Enemies and Playmates

Rated 4.90/5 based on 20 reviews
When the abused decide to fight back, the abuser's world might just shatter.

Lauren Covington's family maintains a grand facade that hides the private abuse they suffer at the hands of her father. Jesse Ryder, a private detective, steps into that world and, in the process, falls in love with Lauren. Together, Lauren and Jesse dodge death and expose the truth behind the facade.

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Words: 95,280
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452366890
About Darcia Helle

Darcia Helle is a Massachusetts native, who escaped the New England winters to write in the Florida sunshine. She lives with her husband in a home full of spoiled rescue animals and an occasional stray lizard. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative.

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Review by: Gareth Lewis on Dec. 03, 2013 :
An engrossing thriller that maintains a steady balance of plot and character. It focuses on the emotions of the leads to drive the story, without sacrificing the pacing, and offers plenty of twists that feel natural.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)

Review by: Christina OW on July 09, 2012 :
this was a good read although i wish Alex had suffered a worse fate
(review of free book)

Review by: cariboodaze53 on July 04, 2012 :
Great story line. It shows, you just don't know what goes on behind closed doors. It kept my interest all the way through. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.
(review of free book)

Review by: Linda McCann on May 28, 2012 :
This is a really good story. I could not stop reading'til I reached the end. It is a well written suspense story with a touching romance. I highly recommend it!
(review of free book)

Review by: Lynelle Clark on March 23, 2012 :
I simply could not switch off the laptop, the story was captivating till the last page.
The characters was strong, each in its own right. The serious topic of domestic violence was highlighted with sensitivity and great care.
The name of the book said it all.
Thanks for a great read
(review of free book)

Review by: Sharon E. Cathcart on Oct. 26, 2011 :
Darcia Helle's "Enemies and Playmates" deals with a sensitive topic: domestic violence. The Covington family are all subject to the abusive father's whims. Like so many abusers, Alex Covington looks like the proverbial "nice guy" out in the world at large. Yet, within his home he is a monster.

Helle's protagonist, Lauren, finds her father's wrath turned against her when she begins to date a man of whom Covington disapproves. But Jesse is no pushover ... and as the story unwinds, we learn more and more about Covington's wrongdoings and Jesse's attempts to bring him to justice.

I think there is a great temptation amongst authors to make stories about domestic violence, rape and other crimes deliberately triggering. Helle avoids this trap, all the while creating a compelling picture of the emotional and physical abuse that Covington inflicts on his victims.

An excellent, thought-provoking read.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)

Review by: Readin Chillin on July 28, 2011 :
Enemies and Playmates was appropriately named. Great characters and plot with plenty of intrigued. Ms. Helle is truly gifted as a writer. I highly recommend this book. As a matter of fact a few friends and I are meeting to discuss it.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Kaarren on July 27, 2011 :
I recently read this book and really enjoyed it. The suspense and twists kept me reading. I highly recommend this book.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)

Review by: Blanche Elizabeth on July 14, 2011 :
I recently read a similar book to this one and was excited to check it out. It was a good story, and her characters were well-developed. My only comment was that it seemed as though many of the arguments were rehashed and there was a touch of overkill with the proving of how evil Lauren's dad was.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)

Review by: Sylvia Massara on April 02, 2011 :
This is the first time I’ve read a suspense/ romance and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Being a novelist myself, I thought how I would tackle this kind of genre if I were to write a suspense/romance. Personally, I would find it rather challenging to weave the suspense side of the story with the romance side and keep them flowing with a fine balance. I have to say that Darcia Helle has achieved this in an excellent manner. She has weaved her story with the characters in a subtle manner. So much so that I started to feel just how the characters felt, their likes/dislikes, their fears and their joys. One thing that jumped out at me was Darcia’s wonderful talent for developing her characters, especially the main protagonists. She doesn’t rush in and tell us all about them, instead she slowly shows us through their actions something new about them. I must say that this was done so well that I take my hat off to Darcia. It’s not easy trying to keep so many characters in your head (or even on paper) with their little quirks, habits, etc, and maintain continuity and consistency in a story, and also ensure the plot keeps moving. Darcia obviously has this gift and she delivers her story masterfully, even down to the little details that many of us never think about.
I loved the story, and the plot just kept getting better and better, until the story culminated into a spiral of suspense action that made me unable to put down the book—or I should say, I just couldn’t shut off my e-book reader! I can’t wait to read Darcia’s other novels now :-)

Sylvia Massara
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)

Review by: Susan Helene Gottfried on March 16, 2011 :
There's always that moment when you first sit down with a friend's book. That moment when you're afraid you'll wish you hadn't risked your friendship over a book, which your friend was kind enough to give you.

I shouldn't have worried. Darcia Helle's as awesome a writer as she is a person. Which is to say Enemies and Playmates was one of the most wickedly fun cat-and-mouse tales I've come across in a long time. Alex Covington is a phenomenally well-drawn jerk, his wife Kara is a tragedy, son Stephen is an even bigger heartbreaker who colors the whole book. And then there's daughter Lauren, our heroine.

She actually turns out to be a secondary character, as the heart of this story is Lauren's man, Jesse, and the way he goes up against Lauren's dad. This is where it's at for me, and not once was I let down. Jesse and Alex engage in some of the most delicious -- and dangerous -- play I've read in eons. Really, the romance between Jesse and Lauren is secondary, even though it is pivotal to the way in which Lauren's character grows and changes.

No, it's not perfect. Dialogue is stilted in spots, and the subplot with Lauren's friend stretches believeability -- but at the same time, it makes the important point that no matter how well you think you know someone, no matter how best your best friend is, surprises can (and do) lurk around every corner. For a woman like Lauren, it's a good reminder of what a louse her father is, why she needs to get away -- and the steps her father will take to make sure she can't.

I don't want to say too much. Go read it for yourself. Have some fun with it.

Enemies and Playmates. A definite West of Mars Recommended read.

(4.5 stars)
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)

Review by: Judy Cox on March 12, 2011 :
I really enjoyed this book. It had so much in it,all very exciting and very surprising. I would highly recommend this.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Linda Phillips on March 11, 2011 :
Excellent book! See the reviews below they say it all.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)

Review by: Maria Savva on Oct. 21, 2010 :
This is a fast-paced action packed book! There are so many twists and turns, most of them leaving me with my mouth open as they were so unexpected! Darcia Helle is undoubtedly a talented writer who knows how to hook the reader and keep them interested with a well structured and fulfilling storyline. This story would make a good film, I'd love to see it on the big screen.
Lauren Covington meets and falls in love with Jesse Ryder. She has a deep mistrust of men due to her violent father, Alex, a well-respected lawyer who shows one face to the world and another to those nearest to him. At home and in his personal life he is one of the greatest villains ever to grace the pages of a crime novel. Despite her reluctance to let him get closer, somehow Jesse's irresistible charms get the better of Lauren. Soon she is in too deep even though she knows that her relationship could cause problems. By an unhappy coincidence, Jesse, the one man who could offer her some happiness away from the dark and terrifying world at home, has worked for her father in the past and there is unfinished business.
The characters are all well developed and very believable. I found myself being able to picture very clearly all the action as Darcia Helle's skills for describing events are well tuned. Much of the action is character driven with a great deal of conversation, making the book a page turner.
I would recommend Enemies and Playmates to everyone. I was surprised to hear that this was the author's first novel as it is so skillfully written, and it has made me eager to read more of Helle's work.
(reviewed 51 days after purchase)

Review by: Jason McIntyre on Oct. 18, 2010 :
I am happily surprised with how much I enjoyed this book and how I ripped through it once I got started. Initially, I hesitated to pick this one up because I'd seen it billed as a suspense or detective story mixed with romance. When I hear "romance" I think of the classic cliches of the genre and this usually doesn't appeal to me. However, with "Enemies and Playmates", Helle has engineered a world bereft of the usual cliches and instead crafted it with all the pacing and movement of the best novels in these genres. I won't ruin it for anyone by spilling plot details but I will recommend this book for readers who like to have their heart rate tested. And if you like fiction that also draws you into truly caring about characters as they navigate through their struggles, then you'll enjoy this one. A fine balancing act!
(review of free book)

Review by: Joel Kirkpatrick on Oct. 07, 2010 :
‘Enemies and Playmates’ is not a read that lets me escape. I imagine it too vividly. Darcia Helle seems to know where my fright and flight buttons are. But, she also generates a need to keep reading, so, I tremble as she pulls me further along.
Darcia writes in a style that is very approachable. This book, lacking only the stage and camera directions, is a screenplay. A good one at that. It carries all the emotion necessary to put you on edge, just as she intends – even with the barest of detail. Darcia’s realistic dialogue does all the work here. Lauren and Jesse don’t plod through this crime novel, spouting clichéd TV speak; it’s natural discourse. And, she has created a blisteringly real bad guy. I’ve dealt with his ilk in my past.
While I can’t claim to be a fan of the crime genre, Darcia has won me as an admiring reader, first, with her outstanding ‘The Cutting Edge” now this tale. I only pray she doesn’t write a ghost story next - that would quite undo me!
(review of free book)

Review by: emma beale on July 15, 2010 :
This book is a page-turner. I couldn't put it down. The author takes a current problem, abusive husbands, and weaves it into a novel of suspense. Helle is an excellent writer giving the plot many twists, but leaving no loose ends. This is the first novel by Helle that I have read. I will be reading more.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)

Review by: Kelli Ahola on June 28, 2010 :
Loved your book. Can't wait to read more.
(reviewed 60 days after purchase)

Review by: Philip Nork on May 24, 2010 :
Alex Covington, successful lawyer, owner of only the best and most expensive clothing has the respect and admiration of the whole town and then some. His business is thriving, he has the world in his hands, and his image can never be tarnished…or can it?
They say everyone has skeletons in their closets and is hiding something. Can it be true that Alex has this hidden side too…does he have something he wants to keep quiet?
Unfortunately his wife, Kara and children, Stephen and Lauren don’t see the man as everyone else does. There is no respect, no admiration, and no love between them. Instead they are witness to a physical abuser of his wife and a verbal abuser of the kids. He berates them, makes them do things a father normally wouldn’t do and manipulates them whenever he can for his own well being. Who or what can help them regain their self esteem?
Love can help the pains we have disappear or at least become bearable, so I’ve heard. Leave it to a chance meeting of Lauren and Jesse to change the course of events in all of the lives concerned. Jesse, an ex-employee of Alex, doesn’t know everything, but has an inkling of the type of man Alex really is. When he falls for Lauren, he gets to experience for himself the wrath of Alex.
Great characters, an easy to follow plot with enough twists and turns to keep you reeling and an ending that all can enjoy makes Enemies and Playmates a great read. In fact, I read it in one seating. Author Darcia Helle makes reading suspense an adventure not to be missed.

Philip Nork
author of
Sensitivity 101 for the
Heterosexual Male
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Svetlana Kovalkova-McKenna on Jan. 28, 2010 :
Very well written! Interesting, entertaining and overall a great read. I was at first worried about the name and the picture on the cover, but after reading two other books by the author first, No Justice and Hit List, I realized that the author simply writes well all the time.
Something else I noticed about this author: she manages to add unpredictable and thrilling turns in all her novels when you at least expect it.
And yes, you kind of know that the two main characters will find their happy end, but you will never be able to guess all the "how it will happen", which, of course, makes this book such a "take a break from the day and get lost in a good escape-book" read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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