Published by Harlequin Intrigue Large Print on March 21st 2017
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The SEAL's secret assignment had been to protect a certain important doctor. But when the man is murdered, Austin Foley's mission changes. The navy sniper must now protect the doctor's protege, the irresistible Sophia Grant, at any cost. For Sophia has information that could endanger the entire country. There's only one problem: Sophia has no idea what those secrets are.
With lethal terrorists on their heels, Austin and Sophia must embark on a covert operation. But it will mean placing Sophia even more in harm's way a sacrifice not even the steel-hearted SEAL may be able to make.
‘Locked, Loaded and SEAled’ is a terribly cheesy title—even for a Harlequin’s category book—as it made me think of Christmas come early with guns involved. Which is really the furthest from what anyone can guess what the story would be about without reading the summary. Yet I’m still a mixed bag after finishing the book, mostly because because the parts that stretched my ability to suspend disbelief: a SEAL operating on home soil, finally taking a shot at a perp, yet not really getting intro trouble for it, to begin with. The leeway that Austin Foley had for a ’normal’ SEAL, his sudden insertion into the accidental role of bodyguard and even his dealings with the CIA/spec ops (we aren’t exactly told how it worked) made his involvement a little too convenient, and I simply felt the connections seemed tenuous and threads that were seemingly unrelated never quite clicked into place as they were supposed to.
Still, it was an easy read, with characters that were sort of sympathetic and likeable, though it dangerously skirted the instant love part after a few days of meeting and non-stop investigation. Austin did thankfully shape out to be more like a regular guy than the Marvel superhero (as spec ops characters are typically portrayed) but Sophia however, felt like a loose cannon or a wild card at times, her behaviour making it impossible to guess how she’d react to any given situation. So while Austin was easier to take in, there were times I was left scratching my head when Sophia said or did something I didn’t expect.
In short, there were bits that I liked and bits that still had me frowning in scepticism. But because it ended with some kind of huge leap in logic and in Austin/Sophia’s relationship, I finished the book wondering if I’d really missed something after all.