Cover Image: Cross Her Heart

Cross Her Heart

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Member Reviews

I thought this was an excellent book.  I liked the characters, the plot and the ending.  What more might a reader ask.  It has everything that might be wanted in a detective story with a great back story.   As the first of a potential series Bree Taggart is an excellent main character and I look forward to reading  more.
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Everything by this author that I have read has been so so good. To the point where I cannot put it down. And this book did not disappoint. The character development and relationships were so intertwined. I couldn’t figure out who the killer was and was so shocked. Just an amazingly well written book.  I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This is the first book in a new series by Melinda Leigh and I am excited about Bree Taggert! It seems like Bree is always getting herself into something, so the suspense in this book was great. I fell in love with the characters and loved the road they took us on!

Bree Taggert is a homicide detective that has had her fair share of tough times. Her dark childhood growing up has never left her mind. She still remembers taking her sister and brother to hide under the porch when her dad was mad at her mom and ended up killing both of them in a murder-suicide one night. No child should ever have to go through that, much less have to take care of their siblings as well. 

When Bree gets a call from her sister, Erin, one day and the call ends up getting cut off, she races over to her house. When Bree gets there, she knows somethings is not right. Erin had been shot and killed in much the same way her parents had except that her husband is no where to be found. Bree is determined to find her sister's killer. Bree is determined to find Justin, her sister's husband too. 

When Bree starts out on her road to finding her sisters killer, Justin's old friend, Matt comes to meet Bree to help her. Matt is an ex-detective that has injuries that have sidelined him to being a K-9 handler now. Matt and Bree are determined to work together and find Erin's killer though. When things start happening to Bree though, it seems that someone is determined for her not to be able to do her detective work to her full ability. Bree is going to beat the odds against her though. 

There is a budding romance in this story too but I am not going to tell you between who. You will love the suspense, romance and gripping read in this book. Melinda Leigh has outdone herself with this new series and I can't wait to see what happens next with Bree! Great read!

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all opinions are my own. Thanks to Netgally, the author and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It kept me gripped from start to finish and I look forward to the next instalment of the series.

The twists and turns were great because I was longing to find out who the killer was and each time there was a hint the story led you in another direction you were not expecting.

Bree is the central to the story.  A solitary figure who kept people at arm’s length due to her complicate life.  However, appearing a cold person there was a sensitivity showing at times and particularly where her siblings and niece and nephew were concerned.

A story which could easily have been true.  I will lookout for the rest of the series with anticipation.
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The course of Bree Taggert's life was set the night her father murdered her mother while Bree tried desperately to protect her younger siblings. A Philly homicide detective, she spends her life hunting down men like her father and finding justice for their victims.

Now Bree's sister has been murdered, and she has to go back to the small town where she grew up to take care of her niece and nephew… and find justice for her sister. Her brother in law is missing, accused of the murder, but Bree can't shake the sense that there's more to the crime… particularly since Matt, former K9 handler and best friend of the missing man, is also looking into the case. 

Bree and Matt make a fantastic team, and this is an absolutely stellar start to a new series. Bree has her flaws, but she's an incredibly strong character who it's easy to empathize with, and I was delighted to see she got her just rewards at the end of the book in the form of a job offer that suited her talents. A romance with Matt wasn't more than hinted at, but she was in no emotional condition for one and the ending leaves things open for them as a couple. 

I honestly can't think of the last time I was so excited to read the second book in a series. This is genuinely excellent and I can't wait to see what's next for Bree, Matt and the found family they're gathering around them. Five stars for a fantastic read!
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Cross Her Heart was a fantastic start to the Bree Taggert series. Melinda Leigh has created yet another must read series. Bree Taggert is smart, tough as nails, and sensitive. Engaging cast of characters with a thrilling, edge of your seat mystery with a twist! Looking forward to what will happen next! 

*ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
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Another great book by Melinda Leigh! I always enjoy her books..   Thanks to  NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy.
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Thoroughly enjoyed and couldn’t wait to find out who the killer was! Brilliantly written and highly recommend!
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Melinda Leigh is a MUST read author for me. Cross Her Heart is the first book in her new series featuring Bree Taggert. 

It grabs you at the first. Bree is a Homicide Detective in Philadelphia. At the age of 8, her father murdered her mother and then himself leaving, Bree, Erin, her younger sister and Adam, her baby brother, orphans. Erin leaves Bree a voice message. Unable to reach her, Bree heads home. Once there she finds her sister has been murdered. 

The characters are believable. Leigh gave the characters issues and problems that anyone can relate too. Even when the story slowed down, not that it did this much, I was still glued to the book. Leigh kept my attention throughout the whole book. I can't wait to read more about Bree Taggert and the others of Grey's Hollow.

Thanks to Netgalley and Montlake for the copy.
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Great introduction for a new series. I connected with the characters and I'm looking forward to other books in this series.
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With quarantine in full effect and no sign or indication of when this ordeal will pass, I’ve been getting more than my fair share of reading in lately. I just finished Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh. Thank you to @Netgalley and @amazonpublishing for the arc in exchange for my voluntary review.⁣
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This novel centers around Bree Taggert, a homicide detective whose childhood was scarred by the murder-suicide of her parents. Now it’s present day and we learn her younger sister, Erin, was just murdered. The police suspect the culprit was her sister’s husband, Justin, who has now vanished. Is history repeating itself, or was someone else responsible for Bree’s sister’s murder?⁣
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I enjoyed the cozy, wintry feel of this book. The author did a fantastic job with the setting of the story. However, the plot left a lot to be desired. I felt everything in the book ended too neatly tied with a bow. The conclusion seemed to be pulled out of thin air with no real build-up or believable backstory. If or when you read this novel, you may see what I mean. ⁣
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The characters were endearing and I enjoyed the way Bree’s personality was written. I am confused why this book is categorized as a romantic suspense novel when there is barely any romance involved at all. I was actually looking forward to a love story unfolding! Check this book out if you’re looking for a traditional crime novel. It’s a solid first in its series, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the author comes out with next for Bree Taggert’s storyline.⁣
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4.5 Stars
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. I have to say I loved this book the plot twists and well written characters got me hooked from the beginning. I haven’t read anything by this author previously but will certainly read this series.  The book follows the life of Bree Taggert and her siblings Erin and Adam after their father kills their mother and kills himself.    This book is highly recommended and I cannot wait to read more!!
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A story line that takes the past and incorporates it into the now.....returning home to where you grew up is something that is personal to everybody depending on what experiences we have had in our past lives.... One thing i like is that Bree has come out of her past with issues, yes, but with a strength of survival, and brings with her a set of values that are about family..... 

Story line is not uncommon in its approach... but it does have the elements of life and how some of us approach dealing with bad relationships....... Bree has strong ties with people when she accepts them as her friends and part of her family and does not give up on them,..... thankfully this is what the past has given her .....

Emotionally this book draws you into some of the turmoil that she experiences in her life .....and the defiant way of following up leads to get to the truth.... I felt for her as she seemed to be a solitary figure that lived more in her own isolation and only allowing in the people that she wanted to let in.........   

The plot takes a few twists and turns.... but also some really good moments that hold you in the  grip of having to keep on reading,   The whole conclusion comes in at the end as Bree and her work partner Matt unfold the true story of what happened to the death of her sister Erin........ 

It held me because the past gave Bree her personality and inner struggle with life..... you could almost feel her trying to live beyond it...... Matt the good looking work partner always there for her, he felt safe and he was a protective barrier......
I loved the book and i couldnt put it down......
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Cross Her Heart is the first book in a new series by Melinda Leigh, an author I simply adore. The setting is not far from the location of her previous series (Morgan Dane), Scarlet Falls, NY and the characters have a similar feel. The plot, as always, is a great suspenseful mystery that keeps me guessing till the end. There is an almost-romance to be fleshed out in future books, of that I'm certain and this already has the makings of an incredibly good series.

Twenty-five years ago, Bree Taggert's father committed suicide but not before murdering her mother, leaving Bree, her sister younger sister Erin and brother Adam orphaned. Bree, then just eight-years-old, was sent to a cousin in Philadelphia while Erin and Adam were raised by grandparents in Grey's Hollow, NY. All of this has taken its toll on Bree. When Erin is murdered and Justin, Erin's estranged husband, is the prime suspect, the painful memories come rushing back to Bree.

Former sheriff's investigator Matt Flynn is a dog handler and is the victim of a shooting that went terribly wrong, though Matt and his retired service dog, Brody, survived. When he discovers Erin on the floor of Justin's bedroom, he finds himself drawn into the investigation to prevent the missing Justin, who is also his friend, from taking the blame for the murder because he is a convenient suspect.

As with Melinda Leigh's novels in her other series', this one offers a complete package - a complex storyline, characters' backstories, and a wonderful writing style that is deceptively straightforward and easy to read. I really enjoy slipping within the pages of her books and getting behind a tough, but intelligent main player like Bree Taggert. This novel was a fantastic, electrifying and solid mystery and I warmed to both Bree and Matt from the outset.

It was well-told and it had me glued to the pages as I was desperate to know the outcome of the story. As Bree, Matt and her co-workers embarked on an exciting mission to find the perpetrator, all of the time the tension was being ratcheted up a notch, as Melinda Leigh smacked me with some captivating misdirection and planted a few red herrings.

The compelling plot was brilliantly executed, and the flashbacks tied in perfectly with the storyline. The well defined characters and underlying currents are the main highlights, all building up to a great ending. I love a good murder mystery with a hint of romance, and this one definitely didn't let me down.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from Montlake Romance via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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A chilling voicemail from her younger sister has Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert brings the trauma of her childhood to the forefront of her mind.

For more than twenty-five years, Bree has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide that is until Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night:. 

Erin's estranged husband is missing - did he kill Erin or was he another victim?

Bree teams up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn as she vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death,.

There's quite a few twists and turns in this story.

I liked Bree as a character she was no damsel in distress and held her own in some pretty hostile situations.

This story offers complete package of a complex storyline, characters' backstories, and a writing style that is deceptively simple and easy to read.

I found Cross Her Heart a clever mystery with a few suspects and a steady trail of clues. There are a few check ins with the killer that don't do more than offer flashes of their thinking and don't reveal their identity.

It only took me two sittings to finish this book, an enjoyable read.
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There's something extra fantastic about the first book in a series, especially when it comes from an Author like Melinda Leigh! 
Knowing I wouldn't be disappointed I jumped right in and was thankful for the distraction. I can't give anything away except to tell you that this one is a must read!
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Home was a place of dark memories and a painful past, but now Detective Bree Taggert has rushed back after a frantic call from her younger sister only to discover Erin is dead and her husband, Justin, is missing and a person of interest to the county sheriff’s department.  Jumping into a new Melinda Leigh series was something I did with all the excitement of a five year old with a pile of birthday presents to unwrap.  There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to love what I got.
Review

Cross Her Heart is book one of the new Bree Taggert series, but it wasn’t far into the story that I had a sense of familiarity and realized that the setting was in the same world (county) as the earlier written Scarlett Falls trilogy and its spin off the Morgan Dane series.  There are even a couple crossover bits that fans will enjoy spotting though readers new to the author and her backlist can rest assured that this can be picked up and started without feeling anything is missing.

Retired Sheriff’s K-9 deputy, Mike Flynn and his retired service dog, Brody, went to pick up his friend for his addiction meeting and gets no response at the door.  He goes around back to find the door open and a horrific scene in the bedroom.  Justin’s wife, Erin, lies murdered on the floor.  Interim sheriff and everyone else are certain it was Justin.  Mike has known Justin since they were kids and that the guy was deeply in love with his wife and would never have done this.  But, it looks bad with Justin missing.

Mike doesn’t trust, but few at the sheriff’s department after his boss the sheriff got brought down for corruption and several were likely complicit.  He’s pretty sure the career-ending shots caused by friendly fire at him and Brody being ‘accidentally’ sent in through the wrong door at a scene were meant to get rid of one who was a witness and threat to the sheriff before he was brought down.  Mike has no idea how many of the sheriff’s loyal crew are left in the department, but he knows for a fact that the patrol officer captain promoted into the temp job of sheriff is in over his head with this murder case.

Bree is a tough Philly homicide detective and arrives in her hometown after a cryptic, scared voice message from her sister, Erin, brings her running.  Their family’s dark past of her parents’ murder-suicide and domestic abuse affected them all differently and caused Bree to be reared away from her siblings.  They were all slightly distant from each other, but kept in touch.  Now she has a grieving teenage nephew and young niece who need her and the potential for their father, her sister’s big past mistake to show up and claim them.  She is determined to find their mother’s killer and is slowly grasping how Erin’s death has just changed her life.  Mike Flynn is adamant his best friend didn’t do it and she can see his concern about the investigation.  They team up and go on the trail of a killer who is watching her closely and just as determined not to let her get close to the truth.

Like with her older series, this one offers the complete package of a complex storyline, characters’ backstories, and a writing style that is deceptively simple and easy to read.  I enjoy the ease of slipping into her books and getting behind a tough, but intelligent heroine like Bree Taggert.  She is skilled and has her weaknesses like her fear of Mike’s K-9 partner or what is sparking between her and Mike, but she isn’t stupid and does the best she can with all the emotion load she is carrying.  Mike is also a sympathetic main character just trying to figure out his life after his career is taken from him.  He’s good with training dogs and he has good instincts about people.  He’s reliable and best of all, he was able to treat Bree as an equal partner in their private investigation.

Bree and Mike definitely have something together, but I enjoyed that its still a tiny flame at this point.  They are in the middle of an emotional case and grieving.  They didn’t trust each other’s motives at first or methods.  The author wisely didn’t try to force the attraction, but will let it unwind over the course of the series.

Like her earlier books, the investigation is not a plot in isolation.  There are surrounding layers.  Justin’s drug addiction, family grief, past family tragedy, conspiracy in the sheriff’s department, threat of a custody battle, and adjustment to new reality.

Besides Mike and Bree who share the narration as main characters, there are several other great characters.  The kids, Bree’s brother Adam, Bree’s former detective partner Dana who comes to help out mostly at home with her delicious cooking, Marge, the sheriff’s department secretary who knows everything and everyone, Mike’s confidential informant and also a drug dealer.  It was colorful cast who I look forward to seeing in future series books.  There was a quick cameo from a favorite character in an older series and I hope we get more of those cameos and crossovers in future.

The murder itself had me scratching my head over motive for the longest time.  It was literally just before the reveal that I caught a glimmer, but by then, it was in the open.  Clever mystery with a few suspects and a steady trail of clues.  There are a few check ins with the killer that don’t do more than offer flashes of their thinking.  When the reveal came, my mind shot back to the little things that should have led me there and I could appreciate how the author fooled me to the end.

All in all, it was riveting and I was always reluctant to put it down.  It’s a great start to a new series and I can’t wait for more.  Romantic suspense and thriller romance fans who like it moderately gritty with a well developed plot and cast of characters should give this a go.

Incidentally, I read this as a Buddy Read with Anne @ Books Are My Heart for the COYER Winter Friends Buddy Readathon.  I had a blast reading along and shooting comments back and forth as we discussed our impressions along the way.  Pretty fun that we both squeed over the same fun surprise.  In the end, we were on the same page about it all and gave it the same rating.  Don’t forget to check out Anne’s tour stop and review that posts on March 12th at her blog.
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AH-MAY-ZING!

I. loved. this. book.

I am so happy to see that it is the first of, hopefully, a series. 

So let's recap...

Cross Her Heart is the story of Bree Taggert, a Philadelphia homicide detective who has a violent family history. That's where we start, viewing the scene of her parents' murder-suicide as 8-year-old Bree. 

So, right from the first SENTENCE, I'm hooked.

Now, fast forward, and here is Bree, 25 years later, finding out her sister has been killed in what appears to be a similar situation...EXCEPT, her sister's husband has disappeared.

Bree returns to her childhood town to investigate the secrets her sister's life and death have left behind...to ultimately uncover what really happened.

Honestly, chilling.

I could not believe how the novel ended. I was shocked at who was actually behind the murder of Bree's sister, because I did NOT expect it in the least. But, the whole scene was written so well, there was not a single thing disappointing about it. It was PERFECT. 

I loved the characters in the novel, they were so well written and you got to really learn about them, without detracting from the story or distracting in the least. Very well composed and endearing.

I am so, so excited to see what the next novel will bring. The ending scene left you with a light cliffhanger, that you just would love to see where it goes and what new adventures will unfold!

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher of this advanced digital reader's copy for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for an honest review!
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I love all the books I've read of Melinda Leigh. Cross her heart is no exception. This book introduces Bree Taggert whose family suffered a tragedy when they were young, and now have suffered another one.  I really enjoyed the characters, great story line and am looking forward to the next in this new series. Thanks to Montlake romance/NetGalley for a copy of this ebook.
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This review is not going to be long. I am not a huge fan of a review rehashing the entire plot and spoiling it for everyone.

I enjoyed the story tremendously. The author does a wonderful job of making her characters come to life. The story is suspenseful and fast paced with plenty of intrigue and action. I cannot wait for more of this series to come out.

I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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