Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Agent's Surrender - Kimberly Van Meter (HRS #1821 - Oct 2014)

Series: Sniper (Book 3)

Rival agents uncover a monstrous conspiracy

From the moment they met, sparks had flown…and not the good kind. Agent Jane Fallon would rather chew nails than work with arrogant -- and much too good-looking -- Holden Archangelo. But, convinced his brother was no traitor, Holden had Jane's investigation reopened. And now Jane is forced to partner with him.

As new leads come to light, Jane's certainty about the case is shaken. But the assassin's bullet whizzing past her head convinces her they are onto something. Jane's determined to keep things professional, but as the danger around them intensifies, so does the fierce attraction they try so hard to deny….

Wow. The third book in this series is as action packed as the first two, and at times eerily realistic. Holden's twin brother has been accused of treason stemming from events that took place in the first two books of this series. As Miko is no longer alive to defend himself, Holden feels it is up to him to get to the truth. Jane Fallon is the agent who was in charge of the investigation and she stands by her conclusions, until Holden claims to have new evidence. She doesn't believe it will make a difference to her conclusion, but she can't stand the idea that she might have missed something. Their boss assigns them to work together on the case. There are major sparks between Holden and Jane, and not always good ones. They have a history together, but Jane is determined to ignore it.

Holden and Jane had had a brief relationship months before that had not worked out. Holden blames it on Jane's need to win her father's approval, and Daddy did not like Holden at all. Holden had cared deeply for her and couldn't believe that she hadn't cared enough to stand up for herself and their relationship. He's still carrying around his hurt from her rejection and it makes him rather testy around her. Jane hasn't forgotten the way he made her feel, but thinks that there is no chance for a future between them. Being together almost 24/7 puts a strain on her determination to keep things professional between them, especially when Holden seems to be equally determined to get her back in his bed. 

I loved Holden and his determination to prove his brother innocent. They were twins and he knew his brother would never have done the things he was accused of. Knowing Jane had been the investigator on the case was just one more part of the problem he had with her. I loved seeing him push at her about he relationship with her father as it was that which had broken them up. It was fun to see him push her buttons and get some real emotions out of her. Jane was a great character, even though she frequently annoyed me. She is strong, independent and very good at what she does, but she lets her father and brothers walk all over her. She let her father break up her relationship with Holden even though she did have feelings for him. Even now it's her fear of what her father would think that makes her reopen the case so she can be sure she didn't mess something up. Outside of her father's influence, I loved how, once she realized that there was something else going on, she was just as determined as Holden to figure it out. It was also fun to see her fighting her feelings for Holden, but succumbing to them all too often. I loved seeing her come to accept that what they had was real and how it gave her the strength to finally stand up to her father. That scene was great fun.

The suspense of this book was amazing. At the end of the previous book, it looked like they had caught the person who had engineered the use of the dangerous drug for illegal purposes, but it left Holden's brother accused of treason. Holden is determined to prove his brother innocent, and is certain that there is more going on than the investigators discovered. Holden knows Jane well enough that he was able to goad her into reopening the investigation. As soon as they start investigating they begin getting people telling them to give it up, that there is nothing new to learn. This makes them suspicious and more determined than ever to get to the bottom of it. Even Jane has to admit that there may be something she missed. Every lead they get leads to more questions and the feeling that there is something really big going on. When someone takes a shot at Jane, their suspicions are confirmed. I was glued to the pages as more of the plot came to light and I wondered how they were going to stop what was planned. The road to the final confrontation had a couple unexpected twists which added to the intensity.

I enjoyed the involvement of the couples from the previous books. It was great to see them again and catch up on how they are doing, especially Jake. I liked seeing James the computer guy work his magic again. I definitely did not like Jane's father or brothers, and could not understand why Jane put up with their crap for as long as she did.

There were two things in the book that lessened my enjoyment of it a bit. They had no effect on the story itself, but are personal dislikes of mine. The first was in the description of Jane's father. He is called "The Major" and described as a retired major general. He is referred to as a "five starred major general" (p. 58 first, then other times). This is not possible. A major general wears two stars. There hasn't been a five star general in the United States since General Omar Bradley died, and there has never been a five star general in the Marine Corps. This mistake could have been avoided with a little research, and again if the editor had been doing their job. The other problem is one that I run into all the time with Harlequin books. Whether it is the authors or the editors, they refuse to accept that when speaking of a member of the Marine Corps, the word Marine is ALWAYS capitalized. Lower case marine refers to things having to do with oceans, Marine is a member of the Marine Corps.

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