Series: Black Knights Inc. #4
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 2 April 2013
Rock Babineaux has gone into hiding because the CIA thinks he is a rogue agent and has ordered that he be eliminated. Rock decides to go it alone rather than rely on the expertise of his crew at Black Knights Inc. as he is afraid his comrades in arms might get caught up in his mess. Vanessa Cordova, the one woman he wishes was miles away for her own safety, manages to track him down and refuses to leave.
The suspense part of this novel worked but I wasn’t too invested in the characters or their romance. You can always judge how strong an alpha-male is by the number of his mates it takes to contain him when he gets angry. In Rock’s case, it takes three of them so we know he is pretty high on the tough-o-meter. One quirk that irked me was his constant use of French phrases which were followed by the English translation. The repetition interrupted the flow of the dialogue.
I didn’t warm to Vanessa. I think is because apart from the tragic incident in her past, we know so very little about her apart from her language skills. We are repeatedly told how strong she is and experienced as an operative (even if it is a telecommunications specialist) yet she makes newbie mistakes. She goes into a jungle without weapons or backup and manages to lead the CIA directly to Rock. Since the foundation of this series is teamwork, I expected her to think rationally and seek guidance from those who had field experience.
Literally pages after pages are spent on each character telling themselves how hot the other one is and how much they want them. Rock thinks Vanessa wants to settle down and deserves someone better but eventually is gracious enough to settle for sex. I didn’t really buy the passionate moments in the jungle while there were two teams of CIA agents out to kill them. If I was outnumbered by professional killing machines, I would probably focus more on surviving rather than lust. As their romance develops, Vanessa becomes weaker – all of her specialist training goes out the window and she develops a nasty tendency to sob uncontrollably.
The pace is affected by internal monologues that often cover the same ground but the action scenes and uncovering the real baddie sections work well. The story is told from a variety of different points of view and that made things feel disjointed at times.
I did enjoy reading this but for the suspense rather than the romance. It is probably best to start with the first in the series otherwise you will miss out on the little in jokes and references to past events.