TURN ME LOOSE - ANNE CALHOUN
An Alpha Ops Novel, Book 6
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN-13:  978-1-250-08464-4
June 2017
Romantic Suspense

Lancaster and Chicago, Illinois Present Day

Seven years ago Riva Henneman was at a college coffee shop when she spotted an attractive man.  After talking to her, Ian Fallon asked her for some drugs.  Outside the coffee shop she sold him some pot and wrote her phone number on his palm . . . right before he pulled out a pair of handcuffs and arrested her.

Now Riva runs a garden to table restaurant, teaching teenagers from the local community center to cook and run all aspects of the restaurant's operations.  Her enjoyable life is upset when who should come into her restaurant but Ian, which definitely shakes her up.  To avoid going to jail, Riva was Ian's CI, or confidential informant, or snitch, for several years.  Years that Riva spent making drug deals for Ian so he could increase his reputation in the department for bringing in many dealers.  Many nights they sat in Ian's car, waiting for a buy, Riva sick with the things she had to do to avoid prison; especially because her father wouldn't bail her out; he was the one who bullied her to sell the drugs in the first place.  But Riva never told the truth, and accepted Ian's unspoken contempt as what she deserved.

After meeting Ian again, Riva would rather stay away from him, until she hears about the drug sweep they are having to find the person high up in the drug hierarchy.  When Riva admits her father is the head of the drug traffic in the area, Ian goes with her to visit her mother and father as a friend, and supposedly to help her mother with a big luncheon she is giving.  Will Ian fool Riva's father, Rory Henneman, about why he's there, and what will Riva do when faced with a father willing to keep his wife drugged and threaten her dog, the only thing that so far has kept her sane?

Once again Anne Calhoun drives deep into the heart of Ian and Riva and their innermost thoughts.  Riva has been afraid of her father all her life, trying desperately to gain his love in any fashion she could, including selling drugs.  Her mother always seemed to be under the influence of drugs, too, and though she has not been back to Chicago in seven years, she can hear the fear and confusion in her mother's voice when they talk.  Ian was well on his way to being a Navy SEAL when he started feeling sick, and was diagnosed with cancer.  By the time he was in remission, the SEALs would no longer accept him, and he went into law enforcement.  His body betrayed him, and in a family of military men, he feels like he let everyone down.

Secondary characters are Riva's father and mother, he perhaps a crime lord and she hanging onto life by her fingertips.  Other police officers are keeping their eyes on Ian as he and Riva are working undercover.

TURN ME LOOSE is stressful and exciting, as they try to get evidence on Riva's father, and Riva and Ian both trying to figure out whether a relationship between them is possible.  Can Riva forgive Ian for the terror she lived through as an informant, and can Ian forgive himself for how he treated Riva to get promotions in his department and coping with the cancer that he feels ruined his life?  Riva and Ian have a tough time together, but are they strong enough to come out whole?  TURN ME LOOSE is a good way to delve into Ian and Riva's relationship and their less than stellar history.

Carolyn Crisher