Book Review: The Debt by Karina Halle

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The Debt Book Cover The Debt
The McGregors #5
Karina Halle
Contemporary Romance
Metal Blonde Books
August 29, 2016

goodreadsHer life changed in an instant.
And he's the only one who could have prevented it.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men.

Jessica Charles shouldn't have even been in London when the unthinkable happened.

She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, preparing the baby shower for her sister, or teaching her yoga classes. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always.

But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica's world changed forever.

Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes.

That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again.

Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you've got pretty much the perfect Scotsman.

Except Keir is anything but perfect. He's got a past he's running away from and a guilty conscience he can't seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her.

And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart.
He may have been a stranger to her.
But she’s never been a stranger to him.


My review

My review on Goodreads + pic

It was my first book of Karina Halle, and a very good experience. How I didn’t know that there is Scotland theme in this series, I have no idea, but you learn your whole life, and I already know that I will have to catch up on the entire series!

“I’m damaged goods in so many ways and the only man who would want to be with me has to be damaged himself.”

About the plot: Jessica Charles was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was caught in the open fire to people on the streets of London by a mentally-ill former soldier. She was shot and survived, but her life will never be the same. Mentally and physically damaged, she must learn to deal with her new reality.

Keir McGregor is damaged himself. He served in the army for 8 years, and his last mission did not end well. He decided to leave the army and pay off the debt to those who suffer because of him. He never expected that he will gain much more than redemption.

“I wasn’t running from something.
I was running to something. Absolution.
She has red hair and a sunshine smile.”

Final thoughts: This is a very beautiful story about broken and damaged people who learn to live with the survivor’s guilt. Who find in each other peace, friendship and finally love. This is an emotional story, but also a very uplifting and inspiring. Surprisingly it is also very sexy. Damn, girl. Here may not be much erotic scenes, but they are hot and full of passion. There are also moments in which you smile from ear to ear.

You probably do not know, but I am crazy about Scotland. I dream of a trip around this beautiful country. And our heroes are going on an road trip, so it was even more encouraging for me. Unfortunately, it could take too much of the plot and may be boring for some. But just look at places where they were, and how can you not want to go to Scotland. Impossible.

Return to the story, it’s very good written. The characters are interesting, complex, and you can easily fall in love with them and their journey for love. You’re reading this and you can’t tear yourself away. Everyone will want to read a happy ending for this couple. It is absolutely beautiful and worth to know.

“I am strong.
I have armor.
A bulletproof heart and resolve of steel.
I don’t need anyone but me.
But of course the truth is that my armor has chinks. My heart has cracks.
And the steel is corroding at the edges.
I do need someone.
Maybe even him.
My stranger.”


Excerpt Reveal

“You’re not going anywhere,” he says. “Sit. I’ll get you another drink.”

“It’s getting late,” I say feebly but I sit down anyway, my leg giving a protest of pain.

“You need something for that?” he says, noticing my wince.

“The scotch will do fine,” I tell him quickly, not wanting him to make a fuss. “But really, I should go.”

“Why?” he asks from the kitchen. I hear the top pop off the bottle, the slosh of liquid in the glass. “Where do you have to be?”

I have to think about that for a moment. He comes over and holds out the glass. “I won’t keep you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you do want to be here, you don’t need to make any excuses.”

I take the glass from him, holding it delicately in my fingers. He stands over me, a massive wall, waiting for some kind of response.

“I just…” I begin. “I…” I take a sip for bravery. Swallow. “I’m not very good at this.”

“Good at what?”

“At…this. Being with a man.”

When he doesn’t say anything to that, I look up at him. He’s got a peculiar smile on his face, his brows raised. “You call this being with a man?”

I clear my throat, feeling my cheeks grow hot. “I mean. I’ve told you before –”

“Yes, how you don’t do relationships, how you don’t do sex.”

“I never said I don’t do sex,” I remind him quickly.

His eyes never stop searching my face. “Then what is it? What are you afraid to say?”

I have the sudden urge to flee and I know it must show because he suddenly points at me and says, “Don’t you dare say you have to go again. I want you to go back to what you said, that you’re not good at this. What is this? Us? You and me? There’s nothing mystifying about you and me, Jessica. You know quite well how I feel.”

I stare at him in shock. I do? “How?”

He looks off with an air of impatience. “I invited you to dinner, you turned me down.”

“But then you said just as friends.”

“And I meant it. But there are different types of friends. It’s up to you to decide what kind we are.”

I put my drink down with a clunk. “Holy pressure.” And now it’s not just my face going hot but my entire body, flushed from head to toe.

“You’re on fire, little red,” he says, his gaze skirting over my limbs in such a hungry way I can almost feel them on my skin. “I have to say, I like this look on you. Hot and bothered.”

“Back with the innuendos again,” I comment but my voice is weak.

“No, no innuendos this time. You came looking for me tonight not because you wanted to confess but because you want something from me. What is it? What do you want from me? What do you think I can give you?”

Jesus. This is so utterly unnerving. His words slice right through me, his eyes still peeling under the layers, trying to get at something I’m not even sure of myself.

If I lie, he’ll know. I can only be honest with him.

“I want…” I take in a deep breath, my eyes breaking away. “I want…company.”

“Company?” He sounds surprised.

I nod. “That’s the truth. I’m lonely. And I’m afraid. And I’m tired of being both those things. I want to be with someone who makes me forget who I am. You make me feel fearless in a way I didn’t think possible.”

There. That’s the truth. Most of it. It hangs in the air, thickening the tension like flour to stock.

He sits down next to me, has a mouthful of Scotch. “Wow,” he says, running his hand over the beard on his jaw. “And here I was thinking you wanted my cock.”

I burst out laughing. So does he, a big wonderful bellow. The tension in the room eases up a notch.

“Sorry,” I tell him when I catch my breath. “I guess they can both mean the same thing.”

He sucks in his lip briefly, his eyes taking a lustful turn. “If you want it to.” We stare at each other for a few heavy beats. Then his focus trails back to my gaze and he says, “Why don’t you stay over?”

And there I have it. The chance to know what those full lips would feel like on mine, what his skin would taste like. I swallow hard.


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About The Author

Halle HeadshotKarina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

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