Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 2, 2012)
When Alley gets a message from Salvador Passerotti, the most influential man in the Burgh, for putting his daughter behind bars, Shane takes every precaution he can to protect her. Nevertheless, the other police officers down at the station think the rookie Shane is out of his depth, with Scarface having just posted bond until his trial and decide to partner him with Officer Jeter; a man whose so old school he does everything according to protocol. Meanwhile, Alley has her own drama at school now that the other cheerleaders at Upper East High know that she had a role in bringing down Taylor and their other friends just before qualifying for states. Just when Alley thinks she can’t get a break a mysterious newcomer starts tagging her every move. With the help of her friends, especially Val whose determined to take down the whole mob if she has to, Alley discovers that everyone she trusts has been caught in a web of lies and that all the protection she desperately needs has been compromised.
My Review: An amazing and perfect ending to an amazing series! Though I dearly loved each of the books in this series, I think that Compromised is my favorite. Why? For me, the characters have grown throughout the books and this one had a bit more depth, as far as the suspense/danger. – though there is still tons of humor and laugh-out-loud moments – as well as head shaking moments, lol. Compromised also had a few twists and turns that I loved.
As with the other two books in this series, the chemistry between Alley and Shane is steamy – I want a yummy Shane all my own! Their relationship has kicked up a few notches and there is an extra added antagonistic factor in this one!
Val is just as crazy as ever, though at the same time very endearing. Everyone needs a Val in their life!
In Compromised, Alley’s life is hanging by a thread more than it ever has. Someone wants to hurt her and it seems as though they will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal. Between trying to save Alley’s life and dealing with the predicaments that Val gets the girls into, Shane is ready to have a breakdown.
Though I was near tears that this series has come to an end, it did end in an incredibly satisfying way. I will truly miss Shane, Alley and Val! I hardly ever re-read a book, but I can honestly say that this series is one that I will revisit again. All the books made the stress and craziness of life disappear for at least a bit and allowed me to smile, laugh and disappear into the awesome world created by these two amazing authors. I cannot wait to read more by them in the future!
Saying goodbye to my beloved ten-month-old, brindle-colored boxer Buddy was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. From now on, at least until we were safe again, every morning before going to school I had to hand my baby off to a local police officer so that I could go to school knowing he was safe. My dog was in a kind of ‘witness protection’ program after I helped break up a drug ring at my local high school.
Apparently, our high school’s head cheerleader was so gung-ho to win the state championship that she got the whole squad hooked on amphetamines but hid them as protein shakes. Unfortunately for her, she drugged one of my friends, and after having to peel her from the ceiling one night, we brought it to the police’s attention. Now unfortunately for me, I pissed off the local Pittsburgh mob. When you take down the daughter of the biggest mobster in the Burgh, you take every precaution you can to protect the ones you love which was why I was putting a collar on my dog and walking him downstairs to meet his new ‘babysitter.’
Still, it was hard to look in those chocolate puppy-dog eyes and say goodbye when we couldn’t even run our usual morning mile-long trek along Route 19 because it was too unsafe. Some might ask why I’m still not running just by myself, but really, without him pulling me along, what was the point. Nonetheless I was grateful that Shane’s friend Officer Skip, who worked the night shift, was gracious enough to watch Buddy and Betty, the large black Great Dane I just acquired during the drug bust, during the day. I watched Officer Skip, who looked fresh out of the academy not so unlike Shane, with sandy blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, help the dogs into his SUV.
“So you’re telling me that Alley got herself mixed up in this knowingly?” my dad asked from the couch in the family room, where Shane and another undercover cop were sitting, as I shut the front door and joined them by leaning up against the nearby wall behind Shane.
I should be going back upstairs to get ready for school, but as much as I trusted Shane, I didn’t know this other cop or what he would say to my dad. Shane was a cop, but he and I have a strange relationship that went from hate-hate to hate-like to like-love. He came to my high school as an undercover officer when a peer went missing. We didn’t know at the time he was a cop, so my best friend Val decided it was our job to find the girl. During the investigation, not only did we learn that he hadn’t taken Kirsten, but that he had been working with her before she suddenly disappeared.
Thanks to Val and our schedule, Shane and I have a lot of classes together, and although he drove me nuts at first, I have been slowly and steadily building feelings for him. Even though I’m a senior, weeks away from being eighteen, and only three years younger than him, he has decided it was not ‘professional’ to be interested in me. His lieutenant down at the station must also be aware of his age because they now have decided he needed some help in protecting me, which is why we were all in my living room this Monday morning.
Shane with his large muscular frame sat beside my father, taking the lead. Officer Jeter, the other cop, sat back in the brown leather surround couch looking as uninterested as a person could be. Shane explained the new routine to me last night, that he would only be watching me while at school, something that I secretly think irked him.
Officer Jeter, a tall man with sandy blond hair and a handsome face for a guy as old as my father, would take over at night by watching my house from across the street in his visible patrol car. A scare tactic he was sure would work or at least deter someone from making a late night visit.
“She helped you guys put this girl behind bars?” My dad tried to grasp how much of this was my fault. It wasn’t like my dad and I had the best relationship. He worked at Mercy Hospital practically every hour of the day. It hadn’t always been that way, but after losing my mom to stomach cancer, he slowly turned to his job to help him cope. In a way I saw him as someone who was married to his job now. I’m not sure if he could stand the sight of the house or even me anymore because I was a painful reminder of my mother. I may have his blue eyes with flecks of gray in them, and share the same raven-colored hair, but for someone whose only 5’2″ I have a spark about me just like my mom did.
“Yes, she did,” Officer Jeter started to say.
“No,” Shane quickly interceded, trying his hardest to wrangle in the other officer without alerting my dad who Shane knew would only blame me. “She was concerned for her friend who had taken the drugs unknowingly.”
I knew that he was referring to Libby, one of my friends…well, really I guess you could say she was one of my sidekicks when it came to investigating in the past.
“Once they realized she had been drugged, they alerted us.”
“So why all the protection?” my dad asked.
“Angelo Titiano just posted bond until his trial,” Shane explained.
Angelo Titiano, or Scarface as my friends and I liked to call him because he had a thick scar along his right eyebrow, had been on a mission to make an example of me after Taylor had made up a bogus story about me knowing about the drugs she was taking. She had even convinced the man, who I think was more than just a friend, to scare me. All because she was jealous of Shane and my ‘relationship’ which had been a ploy we used to protect his cover at school.
If you asked Kayla, Libby, or Val, though, they’d tell you Shane and I were just kidding ourselves and that there was more going on between us than what we pretended. And honestly, how could I dispute the theory, when just thinking about the bittersweet kiss Shane and I once shared made me go warm inside.
“But I heard on the news that his bond was a million dollars.” My dad’s tired face, which hadn’t seen the sun in years, looked like he was struggling to comprehend.
“Yes, sir. That’s correct,” Shane explained. “But Angelo Titiano’s not the one we’re really concerned about. The girl’s dad, Salvador Passerotti is one of the most influential criminals in the city. After he sent Alley those roses, we can only assume he’s going to try to avenge his daughter’s incarceration.”
I remembered the large bouquet of fifty or more freshly cut white roses delivered to my house with the cryptic little message about hoping my dog was well. I had a history of creeps trying to hurt the one person that felt like family to me: Buddy. Scarface had already tried to poison my dog on more than one occasion with a mixture of chocolate and Xanax. So when I got the flowers and a personal greeting card from Salvador Passerotti, I feared the worst; that Buddy had been killed.
Thankfully, when Val, Shane, and I rushed to the backyard, Buddy was still playing with the tennis ball machine Shane had bought to cheer him up. Betty, a dog I stole from Scarface—which I knew was wrong of me, but seriously that man was the last person who should own a dog—was unharmed as well. Shane and I were supposed to go to the Ice Ball that night, but I hadn’t left Buddy’s side, with the exception of going to school, since the scare.
“She’s in good hands,” Shane added, though I knew he was just giving my dad a way out. He wasn’t going to stop working at the hospital for me and Shane knew it. “Alley will be closely watched and monitored at school and then at home.”
“I can’t take off work. We’re barely making the bills,” my dad confessed somberly. “If we lose this house,” he gulped, “I can’t lose this house.” He suddenly became choked up. “This is all I have left of her…”
I hadn’t seen my father ever show this kind of emotion before. If anything, we kept up a false pretense that everything was okay, and we always put a smile on when we saw each other, but we had never shared anything really real ever since my mom died almost eight years ago. The sight of my father looking defeated brought tears to my eyes because I didn’t know how strongly he still felt about her.
“We understand.” Shane reached across to put a hand on my father’s shoulder. “Alley is my first priority. I won’t let anything happen to her.”
“Thank you.” My father sniffed. “I don’t know who would want to do this to such an incredible kid.”
“Me neither,” Shane added, though I wasn’t exactly thrilled with that kind of terminology being passed around. I had a hard enough time on my own getting Shane to see me as something more than just a ‘kid.’ Still, my father thinking I was incredible made my heart melt.
“Are you okay with this, Alley?” My father turned to include me in the conversation.
“Yeah, I’m going to be fine, Dad,” I insisted. Though I wanted to add, to my credit, I’d already taken out one of the thugs with a Louisville Slugger, which was more than Shane could say, but now was obviously not the right time to share.
“You can page me at any time…if you get scared or whenever,” my dad continued.
“I know, but like Shan—Officer Regacki said,” I suddenly cleared my throat, “I’m in excellent hands.” I tried my hardest not to grin because if my father ever knew those hands had explored the lower hemisphere of my backside while in a kissing embrace, I’m pretty sure he would be the one grabbing up the Louisville Slugger next.
“Well, good.” My father slowly nodded.
Shane checked his wristwatch and sighed. “I better get Alley to school. It’s a new semester, and the last thing I would want is for her to get…lost.” He flashed me a wicked grin, and it took everything in me not to roll my eyes.
“Thanks.” I smirked. “Appreciate it.”
“I’ll be here to watch the house,” Officer Jeter informed my dad as Shane got up to leave with me.
Shane was dressed in his usual gray T-shirt, which clung to his massive broad shoulders down to his tight abdomen. He put on his black leather jacket which hid too much of the view in my opinion, but did add to the badass factor, which I found to be super attractive. The corner of his lip turned up when he asked with his back to my father, “Alley, are we going to leave or just stand here all day?”
Hating myself, and really hating Shane, I flinched out of my dazed state while knowing that he had caught me gawking at him and quickly smirked instead, like you wish.
“You have nothing to worry about,” Shane called over his shoulder as I ran upstairs to throw on the first outfit I could find while Shane went to leave out the front door.
Once upstairs, I grabbed up my white parka with faux fur trim around the hood and pale blue North Face backpack. I got dressed in my normal dark-washed jeans and long-sleeved white ribbed Aeropostale top.
I knew the rest of my classmates would drop dead if they were ever caught wearing my outfit. Upper East High hallways were like the runways of Milan, Italy, even in the dead of winter. And the few students who weren’t wealthy, like me, tried to blend in at least by wearing the knock-off knee-high boots, leggings, and sweater dresses that were so popular right now, but came from, of all places, gasp…Macy’s. I found out the hard way (like six-inch-high heels kind of hard, painful way) that thankfully, and a bit embarrassingly, Shane wasn’t into girls who dressed like that.
“Bye, Dad,” I called out just before Shane closed the door behind us.
“So are we taking your Trailblazer?” I turned to ask Shane as snow drifted around us.
“Ah, Dad’s watching.” He cleared his throat.
Glancing over my shoulder, I saw my father looking on from behind the curtain of the main window facing the street, and I waved. Our house looked like something out of a medieval time because it was made of stone like some kind of old fort and had a front door that was painted scarlet red, not so unlike the other neighboring Dutch-inspired houses.
“What, are you scared?” I joked as I turned back to face Route 19, which was busy with morning commuters.
“I just want him to know that I’m being, you know,” he shrugged, “professional.”
I knew what ‘professional’ meant and with my eighteenth birthday coming up, ‘professional’ wasn’t how I wanted to picture Shane acting.
“Why start now?” I grinned at him.
“Alley, just get in your jeep,” he growled, causing me to laugh.
“Whatever you say, Officer.” I smiled as I continued down the curve of the front steps to my hunter green Jeep Wrangler, a gift from my dad, if I could keep up with the insurance payments which weren’t that much considering it was second hand.
It had been snowing all week, which wasn’t unusual for the South Hills area, but it did make my morning ritual more interesting as I swept all of the snow off my jeep. I ran the engine for ten minutes so it wouldn’t give out on me halfway to school. Shane hated waiting, and I could feel his death stare, but my Jeep hadn’t lasted this long by rushing her. By the time I was actually ready to leave, I was pretty sure he wasn’t saying ‘professional’ things judging by the glare he was giving me from within his already heated black Trailblazer. Finally, I was able to pull out of the driveway to the obvious relief of Shane, who had been huffing so much his windows had fogged up.