Jun 3 2014 8:30am

First Look: Rhyannon Byrd’s Keep Me Closer (June 3, 2014)

Keep Me Closer by Rhyannon ByrdRhyannon Byrd
Keep Me Closer (Dangerous Tides #2)
Berkley / June 3, 2014 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

Five years after the end of his marriage and his career as a detective, Alex Hudson wears a permanent suit of armor to keep the world at bay. Now a PI in South Florida, he believes that he’s better off free of romantic complications—even if a certain beautiful redhead makes him sweat with little more than a look. But he’s determined to steer clear of women and the trouble they bring. Until trouble comes uninvited...

Renowned therapist Brit Cramer has seen her fair share of violence and knows how to handle it. But when a former patient targets Brit as his feminine “ideal,” she finds help in the last place she ever expected—the tall, dark, outrageously sexy Alex Hudson, who saves her from a violent attack. Brit’s been powerfully attracted to Alex from the moment they first met several years ago, but she knew better than to do more than enjoy the view…

The initial uncertainty they both feel shatters in the face of a searing, absolute desire, but their time is running out as they find themselves caught in the sights of a madman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Before they know it, they’re fighting not only for their lives, but for the possibility that they may have both found exactly what they’ve always wanted and needed...in each other. 

Rhyannon Byrd and her urgently erotic suspense novels are a well-kept secret in a niche genre that she's expertly made her own. Packed with quiet but visceral intensity from start to finish, Byrd's books make their mark because just as the suspense element is a real presence, the heavily sexual bent of the romance is at the forefront.

Keep Me Closer is a full-length return to the excellent Dangerous Tides series, and between the sexy redhead who's both brave and a little submissive and a serious alpha damaged by the demons of his past, baggage and history collide when a mentally unstable stalker forces them into close quarters. Suddenly Alex and Brit are eating, sleeping, working, and playing together, and dealing with all that means. And how good it is.

Alex and Brit have danced around each other for years, a study in delayed satisfaction. This is one of many qualities that gives weight to their story and heightens the mood. There's something at stake for them, as they believe the relationship they've fallen into while facing an outside threat is on borrowed time. And with the stakes so high, everything becomes more intense. When the future isn't guaranteed, shouldn't they throw themselves fully into what they've always wanted but denied themselves?

Alex is dark and domineering and Brit is certainly strong but does need some protection, and this is a combustible mix. Byrd doesn't back down from anything goes in the sex scenes, and that raw, graphic nature is exactly what's needed here.

“Alex, if you could do anything you wanted to me, what would it be?”

He opened his eyes, giving her a sharp, curious stare. “Seriously?”

She nodded, loving the way she could feel him throbbing inside her as she trailed her hands down his powerful arms, his muscles flexing beneath his hot skin. 

“I'd fuck your sweet ass,” he growled, palming a breast in a possessive hold with one hand, while his other reached around her hip and gripped her right butt cheek. 

“That's it?” she asked with a smirk.

Snorting, he said, “You make it sound like a walk in the park, Doc.”
She lowered her lashes, and took a quick breath. “I just... I was wondering if you'd like to get a bit... rougher with me?”

Sometimes it isn't about a master twist or keeping the audience constantly guessing about the bad guy. Keep Me Closer is a rarer breed of character, not plot-driven, suspense. It's refreshing that the story is really about Alex and Brit, as it should be in any good romance. Yet the suspense plot here is no less terrifying for its straightforwardness. Just as it takes skill to craft true suspense, Byrd understands that the romance, particularly the sexual relationship, shouldn't be an afterthought. Extreme sex and great suspense go hand in hand, the perfect partners. And when the sex is as intense as the suspense, something that defines the Dangerous Tides series, it's the ultimate hit.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Keep Me Closer by Rhyannon Byrd, available June 3, 2014:

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Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.

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