Reviewed by May
On paper, Dunn had come across as the unscrupulous love child of Captain America and James Bond, capable of damn near anything. He was a former Navy SEAL turned international jewel thief- alleged international jewel thief because he’d never been charged for that particular crime.
In jail and doing his time peacefully, it is a most unwelcome surprise when Phoebe Kruger walks in and announces she is now part of his legal team. He’s got his own deal going and the last thing he needs is for this novice lawyer to be trying to help him out. What he needs even less? For Uncle Sam to be so interested in his services that they get him early release and sent on a rescue mission.
Before anyone can blink Ian Dunn and Phoebe Kruger are on the run, the mob is after them, and Ian has to call on his brother and family to help out if they have any chance of making it out alive.
As this book opens I immediately fell in love with Ian Dunn. He’s big, bad, grouchy, and bossy as hell. Better yet – he has the skill set to back up his arrogance and I was glued to each page just waiting to see what he’d do or say next. He’s not gentle or kind – he’s a badass and a beast of a man. I would recommend reading this book just to enjoy him if you are into that kind of a character.
I also liked Phoebe quite a bit. She has some dumbass moments in the first half- but she makes up for it with thoughts like this:
No doubt about it, she’d become the woman who idiotically went into the basement to check the circuit breakers when the lights went off, with a serial killer on the loose.
She was, officially, too stupid to live.
What I loved about Phoebe is that she grows, learns, and adjusts as they go along. She catches on and doesn’t repeat mistakes. I liked that she screws up then redeems herself. That gave such a realistic air to their adventures.
They have clear chemistry and I loved the honesty between them, the way they spoke to each other and how they didn’t play games or beat around the bush. That they would be perfect together is clear almost immediately – and I liked how they came to see that for themselves.
“I kissed you because I wanted to, because I like you, because I wanted to see what it felt like. For the record, it was about fifty thousand times hotter than I imagined. Which means on the cosmic scale of kisses it clocked in at a solid pretty-fucking-great.”
Unfortunately, the only thing that develops in this book is that Ian becomes a soft and dare I say almost teddy bear of a man by the end. I was so disappointed that the snarly, frequently nude and wet (the man ends up in water so often – it could be a drinking game!) man that I adored went through such a drastic change. He was great because he was so raw and unapologetic, and I didn’t see why he had to make all the changes. I loved asshole Ian.
“Can we make one conditional rule here? That if we get into a situation where we know – absolutely – that we’re going to die, we can have-“
She pulled her hand away. “Don’t say it!”
He did. “Sex.”
She glared her disbelief. “You are such an asshole!”
“I am.” Ian agreed. “I’m afraid that accepting me for who I am comes with the territory when talking friendship.”
“Stay in the shadows, asshole,” she said, then turned to stalk up the lawn toward the deck.
“Thank you,’ he said as he headed for the shrubs. “I appreciate your open-minded acceptance of my asshole-ishness.”
This book is over 550 pages long, yet it takes place over only a few days (maybe a week?). I haven’t mentioned them yet (because truly, Ian OWNS this story) but there is a large cast of supporting characters. We are given excessive amounts of background story on them and they take up a lot of page time. Sadly, they don’t add to the richness of the story nor do they do any supporting. They simply take over the book at random intervals with information that is interesting, but not precisely necessary at this time. More often than not when reading the flashbacks, the scenes between supporting characters who I suspect we will see featured in the future I thought “what about the main couple?” They simply did not have enough page time together compared to how much was being taken up by the rest of the cast.
At this length of story I have very high expectations and they were not nearly met. The ‘action’ plot was average at best. The romance never develops in a satisfying way due to the combination of short time period ‘Op romance’ and the take-over by the supporting characters. All of the flashbacks for supporting characters added nothing to this particular story. Overall, there was no real rich depth of story to be found here. With nearly double the length of the average novel there was so much space, so much wasted potential. All of this added up to an only ok book – which was disappointing to say the least.
Brockmann can write such great characters and balance so much – I really had wished for some plot twists, some surprises, and for there to be some payoff for all of the information given about the supporting characters that made it worth them taking the story over and stealing the show. I really enjoyed the first half of the book – if I could grade it by halves I’d give an A to the first half and a D to the second half. Yes, it was that uneven.
Brockmann is a talented author and I do still recommend the book – but wait for paperback.