Saturday, 17 June 2017


by Cheryl Ann Smith

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pub Date: May 9, 2017

Jess Lucas works hard at the all-female PI firm Brash & Brazen, and after a brush with death, she’s determined to play hard too—preferably with a certain detective on the Ann Arbor police force…

Jess was stuck at a frenemy’s wedding, playing bridesmaid in a mustard-yellow monstrosity, when chaos erupted. First the bride’s ex tried to stop the wedding. Then someone really put a damper on the big day by sending a bullet through a stained glass window and into one of the groomsmen. At least her ugly dress came in handy to stop the bleeding . . .

While the poor guy is rushed to the ER, Jess gets grilled by a gorgeous cop who’s not thrilled to learn she’s part PI and part pit bull. But he has to admit she’s highly observant . . . and he observes that she’s pretty hot, too.

The thing is, Jess was walking up the same aisle as the victim, and Sam suspects she was the real target. It’s more than professional duty that makes him want to protect her—if he doesn’t arrest her first for interfering in his investigation . . .

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My love of books started in grade school with The Nancy Drew mysteries.  Mysteries are still the first section I visit in the bookstore.  I can’t get enough.  I enjoy reading them all, the dark, spine-tingling thriller and the light, fast-paced, amateur sleuths.  The Sweetheart Kiss is on the light side with a good crime to solve, a budding romance and some funny moments are included for good measure.

The Sweetheart Kiss is the third book in the Brash & Brazen series by Cheryl Ann Smith.  This is the first book in the series I read and I can confirm that the book stands on its own.  It is so much fun meeting the Brash & Brazen characters that I immediately purchased the first two books in the series when I finished this one. 

Brash & Brazen is an all-female private investigating firm that is the brain child of the very wealthy Irving.  He recruited three cheerleaders and trained them to be top-notch investigators who form a solid team.  The group is reminiscent of Charlie’s Angels with Irving as a more grandfatherly Charlie.  The Sweetheart Kiss focus is Jessica (Jess) Lucas.  She is not only the target of the crime but also the PI on the case.

The story begins with Jess as a bridesmaid for a woman she can’t stand.  The bride-to-be stole Jess' high school boyfriend and Jess hasn’t forgiven her.  The thing is Jess has a good heart, and the bride didn't have anyone else.  As the bridal party enters the church, a gunman fires and hits Jess’ partner by mistake.

Detective Sam Wheeler of the Ann Arbor police is called to the scene.  He knows the Brash PIs and butt heads with one of the ladies while on a prior case.  He isn’t looking forward to working with another “ball buster” female PI at all--even if she is hot.

I like the characters, the plot, and, well everything about the story.  Sam isn’t a man who gets into relationships.  His house is immaculate and all male.  He doesn’t bring women home because he likes the option of walking away on his terms.  His home is his sanctuary.  Sam was burned in the past and can't bring himself to trust women.   

Jess isn’t big on relationships either.  It's a shame these two are thrown together to solve this case.  As hard as they try to keep their working relationship professional; things happen that make it hard to resist the attraction especially since Jess has been celibate for months.. 

The banter between Sam and Jess is well done with many funny moments as they build not only a smooth working relationship but also a personal one.  I love how Jess invades Sam's bachelor space and makes him cringe by adding a feminine touch here and there. 

Cheryl Ann Smith is a new author to me.  She writes a nicely plotted whodunit romance with continuous action. The romantic sub-plot progresses at a consistently believable pace.  I love the ancillary characters.  They are some of the best I’ve read lately, especially the well-endowed “naked protestor.”  They all gave me some laugh out loud moments. 

If like me, you enjoy a fun, light-hearted mystery with romance you will love The Sweetheart Kiss.  I am hooked on the series and look forward to reading more by Cheryl Ann Smith in the future.


Cheryl Ann Smith became hooked on romance at age fourteen when she stayed up all night to read The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her own writing journey happened much later, when one afternoon she ran out of books and decided to write her own. Previously, she has published five sexy Regency novels and one novella with Berkley in her School for Brides series.

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