Last Breath by Jessica Claire and Jen Frederick #Review

Last Breath by Jessica Claire and Jen Frederick #ReviewLast Breath by Jessica Claire and Jen Frederick by Jen Frederick, Jessica Claire

Series: Hitman #2
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley on March 3, 2015
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
four-half-stars

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After the stunning first book in this series and where it left things, I was more than eager to dive into this book that shares Regan’s story after she was kidnapped by the Russian mob and sold into sexual slavery and about Daniel, the enigmatic hit man full of his own secrets that is sent to find her. Yep, that means this one is a sequel and works best after reading Last Hit. However, it could be read out of order in a pinch.

Oh man, Regan is in her own version of hell. She is taken from her cozy dingy apartment in Minneapolis, roughly brought to Russia by two thugs- one rapes her and then sells her into a brothel. She learns real fast that hoping for rescue and fighting her captures and sleazy johns is a lost cause. A cold evil man- an American of all things- she dubs Mr. Freeze looks her over like he is buying a horse and wants her, but doesn’t want her to have any spirit so she is sent to a brothel in Rio for the owner to ‘break’ her. It is there that another American insists on having her. He buys her for a month and her owner is greedy enough to do it, but soon has second thoughts.

Daniel started out as a rancher’s son, then a sharp Delta Force warrior and now a mercenary for hire all so he can find the little sister who has autism, but possesses a brilliant mind. He encouraged her to live a little and her spring vacation with friends lands her snatched and sold into white slavery. His parents are heartbroken and his dad tells him to not bother coming home if he doesn’t bring his sister. That was a few years ago. Now, he has done a favor for a friend of sorts and discovered the missing Regan Porter in Rio where he is also pursuing the latest lead on his sister and doing a job for Vasily, the new head of one of the strongest Russian mafia families, by finding him the best hacker Vasily needs for some project. Regan’s time as a sex slave have messed her up and he soon learns that she will not just be left at the doors of the American Embassy.

Regan veers between trusting only Daniel and fearing that he has ulterior motives, but seeing Mr. Freeze’s bodyguard at the gates of the American Embassy convince her that only Daniel can keep her safe. He has other reasons to be in Rio- dangerous ones, but there is no way she is letting the lethal man out of her sight. He wants her, but he is as good as his word and doesn’t take her body. She wants him too, but she is so twisted up that she bounces between terror and need. Not that there is much time to do something about that since they are being hunted by her old handlers even as Daniel hunts down leads for his other jobs. In the end, Regan is faced with the choice of doing what she swore she never would to help Daniel and another girl taken like Regan or forcing Daniel to choose between her and his own little sister.

This book leaped out of the gates at a hard, furious pace and never really lets up. While the first book took its time teasing out the tension in a cold, precise way that matched Nick, Daniel and Regan’s story is fairly and messy like them. Regan has survived, but her mind and emotions are all over the place. Daniel is more put together, but his hard, brutal life has left its marks on his soul.

“Fighter, I am not disappointed in you.”

For some reason that brings tears to my eyes. “No?”…

“Never” he tells me fervently and rolls on top of me. Then he gazes down at me, his fingers grazing my jaw. “How could I ever be disappointed in you, Regan? You’re a little damaged. So am I. Maybe we’re both a little more fucked up than normal, but we’ll be nice and fucked up together…”

  1. 338 Regan and Daniel from Last Breath

These two damaged people are perfect for each other and that is really never in doubt. They have some serious sizzle. I love how Daniel handles Regan’s often confusing and selfish needs as a result of her being a rape survivor. He sees her as a beautiful tough woman and he will give her whatever she needs to feel safe and special even if it means that she does all the taking for a while. Oh not that Daniel’s a doormat. The few times Regan tries to get manipulate him and use him like the filthy men at the brothel used her, Daniel calls her on it and she learns really quick to either trust him or he’ll dump her butt at the embassy with no in between choices. Regan has a certain coping mechanism that just cracked me up and it was a bit of a theme through the book. This girl loves her horror flicks and makes lists with them when she needed to go away inside her mind while she was in captivity.

Even when in a tight spot, she uses this movie repertoire to her advantage:

Daniel stuffs two new guns into both our bags. “So why do you like this room?”

“Two things: no windows and close to the front door.”

He grunts, not looking at me as he organizes his new stash of weapons. “So you’d rather be close to the front door than have a bed?”

“The way I look at it, everyone here is dangerous,” I say. “If I was in a zombie apocalypse and I wanted to be safe, I’d pick a room with no windows and close to the ground floor. You don’t want to be upstairs in case of an emergency.”

Then he looks at me and his gaze is amused. “Zombie…Apocalypse?”

“Yeah,” I say. “So? I like horror movies. They’re underappreciated gems of filmography.”

Daniel shakes his head grinning. He doesn’t say anything.

  1. 114 Regan from Last Breath

It was an amazing twisting story. The danger and excitement didn’t let up. I loved the surprises that popped up and I really liked where this story left things. Most of the story’s focus was on Daniel and Regan’s romance development, but it was balanced with the action element. There were appearances by Vasily and then Nick and Daisy. I enjoyed the intro to a few new characters and truly hope we see more of them in the series.

All in all, super-strong continuation of the series. I loved how this one was as good or better than the first book and I loved the very different tones and pacing of the two even though they tie together well. Romantic Suspense lovers who like lots of spice and can tolerate some pretty brutal scenes might want to give these a look-see.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #99 RS

Literary Pickers #100 Lingerie

Cliché Klatch #34 ‘right as rain’

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I’ve got books #1 and 1.5 but haven’t read them yet… I will 😉

    • Oh yes, this is a bit different since the heroes are hit men, but its good. I’m reading the novella next.

  • Aw man. You so make me regret skipping these for review! That’s really awesome it had such a great impact and rivaled book one 😀

    • I get that way too. It’s so hard to figure out which ones to go for amongst all the new ones coming out. Then I see a review or two at other sites and realize that I probably would have enjoyed the snot out the one I passed up. I’ve got the novella and the third book up for review too so I hope they keep looking good.

  • Shari Delighted Read

    I really wanted to read and review these, but seeing 1st person made me run away screaming!

    • Oh yeah, the first person in these is strong so it would have annoyed the heck out of you. The first book even has a New Adult feel to it a little b/c the heroines are young which would be a double whammy for you. 😉

  • Lola R

    I usually stay away from the too dark books and one of the books about sexual slavery that I gave a try disturbed me so much that I don’t think I’ll pick up one soon again. This book does sound good though and I am glad the romance worked for you. Great review!

    • Yes, the sexual slavery is very disturbing. I always try to make it clear when I come across rape, abuse, and stuff like this so people are warned. This series has some definite darkness to it so it won’t be for everyone. Thanks, Lola!

  • This definitely sounds like one I would like. The dark side doesn’t bother me much.

    • I have my moments, but I didn’t mind the darker side of this one since there was a lot going on. Hope you get the chance to try it, Mary!

  • Hahahaa! Zombie apocalypse, I like her retort.

    I can tolerate brutal scenes, this is going to the wishlist.

    • I thought she was funny too, Braine, especially considering she’d been through so much. She starts listing zombie movies A-Z to get way inside her head when she is being abused. Some girl!

  • I have no idea why I love damage characters so much! You have definitely picked my curiosity. I have no idea about this series, and this is why I love my fellow bloggers 🙂
    Thank you Sophia 🙂

    • Well my work is done then. Haha! I love visiting blogs and finding books and authors I didn’t know about too.

  • vvb reads

    This sounds like a doozy. A good one. Now on my radar. Good review.

    • Oh yes, its not a light and fluffy one. Thanks, Velvet!