REVIEW: Say It Again by Catherine Bybee

Posted September 27th, 2019 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, HJ Recommends, Review / 12 comments


In Say It Again (First Wives #5) by Catherine Bybee, Sasha Budanov has spent years using the skills she learned at a German boarding school, Richter, to protect others. While she might not be a part of any specific organization, preferring to work on her own, she has spent some time over the past few years getting somewhat close to a group of four women. Important women, actually, who have their own security forces that she’s worked with. It is for them that Sasha would–and has–put herself willingly in harm’s way. So when she finds herself in her own personal crisis while tracing her past back at Richter, and with shadier and shadier things happening, she’ll find out if she can trust her friends and her handsome new sidekick AJ, who is also on a mission for the truth, to have her back. But as Sasha will soon learn, old lessons die hard.

“I love you, Sasha.”
She closed her eyes, rested her forehead against his lips. ‘Say it again.”

AJ Hofmann is still coming to terms with the death of his sister and is frustrated with the lack of work the police are doing to find her killer. As AJ digs into his sister’s life, he follows the clues back to Richter where she went to school for a few years. It seems other alumni, all women, have also been found dead in the recent past, all over the world. Meeting up with Sasha–who is like a female James Bond–and pooling their information together as their separate investigations cross and merge is what AJ hopes will bring about some much needed answers. As the danger grows, he’s struck by how much he cares for Sasha and what a great team they make. If they get through it all safely, AJ knows he will be willing to make his feelings for her known. But will tough-as-nails Sasha be willing to admit how she feels as well?

He shook his head… “What an exhausting way to live.”
“Thinking everyone is after you? Everyone has a motive to do harm? Yeah…it is.”

Say It Again was everything I hoped for and more. The final book in the stellar First Wives series–*sob*–Catherine Bybee pulled out all the stops and ended things with thrilling spy-like action, insane chemistry, and a heroine so kickass you’ll be in complete awe of her.

“We’re not all that different, AJ. I just have a slightly different skill set than you.”
He hissed out a laugh. “Yeah, right. Half a dozen languages, mad computer skills, master of disguises. I haven’t seen you fight, but I heard you rival Catwoman.”
That put a smile on her lips.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every single book in the First Wives series. But I’ll admit that I’ve been SO waiting for Sasha to get her own turn so we could find out more about her. Because for as many times as we’ve seen her in previous installments, Bybee was careful not to reveal too much about Sasha. Mainly we learned the basics about her father and half-brother and how that all worked out. Well, we definitely got to know the “protector-for-hire” much better here and somehow it only made me like Sasha even more for what she had been through in her life.

Going back to the location of most of Sasha’s childhood, the German boarding school called Richter, made it clear how she developed her unique skill set. And it made me understand why she was always so standoffish with the other “wives”. But meeting AJ–and Claire, a student at Richter–changed everything for Sasha. I thought AJ was a good matchup for her. He had a little bit of a shady past himself, though not quite as dramatic as hers. And boy didn’t AJ know how to get Sasha riled up! Their conversations were hella fun and had the quick back and forth that I always expect with Bybee’s writing.

It was the passing of his sister that connected AJ with Sasha and that opened a whole can of worms regarding Richter. I loved the tension between the couple and how much Sasha fought it. But one of my favorite parts of the story was seeing her interact with Claire, basically her own mini-me, and to see what the teenager brought to Sasha and Drew’s life. I’m hoping we get glimpses of Claire in the future in perhaps a related series, maybe…

Say It Again was bittersweet to read, knowing it was our last book with this dynamic group of people. From Sasha facing down and conquering her personal demons to getting to reconnect with everyone who has been featured in the series (and some other series!) Bybee did absolutely right by her fans with this incredibly heartfelt, exciting, oh-so satisfying novel.


Book Info:

Publication:September 24th 2019 | Montlake Romance | First Wives #5

In the final First Wives novel by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee, falling in love could become the most dangerous dare of one woman’s life.

Protector-for-hire Sasha Budanov is accustomed to life as a loner. Always on the move, she’s now reached a crossroad. Looking for answers about her shadowy youth, she’s returned to the strict boarding school in Germany where she was raised. It’s also where she was trained in the stealthy, militarized art of survival. But behind its gleaming gates, Richter is a fortress of secrets, including those buried in Sasha’s mysterious past. To uncover them, she’s clinging to her first rule of defense: stay guarded.

If anyone can challenge Sasha’s rules, it’s devilishly sexy stranger AJ Hofmann. He wants answers, too. And he needs Sasha’s help. The recent deaths of several of Richter’s former students—including AJ’s own sister—have aroused his suspicions. He’s arousing something more in Sasha. Never one to surrender to her emotions, she senses something tempting in AJ. She trusts him. He’s fearless. And he kisses like a demon. Sasha’s found her match.

But treading Richter’s dark halls—and following their hearts—has its risks. As the decades-old secrets of the past are mined, Sasha and AJ are falling deeper in love…and into danger.



12 Responses to “REVIEW: Say It Again by Catherine Bybee”

  1. Kathleen Bylsma

    Catherine Bybee has extracted more than a few tears, gasps etc from me…looking forward to this…thanks!

    • Michele H

      So glad to hear you’re a fan of Catherine’s wonderful writing, Kathleen! Her work definitely gives *all* the feels. 😉 Enjoy!!

    • Michele H

      Oh my goodness but it was such a fun story, filled with intrigue and terrific characters. You can’t go wrong with anything by Catherine! 🙂

  2. Sharlene Wegner

    Love this series and I have been waiting for this book, too! Glad you loved it!

    • Michele H

      It was so worth the wait, Sharlene! I’m so excited for you to read it! Sasha was as complicated a heroine as you’d expect–and AJ truly was the right guy for her. What a fun dynamic they had! 🙂

    • Michele H

      Yay!! It was a lot of fun to read so I’m happy to hear you loved it too, Kathleen! It certainly sounds like Catherine is toying around with the idea of a spinoff with Claire as well as some of the security guys we’ve met from this and The Weekday Brides series… 😉