Series: Instinct #3
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Also by this author: Special Forces Savior, Man of Action, Infiltration, Daddy Defender, Armed Response, In the Lawman's Protection, Cyclone, Eagle, Shamrock, Angel, Ghost, Calculated Risk, Security Risk, Shadow, Constant Risk, Risk Everything
The voices in her head have decided to kill her.
Most people joke about hearing voices in their heads. For Chloe Jeffries, they’re real. And as the creative force behind one of the most popular shows on television, she has used the constant flood of voices in her mind to her advantage: fuel for entertainment.
But now one of the voices has decided it wants Chloe all for itself.
Ex-Special Forces soldier Shane Westman just wants to make it back to his ranch in Wyoming to begin to heal from the horrors of war. The last thing he needs, even as a favor for a good friend, is to take on bodyguard duty of a flighty television writer. But once he does, he realizes there are threats at play he doesn’t understand. And the woman who has somehow begun to thaw his frozen heart is in desperate danger from a menace they can’t see, but is always close.
Someone determined to be the last voice Chloe ever hears.
Part Bodyguard story, part behind the scenes TV show, with a dash of the paranormal, Survival Instinct is all romantic suspense!
Chloe is a unique character. She can hear other peoples’ thoughts. Instead of letting it make her crazy, she uses it to be a better, more creative writing for her TV show, “Days End”. Shane has just left the Army and is readjusting to life as a civilian. His first job? Help Days End with its security now that they are getting threats and bloody knives in actors dressing rooms.
Anytime a character can hear voices, its easy to assume they would know who the killer is. However, the problem isn’t hearing their thoughts, its figuring out who the thoughts are coming from when you are surrounded by tons of people making a TV show! This kept the mystery alive for a bit which was interesting. Shane and Chloe have a bit of ‘instant attraction’ that neither wants to act on. Chloe really just wants Shane gone because she can’t focus when he is around. But, oddly enough, she can’t hear his thoughts either.
I struggled to get into the book right away, which is unusual for me when I pick up a Janie Crouch book. Usually, she hooks me right away. It took a bit longer for me to settle into this story and I can’t exactly put my finger on why. Maybe it was my ambivalence about Chloe and Shane. It could have been the comparisons my mind kept making to the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris (vastly different in most ways, but strikingly similar in a few key ways). Either way, this was a slower start for me. However, once it really got going (around the 35% mark for me), it just took off and I was totally hooked.
Danger, mystery, and the supernatural take over and hone the characters Survival Instincts for sure! I was intrigued and curious while reading and Crouch kept me wondering about all the voices in Chloe’s head.
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: no
- Trope: paranormal powers, protector
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: stand alone (part of an interconnected series of stand alones)
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »no « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »yes « Hide Spoiler
From Survival Instinct:
Chloe Jeffries looked over at her creative team. The Days End team was tired. Worried. The stalker had seen to that. Not to mention all the new bodyguards had definitely put a damper on the creative energy usually surrounding the show. But the new guy coming in definitely wouldn’t.
“The studio is sending in a security expert to coordinate security around here and to investigate our friendly neighborhood stalker,” Chloe told them. “We’re supposed to give him access to anything he needs. I’ve been assured that he will fit in just fine and will not hamper our artistic energy in any way. We won’t even know he’s here.”
“Like that guy walking towards us who definitely doesn’t scream I’m-a-Navy-SEAL or anything?” Travis’ eyebrow was raised so far it looked like it had found a new home in his hairline.
Chloe stared at the man in question. Didn’t seem able to turn away from him even if she wanted to. His long legs were encased in perfectly creased khaki pants, a collared light blue shirt tucked in—also perfectly—at the waist. His broad shoulders were covered in a tailored suit jacket under which Chloe was willing to bet all of this year’s salary lay a shoulder holster for a gun. His posture screamed military. The way he carried himself — the set of his shoulders and lift of his chest.
Alert. Deadly. Ready.
But impressive as his body was, it was his face that drew her more. There was nothing pretty about him. His face was rugged to the point of being harsh. His jaw already holding some stubble even though it wasn’t even yet lunchtime. And she had no doubt Mr. Military Man had shaved this morning, unquestionably during his perfect morning routine. His dark hair was cut close to his head, as if he couldn’t quite decide whether to keep it military short or go for a more relaxed style.
His eyes were hidden behind aviator sunglasses, but Chloe knew he saw everything. Knew he saw her and that if she stopped him right at this moment, blindfolded him and asked him to tell her where everyone was, he’d be able to do so with astounding accuracy, even though there were more than a dozen people milling around that he hadn’t looked at directly.
This man was the epitome of cool, calm, and collected. She could feel the former radiating off him. Wanted to close her eyes and sink towards him. Her brain, always under such constant onslaught with the thoughts of others, and particularly the one voice that had been searing through her mind so agonizingly lately, wanted to bask in this man’s ice. Wanted to douse herself in it.
But she couldn’t. Because while she had no doubt this man would be able to organize the hell out of security and unquestionably catch the stalker and freeze him with his ice-beams after leaping tall buildings in a single bound, there was no way he wasn’t going to hamper the creative energy of the set. Energy that Chloe relied on not only to make Day’s End the greatest show on television, but to keep her own sanity.
He was already sucking in her energy and they hadn’t even spoken yet.
Ten seconds later he was standing directly in front of Chloe with his perfect hair and jaw, perfect shirt tucked into his perfectly pressed pants.
“I’m Shane Westman with the Linear Tactical. We’ve been hired for security,” he said, taking off his sunglasses. Chloe wasn’t a bit surprised to find he had perfectly icy blue eyes. “I need to know who’s in charge.”
There was no way this Shane Westman could stay. No possibility Chloe could allow it.
He was too perfect. Too distracting. Too everything.
He may keep them safe from the stalker but who would keep her safe from him?