Professional burlesque dancer Francesca "Frankie" Strong has learned the hard way: on San Francisco's cutthroat party circuit, crime has a way of going unnoticed. When her best friend is brutally attacked, she's determined not to let the case fall through the cracks, even if that means crawling through every alley and back room in San Francisco to find the truth.Undercover cop Johnny Marsden is in desperate need of a win. His career on the rocks, he's infiltrated the infamous nightclub Cafe Outré, rumored front for San Francisco's Chinatown mafia. Johnny has never seen anything like the glitter-and-sin-encrusted world he's now a part of. He's certainly never met anyone like Frankie Strong.
Realizing they'll get farther together than on their own, Frankie and Johnny forge an uneasy partnership. Neither expects the heat that flares between them. Neither is ready for what it could mean. Together, they run down a trail that leads directly to Chinatown, and a faceless terror its residents refuse to name.
Frankie's only interest is in protecting her friend, and she's willing to make a deal with the devil to do it. But Johnny suspects the attack was part of something larger, something darker... and he's right.
Whenever an author shakes things up a bit from the usual, you never know what to expect when they introduce something new. I must say when it come to reading Laura Oliva's books, they are definitely in my guilty pleasure pile. Her latest, The Devil's Playground, the first book of her new series called The Devil's Plaything, is definitely different from her preceding standalones. I know one thing for sure is the same, she knows how to draw you in with characters that make you want to dive in their world to know more about them.
In the beginning, I wasn't sure where the book was going to lead me. As the book progressed, I really enjoyed the direction of the plot of the story. There were elements of suspense, romance, and danger that keeps your mind guessing until the end. You get just enough of their back stories to propel the plot and you are left with just enough that makes you curious to know what happens to anticipate the next book. The characters were engaging and the chemistry between them made you want more of them as the story unfolds. One of the things I love about her writing when it comes to the steamy scenes is that she has a way with words that makes the pages swoon. Not to over the top or raunchy but just enough for you have a oh my moment and blush a little.
Overall, I think it was a good start to her series. Definitely a book for you gals that want something to sink back in the chair with. With the conclusion of this book, we don't necessarily get the predictable HEA ending that could've happened but then again it's only the first book with a very promising series to look forward to what is on the horizon for Frankie and Marsden. So if you love romance with suspense, I'd check this one out!
Reviewed by Michelle Bowles
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication date: 1/22/2014