When nurse Sara Peters treats celebrity billionaire Trenton Merrick for a mysterious injury to his forehead, she is blindsided by what follows: a passionate exchange in the examination room, followed by an invitation to Trenton’s mansion the next night.
Trenton spins a web of deceit and seduction around Sara that both repels and attracts her. One part humanitarian, the other international financial mogul, his professional and public life are a curious contradiction. As Sara journeys deeper into her feelings for Trenton and begins unraveling the mystery behind his injury, she finds herself embroiled in a game of trust and betrayal, where the odds are stacked in Trenton’s favor, and the outcome for the loser is too terrifying to conceive.
BONUS CONTENT includes four short stories written exclusively for this release.
“Pleasant But Not Nice” takes a closer look at the friendship between Kelly Sheridan and Denim Jacobson prior to Sara Peters’ arrival in New York.
“The Five R’s” accompanies Sean Mavis and Christopher Maida on a stakeout and reveals their initial impressions of Kelly and Denim.
“Dust” is an intimate look at Trenton Merrick’s relief efforts in Haiti days after the devastating earthquake.
“The Celibate Spy” transports us back to 1968 when Randall Wolverhampton takes on his first mission as a junior agent in MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency.
PLUS the first chapter of the upcoming sequel to Frontline coming in 2014.
I was honored when Alexandra Richland contacted me to ask if I would be interested in reading an ARC of her new book, Frontline. Having enjoyed one of her previous novels (Starlight) at the beginning of the summer, I was more than ready to read something new from this author. This book was released just yesterday and is a separate body of work from Starlight, so if you haven’t read Richland’s previous stories don’t let this stop you from picking up Frontline. I’ll state upfront that I found it to be a fascinating read. I sat down with it one Saturday morning and quickly became swept into the story. Before I knew it, the whole day had drifted by and I was at the end of the book. It was practically impossible to set down.
Frontline begins during a night shift at Manhattan General Hospital where Sara Peters is navigating the first year of her nursing job. Having moved to New York City from the West Coast, she is not only building a new career but a brand new life. Sara’s focus has been on her work, but her carefully managed world is thrown into chaos when Trenton Merrick wanders into the ER with a head injury. Sara is tasked with getting Mr. Merrick settled in the exam room and although she initially finds Trenton arrogant, she also cannot deny she feels a physical attraction toward him.
“I sweep my eyes across the room in search of Mr. Money Bags. He sits in a chair in the corner, swiping his thumb over his cell phone screen. A bloodstained gauze is taped to his forehead.
Mr. Merrick looks up as I approach. I inhale sharply when I meet his vibrant blue eyes, inviting his dark, spicy scent into my lungs.
“Hello,” he says.
I survey all of him at once: mussed brown hair, fancy suit, shined shoes. My throat seizes so I can’t speak while my mouth hangs wide open. He holds me spellbound until a shrill cry from a child in the waiting room reminds me of the hysterical mother and her sick infant still waiting to be seen.
“Mr. Merrick.” I square my shoulders. “Right this way, sir.”
He holds my stare and makes no move to follow me. I swallow the lump in my throat.
“Mr. Merrick,” I say, louder this time. “The doctor will see you now.”
The corners of his mouth lift into a smirk. My heart launches into a frantic pace, as though I’ve received a shock from a defibrillator.
“Thank you, Miss . . .” His eyes roam to my breasts. “Peters.”
I blush, realizing he was only reading my identification badge.
You’re an idiot, Sara.
Mr. Merrick looks like Mr. GQ, while I’m modeling the latest in frumpy nurse fashion. I curse myself for buying my scrubs two sizes too big just because they were on clearance.
Shaking my head, I try to refocus on the task at hand. Mr. Merrick looks amused by my hesitation. I assume he receives this kind of reaction from all women and thrives off of it.
And I thought Dr. Shore’s ego was massive.
I gesture for him to follow me. “Sir, if you please.”
Mr. Merrick stands and buttons his suit jacket. He’s tall, around six feet, and his build is strong and lean. I try and pinpoint what it is about him that has me scrambling to put a coherent sentence together. My answer comes easily, even though I’ve had only one serious romantic relationship in all of my twenty-two years, which was short-lived and mediocre at best.
Trenton Merrick exudes pure sex: chiseled features, bedroom eyes, delicious smirk. Everything about him screams confidence and sexual prowess. Even more, it seems effortless.
His stare intensifies. The heat rolling off of my body is enough to warm a Manhattan winter night. After a glance at his blood-soaked bandage, I escort him across the waiting room, attempting to ignore my heart’s erratic flutter.”
After seeing Mr. Merrick to the exam room and leaving to return to her regular duties, Sara is quickly surprised when Trenton personally requests her to oversee his care. At the insistence of the hospital administrator (who is greedy for good publicity and a generous donation for the facility), Sara returns to the exam room. What she encounters when she is reunited with him is beyond her wildest imagination.
“Mr. Merrick approaches me from the other side of the room with a graceful and purposeful prowl. I cast my gaze to the floor, wringing my hands in front of me, trembling from his closeness. I don’t need to look at him to know his eyes are smoldering. Sparks course through my body, igniting a deep yearning.
Time passes. My heart palpitates, my breaths deepen, the mere awareness of him in my personal space affecting me as though his hands were all over me.
When I finally lift my head, the first thing I see is that smirk.
Then Mr. Merrick dips his head, his expression softens, and the gap between our lips vanishes.”
Their kiss escalates into a passionate moment, but once Sara manages to separate herself from Trenton’s embrace she attempts to treat him. As she questions the billionaire about how he was hurt, Sara quickly realizes that the story she’s being told doesn’t match up with the type of injury she is encountering. Still recovering from their first physical encounter and reluctant to push her VIP patient for the truth at the risk of angering him and losing her job in the process, she keeps her thoughts to herself. By doing so, however, Sara inadvertently sets into motion a mystery that unfolds over the course of the novel.
You may have noticed the synopsis is brief, and after having read the novel I’d say there is good reason for this. Frontline is an intense read, not only because of the incredible sexual energy between Trenton and Sara but because of the mysterious nature of the billionaire at the center of the story. While Sara spontaneously pursues her attraction to Trenton Merrick, she begins to understand that learning about the real man and his life will be a challenge unlike any other she has faced.
To say much more than this would begin to reveal spoilers (something I loathe to do in reviews), but rest assured there are few books that can command my attention the way Frontline has. As such it earns a 5 star rating from me and I hope to speak with some of you about it online as soon as you’ve had the chance to read it.
Who is Trenton Merrick?
You’ll just have to read that one for yourselves (and then come find me).
You can find Alex on twitter here,