#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Gone in the Night” (Honour Bound series, Book 3) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases.

This review marks my return to reading her stories within the Romantic Suspense imprint of Harlequin, as I previously shared my reviews on behalf of “Undercover Heat” and “Colton on the Run”. It is part of the Honor Bound series of stories – which begins with three women interconnected through a shared tragic past (ie. Eden, Simone and Allie) whilst it will expand and pivot to feature the McTavish’s after their story is told. As of Spring 2022 – there are five novels released in this series, though the series will expand into eight installments. (which I learnt during #SatBookChat in February, 2022)

I borrowed a copy of “Gone in the Night” from my local library through their interlibrary loan services (in 2021) whilst I bought a personal copy of the novel (February, 2022) and was not obliged to write a review on its behalf. I chose to write a review for my own edification as well as to continue to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Honour Bound) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

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a notation about reading this series “Honour bound”:

I borrowed More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI via interlibrary loan in early 2021 – wherein I read most of the first novel and only part of the second, however, I understood the gist of the series based on what I had been reading. Sadly, with everything that was going on at the time I read them, I misplaced the notes I had on those readings. It was my first introduction to reading Romantic Suspense novels by Ms Stewart and I would have continued to read this series then, however, Gone in the Night was a bit delayed reaching me through inter-library loan. Thereby, I had to forestall continuing to read the series until I could find a personal copy of Gone in the Night. Which I admit, took until recently – as I happily received my copy of the novel the week of February, 26th, 2022.

I do remember More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI pushed me a bit as far as the plots were considered as I felt a bit out of my comfort zones in regards to where I like to read Romantic Suspense. I didn’t feel fully attached and comfortable within this series until I started reading Gone in the Night which is why that particular novel is what is kicking off my showcases for the Honour Bond series overall. Stewart did a great job at continuity within this series – as the three women: Eden, Simone and Allie are a united front with a shared history which haunts each of them in different ways whilst leading into a climax of terror. I felt more aligned with Allie’s story moreso than Eden’s and Simone’s which doesn’t happen very often for me in a series – yet, for whichever reason I just felt more in sync with the series with Allie’s story and felt that was the best place for me to start my reviews. I had shifted from this series to reading about the Colton’s, which is why the first Romantic Suspense review I shared for Ms Stewart was Undercover Heat.

I wanted to begin my showcases for the Honour Bound series by back-reading the stories leading into Guarding His Midnight Witness and this year’s release Prison Break Hostage. As a way of setting down a foundation for myself as a reader whilst offering the chance to introduce this series to my readers and visitors alike who might be equally as interested in this Contemporary Romantic Suspense series. I also have a feeling the series may pivot once it shifts past Eden, Simone and Allie’s storylines and I was curious to watch the series evolve forward past the initial three novels as it will focus on the McTavish’s. As the detective in Gone in the Night is featured in Guarding His Midnight Witness.

NOTE: I personally spelt honor as *honour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #HonorBound to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, honor is honour but that’s just a personal quirk.

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The Honour Bound series:

More than a Lawman by Anna J. StewartReunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

Guarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. StewartPrison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart

More than a Lawman (book one)

Haunted by the death of her childhood friend, journalist Eden St. Claire has dedicated her life to catching serial killers—and she’s always done so alone. But when the lethal murderer Eden is tracking puts her in danger’s crosshairs, she agrees to accept protection from longtime friend Detective Cole Delaney.

Cole has secretly carried a torch for Eden for years. She might not want to let anybody in, but the thought of losing her is unbearable. Passions flare as the threats intensify. Can Cole convince Eden to break her own rule to never fall in love…before the killer snuffs out their happily-ever-after?

Reunited with the PI (book two)

Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because “The Avenging Angel” makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her—and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?

Gone in the Night (book three)

Guarding His Midnight Witness (book four)

Prison Break Hostage (book five)

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense and #HonorBound

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Gone in the Night” (Honour Bound series, Book 3) by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night
Subtitle: Honor Bound series
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL), Purchased | Personal Library

Psychologist Allie Hollister is still haunted by the unsolved death of her childhood best friend. She never expects her past to meet her present when a young patient is abducted and the cold case is reopened. Allie knows she shouldn't get involved, but the child's uncle, firefighter Max Kellan, needs her as much as she needs him.

Once, Max simply wanted to put his past to rest; now he demands nothing short of justice. As he and secretive, sexy Allie track a lethal criminal, their chemistry is an undeniable adrenaline rush. Their attraction will be put to the test when they confront their most dangerous threat yet: the truth.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance

ISBN: 978-0373402311

Also by this author: Undercover Heat, Colton on the Run, Recipe for Redemption, Guarding His Midnight Witness

Series: Honour Bound

Also in this series: Guarding His Midnight Witness

Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 3rd October, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: One of the reasons I’ve come to love reading Stewart’s Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels through Harlequin is her ability to write a wickedly delightful slow-burn romance. However, her stories in this imprint are also very ‘heated’ romantically in regards to how the romance is explored and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance. I nearly gave it 4 flames but we spent so much time with the characters outside of their own pursuit of a relationship, I felt 3.5 was more accurate!!

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a note about the author’s note:

I appreciated the reminder about how the women in this series were connected – it was through the death of their mutual friend. How that trauma and sudden loss had entwined itself through their lives and how their lives now were in danger is what connected the series together. I remember being on the edge of my seat whilst reading More Than A Lawman but the finer details about the characters and the plot somehow have managed to remain a bit elusive in the months since I read the story.

I loved hearing about the character traits of these characters, this time round – of how they surprised Ms Stewart as she was writing them and how the characters themselves had a different route they wanted to take in being who they are vs the person she originally felt they were going to be! I love those writerly insights writers give in these kinds of notes and/or additional bits of information in their novels. It is lovely to hear about their writing process and also, how the story and/or the characters developed into the final draft your reading yourself now. I have oft found this a curiosity of mine through the years I’ve been a reader and long before I realised I was a writer myself. I think it brings it all full circle in a way – knowing how the writer is creating the story and then, learning how the final copy of the story made its way into our own readerly hands. Its a lovely circle and one that I am never tired of learning more about as every story is unique unto its own.

my review of gone in the night:

NOTE: In the midst of #WyrdAndWonder, I realised my time with this novel had evaporated and I needed to finish reading it – I was thankful I could borrow this novel thorugh inter-library loan and wanted to finish it, return it and let another reader enjoy requesting it. However, by February 2022, I realised I misplaced the notes about how the story concluded and decided to purchase my own copy of the novel to re-read before proceeding forward with my readings of Guarding His Midnight Witness.

Kidnapping stories are usually the kind of stories I don’t oft read as I worry about the circumstances revolving through the cases and how the outcomes might measure out. Similar to why after watching Law & Order (ie. the original series, SVU & Criminal Intent) and NCIS (ie. the original series, LA and NOLA) for at least a decade for both franchises, I made the personal choice to exit those shows for my own well being. The appeal to continue to go down those corridors of thrilling storylines waned and I found myself less attracted to the kind of content those particular shows were starting to showcase. In deference to those series (as a whole) I found Magnum PI (the new series) much more appealling and uplifting if I wanted to soak into a Contemporary Thriller.

However, in this case, I decided to take a chance on the story, as I’ve read a few of Stewart’s other Romantic Suspense novels and have enjoyed my presence in those stories/seriers. As I started to settle into this story, one thing I appreciated is how Stewart re-examined the context of this series whilst allowing us the traction of alignment into Allie’s storyline. Especially how the case about her friend’s death was entwined with the other characters’ in this series (all women, all mutual friends’ of each other) and how even after two decades, the past can still haunt those involved. It is a complex series from that angle – whilst the continuity is tight and interwoven to brilliant clarity.

Stewart did a smashing job of cross-relating this current kidnapping with the one in the past – how both cases were overlapping together – both in coincidental evidence on the scenes and the ways in which Allie herself knew there was more to this current case than meets the eye. Stewart locks us in the present with Allie but has a wonderful way of relating the past into the present – giving us a chilling look into how a trauma in the past can reunite itself in the present in a suspenseful plotting which will leave you hooked to turning the pages! It is through this psychological layering which enabled me to feel fully rooted into this installment of the series whilst finding my footing in a more difficult series to read – at least, for me as a reader who sometimes finds these kinds of stories a bit more of a challenging read.

I felt Allie had the worst role in this – she was called to the scene of a missing girl (one of her patients as she’s a psychologist) and whilst assisting in this current case, she’s unlocked clues to the case which has constantly haunted her without a respite. By the time we get to meet Max, the uncle of the missing young girl – we’re in the thick of the girls’ disappearance. No logic to why she’s gone except she’s simply vanished during a sleepover. Its the kind of case that is difficult to process because of how easily she was taken and how many questions are left in the quake of her absence. Max for his part was quite the character – he’s hardened round the edges and has this wonderful attitude about him to be of assistance and get things done; sadly, his courage and his heart aren’t in the right place right now as he’s not as willing to let the officials do the work they need to do as it makes him feel out of step with his niece; the girl whose missing. You can feel his pain as he’s trying to combat his emotions and his instincts; as a firefighter he’s trained to do the impossible and I felt by having him told to ‘stay in place’, it was like cutting off his own instinct to go and find his niece.

Allie and Max didn’t exactly get along in the beginning – when they first met, she was calm and soothing as she could be to try to ease the tension of the circumstances which brought them together but for Max, he saw her as an interloper; someone who didn’t quite belong and someone who was growing to be an annoyance to have around. Of course, we, as readers have a bit more information than Max on that front and realise he’s misunderstanding what he’s reading off Allie – as she’s not disinterested in helping in this instance but rather, she’s cautiously worried about how this case and the one prior have a lot in common. For her, its re-living a prior nightmare and for him, the nightmare has just begun. I was keenly curious to see when his perspective would change on that level, too.

Goodness! Stewart gave such a gripping scene between the girl’s mother and Max (her Uncle) with Allie in the room as well as the mother’s boyfriend. There has been a custody dispute playing out between the mother and father whilst Max has been trying to fill in the gaps when it comes to his niece and the parenting she deserves. Stewart set quite the potboiler of a scene for us to find out the truth about the mother – how selfish and clueless she is as a mother and how she never had any inclinations to actually be someone who would feel anything towards her daughter. She wasn’t maternal and in this scene, you can see her true colours as she tries to hold onto the life she wanted but isn’t going to have much longer. It is hard to process how someone could be that selfishly motivated and not even possess an ounce of empathy for their own daughter’s well being.

I wasn’t overly surprised when the tension and friction between Allie and Max shifted into a bit of a surprise rendezvous of passion. Nor was I surprised Allie was more than a bit curious as Max was himself where it could lead. Of course, their timing was wrong but evenso, they simply had a tensely tight connection to each other and sometimes, as the case were here, that can lead to unexpected passion and a bout of chemistry neither party could see happen. I felt it was well-timed on Stewart’s part where she shifted us to view Max and Allie differently than just adversaries trying to solve a nightmare and more towards a future where they could potentially be ‘something more’.

Whilst at the same time, when Simone, Eden, Cole and Vince all come together to help Allie solve this nightmare – you truly see the heart of the series itself, how one tragic past can lead into a lifetime of friendship and trust built through tragedy but strengthened through the years of finding ways to move forward without forgetting the past. All the characters are their own found family – wherein, each of them are individually unique into their own but together, they’re stronger and bolder – willing to do what is needed for the common good and to overcome the dangers of the present. It is an interesting collective of characters and as you go through the storyline, you can see the beauty of the central message of the series. Max just happens to be the latest to join their ‘team’ so to speak and in doing so, becomes a part of their expanding family.

And, yet there is only one part of the story I knew I would struggle with resolving and that of course is the current case at hand. It is a very well-plotted kidnapping case with a very sinister ending which befits any diehard Law & Order fan because of what is involved in the ‘back-history’ of the kidnapping and how it reaches through the past to connect the origins of Simone, Eden and Allie’s nightmarish tragedy with the current timeline of events with the kidnapping in the present. In that respect, it was an interesting thread to untangle – to see how Stewart pulled the series forward and through this narrative whilst at the same time found a way to jettison the series forward into a different direction as it carries on.

It is just for me personally, the most challenging part of the story was reconciling the truth behind the suspense and then, sorting through those after-reading feelings which were a bit tainted by the ending as it is quite a chilling realisation as you find the truth a bit hard to swallow all round. Of course, this makes a wicked good suspense – for not seeing how it will end and feeling that chill at the end of it, but evenso, it was a very dark suspense in that regard and you have to prepare for it.

on the contemporary romantic suspense styling of anna j. stewart:

Stewart writes fast paced Romantic Suspense – to where you nearly feel as if the momentum is going to swallow you whole as your reading one of her novels. In this particular installment of the Honour Bound series, Stewart shifts forward and backwards to re-anchour the reader into the drama of the series itself. You didn’t have to finish reading the first two novels in the series to gain traction in the third which was a blessing for me as I couldn’t quite reconcile reading the first two novels in this series but I was gripped by the third as if this were the first novel. Stewart gives a lot of layered re-hashing of the events which has plagued the three main characters of the series thus far afield as the Honour Bound series is a thread of stories connecting Eden, Simone and Allie.

As this is the third installment, the point-of-perspective is given to Allie whilst opening the door for Guarding His Midnight Witness when it comes to Jack McTavish. Through conversations during #SatBookChat, I learnt Stewart let her characters dictate the direction of the series which is why we are going to pivot from the girls’ to the McTavish’s in the next installments. I’m not sure where we will go from there as this is going to be an eight book series but the journey is one I am thankful to be taking after a bit of a hard go at the start of it.

Similar to the other Romantic Suspense novels I’ve read by Stewart, this one packs quite the emotional punch for her readers. A lot of this is rooted in psychological suspense undertones combined with emotional anguish and heartache; whilst inclusive of trauma and memory from the past which re-inflicts pain in the present. It is a layered story and one which is slow brewing – as Stewart sets the stage well in the beginning for the kidnapping case to serve as a catalyst for the story itself and let’s us re-hover over the past Allie, Simone and Eden have been surviving all along.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the books or were thinking you might be inclined to read them.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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This review will be cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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#SatBookChat logo badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Ms Stewart has been an active guest during #SatBookChat for the past few years – anchoured to her new releases for Harlequin Heartwarming and Harlequin Romantic Suspense – which is their Contemporary imprint not to be confused with Love Inspired which is their INSPY Contemporary Romantic Suspense imprint I regularly read. On 26th February, 2022, she dropped by #SatBookChat to discuss the Honor Bound series with us whilst answering my questions about how she approached writing the series inasmuch as we discussed the Butterfly Harbor series (where I learnt the final chapter is arriving this Spring, 2022 with the twelve release), her new non-Harlequin Romantic Suspense release (which is grittier, read more violently described) and of course, we referenced the third series interlinked to the Blackwells arriving in August, 2022 as well. Because of course I couldn’t not mention the Blackwells!

I had intended to start to feature this series and Butterfly Harbor in February, but had to push forward my reviews into March instead. “Gone in the Night” kicks off three #CrimeFicFridays this March whilst my next #SaturdaysAreBookish features “Recipe for Redemption” as the kick-off to a review series for Butterfly Harbor leading up to the 12th and final release coming in April, 2022.

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This review is part of my #CrimeFicFridays showcases:

#CrimeFicFridays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This review for #CrimeFicFridays is part of my featured selections of reviews & stories which align directly with my passion for reading Mysteries, Suspense & Thriller novels; wherein this is one part of a three-part series of reviews for Harlequin Romantic Suspense feauring the Honour Bound series. Concurrently,  I am reading “Gone in the Night”, “Guarding His Midnight Witness” and “Prison Break Hostage” of which is arriving on Jorie Loves A Story this March and April during #CrimeFicFridays.

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whilst courtesy of the author:

About Ms Anna J. Stewart

Anna J. Stewart

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines as well as ARC Manor. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines and the men who love them.

A former RWA Golden Heart nominee, Anna’s books have finaled in the Daphne DuMaurier and National Reader’s Choice awards. Her sweet romance RECIPE FOR REDEMPTION was recently turned into a holiday movie for UPtv (A CHRISTMAS RECIPE FOR ROMANCE) which aired during the 2019 holiday season.

Since her first novella with Harlequin in 2014, Anna has written and published more than forty romances in multiple sub-genres. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural and Jason Momoa addiction and two slightly nutty cats named Rosie and Sherlock. When she's not writing, you can find her cooking and baking, binge-watching classic TV and cooking shows, attending fan conventions, or heading to the movies.

You can read more about Anna, her books, and the writing workshops she offers on her website linked in this biography.

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{SOURCES: Cover art for the Honour Bound series “More than a Lawman”, “Reunited with the P.I.”, “Gone in the Night”, “Guarding His Midnight Witness” and “Prison Break Hostage”; synopsis for “More than a Lawman”, “Reunited with the P.I.”  and “Guarding His Midnight Witness” as well as the author’s photograph and biography were all provided by Anna J. Stewart and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. LibraryThing banner provided by librarything.com and used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #CrimeFicFridays, #SatBookChat badge, Celebrating Spring reading Anna J. Stewart stories banner and the comment box badge.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2022.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

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