Reviewed by May
Hero cries. Gabe shows up. (Grade: A)
Ok, so perhaps my five word review (that I texted to Mandi) isn’t quite enough, so I will explain in a few more words. I am a huge fan of Cindy Gerard, and I recommend pretty much every book she’s written since the first Bodyguard book. When she ended that series she did so in a way that launched us smoothly into her next series – known as BOI (Black Ops Inc). In the BOI books, we met a pilot nicknamed “Primetime” who shows up and helps out and provides a good escape now and then, but he isn’t really part of the team. He used to be part of a team though, known as the One-Eyed Jacks. Indeed Mike “Primetime” Brown is launching Gerard’s new series, and he does so quite well.
He was a coward.
Had been for eight long years.
He set his jaw, breathed deep, and made that final leap from resistance to resolution.
That all changed right now.
As of now, he was officially back in the game, because this lying, conniving, sexy-as-ever-loving-sin, whack-job of a woman had dragged him out of his hidey hole.
So… did he thank her or throttle her?
I am forever amazed that while she always writes over the top alpha military heroes, they are each also unique, have vulnerabilities, and every one really comes to life on the page. Mike is no exception. The story opens in a cantina, on the one day of the year that Mike “Primetime” Brown is not sober.
Today, like every other July 15 since Operation Slam Dunk had gone south, he was getting flat-ass drunk.
Eight years ago lives and his career were lost, and while he has developed some distant friendships with the heroes of Gerard’s last series, he doesn’t really get close to anyone, and nobody really knows Mike Brown anymore. There is one person who wants more than anything to see, know, and understand what went on that day eight years ago, and she’s determined to get information out of him anyway she can. A drunk and stumbling Mike Brown gives her just the edge she needs to try and get some answers.
Why would Mike Brown take a plea bargain, why would he sell out his two remaining teammates (Cooper and Taggart) if he was innocent? That is a question Eva needs answered because somehow, someone wants her asking questions. Her husband was killed on that mission, and now she’s mysteriously been handed the classified unedited documents on what happened that day. Only it raises more questions than answers, and as it turns out not even Mike knows all the details of that operation gone bad. Eva won’t give up until she figures out what is really going on. The problem is – someone else does not want her asking questions and will do anything to silence her (and Mike) forever.
“Look, Brown, before you tell me if you’re in or out, you think about this. Think about slinking back to your own little alternate universe, where you try to convince yourself every single day that what happened to you, what happened to all those people doesn’t matter. You try to convince yourself that you’re going to spend the next eight years and all the years after that hiding out from your demons, pretending you don’t care, pretending you don’t have an obligation to Taggart and Cooper. Pretending that you don’t have an obligation to yourself, for God’s sake!”
Eva is a strong heroine, and while she wasn’t especially unique I felt like she was a good match for Mike, and I really appreciated the work, thought, and effort she went through to find and confront him as much as I liked how she handled herself throughout the story. Meanwhile Mike is vulnerable in his own ways, and really a character I couldn’t help but love.
If I’m going to make a complaint about this book, it is that I didn’t love the way Eva’s deceased husband was portrayed. I’m not a fan of stories where the dead guy has to be a scumbag secretly, a cheater, or otherwise a bad guy in a way that makes the new man look better. I prefer that the dead person’s character not be used to make the living one look like more of a hero. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, as I feel that authors use it too often and it feels like a crutch.
Not that this really effected my overall love of this book – and Mike is a strong character on his own. I just needed something to say that wasn’t gushing, and for me that was my one real note. I loved every page of this book. I liked Primetime even more than I thought I would, and I was over the moon excited to meet his former teammates and see what was happening with them and how this new series is shaping up. One of the most exciting things for me about this book was that Gerard chose to make Gabe (one of her former heroes, my personal fave!) a key player in this book.
We all have ghosts. Nut up and get over it.
Gabe was the perfect choice to give a role in this book, and Gerard did a great job of giving him a good part, but not letting him take over the book or steal the spotlight entirely. Her main characters remain in the lead, and they kept the story interesting.
I won’t share much about the plot because honestly that’s the fun of a Gerard book. You go on an adventure and uncover who is the bad guy and follow the incredibly good looking (all her heroes are) guy around as he falls in love with the heroine (who is always smart and capable in her own ways). There will be some over the top stuff, some humor, and some emotional moments as well. In other words, she rocks the romantic suspense genre and she manages to have a very distinctive style but make each novel unique as well. She always gets me with her dialogue, and always makes me invested in the well-being of her fictional characters.
Hell, he was flat-out, un-freaking-believably captivated by everything about her.
Yeah, captivated. Who was he, Lord-freaking-Byron, all of a sudden? He didn’t think in those terms. Hot. Smokin’. Sexilicious. Those were his kind of words. What the hell was wrong with him?
Oh yes, Mike and Eva are a great match in this book.
While I talk a lot about her continuity and world building, I do believe that you could begin right here with this book. While there are nods to the past, this is most definitely new plots and a new series. Those who are fans will be delighted by some cameos and peeks into past favorites though – which is a bonus. This book was everything I could have asked for from a Gerard romantic suspense. Yes, she goes to over the top now and then but she knows when to stop, when to get emotional, and she really is unmatched for quality of characters and writing in the genre.