Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review: Lazlo's Last Stand by Kathleen Creighton

Title: Lazlo's Last Stand
Series: Mission: Impassioned
Author: Kathleen Creighton
Read copy: eBook
Published: December 1, 2007
Publisher: Silhouette
ISBN: 1426810083
ISBN-13: 9781426810084

Keeping a low profile was Corbett Lazlo's secret for success. But now the super-spy and elusive owner of the Lazlo Group had to confront the faceless assassin who was killing his agents--by making himself the next target. Then Lucia Cordez, his sexy head of IT, stepped into the line of fire. And the only safe haven for her was Corbett's isolated home, where guarding her suddenly became very his heart. For although Lucia claimed to love him, she could be the assassin's partner—and Corbett's deadly betrayer.

My rating:

Corbett Lazlo, the mysterious and elusive founder of the Lazlo Group, is a man stalked by death. For months now he’s been receiving puzzling e-mail threats, his organization’s been targeted, and his agents KIA. He’s been trying to keep his people alive, find the mole inside his agency, and find out just who wanted him to pay and for what, all with the help of his trusted IT specialist, Lucia Cordez.

Lucia, despite Corbett’s conviction that she harbored just a slight crush on him, has been madly in love with her boss for the entire decade she’s been working for him, not that she’s ever told him that. And she didn’t plan to in the immediate future. She was quite content with pining for him and trying to keep her feelings hidden.

But not on the night the assassin struck for the third time. She was like a lioness protecting her cub. She shot the assailant and saved Corbett’s life. But now her own life is in danger, for the would-be killer was none other than Troy DuMont, Cassandra DuMont’s only son. And the woman, besides wanting to exact her vengeance on Crobett Lazlo, now set her sights on Lucia as well.

Desperate to protect her, Corbett whisks her away to Hungary and his underground lair, when all the "secrets" finally come out, but even ten years can’t guarantee his utter trust, with Lucia one of the three people with enough clearance to bring down the ultimate betrayal.

Oh, boy. What a great finale to this (rather average) series. Corbetz Lazlo, the big man himself, finally stepped into the limelight and got his story. And what a story it was. His past (with almost all the sordid details) was revealed, his hidden emotions and feelings finally surfaced…And what I suspected from the second book on, turned out to be true. Oh, boy.

Though the suspense played second string to the interaction between Lucia and Corbett, what there was left of it (at the beginning and end) was still satisfying, and brought the series full circle (at last).

But what I loved most were the two leading characters, their Aussie friend (they were the two people he loved the most in the world), the slight love-triangle that could’ve been but wasn’t, and the Hungarian safe house’s minimalistic setting that created just the perfect backdrop for everything safely tucked into the deep recesses of Corbett and Lucia’s minds and hearts to finally boil over.

The two were, for lack of a better word, utterly adorable. Despite Corbett’s rather icy (all on the outside, mind you) disposition and the rather large age gap (be he, despite his silver hair, sure didn’t show his whopping 48 years). The only thing bothering me, was the ease with which they slipped into their relationship. For two people who’s lived in denial for almost a decade, they sure capitulated quickly. But still, as I said, what an adorable couple. You could see the love.
My favorite scenes: in his apartment before he bundled her on the chopper, the stroll in the snow, the sled ride, the "wash" in the thermal spring…Awww.

Two more complaints, though. The constant use of "my love" endearment. That just makes me roll my eyes and snort. If he would’ve used something like "baby" with his gravely voice. Oh, yeah. Let the purring begin.
And lastly, the love scenes. I know the author probably strove for sensual, but I just wasn’t convinced. It was too 80’s Harlequins for me, all touches and sighs, and feelings of flying. I wanted to read about Corbett "in action" (like thrusting, and pistoning, and growling, and straining, and sweating). Sadly, I didn’t get my wish.

But still, the two of them were so adorable.

Okay, and the grand finale could’ve been grander. There was no shootout, no one ended up dead, no one was even wounded. Though it was satisfying in its simplicity, and rather just, I felt something was missing. Though the revelation of the last mole was a real doozy. Sure didn’t see that one coming.

But the epilogue was just perfect, a great conclusion to a great story.

All in all a good, solid story, the pacing slowed down a bit toward the end, but nothing major, the characterization was awesome, and the villains got their due. I actually would love to read what will happen with Troy, but I guess that will be left to the imagination.
It was slightly below Top-Secret Bride, but still solidly in the 4 star rating range.

P.S. The final tally for the Mission: Impassioned miniseries is of two busts (1. and 2. book), two average stories (4. and 5. book) and two good ones (3. and 6. book). Not bad, but certainly not great.


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