Lovely, Dark, and Deep
by Susannah Sandlin
Series: The Collectors
Publication date: December 18th 2013
by Montlake Romance
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Source: Ebook received from author
in exchange for an honest review.
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes a heart-pounding romantic thriller that pits a quick-witted scientist and a scarred ex–combat diver against a ruthless billionaire treasure hunter with ties to the White House.
When biologist Gillian Campbell makes an offhand comment about a family curse during a TV interview, she has no idea what her words will set in motion. Within days, Gillian finds herself at the mercy of a member of the C7, a secretive international group of power brokers with a dangerous game: competing to find the world’s most elusive treasures, no matter the cost, in money or in lives.
To save her family, Gillian teams up with Shane Burke, a former elite diver who’s lost his way, navigating the brutal “death coast” of the North Atlantic to find what the collector seeks: the legendary Ruby Cross of the Knights Templars, stolen by Gillian’s ancestor and lost at sea four hundred years ago.
Lovely, Dark, and Deep is a gripping story about The Collectors, a group of wealthy, powerful men who play with “lesser” peoples lives for fun. These men think they’re gods, and with the reach they have they might as well be. The Collectors seek rare treasures, but there are very specific rules to the game. Gillian Campbell has no idea what she’s brought down on herself by mentioning a family curse, brought about by one of her ancestors alleged attempt to steal a Knights Templar treasure, during a television interview. One of the C7 men just happened to be watching. Gillian receives a call from a man she refers to as Tex, asking about the treasure. She’s thinks he’s just some crazy guy playing a prank on her, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize she’s playing with fire. Tex and his employer make it very clear that this is no joke. One of the C7 members wants the Templar cross at any cost, and they don’t mind causing a few “accidents” to prove their point. Of course, she doesn’t know about the C7 when all of this starts. Heck, she doesn’t even know if the rumor about the cross going down with ship her ancestor was on is true! Tex instructs Gillian to seek out the help of Shane Burke, a man with technical diving skills, who will be desperate enough for the money to accept the job. It takes Gillian some convincing, but they finally team up and head off into the unknown to find the cross and save everyone around them from being harmed by the C7.
Oh, Susannah, you never fail to captivate me with your awesome tales! Whether it’s paranormal romance or romantic suspense, you always manage to grab me right from the get-go. The story of The Collectors is thrilling, adventurous and mysterious. Gillian is a fabulous character. I love that she’s a gator wrangler by day. I mean, how many women in books do you know that wrestle and relocate gators? She’s badass. I really enjoyed the connection that forms between Gillian and Shane, but I do have to admit that their first romantic encounter seemed to come out of left field. It seemed to happen a bit early for me, but that’s just my opinion. The intensity of the game and all the “players” that the C7 puts into action are impressive. This is a well-written, brilliantly devised plot with charismatic characters and heaps of action. Fans of National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code will really enjoy this book! I will say that I’m very happy I was able to read the whole thing at once. As much as I love Kindle Serials, every time I saw a new episode next to one of the chapter headings I was so relieved I hadn’t been left hanging there for a week. Ha!
Lovely, Dark, and Deep gets four solid stars (zombie heads) from me!
He wasn’t sure what woke him, but the first thing Shane Burke saw when he cracked open his eyelids was the bottle of Jack Daniel’s, tipped over and resting on its side. He could’ve sworn he finished it off last night but there was at least an inch of rich amber liquid still resting inside.
Good. Now he didn’t have to wonder what he’d have for breakfast.
The second thing he saw was a great pair of legs. Well, technically, a great pair of ankles above a pair of leather sandals, and then the legs.
Obviously, he was starting his Saturday morning with hallucinations.
Only one good solution for that. He dangled an arm off the side of his bed and almost had his fingers wrapped around the neck of the bottle when one of the leather sandals kicked his buddy Jack Daniel’s under the bed, clipping his hand in the process.
“Ow.” Hallucinations didn’t take his booze and kick him in the knuckles.
Ignoring the throbbing in his hand and the stabs of hangover agony behind his eyeballs, Shane rolled onto his back and squinted at the rest of his non-hallucination.
Shoulder-length hair that fell in a sheen of dark chestnut brown, fair skin, fierce brown eyes, red lips compressed in a tight line, black skirt and white blouse, big briefcase-style purse. Had he picked her up at Harley’s last night? If so, he had to cut back on the sauce.
“Sorry,” he mumbled. “I forgot your name.” Pity, ’cause she was a hot little number, way classier than the regulars at Harley’s. It’s not like he got laid so often that he could afford to forget it when he did.
“We haven’t met.” She propped her hands on her hips and muttered something that sounded like, “And you’re supposed to help me?”
Help her with what? Wait, maybe she was a charter. Had he chartered The Evangeline out to a tour group or fishing party today? Surely he’d remember if there was money coming in.
Color him officially confused. He struggled to a seated position and gave her another look. “What am I supposed to help you with?”
She crossed her arms and raked a ball-shriveling gaze the length of his body. “I came here to offer you a job, but I don’t think you’re up to it.”
He tugged the sheet up in self-defense. “I’m not at my best. Ever consider making an appointment? Not dropping in at the crack of dawn?” He had no idea what time it was but it couldn’t be that late.
“It’s past noon. And I didn’t figure, given your financial situation, that you’d be so picky about what time of day someone offered you money.” She shook her head. “Never mind. This was a mistake.”
She banged her head on the low doorway out of the master cabin, which served her right, the sanctimonious shrew.
~About the Author~
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Susannah’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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