Romantic Suspense Review and Giveaway ~ The Lair by @ABMichaelsbooks

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A Sinner's Grove Novel
A.B. Michaels
Released June 16th, 2015
Red Trumpet Press

The Lair follows on the heels of Sinner’s Grove, a contemporary suspense novel centered around the fictional artists’ retreat on the northern California coast known as “The Grove.”

Dani Dunn, the local innkeeper, has just learned of her famous father’s death and must travel back to her home country of Italy to attend the funeral. To say she’s not looking forward to it is an understatement. In fact, she’s petrified. The estate she grew up in holds terrifying memories that she knows she’ll have to confront if she’s ever to get on with her life.

Complicating matters is the fact that her flirtatious friend, Detective Gabe de la Torre, is coming along for the ride – without being asked. However, as Dani discovers the true evil that awaits her, Gabe proves he’s much more than a friend – he’s a sworn protector who may lose his own life in the process of saving hers.

WARNING: THE LAIR deals with a very real, but sensitive subject, human trafficking.  It may be disturbing to some readers.

Dani Dunn's life in California is interrupted by the sudden death of her father back in her home country of Italy. Family friend, Gabe de la Torre, travels with her to be a shoulder whether Dani likes it or not. Once in Italy, the real drama begins. Nightmares and memories plague Dani once in her father's home. Gabe's investigative nature leads him to help Dani, personally and professionally.

Michaels kept me on my toes from the prologue to the very last page. I continued to read and almost devour every word in an effort to find out what horrors were taking place in Dani's family business, The Stella d'Italia Hotel empire. The intricately woven story of family, fortunes, and even murder shows the depths one writer goes through to tell a story others might fear to tell.

The Lair is an all too real tale that will keep your pulse racing from the first word to the last. Bravo to Miss Michaels for being bold and talented enough to create the world Dani and Gabe live in. I look forward to reading the next novel in the Sinner's Grove series, The Depth of Beauty.

Thank you to AB Michaels for gifting me a copy of The Lair in exchange for an honest review.


Exclusive Excerpt

The nerve of Gabriele. For the past fourteen months, ever since he’d joined the Marin County Investigation Division, Detective de la Torre had made it his life’s work to get under Dani’s skin. Well, perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration, but still. First he’d tried to come on to her, using their shared heritage as a line. They were both from northern Italy; surely they could get together some evening and talk over their shared cultural roots? Fortunately she’d put a stop to that pretty quickly. In no uncertain terms she’d told Mr. Dolce & Gabbana that although he seemed like a nice enough man, he held no physical attraction for her whatsoever. It was a lie, of course, but she wasn’t about to share why they couldn’t make a go of it.
 Her brush-off was a gamble. Gabe was single and didn’t like eating by himself, so he was a regular at her restaurant, part of the inn she owned in Little Eden. She didn’t want to lose his business, so she had tried to be firm but not rude.  It appeared to be working. He still ate at her place without seeming to harbor any bad feelings.
            Oh, who was she kidding? Gabe had dropped any romantic interest in Dani in a flash—so quickly that she wondered if she’d imagined his interest all along. He still flirted with her, but there was a slightly mocking tone to it, as if he dared her to take him seriously. Of course, she didn’t.  She couldn’t. Now he was simply a friend who liked to tease her—a good friend most of the time, and a meddling friend at times like these.
            Dani glanced at the businessman, who had asked the flight attendant if she had any Italian newspapers. She came back with a copy of Corriere della Sera. As Don Juan leafed through it, a photo on page three caught Dani’s eye; it was a stock shot of her father, Armando Forcelli. The headline read, drug use suspected in fatal joyride of hotel heir. Immediately, tears began to well up and Dani quickly fumbled in her bag for some tissue, hoping neither of her seat-mates would notice.
Several days earlier she’d learned that her father, the son of one of Italy’s most famous hoteliers, had died in a boating accident. As his sole beneficiary, she was in fact headed to the Forcelli family compound in Verona to attend her father’s funeral and sign some papers pertaining to his estate. She told herself there was no logical reason to feel so emotionally vulnerable.  She’d seen her father only a handful of times over the past dozen years, ever since … ever since she left Italy. Yet it was as if her feelings had climbed aboard a roller coaster and wouldn’t get off the tracks. She’d be fine for a while and then a memory would skirt by of her babbo carrying her on his shoulders down the long picture gallery … or taking her to a special place in the old city he said had the best gelato in all of Italy. She’d remember the scent of his cologne, just a hint of lemons and spice … and the feel of her small hand encased in his big warm one. Then the tears would start to flow and she’d wonder, panicked, if they would ever stop.

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A.B. Michaels' dual-genre series "Sinner's Grove" follows the family, friends and associates connected to a world-famous artists' retreat on the California coast.  While The Lair is a contemporary novel of romantic suspense, The Depth of Beauty (soon to be published) is historical fiction, set at the turn of the twentieth century. Both San Francisco and the retreat of Sinner's Grove are featured in the story.  

To read a free samplevisit  If you enjoy the sample, please nominate it for Kindle Press; if it's accepted, you'll receive a free download of the entire book.

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Born and raised in northern California, A.B. Michaels holds master's degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in the public relations and marketing fields. An avid quilter and bocce player, she currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry "sons" who don't seem to realize they're just dogs.


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