Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lawless - HelenKay Dimon (HI #1493 - May 2014)

Series: Corcoran Team (Book 4)


Undercover agent Joel Kidd wasn't picked just for his risk-assessment and kidnap-prevention skills. He had inside knowledge of the mission's target: Hope Algier. Business had divided the former lovers, and now that same dirty business brought them back together. Touching down at this high-end out-of-the-way campground, Joel had the perfect cover among these weekend warriors. In reality, he was there to provide an extra layer of protection. One Hope wouldn't accept if she knew the truth. But when an unknown assailant begins picking off her clients one by one, Joel is the only one who can save them. Though civilization -- and safety -- was still a long way off….

Excellent book with great balance between the romance and the suspense. I really liked both Joel and Hope. They have quite a history together, and that history is a big part of this book. Since their breakup Hope has started running corporate retreats. It's not her favorite thing to do, but it keeps her outdoors which is what she loves. It also gives her a chance to recover her confidence after a climbing expedition went wrong. This retreat has had problems from the beginning, starting with executives who don't handle Hope's being in charge well. When one of them disappears, Hope goes looking for him, only to get the feeling that she's being stalked by someone. Enter Joel, who has been sent by her overprotective father to keep an eye on her. Discovering that there's something fishy going on puts Joel into protective mode.

Joel and Hope are open about the fact that they still love each other. They just haven't been able to find a way to make it work, and that is mostly Joel's fault. He was raised by a survivalist father and has deep seated fears that he could become just like him. He insists to Hope that he's no good for her, but he also can't stay away from her. He's kept track of her since their split and knows that she's had a rough time. One of the things I loved about him was his complete acceptance of Hope just as she is. He isn't bothered by her skills and actually takes a lot of pride in them. I really enjoyed seeing him watch other people's reactions to her. But confidence in her skills doesn't mean that he doesn't still have a need to make sure she's safe.

Hope still loves Joel and is frustrated that she can't get through to him that he is a good man. She got really tired of listening to his excuses before he left her. Having him back in her life does two things for her. First, she is grateful for his presence and his help as things at her retreat go bad in a hurry. She knows he has the skills to keep them safe. She's also going to make sure she's with him every step of the way. Second, it gives her another chance at trying to get through to him. She knows that they can be happy together if he would just give them a chance. 

I loved seeing Hope stand up for herself and her needs as she tried to make Joel see what they could have. I also had a lot of fun watching Cam and the others needle Joel about her, but also try in their own ways to make him see that he and Hope belong together. It took a glimpse of life without her to make him see the truth.

The suspense part of the story is really good. We know one of the bad guys early on, as he tries to get a handle on what has gone wrong with his plans and wants to fix it. He has a partner whose identity is not so obvious. From the moment we see Hope trying to get away from whoever is stalking her to the final confrontation, the action doesn't stop. I loved seeing the teamwork between Joel and Cam as they arrive to something far different than they expected. The addition of the rest of the team just adds to the intensity. 

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