I felt the heat! And the emotion. I'm really enjoying the Black Ops series by Cindy Gerard (thanks for the recommendation, Buggy!) Each setting and story is unique and compelling.
This time the main character is a woman (BJ) so hurt by the past that she's terrified of falling in love. Typically that's a role reserved for a man, and it was refreshing to read this gender twist. BJ works as a U.S. Defense Intelligence officer whose sting gets interrupted by a group of BOIs. Quite an auspicious meeting between BJ and the hero.
Of course the hero has his own issues (yay!) Raphael Mendoza, the Latin lover of the BOI bunch, has a mysterious family history in Columbia (which happens to come into play in the plot).
I was impressed by the realistic portrayal of dysfunction in BJ's alcoholic mother. What a bleak family story. Without parents who ever seemed to care for her, no wonder BJ feels like damaged goods.
BJ's character made me quite emotional. The countless number of times she rejects Raphael could totally frustrate the reader, but instead of frustration I felt sympathy for her. Here's a woman who has no problem gunning down the enemy, but put her in the arms of a man who loves her? The fight or flight syndrome kicks in big time.As he wiped at the blood, she didn't say a word but she didn't pull away either. She just looked up at him with those big blue eyes full of something that could have been challenge, could have been annoyance...or, he realized, could have been bafflement over the fact that he was taking care of her.
That was it, he realized. She wasn't used to having anyone take care of her or sticking tight when she'd done her damndest to warn him away. He guessed he shouldn't have been surprised by that. This one would chew her own arm off before she'd ask anyone to help her out of a bear trap.
How incredibly sad!
Yet there's more to BJ than sadness. She's also competent at her job, like when she needs to play a blond floozy hanging off Rafe's arm when they go undercover in Columbia.The Munozes tried to hide it, but they were clearly appalled by her brash manner.
"Why aren't they saying anything?" she added in a stage whisper that could have been heard in Cambodia.
I was also impressed by the terrorist plot to unleash a special bomb that would knock out a huge power grid and disable the American economy. Cindy Gerard spoke about her intricate research for these novels at the Romantic Times convention I attended, and I'm a believer!
The little character mysteries about BJ's name and Rafe's tattoo keep the story fun, as well as the insulting banter between the boys. I thought the side romance between Stephanie Thompkins and one of the BOI's was interesting but not as well-developed or emotional as it could have been.
I think I only have three more novels left in this series *cries* and I can't wait to read them!