Hot special ops soldier. Woman in need. A past they'd both like to forget. A passion that makes it impossible. What more could you ask for? I'd put off starting this series because, like me, Lynn Raye Harris writes military/ex-military suspense with a Southern touch. It's hard to read in the same genre you are writing and not have bleed-through, so I waited until Trust Me was finished before starting this series...
And I'm glad I did, because I needed a free weekend to finish Hot Pursuit! This is book one in Harris's Hostile Operations Team series. Here's the blurb:
The last man she ever wanted to see…
Evie Baker’s luck just ran out. Thanks to an ex-partner with organized crime ties, she’s lost her restaurant, her money, and nearly all her self-respect. Forced to return to her hometown and work as a shampoo girl in her mother’s salon, she doesn’t think her luck can get any worse.
But then someone starts shooting at her, her sullen baby sister is suddenly missing, and the high school heartthrob who stole her heart—and her virginity—is the only man big enough and bad enough to help.
Might be the only one who can save her…
Captain Matt “Richie Rich” Girard can’t afford to get involved. He’s already on the verge of a court-martial after a Top Secret op gone wrong, and he’s been ordered to stay out of trouble while he’s home for his sister’s wedding.
But when Evie’s ex-partner turns up dead, staying out of trouble is the last thing on Matt’s mind. He failed Evie once before; he can’t fail her again. If he’s going to protect her from a killer, and find her sister before time runs out, he’ll have to risk his entire future—and both their lives—to do it.
Things are about to get HOT in the bayou!
Suspense can go one of two ways, easy on the romance and heavy on the suspense, or heavy on the romance and easy on the suspense. Harris straddles the fence very well. There's a strong mystery, figuring out why Evie is being targeted, why her ex-business partner winds up dead. Matt has his own worries and family obligations pulling at him, warring with his need to help Evie and, ultimately, to be in bed with her. Instead of Evie being the female in danger, it's her teenage sister who has been kidnapped, and together these two have to figure out what they need to rescue her.
The book moves at a fairly good pace despite the history between the two main characters that needs to be worked out and the cast of secondary characters that populates the small town of Rochambeau, Louisiana (and makes it come alive). That many people sticking their noses into this couple's business while they're trying to hide/solve a kidnapping might have made for a cluttered and confusing story, but Harris handles it well. I didn't feel that "I wish this would hurry up" feeling I sometimes get with contemporary romances; I just wanted myself to hurry to the next page!
The sexual tension between Matt and Evie is strong. I would've like a bit more on-screen "action," maybe, and certainly it would have taken me longer to get over the aftermath of Matt's leaving after taking her virginity than it did Evie (I might've wanted him to squirm on that hook a bit longer, or maybe for Evie to feel it a bit deeper), but then I tend to prefer a darker, more angsty read. This book is lighter but enjoyable, and overall their relationship works well.
I'll definitely be reading book two!
If you enjoy these inside looks into what is on my reading list each month, you might like a new venture I've started with Nice Girls Writing Naughty's reader group. The final Saturday of each month, I'll be hosting the Nice & Naughty Reading Club featuring a romance we all read, then discuss on the blog. For more information and to find out what book we are reading this month, check out my blog post on the site HERE.