UNDER THE SURFACE – Anne Calhoun
An Alpha Ops Novel
St. Martin's Paperbacks
East side Lancaster, Pennsylvania – Present Day
Eve Webber is the owner of Eye Candy, an east side bar that caters to women and fun. When she interviews a prospective bartender, Chad Henderson, her mind immediately goes into the gutter, he's sex-on-a stick, but if he even knows how to pour a drink he might be hired. Eye Candy isn't just a nightclub with a bar; the bartenders have to be hot, friendly but not too friendly, and can have chemistry with the customers. Oh, and also make great drinks quickly. Eve opened the bar just a few months ago, and is already interested in buying an adjacent building and expanding her business. As the daughter of a pastor, her parents aren't necessarily behind her new business, but Eve is determined. Eve gives Chad an Eye Candy tee shirt (one size too small to show off his physique), and agrees to try him out that night. If the fire he ignited within her applies to all the women, she has a secret gem in her employ.
Chad Henderson feels just a little bad about lying to Eve; he isn't a bartender, he's a detective with the police department working undercover. Eve reported that an old friend from the neighborhood, Lyle Murphy, asked her to help him launder cash he gave to her into the deposits of her nightclub and then transfer the money somewhere else. Eve immediately went to the police and is working to help get proof that Lyle is behind the scheme, but for some reason the police need someone to keep an eye on her and maybe protect her when the money starts coming in. Unfortunately, Chad, or rather Detective Matt Dorchester, and Eve have an immediate thing between them, and while Eve is ready to explore it, Matt knows this goes against the rules of an undercover case and against his personal rules, as Eve doesn't even know the real him, just the fake Chad.
One of Lyle's friends saw Eve go into the police department that day she reported what he had done, and when the windows in her apartment over the bar are shot out one night, she must go to Chad's for safety. Trying to explain this to her pastor father and defense attorney brother isn't easy, and add in the fact of Chad's deceit, Eve has a bad surprise coming up if she's ever safe again.
Anne Calhoun's story of Eve and her personal drive to provide employment and a better living environment for her neighborhood is thrilling and action packed every minute. Eve and Matt tell their own stories, and while Eve is open and excited with her plans and the gorgeous man working for her, Matt has an awful time trying to protect her without letting her know why, and not knowing if she could care for Matt when Chad is out of the picture.
Secondary characters are Matt's other police officers and Tyler, Eve's old friend. Only after she really talks and looks him in the eyes does she recognize the criminal is no longer her friend from years ago.
UNDER THE SURFACE will be an enticing read for you this month if a secret identity and criminals are just up your alley. There are three other novellas in the Alpha Ops Series , GOING DEEP, THE SEAL'S SECOND CHANCE and THE SEAL'S REBEL LIBRARIAN. If excitement is for you, UNDER THE SURFACE is, too.