning into the word “no” than most people could with an entire book. He’s built walls thicker than the Great Wall of China around his heart and not even the Mongolian hordes would be able to breach them. Surely he’s safe from a simple waitress and an aggravating ex-mob hit-man. It’s the ones you underestimate who can cause the most damage and the perfect healing.

Pop singer Kelly Clarkson has a song out that could have been written for Holly Lang. The lyrics include “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller, doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone. What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter, footsteps even lighter, doesn’t mean I’m over 'cause you’re gone.” Holly’s ex-husband holds honors in scumbagology. He even admits it. But like the song says, Holly has taken the trials and came out a stronger, more confident woman but she still can’t seem to get Caleb to make a move. Just when her life seems to be heading in the right direction with Caleb and Alexei forming a tentative partnership, in walks a curveball in the form of her son. Nicky’s going to be a fun character to watch.

And because this wouldn’t be a proper Bliss book without a homicide, Ms. Oak has someone gunning for Holly, Alexei or Caleb. The author does an amazing job of building the tension and keeping readers on their toes trying to figure out the intended victim, the shooter and the reason behind the hit. There are several surprises along the way, good and bad, and one poor Bliss resident finally hits rock bottom. It’s going to take a trip to Texas to heal this future hero.

If you’ve never been to Bliss, what are you waiting for? This is a terrific series. I anticipate each new book even more than the last. The residents of Bliss become so familiar; it’s like taking a mini-vacay to visit quirky friends or odd yet lovable family with each new story. Take a break and find Bliss. You’ll never want to leave.

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