Zapataby Harper McDavid (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: Border Series #1
Published by Soul Mate Publishing on September 25, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Kidnapping, Romantic Suspense
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When engineer Avery McAndrews is offered a last-minute assignment to the rough and tumble border town of Zapata, Texas, she doesn’t think twice. Used to pushing past stereotypes, she’s sure this project will earn the long-awaited promotion.
Instead, she’s thrown in the crossfire between warring drug cartels and soon discovers that her captor, Javier Ramos, is more than just a power hungry drug lord. He’s crazy.
As lead attorney for the cartel, it’s Alejandro DeLeon’s job to manage Javier. But this time, Javier’s cruelty reaches epic proportions, and Alejandro finds himself wanting to risk everything to save Avery.
Running for their lives with Mexico’s underworld at their heels, Avery and Alejandro discover unintended and intensifying emotions, feelings neither sought and neither seem prepared to control…
Romantic suspense is my favorite genre at the moment, and when it features a smart, brave, and successful woman in a STEM field in the leading role, I’m all in. Avery is an engineer in the oil business, and she’s called in at the last minute to work along the US-Mexico border. She’s used to having to be confident and in control, always proving herself in this male-dominated field, but she finds some things that shouldn’t be attached to their storage tanks–along with some oil production numbers that don’t add up–and she finds herself speaking up to the wrong man. Unknowingly to Avery, this man named Javier Ramos is the unhinged son of a powerful local cartel, and he takes immediate offense to her questioning his being there. And before she knows it she’s caught up in the crossfire of two rival cartels fighting over control and protection of this oil supply, then she’s whisked away into Mexico and held in a brothel for ransom.
Avery’s kidnapping and subsequent imprisonment is not only psychologically brutal but also physically violent. Interrogated and beaten at the hands of Javier, the only person who shows her any kindness is the cartel’s lawyer/Javier’s babysitter Alejandro. He wants to avoid a public scandal, and he rescues Avery before things go too far. But can she trust Alejandro or is he more than he seems?
Told from Avery’s point of view with a few glimpses into Alejandro’s head, I certainly enjoyed Avery’s views on the world and how she held everything together even when things were so dark and tough. She’s resourceful, smart, and stubborn enough to survive, but she’s met her match when it comes to suave, sexy, possibly dangerous Alejandro. Alejandro definitely has ulterior motives for helping Avery, but the romance that blooms between them is so tense, so undeniable, it smoldered from the pages.
I give Zapata a 4.5 out of 5. This romantic suspense turned into a full-out thriller towards the last third of the book, and I loved it even more than I did before. The race was on, and I couldn’t read the pages fast enough to see if Avery would ever make it back to the US. Harper McDavid’s writing was fantastic, and everything flowed and was well-paced. This definitely doesn’t read like a debut novel but one that a seasoned novelist would write. I could easily image the settings, from the cramped Mexican cities to the deserts to the small villages Avery and Alejandro fled to as they tried to hide from Javier. This book does highlight some very horrible things such as human trafficking, the child sex trade, and drug trafficking. With complicated characters and a story that wasn’t predictable, I highly enjoyed Zapata. I’m definitely interested in reading more from Harper McDavid and this series.
About Harper McDavid
As a child, Harper McDavid watched her mother ride the rollercoaster of writing books, swearing she’d never do it herself. But some things are just hardwired, and luckily for Harper the world has moved on beyond typewriters and ten-pound manuscripts.
Harper’s gritty romantic suspense incorporates her own background in science and engineering and work experience along the border. The result is a collection of brainy hard hat-wearing heroines that occasionally swap out their coveralls for the little black dress.
Harper is the mother of three daughters and lives in the foothills of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a fat cat. Her free time is spent traveling the world in search of that next story and perusing her local library for funny book covers.
Connect with Harper McDavid
Harper McDavid’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for Zapata:
Monday, November 11th: Living My Best Book Life
Tuesday, November 12th: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews
Thursday, November 14th: The Sassy Bookster
Saturday, November 16th: Stranded in Chaos
Monday, November 18th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, November 19th: Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, November 20th: Write – Read – Life
Thursday, November 21st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Friday, November 22nd: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Monday, November 25th: Romance Schmomance
Tuesday, November 26th: Shelf-Rated
Wednesday, November 27th: The Eclectic Review
Monday, December 2nd: Sincerely Karen Jo
Tuesday, December 3rd: The Graduated Bookworm Blogger
Wednesday, December 4th: Instagram: @beritaudiokilledthebookmark
Thursday, December 5th: Books and Bindings
Friday, December 6th: Instagram: @lesa_cap