I think most Romantic Suspense fans know Cindy Gerard. With her books you can depend on getting a good read, a sexy romance, and alpha males who know how to take charge and use a gun (as well as, often, helicopters, tanks, heavy artillery…).
Killing Time is the first of a new series, The One-Eyed Jacks, which is a spin-off of her popular Black Ops books. The One-Eyed Jacks will focus on four survivors of a mission gone awry in Afghanistan eight years ago. In the initial scene of Killing Time we meet Mike Brown, who became the scapegoat for that mission, and who bides his time laying low in Peru doing odd, off-the-books jobs for a variety of generally off-the-books entities.
But on that day, the anniversary of the mission, Mike does what he does on every anniversary of that calamitous event - he goes to a bar with the intention of getting smashed. And when a gorgeous girl comes on to him, well, what's not to like about losing himself in the comfort of a warm beauty?
Unfortunately for him, the warm beauty is Eva Salinas, a CIA attorney whose husband was in Mike's unit and was killed on the day Mike would like to forget. The more Eva learns about the mission, the less sense it makes, and she wants answers from the man she blames for her husband's death.
Even asking the questions puts her in danger, though, and pretty soon Eva and Mike are running for their lives, trying to put together the pieces of what really happened. They'll make their way to Washington DC and then to a remote, scary paramilitary compound in Idaho to track down the truth and free themselves from a past of doubt and lies, while uncovering a dangerous, powerful enemy who wants nothing more than to protect his secrets.
Cindy Gerard is a great writer, who knows how to tell a rip-roaring good story with lots of guns, explosions, and sexy men who aren't afraid to die, but are gonna make it really messy for you if you try to kill them, and even messier if you go after their women.
I read an ARC copy of this book a few months ago, and before writing this, I went online to see some of the other reviews by different people, and was surprised by some of the negative comments.
I think this is a transition book, and I think Gerard did an excellent job with that sometimes difficult work. I thought the romance was sweet, and watching Eva and Mike move from enemies to allies to lovers was realistic and moving, especially for the short time they're on a misogynistic cultish compound that treats spouses like chattel.
The explosive scene that brings down the villain was a little over-the-top, and asks us to suspend our disbelief slightly, but it was fun and made sense for the characters involved.
I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be classic Cindy Gerard, with a sexy, emotionally wounded hero and a hot yet touching 'enemies to lovers as the truth plays out' story arc. Introducing readers to the other One Eyed Jacks and involving them in the high-octane resolution to the external conflict of the book was a fun twist, though I expect, considering the abruptly mysterious end to the villain, we haven't seen the last of him in the series.
I look forward to seeing the rest of the One-Eyed Jacks pair off with the women strong enough to tame them. From the glimpse we had of them here, it's going to be an interesting ride, and a great set of stories.
It's a fun read!
Cindy Gerard and her publisher, Pocket, have generously donated five copies of the book to give away. Leave a comment on this post by Noon, Sun Feb 24th (EST) to win one. Sometimes I get notified of comments, and sometimes I don't, so either "like" my facebook page so I can contact you easily if you win, or be sure to check back on this post on Monday, Feb 25th to see if you've won (or both!).
Also be sure to see all of the other posts for this huge "Week of Romance" giveaway at Read~Write~Love. We have Kristan Higgins, Molly O'Keefe, Jayne Ann Krentz, Lauren Dane, Sarah MacLean and Anne Gracie. Plus, the awesome additional prize of a full set of Lisa Kleypas' Friday Harbor novels. (See the original post for more details.)