“When pampered former cheerleader Feenie Malone takes a job writing fluff pieces for her South Texas paper, she has no idea she’s about to stumble into a juicy news story that could launch her career – if it doesn’t get her killed first. Almost as soon as she breaks out her press pass, she crosses paths with Marco Juarez, the macho PI obsessed with solving his sister’s murder. The information he has might be the perfect lead – but his dangerously sexy looks could be a deadly distraction.
Juarez has zero patience for reporters, especially mouthy blond ones. But with the evidence pointing to Feenie’s ex-husband, Marco thinks she could be useful. Confident he can keep her on a tight leash, he lets her in on his investigation. He quickly discovers he’s underestimated his new partner, as well as the danger they both face. Now he must protect her – to the very last breath…”
-Synopsis from back of the book
*light spoilers ahead*
One Last Breath starts off with a suspenseful prologue, in which an unnamed woman is being tortured for information that she refuses to reveal. The scene is short but impactful, and sets the tone for the rest of the book. The perspective then pivots to introduce Feenie Malone who, on the same day the woman is being tortured in an unknown location, finds out that her husband is cheating on her.
Feenie takes her anger out on her now ex-husband’s belongings by taking them out of the house, lining them up on the porch, and shooting at them one by one. She creates a spectacle and the police show up shortly after. Officer Marco Juarez is one of the first on the scene to speak to Feenie and figure out what exactly is going on. Their meeting doesn’t stand out to Feenie at first, that is until the following chapters when, two years later, they meet again.
Two years later, Juarez is now a private investigator working for an established company while also investigating the murder of his sister, Paloma. Feenie is now working as a reporter at her local paper and trying to work her way up the career ladder to a higher paying position. Their paths cross when Feenie starts researching a story on a person who is also of interest to Juarez. He seeks Feenie out to offer help and to see what she already knows.
I liked Feenie from the start even though I didn’t fully identify with her. She is treated as a stereotypical dumb blond by everyone around her, especially the guys at the newspaper office. But she can’t help the way she was raised and she is by no means stupid. However, she does make a few slip-ups in this book that made me cringe, though they certainly worked the move the plot along.
Juarez has ulterior motives for wanting to help Feenie and we don’t get to learn much about what those motives are until about the second half of the book. Even Feenie is in the dark about what Juarez really wants, what he knows, and what his endgame is. I liked Juarez, but I hated the way he had to keep the truth from her. It only made things harder for both of them and led to a lot of misunderstandings.
“He didn’t want, or need, to protect her. Except that he did. He wanted to protect her in the worst way. And for the worst reason. She reminded him of Paloma. It wasn’t her looks; it was her attitude. That stubborn, go-to-hell attitude that had been his sister’s trademark. It had gotten her through the academy. It had helped her make a name for herself as a balls-out cop, despite being a woman. It had helped her rise quickly through the ranks of the SAPD and land a job on their elite vice squad. It had probably gotten her killed.”from One Last Breath by Laura Griffin
I loved this book so much, and I could not believe it was Laura Griffin’s first novel. It had a lot more humor than some of her later books, which surprised me in a good way. Despite the subject matter, I was laughing through quite a bit of this book, mostly at the banter between Feenie and Juarez. They were both likable characters with powerful backstories that made them stand out.
I think fans of mystery and romantic suspense will really enjoy this book, along with all of Laura Griffin’s other books.
I can’t wait to read book two in this series, One Wrong Step, soon.