About the Book
Author: Sherri Wilson Johnson
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release date: August 2, 2022
He wants to protect her. She wants to protect him. A powerful man with dark secrets may kill them both.
Undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Dallas Heath has infiltrated one of the largest big cat illegal trading rings in the States. Now he must unearth vital evidence to bring down kingpin Mitchell Avery before the next litter of cubs crosses state lines. Multiple failed attempts have cost Dallas time and progress, and now he’s threatened with being pulled off the case. The clock is ticking for this seasoned officer. It doesn’t help that a life which includes deception and being apart from the only woman he’s ever loved makes him doubt if undercover work is for him.
Special Agent Elyse Bradford has spent the last three months undercover living next door to Mitchell Avery posing as a woman of great means and vying for an invite to one of his big cat auctions, to which only the most serious and authenticated buyers are invited. If only she could confide in her best friend and fellow agent Dallas, maybe he could help her devise a plan before her cover is blown.
If they’d been assigned to work the case together, they’d have already brought Avery’s organization down. But Dallas is working undercover somewhere too. Since they can’t share the details of their missions or their locations with each other, the former partners—torn apart by assignments too many times—must find another way.
After a strange twist of events propels them together again, hope’s flame flickers…until word spreads of a mole—either in Avery’s organization or within the USFWS. And now neither one knows who to trust. Can they even trust each other when they’ve been apart for so many years?
On a backdrop of Mobile Bay on the Gulf coast, Dallas and Elyse fight to save endangered tigers, keep their covers intact and bring down an enemy whose reach is far beyond what anyone imagined. After tensions rise and tempers flare—coupled with lies and manipulation from all around—they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Including each other.
Will they succeed on their mission without ripping apart their shot at a future together?
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This is a romantic suspense novel with at least one deeply flawed hero. Elyse is the heroine as she and Dallas are undercover agents working to capture the man selling exotic animals in a black market setting. She is an odd agent. She frequently disobeys orders. She carries her real identification in her purse. “She hadn't been thinking, really.” (1471/3315) She uses Dallas' real name in the presence of another. She is stubborn and impulsive and makes mistakes. “She's really messed up this time.” (1085/3315) At one point, Dallas says to her, “Elyse, think like an agent, not like a woman, okay?” (2347/3315) I prefer capable heroines and did not find her a likable character.
The romance in this romantic suspense is a workplace one. Their behavior toward each other during their undercover work was often potentially harmful to the investigation. They would frequently talk, mention they were agents and use their real names in situations where someone could easily walk up and overhear. Their inappropriate conversation was overheard one time.
I appreciated learning some about the selling of exotic animals on the black market. Johnson's writing style is clear and not sophisticated. I did find the behavior of the heroic characters lacking in view of the serious nature of their undercover work.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
About the Author
More from Sherri
For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with Bengal tigers. As a young girl, I even tried to adopt one. In actuality, the “Adopt a Tiger” call was a call to sponsor one in a zoo. Sadly, my family wasn’t financially able to do that, but my love for tigers continued until…well, I’ll let you know if it ever stops. I’ve jokingly said that I will own a captivatingly beautiful tiger with a precious pink nose when I get to heaven. It’s not at all impossible, right? I mean, if the lion and the lamb will be friends, surely my afterlife-self can own a tiger. I’ve put in a request, so we shall see. The fact that I’m allergic to cats won’t hinder me then either!
Every year when we go to the local State Fair, I always make sure I’m there at the right time to see the tiger show. For $5, you can feed them by putting a piece of meat on the end of a stick. You can’t actually pet them or anything like that, though. I became aware a few years ago of the abuse these amazing creatures go through just by being carted around from town to town, put on display, made to perform. And the “pet a cub” opportunities are more harmful to the babies than you can imagine. When they get too big for the petting zoo, what happens to them?
Out of my love for tigers, I began researching to find the answer to that question. Out of that came Endangered Refuge, a reunion romance filled with mystery and suspense. Many of you have probably heard of television shows that give you a behind-the-scenes look at big cat sanctuaries only to discover later that they are fronts for trafficking them and selling their parts on the black market.
Here is where my hero and heroine enter. Special Agents Dallas Carter and Elyse Bradford are both undercover with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services working to shut down a big cat trader. Best friends since college, their work often takes them to different places around the country, but their physical separation never seems to separate their hearts. When they run into each other on the secret mission, neither one knowing that the other has been assigned to the case, sparks fly. But they aren’t always good sparks. Because someone is killing to protect a secret, it’s up to the two agents, posing as socialite Vivian Chandler and cat handler Dakota Heath, to expose the person who exploits these amazing creatures, so all power struggles and personal opinions must be set aside.
This is book four in my Jeopardized Reunions series, which is set in the Mobile Bay area of Alabama. This particular story is set in two places on the bay, in the Gulf Shores/Fort Morgan area and on the Fish River, which separates Fairhope and Magnolia Springs (the setting of book three in the series, Unfortunate Homecoming).
I hope you will consider checking out Endangered Refuge and the other books in the series, all set on Mobile Bay and all written as standalones. The common thread? They are all reunion romances. So while my characters have a past that tore them apart, they have the promise of a future.
I’d love it of you’d follow me on social media and join my subscriber list. I’m always excited to hear from readers!
Places you can find out more about legitimate big cat sanctuaries:
Carolina Tiger Rescue: https://carolinatigerrescue.org
Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary: https://crownridgetigers.com
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deb's Book Review, August 15
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Inklings and notions, August 18
For Him and My Family, August 19
Sara Beth Williams, August 20
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 21
An Author's Take, August 22
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 23
Truh and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 24
Blogging With Carol, August 25
To celebrate her tour, Sherri is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)