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When a human trafficking operation went wrong, Jenny Parker, the bleeding heart of the Gauthier crime family, put on her cape to save her little brother Billy Gauthier from both the law enforcement and the criminals who would wanted to silence Billy.
Agent Matthew Ryder suspected Jenny had the evidence, but he wasn’t sure if she was an implicit member of the crime family or if she was just caught up in a situation that she didn’t fully grasp. Either way, in Ryder’s mind, Jenny was aiding human traffickers or that wasn’t worthy of his restraint nor respect. So he was verbally caustic.
As the story progressed, Ryder and Jenny fought an attraction to each other as well as gained some insight to their true motivations. But trust was still a work in progress. Right after Jenny was forced to confess all to Ryder, she was kidnapped. This led Ryder to go after both the human traffickers and Jenny, and this journey led them to South America.
The narrator Jill Redfield did a great job with both Jenny and Ryder. Her voice was able to animate both the hostility and the sexual tension between Jenny and Ryder. The narrator also made me have just a little sympathy for Jenny when I would have written her off as a clueless do-gooder. However, the author did a good job juxtaposing the naïve and obtuse heroine with the cantankerous and callous hero. I do like how it took time for their attraction to turn into affection. I kind of liked Jenny, but I wanted to yell at her as well. I did like Ryder because he did not cut her any slack. He didn’t wine and dine her because he was focused on the getting the bad guys in jail.
I still liked Consumed by Fire more than this book, but I still enjoy the author’s weaving of plot. It seemed predictable and straight forward in the beginning but then the author added layers and things got complicated. The non-stop action kept me interested and engaged.
The writing is fluid and I listened to this book in one sitting. I will definitely try the Ice series since I have now learned that this series is a spin-off.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Second in the Fire series, we focus this time on Matthew Ryder, one of the American Committee's super agents. He has the usual hard, cynical, and stepping over the line jerk-ness that all Stuart heroes' personalities come equipped with but there are a few instances that I think some readers will have a problem with. [Ryder physically restrains and punishes Jenny for information. He leaves bruises from gripping her arm tight and manipulating pressure points and leaves finger marks on her neck from gripping her throat to scare her. (hide spoiler)] If you don't like your main hero physically dominating the heroine, this would not be for you.
From the start when our couple meets, they hate one another and I mean hate. Their bickering wasn't so much sexually charged denied lust to me as forced animosity. I kept thinking that maybe they had met previously and had developed a loathing over a period of time but no, they're just incredibly venomous right off the bat. The whole thing didn't make me anticipate their eventual get together, as give me a headache. I like a bit of friction between my leads at the beginning but this felt over-the-top and heaped on listeners' heads.
Stuart heroes are mainly why I read her books and despite feeling uncomfortable at the times Ryder crossed lines (my views on heroes' actions in fictional works could definitely be considered problematic at times) and a lack of any real background relayed about him, I still found him compelling to read about. He's the hero that gets the job done, regardless to how it affects him physically and emotionally. Our heroine, Jenny, is where my biggest problem originated. Jenny was the TSTL (too stupid to live) romantic suspense heroine to the nth degree. She keeps pertinent information that could save lives (even her own) from the hero, she refuses to see the hugely large and clear writing on the wall about two characters, and basically acts like a naïve child. This all from a lawyer who works a lot with victims of the sex trade, I imagine she has seen some awful things that would have opened her eyes. She annoyed, angered, and had me rolling my eyes constantly.
Most of the story is Ryder and Jenny flinging vitriol at one another (some making out interspersed) but the suspense plot of someone trying to kill Jenny and them trying to figure out who is the new head of the sex trade, also pops in and out to keep them in danger and together. The two main puzzle pieces where large and clear but the way they fit together was a bit vague, the danger aspect felt off to the side for me.
I know that I complained a lot but I’m usually am a big fan of Stuart, so there is some sad disappointment happening here. I also listened to the whole story without skipping and very minimal skimming of certain parts, so I guess you can say there was some entertainment factor here. Stuart is one of the best in the romantic suspense game, you just may want to check her back-list out instead of this new one, though.
Jill Redfield was outstanding with the delivery of the story
6 of 11 people found this review helpful