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Bree Taggert #1

Cross Her Heart

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A homicide detective’s violent family history repeats itself in #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s novel of murder, secrets, and retribution.

For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide…Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one chilling difference. Erin’s husband, Justin, has vanished.

Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn’t adding up. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death, as she promised Erin’s children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree’s family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.

327 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 17, 2020

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About the author

Melinda Leigh

43 books20.4k followers
#1 Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker who learned that writing books is way more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, SHE CAN RUN, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. Since then, she has garnered numerous writing accolades, including two RITA® Award nominations and an induction into the NJ Romance Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have sold more than 10 million copies across the world. Melinda loves martial arts, rescue dogs, and sea turtles.

WEBSITE: https://www.melindaleigh.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/melindaleighauthorpage/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/MelindaLeigh1

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,056 reviews
Profile Image for Sandra.
667 reviews6 followers
February 12, 2023
Homicide detective Bree Taggert’s sister (Erin) is murdered. Bree’s family has a dark and tragic past history, with their parents’ murder-suicide when she was an eight-year-old child. Now history may be repeating itself since Erin’s estranged husband (Justin) who has gone missing, is a top suspect in the murder. Bree joins forces with Matt Flynn (K-9 handler-investigator and Justin’s friend) to try to find out who the culprit is.

This was a very enjoyable suspense story. It was sad at times since Bree had to deal with her emotions over the death of her sister along with attempting to get custody of Erin’s two devastated children, Luke and Kayla. Erin named Bree to be their guardian, but Luke and Kayla’s biological father, sneaky and dishonest Craig, suddenly wanted custody. I liked Matt and his great K-9 partner Brody. This wasn't really a romantic suspense, and I didn’t mind that at all. I really enjoyed the exciting and action-filled conclusion. I also liked how everything turned out in the end concerning Bree, Luke, and Kayla’s future. Another character I liked was Bree’s best friend, Dana. This is the first book in the “Bree Taggert Series” and I look forward to reading the follow-up stories.
Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,348 reviews24.7k followers
August 18, 2022
Cross Her Heart is book one in the Bree Taggert series by Melinda Leigh. This is my very first book by this author. Wow, it grabbed me right from the first page and never let go. I do want to say up front that this is tagged as romantic suspense but there is only a hint of romance in this and it’s only at the end. But, I do see the possibility of that building throughout the series. I have to say, though, that even though I am pretty strictly a romance reader, I didn’t miss it in this one. The writing was just so engaging and I just had to keep reading to see what happened next.

Honestly, the blurb for the book says it all. Bree Taggert is a homicide detective in Philadelphia. She has a younger sister and brother who still live in their hometown of Grey’s Hollow. The Taggert siblings suffered a well known tragedy when they were children. Their parents died in the most brutal of fashions scarring the three kids for life, each dealing with it in different ways, Bree as a seeker for justice for the police department. But when she gets word that her sister has been killed in a very similar scenario that their parents died in, she has no choice but to go home to Grey’s Hollow, take care of her sister’s two children, and figure out what truly did happen to her.

Matt Flynn is a former sheriff’s investigator and a K-9 handler in Gray’s Hollow. Erin, the woman that was murdered, was the wife of his best friend, Justin. When Erin was killed, of course Justin was the prime suspect and Matt is determined to prove his innocence. When Bree comes to town, they agree to work together, even if for different reasons, to find the truth of what happened to her.

Bree barely has time to accept that her sister is gone. Her eight year old niece and fifteen year old nephew need her, not to mention a funeral to plan. But she wants to find out what happened, even if it means teaming up with the sexy ex-detective, Matt. Together these two are quite the team and leave no stone unturned. They work so well together. I also want to mention Bree’s best friend and partner from Philadelphia, Dana, that comes to stay with her and help out. I loved her. She was kind of the glue that held everyone together.

This was just a fantastic, fast paced, wonderful book. I most definitely will be looking at the rest of the series as well as anything else this author has written. If you love a good, suspenseful mystery, then this book is for you.

For more about this book and so many others, come and visit me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World.

Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,202 reviews918 followers
June 22, 2022
Bree Taggert is a Philadelphia homicide detective who has worked hard to overcome her tragic past. When she was eight years old, she witnessed her parents murder-suicide and was separated from her two younger siblings, Erin and Adam. They still live in their hometown of Grey’s Hollow, New York and though she’s not especially close to them, Bree still maintains a strong bond with them. After receiving a troubling message from Erin, Bree rushes back home only to find that her sister has been murdered and her husband has vanished, becoming the prime suspect. With the help of local law enforcement and Matt Flynn, a former Sheriff’s deputy and K-9 handler who is also her brother-in-law’s friend, Bree proceeds to search answers and the identity of the killer.

I was hooked from the onset as the horrific events from Bree’s childhood is recounted. Her return to Grey’s Hollow is tough for her as all those memories from that time resurface. Erin also has two children that Bree’s now responsible for as well. The case was puzzling and Bree has her hands full as she deals with her own grief and that of her niece and nephew. She and Matt work well together and both of them cooperate with the chief deputy sheriff who is also the acting sheriff.

There are loose connections to the Morgan Dane and Scarlet Falls series and though it’s not necessary to have read those stories, I liked experiencing that familiarity with the town and some of the characters. I also liked Bree who is a complex woman and is definitely shaped by what happened in her childhood. She’s strong willed, smart and talented. It’s also clear that Matt Flynn will be an important person in her life beyond their investigative teamwork. I listened to the story and enjoyed the narrator. She’s a good storyteller and gave distinction to the primary characters. The ending was exciting and I liked the direction Bree’s life is now taking. I will definitely continue this series.

Posted on Blue Mood Café
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,121 reviews30.2k followers
March 23, 2020
Wow, Melinda Leigh knows how to write an exciting procedural. Welcome to her new series, Bree Taggert.

Bree is a homicide detective whose family has a violent past. In fact, her parents were involved in a murder-suicide when she was a child.

More than two decades later, her sister is killed in a similar crime. The only difference is that Erin’s husband has disappeared. Where is he?

Somehow when the evidence starts to mount, it causes Bree to question what’s what.

Cross Her Heart is filled with twists and turns I never saw coming. The pacing is on point, and the the writing is smooth as butter, just how I like my thrillers.

Overall, I am a new fan of Melinda Leigh, and I definitely recommend you check out the Bree Taggert series if you love procedurals!

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews718 followers
December 2, 2021
I read this book quickly. Almost every chapter made me want to read more of the book. I also thought the solvency of the case in the book will be a series of slightly unlikely events. I was right.

But the book's strength is the good guys' interaction among themselves. Somehow the reaction between the members of the family of the murdered felt real. I have never seen this type of realism in TV shows or in movies.

Despite the upbeat ending, the book felt sad. At least the worst had been avoided. There are a lot of people in the book who have secret ways of getting what they want. This too I appreciated. Overcoming each problem was a delight to read.

In the end I would say that the author is very able to plot. She also knows how to embellish. And she can write moving scenes. There are a lot of authors out there. Can't read them all. That said, this book is of quite high quality, and that is reflected in my rating.
Profile Image for PamG.
815 reviews481 followers
March 5, 2021
CROSS HER HEART by Melinda Leigh is the first book in the Bree Taggert romantic suspense/crime series and is largely set in upstate New York. In this book, the reader is introduced to Homicide Detective Bree Taggert who is with the Philadelphia police department. When she receives a voice mail from her sister saying she is in trouble, Bree drives to her sister’s house where she finds deputies searching the house and her sister is dead. Where is her husband? Who killed Erin? What is going to happen to Erin’s children?

This book is setting up the series and therefore contains a lot of background information on Bree and her family. Additionally, we meet Matt Flynn, a former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler. Together, they (and others) work to solve the mystery. Bree and Matt are both sympathetic characters that you can root for. They definitely have flaws and virtues and their goals were clear and influenced the plot. Their motivations seemed believable. The secondary characters are not as well-rounded, but the relationships between the characters were believable and not contrived. The storyline is engaging with some suspense and one very tense action scene. The point of view throughout the book moves back and forth between Bree, Matt, and the unknown killer. Themes include family drama, family needs, drug abuse, murder, values, phobias, grief and much more.

Overall, this is book has a few unexpected twists and a solid, if predictable, ending that has set the foundation for a great series. If you are expecting a lot of romance or instant love in this novel, it is not there. If you are expecting a solid start to a new series that will have mysteries, suspense, crime, and eventually some romance, then this is a series that I can recommend. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars.
Profile Image for Maureen Carden.
280 reviews70 followers
September 16, 2021
For some reason I couldn’t help but think of various mythologies when reading Melinda Leigh’s terrific Cross Her Heart (Bree Taggert#1). In a chilling and heartbreaking prologue we meet eight year old Bree Taggert, who is a true Artemis/Diana. Diana is the goddess of the hunt and protectress of the living world. On a tragically violent night Bree saves four year old Erin who escapes death once but meets him later in life. (Shades of Death in Samaara) Bree’s second save is baby Adam who later stays above the fray of human strife as a successful painter when he grows up. Not quite sure of his particular godly role. Not surprisingly, Bree grows up to be a Philadelphia homicide detective, Diana’s role to a 't'- hunt and protect.
Erin second encounter with death comes at the hands of her husband Justin. Erin recently had separated from Justin because he suffered a relapse into his oxy addiction and has two children she didn't want to expose to Justin's addiction.
Justin’s best friend Matt Flynn, a former sheriff’s deputy and K-9 officer, isn’t too sure of Justin’s guilt and teams with Bree to determine the guilt or innocence of Justin.
Bree’s and Matt’s pairing is not problem free as Matt still has his K-9 partner and Bree is terrified of dogs. Also they start as coming from opposite ends of th investigation.
As usual Leigh’s writing is a perfect fit for those who love puzzles that are not an easy solve.
A story with main characters fully fleshed out; as they should be since Cross Her Heart (Bree Taggert#1) is the beginning of a new series. Romantic suspense this may be, but this is really only the set up for a future romance. I am a fan of differing POVs, because truth is always relative. Leigh also does a terrific job in beginning to paint the small town of Grey’s Hollow. When mythologies fail me, I like to compare Leigh's writing to a fine bourbon, smooth, mellow but with a definite bite.
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange of a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Linzie (suspenseisthrillingme).
249 reviews102 followers
November 25, 2022
A woman lying in a pool of blood, shot through the heart. A retired sheriff’s deputy determined to clear his friend’s name. A detective intent on finding her sister’s killer. And a killer committed to stopping them both in their tracks. Even if it means killing them, too.

For twenty-five years, Bree Taggert, a Philadelphia Police Department homicide detective, has pushed aside the memories from her violent childhood. Then, one night, she receives a panicked voicemail from her sister, Erin. Rushing back to Grey’s Hollow to help her sister, Bree discovers that Erin has been murdered in her estranged husband’s home and that he, Justin Moore, is missing. The Chief Deputy of Randolph County Sheriff’s Station, Todd Harvey, has immediately concluded that Justin is the prime suspect in Erin’s murder. Bree, who has a hard time believing that her brother-in-law is a murderer, decides to begin investigating Erin’s death on her own when not looking after her sister’s two children, Luke and Kayla. Assisting her in the search for the truth is former Sheriff’s Deputy, Matt Flynn, who cannot accept that his best friend killed Erin, and Matt’s retired K-9 companion, Brody. As they search for answers, multiple individuals present themselves as viable alternative suspects and place Matt and Bree directly in the firing line of Erin’s killer. In order to get away with the first murder, he may have to kill again. But who is this unidentified murderer? And how many people will die before he’s caught?

Cross Her Heart, the fast-paced and twist-filled first book in the Bree Taggert series, brings Bree’s past and present careening together in the déjà vu murder of her sister. With two strong, complex, yet troubled characters in Matt and Bree, the plot is an intense police procedural with a healthy dose of twists and turns, red herrings, and family turmoil that centers around jealousy, obsession, and deceitfulness with just a bit of romance thrown in. It reminded me of Robert Dugoni’s novel, My Sister’s Grave (in the best of ways), which I enjoyed just as much as I did this. The only negative was how abruptly the murderer was uncovered and without much build-up to the reveal. I would say more on this, but it would have to include spoilers which I dislike doing in my reviews. Despite the poor development of the reveal, I highly recommend this book as well as her Morgan Dane series (the first book is Say You’re Sorry) for which this series is loosely a sequel. Rating of 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for "Avonna.
1,150 reviews313 followers
March 2, 2023
Check out all my reviews: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com

CROSS HER HEART (Bree Taggert Book #1) by Melinda Leigh is the first book in a new romantic suspense/thriller series that has everything I look for in this genre. A strong, intelligent female protagonist, an engaging cast of secondary characters and a thrilling, intense plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat which all come together in this exceptional debut.

Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggart receives a call for help from her younger sister, Erin. She drops everything and returns to her hometown. When she arrives, it is to a nightmare which is eerily reminiscent of her traumatizing childhood. Erin is dead and the main suspect is her estranged husband, Justin who is missing. Bree vows to get justice for Erin and her children.

Bree is not alone in her search for Justin. His best friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn knows Justin has problems, but he loved Bree and he does not believe he is capable of murder. Bree and Matt work together to uncover Erin’s secrets and to find Justin.

Bree and Matt do not realize how closely the killer is watching. Once again, Bree’s family is in danger and she may be the next Taggart in the line of fire.

This book is Melinda Leigh at her best! Bree and Matt are realistic, multifaceted characters that work very well together and complement each other. Bree and all the characters in this story come to life immediately. I found Bree’s compassionate handling of Erin’s children to be a great example of her internal character. The plot has a myriad of twists and turns that had me continually surprised and turning the pages.

I highly recommend this first book in the Bree Taggert series and I am anxiously waiting for the next in the series!
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,880 reviews1,636 followers
March 17, 2020

By the time Homicide Detective Bree Taggart gets a cell phone call from her sister, and she speeds to the small town where they grew up, it's too late. Her sister, Erin, is murdered, in a similar way to her memories of her parents' murder-suicide years before.

The only difference here is that Erin's husband, Justin, has disappeared.

Did he murder his wife ... or is he also a victim?

Justin's best friend, Matt Flynn, was once a sheriff's investigator. An on-the-job shooting left him unable to continue and is now a K-9 handler.

Bree and Matt team up to uncover the secrets of her sister's life ...and death .... but someone out there wants those secrets kept hidden and will do anything to keep Bree away from investigating.

I've always enjoyed this author's writing and stories ... and I was not disappointed here. If you enjoy romantic suspense, I highly recommend Melinda Leigh books. This one is well written .... suspense from the very start .... a budding romance ..... and an unexpected ending. I look forward to see where Bree goes from here.

Many thanks to the author / Montlake Romance / Amazon Publishers / Netgalley for the digital copy of this Romantic Suspense. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,700 reviews60 followers
November 20, 2022
Homicide Detective Bree Taggert was worried when she received a strange message from her younger sister, Erin. When Erin didn't respond to her calls, Bree decided to return to her hometown to see her sister. But when she arrives, Bree learns that Erin has been murdered. Erin's estranged husband, Justin, is at the top of the police's suspect list. He is also missing. Justin's old friend, former Sheriff's Investigator Matt Flynn, does not believe that Justin could kill anyone. He wants to find Justin and clear his name. Matt teams with Bree to find her sister's killer.

This is the first full-sized book in the Bree Taggert series. Bree had a traumatic childhood caused by an abusive father who eventually killed her mother before turning the gun on himself. For this reason, Bree was very hesitant to return to her hometown and the memories that came with it. But Bree needs to uncover what was happening in her sister's life, if not for herself, then for Erin's two children.

I was hooked on this story from the first chapter. I loved how Bree and Matt tackled their investigation with the help of the local sheriff's department. I'm looking forward to diving into the next book in the series soon. My rating: 5 Stars.
Profile Image for Allison Brennan.
Author 134 books3,902 followers
November 8, 2019
“Melinda Leigh has topped herself—and goes to the top of my must-read author list. CROSS HER HEART is everything I love in a thriller, and Bree Taggert is everything I love in a heroine. READ THIS BOOK. You won’t be able to put it down.”

*** Review to come ***
March 30, 2020
Bree Taggert is a homicide detective in Philadelphia. One afternoon she receives a panicked voicemail from her younger sister Erin indicating that she is in trouble. When Erin doesn't answer her phone, Bree rushes back to her hometown. There she finds her dead sister's body in the home of her ex-husband.

This murder brings back memories of Bree’s parents who died in a murder-suicide when she was young. This led to an unhappy childhood and the need to escape from her roots. She wasn't close to her sister and barely knew her niece and nephew. In spite of their sad history, Bree decides to help with the investigation. While examining differing leads she puts herself in danger and is never certain who she can trust.

Cross Her Heart is the first book in a new series by Melinda Leigh. This novel is an engaging mystery with interesting characters and unexpected twists. I am looking forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Karla.
1,043 reviews225 followers
May 27, 2023
Story 4 stars**
Audio 4 stars**
Narrator Christina Traister
Profile Image for Diane.
650 reviews23 followers
December 20, 2020
Second time reading this - sentiments are the same; well written, and keeps your attention. Some red herrings tossed in, just enough to keep you guessing. Looking forward to the next addition to this series. On to the second book in the series!

4 solid stars and 2 thumbs up

From the blurb: For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents' murder-suicide.... Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There's just one chilling difference. Erin's husband, Justin, has vanished.

Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn't adding up. Teaming up with Justin's old friend, former sheriff's investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister's life and death, as she promised Erin's children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree's family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books334 followers
March 16, 2020
Home was a place of dark memories and a painful past, but now Detective Bree Taggert has rushed back after a frantic call from her younger sister only to discover Erin is dead and her husband, Justin, is missing and a person of interest to the county sheriff's department. Jumping into a new Melinda Leigh series was something I did with all the excitement of a five year old with a pile of birthday presents to unwrap. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to love what I got.

Cross Her Heart is book one of the new Bree Taggert series, but it wasn't far into the story that I had a sense of familiarity and realized that the setting was in the same world (county) as the earlier written Scarlett Falls trilogy and its spin off the Morgan Dane series. There are even a couple crossover bits that fans will enjoy spotting though readers new to the author and her backlist can rest assured that this can be picked up and started without feeling anything is missing.

Retired Sheriff's K-9 deputy, Mike Flynn and his retired service dog, Brody, went to pick up his friend for his addiction meeting and gets no response at the door. He goes around back to find the door open and a horrific scene in the bedroom. Justin's wife, Erin, lies murdered on the floor. Interim sheriff and everyone else are certain it was Justin. Mike has known Justin since they were kids and that the guy was deeply in love with his wife and would never have done this. But, it looks bad with Justin missing.
Mike doesn't trust, but few at the sheriff's department after his boss the sheriff got brought down for corruption and several were likely complicit. He's pretty sure the career-ending shots caused by friendly fire at him and Brody being 'accidentally' sent in through the wrong door at a scene were meant to get rid of one who was a witness and threat to the sheriff before he was brought down. Mike has no idea how many of the sheriff's loyal crew are left in the department, but he knows for a fact that the patrol officer captain promoted into the temp job of sheriff is in over his head with this murder case.

Bree is a tough Philly homicide detective and arrives in her hometown after a cryptic, scared voice message from her sister, Erin, brings her running. Their family's dark past of her parents' murder-suicide and domestic abuse affected them all differently and caused Bree to be reared away from her siblings. They were all slightly distant from each other, but kept in touch. Now she has a grieving teenage nephew and young niece who need her and the potential for their father, her sister's big past mistake to show up and claim them. She is determined to find their mother's killer and is slowly grasping how Erin's death has just changed her life. Mike Flynn is adamant his best friend didn't do it and she can see his concern about the investigation. They team up and go on the trail of a killer who is watching her closely and just as determined not to let her get close to the truth.

Like with her older series, this one offers the complete package of a complex storyline, characters' backstories, and a writing style that is deceptively simple and easy to read. I enjoy the ease of slipping into her books and getting behind a tough, but intelligent heroine like Bree Taggert. She is skilled and has her weaknesses like her fear of Mike's K-9 partner or what is sparking between her and Mike, but she isn't stupid and does the best she can with all the emotion load she is carrying. Mike is also a sympathetic main character just trying to figure out his life after his career is taken from him. He's good with training dogs and he has good instincts about people. He's reliable and best of all, he was able to treat Bree as an equal partner in their private investigation.

Bree and Mike definitely have something together, but I enjoyed that its still a tiny flame at this point. They are in the middle of an emotional case and grieving. They didn't trust each other's motives at first or methods. The author wisely didn't try to force the attraction, but will let it unwind over the course of the series.

Like her earlier books, the investigation is not a plot in isolation. There are surrounding layers. Justin's drug addiction, family grief, past family tragedy, conspiracy in the sheriff's department, threat of a custody battle, and adjustment to new reality.

Besides Mike and Bree who share the narration as main characters, there are several other great characters. The kids, Bree's brother Adam, Bree's former detective partner Dana who comes to help out mostly at home with her delicious cooking, Marge, the sheriff's department secretary who knows everything and everyone, Mike's confidential informant and also a drug dealer. It was colorful cast who I look forward to seeing in future series books. There was a quick cameo from a favorite character in an older series and I hope we get more of those cameos and crossovers in future.

The murder itself had me scratching my head over motive for the longest time. It was literally just before the reveal that I caught a glimmer, but by then, it was in the open. Clever mystery with a few suspects and a steady trail of clues. There are a few check ins with the killer that don't do more than offer flashes of their thinking. When the reveal came, my mind shot back to the little things that should have led me there and I could appreciate how the author fooled me to the end.

All in all, it was riveting and I was always reluctant to put it down. It's a great start to a new series and I can't wait for more. Romantic suspense and thriller romance fans who like it moderately gritty with a well developed plot and cast of characters should give this a go.

Incidentally, I read this as a Buddy Read with Anne @ Books Are My Heart for the COYER Winter Friends Buddy Readathon. I had a blast reading along and shooting comments back and forth as we discussed our impressions along the way. Pretty fun that we both squeed over the same fun surprise. In the end, we were on the same page about it all and gave it the same rating. Don't forget to check out Anne's tour stop and review that posts on March 12th at her blog.

My thanks to Anne @ Books Are My Heart blog for doing a COYER Winter Friends Buddy Read with me and giving this one #4.5 stars with me. It was fun to swap opinions and share our guesses and the exciting moments. Linky #24
Profile Image for Diana.
156 reviews29 followers
October 7, 2020
Another solid read by Melinda Leigh. Strong police procedural with lots of twists and turns to keep you reading on. The introduction of Matt with his dog was a great addition. More on the dog rescue that his sister is starting up would be fantastic!
Profile Image for Eve.
659 reviews39 followers
October 18, 2021
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Contemporary
Series: Bree Taggert, book #1
Publication date ‏ : ‎ March 17, 2020


I like the way this story starts out with the night in 1993. No stupid teasing with some past event the heroine had been through but not telling to the reader what it was till much later. In this story we get to see Bree as a 8-year-old who is making a 911 call because her Mommy and Daddy are fighting. Bree try to protect her younger sister and brother from her father's anger but the police arrive too late...

Even without seeing what happened, she knew that nothing would ever be OK again.

Then we meet Bree again but now she is a Homicide Detective and chasing criminals. When she gets a voice mail message from her younger sister, Erin, asking for Bree’s help because she's in trouble, Bree arranges for time off to go to Grey’s Hollow, New York, where she was born and where her sister and her children, and her brother Adam, still live. When Bree arrive at Erin’s house she find two deputies searching it and there is clearly something bad going on with Erin...

Domestic violence, murders, substance abuse are not easy topics to read but despite difficult topics this book never gets gloomy or depressing. Its always heartbreaking when young children are involved in domestic violence and have to see/hear their parents fighting. The way young Bree fiercely protect and want to keep safe her younger siblings was heartwarming and how can you not root for this kind of heroine? No wonder she's now a homicide detective who want to serve and to protect.
Profile Image for Anita.
2,100 reviews146 followers
March 6, 2020
Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the Author and Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an fair and honest review.

This is the first book in a new series by Melinda Leigh, an author I really love. The setting is not far from her old stomping grounds in Scarlet Falls, NY and the characters have a similar feel. The plot, as always, is a great mystery/suspense that keeps you guessing to the end. There is an almost romance to be fleshed out in coming books, I'm sure. This looks to be a great series.

Twenty-five years ago Bree Taggert's father murdered her mother and then committed suicide leaving Bree, her sister Erin and brother Adam orphans. At eight years old Bree is sent to a cousin in Philadelphia while Erin and Adam were raised by grandparents in Grey's Hollow, NY. It all left its' mark on Bree. When Erin is murdered and her estranged husband, Justin, is the main suspect, all the painful memories come rushing back.

Matt Flynn is a former sheriff's investigator and K-9 handler who was the victim of friendly fire in a bust gone terribly wrong. Matt and his K-9 partner, Brody, survived. When he discovers Erin on the floor of Justin's bedroom, he is drawn into the investigation in order to be sure that Justin isn't blamed for the murder because he is a convenient suspect, and he is missing.

As Bree and Matt pursue every slim clue, they work together and form a bond of trust and respect. With so little to work with they turn to everyone who knew both Erin and Justin in the hopes of finding the murderer. As they Bree and Matt peel back the layers of their lives, a murderer plans and plots to keep his secret.
Profile Image for Linda .
1,809 reviews255 followers
June 21, 2020
I had difficulty placing tags on this contemporary suspense. It was not what I would consider a police procedural though the main protagonist was a homicide detective. Her job was in another city. Bree Taggert took a temporary leave and returned home when her sister was murdered. No matter, she becomes involved informally with the assistance of a former local policeman. He was the best friend of the town’s number one suspect. It was an absorbing premise to say the least.

As in most first stories in a series, there was the buildup of Bree, her family and friends. It was interesting to see how this extremely dysfunctional family had survived to find any normalcy in life.
I enjoyed the interaction of Bree with her niece and nephew. She had never married or had children of her own, so naturally she questions herself with many of her decisions. You see an honest vulnerability with her character.

This was not what I would consider a romantic suspense though the possibility of it becoming one in future stories was left open. All in all, Cross Her Heart was a wonderful beginning to Bree’s new life and I look forward to reading more about her.
Profile Image for Marichu.
263 reviews85 followers
April 30, 2021
Casi cuatrocientas páginas distribuidas en capítulos cortos que hacen una lectura amena y rápida. Es una novela policiaca pero suave, no es negra ni densa o de tener continuamente la cabeza pensando pero que se agradece sinceramente cuando quieres dejar a tu mente relajarse un poco mientras lo pasa bien leyendo policiaca.

De todas formas no se puede decir que no tenga sustancia esta historia ni mucho menos, toca temas como la droga o el maltrato, hay crónica de un amor anunciado que se ve desde primera hora y lealtad hacia la familia y los amigos. Un coctel que te hará una lectura muy agradable y por lo menos a mí, desear leer más de esta autora.

Los protagonistas me han encantado, los buenos por buenos y los malos por malos, están muy bien definidos y si prestas atención, modo "detective on", puedes ver el trasfondo de algunos...

Más en mi blog: https://lecturasdemarichu.blogspot.co...
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
September 14, 2022
I like this author. Good start to the series. I liked both characters. Came across as 'mature' which I am always hoping for in my books ... A fast-paced book with interesting secondary characters.

Romance/Sex? No - but I am hoping that things 'hot up' between Matt and Bree in the next book(s).

Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,734 reviews938 followers
January 10, 2020
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

So I really liked this first book though I think that things got a bit too convoluted towards the end. I will definitely read the next book though because I like how Melinda Leigh set this up and I adored the characters of Bree and her partner from the Philadelphia police, Dana. I was okay about Mike (the other lead I guess you could say) but not that focused on him while reading this.

"Cross Her Heart" starts with a bang. Bree Taggert grabs and hides her little sister Erin and and her baby brother Adam when their father starts hitting their mother. In one dark moment though both parents are lost to Bree. We fast forward decades later with Bree dealing with a stake-out with her partner Dana. We know that Bree lost her parents and due to that it has left her feeling shy about romantic relationships. She also doesn't have the closest relationship with her siblings either. When Bree gets a call that something has happened to her sister, she's thrown about the fallout and wants to do what's necessary to figure out who is behind it.

Leigh also shows us the third person POV of Matt Flynn. Matt is best friend's with Erin's husband, who has gone missing after Erin's murder. Matt previously worked as a K-9 unit with the sheriff's department before something happened that had him leaving.

I really liked Bree. She is very good at her job and it shows in this when she starts investigating her sister's death. I also was relieved there wasn't any big romantic things with Matt in this first book. Obviously Leigh is setting it up this way, but to me this book read more thriller/suspense. Some authors I have found have a hard time balancing romantic suspense in their books.

I thought the other characters like Dana were great and I look forward to reading more about the sheriff department characters and the town.
Profile Image for julia ☆ [owls reads].
1,559 reviews308 followers
February 7, 2020
3 stars!


Cross Her Heart was the quickest read ever. The writing was amazing as always and the plot was engaging, if a bit convoluted. The first chapter was so so so sad and Leigh perfectly translated that kind of horror to the page as well as the tension that followed with Erin’s mystery. The focus of the novel was very much in the investigation, but there was still a flicker of romance at the end.

This was a pretty good setup for the series. Bree was very well developed as a character and her POV was engrossing. Matt’s perspective was very distinct from hers, but I didn’t feel like he was as well developed. We got to know Bree and her struggles in a more developed and fleshed out way than Matt.

The mystery was pretty good, for the most part. I really loved how it slowly developed and how all the pieces were presented. The search for Justin and Bree and Matt trying to work together was very well written. I couldn’t figure out which way the story was going to go which kept me glued to the book.

The conclusion did leave a bit to be desired, though? I was caught very much off guard about who the murderer was, but mostly because I didn’t really find there was enough build up for it. I really didn’t buy their motives and how they were presented nor did I buy the way they got caught or how they went about committing the crime. It didn’t really work for me. Bree did end the novel in a rather interesting position, though, so I’m curious about the next installment!


Series: #1 in the Bree Taggert series.
POV: Told from Bree and Matt’s POVs.
Content Warnings:
Cliffhanger: No.
Up Next: See Her Die.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,650 reviews3,234 followers
April 18, 2020
5 Melinda Leigh's New Series Stars
* * * * * Spoiler Free- A Quick Review
Melinda Leigh starts a new series and I am all on board.
Strong Plot-Check
Strong Storytelling- Check
Plenty of interest in all of the characters- Check
Interest in the next book- Check, Check

What's Not to Love.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,510 reviews4,567 followers
June 7, 2020
4 stars - Crime/Mystery/Suspense

This is a good mystery, and I liked the characters. I just wish there had been some romance between the H/h. Still, the series has promise, and there seems to be potential for romantic development between Bree and Matt. I'll definitely read the next book when it comes out.
Profile Image for Christa.
2,214 reviews421 followers
April 21, 2022
Cross Her Heart is a really great start to a new series. Bree Taggart makes a fantastic heroine. There were other great characters in the book, and it had a storyline that kept my attention and left me impatient for more once I was finished.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,675 reviews1,011 followers
April 29, 2020
I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars

Bestselling author Melinda Leigh introduces readers to Detective Bree Taggert in Cross Her Heart, the first book in her new series of romantic suspense novels.  It’s an excellent start, a solid, intriguing and well-paced mystery that introduces and starts fleshing out the central characters and the relationships between them at the same time as it presents a mystery that is very personal for Bree, whose tragic past is brought abruptly back to her in the worst possible way.

The book opens on a harrowing scene taking place at eight-year-old Bree’s home in Grey’s Hollow in upstate New York.  She is desperate to protect her younger siblings – Erin and baby Adam – from their violent, abusive father, as he rages at and beats their mother. Bree has managed to call the police and to keep herself and her brother and sister safe, although when the police arrive, it’s too late for their mother – and their father then turns the gun he used to shoot her on himself.

While Adam and Erin were taken in and brought up by their grandmother, Bree, who was something of a handful, was brought up by a stern cousin in Philadelphia. Looking back, Bree can see that their childhood separation has had a negative effect on their adult relationship; they’re not close, and although Erin continues to live in Grey’s Hollow, Bree has rarely been able to get past her issues to visit there, so Erin and her two kids visit Philly once a year instead.  When we meet Bree again, she- now a homicide detective with the Philadelphia PD – and her soon-to-retire partner, Dana Romano,  have just chased down a suspect when Bree picks up a panicked message from Erin saying she’s in trouble, but when she calls back, only gets voicemail.  Worried because Erin is the head down, go to work, raise her kids sort who’s never in trouble, and still unable to contact her, Bree heads to Grey ‘s Hollow – and her fears for Erin only ratchet up when she arrives at her sister’s house to see two sheriff’s department vehicles parked outside.  Something is very, very wrong.

Erin has been killed, and the chief deputy explains that their main suspect is her estranged husband, Justin, who is currently missing.  Erin’s body was found by Justin’s friend, Matt Flynn, a former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler, who was at the house to collect Justin to take him to his Narcotics Anonymous meeting.  Drugs were the cause of Justin and Erin’s split; he became addicted to pain meds following a car accident, and she didn’t want him around her kids while he was using.  But they were still seeing each other and intended to work things out, and Justin has been trying, with Matt’s help and support, to get clean.

Matt left the sheriff’s department three years earlier after he was shot in his right hand and, due to nerve damage, is no longer able to fire a weapon. Matt is sure Justin isn’t responsible for Erin’s death and is concerned for his safety; he’s also not completely confident that the sheriff’s department, which is short on personnel following the dismissal of the former sheriff and other officers for corruption, is going to pursue the investigation properly – or that the corruption has been completely eradicated.

Chief Deputy Todd Harvey knows that Bree and Matt aren’t going to sit quietly by while his department investigates, so he makes a deal with them; he won’t try to stop them, but wants to be kept informed of what they find out and will share information with them in return.

As I’d expect from Melinda Leigh, the mystery is well-put together, with plenty of twists and turns and gradually building tension and suspense as Bree and Matt work together to find Justin and identify Erin’s killer. Alongside the mystery we get the gradual unveiling of Bree’s character, a smart, competent, resilient yet flawed individual who is suddenly faced with a shedload of new responsibilities she’d never thought to have, two grieving children she doesn’t know all that well and her own grief and guilt at not keeping her sister safe as she’d vowed to do so many years ago. I enjoyed the focus on the family as Bree slowly absorbs the fact that her life is never going to be the same; Morgan Dane, in the author’s previous series, had a strong family unit which rounded her out and grounded her as a character, and I was pleased there’s to be something similar happening here.

I liked Matt, who is being set up as Bree’s future love interest. He’s a good guy; dependable and supportive, he clearly cares a lot for Justin, and comes to care for and respect Bree and her abilities as an investigator. There’s the merest frisson of attraction between them at this stage, but fingers crossed that will develop as the series progresses. Dana is a great addition to the family unit; Bree’s closest friend and work-partner, she’s about to retire from the force and goes to Grey’s Hollow to deliver Bree’s cat Vader (!) and to help out while Bree decides what she’s going to do next.

Cross Her Heart is an entertaining story featuring attractive and engaging leads and a supporting cast I look forward to getting to know in future books. I enjoyed the balance between plot- and character- driven elements in the story, and my one real complaint is that the identity of the villain came as something of a surprise, but not in a good way. This character was present in one scene (apart from the few short chapters told anonymously from his PoV) and was mentioned only a few times, so when he was revealed to be the killer it didn’t feel organic or as though the clues had really been leading to that point.

In spite of that, however, I enjoyed the book and would certainly recommend it to fans of the author or to anyone looking to try her work for the first time.
Profile Image for Shaghayegh.
296 reviews78 followers
July 15, 2021
برخورد بری و مورگان چقدر جذاب خواهد بود 😍
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