Saturday, June 11, 2016

Falling Hard - HelenKay Dimon (Avon - June 2015)

Series: Bad Boys Undercover (Book 2)

After a grueling assignment with the black ops force known as the Alliance, Weston Brown is craving downtime. Instead, he's pulled into his deadliest operation, in the one place he never wanted to see again. No-nonsense and so damn hot, Lexi Turner lied to get him to her mountain clinic in Pakistan. But the threat is terrifyingly real.

Lexi has been asking too many questions, drawing the wrong kind of attention. As soon as she lays eyes on West, she can tell he's quiet -- yet tough -- and has a rescue complex which will come in handy for going up against the world's most ruthless gunrunners.

Cut off from the rest of the Alliance, Lexi and West navigate the brutal terrain and a primal sexual attraction. Sticking around has never been West's way, but now he'll use every resource to keep Lexi by his side, safe from a killer who leaves no loose ends behind.

Good book that starts out fast and keeps the tension going. West is ready for a break between assignments and instead gets pulled into one in a place he hated. The group he belongs to gets a distress call from a contact in Pakistan, and off they go. Lexi is the daughter of the doctor running the local clinic, and while he's away has noticed some suspicious activity nearby. Following her instincts, she reports it, and soon finds herself in serious trouble.

West and his team arrive just in time to save Lexi from some very determined interrogators. Lexi quickly decides that West is just who she needs on her side to find out what is going on. Their initial meeting is both frustrating and funny. West is accustomed to people being intimidated by his size and his demeanor, and when Lexi refuses to bow completely to his dictates he is at something of a loss. Lexi is very strong-willed and has no trouble standing up for what she sees is the right action to take. It was pretty amusing to see the two of them butt heads over what to do. All of it is aggravated by an intense attraction that takes them both by surprise.

That attraction has to take a back seat because of the danger they are in. Equipment failures get them separated from the rest of the team and dependent on working together. Each of them has definite ideas and a habit of issuing orders which doesn't sit well with the other. Both of them have to learn to step back a little and learn to listen to the other. When they do they discover that both have valid points to make.

Though it only takes a few days, I enjoyed seeing the relationship develop between Lexi and West. The chemistry is undeniable, and its effect on West is especially strong. Thanks to things that happened in his past, he has shut off his emotions. However, he is obviously very protective of those he cares about and will do anything necessary for his team. He believes in what he does, but it does have an effect on him. The feelings that are growing for Lexi are breaking through the walls that he has built. He believes quite strongly that the man he has become does not deserve what Lexi is offering. Lexi is stubborn, sassy and frequently fearless when she should be more cautious. Her interactions with West were great, especially as they got to know each other. She was really good at getting him to talk about things he doesn't share with anyone. She quickly came to see that there was more to him than the "killing machine" that he believed himself to be, but convincing him of that fact was a real challenge. I loved that she knew enough not to push, but it was hard to see her start to lose hope. I loved the various scenes where West's coworkers would notice and comment on what was going on, but the best was at the end when they all ganged up on him. I loved the hint of vulnerability in him at the end as he finally goes to Lexi. I also loved his support of her plans for the future, and his reaction to the job offer at the end,

The suspense was really good, with a fast start and steady build up to the conclusion. Lexi and West on the ground in Pakistan had a real challenge trying to keep ahead of those that were after them. They also didn't know who they could trust, which occasionally caused some conflict between Lexi and West. Back at Alliance headquarters, trouble comes from a prisoner who seems to know far too much about what is going on. A risky plan is developed that they hope can pull off a rescue as well as stop the bad guys. Things go from bad to worse for Lexi and West when they are captured. The intensity of the final confrontation, as all the pieces came together, had me riveted until all was resolved. It looks like there is one loose thread to continue into the next book.

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