Safe at Last (Slow Burn #3) by Maya Banks ✭ ARC Review

Title: Safe At Last
Author: Maya Banks
Series: Slow Burn, #3

Genre: Adult, Suspense, Paranormal Romance
Published date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Format: eARC
Source: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: 3 Kisses

The third book in the beloved #1 bestselling author’s sexy, romantic suspense Slow Burn series…

They say young love doesn’t last, but a girl from the wrong side of the tracks with unique abilities and the hometown golden boy were determined to defy the odds. For Zack Covington, Anna-Grace—his “Gracie”—was the one. Until one night forever alters the course of their future, when a devastated Gracie disappears without a trace, leaving Zack to agonize over what happened to the girl he loved. As the years pass, his desperate efforts to find her uncovered nothing.

Now working for Devereaux Security, he stumbles across a painting featuring a special place only he and Gracie would know. The image is too perfectly rendered for it to be coincidence. His Gracie must be alive. When he finally tracks her down, he is shocked—and heart-broken—to discover the wounded shell of the girl he once knew and still loves. Her psychic gifts are gone, and worse, she believes he betrayed her all those years ago.

Zack has enemies, and once his weakness is discovered, Gracie becomes a target for revenge. He’ll have to save her before he can earn her trust and her love. And he vows they’ll never be torn apart again. 

This third book in the Slow Burn series focuses on Zack and Gracie, high school sweethearts whose relationship had an unexpected end. 

After twelve years, Zack came to the conclusion that his dear Gracie had died after failing to find any trace of her. One day, she unknowingly walks back into his life and turns his world upside down. Seeing that Gracie is alive and well relieves him immensely, but his joy is quickly doused when she reacts with absolute fear towards him.
Zack yearns to have Gracie back in his arms and life permanently, but first he needs to get to the bottom of what happened all those years ago to make her leave him without a goodbye.

There were some issues that came up during my read which led to my rating of just 3 stars. 
For one, the first half of the book carried on with a few too many repetitive phrases in terms of the inner and outer dialogue. 
Another thing that I had an issue with was the confusion that stemmed from not having a complete background of the characters and the DSS company. This is said to be a stand alone novel, but there was a good amount of the story in which I had no clue what was what. 
For example, the current bad guys of the story; though silent for most of the book, are still an underlying problem. I’m assuming they show up in the previous book, but not having read it, I was lost on the significance these villains truly held. 
The other characters were also a huge part of the story, yet I didn’t feel a connection to them. They all were pretty much strangers to me. I wish there was a bit more background set in place in certain areas to ease the disconnect.

What I believed the author executed well was the suspense pertaining to Gracie and Zack’s past. The secret that Gracie held was traumatic to say the least. I’m sure many readers will be able to predict it early on, but seeing her relive it and recall the events piece by piece was heartbreaking. Her initial fear of him was striking and what really began to drum up questions.
The way she feared Zack and was adamant about having him gone built up the suspense and concern over their past. That hazy air that hung between them was the prime reason I was glued to the book. I wanted to see how it would all unravel and what the outcome would be for them.
Zack was a great character to read. He had a tenderness to him that showed whenever he spoke with or of Gracie. He was so determined to regain her trust and keep her safe, no matter how difficult she made it.
The supernatural elements began to really come into play later in the book when a secondary plot emerges. Coincidentally, at that moment is when the more action-packed aspect of the novel enters as well.
Overall, I thought this novel was good. I enjoyed the plot direction and the suspense throughout was really engaging. This book would be great for readers who enjoy a more slow burning story.
Despite the labeling of “stand alone”, I highly encourage reading the entire series in order, so that you can connect more to every character and story, and not get lost at any moment.
If you'd like to read an excerpt from Safe at Last, visit Maya Banks' website here.

Book One
Keep Me Safe

A sizzling story of a woman who risks her life and her heart to find a wealthy man’s missing sister — the first novel in a sexy new romantic suspense series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks
When Caleb Devereaux's younger sister is kidnapped, this scion of a powerful and wealthy family turns to an unlikely source for help: a beautiful and sensitive woman with a gift for finding answers others cannot.
While Ramie can connect to victims and locate them by feeling their pain, her ability comes with a price. Every time she uses it, it costs her a piece of herself. Helping the infuriatingly attractive and impatient Caleb successfully find his sister nearly destroys her. Even though his sexual intensity draws her like a magnet, she needs to get as far away from him as she can.
Deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused, Caleb is determined to make things right. But just when he thinks Ramie's vanished forever, she reappears. She’s in trouble and she needs his help. Now, Caleb will risk everything to protect her — including his heart....
Book Two
In His Keeping

#1 bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and steamy Slow Burn trilogy with this second book-a twisting tale featuring a strong yet vulnerable heroine in danger and the sexy alpha hero who must save her.

Abandoned as a baby to a young wealthy couple and raised in a world of privilege, Arial has no hint of her past or who she belonged to. Her only link lies in the one thing that sets her apart from everyone else—telekinetic powers. Protected by her adoptive parents and hidden from the public to keep her gift secret, Ari is raised in the lap of luxury, and isolation. That is, until someone begins threatening her life.

Beau Devereaux is no stranger to the strange. As the head of Deveraux Security, he’s more than familiar with the realities of physic powers. So when a family friend approaches him about protecting his daughter, he’s more than ready to jump on board. What Beau isn’t prepared for is the extent of his attraction to his beautiful and powerful client. What began as a simple assignment, just another job, quickly turns personal as Beau discovers he’ll do anything at all to protect Ari. Even if it costs him his life.

Maya Banks is a multiple #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the Surrender Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.
She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.