Archer is the first book in the Hard Body Novel series by Debra Kayn and tells the story of Jane Beaumont, a woman on the run from her past, and Kage Archer, a man determined to rise above his name. The book opens with a difficult to read scene so if domestic violence is a hard topic for you then this might not be the book for you. I actually really enjoy the woman leaving the bad relationship and rebuilding herself angle so it was right up my alley.
After escaping from her abusive boyfriend, Jane goes home to hide out with her brother Garrett while she tries to come up with a new plan to get her ex to leave her alone. She works at night in the auto shop that Garrett has taken over since their dad passed away and tries to maintain a low profile. Kage is her brother’s best friend and a partner in the detective agency that is run out of the garage as well. I will admit this angle seemed a little unnecessary and it would have made a bit more sense if it had just been one or the other, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story or the characters. Although she doesn’t want to bring her brother, Archer and the other guys into her problems because she is concerned about their safety, they let her know that they are getting involved whether she likes it or not.
I loved Kage right from the beginning. His mother died of a drug overdose when he was young, his father went to prison for drugs and his uncle is the head of a large drug cartel. He has lived his life completely above board to prove he is nothing like his family, and to prove that he is worthy of Jane. When she is in danger, however, he will do whatever he needs to in order to ensure her safety and that just made me love him a little more.
Jane took a little bit longer for me to warm up to but once she got her spark back and realized she was still the same person she was before the relationship, I started to root for her. I loved that she had strong friendships with women that totally had her back, but also cared about Kage too. Her attachment to her cat was really cute.
Although Jane has always had a thing for Archer, she believes that he deserves better than her and fights it all the way. She made a move on him when she was 17 and he turned her down and sent her away. Now that he’s decided to stake his claim, he is not letting her go but she continues to act like they are just sleeping together. As the ex continues to taunt them by showing he can get to her anywhere, we find out that she took a little more than her cat and her pride when she left the relationship, which raises the stakes higher. It also makes Kage more determined to protect her and establish that their relationship is more than just sex.
There were two things that kind of irked me when I was reading the story (aside from the garage/private investigator angle), but it wasn’t bad enough that it affected my enjoyment of it. One was the determination that Jane had to keep the guys out of this issue. I get that her ex had a lot of connections, but there was quite a bit of time spent detailing the qualifications that Garrett, Kage and the others had, so her fear that they would get hurt by this guy didn’t really seem to jibe with the rest of the back story. The second was the concern that Garrett and the other guys had that Kage was going to somehow turn into this other person and forget all his morals and decisions, just because he was thinking about asking his uncle for information about Jane’s ex. Garrett was supposed to be his best friend, and ultimately he did have his back, but there were a couple scenes that had me scratching my head wondering about their friendship.
The small issues aside, I really enjoyed the story and the characters. The secondary characters were well developed and we got just enough to make us look forward to their stories. This is one series I will be keeping up with. If you enjoy a fast-paced story, hot sex and interesting characters, this story is for you!
*ARC Provided by Forever
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Debra Kayn
Release Date: July 2, 2013