>> Sunday, November 11, 2012
Chloe Mason’s childhood memories consist of seemingly endless hospital stays. Now all grown up and healthy, her determination to fill the gaping holes in her past leads her to her long-lost brother, Harry . . . which brings Harry’s friend and business partner, Mike Keillor, crashing into her life and her heart.Chloe Mason hasn't had an easy life. She was gravely injured as a child by her mother's partner, and then adopted by her rich aunt. She spent the next 10 years in hospital, undergoing operation after operation for her injuries. It was a lonely life, as her aunt's sense of obligation extended only to paying for treatment, not to affection, or even visits. When she was well enough to go home with her aunt, it soon became clear the woman's husband was a pervert, so off she went to boarding school.
Former Marine Force Recon sniper and SWAT officer—a martial arts expert and owner of a successful security company—Mike can deal coolly and efficiently with any threat . . . until he’s blindsided by something he never expected: fierce, fiery passion . . . and love.
But when Chloe inadvertently crosses the Russian mob, Mike realizes that evil is darkening his world once again. He has already lost his family; he will not lose the woman who enflames him, who makes him whole. Failure is not an option.
Now both aunt and uncle have died, and Chloe has inherited their estate. Amongst their papers, she discovers evidence that she has a brother, one who her aunt refused to adopt with her. As the book starts, she's waiting to see him at the business he owns with two partners.
That brother is Harry Bolt, hero of the first book in the series, Into The Crossfire. Harry is ecstatic to discover his beloved little sister is still alive, and welcomes her into the family with open arms. But it's one of his partners, Mike, who's happiest to meet her. Mike has been a bit of a hound dog (well, a total hound dog, actually) with women, but as soon as he meets Chloe, that's it for him. Unfortunately for Mike, his previous behaviour means that Harry is especially protective of Chloe where Mike is concerned.
And then all hell breaks lose, when Chloe's innocent actions put the Russian mafia on her trail, and Mike has no choice but to brush aside Harry's objections.
Things start out with a chemistry between Chloe and Mike that is intense, even for LMR. I was fanning myself, and then things come to a head. Mike's particularly sleazy actions the night before come back to bit him in the ass, and Harry puts a stop to his rapidly budding relationship with his sister.
I was very conflicted about this. On one hand, these two are patriarchal idiots. Who the hell does Harry think he is, forbidding Mike to go after his sister? And why does Mike just accept that, not even taking into account what Chloe might want? But on the other hand, I was a bit queasy myself, as I read the book and saw Mike going so strongly after Chloe in such a sexual way, when the aftereffects of the sleazy night before were still being felt. I was even feeling he should back off, that it all felt, well, yes, a bit sleazy. And also, I'm glad that for once, the hero's promiscuity and the sordidness of his sex life is presented as something bad, rather than a mark of manhood, and that he suffers some adverse consequences on him.
A few months of nothing (really nothing, Mike is now "disgusted" by other women *rolls eyes*), and then Chloe is in danger, and everything moves ridiculously fast. It was hot, but I kind of wanted a bit more of the falling in love process. Most of it seems to happen kind of off the page, in the months we gloss over. I quite enjoyed the romance, in the end (in spite of myself, as usual), but it could have been better.
The secondary characters were a mixed bag. The couples from the previous two books were nauseating. I actually liked them in their own books, but here, the overwhelming smugness made me want to puke. My favourite character was Consuelo, the prostitute Chloe tries to help. Some of her scenes made me tear up (especially when, after years of being exploited, she's finally treated with respect by someone), and I loved the hint at a possible romance for her. I loved that she wasn't portrayed as a pitiful victim, but as someone who basically rescues herself, taking a massive risk. I would love to read more about her, especially that romance!
MY GRADE: A B-.