Series: Last Chance Rescue
Author: Christy Reece
Read copy: eBook
Published: June 23, 2009
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Driven by grief and fury, Shea Monroe, an operative for Last Chance Rescue, goes deep undercover, vowing vengeance against the man who killed her husband. Instead, she ends up a captive and the unwilling weapon of a vicious human trafficker. But then she is rescued from her den of terror and shame by her husband’s best friend, Ethan Bishop, a man Shea feels irrevocably drawn to, despite her having lost all memory of her life before she was captured.
Having saved Shea from a madman, Ethan will do anything to keep her safe, but he can’t allow the feelings he once had for her to resurface. While recovering from her ordeal and regaining her lost memory, Shea begins to fall for Ethan. But the treachery and tragedies of the past won’t leave either of them alone. And from Mexico, a monster has sent his foot soldiers to seize Shea–using a weapon beyond anyone’s worst nightmare.
This was the best—and darkest—book in this trilogy. So good in fact, I have troubles collecting my thoughts in order to write this review.
The two leads were tortured, their pasts were painful, the villain was twisted, the suspense and action intense, the steamy scenes beyond steamy, and the ending was absolutely lovely. The only thing lacking in what was supposed to be the big surprise was the big surprise, because that final plot twist was obvious almost from the get-go.
Shea Monroe and Ethan Bishop had a past, a hot, steamy, tumultuous past. But like any good tortured romance hero he pushed her away and she ended up marrying his best friend only a couple of weeks after their break-up. Little less than a year later, her husband, Cole, died in an explosion and Shea blamed Ethan, Ethan blamed himself and they both left LCR, Ethan because Noah fired him for screwing up an op (in Return to Me) and Shea because she wanted to revenge her husband, by finding the true responsible—a phantom by the name of Duncan Rosemount.
Shea’s captured by Rosemount and with use of torture and hypnotic drugs turned into an automaton. She’s a perfect soldier and companion, without emotions without a single cognitive thought, doing everything her "master" tells her to do, trying to please him, waiting for her nightly "vitamin shot" to keep the demons and nightmares at bay.
The LCR operatives are baffled. Shea Monroe’s turned. She’s kidnapping innocents to hold for ransom and they have no idea why. The only one who could shed some light on what happened is the man who knows her best, her former lover, Ethan Bishop.
Ethan, haunted by photos of a "turned" Shea, travels to Mexico to extract her and determine what is wrong with her, but finds himself facing an empty shell trying to kill him. He kidnaps her from the compound, but the following days are a living nightmare for him as he’s unable to help her as she goes through terrible withdrawal, battling demons and nightmares conjured by her fractured subconscious. What is an even greater blow is the fact she doesn’t remember him, she doesn’t trust him, believing he’s her enemy.
Whisking her off to the LCR clinic, Shea goes through detox, but she’s still unable to remember anything about the past three months in captivity or her life prior to it. The only thing she is certain of, is Ethan.
As he takes he to his home in the Smokies, her memories start slowly returning, and she, once again, falls for Ethan, as she remembers what they’ve shared.
But Rosemount is determined to have his gatita back and is willing to use any means necessary to obtain her. Even unleashing a deadly force that might destroy them all.
Boy, what a ride this was. The characterization was excellent, giving us just tiny glimpses into the psyche of the characters (mostly Ethan), revealing just the right amount of information, while keeping the reader salivating for more. There were so many secrets Ethan hid, so many facets of his inner demons, it was a wonder he kept it all together. What he’s been through, what he put Shea through in his quest for self-punishment was heart-breaking, yet oddly I didn’t get the urge to smack him on the head. He wasn’t being idiotic in his pushing her away, he truly believed he didn’t deserve her, didn’t deserve redemption.
Shea was another nicely-drawn character. A woman lost, without any recollection of who or what she was, of what exactly happened to her, but strong and determined to regain her memory and make the culprits pay. It was bitter-sweet watching her fall in love—once again or even more—with Ethan, suspecting what might have driven them apart and knowing that as she regained her memories, they would both end up hurt again. Even though she didn’t know him, didn’t remember him, she simply navigated to the one man that had been a constant in her life before the abduction, Ethan.
I wanted desperately to know what drew her to marrying Ethan’s best friend only a few weeks after their breakup, and when the blow came (though I suspected what it was) it had quite an impact. I didn’t agree with her decision, but, in the frame of mind she was in at the time, she really didn’t see any other choice.
Lucky for her, she emerged from her ordeal with Rosemount a different, stronger, more self-assured woman who was able and willing to go to any length to get what she wanted.
Another strong point of this story was the villain. I actually looked forward to the scenes with him, because he was twisted and nuts just enough to keep things interesting and keep the reader intrigued just what made the guy tick and if he was really as sick and twisted as he seemed.
The action scenes gave precedence to more introspection, character development and relationship (re)building, but that sure didn’t slow the pace down, because Shea and Ethan were so nicely drawn and well-written they kept the intrigue-levels high, revealing secrets at a leisurely pace, keeping the reader guessing, speculating, and hoping.
A well-written, dark, fast-paced, romantic suspense novel with wonderful and well-developed characters with just the right amount of flaws and tortured souls. Highly recommended read…For those wondering, it can easily be read separately from the series.
I absolutely loved it!