Four Steps by Wendy Hudson is a lesbian romantic suspense novel set in Scotland. Alex Ryan lives alone on her family farm, the scene of a violent crime when she was a child. Over the years she has created a safe circle of friends who are like family, and has the fierce love of her best friend Jess, her ally and protector. One place she finds peace is hiking the Scottish Highlands with her dog Frank. She heads to the hills to wipe away the last traces of her failed relationship with a girlfriend and meets Lori Hunter, a Londoner and translator who dreams of one day working at the UN in New York City. Lori has escaped to the Highlands after a last final row with her boyfriend. Neither woman expected to share their shelter that first night. And neither expected the instant and powerful attraction that flared between them.
I want Lori Hunter (Lady Hunter – you’ll find out if you read the book) to be my new best friend. She is funny, smart, brave, and sexy. Lori’s best friend Detective Stella Roberts gets to the bottom of things in short order. Whether it’s a police case or grilling Lori about the “new person” in her life.
Alex Ryan is a farmer and computer engineer who investigates internet crimes. It has taken years of hard work to put herself back together after a horrendous childhood tragedy. She couldn’t have done it without the help of her best friend Jess who is always close by.
The Writing Style
Romantic Suspense is not my go-to genre and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book at all. But I was swept up into the Scottish Highlands and the lives of Alex and Lori. The author uses alternating chapters to tell the story of the growing romance between Alex and Lori and the secondary story of suspense, which builds step by step until the final chapters where I was flipping (tapping actually, as my copy was an ebook) pages as fast as I could. My wife turned to me and asked, “Are you really reading, or just flipping pages?” I told her that I know we needed to eat dinner, but I had to finish the book.
I loved the arc of the romance between Alex and Lori. And the pacing of this story was perfect. Alex and Lori’s romance built slowly alongside the trouble creeping toward them. The trouble was indeed creepy.
None really. The ending might have wrapped things up a little too fast for me.
I am so happy Sheena gave me the opportunity to read this one.
If you haven’t read romantic suspense in a while (I haven’t for quite a few years.) Pick up this one and give the genre another try. I am pretty sure this is Wendy Hudson’s first book and I’d encourage her to keep writing romantic suspense. I’ll read her books. All of them. And the setting is an added perk for me, as those of you who read my reviews know by now. The only thing better would be to get these UK les-fic books on audio.
**trigger alert** This is a suspense novel and does contain scenes of violence against women and elders.
Excerpt from Four Steps by Wendy Hudson
She was about to speak when Alex looked up from her feet as if suddenly struck with inspiration. Tilting her head as if sizing Lori up, she looked her dead in the eye, and stroked her chin in the same mischievous way she had that morning.
“So, about that dark and naughty side of yours? I’m not quite sure I believe you have one.”
Lori raised an eyebrow, playing along, “And what makes you think that?”
Alex looked at her knowingly, flashing that dimple again. “Your face is much too innocent and honest. I don’t think you have it in you to take a risk.”
“Oh, you don’t think so.”
“I don’t. You’re going to have to prove it.”
“And how might you suggest I do that?” Lori replied, surprising herself with the hint of suggestion in her voice.
Alex stepped forward into her space, effectively pinning her against the car.
Lori felt her heartbeat pick up pace, taken aback at having Alex so close without warning. Yes, she’d admitted to herself that Alex was attractive and had enjoyed the friendly flirting, but Lori was straight and on the rebound, there couldn’t be anything more than friendship between them.
Yet here they were and suddenly it wasn’t so innocent.
“It’s simple,” Alex whispered, tilting her head up to stare into Lori’s eyes again.
Lori couldn’t tear her gaze away and realised she wasn’t the only one feeling the effects of their closeness. She could feel the heat radiating off Alex, hear the quick short breaths she took as her eyes searched Lori’s. Was she searching for reassurance that this wasn’t a one-sided thing?
Alex raised her hand, placing it lightly on Lori’s chest. The smile that appeared told Lori she had found her answer in the form of her pounding heart.
“What’s simple?” she whispered back. Glancing down at Alex’s lips, she waited for a response. She realised how close they were to hers, plump and red from the cold.
“Don’t let this be good-bye.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783955336905
- Publisher: Yvla Publishing August 31, 2016
Wendy Hudson Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Four Steps by Wendy Hudson. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.