“In this romantic suspense novel, a woman and her ex fight to recover a mysterious relic from a wrecked ship—and maybe salvage their relationship along the way.
The last person Rachel Lyons, marine biologist turned foundation executive, wants to see is her former love interest, Chase Cohen. He was working with her father, Sam, as an ocean salvager until Sam’s death in a diving accident, after which Chase disappeared with no more than a scribbled note. Even when a museum director begs Rachel to help finish the business Sam and Chase started and recover an important relic, she declines. But when her brother is kidnapped by drug dealers and held for ransom, Rachel agrees to lend her father’s boat to the task of exploring a 400-year-old ship. It’s said to contain gold, porcelain and the “Heart of the Dragon”—a gift from an emperor’s beautiful concubine to her illicit lover. According to legend, the concubine’s ghost still protects it. As Rachel and Chase work to bring up treasure from the sunken ship, they must fight off dangers, uncover secrets and confront their mutual rekindled passion. McFarren (Flaherty’s Crossing, 2010) offers an exciting, romantic adventure story that’s anchored by well-researched, authentic technical details of boats, scuba diving, salvage law, Chinese history and underwater archaeology.
Watching the characters thoughtfully do their jobs makes them more appealing to the reader and heightens the novel’s boldly erotic love scenes; Chase and Rachel are more than just beautiful bodies. (It’s irksome, though, when Chase treats Rachel like a child, at one point having a crew member send her to bed and doping her against her knowledge when he wants her to rest.) McFarren’s varied cast—from professors to gangsters to salty dogs—feels well rounded; despite a few ethnic clichés, like the Native American “warrior” and a hard-drinking, lusty Irishman, she toys with expectations more than once. Some odd word choices and unfortunate mistakes show that the book could use an editor’s hand, but with plenty at stake, erotic chemistry, dastardly villains, a lost relic, an unusual setting and a touch of the supernatural, this indie novel could stand on any romance publisher’s shelf. The full package of thrills and romance.” • KIRKUS REVIEW
“Chase Cohen and Sam Lyons went diving together searching salvage for the elusive riches that come with the perfect find. When Chase realized Sam had not come back up from the dive, he went looking for him. Sam did not make it and Chase, filled with guilt, had to tell Sam’s daughter Rachel.
Years later, Rachel was discussing business with Dr. Ying, the museum director, when Chase interrupted. She was furious and declared that the foundation she worked for would not fund any projects that involved Chase. With the combination of Rachel’s brother, who was in trouble up to his ears, Dr. Ying’s manipulations, and Rachel’s unquenchable need to mend the past, she was had no choice but to search for the Heart of the Dragon.
Dive right in; the water is full of danger, intrigue, and passion. This treasure‑hunting jewel of a story will hold the reader captive to the very last page.” • LAUREN CALDER, Affaire de Coeur magazine
“Sometimes it is only when you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders that you really see what it is you want and what it is you are missing out of life. Such is the epiphany that Rachel Lyons comes to in the ever-suspenseful Severed Threads. Kaylin McFarren’s novel takes the reader through twists and turns as the story navigates romance and adventure, murder and mystery. With a central theme of guilt and deception, throughout all the action of the book, the reader sees the redemption of several of the characters; lessons are learned and bridges are built and crossed.
Believing herself to be the reason for her father’s death, Rachel has withdrawn from the world and the life she once knew to play it safe. With her last words to him replaying over and over in her head, playing it safe still wasn’t bringing her much happiness. She is stuck on this track until an old flame comes back into the picture, with tales of sunken treasure and undersea adventure. Forced into taking part in his quest because of the kidnapping of her brother, who has himself created a world of chaos after the passing of his father, Rachel sets out on a journey to discover hidden secrets, buried treasure, and herself. Throw in a little paranormal activity, curses and ghosts and such, and some strong sexual attractions, and the book will keep you on the edge of your toes throughout.
With so many plot turns and the many characters’ underlying stories, this novel is a true treasure unto itself. As a reader, I couldn’t put the book down because I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next. Many of the ups and downs were not obvious, and I enjoyed the surprise as each revelation was made. The characters are extremely complex but real, and I found myself being very involved in their thoughts and actions. I felt for each character, questioned their reasoning and cheered them on.
It is easy to see through reading this book that McFarren familiarized herself with the information she was presenting in her book. The time and information she put into the history and the undersea world lent depth to the book and helped to present a very genuine story. I enjoy nothing more than a well-researched, thought provoking read, and Severed Threads definitely found itself in that category for me.” • SUZANNE GATTIS, Pacific Book Review