Saturday, April 26, 2014

Traitorous Attraction - C. J. Miller (HRS #1801 - May 2014)

To find a "dead" agent, intelligence analyst Kate Squire needs the man's brother--retired Sphere operative Connor West. His skills as a trained assassin are essential for her mission...but her immediate, raw attraction for the man himself is not.

For a loner like Connor, trekking into the jungle with a secretive killer blonde at his side is not textbook. Caught between armed insurgents and hungry predators, he fears Kate may be his deadliest threat...until their very agency turns on them. Stranded, outmanned and outgunned, Connor has nowhere else to turn. Trusting the gorgeous spy may be the only way to get them out alive....

Very good book that kept me involved from beginning to end.  Connor is a retired agent who left Sphere because he didn't like some of the things he saw.  His younger brother was also an agent who was reported killed six months earlier. Connor feels guilty for being the one who got Aiden involved in the agency.  When Kate shows up at his remote cabin claiming that Aiden is alive, he's reluctant to believe her, but he has to take the chance. 

Kate has received some information leading her to believe that her friend and coworker Aiden is alive but a prisoner.  The agency they work for insists that he is dead so she takes time off and searches out Aiden's brother for help.  She needs his help, but she also knows enough about him that if she tells him everything she knows at the beginning he'll refuse to take her along.  She makes it clear to him that he has to take her along.  What he doesn't know is that she feels partly responsible for Aiden's capture so it's up to her to make sure he's rescued.

The initial meeting between Connor and Kate was pretty rough.  Connor doesn't trust anyone, and having someone from Sphere show up unannounced sets off all his warning bells.  He wants to believe that Aiden is alive, but he also thinks that it could be a setup.  He wants Kate to tell him what she knows so that he can go off and do his thing by himself, and is furious when she won't cooperate.  Kate refuses to be left behind, so they reach a tentative agreement and leave for Tumara.

Almost immediately upon arriving in the country they are followed by agents wanting to stop them from looking for Aiden.  At that point it's Connor's skills that help them escape and get them on the road to finding out what happened to Aiden.  Kate discovers she isn't quite as prepared for fieldwork as she thought she was and has to depend on Connor to survive in the jungle.  By this point, they both realize that they are attracted to each other, but try to bury it for the sake of the mission. It's easier said than done.

Kate was familiar with Connor's reputation as an agent, but had been surprised by her immediate attraction to him.  She's mostly annoyed by his paranoid attitude toward her, but sometimes she gets the feeling that he's attracted too.  She also has moments where he's actually nice to her.  Because of her friendship with Aiden she's aware of some of the things in his past that have made him the way he is.  She would really like to get him to trust her.

Connor's distrust of people runs very deep and he starts out not trusting Kate at all.  If she's not the one setting him up, then she's being used to do so.  He's attracted to her almost from the beginning, but he also thinks that she belongs to Aiden, so he isn't going to give in to it.  By the time she convinces him the she and Aiden are just friends, that attraction has a good hold on him.  Once they are in the jungle searching for news of Aiden, Connor begins to develop some respect for Kate, as she does whatever is needed for them to survive.  That respect grows the further into the mission they get, especially when her mad computer skills are called for.  He also finds himself beginning to trust her more than he's trusted anyone other than his brother, and feelings start to grow from that.

I loved the intensity of their mission. From their escape at the airport to the trek through the jungle to their arrival in the city, the action never stopped.  There were people they encountered along the way that you weren't sure whether they were good guys or bad guys, and some you suspect right off are not to be trusted.  I couldn't get through the last part of the book fast enough I was so involved in whether or not they were going to be able to save Aiden, and if they were going to make it out themselves.  I thoroughly enjoyed that last confrontation and the way it all happened.  

The epilogue was a highly satisfactory wrap up.  It was great to see the changes that happened to everyone, but especially to Connor.  I wonder if we will see them again in a later book.  I'd also like to see more of Finn and Alex Hyde.

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