Berkley Presents: In Isabeau's Eyes

Title:  In Isabeau's Eyes 
Series:  Kentucky Nights #1
Author:  Lora Leigh
Length:  352 pages, Kindle Ed.
Date Of Publication:  March 21st, 2023
Publisher:  Berkley 
Rating:  4 Stars 

The first novel in a new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh—you've met the Mackays; now it's time to meet their friends.

Danger is stalking Isabeau Boudreaux. After the deaths of her parents ten years ago during a violent attack that left her blind, remnants of her vision are returning. But a series of accidents has convinced her friends the Mackays of Somerset, Kentucky, that someone wants her dead. When a roadside blowout proves to be almost fatal for Isabeau and her good friend Angel, Angel’s brother mercenary Tracker Calloway knows this was no accident.

After a particularly bloody job, the last thing Tracker wants to do is get involved. But whoever is after Isabeau almost hurt his sister, and Isabeau is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Tracker is determined to protect her but knows staying away from Isabeau is impossible. He begins a steady seduction to tempt the innocent woman into a world of hunger like she could have never imagined. And keeping her is the only option—if he can save her from an unknown enemy as her sight begins to slowly return.

Please enjoy this excerpt from 
Isabeau's Eyes
SHE’D ALMOST DIED. AGAIN. AND THIS TIME, THE NEAR miss had nearly taken someone else as well. Isabeau Boudreaux sat still and silent in the front seat of the pickup she’d been led to, the door open, fighting the misty blurriness of her eyesight and her own fear. For ten years she’d been fighting to live, and for nine of those years it seemed bad luck was determined to kill her where her father had failed. If it was bad luck, as her brother, Burke, was wont to say. “Goddammit, Angel.”A new voice, filled with anger and disgust, rose amid the others that had arrived at the site where Angel’s truck had nearly gone over a sheer cliff after the tire had exploded. “What the bloody fuck is going on here? That was no convenient blowout. That tire was shot out, and you and I both know you’re experienced enough to see it.”Isabeau froze, her fingers tightening on the handle of the cane she carried as the accusation drifted to her over the distance between the truck she sat in and Angel’s truck a good fifty feet away. She was guessing the unknown male was one of Angel’s brothers, most likely the eldest brother, who they called Tracker. She’d met the younger one, Chance, and rather liked him. But even angry, his voice wouldn’t sound like this. She couldn’t hear Angel’s response, but the male didn’t care if he was heard or not. Rough, dark, and raspy, it was a sexy sound, despite the anger filling it. “And you damned well know that woman is a walking target and has been for years,”he snapped again. “Why didn’t you stay the fuck away . . . ?”Isabeau flinched; the pure fury in the man’s voice and his words whipped across her emotions, pulling at the guilt she already felt, and a fear she’d fought for years. Unfounded fear, she was told often, but a fear all the same. Of all her accidents in the past ten years, law enforcement hadn’t found a single shred of evidence that they were anything more than bad luck. Even her brother, as strong and suspicious as he was, and the friends he surrounded himself with, couldn’t find so much as a rumor that they were anything more than accidents. She was blind. Shit happened. Right? Her blindness hadn’t been an accident though. The bullet she’d taken to her head when she was fifteen should have killed her. Instead, it had somehow lodged in her skull, taking her sight rather than her life. And her memory of that night. “Dammit, Tracker, I said shut the hell up.”Angel’s demand had come too late; the words had already been said. “Stop being an asshole just for the sake of it.”“I’m never an asshole for the sake of it, little sister,”he countered with a snarl. “And you damned well know it. It comes naturally.”Isabeau heard the heavy sigh next to her where the door had been left open by the young woman keeping her company. Annie Mackay was eighteen, and very sensitive for her age. That sound was heavy with sympathy, and Isabeau hated it. The girl felt sorry for her, when that was the last thing Isabeau wanted. “Tracker is Angel’s brother,”the young woman said softly. “Sort of. He and his family raised Angel after Aunt Chaya thought she’d been killed in a hotel bombing. He’s like her foster brother.”“Angel told me,”Isabeau said. “He has a right to be angry. She was almost killed.”“But it wasn’t your fault,”Annie stated, her voice soft. “Tracker’s just really worried about her. He always worries more now that she’s pregnant. And that would have been a really bad accident.”Isabeau tightened her fingers on the cane once again, the all-too-familiar feeling of helplessness, of dependence, strangling her. She couldn’t even leave, not without asking someone to take her home. And how could she do that, after Angel had nearly died driving her to the remote location where the weekend gathering hosted by the few friends she made was being held? The invitation to the Mackay reunion weekend had filled her with such excitement when Angel had extended it and told her she could ride to the property with her. Three days and nights at the lake house getting to know the rest of the Mackay family amid good food, music, and bonfires. Now, she just wanted to hide in the small house she owned in Somerset, Kentucky, and decide if she should call her brother and tell him about this latest incident. One more time, he’d warned her, and she was returning to the ranch with a bodyguard. He was tired of the accidents that made no sense and defied explanation. He’d protect her himself if he had to lock her in the ranch house to do it. A miserable existence. She didn’t want to go back to Texas. She loved her brother, Burke, and his father and stepmother. His half sister, Kenya, was fun to be around, but Texas wasn’t home. It was dusty and too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. The sound of cattle filled the air constantly, along with the shouts of the cowboys on horseback who worked them. But she didn’t want anyone else hurt because of her either. This accident had been too close. If the truck had gone over the cliff, she, Angel, and Angel’s unborn child, would have died. “It was an accident.”Annie broke into her thoughts with the assurance, but Isabeau heard the doubt in her voice. An accident. Like the truck that nearly ran her over in Beaumont, the attempted abduction outside her college dorm, the gas explosion in the empty apartment next to hers when she’d moved to Dallas—and those were just the highlights of her bad-luck adventures, as she’d been calling them. Just an accident. But evidently, this one hadn’t been. Tracker Calloway had told his sister that she had enough experience to know that the tire was shot out. That meant it had been deliberate. Someone had shot it as Angel rounded the sharp curve in the narrow mountain road. It was no accident, Isabeau thought as she fought back the sudden terror that wanted to rise inside her. Had someone really been causing the “accidents,”and had they finally grown tired of failing and decided to use a bullet? She rubbed at the side of her head, her fingers finding the scar beneath her hair that marked where the bullet had struck her the summer she turned fifteen. “Uh-oh, here comes Tracker,”Annie murmured. “And Dad and Duke.”Dad being Rowdy Mackay, and Duke being Angel’s husband. “Annie, go with your mom,”Rowdy directed his daughter, his tone warm and caring when he spoke to her, but Isabeau heard the undercurrent of tension. “We’re going back to the lake house now.”“Okay, Dad.”Annie moved back, the blurred shadow of her form hesitant as she moved. “Isabeau, this is Tracker Calloway with me,”Rowdy told her as Annie left. “He’ll be driving you back to the lake house.”Isabeau’s felt the lash of trepidation as it rushed through her. “Ms. Boudreaux,”Tracker spoke as he opened the driver’s side door and slid in. She jerked, flinching away from him a second later as the huge shadow suddenly moved closer, his arm reaching across her. “Seat belt,”he seemed to bite out as he grabbed the latch and pulled it across her. The complete lack of respect the move indicated was like a slap in the face. “I’m blind, not incompetent.”The words burst free from her before she could hold them back. “And I can buckle my own damned seat belt.”It snapped into place even as she spoke. “Tracker,”Duke spoke from behind Rowdy, his voice holding a warning. “Politeness counts.”It seemed to be a repeated order, if Duke’s tone was anything to go by. “As does common sense,”Tracker snorted. “Now close the damned door so I can get her to the house. Hopefully without either of us going over a cliff.”Isabeau barely stilled a gasp at the not-so-subtle accusation in his tone and her own surprise at how deep it seemed to hurt. “Why don’t you let someone in possession of that common sense drive instead,”Rowdy snapped as the tension shot up by several degrees. “Because the rest of you actually give a damn if you live or die,”Tracker growled, his voice deepening, becoming more graveled as Isabeau felt anger beginning to burn between Tracker and Rowdy. “Looks like me and Ms. Boudreaux are the only two who don’t give a flying fuck. Now close the goddamned door so I can leave.”“Like hell . . .”Rowdy snapped, his body shifting closer to her as though he intended to jerk her from the truck. She actually wouldn’t have put it past him. “Rowdy, I’ll be fine,”Isabeau hurriedly injected as she lifted a hand helplessly, looking between the two men, the fiery tension building around them too much for her to take in or to deal with. The shadows of both men standing beside her suddenly seemed far more dangerous as they’d stepped closer to where she sat. “Get out of the truck, Isabeau,”Duke ordered. “Some of us aren’t nearly the asshole Tracker’s making himself out to be . . .”Making himself out to be? “It’s not an act, Duke. You of all people should know that,”Tracker snorted, the complete assurance in his tone almost amusing as he voiced her own thoughts. Amusing if the situation hadn’t had the potential to be so disastrous. “I’m certain it isn’t,”Isabeau assured him as she did the unruly students she occasionally dealt with. Despite his gruff words, she sensed he wouldn’t hurt her. “And you do it very well.”She turned back to Duke and Rowdy. “Mr. Calloway and I will get along fine, I promise. Tell Angel I’ll talk to her later.”Reaching past Duke she felt for the door handle, gripped it, and eased it toward her slowly. She was rather surprised when the two men shifted back and allowed her to close the door. The truck slid into gear and moments later began backing along the road only to swing into what she assumed was a wider spot to turn and continue along the steep incline of the mountain. Folding her hands in her lap, Isabeau faked composure. She’d learned how to do that years ago, after first losing her sight, to appease Burke, who had been enraged for more than a year because of their mother’s murder, and Isabeau’s father’s attempt to kill Isabeau as well before he’d killed himself. That was what the official police report concluded, as had the coroner. That her father, Carmichael Boudreaux had killed his wife, Danica, and believed he’d killed his daughter, then turned the gun on himself. Her gentle, laughter-filled, loving father had seemingly found some reason to believe they should all die. There had been no suicide letter, no indication that he harbored such darkness inside him. Friends hadn’t noticed anything unusual in him, no hint of depression or financial worries. Yet he’d killed his wife and attempted to kill his daughter. Isabeau’s accidental survival had amazed the doctors and surgeons. The fact that she’d recovered, with only the loss of sight, had astounded them. “I’m not one of your teenage students.”Tracker’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “I don’t like being patronized, Ms. Boudreaux.”She’d known all that offended male pride would escape soon. Most men dislike being talked to as though they were teenagers. Especially when they were acting in that age group. “Then don’t act like a schoolyard bully,”she suggested calmly. “As I understand it, you know both Duke and Rowdy fairly well. Infuriate their protective instincts, and fists are going to start flying. You should

My Thoughts 
In Isabeau's Eyes marks the beginning of a new adventure for authoress, Lora Leigh. 
And a new series to love for her readers.
Isabeau Boudreaux is a character that one can't help loving from the start. 
Who even though she was blinded by an as yet unknown assassin. Who did manage to kill both her mother and father.  When she was just a girl of fifteen.  Has never stopped striving to live her life on her own terms.
Now a woman grown, and having weathered many more attempts on her life.
This tough cookie has shown time and time again.  That crumbling is not on her agenda. 
That is until a failed car crash involving Isabeau and her best friend Angel.  Brings her face to face with the man who; while determined to save her body.  Just might steal her heart.

Tracker Calloway...
Rough around the edges.  Determined to be the "white knight " in Isabeau's situation.  And totally unprepared for the feelings that this "force of nature" of a woman will inspire.
If he can keep her alive.
That is...

And now for the technical support...
This first book in the Kentucky Nights series.  Is classic Lora Leigh. 
Strong leading man with a past.
Meets strong leading damsel with a past.  And oftentimes quite a dangerous present. 
From which he is then obligated to save her.
They then fall in uncontrollable lust.
Resulting in some of the best written sex scenes known to human kind.
Yada...yada... impending peril...saving of the day...yada yada...declaration of love...grand gesture...HEA!

And for the most part we got that this time around. 
But we also got something a little bit special because of Isabeau's disability. 
That served to her, her peril, and her romantic entanglement all the more interesting. 
At least for a while anyway. 
As well as making up for some of the confusion that comes about when trying to clarify the origin story of the mysterious bad guy.  Trying to kill our girl.  And his relationship to both her and the good guys trying to save her.
Because this story has some rather serious "six degrees of separation" action going on between cast mates. 
Someone is always someone's cousin's  sister’s brother twice removed. 
And then there is the insta-attraction between Tracker and Isabeau. 
As I stated earlier, it did lead to some really hot sex.
The second time they meet?
Then There is the whole regaining her sight thing.
Which while a good thing in most cases. Just made this book run of the mill for me.
All of that being said however.
This is a good book if you want something light.  That you can read in one sitting and will make your heart and libido race.

Reviewer's Note
Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Books for providing the review copy upon which this honest review is based.

About Lora

Lora Leigh lives in the rolling hills of Kentucky, often found absorbing the ambience of this peaceful setting. She dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared. Lora’s family, and her writing life co-exist, if not in harmony, in relative peace with each other. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets, friends, and a teenage son who keeps her quick wit engaged, Lora’s life is filled with joys, aided by her fans whose hearts remind her daily why she writes.

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