Pretend You’re Safe is the first book in Alexandra Ivy’s The Agency Series but reads like a stand alone book. I really enjoyed this romantic suspense and thought the balance between romance and suspense was just about perfect.
This book centers around Jaci who was receiving tokens when she was a teen of a gold locket with some hair and blood on them. However, since there were no corresponding bodies the very young deputy didn’t take her seriously and passed it off as pranks. Jaci left to go to college and the gifts stopped. Now she’s back and living on the property she inherited from her deceased grandparents. Rylan the young deputy also left town and made a fortune developing software used by the FBI. He’s back to visit his dad when a flood aids in the discover of a body and the skull of another.
It isn’t long before Jaci receives her first “new” locket but this time both the sheriff (not the same on as when she was young) and Rylan are taking her seriously. The author introduces a lot of suspects and keeps you guessing throughout the book. Although I did figure out who the killer was I was never 100% sure I was right until the end. The romance between Jaci and Rylan is more of a rekindled interest from when they were young although Rylan never acted on it. It’s sweet and believable.
I really liked both characters and found them well developed. Jaci is tough but never TSTL and is willing to put aside her pride when it comes to staying safe. Rylan is struggling with his guilt over not believing Jaci and is very protective of her. The book also introduces us to some secondary characters including Jaci’s estranged family and the sheriff, Mike who I really liked.
There was plenty of suspense, action and intrigue and of course a satisfying romance. I’m not sure where The Agency part falls into the book but I enjoyed it and would definitely read another in this series.