Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.
On a conference in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Natalie Benoit, a Denver Independent investigative reporter, is kidnapped from her tour buss, while her Mexican colleagues are shot. She’s transported, bound in the trunk of a car, to an abandoned village, where members of the drug cartel Los Zetas promise her all kinds of torture at the hands of their leader.
But Natalie is not alone. Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, Zach McBride, has been the unfortunate guest of Hotel Zetas for five days, enduring starvation and torture because a fellow operative has betrayed him to the cartel, claiming he’s stolen their shipment of cocaine. He hasn’t said anything, his mind hasn’t broken, but he knows his body soon will. And he welcomes that knowledge, until Natalie is imprisoned in the cell next to him.
Determined to save her from rape and certain death, and determined to keep his promise to him to get her across the border, Zach, with Natalie’s help, escapes, and the two take on the arduous journey of trekking across the US-Mexican border into Arizona...But it soon becomes apparent, Natalie’s kidnapping wasn’t random, and even back in the US she’s far from safe.
After the romance-heavy Naked Edge, this book brought us back into the broader romantic suspense element, where suspense, tension, danger and action reined supreme, and still the romance, although not as potent as in the predecessor, still packed quite a punch.
The story begins with a scary, blood-filled kidnapping scene, and quickly follows with an adrenaline-filled escape from a drug cartel and a dangerous trek across the desert. If that doesn’t get your heart-rate up, I don’t know what will.
It was gripping, intense, fast-paced, and had my eyes glued to the page, wishing and hoping for them to make it safely across.
Then it was suddenly over, and we were barely halfway into the story. It couldn’t be over, they couldn’t have been that simple. Could it?
And then the truth came out, and it all (but the motive) made sense. It wasn’t over, it was just the beginning, and the danger was still more than real.
And when it all came to an end, that final showdown in the storm and driving rain, the way the bad guys gained access, the torture, the helicopter rescue that might’ve come too late...It was so vivid, so intense, so well-written, I thought I was there, with them, watching and hoping.
I loved it. I loved every single word of this suspenseful novel. Bravo, Ms Clare.
The romance wasn’t half-bad either. Which is an understatement. The romance was as solid as every single one in this series. Dramatic, intense, bittersweet, angst-filled, and utterly hot (even when they were already out of the desert ^_~).
Zach was as much a tortured hero as his predecessors, with an extra heaping of issues brought on by his PTSD and his survivor’s guilt. Determined, capable, and protective even barely standing, he didn’t know what hit him when Natalie came along, and was completely incapable of preventing the inevitable no matter how he tried.
And Natalie, the sweet little Southern Magnolia with a spine of pure steel. I loved the chick to bits. She knew she needed Zach to survive, and she did everything in her power to help him get her through the desert. She suspected the worst of him, yet she trusted him implicitly, because he gave her reason to. She listened to him, did what he told her without objection...It took guts to trust her life into the hands of a stranger, but she did it, and neither she nor I were disappointed.
Their slow descent into romance was beautiful to read, although slightly painful thanks to Zach’s issues and resistance. But in the end, they healed each other, stuck with each other, and that’s what counts.
This book is worth reading for the suspense and action alone, but the great romance helps nevertheless. Awesome!