The Couple Next Door

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You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

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Shari Lapena has been the bestselling author behind a couple of book club heavy hitters the last couple of years. Her book The Couple Next Door remains popular in my library and has received mostly rave reviews.

It is a crime thriller. A baby is abducted from her crib with no apparent evidence or motive. The parents are desperate to find her but police aren’t so sure that they are innocent.

The Couple Next Door is told from several different perspectives, but most of the chapters are from Anne (Mum), Marco (Dad), or the detectives’ points of view. This story is engrossing, and super easy to read. The language is simple but every character has multiple issues you have to work through, layers to peel back, while the reader tries to figure out who is behind Cora’s kidnapping.

Although abducting an infant is a heinous crime, there is little violence in the book and none of it is graphic. I wouldn’t consider The Couple Next Door to be a particularly dark book and several friends with young children were able to enjoy the book as well.

I loved this book until the very end. The only part I didn’t like was the final bit, after the arrest (or arrests), but I can’t elaborate without giving away an important plot point. You’ll just have to trust me that you’ll know it when you read it.

The narrator of this audiobook has a pleasant voice that was very easy to listen to. I would definitely be interested in other books she has read.

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Dark Citadel (Shadowlands #2)

This book takes place a couple of months after the first book, Club Shadowlands. While not absolutely necessary, it would be best if these books were read in order.

dark citadel

After Kari breaks up with her date during Beginner’s Night at Club Shadowlands, she’s given the option to continue with an experienced dominant. Despite her steamy fantasies about BDSM, the inexperienced schoolteacher plans to simply observe. Yet under the unyielding hands of Master Dan, she not only participates, but gives him everything he asks for. There is nothing she can hide from him. Not her passion…or her love.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraint, spanking, tethering) exhibitionism, voyeurism.

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Well Kari is officially my hero! This goody two shoes teacher who is as sweet as can be signs up to take BDSM classes at the local kink club with her sorta boyfriend, and when he acts like a jerk, decides to leave him and carry on with the classes on her own!

That takes some guts. It is also where she meets the love of her life, “Master Dan”, an instructor in the class who agrees to be her partner. He guides her into the kink-filled world of Club Shadowlands. And he certainly doesn’t waste any time finding out what kinks innocent little Kari would like to try out.

Kari felt herself turn red.

“Well, she has fantasies.” He grinned. “Good. A gorgeous barbarian chasing you down and taking you against your will? Have you had that one?”

“I—” She bit her lower lip. Was she wearing an I-have-kinky-dreams brand or something?

“I would enjoy chasing you; I wonder if you’d enjoy being caught?”

Sinclair, Cherise. Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2) (Kindle Locations 275-278). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Master Dan has quite the hot temper but this is tempered by his strong protective instincts, instincts that are only exacerbated by his dominant nature and homicide detective career.

He also has a sense of humour, and an alarming ability to work his way back into Kari’s heart when he messes up.

She could just imagine, all her friends and family mourning around her grave. The tombstone would read Kari Wagner, Died of Sheer Stupidity… [on the other hand], It would be almost as bad to have her grave marker read Died of Terminal Bedroom Boredom.

Sinclair, Cherise. Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2) (Kindle Locations 190-192). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Dark Citadel is a short novel, about the same length as the first in the series. Thankfully characters repeatedly show up in later books as a part of the supporting cast, because I definitely did not get enough of Dan and Kari.

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