Friday, March 1, 2013

Caught in Amber by Cathy Pegau

Recently out of rehab, Sasha James is determined to keep her head down, complete her parole and never touch amber again. The chip in her neck controls her cravings for the highly addictive drug, but also tracks her every move. Not that she goes anywhere other than work and the halfway house she calls home—a far cry from her luxurious former life as lover of the mining colony's top drug dealer, Guy Christiansen.
Agent Nathan Sterling has no desire to see Sasha fall back into amber, but his sister has become Guy's latest conquest and the unexpectedly attractive Sasha is the key to getting her back. So in exchange for an introduction, he offers Sasha the one thing she can't refuse—her freedom. From the chip, her parole and even the planet if she wants. Though he would be sorry to see her go…
Torn between her growing attraction to Nathan, fear of Guy and the allure of amber, Sasha accepts. But who will save her if Guy refuses to let her go a second time?

4 Stars, 3 Flames

Caught by Amber is much like any other romance, hero and heroine meet, they resist their feelings for each other, but during the dangerous mission they can't help but fall in love. What I like is the added twist of the heroine, Sasha, dealing with her addiction and facing down the demons that ruled her life for so long. In conquering her fears of amber and standing up to Guy, she realizes that she is worthy of love, that she can have a better life with Nathan. Sasha is a tough yet vulnerable character without coming off as whiny and woe is me. When she realizes she is going to be more involved than Nathan originally planned she steps up to the plate and handles it.

The hero, Nathan, is a hot, sexy alpha with a strong protective streak in him. He would do anything to save his sister from Guy. Since she went to work for him though, there's nothing he can do through legal channels. That's why he needs Sasha. Because more disturbing than Kylie being in Guy's clutches, is the fact that two women before her have had "accidental" deaths. Each one looks similar to Sasha, red hair, pale skin...just like Kylie. But his plan unravels quickly, and he begins to realize he has feelings for Sasha. It becomes harder to choose who to save...the woman he's falling in love with, or his kid sister.

Ms. Pegau's writing really has you empathizing with the characters, even the sleezy drug lord, Guy. On one hand he isn't much different from Nathan. He loves Sasha, wants only the best for her. But he enabled her and controlled her with the amber, providing the drug when she pleased him, withholding when she didn't. You're all set to hate him. Until Sasha returns and he tells her why he didn't help her when she was in court. When he explains that he didn't kick her out, that she left him because he wouldn't support her addiction anymore, you think, huh, maybe he isn't such a bad guy after all. The author lures you in, then bam! he does something to remind you, oh yeah, he's not really a nice guy after all. I like that dichotomy within a character.

Cathy Pegau is now added to my list of "watch for their books." She mixes romance with sci-fi elements and action. I give it 4 Stars and 3 Flames (for hot make out sessions and a couple of great sex scenes!)

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