March 3, 2015

RELEASE DAY REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Becoming Rain (Burying Water #2)

If you read K.A. Tucker's Burying Water and wondered what the story was behind Jesse's BFF Luke, then your wait is over. BECOMING RAIN is out today, and it does not disappoint. Check out my review, then read the excerpt from Becoming Rain. Don't forget to enter the giveaway too! And, a big thank you to Inkslinger PR for organizing this tour!

Becoming Rain (Burying Water #2), by K.A. Tucker
Publish Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: e-ARC, obtained from NetGalley
Genre: new adult contemporary romance/crime suspense
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set-one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game-at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to.

We first met Luke Boone in Burying Water when he was introduced as Jesse's rich, slightly oblivious BFF. At first, I didn't think much of him. It seemed like he turned a blind eye to his uncle's criminal dealings, just because he liked the money that resulted from them. But, his actions at the end of the book proved that there was more to Luke than what met the eye. That assessment was never more true. 

Luke wants nothing more than to take over his Uncle Rust's garage, thus earning his respect and trust. Luke thinks he's prepared for anything and everything that comes with it, including the activities that are on the other side of the law. But, when he finally gets the chance to prove himself, he can't shake the bad feelings that come along with that side of the business. Those feelings of unease are amplified when he gets involved with Rain, a beautiful girl who seems perfect for him. But, Rain has secrets of her own that will most definitely tear them apart when Luke finds out what they are. 

My favorite part about Luke was how he embraced the gray areas. Luke is proof that one person is never all bad or all good. Everyone is shades of both. Luke is, inherently, a good guy. At his core, he wants to do the right thing. But, he also wants to remain loyal to his family and his upbringing. And, let's face it - the piles of cash brought in by his uncle's less than legal activities is pretty nice too. I get how the lines got blurred for Luke, and I really couldn't fault him for it. 

Clara starts out thinking in black and white terms. There are people who don't commit crimes and people who do. Good people and bad people. All or nothing. It's how Clara seems the world, and how she sees Luke initially. I loved how, in the beginning when Clara and Luke sit down to lunch, and Luke gives part of his to a homeless man, how stunned Clara was by that. It's like, she had already convinced herself that Luke was bad, which didn't leave any room for any sort of goodness. 

Although Clara's short-sightedness was frustrating at times, I did like how she became open to the possibilities beyond that pretty quickly. And, that was all thanks to Luke. Through her undercover work, she had to spend a lot of time with Luke. She got to see that, even though he may be doing some bad things, it doesn't mean that he is a bad guy. Unfortunately, that way of thinking compromised her job. 

As the plot thickens and the number of bad guys starts climbing, the story got really suspenseful and exciting. Because of the dual POV, we already knew that Luke was dabbling in grand theft auto, but he didn't have good feelings about it. We saw the inner wheelings and dealings as Luke and his uncle try to make deals with various nefarious people. And, we also saw Clara trying so hard to both find out what was going on and to steer Luke away from it. The more she grew to care for him, the more she wanted to protect him from what she knew was inevitable - the collapse of his uncle's crime ring and the incarceration of all parties involved. 

As a reader, I really like when, at halfway through the book, I have absolutely no idea how the two main characters could ever be together happily in the end. It shows the very successful development of a complex problem. At 48% I was convinced that Clara/Rain and Luke could find no way to be together. Clara was lying to him every day about who she was. Luke was doing bad things that went against everything Clara stood for. And, eventually, Clara would have to break cover and bring Luke in. And, Luke would most assuredly hate her for it. So, how on Earth could they ever find a way through all that? 
The uncertainty and excitement of the story propelled me forward and kept me interested. There was so much build-up that it almost felt like the ending came a bit too quickly and without enough drama to equal everything that had happened earlier. But, even with those very minor gripes, I still loved the story and the characters. I hope that K.A. Tucker has more in store for us in this world she created. 

“Let us know if you have any more problems.” Luke flashes that wide, charming smile that stalls my feet just a little.

Still no mention of connecting again. In fact, I’d say Luke has gone out of his way to skirt the subject. He’s just not interested. That’s all there is to it. Or maybe he’s waiting for me to bring it up again. But if he’s not, then bringing it up will make me look desperate. I’m guessing he doesn’t like desperate women.

Luke Boone has me in a tailspin. No target has ever had me second-guessing myself this much, this early. It’s just the pressure of the case, I remind myself. “I’m sure I will.” I take long, slow steps, ensuring my movements are sleek and appealing, the opposite of my frantic thoughts, as I desperately search for another hook, since nothing I’m casting has caught so far.

“So, when did you say you’re cooking dinner for me?”

I fight the urge to groan with relief but I can’t keep the smile from exploding across my face. “Whenever you call me.” I turn to regard him, to see his smug face—like he knew I was waiting for it all along, like he was toying with me—and nod to the sheet on his desk. “You have my number.”

“I do.” His eyes twinkle. “I’ll call you soon.”

Thank fucking God.

I wait until I’m in my car and around the corner before turning off my wire and squealing like a fourteen-year-old who just got asked out to the movies. I dial Warner to debrief, my heart still racing. It’s standard protocol to call in after every meeting with my target. Up until now, I’ve had nothing but failure to report. And, while this may not seem like much . . .

I think I’m finally in.

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Learn more about K.A. Tucker:
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