Unrated! (Book 4)
Subject: Navy SEAL Lieutenant Dominic Castillo
Mission: Protect -- not seduce! -- his sexy target
Dominic Castillo loves his SEAL team like brothers -- except one, who made sure Castillo was left behind during the latest mission. But when his rival is kidnapped by a vicious drug lord, Castillo receives a black ops mission of his own: protect his rival's sister. And any mistakes will either result in her death…or his.
Lara Banks clearly has no interest in being protected by a military man, especially an acquaintance of her estranged brother. So why is she doing her best to drive him crazy with pure temptation? Lara insists on having her naughty way with him -- over and over -- but is fulfilling their fantasies worth the price?
Very good and very steamy book. Lara is a woman who knows what she wants. She's made a few bad choices along the way, but she's gotten to the point where she's almost reached her goal. Only, she's about to get derailed again, this time through no fault of her own.
Lara wanted to be a dancer from the time she was a little girl. By the time she was a teenager, she had her goal of dancing on Broadway in sight, but her snooty parents were against it. So she packed up and set out on her own, achieving her dream pretty quickly. But she does have a weakness for good looking guys who end up being bad for her, which ends up with her working as a showgirl in Reno. Her last relationship succeeded in cleaning out her savings account too, so she has decided to cut men out of her life for the foreseeable future.
Enter Castillo. Dominic Castillo is on the same SEAL team as Lara's estranged brother. They don't get along at all, with Banks's strictly by the book attitude grating on Castillo's more relaxed attitude. He's especially mad right now because a minor injury has caused Mr "By the Book" to keep him off the latest mission. When the mission goes bad, Castillo is sent to protect Lara from becoming a pawn in the bad guy's game. Castillo is a man who believes that he has all the answers whenever anyone needs help, and tends to overrun others when he thinks he's right.
Their initial meeting is a contentious one. Lara notices him watching her dance and has to keep control of herself because he's the type she's attracted to. When he tries to talk to her after her show, she shuts him down, especially when she finds out he knows her brother. I loved seeing her use her brains to get away from him. Their second encounter, outside her apartment, is even more so, until she discovers that he's not kidding about her being in danger. She accepts his protection for the moment, and goes back to his hotel with him for the night.
There's something else going on with them though, and that's the incredible attraction between them. Lara knows she has to stay away from him, because history tells her that getting involved usually ends up with her in trouble. Castillo is trying to resist because protecting her is his mission, and distraction could get them both killed. But they discover that they just can't keep their hands off each other. Their first time together blows them both away, leaving them both shaken up. Lara convinces herself she's not really in danger and runs off while he's in the shower, and nearly gets kidnapped because of it. Castillo comes after her, because that's his mission, and also because he can't believe she walked away after what they did together. Fortunately, he arrives in time to save her, then they take off for his fallback place - his cabin on his family's land.
During the week they are there, they begin to get to know each other outside the bedroom. Castillo is, at heart, a nice guy who really likes women, though he is determined to avoid commitment. He's impressed with Lara's determination to go after her goals, and doesn't look down on her for the way she is making that happen. I liked how he introduces her to his family. Seeing him with his family gives her some insight into why Castillo is the way he is. Their getting to know each other continues when he takes her to Coronado while they wait for her brother. At this point there are some big changes going on in Lara's life, as she has lost her job and apartment. I found it a little strange that she's suddenly okay with all that, just because she's with Castillo, but I figured she was just putting off facing it so that she could enjoy him.
She realizes that she has fallen for him and is trying to figure out what she's going to do about it, when he shows up with her brother in tow. He's also got all kinds of suggestions for her that would keep her close to him. Unfortunately, he goes about things in the wrong way, making her think that he doesn't care enough about her to have actually listened to what she has said about her plans and her feelings about her brother. I loved seeing her stand up to him and call him on what he has done. I ached for her when she told him they were through.
The ending was terrific, with Castillo fighting his feelings until he can no longer deny them. I loved his conversations with his one teammate who takes him to task about his attitude, and also with Lara's brother, whose attitude really confuses him. Their reunion at the end was really sweet as Lara nearly has to use simple words to make him realize where he had gone wrong. I loved seeing how each was finally able to understand that they were loved for who they were and not expected to change because of it.
I loved Castillo's family and how they treated Lara. It was great to see them accept her as she was. I really loved her conversation with his brother Lucas about computers and security, and the impact it had on her. I loved their part in the resolution of Castillo and Lara's problems. I'm also looking forward to finding out more about Lara's brother.