Friday, September 8, 2017

Susan's Review of Donna Alward's Beneath the Badge

Working a short-term assignment in small-town Nova Scotia is just what RCMP officer Matt Parker needs. Traffic violations, some vandalism…things are pretty quiet. Until a call about a puppy mill brings back haunting memories of a case gone bad. Lucky for him, pretty veterinarian Lindsay Swan proves to be a great distraction.

Lindsay can’t resist the sexy police officer, particularly when she sees his tender, caring side. For her, relationships are bad news and accidents waiting to happen, so it’s perfect that Matt is only in town temporarily. And it would be easy to keep things light, until a local woman disappears and Matt’s darkest secret is revealed. Can Lindsay be the support he needs, or will she choose to keep her heart safe?

A plate appeared across from hers on the table, the dish made a small thunk on the heavy wood. ‘Mind if I join you?”
She raised her gaze. Oh Lord, it was him. Up close he had to be six feet or maybe a little taller. The fit of his jeans and t-shirt made him appear lean from a distance but now, up close and personal, she could see that every curve and dip was formed from pure muscle.
He smiled at her. ‘I’m Matt Parker.”

‘I know who you are.” She answered. Jeez, she wasn’t always so inept. Maybe she was spending too much time surrounded by dogs and cats.

‘And you are?’

‘Didn’t you do a little recon at the bar before coming over?’ she asked.

He chuckled. ‘I did. You’re Lindsay Swan and you run the vet clinic just off of Main.”

Beneath the Badge exceeded my expectations. The characters are relatable, the author’s rich descriptive writing style and clever dialogue shine in this novella. The couple’s chemistry and first goodnight kiss drew me into the story. Both characters have flaws; Matt is haunted by his experiences as an uncover police officer while Lindsay has spent years coping with her father’s depression. Ms. Alward shows Matt’s compassionate side when he pitches in and helps at the vet clinic; this scene allowed Lindsay to realize that Matt was more than a charming ladies’ man.

Loved how the couple’s love story unfolded during the story—it’s well-paced and sensuous. Lindsay abruptly ends her relationship with Matt. She fears neither one of them can leave their pasts behind them. Lindsay hears of a missing person case and knows she needs to be there for Matt. Can she put her fears aside and be there for him? The novella’s conclusion is emotional and compelling and brought several tears to my eyes. Beneath the Badge reads like a novel and has all the feels—you will fall in love with Lindsay and Matt as their story is heartfelt and emotional on many levels. And the epilogue is perfect!
Five Stars!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by the author

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers.

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. You can visit her on the web at and join her mailing list at .

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