Friday, June 10, 2016

Designated Target - Karen Anders (HRS #1826 - Nov 2014)

Series: To Protect and Serve (Book 2)

Criminals want her mind... Her protector wants her love.

Special agent Vincent Fitzgerald's mission is to find missing naval scientist Dr. Skylar Baang. The brilliant Filipino American beauty has been kidnapped for her knowledge and research on top secret projects. But even after Vin rescues her from a dangerous group, he knows they'll be back.

A long-ago promise has kept Skylar committed to her work--love is a distraction she's never allowed herself. Now in the protective custody of a complicated NCIS agent who surprises her at every turn, Skylar wants to stop thinking and start feeling. But as the thugs come after her, she'll need everything she is--and smart, sexy Vin--to stay alive.

Good suspense and romance. Skylar is a brilliant scientist who has been kidnapped by those who want to use her intelligence for their own ends. Vin is the NCIS agent sent to find and rescue her. Though he saves her from immediate danger, he knows that those who took her will try again. When another attempt nearly succeeds, the only way to protect her is to take her into hiding while the rest of the team tries to discover who is behind it.

The cabin is isolated and the perfect place to hide out, but it is difficult also. Sky has made her work the focus of her life. She was kidnapped as a child and her parents gave their lives to rescue her and get her to safety. Since that time, her work has been her way of honoring their sacrifice. Because she was so focused on her education (college at ten, PhD by seventeen) and work, she never developed a social life. Her first impression of Vin blows her away with his good looks and determination to protect her. But as much as she is attracted to him, she can't let herself be distracted. Vin also puts a lot of himself into his work, but for him it is his way of being true to himself. He has never allowed a woman to distract him from his duty, but something about Sky has him in turmoil. 

I loved seeing the development of their relationship. Vin can't believe the way that Sky has shut herself off completely from living a full life. He does everything he can to show her what she has been missing. I especially loved the fishing scene. Sky really starts to get into all the new experiences but the things she starts to feel also scare her. She realizes that she is falling in love with him, but believes that love has no place in her life. Vin had been hurt before by a woman who didn't understand that what he does is a huge part of who he is. Since then he has kept tight control over his feelings, but Sky blows that control to pieces. He wants them to pursue the feelings and see where they go, but Sky can't let go of what she sees as her responsibility. I ached for them both as their differing attitudes ripped them apart. Those same attitudes ended up undergoing some changes as the other's influence opened their eyes to their own misconceptions. I loved the ending and seeing how they came together.

The suspense of the story was good. It started out with some intense action as they fought off the kidnappers. It then backed off a bit as they went into hiding, and the action became more mental than physical. There were some spots where we get the bad guys' point of view, and an idea of just how intent they are on getting to Sky. The action picked up again at the end, as Sky and Vin are captured and must find a way to stop the bad guy. Sky's brains and Vin's skills combine to create an unforgettable solution.

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