Lark Brennan’s Durand Chronicles

Somehow Recklessly Yours, the third in Lark Brennan’s Durand Chronicles series, hid in a corner of my Kindle for a few months, but finishing it kept me up until 2 o’clock one Recklessly Yoursmorning (and I had to go fetch the charging cable and plug my Kindle in for the last half hour). The series might best be described as paranormal romantic suspense, although the characters are all human and the paranormal elements are all psychic. This entry involves a decidedly non-Indian artifact found on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana and two Durand Protectors (who haven’t spoken in seven years) sent to investigate and retrieve it.

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Chantal Durand has been working as an archaeologist in Australia (where she was briefly jailed for shooting an ex-lover in the butt), but she’s called back to her Protector duties when a mysterious artifact turns up in Montana. Her psychic abilities are just what’s needed to find a clue to the origin and meaning of the strange piece of tile. As if landing in the frozen north without the proper wardrobe wasn’t trouble enough, she finds herself working with Tanner Hays, the last partner she wants. The last time they worked together, Tanner’s best friend was killed, and he still blames Chantal for that disaster. The search for the more powerful artifact connected to the tile leads to suspense and more than a few plot twists as Chantal and Tanner make their way through dangerous blizzards and even more dangerous opponents equally determined to find the missing treasure.

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Recklessly Yours works as a stand alone novel of romantic suspense, but if you want to read the Chronicles from the beginning, and follow the twists and turns within the powerful Durand family and among their allies and opponents (not always easy to tell apart), start with Dangerously Yours. To outside eyes, Lex Durand is a marine biologist studying whales and dolphins. Only her close relatives in the large and powerful Durand clan know that she is an animal telepath, and that some of her study subjects have gone mysteriously missing.

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Her brother sends Lex to ask for assistance from Bodie Flynn, a near-recluse scientist Dangerously Yoursstudying newly discovered forms of energy which may just hold the clue to the disappearances. But Bodie used to be someone else entirely, and he blames Lex’s family for his current situation.

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The scientific puzzles are too much for either to resist (and pretty soon they’re having trouble resisting one another, as well). Off they go, via sailboat and seaplane, to one small island after another in pursuit of missing whales, reappearing, and possibly insane, dolphins, mysterious energy, psychic powers, and the occasional explosion.

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Book two, Irresistibly Yours, moves to Paris, headquarters of the Durand empire. When Tate Fulbright wanders into a shop in Paris, looking for an entomological collection she’d Irresistibly Yoursheard about from her scientist mother, she finds instead an amazing collection of taxidermied animals, as well as Adrien Durand, who seems just as amazing to a girl from Indiana, in the City of Light for a pharmaceutical convention. But despite her inexperience with the high society and wealth that Durand represents, Tate isn’t just another tourist from Indianapolis. She communicates with animals at a deep level, hears voices in her head, feels the emotions of the crowds around her, and has no idea where these abilities—or disabilities—come from.

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Adrien Durand, head of the far-flung Durand clan and its many commercial and charitable interests, doesn’t know where Tate’s talents come from, either, and that worries him. Is she a wild talent, or someone sent to spy on the Durands by one of the other psychic clans, some shaky allies, some outright enemies. For the Durands and their counterparts fight a long and continuing battle to either protect or enslave the ordinaires of the world.

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The Durand Chronicles works on all levels: romance, suspense, and psychic adventure.

 

Lark Brennan: Irresistibly Yours

Irresistibly Yours is the second installment in Lark Brennan’s fascinating Durand Chronicles (after Dangerously Yours), romantic suspense with more than a touch of the paranormal.

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Irresistibly YoursWhen Tate Fulbright wanders into a shop in Paris, looking for an entomological collection she’d heard about from her scientist mother, she finds instead an amazing collection of taxidermied animals, as well as Adrien Durand, who seems just as amazing to a girl from Indiana, in the City of Light for a pharmaceutical convention. But despite her inexperience with the high society and wealth that Durand represents, Tate isn’t just another tourist from Indianapolis. She communicates with animals at a deep level, hears voices in her head, feels the emotions of the crowds around her, and has no idea where these abilities—or disabilities—come from.

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Adrien Durand, head of the far-flung Durand clan and its many commercial and charitable interests, doesn’t know where Tate’s talents come from, either, and that worries him. Is she a wild talent, or someone sent to spy on the Durands by one of the other psychic clans, some shaky allies, some outright enemies. For the Durands and their counterparts fight a long and continuing battle to either protect or enslave the ordinaires of the world.

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Adrien finds himself increasingly attracted to Tate, but his responsibilities—and his family—throw barriers between them. Tate has her doubts, too, tossed as she is into a world she never suspected and doesn’t understand. But Adrien’s world may hold the answers to the mysteries in her head, and give her a new purpose in life—if they can both survive.

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The world of the Durands, with its wide array of psychic powers, Protectors and Dissemblers, and family connections—and secrets—going back generations, expands with each installment. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Reviews: Romantic Suspense

Lark Brennan’s Dangerously Yours is a very entertaining read, but a bit difficult to categorize: romantic suspense, certainly; paranormal elements, definitely; even a touch of science fiction, all in a fascinating Caribbean island setting.

Dangerously YoursTo outside eyes, Lex Durand is a marine biologist studying whales and dolphins. Only her close relatives in the large and powerful Durand clan know that she is an animal telepath, and that some of her study subjects have gone mysteriously missing.

Her brother sends Lex to ask for assistance from Bodie Flynn, a near-recluse scientist studying newly discovered forms of energy which may just hold the clue to the disappearances. But Bodie used to be someone else entirely, and he blames Lex’s family for his current situation.

The scientific puzzles are too much for either to resist (and pretty soon they’re having trouble resisting one another, as well). Off they go, via sailboat and seaplane, to one small island after another in pursuit of missing whales, reappearing, and possibly insane, dolphins, mysterious energy, psychic powers, and the occasional explosion.

This is the first entry in Brennan’s Durand Chronicles series; the next one, Irresistibly Yours, releases June 21.

Rachel Grant’s Cold Evidence combines steamy romance with taut suspense. It’s the latest in her evidence series, stand-alone thrillers loosely connected by a circle of characters. In Cold Evidence, set in the northwestern corner of Washington state, the action revolves around a small submarine sunk under mysterious circumstances in 1962. Undine Gray, diving on the wreck, is the sole survivor when an explosion destroys the dive boat above her and the people on board. Weeks later, unnerved by the accident but determined to dive again, she asks Luke Sevick, the most accomplished diver she knows, to dive with her.

Cold EvidenceBut Undine and Luke have history, going back twelve years, when a lie and one night ruined Luke’s plans for a career in marine biology. Now an ex-seal, Luke is a commissioned officer with NOAA, still angry at the Undine of the past, but drawn to the Undine of the present. In spite of their past, Luke understands Undine’s need to reenter the deep, and agrees be her partner for one dive.

Diving rekindles their old attraction, although they both agree it can’t lead to anything—their lives have diverged too much. But what they discover on the bottom of the Salish Sea draws them together into a world of sabotage, espionage, and possible catastrophe.

Grant combines archeological and military technology with high emotion and thrilling suspense to produce a roller coaster of a novel. Romantic suspense at its best.