Book: Head Start
Series: Cedar Tree #7
Author: Freya Barker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Margreet Asselbergs
Hosted By:Francessca’s Romance Reviews
Kendra Schmitt puts most of her time into the new clinic in Cedar Tree, which is now almost running full time. With her schedule a bit more predictable, she finally considers a personal life and concedes to a disastrous blind date. Always the responsible one in her family, she has avoided any kind of entanglement. In particular with a certain young investigator.
Junior member of the GFI team, Neil James, has seen and experienced more than most at his age. When his team becomes part of a task force investigating a series of murders in the area, his protective instincts kick in. The victims’ profiles closely match that of a certain physical therapist.
Neil has been trying unsuccessfully for over a year to get closer to Kendra. Now that she might be in danger, he’s determined to break through her resistance and goes all out to win her trust.
Especially now that the killer’s focus appears to zero in on Kendra.
Freya Barker is a master at her craft. She weaves stories that are gripping, intense, deal with serious issues and yet are heartwarming and real. They give you hope and make you feel like you are one of the characters. ~ Kez’s Korner
Another superb book by one of my favourite writers. You certainly get plenty for your money with this one . ~ Goodreads Review
Head Start is one of the best new stories. We get mystery, drama, and love.
Freya Barker is a brilliant, insightful and awesome author. ~ Goodreads Review
“Why not? It’s half-price, one of those short notice deals.” My sister resorts to the pre-adolescent whine that gets our mom to cave every single time. Unfortunately, Karly hasn’t yet figured out that it does the opposite for me.
“Because those things are like floating sausage fests.”
“You’re such a stick-in-the-mud. Mom said she’d come too.”
Oh my God. Like that is any sort of enticement. I have to swallow hard to shove the contents of my stomach back down where they belong. I automatically turn my back to the waiting room when I hear the tell-tale ding of the door opening. “Not helping your case, Karly. Just sayin’… I’m not into quick, convenient fucks. Especially when most of the guys on those trips are looking to score as much and with as many as they can manage in the shortest possible time frame. Not keen on being the dessert buffet for a bunch of young idiots, hopped up on Viagra. Besides, as I told you a month ago, I’ll be moving house in two weeks, so I can’t come. End of story. You and Mom have fun, but count me out.”
By the time I get my nympho sister off the phone, my eyes have rolled heavenward a few more times. I should have spared one eye-roll to confirm it actually was my next patient coming in. It wasn’t. A familiar face with a toothy grin is leaning on the damn counter, right behind me. Instantly, my German ancestry betrays me with the robust blush I feel burning on my cheeks. Fabulous.
“What can I do for you, Neil?” I say none too kindly. One of his heavy eyebrows lifts all the way up, and the grin slips into a smirk.
“That, is a loaded question,” he teases, “especially given the tantalizing conversation I just overheard.” The heat on my face has now reached my hairline while I curse myself six ways to Sunday. “By the way, I like that color on you,” he mumbles, tapping me on the cheek.
About The Author
Freya Barker craved reading about ‘real’ people, those who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, hot monkey sex and some thrills and chills in their lives – So she decided to write about them.
Always creative, from an early age on she danced and sang, doodled, created, cooked, baked, quilted and crafted. Her latest creative outlets were influenced by an ever-present love for reading. First through blogging, then cover art and design, and finally writing.
Born and raised in the Netherlands, she packed her two toddlers, and eight suitcases filled with toys to move to Canada. No stranger to new beginnings, she thrives on them.
With the kids grown and out in the world, Freya is at the ‘prime’ of her life. The body might be a bit ramshackle, but the spirit is high and as adventurous as ever. Something you may see reflected here and there in some of her heroines…. none of who will likely be wilting flowers.
4.5 stars! Neil has his heart set on Kendra. Kendra can’t see past his age, and that he is younger than she is. She is 40; he is 32. Neil suffers from PTSD, and there is one particular incident from his past that haunts his dreams. In a way, working on this case with a serial killer is his way to redemption, at least that is what he initially thought it was. The story starts with the first victim. The predator stalks women on online dating sites that fit a specific pattern. The murders are piling up as Neil, Gus, and the others search for the links between the murders and to find the killer before he strikes again.
Kendra was an interesting heroine. Her replacement cuss words were fairly amusing. “Holy Schnikes”. She was contacted by the killer from the online dating site. It wasn’t until they met that she trusted her instincts and decided to decline any further invitations. Thus unintentionally escalating the situation.
I was absorbed in twists in the story. What would happen next and whose body they would find kept me guessing. I liked that Kendra was kick ass, defended herself, and helped to solve the whereabouts of another victim. This strengthened the story for me. I liked Kendra’s strength and independence. I liked that Neil gave her the space to let him in. And the very sexy scenes popped.
Then there are the other characters from the previous standalone novels in the series. I’ve only read books 1, 2, and now 7. Emma and Gus from book 1 show up as do Arlene and Seb from book 2. It’s lovely how they have become a community, a family of friends. Some of them work together, some are just friends. I enjoyed that dynamic.
I’m not fond of serial killer stories, but in this case, there was a strong enough story line. The discoveries of other bodies and the condition that they were in made it a bit gruesome. and this is what keeps this from being a 5-star read for me. That and I didn’t really like Neil calling Kendra “Pup”.
Note: I received an advance review copy from the author. I have 1-clicked books 1-6 in the series. I will be reading the rest of the books in the series as I have enjoyed this one.
CEDAR TREE SALE UNTIL FRIDAY 13TH MAY!
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