Synopsis: Eric “LZ” O’Dwyer, a senior lieutenant stationed out of San Diego, is in command of his own helicopter detachment out of the HSM-75 Wolf Pack. Deployed off the coast of South America on a counterdrug operation, Eric jumps at the chance to take down a ruthless drug lord. But to do it, he’ll have to join forces with badass DEA Agent Nicole Gamboa. Infiltrating the drug lord’s mansion is crucial to the mission, and to pull it off, Eric and Nicole have to play out an intimate scene together that leaves them both reeling. In the aftermath, Eric wants to foster something real with Nicole, but there is a secret part of Nicole’s life that makes a relationship impossible. The mission erupts again, and Nicole and Eric end up relying on each other in ways they’d never predicted. The stakes are raised to their highest when the drug lord gains the upper hand, and living or dying hinges on a final showdown between Nicole and her past…and whether Eric can get to her in time!
Content warning: contains profanity and adult situations.
Her DEA partner, Ryan, was at her side in two paces. “You’ve got the wrong idea about what just happened, Nicole.”
Nicole squared her chin and walked faster, nearing the doorway into the Air Traffic Control tower.
“Would you stop—” Ryan grabbed her arm—“and let me talk to—?”
She whirled, and with a hard downward chop of her hand, crashed his hold off her.
Ryan barked in pain.
“I have two black belts in martial arts!” she shouted into her partner’s face. “Do you ever bother to remember I’m more than a pair of tits?”
“Hey, what’s going on?” Eric jogged up to them, hauling off his flight helmet. “Are you two okay?” Behind him, the helicopter’s rotors were still turning.
Aagaard kept his eyes on her. “That wasn’t about your ability to fight. It was about distraction. The target was going to blow us to Kingdom Come. There weren’t any other options I could see for handling the situation other than what we did. You either, or you would’ve mentioned them. I knew it would work. And it did.”
“Congratulations.” Her voice came out of a dark pit in her stomach. “You’ve seen my breasts now, Ryan. Maybe you—”
“What?” The one word cracked out of Eric like a bullet from a gun.
“—finally stop being such a jerk.”
Ryan’s face flushed a strangled shade of red. “You’re out of your skull if you think that’s what this was about.”
“Right. Then why do you keep blushing?” Nicole reached for the door handle to the tower.
A hand grabbed her arm again. Eric’s.
“Everyone needs to stop touching me.”
“I’m sorry,” Eric said, dropping his hand. “I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
“No, Eric, I’m not okay.” She turned to face him fully. “I haven’t been okay since we pretended to have sex together.”
A Bookaholic’s Fix Review
I have to say I was really impressed with this one. I’m pretty picky about books that have any degree of military related information, characters with military backgrounds, military operations, etc. I want them to be believable. My husband served in the US Army for several years and I have a multitude of friends and family that have served or are still serving, so I understand a few things about military regulations and so when an author describes a male soldier as having hair that curls/hangs over his collar/ear/forehead, they automatically lose credibility. That’s not the case here. Every time a physical description of one of the Navy guys was given, it fit the image of a member of the military. As I read more of the novel, I realized the author really knew her stuff, and after reading her bio, I see why.
The terminology and acronyms she used gave the whole thing a very authentic feel. She was even kind enough to add in notes on the military speak to aid those unfamiliar with the terms. I admit, I had to check the notes on a good deal of the phrases because I speak Army and not Navy but I enjoyed the way she incorporated the jargon. Having spent a great deal of my life around military types, believe me when I say, they often talk just like the guys in the book. (I actually remember the first time I watched Renaissance Man and actually understood the directions the guy gives Danny Devito when he first arrived on base–kinda made up for the headache of listening to so much military speak in my daily life!)
Now, if you aren’t keen on military speak, don’t worry, the book has more to offer. The story line was well developed. A large portion of the book focuses on the efforts to take down a major drug cartel, so there is plenty of action and suspense associated with those scenes. The fight scenes were described perfectly–the play by play helped me see the scene unfold in my mind. And if action and suspense aren’t your thing, you might find the romance between Eric and Nicole interesting. There pair are forced into a compromising position during an operation and things end up steamy and a bit awkward between them. Nicole’s approach to handling men is to chew them up and spit them out making her a hard target for those unfortunate enough to pursue her. They attraction/repulsion dichotomy that plagues them gives the romance a Shakespearean feel–(think Taming of the Shrew with automatic weapons)–and the way Nicole fights her attraction makes me love the story even more. It definitely deserves five-star status.
I also feel the need to comment on the sex scenes. The first one is kinda different considering it is part of their undercover op and their plan to fake it ends up fubar– but the way it plays out is well done and it adds to the suspense of the novel. I also liked the way the events in that particular scene illustrate the attraction between Eric and Nicole. As for the others, one word… HOT. Tappan does a good job of making the scenes sexy and still keeping them true to the depth of emotion the characters claim.
The characters are very well constructed. They are complex individuals with a wide range of backstories–son of wealthy immigrant, daughter of a cartel enforcer turned states evidence, kid from the wrong side of the tracks–each one unique and perfectly designed. It is obvious their pasts shape their the psyche and play a large part in how they handle situations and interpersonal relationships. This added to the realism of the story and kept me hooked–I had to know how it all played out.
I’m definitely adding the other books in the series to my TBR and Tappan’s other books as well. I look forward to reading more from this top-notch author.
About Tracy Tappan
Tracy is the bestselling and award-winning author of gritty romance, her books spanning genres across paranormal (The Community series), military romantic suspense (The Wings of Gold series), and medieval historical (The Baron’s War trilogy). During nearly twenty-five years spent as a naval aviator’s wife, she lived all over the United States and in Europe, enjoying seven years overseas in the diplomatic community, first in Rome then in Madrid, until she settled back in San Diego. Tracy holds a master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC), loves to play tennis, is a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and enjoys a good glass of wine. To learn more, please visit her website at http://www.tracytappan.com