Series: Under Fire #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Carina Press on 22 August 2011
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Olivia Carver is a tough-as-nails Coast Guard helicopter pilot who gets her kicks catching drug smugglers. Her twin brother Danny, an undercover cop, was murdered and she is determined to find out who was responsible. Olivia’s investigation catches the eye of undercover DEA agent Rico Cortez and he plans to warn her off but ends up in bed with her instead. When his cover is blown, they decide to take down the drug cartel themselves with Olivia posing as a drug buyer.
Olivia in many ways fulfilled the role of the typical alpha male in this romantic suspense novel given her intense focus and the fact she has been trained by specialists to take down baddies. She doesn’t need a man to rescue her because she is basically a female Chuck Norris and the body count towards the end of the book just kept rising. The time when she was trying to seduce our baddie without actually sleeping with him was probably the least convincing just because she was so out of her comfort zone. I did like her interactions with her team however and the extra layers to her character that came from her fractious relationship with her mother.
Rico (actually Declan O’Conner) is more of a beta hero than an alpha but that is okay as having Olivia and Rico duke it out would have got in the way of the story. He has been an undercover agent for years and his latest assignment is one of his toughest. Four undercover officers investigating a drug lord have already been murdered and Rico knows when his cover is blown that he really should check in with his handler. Instead, he persuades Olivia to help him get to Miami and stop the drug lord once and for all. There is a sweetness to Danny that isn’t always evident when he is pretending to be Rico and I really enjoyed it.
The couple fall into bed almost immediately when Rico pretends to be an informant with information on who killed Olivia’s brother. When they meet again, it takes Rico a bit longer than Olivia to get past the awkward phase. She is so driven that she won’t let anything come between her and her brother’s killer. The love scenes (of which there are plenty) are suitably smexy.
My biggest complaint would have to be that it was pretty amateurish to spill their entire plan to a sixteen year old homeless boy, Mouse, and then involve him in their operation. Our DEA agent even handed over the keys to his Ducati to Mouse and gave him the security combination for his secret apartment. Really? On the other hand, the action sequences were very well plotted and there were some really tense moments when Olivia was manoeuvring her helicopter and fighting on board the ship. The ending was rather abrupt especially after a significant revelation concerning Olivia and I think this could have been teased out a little more.
I zipped through the action scenes and enjoyed the roller coaster Henuber provided.