This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on April 30, 2019
She betrayed him and now she needs him. Together they need to stop a bio-terrorist within 48 hours. There are adrenaline rush thrillers out there, but it takes a delft hand to write solid layers of background, setting, description, characterization, and complex plotting so that a villain has personality and depth and a spec ops team has camaraderie and heart while, best of all, a sizzling romance pair can nearly destroy each other and nine years later stand side by side and back to back. Oh, and did I mention this was a debut novel?
Every Last Breath centers around a top secret agency getting the assignment to stop the sale and use of biological weapon. Maddox heads the team and her first task is to recruit a man who has every reason to hate her and want nothing to do with the mission. She was his fiance and she betrayed him. Then, she thought he died because of what she did and she’s been an ice-cold operative who lives for her job ever since. When her in to get to the private auction for the bio-weapon involves cozying up to the man she betrayed, she knows that only the truth will do even though a web of lies is her stock in trade. Can she lead this mission and not let it get personal?
Cole finds himself agreeing to do his part to help Maddox’s team and he plans to stay angry and distant after what she did to him and his family, but she’s not that same girl who made the choice to betray him. She’s a razor sharp, confident woman who has her own anger on for him letting her think he was dead all this time. But, the personal stuff has to be stowed away because they have a job to do and he’s pretty sure that her precious agency has a mole the way the target knows more than he should. He left her once, but he’s got her six this time around.
Spies, missions, webs of lies and secrets, save the world situations, spy gadgets, and counter-spying are some abso-fab story elements that I eat up. Many times, I either like the suspense or the romance element in a story like this, but rarely are both of equal strength and integrated well. This one did. I was vested in both sides of the coin. What’s more, I totally respected the main characters, their actions in the romance and their mission, and the overall cast. I even enjoyed getting the villain’s perspective and it didn’t reduce the story’s tension one iota to have that present. The villains were worthy opponents for a group of pros like this and there is even an unnamed villain or two that are part of the series arc.
Maddox and Cole were fabulous individually and sizzled when together. Can I say just how much I appreciated having people who are written as pros at this sort of work act like it? Not, that they were too perfect to be believed. Emotions ran high and there was the need on Maddox’s part to be better than everyone else because she’s the woman and doesn’t want to be the team liability and Cole fought the urge to jump into protect mode when only back up was needed. And, they were mature about their past while still needing to work through all that never got dealt with when what they had exploded them apart.
The Gray Box agency group is a sensational nucleus of players that are perfect as the core backdrop for the series. I loved meeting all the players, getting hints at personalities and some attractions, and even that tetchy bit that one of these people is a betrayer. Can’t wait for the next installment.
All in all, my breath was stolen with this fantastic first in series and I am craving more. Romantic Suspense aficionados must grab this one in short order.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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