Truth and Consequences
Hearts of the South/Book 1
Samhain/April 1, 2008
From Goodreads ~
When deceit and desire collide, the results can be deadly Book One of the Hearts of the South series. For undercover FBI agent Jason Harding, coming face to face with the grown-up version of his adolescent dreams is a nightmare. Kathleen Palmer sees him as a despicably corrupt small-town law officer and a murder suspect. Trapped in a web of his own making, he must see his mission through to the end and bring down the crooked cops whove run Haynes County for decades. To do so, he must betray the only family hes ever known and fight his growing love for Kathleen, a relationship that could get one, or both of them, killed.
Determined to uncover the truth, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Kathleen struggles with her attraction to the one person who's awakened her since she buried her heart and emotions in her sons tiny grave. Listening to her heart could destroy all she has left in life her career and reputation. When the truth about Jason's identity surfaces, they both face unimaginable consequences: Jason may lose his life and Kathleen the man she loves.
This e-book has been sitting on my nook for a couple of months. It really should have sat there for a while longer since there are plenty of books I've had longer but the power of Twitter could not be denied! Popping in for a quick peek at Twitter one day, I saw @ReneeRBA, @Cranberrytarts & @mctclover discussing this series, which they all liked. I knew the author's name sounded familiar and low and behold, I actually had the first book! It must be fate. :)
Small town politics unfortunately play a roll in agent Kathleen Palmer's life. She must deal with some of the small-minded men who work in law enforcement. Some of the worst offenders come from the Haynes County sheriffs department. When Kathleen is called to investigate a shooting, she comes face to face with Haynes county's newest deputy. Right off, Winfree shows the reader the tension between the Haynes sheriff department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Kathleen being female doesn't help at all, she doesn't have the right equipment to be a good ol' boy. Pretty quickly, I had some concerns for Kathleen's safety. These good ol' boys play rough. But Kathleen holds her own, not giving an inch even when threatened. She's a smart heroine but not cold or emotionless. I think that's what made her so approachable.
Jason Harding is playing a dangerous game. He has to act like he's in with his cousin, Jim Ed, the disgusting ass of a deputy for Haynes county. Which makes it hard for him to make a good impression on agent Kathleen Palmer. Jason doesn't have it easy but his attraction to Kathleen makes his job even more difficult. Jason's job is causing a lot of conflict within himself and Winfree does well showing this conflict. Jason suspects Jim Ed is dirty and he's never liked him but he's family and Jason's short on family. You couldn't help but feel sorry for Jason getting stuck with this ass of a cousin and then having to pretend to go along with the ass.
Both Kathleen and Jason have some heavy baggage that they've been dragging around for a while. Winfree does a good job making both discuss their past hurts and come to grips with it. I liked that both characters are not only well developed but mature. They've both experienced life and have the scars to prove it. Also, Kathleen's a few years old than Jason, not much but it adds to the feeling of her being in charge. Not that Jason's a pushover but he does respect her intelligence and her experience. I really liked these two together.
The small town vibe was flowing strong throughout the story. With everyone knowing everyone's business, making it really hard for Kathleen and Jason to keep their affair a secret. Sometimes that small town vibe was too thick, making me think I'd gone back in time to the last century. The idea that the corruption had been going on for decades without any state or federal interference was a bit hard to swallow.
The romance is present but not as strongly as the suspense which makes sense since both hero and heroine are heavily involved in the struggle to uncover and put a stop to the corruption. The plot and secondary characters all add to the good verses evil of the story with Winfree giving the reader plenty of potential heroes and heroines to look forward to.
Books in this series ~
Truth and Consequences
His Ordinary Life
Hold On to Me
Anything But Mine
Memories of Us
Fall Into Me