Sunday, September 15, 2019

Dark Memento by Katie Reus - Blog Tour and Review

Dark Memento
by Katie Reus
Series: Verona Bay, #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 10, 2019

Welcome to Verona Bay, a small coastal town where the secrets just won’t stay buried—and people aren’t always who they seem.

She was the one that got away…

Eight years ago Serenity Washington watched as her twin sister was murdered. She was lucky to escape the same grisly fate. With her sister’s killer in jail, she relocated and tried to move on with her life. She married a man in the Air Force and started a family, but when her husband dies unexpectedly she moves back to the last place she remembers being happy—Verona Bay, FL.

Now that she’s come home, it’s all starting again…

Within months of Serenity’s homecoming, she receives a ‘gift’—a bracelet from her sister that was never recovered after her death—and a taunting note. Terrified for herself and her young daughter, she turns to the local sheriff for help. But there’s only so much they can do without proof that the gifts aren’t more than sick pranks. There’s been no DNA, no fingerprints left behind—nothing to indicate who’s leaving them. As the horrifying gifts arrive with increasing frequency, Serenity has no doubt that she’s the ultimate target. But with her sister’s murderer—a confessed serial killer—still behind bars, she has no idea who’s stalking her.

She turns to the one man she’s been trying to keep her distance from…

Former Marine Lucas Jordan has been hung up on single mom Serenity since she moved back to Verona Bay, but she’s made it clear she’s not looking for a relationship. When she’s targeted, however, all bets are off. He won’t sit by while she’s terrorized, and with her and her daughter’s lives in danger he’s prepared to stand his ground and protect them both. Together they face the impossible task of trying to figure out who to trust before they all wind up six feet under.

Rain slapped Serenity in the face as she raced through the woods. 

He was getting closer. Run. Run. Run. 

Escape. Find help. 

Lightning cracked, illuminating the forest. She let out a scream as he stepped up from behind a tree, his eyes wild and manic, his face elongated like a werewolf. 

A scream caught in her throat as she turned and ran. Her feet slipped in the mud, propelling her forward. 

Pain ripped through her skull as he grabbed the back of her hair.

“No!” She tried to scream but the word got stuck in her throat. Every time she tried to shout for help it came out as a whisper. 

She fought against the mud and grass with her feet but kept slipping as he continued dragging her backward. 

She wouldn’t go back there. She couldn’t go back there. 


Everything in front of her morphed and suddenly they were in that wretched cabin again. 

He tossed her onto the floor, her palms slamming against the wood. Pain splintered through her, her heart racing out of control. 

“Not done with you yet,” he growled, the sound inhuman. 

Savannah sat on the table now, blood pouringfrom all of her wounds, her skin a grayish color. 

“You should have run faster.” Her sister’s words were disembodied. 

Serenity shook her head. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. She’d escaped. She wasn’t still stuck here. 

“Be careful,” her sister whispered. “There is danger on the horizon.” 

“What?” She stared at her sister in horror. She couldn’t seem to get up, couldn’t seem to make her limbs obey her. To move. To run. 

“Run!” her sister screamed. 

Her eyes opened with a start.

A nightmare. Just another nightmare. Though this one was different than before.

He’d never brought her back to the cabin.

Despite being soaked in sweat, a chill snaked through her, making her tremble. It was just a nightmare, she reminded herself. Nothing more.

She couldn’t be back in that cabin, stuck in hell.

Dark Memento was one of those stories that had me torn between flipping the pages to find out what was going to happen next so I could unravel the mystery and forcing myself to slow down to immerse myself fully in the pages to appreciate the masterfully written story that Katie Reus has put together.

The chilling flashbacks from Serenity’s run in with a serial killer set the stage for the background of this story and were woven into the current day mystery perfectly, making it easy for me to be drawn right into the events of the story as they unfolded. Both Serenity and Lucas were wonderful characters and I loved that the story opened with them already having such a solid foundation of a relationship – one that Serenity has forced to remain just a friendship since she carries scars from not only the loss of her sister, but also a marriage that had her feeling lost and out of control. Even though Lucas has made his intentions known, he’s willing to be whatever Serenity needs, even if that is just a friend. What I loved most about the romance is that Serenity knows what is holding her back from giving herself to Lucas, and even though she continues to keep him at arm’s length romantically, she never leads him on or makes promises that she might not be able to keep. And when events unfold that puts Serenity in danger, I loved watching Lucas step up to protect her and her daughter and do whatever was needed to keep them safe.
“It’s okay to be scared. Just don’t hide yourself away and live a muted life because of fear. You literally survived hell. You deserve to live you life in freaking Technicolor. That bastard took a lot from you. Don’t let him take everything else.”
As the first book in the series there were a lot of characters that were introduced which may have been one of the reasons that figuring out who the bad guy was took me right to the end. The town of Verona Bay has may interesting and colorful characters, many of which seem to be keeping secrets of their own, and holds the promise of more exciting stories in this series. Lucas’s family were all awesome and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for his brothers, and Serenity’s friend Adeline also deserves her own happy ever after from the events in this book as well as whatever the secrets from her past turn out to be.

There was a lot going on in this book but Katie Reus always has the ability to weave a story together in such a way that it is easy to follow but still keeps the mystery and suspense in play. She always creates characters that are multi-dimensional and knows just how to bring emotion onto the page.

Call this one a mystery, a thriller, or a romantic suspense, this one checks off all those boxes and deserves a spot on anyone’s TBR!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book I received from the author.

Katie Reus is the New York Times, USA Today, and IndieReader bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her book Avenger’s Heat recently won the Georgia RWA Maggie Award for Excellence in the fantasy/paranormal category.

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