Thursday, July 7, 2011

By: Kara Conrad

He lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching . . . And once he has you, all you can do is. . .


Megan Flynn thought she was falling in love. Cole Williams wasn't just handsome and passionate, he was one of the good guys. Or so she thought, until he arrested her brother-the only family she has left-for a murder she knows he couldn't have possibly committed. Now, with her heart broken and her brother's life hanging in the balance, Megan will risk everything to prove his innocence. Even if that means throwing herself into the path of a sadistic killer with a hauntingly familiar MO.

Seattle Detective Cole Williams had given up on making Megan see reason where her brother is concerned. But when she insinuates herself into the most shockingly brutal case Cole has ever worked, he can't stand idly by. Plunged into a secret world where the city's elite indulge their darkest desires, Cole will do whatever it takes to bring down a madman who has made Megan his most coveted prey.

I feel an overwhelming need to write an amazing write up of this book because the book itself is so incredible. Unfortunately, I am not an amazing writer, so just let me say: Read. This. Book. So many times, I read the back blurb of a book, and am so excited to read it because it sounds so great, only to find by the end of the book (and sometimes before then) that the book is merely 'ok'. THIS IS NOT THAT BOOK.

This is a book that contains all the elements so many of us find essential to an amazing book. First, there is the 'hot-ness' factor. Believe me when I say, this book has that.

"Megan was treated to a glimpse of a wide, defined chest and rippling six-pack dusted with fine dark hair before he settled himself on top of her. She let out an 'ooh' at the first brush of skin on skin, a little surprised not to see sparks flying from where their bodies touched." See? HOT. (I laughed when I reread my notes, as later in this scene, I noted, "Oops. Hotness interrupted.") LOL! Fortunately for all of us it's interrupted only temporarily.

Secondly, this book has strong, emotional scenes. In fact, I barely made it through the first several pages without tearing up. I'm not giving a quote here because one short scene cannot do justice to the emotional impact of the first chapter or so of this book. Those of you who have already read the book know I am talking about the initial scenes with Megan and her brother, Sean.

Next, this book has a villain that will keep you gasping. In fact, one of my notes simply says 'evil, evil, evil!'
"Open your eyes," he ordered. They snapped open at the first bite of the blade. She tried in vain to shrink away. "You watch," he said..."

This book has many suspenseful moments. For me, being a visual person, many, many scenes ran like a movie through my mind. In fact, at one point I found myself talking loudly to the characters (yes, I'm that person in the theater who sometimes forgets it's 'just a movie' and feels the need to help the characters out.)

Though I'd label this book as dark and emotional, there are also a few lighter moments as well. When Sean asks to speak to Cole alone, the guard is slow to allow it. Megan's response?

"He won't kill him." Then she turns to her brother and snaps, "You better not kill him." Again, I see that like a movie scene. Well, and then there's 'bigblackasses-dot-com' LOL!

Of course, there is plenty of romance. For instance, Cole describes himself as "The luckiest man on the planet, and don't you think for a second that I don't know it." I know, right? Makes you want to say 'Aaaaawwwww.'

Lastly this book is full of characters that are much more than the stereotypical cardboard cutouts we sometimes find in those merely 'eh' books. From the main characters to secondary but crucial players, Jami creates characters readers feel they know, but want to get to know better. And lucky, for us, Jami is giving us that very thing! The next book in this series is due out in October. I, for one, CANNOT. WAIT.

Jami has been great enough to offer up an ARC of the next book Hide from Evil. One commenter will get that! You'll still have to wait, but not as long as the rest of us. I'm jealous already!

You can find out more about all of Jami’s books at her website

A HUGE thank you to Jami, for the giveaway, and for agreeing to drop by today. We are, to say the least, thrilled.

Now for the recipes, a mainstay of this book club. Since you all know my favorite and most reliable recipe is a drive to Sonic, I’ve borrowed a recipe from Ronlyn. Ok. Not borrowed. Stole. I stole it. Didn’t even ask her first. I chose this one because it is a salmon dish, something Megan and Cole eat before all the action kicks in!

Maple Glazed Salmon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about one inch thick)
Cooking spray

Preheat broiler
Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk
Place salmon, skin side down, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Brush with maple mixture. Broil 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, brushing with maple mixture after 5 minutes and again after 10 minutes.
*(A wise, cooking birdie advised to double the glaze.)*


Aly said...

Fantabulous write up KK! That was beautiful!

I have read Jami's Gemini books and really enjoyed them so I figured I would enjoy this one too! Enjoy is so not a word I would use to describe my feelings. This book is one of the best RS books I have read this year.

As a reader you can't ask for much more than great characters, a fantastic storyline and so much powerful emotion. As KK says, you definitely hit all the emotions including sorrow, joy, love and fear when you read this book.

Bravo Jami on writing such a fantabulous, supertastic, wonderfulicious story! (It was so great that I made up lots of words for it!!!) Can't wait to see what you have waiting for us in the next one!

I am hoping to be able to pop in during the day but I am about to enter the Conference Call Day From Hell -- 5 straight hours! UGH! So have fun and thanks Jami for stopping in!

maldivianbookreviewer said...

I definitely WANT the ARC! ^_^
Loved Beg for Mercy and it has been picked up as my 'Pick of the Month' read for April 2011!

Jami Alden said...

Hi Kara - thanks for the wonderful write up! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. It was a fun book to write, very challenging in a good way. Just finished up the page proofs for HIDE FROM EVIL, so Sean and Krista's story is on its way! I'm planning to pop in and out all day, so if anyone has questions about this book or any others, I'm happy to answer anything.

Saly said...

I was lucky enough to read Hide from Evil early(thank you netgalley) and I tweeted Jami immediately about how I loved it , she was very sweet :)

I would love to read Hide from Evil early again. I mean the story promises to be explosive(a woman who put you on death-row...BRING it on)!!

I loved the Gemini book as well. Danny was a bad boy and loved his grovel but I must say Hide form Evil remains my favorite.

I can't wait for the 2nd book and am curious about the 3rd.

Mary G said...

Aweome write up Kara. I agree:
one short scene cannot do justice to the emotional impact of the first chapter or so of this book. It was like that throughout. So much goodness.

Hi Jami
I've loved everything you've written & have all your books.
Beg For Mercy was all you can ask for in a book, sexy hot, emotional, suspenseful & you still had lighter moments as Kara mentioned.

I emailed you just before RWA as soon as I finished this book. The words that really got me though, were on page 431 of The Dish at the back of the book. You wrote about faith, a faith you have in yourself. I read those words at a time when I was wanting to reach for a new goal & being a coward
about it. I want you to know that those words gave me the impetus to get off my cowardly butt & go for my dream. So thanks for more than 'just' a great book.

Jami Alden said...

Hi Saly - unless you work for Grand Central, (or my sister, who got a very advanced copy :))I don't think you've read Hide From Evil - I literally sent page proofs this week. But who knows, maybe an early ecopy snuck out there. in any case, I'm glad you're enjoying the books!

Mary - I'm so sorry I haven't had a chance to respond to your note, but I wanted you to know I was so touched by what you said. It's so great your working to make a change in your career towards something you can be more passionate about. I'm honored that my words helped to inspire you to make the first steps!

Mary G said...

No problem at all Jami. I knew you weren't going to be around but I had to write it while it was in my head.

JAD said...

Most awesome book! Liked the suspense of the couple as well as the story! Cannot wait for the next one!

Ronlyn said...

Wonderful write up KK! Even if you did STEAL my recipe. *sigh* I'll work on forgiving you. ;-) Since I'm in Seattle (the setting of the book) I'm honored you ruthlessly stole my salmon recipe.

I will admit: I cried reading this. I don't typically cry while reading, so that says something. I sat there reading about Megan looking through the glass at Sean, so hopeful yet leery and bawled like a baby.

This book was such an emotional roller coaster...and I mean that in the best possible way.

Alison said...

Amazing write up Kara!!

Beg for Mercy is the first book of Jami's I've read and...WOW! It was amazing! The first scene with Megan and Sean brought me to tears. I loved Megan and Cole together!

I can't wait for Sean and Krista's story! To tide myself over until Hide From Evil comes out I'm going to read the Gemini books :)

ShellyE said...

Great write up Kara!! I just started the book yesterday, and am only up to page 127. I stayed up way too late last night reading it. I gather from the comments that Sean will get off death row - knowing that in advance will save me from rushing thru the book to get to where he is "saved". This is the first book by Jami that I have read, but now I feel the need to get all of her back list as well. I would love to win the ARC of her next book! I admit I sniffled thru many parts of the book last night - I know it's a great book when I get that involved with the characters so early in the story. Right now, I am wanting to kick Cole's ass for his stubborness!! Can't wait to get back to this story!! Great book Jami!!

oklanannie said...

Great review, Kara! You covered all three elements that made this book outstanding, a new addition to my keeper shelf, and everything a romantic suspense addict craves!

Jami, thank you so much for visiting book club today and for your generous giveaway to some lucky reader (I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my four-leaf clover in sight!!).

"Beg for Mercy" was heartwrenching, powerful and impressive. With great plotting, a perfect blend of romance and chilling suspense, a villain who was so well defined that I seriously had chills up and down my spine, and, of course, the sizzling and emotional chemistry between Cole and Megan, I was mesmerized and glued to my chair from the moment I began reading until the very last word. "Beg for Mercy" left me begging for more. It is definitely one of the best thrillers I've read. I've pre-ordered "Hide from Evil" and can't wait to hear the story from Sean's view. And, like Saly, I'm very interested in what Book 3 will bring!!

Aly said...

Jami -

I was wondering what is easier for you to write - the hero, the heroine or the villains? Is one more fun to write than the other?

Thanks :)

Kara C said...

Good morning all! Since I am the hostess today, I thought I'd stop by. ;) We definitely keep summertime hours around here.
Jami, thank you so much for stopping by. I read all the time, as most of us do. More often than not, I finish a book and think, 'that was pretty good'. Definitely not with BEG FOR MERCY! It is one of those gems I know I'll come back to again and again.
I have a question that I know is one of those cliche questions but, really. I've got to know. Where did the idea for this book come from?
Ronlyn, thanks for the help. ;) And thank you to everyone for stopping by today. Feel free to tell you friends to pop over.

Hope said...

Great job KK, wonderful write up. I loved this book. The villain was uber creepy, but I had a soft spot for him too, he was revenging his sister's death. Obviously he is a little unbalanced, but in his brain he was trying to right a horrible wrong.

This was an emotional book, I was on the edge of my seat, then I was crying then I wanted to throw my Nook cause I couldn't believe what I just read. I love that in a book, I could see the words play out very vividly in my head. I even wrote to Ronlyn and told her....THAT'S IT, you have to leave many crazy people there!!

I do have a question....and maybe it is a bit of a sneak peak and to much to ask, but I am gonna ask anyway. How in the world does it work out that Sean and Krista work out? I would have nothing but hate in my heart for someone who put me on death row. I am anxiously awaiting Hide From Evil!!!

NicholeR said...

Okay, so I could say alot about this book and the Gemini series. But I am just going to get to what I really want to say. I really hope Sean is a naughty boy. And I would so want to be the girl who got to be Sean's first lover after prison. All that yummy pent up sexual frustration has got to be something else in the bedroom. :)Aside from what I know will be a great storyline, I just want to see Sean have some raunchy, sweaty, dirty sex! Can't wait for this book. I loved Sean from the beginning. And I also can't wait for the last book. I hope I am right about the main characters for that one.
Jami, I have to tell you that my first romance was also The Flame and the Flower. Then I read The Elusive Flame and Jeff's story (can't remember the name). The three books hold a special place of honor on my shelf. I got out o reading a bit for a while and then picked up Unleashed last year. I haven't stopped reading since! Thank you for great books and getting me back into reading!

Mary G said...

LOl Nichole & Hope

I had the same thought. Krista is going to pay big time. I would take whatever Sean dishes out LOL

Mary G said...

That scene where Sean tells Megan not so come back & that he's giving up, made my chest hurt.

Megan's answer, about it not being easier for her was so brave.

Ronlyn said...

I second Aly's question for Jami about which is easier & more to write & follow up with which type of character comes to you first? Or do they all sort of mingle in together as the story comes together in your mind?

Jami Alden said...

hey everyone - I'm back after a horrific slog through heat and humidity that barely deserves to be called a run. JAD - So glad you liked it!
Ronlyn - I am totally making that salmon! it looks awesome. and I hope I got Seattle mostly right - I had to rely on internet and info from friends.
Alison - hope you like the gemini books. those were my first baby steps into romantic suspense and so fun to write.
Hi Shelly - hope you enjoy the rest of the book!

Annie - you're making me blush :)

Aly - you know, no one is ever easier to write. Often I start a book feeling like I "know" one character better than the other, but then it never translates to the page because I feel like I already know him or her in my head. For example, in BEG FOR MERCY, I definitely started out with a better handle on Megan, and got to know Cole as I wrote. As a result, Cole's character unfolded much more on the page in that first draft than Megan's did.

Kara, the inspiration for this book came from a commercial for Dateline or Primetime or one of those news programs. It was just like 15 seconds talking about false/forced confessions and it took off from there!

Hope - here's my back cover copy for HIDE FROM EVIL - it should give you a little hint :) :
Sean Flynn should feel lucky he's alive. But a betrayal by a close friend-and two years on death row-has left him feeling only numb. When his conviction was overturned, Sean retreated to a quiet woodland cabin, far away from prying eyes. There, he believed, the past couldn't come back to haunt him . . . until she showed up.

Overcome with guilt, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Krista Slater can't forgive herself for convicting an innocent man. But when another brutal murder reveals chilling, new facts about his case, she must turn to Sean for help. She's ready to face his anger, but the desire in his eyes ignites a need she's never felt before. Shadowed by danger, Sean and Krista uncover a twisted maze of deception and betrayal-all under the dangerous gaze of a cunning mastermind who will do whatever it takes to keep his evil secrets safe.

Oh, Nichole, I think you are going to be pleased when you read Sean and Krista's story. Things are pretty explosive... heheheh!

Marie Force said...

I started this book last night, so I don't want to read the comments until after I finish. Stopping in to say welcome to Jami and thank you KK for such a great job hostessing!

Jami Alden said...

I'm also loving how everyone is reacting to the emotion of the story. When I started writing BFM, it wasn't my intention to have it be so emotional but I think the premise really lends itself. And honestly I NEVER get so much as a sniffle when I read my own work, but even I got a little teary reading the villain's flashback when I went through the final read. I really wanted readers to hurt for the little boy he'd once been and I hope I accomplished that.

Mary G said...

I did feel bad for the villain then but I still hated him which means you did a great job.

Hope said...

Thanks Jami....I think I read that blurb already cause it sounds kinda familiar, so I must have been trying to satisfy my curiosity after I read the first one and came across the blurb.

Is this going to be an ongoing series, trilogy or....???

Do we see Cole and Megan again in the 2nd book?

Doreen said...

Oh boy! I'm always looking for a new author to read and I do enjoy the romantic suspense stories. I'll have to order this one too!

Vivi said...

After Marie posted about this book, I had to check out your books. I read the Gemini books and just finished Beg For Mercy this morning. Now, I cannot wait for Sean's book and hope I win it!

Ronlyn said...

YAY Jami! I hope you like the salmon. It's one of the favorites at my house.
And you did a great job with the feelings of Seattle. There's a big mission/shelter down near the Pike Place Market that I'm somewhat familiar with, and I easily imagined it for those scenes.

When writing a villian (this one specifically, but any in general) do you develop the character in the same way you do for the H/H?

Ronlyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronlyn said...

my delete: duplicate post for some reason...

Jami Alden said...

Ronlyn- I missed your question the last time around about coming up with characters. there's really no pat answer, but I usually come up with either the hero or heroine first, then think about what kind of dynamic I want to develop between them, and then build a story that will really play that up, if that makes sense. Interestingly, both BFM and HFE were the first books I've written where the framework of the story was as much in place as the characters before I started writing the books, which made them equal parts easier and harder to write.

Hope- you will definitely some of Cole and Megan (but not too much - they had 400+ pages already, it's sean's turn :)) as well as some other old friends! I hope to write more in the series... just have to find out if my publisher wants to also!

okay - more later - off to go see Cars 2!

Mary G said...

Wonderful review of BFM at All About Romance:

Kara C said...

Aahh, Jami, a 'ripped from today's headlines' kind of inspiration. Love it.
And the emotion in this book was incredible. I am not usually one to cry over books, but this one brought me awfully close! The scenes between the siblings in particular were great! Working with kids, it's sometimes hard for me to read in books about kids in a tough situation, but at the same time, I want everyone to read it, if only to show that kids don't become 'problem' kids in a vacuum.
I love that in both this book, and the next in the series, the main couple has so much more than the usual
misunderstanding as an obstacle between them. Makes for such a compelling read!

Kara C said...

You will not be disappointed! RS is my favorite genre and this one really is top notch.
Jami, I think that movie was put on my list of things to do by my son as well. Enjoy!

Aly said...

Howe - It duplicated b/c you are special today :)

I do think the sibling dynamic in this book was one of the most powerful things. Megan did have such unflinching faith in Sean and Sean was doing everything in his power to protect Megan.

Now that is not to say that the dynamic between Megan and Cole wasn't powerful because it was as well but in a different way.

Thanks so much for answering my questions. As a non-writer, I find the different ways you all write so fascinating!

Tara said...

Hi all!

Great write up Kara! Can't wait to try the recipe also, thanks Ronlyn!

Jami thanks for joining us today! Beg for Mercy is the first book I have read by you and I am loving it so far.

Like Marie, I started the book last night, and I want to stop working, and finish reading it right now.

I'll have to check out the Gemini series too, excited to find more great reads by Jami that can fill the time until her next release.

Thanks for another great bookclub all have a wonderful end of your week.

Kara C said...

Hey Tara! Isn't this book great? I have recommended it to several friends, even my very picky friend. There is just so much to love about this book!

Saly said...

Oops I meant I read Beg for Mercy. My brain seems all addled up.

I have to confess the premise of the whole series is awesome and I can't wait for what all you have in store for us. I am a die hard RS fan and this year has so far been perfect.

Jami Alden said...

I'm back after an afternoon with lightning mcqueen and about a thousand trips to the bathroom. Seriously, I think my 6 yr olds bladder shrunk about 3 sizes overnight!
Marie - thanks so much for featuring my book on your blog! this has been so fun.

Doreen, hope you enjoy, and Vivi, glad you were compelled to read it quickly!

Mary G - I saw that review this morning and about fell over. If you see their reviews of my earlier work, you'll see why I was so stunned ;-)

And can I just say how much I'm loving all the love here today! you guys are such a great group - I'm going to have to drop by more often for both book and recipe ideas!

Kara C said...

Jami, thanks again for visiting with us today. And please do stop by again. We're here every Thursday.
Ronlyn, some day when you're famous (more famous than now) for your recipes, you can thank me for sharing them with the world. Cuz that's what I was doing. Sharing, not stealing. I like the sound of that!
Thanks to everyone for stopping by today. It was a lot of fun! The only problem with a book as good as BfM is finding one to read afterward! Think I'll check out those Gemini men...

Mary G said...

We're pretty savvy here. I read reviews just to shop for books. If I like the author, premise & excerpt then I don't care what the reviews say.I loved the Gemini series and your other contemps.

Let me know if I need to list them people. Better yet visit Jami's web-site.

Jami - you have to put up more excerpts & get people hooked (in case they don't believe me LOL).

Ronlyn said...

How was the movie Jami? My kids are begging...I'm trying to put them off until Grandma can take them next month. LOL

And PLEASE stop by any time!

KK, I'm trying to come up with an adequate response to your "borrowing" of the recipes when you previously admitted to STEALING it. Uh huh. And are you trying to tell me I'm NOT already famous?? Pu-LEEEZE!

Aly said...

Well KK could always just say that she regrets stealing it and all would be good right? :)

As the others have said, thanks so much Jami for joining us today! It is always great fun to have the author around. Can't wait for Hide from Evil to come out!!

Ronlyn said...

LMAO Hackett! Yes, she could say that. But I think she'd be lying. ;-)

And, YES, Jami, thank you so much for stopping by today! Book Club is always better when the author comes by to say hi.

ShellyE said...

Thanks for stopping at bookclub Jami!! I am now 300 pgs in and lovin' it!! I even snuck in an extra break today while the boss was away because I can't wait to see what happens next! I will be looking for you other books this weekend!!

Aly said...

Since Marie is doing her favorite thing right now - flying - ha ha ha! I am posting the winner of the ARC.

Using the winner is....


We are working out all the details with Jami so stay tuned and we will be back as soon as we can!

Hope said...

Congrats exciting!!!

Alison said...

WOOHOOO!! Congrats Tara!!!

ShellyE said...

YAY Tara!!

Tara said...

WOW! Thanks so much Jami and Marie! I am finishing Beg for Mercy today, once I finish work. And I made my neighbor download it on her Nook and start reading it last night also. It is such a great story!

Marie, I feel like we have switched roles, this is the first week in MONTHS I have not been on a plane on a Friday, so hang in there and travel safe.

Thanks all for the congrats, and for introducing me to another great author! This book club has made my TBR pile grow, and my family happy with new recipes, so great!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

oklanannie said...

Hey Tara! Congrats on being the lucky winner of "Hide From Evil"!!

Ronlyn said...

Congratulations Tara!