Five brave military heroes have survived the hell of a Taliban prison to return home—and take on civilian missions no one else can. They’re the men of ARES Security. Highly skilled, intimidating, invincible, and one by one, tested again and again…
Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.
Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves…
I loved the first book of the series, Kill Without Mercy, and was so excited to get this title from NetGalley for a review. And the story is built on a suspenseful puzzle to be solved, a murder of an old friend that makes no sense, and a second chance romance that kindle the feelings from years past.
But from the beginning I got this feeling that I know this story, I even knew who the culprit was, and how it all went about before the clues came to light. That doesn't say the story wasn't good, just an odd feeling to have.
I liked Mia and her spunk and strength. She had made a good life for herself and was successful in all the areas of her life. Her obvious weakness was Lucas and the attraction between them. Because the fire from their past, from high school, was still burning like they were never separated for years.
Lucas is a rather complex character. He says he has left his family and their demands behind, but at every opportunity uses their name to get a headway. He says he is not going to touch the trust fund for nothing, and with the first opportunity is planning to use it to move forward. He left Mia when he was eighteen, with no explanations, breaking her heart. Now he forces his constant presence into her life, and she lets it happen. Lucas really dances on the thin line between being protective alpha male and being a forceful jerk who doesn't listen to others or respect them and their opinion. He has good intentions, and in his heart, he knows what he wants and why, yet he is not communicating this to Mia, even though he is supposed to be the master communicator that solves international crises. Lucas, or his behavior, frustrated me several times.
The story is told from several different points of view, and there's a hint of a secondary romance on the side as well, with Mia's friend Taylor and the detective. I'm still not sure what role that secondary romance played in the book, it didn't add to the plot considerably, but every time Taylor and Cooper got screen time, the point of view was switched to them and the flow of the tale interrupted. I really enjoyed both Taylor and Cooper, I was invested in them, I wanted to know more about them, but still wondering its necessity to the main plot.
The threats that Hauk got in the first book of the series are still in the background of this book, still being investigated and the mystery of them continues to carry on. Yet this story can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.
The action is fearful and intense, the deadly attempts to eliminate Mia at any cost or collateral damage are dire and dreadful. The danger gets on the doorsteps and too close too many times, yet the pieces of the puzzle are not fitting in neatly, it seems the culprit is hiding in plain sight.
The feelings, the attraction, the pull to each other between Mia and Lucas are a blazing fire as soon as they lay eyes on each other again. The past hurt and mistakes fade away, and there's only one goal in mind: to stay alive long enough to have another chance, a new opportunity to built something between them.
This was a good story, entertaining and engaging if lacking on originality (as I was so familiar with the plot and the twists in it). The intrigue towards the series is still strong, to learn more about the team and their destinies are still tickling in my mind and I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series.
~ Three Spoon with a teaspoon on the side
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me