St. Martin's Press / November 27, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital
Sheriff Archer Tobias has watched the Callahan family struggle to find peace and acceptance in the community—despite the murders that continue to haunt them. But his darkest suspicions grow worse when Anna Corbin, a member of one of the country's most influential families, becomes the next target…
Anna knows she’s in danger. She knows she’s on a trail of secrets and lies that could lead to a dead end. But no matter what, she’s determined to learn the identity of the killer—even if it’s someone she loves…
Torn between duty and desire, Sheriff Tobias cannot allow Anna to put herself in the path of a deranged murderer. But as the investigation pulls them closer together—and deeper into the nightmare—he realizes that he cannot save her from this legacy of blood and vengeance…without putting his own life on the line.
Secret Sins is the third book in Lora Leigh's Callahans series and features the erotic love story of Anna Corbin and Archer Tobias. Anna feels adrift and unwanted after a history of odd, rejecting behavior from her family for the past 15 years. She has also been in love with Archer since she was a teenager.
Archer is the town sheriff, a playboy who is all about his job and wants no emotional ties to any of the women he takes to bed. He’s hard at work trying to figure out the identity of a serial killer targeting young women in the county. A serial killer who has been around for over a decade—and who seems to have a fixation on Anna.
Anna was sent away from her family when she was nine years old, and now she's 24, a college graduate, and tired of not being allowed home. She wants answers from her family about why they’ve sent her abroad for study most of her life. But instead of answers, she gets the boot from her family after proclaiming her intention to stay in town and work for her pariah cousin, Crowe Callahan.
With no money, no place to live and pain in her heart from yet another rejection from her family, Anna soon finds herself at Archer’s home. He gives her the choice of the guest room or his room. Anna knows picking his room could lead to her heartbreak—or all she’s ever wanted.
What was most impressive about Secret Sins was Anna's inner strength and desire to be her own woman, despite the many obstacles thrown her way. While spending more than half of her life away from her family, having her calls and pleas to return home ignored or dismissed could have crushed her spirit or led her down a dangerous path of self-destruction, but it doesn't. Anna's pain, loneliness, and longing for love and loyalty are palpable throughout the story, but they don’t strangle her as a heroine. She still has a belief that even if she can’t get the answers and love from her family, she will find it somewhere, hopefully with Archer. Her character is appealing because she's never lost herself or allowed others to control her with no say in her own life.
It’s refreshing to read a female protagonist in a story determined to find her own way in life, but not become too-stupid-to-live because she needs to be contrary. Archer is an arrogant Alpha male, but he is neither overbearing nor dictatorial towards Anna. Though Archer's feelings on not believing in love can sound like a cliché, his reasons for resisting his feelings for her make sense.
The chemistry between Anna and Archer is hot, flirty fun and enjoyable to read. There’s also Archer’s cat Oscar, who I think will become a favorite for any reader of Secret Sins, though I admit to being partial to quirky pets in romance novels.
Those familiar with Lora Leigh’s novels will be pleasantly surprised by the appearance of a few characters from her Elite Ops series. In fact, the lone single character remaining from that series will get his own story soon in the Callahan series.
Though part of the mystery behind the slayings is revealed to readers early on in the novel, there are several secrets revealed throughout the novel that keep things interesting, as well as cheering Anna as she fights for herself and her love for Archer, and his fighting to keep Anna safe and with him. Secret Sins is a tightly written book that left me eagerly anticipating the next novel in the series.
Miss_D has been reading romance books for over 25 years. A native Californian making her way in the Big Apple, she likes to spend her downtime relaxing in front of the TV, chatting with friends, sitting in Central Park and playing beach volleyball. Miss D can be reached via Twitter @bonobochick.