So, phfew - where were we? Oh yes, more of the fab Ms. Kaylea Cross. I am pleased to give you my dish on the next in line, Relentless. Now, usually Tyra starts this rant, but I must say - do not read this book series out of order. You will enjoy this book so much more if you have already read Cover of Darkness and No Turning Back.
Relentless, Kaylea Cross, Wild Rose Press, June 2010.
Former Delta Force operator Rhys Sinclair defied the odds by recovering from a traumatic brain injury that should have killed him. Given the chance to repay the beautiful doctor who saved his life by guarding hers, he can't say no--even if it means facing an unknown threat from the cunning terrorist his CIA-sanctioned team had been hunting in Afghanistan. The catch is, she can't know about it without blowing their cover. Trauma surgeon Neveah Adams is finally putting her life back together after her horrific experience in Afghanistan. Giving the keynote speech at a medical conference in Vancouver is her starting point. With Rhys there to watch over her she feels safe for the first time in months, and her biggest problem is trying to hide her intense feelings for him. But Rhys knows something Neveah doesn't. The terrorist who targeted her in Kabul is coming after her again, and he's relentless enough to ensure all his past mistakes are erased with one final strike. Now that the nightmare from her past has resurfaced, Neveah has no choice but to put her trust in the one man who has the ability to break her heart, never knowing an assassin is closer than they realize.
Shy, brainy surgeon Naveah Adams struggles to recover from her hostage experience while working in Afghanistan with several other doctors with the group Doctors Without Borders. Rhys Sinclair, one of her ex-CIA military ops rescuers struggles to recover from the physical devastation of a land mine accident immediately afterward. He saves her, she saves him, he saves her again....can you dig it!
They each go on to their new post-trauma lives, until a terror cell gets activated by an old enemy, Farouk Tehrazzi, and the targets include Bryn McAllister, Luke and his family, and even Naveah herself. Luke puts the team together for secret security to ensure the joy of a family wedding doesn't end in tragedy. Naveah coincidentally will be in Vancouver at a medical conference as a keynote speaker. Rhys decides the best way to keep her safe is to ask her to be his date. She's had a thing for him since the rescue. He has a thing for her but feels he can't act upon it. The solution? A little bit of vino and a lot of bawdy talk at a bridal shower and voila - incentive for seduction (I would not mind if Rhys did room checks for me on a nightly basis...just sayin!). Ms. Cross does an outstanding job of peppering a truly well written military suspense with some spicy romance. When they say opposites do attract - they must have been talking about Naveah and Rhys - so different and yet so perfect for one another. They have chemistry and a soul deep connection borne of trauma and tragedy.
Trust becomes an integral issue in this particular book. With the focus more on the romance than perhaps the previous two books, one would think this was a natural consequence. However, this is no formulaic thriller - how the events unfold, who to trust and what happens with misplaced trust play out. There are some well crafted plot twists and that caught me by surprise. There has also, quite obviously, been some detailed research on the author's part to make the story feel seamless and prevent the reader from getting bogged down in all the military details (probably more prevalent in the last two books).
However, I think for me, the most enjoyable parts were the growth and evolution of Rhys and Naveah's relationship. I love when the smart girl gets the perfect guy - makes us leaders of the Nerd Herd feel hopeful that our brawny alpha male is out there waiting! I love a good "Ops" series and this one has the potential to go on this GI girl's keeper list. I am definitely looking forward to more sweet treats from Ms. Kaylea Cross! I happily give Relentless four chocolate dipped strawberries! Yummmmm.