Heatseeker
by Lucy Monroe
(Kensington., $14.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-7582-4203-7
****
Rachel Gannon and Kadin Marks have an old flame style love story with a new twist in Lucy Monroe's Heatseeker.

Rachel Gannon, a highly trained undercover government operative for the Goddard Project, is on a case that's suddenly gone very wrong. Rachel's mission was to stop Abasi Chuma, an Egyptian trader who's a sadistic sexual predator who she suspects is involved with illegal weapons and government secret trading. Rachel is in Morocco and has befriended Chuma's innocent fiancee Jamila. Everything was going well until she was kidnapped by some of Chuma's associates and is being held and tortured while being questioned for being too nosy. Rachel's training allows her to get through the repeated battery acid burns and other atrocities without giving up Jamila's name, but she has an exit strategy to kill herself shortly since she knows she can't take much more.

Suddenly, Rachel's rescued by a shadow from her past, Kadin Marks, her first and only true love, a tough Atrati agent whose mission it is to extract her from Chuma's clutches. Rachel can't believe it's Kadin, but once she sees it's really him, she has to steel her exhausted, battered self from falling into his arms. Kadin was her high school sweetheart, he was her safe place in an uncertain childhood after losing her parents.

For the past ten years, Rachel's been on her own, after Kadin broke it off. It was such a surprise, Rachel thought they were a solid couple; when Kadin went away for military training, his communication became more sporadic until he came back and broke off their relationship. Shortly afterwards, Rachel's sister Linny took her own life. While Rachel threw herself into her Goddard Project training, she isolated herself from everyone else and completely ignored her personal life and any surviving friendships. She's been so alone that she doesn't even realize how miserable her life has become.

Rachel refuses to abandon her mission, and Jamila's safety, as she heals. Kadin and his Atrati team stay behind to help her, which while helpful, really complicates Rachel's uncomfortable feelings and the safety of their mission.

Rachel and Kadin warm up the pages of Heatseeker and it should definitely be on your spring reading list.

Rachel's a perfect mix of vulnerability and take charge attitude, she discovers herself throughout the story and really thaws out from beginning to end. During the in-your-face beginning, it can be hard to keep up with Rachel's spinning narrative, but once Kadin comes into the picture, it's crystal clear and delicious. Rachel's slow reveal of her emotional side is sure to hit a nerve with readers that will keep the pages turning.

Kadin's super hot Superman mixed with wonderful emotional honesty and tough guy tenderness is a melt-your-heart perfect hero. You have to love him. There's also an awesome backstory between Kadin's Atrati team members, Cowboy and Spazz, that I really liked.

While I did mention earlier that the story started out action packed and fast, it was so hectically written that it took me a bit to understand the details of the beginning and figure out the story's direction. It cleared up after that. That being said, I would recommend Heatseeker as a great read.

--Amy Wroblewsky


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