For an undercover duo,

investigating a beauty pageant turns ugly.

When Bella Colton undergoes a makeover to enter a beauty pageant, she’s on a mission. She’s determined to find out why her best friend died.

Enter undercover FBI agent Holden St. Clair. Holden’s hot on the heels of a serial killer, who has Bella in his crosshairs.

As the chemistry between Bella and Holden sparks, can they capture the murderer in their midst?

Titles in the multi-author series, Coltons of Mustang Valley include – Colton Baby Conspiracy by Marie Ferrarella – Colton’s Lethal Reunion by Tara Taylor Quinn – Colton Family Bodyguard by Jennifer Morey – Colton First Responder by Linda O. Johnston – In Colton’s Custody by Dana Nussio – Colton Manhunt by Jane Godman Colton’s Deadly Disguise by Geri Krotow  – Colton Cowboy Jeopardy by Regan Black – Colton’s Undercover Reunion by Lara Lacombe – Deadly Colton Search by Addison Fox – Hunting the Colton Fugitive by Colleen Thompson – Colton’s Last Stand by Karen Whiddon

Title:  Colton’s Deadly Disguise
Series:  Coltons of Mustang Valley #7
Author:  Geri Krotow
Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Published:  April 1, 2020
Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense
My Rating:  4.5 stars

Colton’s Deadly Disguise, the seventh title in the Coltons of Mustang Valley series, brings a very relevant subject to the forefront while moving the ongoing, and complex suspense plot a bit further along.

Bella is a woman on a mission.  She’s a journalist for the local paper as well as branching out into the freelance areas of reporting to further her career.  But this story is personal as her best friend, Gio, died from a result of an eating disorder which both Gio and Bella believed stemmed from Gio’s life on the beauty pageant circuit.  Yes, Gio made her own choices in life, but Bella believes those choices were fueled by the be thin, don’t eat anything more than a lettuce leaf mentality of the beauty contestant world – and that the one held in Mustang Valley was the worst of all that Gio competed in.  Her friend had mentioned a file to Bella as she neared her death, a file that would prove that the Mustang Valley Beauty Pageant lead directly to Gio’s eating disorder – and Bella intends to find that file and bring those who harmed her friend down.  The best way to do that?  From within, as a contestant herself.  It was a brilliant idea – one that could cost her everything, even her life.

Holden is undercover following the beauty pageant circuit looking for a serial killer,  His instincts say he’ll strike here in Mustang Valley – and he’s not wrong.  Although he certainly didn’t expect the immediate attraction to one contestant who while beautiful didn’t really fit what he considered women who he’d normally see at these events.  It soon becomes apparent that Bella is here for her own reasons… and that she’s attracted the attention of someone out to harm her.  Holden believes he’s found the serial killer – now to protect a woman who has become very important to him.  They’re joining forces to bring down a killer, and solve a mystery — and falling in love along the way.

I enjoyed Colton’s Deadly Disguise very much.  The story flows easily, the suspense slowly, steadily builds, and the characters are a combination of engaging and loathsome depending on who we’re talking about.  I liked Bella and Holden both individually and together – both equally stubborn and determined to find justice for the victims of each of their focus.  It moved the overall mystery/suspense forward a bit and delivered a really good story – not much more I can ask of a story.

I own a Kindle edition of this title.

Available in paperback and your favorite e-reader (mine is the Kindle)