Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Hard Night by Jackie Ashenden

Hard Night by Jackie AshendenHard Night by Jackie Ashenden
Series: 11th Hour #3
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on 27th November 2018
Pages: 304
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two-stars


It's their pleasure to serve . . .

Made up of former soldiers, the men of the 11th Hour play by their own rules to protect the innocent, capture the guilty, and stay in fighting shape for whatever--and whoever--comes their way . . .

Jacob Night, ex-Black Ops, owner of a billion-dollar security company, and leader of the 11th Hour, spends his life completing dangerous missions for others. But there's one personal mission he has yet to complete: Finding his missing brother, who was betrayed by the woman he should have been able to trust. But when he finally tracks down his brother's ex, there's one surprise: she can't remember a thing.

Faith has no memory of who she is. She can't remember life before she came to work for Jacob Night, and she's not sure she wants to. But when she and Jacob are ambushed by men who have come to kill her for sins she can't recall committing, she has no choice but to face the past. Yet once she does, and Jacob's identity--and her own--come to light, they may not survive with their lives intact, let alone their hearts.

‘Hard Night’ starts off odd and somewhat implausible, with a writing style that takes a while to get used to.

So odd that it took me a while to grasp the even stranger relationship that Faith has with Jacob that Jackie Ashenden sets out to write: a woman suffering from memory loss whom he takes in because of several conflicting reasons that are given in the search for his brother.

Mostly, it’s the suspension of disbelief that I had a problem with, which lasted quite a bit of the book at least: that Faith hadn’t questioned very much about Jacob’s intentions and her own circumstances, or that Jacob really couldn’t quite decide if she was the enemy or a tool to use or the time lapse for things to start happening. There’s also the uncomfortable hint of double-dipping, until at least Faith regains her memory, with a sort of split personality coming in here as she finally finds herself at odds with Jacob and his search for his brother.

As far as romantic suspense goes, there’s action from the beginning that thrusts Jacob and Faith in a situation where they are forced to get close despite their living situation, though it quickly dives into erotica after that, with possessive domination and roughness that characterise how sex happens between them.

Most of all however, I think I was simply left flailing, unable to get a foothold in what Jacob/Faith are supposed to be, in the contradictory ways they react to each other, in the push-pull that says one thing at first then another. With a ‘connection’ so physically superficial that it rides more on ideas of ownership—and fighting each other into bed—than anything remotely resembling caring/love, I was likewise, trying (but not really succeeding) to get invested in this pairing, let alone the plot that stuttered because of the exhausting number of pages of rough-and-clothes-ripping-type-sex. Needless to say, this just isn’t a book that worked for me.

two-stars

Hide and Seek by Desiree Holt

Hide and Seek by Desiree HoltHide and Seek by Desiree Holt
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on October 17th 2017
Pages: 223
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two-stars

Anything can happen when you let your guard down . . .

After receiving a violent threat on the heels of her father's disappearance from the town of Arrowhead Bay, Devon Cole fears for her life-until Vigilance, a local private security agency, steps in to shield her from danger. Although she isn't usually quick to surrender her freedom, she has no problem stripping her defenses for her new sexy bodyguard . . .

Tortured by the painful memory of lost love, Logan Malik is determined not to fall for a client again. So when he's tasked with watching over Devon day and night, he's focused on doing his job. Day is no problem, but as tensions rise at night, nothing can protect them from giving in to unbridled passion . . .

I wish I had a better time with ‘Hide and Seek’, since it sounds like a story that’s right up my alley: a woman running from a threat, her father’s mysterious disappearance and the bodyguard hero who helps the damsel in distress.

But frankly, it was a difficult book to get into, not least because of the style of writing that I had a problem getting used to as well. The writing and the characterisation did seem inconsistent and that did throw me off course, quite unexpectedly so, sometimes all within a chapter. I did as well, have an issue with believability at times, along with the plodding dialogue and the numerous characters which suddenly waltz in and out of the pages like old friends. There was also quite a bit of Devon’s near-hysterical, inner monologue veering into the over-dramatic, along with weird moments that just didn’t seem ‘characteristic’ of the way she’d first been portrayed.

Needless to say, I struggled with this book despite thinking that Devon Cole and Logan Malik did generally seem like decent protagonists. ‘Hide and Seek’ didn’t do it for me unfortunately though I might have probably liked it better with tighter editing and more ‘controlled’ writing, especially since it’s clearly a preference for authorial style that’s coming through here.

two-stars