Reviewed by Helyce
Spencer Lark is a bounty hunter who wakes up one day to find the one and only Arizona Storm sitting on a chair, watching him sleep. Spencer and Arizona met under some rather interesting circumstances when they found themselves helping Dare, Trace and Jackson bring down a human trafficking ring. While there were clearly some sparks, or more a butting of heads, when they worked together last, they’d gone their separate ways and he’d not seen Arizona since. So he can only imagine what her visit has in store for him.
Arizona Storm has firsthand knowledge of human trafficking. A victim, she barely made her escape. If it wasn’t for Jackson Savor who just happened to cross her path the night she was almost killed, she would be dead. Now she considers Jackson family, but she knows that he worries about her and wants to keep her safe. So, when she starts to suspect that a bar in town might be a cover for another human trafficking ring, she seeks Spencer out, thinking he might be interested in being her back up.
When Arizona tells Spencer about her suspicions, he insists that she take the information to Dare or Jackson, but she refuses. She knows that they will take the info and run with it, leaving her behind to do “research”. She needs to prove to them that in spite of what she’s been through, she is strong and more than capable of working in the field.
Spencer’s no idiot, however, and he knows his limitations. He also knows that if Arizona’s suspicions prove true, they certainly cannot go in there blind. So he brings Dare and his team into it only to find out that they’d already made the connection and had the bar in their sights. Arizona is not thrilled that Spencer went behind her back to bring in the team, but as long as they include her she’s okay with it. But as Spencer spends more time with Arizona, he’s not sure he wants her on the frontlines. With her persistence, they formulate a plan to use Arizona as bait, but can Spencer stand back and let her put herself in danger?
A Perfect Storm was such a fantastic read! I have thoroughly enjoyed each book in this series and while I thought the last book, Savor The Danger, was my favorite I’m going to have to replace it with this one. In this book, there is much time spent on the developing relationship between Spencer and Arizona. We know that Spencer had been married previously and was totally in love with his wife. Since her death, he’s kind of given up on the happily ever after. He’s dated here and there, but nothing serious. The author also makes it clear that Spencer isn’t comfortable with their age difference; his 32 to Arizona’s 21. Unfortunately, Arizona’s life experiences make her much older than her years and the author takes the time necessary for these two to get comfortable with each other before they take that step. Of all the books so far, I’d have to say that this one had the strongest romantic content with the main characters having a lot of page time. The human trafficking thread remains consistent as the focus of the group as a whole, but never overshadows the growing relationship of the H/H.
Arizona is the type of strong heroine I enjoy. Kidnapped, sold, forced into prostitution and nearly drowned, she is a true survivor in every sense of the word. She does not use what happened to her as an excuse for anything. In fact, it’s shaped the person she is today, made her stronger with clear goals and a kick ass attitude that make her a perfect addition to Dare’s team. Having said that, the moments where she allows herself to be vulnerable, mostly with Spencer, showed her softer side and showed how trust and love can truly make a difference in a person’s life.
I expected Spencer to struggle with his feelings for Arizona as it’s made very clear that he’s still in love with his deceased wife. He uses her age, of course, and the horror that she’s been through to validate the fact that he should not act on these feelings. Of course, Dare and Jackson are no help and they poke and prod him while encouraging him with the caveat that if he hurts her, he’ll answer to them. The camaraderie between Spencer and the men from the previous books comes through strongly here and reinforces the thought that you don’t have to be blood related to feel like family.
I don’t know if Ms. Foster has plans to further this series, but I have to say that there is one character that I hope gets a book one day. Chris is Dare’s personal assistant. He lives on the grounds of Dare’s home and he is the heartbeat of the crew doing tons of behind the scenes research as their in-house computer guru. He also takes care of the dogs when Dare travels; just an all around do what needs to be done guy. While he did not get a lot of page time in this book, the few pages where he appeared stood out for me as he provided his special brand of humor to the group.
The final conflict as Arizona goes in to take down the trafficking ring has a few surprises that round out the story and cement the relationship between our H/H. I hated to see it end and not knowing if there’ll be another book kind of makes me sad. I definitely recommend this series to all fans of romantic suspense with kick ass men who do what they do well, but also know how to love a woman!