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Secret Sanctuary (Mills & Boon Intrigue) [Kindle Edition]

Amanda Stevens

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Book Description


With his darkly handsome looks and edgy attitude, Officer Cullen Ryan could spark a woman's deepest fantasies. He'd never looked at brainy, virginal Dr. Elizabeth Douglas that way. But when the former town outcast strode into the room where Elizabeth had found a body, her heart beat fast.And when they formed a wary partnership to investigate the murder, Elizabeth discovered something else--a dangerous passion that threatened her safe, sheltered world.

Then Elizabeth became the target of the ruthless killer and Cullen vowed to do anything to protect her. But could he save himself from the haunting pull of desire in the sanctuary of Elizabeth's eyes?

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 325 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Mills & Boon Intrigue (11 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00994N2PS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #795,275 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Secret Sanctuary 22 Feb. 2002
By Penny Griffin, Intrigue Fan - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Harlequin Intrigue returns to its roots in "Secret Sanctuary," an interesting, though uneven, modern gothic by Amanda Stevens. Moriah's Landing, Massachusetts has a dark and mysterious history reaching back to when witches were burned at the stake in the 1600s. Twenty years ago a serial killer swept through the town and was never caught. When Professor Elizabeth Douglas discovers the body of a young woman drained of blood, it appears to be starting again. Bodies begin to pile up and Elizabeth offers her help to police detective Cullen Ryan. Can this man she's always desired protect her when the killer comes after her?

For this reader and hopefully many others, "Secret Sanctuary" marks the beginning of a return to the kind of story Intrigue used to tell before the line became devoted to baby, cop and cowboy stories, when there was a real feeling of danger on every page and the stories were genuinely scary and suspenseful. It is reminiscent of Elise Title's Thornhill stories, also a New England college town with paranormal happenings, and the dark suspense of Jenna Ryan, Elaine K. Stirling and Bethany Campbell. Amanda Stevens has given many of her books a darker, almost gothic feel, so she seems like a good choice to begin this series.

Unfortunately, "Secret Sanctuary" is a book I wanted to like more than I did. I was thrilled to see Intrigue embracing so many paranormal and gothic elements again. But there are way too many of them. Witches, curses, ghosts, serial killers, mysterious recluses, isolated castles on cliffs, cults, secret societies, mad scientists. It's not a modern gothic. It's gothic stew. Somewhere along the line "Secret Sanctuary" lost all fictional believability for me and became a too obvious mishmash of all the weird themes Stevens (or since this is a multi-author series, the authors and their editor) could jam into one book. It stopped being suspenseful and started being silly. I could buy a town with a few extraordinary happenings but all this happening in one town? Eventually I had to roll my eyes and give up on even trying to believe a town like this could exist. It's interesting to note that, despite all the gimmicks, "Secret Sanctuary" is neither as gothic, atmospheric or suspenseful as another of this month's Intrigues, "Wedding Captives" by Cassie Miles. In that book, Miles takes one element, the isolated castle, and uses it to good effect. Here, the gothic overload lessens the effect.

"Secret Sanctuary" also suffers from the problem faced by most first books in a series. The author has to fit in so much information to set up the series that readers may be overwhelmed with information. Stevens stuffs huge chunks of information in at a time, not integrating it very well. The story comes to a stop, or takes a while to get going, because we're too busy being spoonfed information. The first few chapters are particularly overstuffed, and some readers may find themselves having to go back and reread passages to keep all the characters straight. With so much going on, the romance is shortchanged. While Elizabeth is an interesting, well-developed and unique heroine, Cullen is barely developed beyond what we learn about him in the first couple of chapters: former bad boy, now a cop. That's it. And the more unique and interesting part of their conflict, that Elizabeth is a genius and Cullen always thought she was a know-it-all, is overshadowed by the more predictable rich-girl/poor-boy conflict we've seen before.

Once the story gets going, Stevens delivers her usual pageturner, although the effort to begin the series must not have left her much time to plot her mystery. The killer is surprisingly obvious for an author who is usually so good at keeping readers guessing. On a more positive note, the story is certainly never boring. Stevens pens several suspenseful sequences with Elizabeth in danger that are gripping. I love how the title is unique, not an attempt to show what hook this story uses (for instance, no mention of a cop hero) and actually has a meaning that is revealed in the story, like a great title should.
I do think Stevens did the best she could with a tough assignment. Since most of these elements are related to the other authors' books, she had no choice but to incorporate them. It does give me some hope that, with all of this out of the way, the next books will be able to tell their own stories and not fill every page with as much gothic weirdness as possible.

"Secret Sanctuary" isn't a great book. It is a fun and entertaining one that should leave readers waiting to see what happens next in Moriah's Landing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First in the new Modern Gothic Series by Harlequin Intrigue 3 Oct. 2002
By Kelley Hartsell - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques

Dr. Elizabeth Douglas is a genius, an expert in criminology, and a professor at Heathrow College. The college is an exclusive all girls' school where Elizabeth is no older then many of her students, having graduated at a very young age. She is haunted by a mystery though. Five years ago, when in the local graveyard legendary for its ghost, McFarland Leary, with her friends for a sorority initiation, one of them was abducted and brutally tortured. Claire managed to escape with her life intact, but her mind shattered and Elizabeth has always blamed herself for her predicament.

Cullen Ryan is the newest detective on the local police force. He grew up in Moriah's Landing as the local bad boy, known for his exploits, until he dropped out of school and headed for Boston. He has since cleaned up his life and returned home, just in time to take on the most difficult case of his career.

Dead bodies have started turning up in town, both victims being young students at Heathrow. Elizabeth found them both, almost as if the killer intended for that to happen. Both corpses had also been drained entirely of blood and carefully preserved. It appears that a serial killer is on the loose and Cullen and Elizabeth must work together to solve the mystery, before the murderer can strike again.

Elizabeth has secretly been in love with Cullen for years, but he still sees her as no more than a child, or does he? When the killer targets Elizabeth for his macabre plans, Cullen must use every ounce of skill he possesses to protect her, all the while finding himself fascinated with the attractive young woman she has become. Are these latest murders the victim of a legendary ghost said to rise every five years? Are they linked to Claire's abduction and a series of murders from 20 years ago? Will Elizabeth and Cullen solve the mystery, save her life, and be together?

This introduction to the town of Moriah's Landing is a unique and delightful story. Ms. Stevens shows her magic of writing tales to snare the reader. She weaves intrigue, believable characters, legends and emotion together seamlessly for an engrossing read. Myth and logic come together, drawing one into the lives of the townspeople, leaving the reader to beg for more.

Several plot lines are left unanswered, assumed to be resolved in one of the three books continuing the series. One warning however, expect the unexpected when entering Moriah's Landing. This reviewer enjoyed her visit and looks forward to returning again later.
5.0 out of 5 stars Page-Turner! 17 Feb. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Amanda Stevens never fails to write a book that I simply can't put down and this one is NO exception. A wonderful story that combines the best of love and intrigue. I don't know how she comes up with such terrific plots -- the twists and turns are incredible. Can't wait for the next one.
4.0 out of 5 stars i started on book 3 9 Sept. 2011
By Florence M. Chance - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
i liked the book it wasnt the greatest i have ever read but i had to because i read the third book
first before i new it was part of a set of 4 all 4 books in this series was pretty good
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 2 Nov. 2014
By Kathleen Byrnes - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
3 stars for the book
4 stars for the seller
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