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Hard Justice by April Hunt

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Mystery/Crime/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 5th September 2017
Hard Justice by April HuntHard Justice by April Hunt
Series: Alpha Security, #3
Published by Forever on August 29th 2017
Pages: 352
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two-stars

A DATE WITH DANGER As the first female operative at Alpha Security, Charlotte "Charlie" Sparks has her work cut out for her. Sure, she can wrestle a man to the ground and hit a target at 200 yards with the best of them. But sometimes, being surrounded by all that testosterone can drive a woman to distraction-especially when that distraction is six-and-a-half feet of cocky, confident, Alpha-trained muscle. Ex-SEAL commander Vince Franklin has been on some of the most dangerous missions in the world. But pretending to be Charlie's fiancé on their latest assignment in Miami is his toughest challenge yet. Vince and Charlie are like oil and water; they just don't mix. And when their fake romance generates some all-too-real heat, Vince learns that Charlie is more than just arm candy. She's the real deal-and she's ready for some serious action.

When a relationship begins with antagonism, I’m typically up to my ears with glee because the 180-degree flip later is typically steamy, jaw-dropping and plain old fun to read. I’d hoped ‘Hard Justice’ was going to be that, since working undercover on a case together seemed to be just the catalyst of what was supposed to ignite the latent attraction between Vince and Charlie at least.

And to some extent, it started off that way. I fed off the hostile push-pull vibes at the beginning and really did think that Charlie stood her ground well against Vince. But as the action wore on and Charlie’s complicated past came to light, it wasn’t long before doubts started to creep in about whether this pairing was meant to be, especially when 2 very strong and very opposing personalities seem to clash and clash always without passable compromise.

At every turn, Vince and Charlie went up against each other for 1 reason or another—the former trusts careful planning while Charlie more impetuously dives straight into action—and I found this never-ending tussling (punching, yelling, shouting, insulting) between them more wearying than titillating. If it was supposed to be amping up sexual tension, all I could really see was scrappy, irascible arguing with a side dose of lust, which eclipsed the case of abducted women and human trafficking they were supposed to be working on. There was a basic lack of trust and very reactive behaviour—I wasn’t even sure if they liked each other!—on both sides so far down the line that I think I got emotional whiplash from their lashing out at each other when neither could really sit down to communicate honestly.

It was a struggle to stay interested in the story thereafter, not just because of their tussling but ever harder to believe that it had all turned to love by the end of it, which isn’t’ to say it isn’t a decent read. There’s certainly action, suspense and a very Hollywood-type climax and ending (all the ingredients for RS)—and April Hunt does write quite well for that matter—which leaves me thinking that the pairing and the story just didn’t appeal to me as much as I thought it would.

two-stars

Heated Pursuit by April Hunt

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 8th November 2016
Heated Pursuit by April HuntHeated Pursuit by April Hunt
Series: Alpha Security #1
Published by Forever on October 25th 2016
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

Penny Kline didn't come to Honduras on a pleasure trip. She's here to rescue her kidnapped niece, the only family she's got left. What she didn't plan on was walking into a covert ops mission---or being wrapped up in the hard-muscled arms of Rafe Ortega. The cool-as-ice operative's touch may get her all hot and bothered, but no man can have a hold on her heart until her niece is home where she belongs.
Even in the tropics, Alpha Security operative Rafe can take down the bad guys without breaking a sweat. Hostage extractions. Clandestine missions. Those are the things he's been trained to handle. Relationships? Not so much. But one look at this strong, sexy redhead and he's seized by a fierce urge to protect her at all costs. Now Penny and Rafe will have to up their game because they're about to go into a master criminal's lair without backup, and the danger---and passion---is about to explode . . .

‘Heated Pursuit’ is a very punchy read, with albeit rather stereotypical characters peppering the book: the alpha-type (pun intended), over-the-top, commitment free hero who gets turned by a heroine who pulls her own weight, in search of a missing target in an infamous drug lord’s reaches in the Honduran jungle. from the very start, it jumps straight into the action, wastes no time with unnecessary dallying and sweeps you up in the fast-paced manner while providing some kind of backstory to the characters’ histories while you run, huff and pant along with them.

There are some uneven spots, some really odd descriptions but it’s a solid debut nonetheless, adhering to the well-known tropes and structure of romantic suspense that didn’t surprise me but kept my interest well up to the end. I did come to expect more action though, and was mystified by how often Rafe’s erection got out of control (for some reason, men in these genres have a hard time keeping it down, yet manage to run around with permanent hard-ons) and Penny’s inability to resist him even when danger is supposed to be eclipsing everything else.

The writing—had it been set free from the number of distracting and somewhat unrealistic sex scenes—has a certain agility to it though and it’s what I’ve come to appreciate. April Hunt’s next book is waiting in the wings and with it, the potential of another fun (and hopefully better) run.

three-stars
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