This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Released on April 30, 2019
Eager to jump into the Deep Ops team once more, I was excited to see a short story to tide me over the next full length title. Each character has a past, family or even someone we don’t know yet. Raider Tanaka’s family has an emergency and he isn’t going to sit home and knit. foster family needs him and it is a second chance at love for Hunter and Faye.
Taken is a standalone novella about Hunter and Faye, two characters not directly in the Deep Ops storyline, but secondary family members to Raider Tanaka.
Faye left five years ago. Five years ago when a client commits suicide and she never suspected. She messed up and wasn’t dealing with it very well. Hunter was back home from a mission where his friend was killed. He messed up and wasn’t dealing with it very well. The distance between the two was growing and Faye needed to walk away before she was too far gone to recover. Hunter let her walk away. There is the crux of the problem.
Faye is back with the job of telling Hunter he has a half brother from his alcoholic, loser of a father. The teenage brother is on the run with the teacher who convinced him she loves him. The one person he believes out of his shitty life. Only the teacher has gone off the rails ad is killing people as she robs convience stores for money on their journey to one place she found happiness. Only the teenager thinks she is protecting him form a robbery charge, not murder.
Hunter now has a new mission to save his brother, but Faye is tagging along bringing up all the hurt emotions, bad and good memories and things he needs to deal with. He knows he didn’t handle Faye leaving the right way. He loved her, but he couldn’t share. They both grew up in abusive homes, but once they made it to a safe home, they created a family. Raider, Faye, Hunter and one deceased brother. Hunter and Faye were fated to be together only to be torn apart.
On the road to find his half-brother before he gets involved with the robberies and murders, Hunter is joined by Faye, Raider and Wolfe (Raider’s “co-worker” at deep ops). Racing against time, Hunter has one goal in mind, keeping his brother safe. Faye though seems to think it’s a great time bring focus on their relationship. She isn’t exactly gentle about it either. It felt at times completely off. Hunter has purpose, but Faye can seem to get past the need to have some focus time as well. Maybe wait till they have the brother safe? Maybe?
The story deals with so many issues. It is probably why I put it down once or twice and had to come back later. Throw in what seemed like a selfish heroine made me feel angst. I loved seeing some of the original characters come by (Wolfe, Kat, the drunken dog just to name a few) and see that another mission is about to take over their lives.
Taken is a novella between Hidden and upcoming release Fallen. While you don’t have to have read Hidden, it does help you to understand a few characters that come and go from the story. Explains more about the dog you see in the novel…well you get to know the dog if not explained why he is the way he is. Hide your shoes and booze! If you like fast paced suspense with a side of humor, this ones for you!
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Sophia Rose take it away!
After the thrilling opener series opener, Hidden, I was eager to snatch up this tweeny novella that finds the Deep Ops team as the secondary characters assisting on a cross country crime spree that hits close to home for Raider Tanaka’s foster family and a second chance romance for Hunter and Faye.
Taken is a standalone side story in the Deep Ops series world that falls between books one and two. It offers some back story for Raider with appearances from other members of the team, but focuses on Raider’s foster siblings Hunter and Faye.
Five years before, Faye pulled the cord on what she had with Hunter and walked away because she was messed up, he was messed up, and there was a distance growing between them that she was not able to breach- and she was scared to try. Now, she has to tell Hunter that his loser birth dad abused a much younger half-brother who left foster care to run off with his high school teacher who seems to be on a robbing and killing spree with the kid in tow.
Hunter knows Faye wasn’t totally to blame for walking away but she did and fed all his fears and mistrust. They’d both grown up in abusive homes and then had a solid foster mom. He went into the military and two of his foster brother’s with him. One didn’t come back and he blames himself. Now, as he, Raider, and Faye ride together again tracking down the little brother he didn’t know about and he’s close to Faye again, he’s willing to acknowledge the feelings that never left and wonders if he can take trying again.
Taken hits on child abuse, foster care, grief and loss, PTSD, taboo teacher-student, and more in one novella. Considering that these are deep subjects individually, I was surprised it went as well for me as it did. The author developed the story in an economy of words and gave the romance some heat and heart, the friendships and camaraderie depth to engagement, and tossed in a fun older series crossover scene for good measure.
But, I did have some niggles. There is that moment in the story when Hunter is worried sick about his brother being with a woman who is killing and robbing and the kid is scared. Hunter is focused and Faye insists that he redirect his attention to her b/c after five years, now is apparently the moment and now only that she wants to talk about them as a couple. Oh, and when he isn’t into it and says so, she doesn’t take no for an answer and pushes until she gets her way. I’m glad she wants to fight for them to be together, but I wasn’t down with the timing. It came across as exceptionally selfish.
In fact, any time she doesn’t like his answers, she gets busy with the fist to the gut or kicks at him. Big no-no. She’s abusive and I can’t give that a pass. She was abused, Hunter was abused, so why in the Sam Hill does she think this is ever okay?
So, the niggles left me mixed about the romance, but there was plenty of other stuff to enjoy. I loved seeing Raider and others from the Dark Ops team including that drunk, shoe-stealing dog make an appearance. I can’t wait to get the next story which is Raider’s and a certain tech gal genius. Those who enjoy kick-butt, spicy romantic suspense should give this series a go.
I rec’d this book from Kensington through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.