My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
I’m definitely getting addicted to Ms. Silks’ writing, which I already knew to be rather good. The first book of Layers Trilogy, Layers Deep, brings another sexy and smart PI, Tristan Cross. I didn’t remember Allie from Dazzled by Silver as she had a very small, unremarkable role there. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their instant, explosive chemistry right from the start.
Dazzled by Silver, a prequel of sort to the Layers Trilogy, introduced Tristan to us. The H, Gabriel is his cousin and was working for his family farm, the prominent Cross Enterprises. Tristan had a small but prominent role too as he helps Gabriel from a rather deep mess with a mafia gang. There was the mention of Tristan’s ex, Kendra, who got herself in trouble for money and drugs with the same mafia group. Tristan asked Gabriel to keep an eye on her, which Gabriel did. At one point, he had to return and take Kendra to hands so that she doesn’t get herself in any further trouble. But at the end we learn that Kendra had somehow disappeared from under Tristan’s watch. There was no indication if she ran under pressure or was kidnapped.
This story starts out with a determined Tristan looking for help. He needs someone experienced to play the part of a... erm, hooker because he has the information that the gang who took Kendra deals with sex slaves and is planning to sell her to the pimps. Tristan is desperate to save her. Then he finds the perfect person who can help him out... or so he thought; a rookie cop named Allie Green. She’s not only attractive but has a background of working at a strip club, which makes her a good candidate... Might as well mention that he wanted to have her in his bed too. *heehee*
Don’t get me wrong. Tristan isn’t a player. Oh, a handsome guy like him has had his fair share of females but he’s a guy who wants relationships. More than that, he knew some background info on Allie that prompted him get her under his protection... but then again, he also needs her for this job that is rather dangerous to begin with.
The story, much as book 0.5, is told from the h’s POV. At first, we get to learn of Allie and her sad, sad past. I got teary-eyed hearing of her and her mother’s ordeals, how she lost her father and a chance at a happy family, and then why exactly she made it a mission to avenge her mother by becoming a cop. It was all very well-done. Even though the fact that she worked at a strip club can give you negative impressions but Allie never had sex in exchange of money. She needed the money to help her mother and her own expenses etc. Her mother has been under threat and so far, Allie has tried her best to keep her safe no matter where they have been. I was moved and impressed with Allie’s strength and forbearance considering what she had to witness at such a tender age.
Meeting Tristan was a dream come true; not only because he’s the handsomest guy she’s ever met but also the fact that he’s so good to her from the first moment. Apart from her need to jump his bones (duh!), it’s apparent he knows everything, even stuff that she kept secret all her life. No one but her mother and she knew... Tristan dug it out (an example of how thorough he is if needs be) and offered help in exchange of her help with Kendra’s rescue. Talks of ‘acting like a hooker’ and sex does inevitably lead the matter to... sex. I was a bit bummed to find how soon they jumped into bed. It didn’t matter all that much though, when I began to see that undeniable connection between them. (Note: expect some hot sex. ;))
It’s easy to fall in love with Ms. Silks’ heroes, so can’t blame Allie. I totally loved Mr. Silver. Mr. Cross is no different; an intelligent guy with a great sense of humor and inherent kindness, yet can be ruthless when his job calls for it. And he has an awesome loving family who welcomes Allie’s mother because she needed a place to stay under protection. So yah, for her, Tristan was a dream come.
The storyline seemed pretty fast paced, action packed. No hair-pulling drama to put you off (I know I would’ve been). I thought the cliffhanger was a bit abrupt but I didn’t mind it much as I was alerted of it from the blurb. My recommendation would be, please read both books back to back for greater enjoyment. Better, if you start with the prequel.
It’s great that I can jump to read Layers Peeled... right about now. Can’t wait to find out the next phase in Tristan and Allie’s life!
Kendra wasn’t a favorite character of mine from the prequel but I was glad that she was saved from her ordeal. Do I want her story with Julian, Tristan’s twin brother? Not sure. I never saw her as a heroine material, like ever but I’ll wait to find out. Meanwhile, 4 stars for Layers Deep.
This ARC was provided to me by the publisher via netgalley which didn’t influence my review and rating in any way.