Thursday, January 13, 2011

Renegade Romance and Mystery

RenegadeLora Leigh writes another good story with her latest Elite Ops book, Renegade. Renegade is the fourth book in the series and we are finally getting to know more about Nikolai Steele. Sex and mystery are the intrinsic elements of Renegade’s plot and while these are strong, this is a less than masterful story.
I know it sounds ridiculous for me to call it a slow paced storyline when it starts right out with murder and masturbation just in the first 50ish pages but there are times when the story just seems to creep along. Usually I can’t stop reading Leigh’s books once I start but I had no trouble putting this down which speaks volumes to me about its appeal.
Speaking of appeal, Mikayla Martin just didn’t do it for me.  Mikayla is a lackluster heroine who makes other women’s wedding dresses while only dreaming of her own. Most remarkably, she is a 27 year old virgin (this was a bit much to swallow) living in her hometown amidst her overprotective family while awaiting her prince charming. She’s also very much a frilly girly-girl who wears dresses, heels and make-up just to go out of the house. She does try to be independent and redeems herself with me by demonstrating some spunk but then only manages to place herself in even more danger. As a reader, I just couldn’t sympathize with her and needed more depth to understand her motivation (but maybe even then I wouldn’t have liked her).
To top off her fairly sheltered existence, she witnesses a murder and positively identifies the killer. But the police, after doing an alibi check, don’t believe her. Now Mikayla must live with her hometown thinking she lied or placing her character up against the killer to prove them wrong. She decides to do whatever it takes to solve the murder mystery and clear her reputation.

Nikolai Steele, aka Renegade, is asked to help Mikayla as a favor to an old friend. The unique twist is that his friend is the very same person Mikayla has accused of the crime. He is adamant he is not the killer and Nik believes him. When Nik meets Mikayla, he is captured by “the fiery and determined beauty” and discovers that no matter how hard he looks, he can’t believe she is lying either. So instead of investigating her, they end up working together to solve the mystery.
Nik is another one of Leigh’s delicious alpha males always ready to devour a gorgeous woman. He has all the traits of the rescuing hero, the prince charming and, of course, Mikayla falls for him (which leads to some great sex scenes). In the midst of their developing relationship and Nik’s investigation, attempts are made on Mikayla’s life. In true Lora Leigh style, our alpha hero finds the real killer, clears his friend’s name, keeps Mikayla safe, and wins her heart. It’s all about the happy ending (though I thought the ending was a smidge far-fetched).
This was another good book by Lora Leigh but it is beginning to get repetitive, not just her writing within the books themselves but across the board as if she uses the same outline for each book. I’m a huge Lora Leigh fan and finished this book thinking: Lora Leigh could’ve done better.  Just 4 chocolate dipped strawberries for this one… not her usual 5 this time (sorry). 
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