I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Deep Tide by Laura GriffinDeep Tide by Laura Griffin
Series: The Texas Murder Files #4
Published by berkley on April 25, 2023
Genres: Contemporary RS
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
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With two brothers on the police force, Leyla Breda is well aware of the rising crime in her small beach town, but she never expected it to show up on her doorstep. When Leyla finds one of her employees murdered in the alley behind her coffee shop, she's deeply shaken, and as a new law enforcement officer in town begins to circle her place of business, her instincts only sharpen.

Sean Moran is on an undercover assignment. The seaside community of Lost Beach may look like a picturesque postcard, but his team suspects it's a point of intersection for several crime syndicates that the FBI has been investigating for years. Even so, when the brash and beautiful Leyla Breda starts bossing him around, he's immediately intrigued. He knows her brothers want him to back off, but every time he sees her, he feels more of a spark.

Leyla's connections in the local community and Sean's skills allow them to go deeper into the case together than they would be able to go alone. But when a single crime spirals into something much darker, Sean's carefully planned mission takes a deadly turn.

This latest installment in Ms. Griffin’s Texas Murder Files is a solid addition to the series. We see Leyla, sister to two previous heroes, get her happily ever after. And it’s with a fed. She never thought she’d go for a cop, since her brothers were on the force, but here she is, falling for an FBI agent (I would like to say that this series is an auto-read for me, so I went in without having read the blurb. I found out he was an undercover fed when Leyla did, and color me surprised!).

Sean Moran is on the island for his friend’s wedding, but meeting the beautiful Leyla, his friend’s sister, is the highlight of his day. Until there’s a murder behind her cafe. The murder may be connected to a case Sean is working on, but he can’t tell Leyla that. Nor can he tell her what his case actually is. He’s not just at her brother’s wedding as a guest, he’s there to spy on a certain tech billionaire who just moved to the island. And the wedding is a great excuse.

The murder investigation is going nowhere, and one thing I’ve enjoyed with this series is seeing the police department and how well everyone works together (or in some cases, how they don’t work well together). I like Nicole, the newest officer, who is given lead on this case. I like the way her coworkers are, and I like seeing the inner workings of the department on a small island with a burgeoning crime rate. It’s a good part of the series, and it helps tie the books together. Being that this is the fourth book in the series, I was excited for Nicole, and kind of hoping to see the beginnings of her romance (maybe hopefully for another book). I also liked seeing how well she and Sean worked together, especially considering that he’s a fed who can’t tell her anything.

While I usually enjoy getting multiple characters’ points of view, I really got annoyed with being in Nicole’s head so much. There was so much time spent with Nicole, that I feel it took away from the romance between Leyla and Sean. I also felt a lot of it could have been condensed.

That being said, I liked how Sean respected Leyla’s boundaries, and how he treated her. I think that Leyla is a strong heroine, and I liked seeing her insecurities peek out every now and then. It makes her feel more real. She’s very driven, and being that she’s a sister to two cops, sometimes I’d forget she wasn’t one too. She fits right in. I think that’s why the ending worked so well for me.

Sean and Leyla falling in love while each knows it’s supposed to be temporary is both exciting and thrilling. But can they make it work when Leyla lives on an island off the coast of Texas, and Sean lives in Washington D.C.?

This book can be read as a standalone, however you will see other previous couples. You won’t be lost, or confused though.

***ARC courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley