Review: Framed by C.P. Smith

Tuesday, August 9
My rating:

WARNING: Author believes in soul mates and insta-love. Proceed with caution if you're not a romantic at heart.

Six hundred minutes. That’s all it took ex-SEAL Kade Kingston to find trouble his first day home. He’d managed to survive covert operations in the hostile mountains of Afghanistan, only to be brought down by a baseball bat. If he had the first five hundred minutes back, he would have only had one drink before insisting his old friend tell him what the hell was going on. As it stood now, he and Sutton were both dead in the water—literally and figuratively. Six hundred minutes. That’s all it took for Kade Kingston to walk back into hell in his own backyard, losing everything in the process . . . including his freedom.

Inmate dog trainer, Harley Dash, knew Kade briefly as a teenager and was convinced of his innocence. Wanting to help the brooding ex-SEAL, she took it upon herself to force Kade into the Inmate Dog Training Program while she looked for a killer. With Kade confined, Harley and her father, along with two sexy SEALs, looked for evidence that would set Kade free.

Unfortunately, for Kade, Sutton's murder was just the tip of the iceberg in a case of corruption and murder, one that will send Kade and Harley into the Florida Everglades with a killer.

Will they survive the alligators of the Florida Everglades, or will the Dread Pirate Roberts exact his revenge?

****

So. The first 50% of the book was bangin'. The second half was so not-bangin' that I checked my kindle to make sure I was in the right book.

What I loved:
This is my first C.P. Smith novel, and I liked it. There's insta-love which is not my bag, but it worked, and the author blatantly warns us to expect that so no complaints there. I think the MCs needed that insta-love to see them through the fact the dude was in prison for murder and needed help proving his innocence.

The other reason it worked was that there was no insta-banging to go with the insta-love. This is slow burn stuff, because:
A. the MCs have wanted each other for 15 years before they finally get down to doing the do.
B. For the first 2 years of the book, the H is in prison, so there's no joy for him there.
And C. There is a lot of build up prior to the first time he even kisses her.

I also loved the H's boys - Mickey D & Prez, and Harley's dad - Harry. They were everything I would imagine Navy SEALs to be.

Last but not least, the action in the first half was spectacular. I didn't resort to skimming, I read every word, and I remembered what I read. I also read it all in one very short sitting, and the first half flew by. Action - suspense - mystery - sexual tension - intriguing backstory - build up. So I was sitting there like,

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And then...

What I didn’t love:

Once Kade was out, Harley turned into a moron. Show me the receipts, you say?
In the first half of the book, Harley is smart and grown up enough to take care of her dying mother, manage her dad's business affairs, keep a home, help abused dogs and gather evidence to have her man's conviction overturned. Almost single handedly.
Then I felt like I had accidentally started a different book. When Kade's out of prison she throws a bitch fit like a funking 7 year old over almost everything he does. How bossy he is, how he likes things to be tidy, how he makes the bed too perfectly, how he cleans up the dishes straight after their meal. She whines over everything he does, unless he's banging her. Dude just wrongly spent 2 years of his life being told when he could take a shit - cut him some slack, woman.
She's a dick, basically.

Every bad position she ends up in, she has put herself in. It's irritating to read a book, knowing there is more self inflicted drama coming a character's way.

For me, for my reading tastes, there's a fine line between a character being strong, and being a bitch. Harley was a bitch right up to the end of the epilogue. Including refusing to push when she's in labour solely because Kade is telling her to push (and Kade is, incidentally, correct.)

Then I lost further interest when Kade conceded and agreed to let Harley do whatever she wanted, because pussy.
Issue number 2: The way the two main-est baddies are resolved in 1 line of the epilogue.
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Overall…
C.P. writes well. Really vivid imagery, funny little situations and conversations, and I loved the crime/suspense side of the story. This started off as an easy 5 star read but went downhill in a major way. 3 stars because the first half was so good I couldn't bear to give it less. Definitely an author I'd love to read more from, but her heroine was not for me.

Oh - I also liked the cover. Because damn, I have read some ugly ass covers this month. I'm talking to you, A Husband's Regret (Unwanted, #2) by Natasha Anders.
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