Last Hope by Jessica Claire and Jen Frederick #Review

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

Series: #4 Hitman
Genres: Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley on October 6, 2015
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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It was with relish that I picked up this latest installment from the Hitman series (oh please, please, let there be more). These books are something else with their anti-heroes can be more villain than the bad guys, sizzling hot romances, gritty and dark plots, and in depth development of characters. I would have never thought these would be my thing, but I’ve enjoyed them all.

This one is book four and includes the story of Rafe Mendoza who first made an appearance in book two, Last Breath. He was an enigmatic character and I was glad to get more of his story. These books can be read out of order, particularly this one which is more loosely connected, but there are connections between the books that make more sense when read in order.

The story opens with Rafe and some of his men keeping surveillance on an American woman in a hotel across the street. Rafe’s good friend, Davidson, is being held by the US government in return for his cooperation in stealing the secrets that a wealthy French crook, Duvall is planning to sell on the black market. His plan is to steal the papers from this Ava who is being coerced by Duvall to be his ‘mule’. Ava has some samples to show the legitimacy of Duvall’s sale and meets with each prospective buyer individually. There are a few more buyers to go and then the sale will start. Rafe has to succeed grabbing what the government wants for his buddy’s sake Rafe tries not to think of what will happen to Ava and her friend, Rose, who is being held hostage by Duvall to keep Ava cooperative, when she no longer has the papers. Watching her day in and day out, the way she hides her fear and shows such spunk in the face of Duvall’s thugs and the danger she is in brought grudging respect and then attraction. He wants to be close to her and he uses the valid excuse of going for the files she has.

Ava will do everything she can to get Rose back alive. They have been friends and together since childhood. She deplores Rose’s choice in men that got them into this mess and she hates the slimy men that work for Duvall and get off on smacking her around and lusting over her. But she will put up with it to save her friend, if she can. Then things start happening fast when a darkly handsome Rafe Mendoza enters her life. She suspects he wants the papers she was given and told that they would mean Rose’s life, but she can’t stop the attraction she feels for the dark, broody man. Through a series of events, they end up being plane crash survivors and it is Rafe she must depend on to get them out of the Amazon jungle alive. Only, will he really help her in the end and why won’t he act on the interest that flares between them?

Alright, as has been the case in previous stories, Rafe is a whole lot more than he seems as Ava learns. I love how the authors present a character and then peel back layers to reveal the person slowly. Ava is fairly straight forward as a buxom, bubbly, and bungling girl who pretty much says what she thinks (generally without a filter or thought for the repercussions) and acts impulsively. She isn’t stupid, but she’s not complex either. Now, Rafe is really her opposite. He is a product of his upbringing and his harsh life. He is careful what he says and controlled in his actions. He works hard to suppress his feelings, too. I found the interactions between these two sometimes painful, sometimes humorous, heartwarming, and many times just plain hot.

Yeah, this one has some exciting moments and some jungle survivor stuff, but a great deal of it is two horny people in heat, sometimes resisting and sometimes giving into the flaming passion that is dirty and raw most of the time. If you think I jest, Rafe’s unusually huge penis could have been a starring character as much page time as it got. I think Ava’s mind obsesses on it for over 50 pages straight and even more off and on to the end of the book, but to be fair Rafe thought his physical size kept him from being with a woman so his mind was on the monster in his pants, too. This much attention to his penis wasn’t my thing and I wanted things to move on, but I can also see both the humor, frustration, and even past hurt because of it. I’ll focus on the humor with one quote so you get an idea of what I mean:

Mendoza just holds me like there’s no place he’d rather be.

And as I’m pressed against him, ignoring the throb in my bad arm, I feel something pressing against my lower belly that’s not a hand. Mendoza’s aroused at my wet body pushing against him. Okay, that’s probably my fault. I’m fine with that.

But it reminds me just how freaking big his equipment is. It’s not something I should be noticing in a life-or-death situation. It’s not. But when a guy’s got something like a Maglite stuffed down his pants?

You sort of freaking notice, no matter the situation.

Actually, Maglite might not be big enough. More like wine bottle.

  1. 75 Ava from Last Hope

So, this one leans toward the erotic storyline more than the suspense, but it does bring the characters on a journey of understanding and growth. It won’t be my favorite of the series, but it was definitely an engaging enough story. Those who can appreciate an assassin anti-hero, a lust-crazed heroine, an adventure in the jungle, and some intense moments both romantic and suspense with the balance toward erotic romance, should give this one a go.

My thanks to Penguin Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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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.

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