Series: I-Team

Deadly Intent by Pamela Clare

Deadly Intent by Pamela ClareDeadly Intent by Pamela Clare
Series: I-Team, #8
Published by Pamela Clare on February 21st 2018
Pages: 238
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four-stars

Secrets buried in the sand…

Former US Army Captain Mia Starr has built a new life for herself in Denver, far away from camel spiders and sand—and the terrible secrets of her first deployment to Iraq. She isn’t looking for a relationship, especially not with an intrusive photojournalist. Joaquin Ramirez might be sexy, but in her experience, photojournalists only want to make a buck off other people’s suffering. Still, the universe must have a sick sense of humor because it keeps throwing her together with Joaquin, making the desire she feels for him harder and harder to resist.

An undeniable attraction…

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer, Joaquin has everything a single straight guy could want—except the right woman. When he meets Mia while shooting a crime scene, he immediately sees beyond her cold exterior to the vulnerable woman beneath. Though the police consider her a suspect, he’s sure she’s innocent. Someone is killing soldiers—and trying to pin the blame on her. Unable to resist the pull between them, Joaquin stands by her only to find himself snared in the killer’s net as well.

A twisted soul hungry for revenge…

Mia can’t help it when the heat between her and Joaquin melts away her preconceptions. As their passion explodes, danger draws ever closer. When it becomes clear that Mia is the killer’s true target, she must trust Joaquin with a secret that could ruin her … or risk losing the love of a lifetime.

‘Deadly Intent’ is a reminder of how much I’ve missed Pamela Clare’s I-Team series, or rather the kind of romantic suspense that I’ve always associated Clare with, given the sharp ring of authenticity that comes from the author’s own journalistic background.

A bit of a confession here: it did take me a while to warm up to the idea of Joaquin Ramirez having his own story—I’d frankly forgotten about him after Zach/Natalie’s book—but Clare has a way of shaping him into a romantic hero that I championed wholly by the first quarter of the story.

And how far he’d come since then.

As a photojournalist, Joaquin broke some moulds which won me over quickly: instead of the gun-toting alpha male with bulging muscles who was ex-military (nor did he occupy expensive real estate in a security company while running around jaded and cynical), we got red-hot salsa moves and an impressive amount of heart he had for people around him. For that alone, I was sold on this very compelling protagonist whom I knew needed someone special to see him for who he was.

For all the heroines I’d ever imagined for Joaquin, I never expected the idea of a former military Captain as his other half but had no problem falling straight into this pairing hook, line and sinker once their relationship progressed beyond their rocky start. Much of their story was riveting enough—from their first dance that had me fanning myself to the seamless buildup and their crackling chemistry—that I got through ‘Deadly Intent’ in a matter of hours, then itched immediately to go back and re-read it.

The writing style is a little different here but ‘Deadly Intent’ is an excellent example of a more straight-forward RS read, not quite carrying the same complexity or unpredictability (plot-wise) as a few of Clare’s other I-team books, yet still well-paced with multifaceted protagonists whom I knew I could cheer for. It also bears the hallmarks of Clare’s collaborative efforts with another RS writer Kaylea Cross (another author whom I follow) and consequently, has a different feel to it, carrying a mesh of styles and subject-matter, along with the darker overtones of sexual assault and harassment of women in the military resonating deeply in the wake of the #MeToo hashtag dominating the media of late.

All things considered, I thought this was still a fabulous read. Revisiting the I-Team simply reminded me how much I liked Marc/Julian’s bromance and while catching up with Clare’s other couples was a hoot, I’m hoping that even with Joaquin/Mia’s iron-clad HEA, Clare has more in the works to come.

four-stars

Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas by Pamela Clare

Dead by Midnight: An I-Team Christmas by Pamela ClareDead by Midnight by Pamela Clare
Series: I-Team #7.5
Published by Pamela Clare on November 16th 2015
Pages: 238
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four-stars

Marc and Sophie Hunter, Gabe and Kat Rossiter, Holly Andris and the rest of the I-Team gang find themselves in the same historic Denver hotel celebrating the approach of Christmas at different holiday parties. What starts out as a fun winter evening with friends soon becomes a brutal fight to survive when the hotel is taken over by a group of ruthless narco-terrorists who will stop at nothing to get what they want. On the outside, Julian Darcangelo, Zach McBride, Nick Andris, and others join together with the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team in a desperate bid to free their friends, knowing that if they fail, the people they love will be... Dead by Midnight. Featuring cameo appearances by the men of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, a series by New York Times bestselling author Kaylea Cross.

Very well-written with a great little insertion of Kaylea Cross’s FBI HRT guys, although right now it hits all too close to home in the wake of the tragic Paris attacks at the end of 2015. Reading Pamela Clare’s blow-by-blow account of the shootout and hostage-taking is almost akin to walking the doomed footsteps of the anonymous thousands who took themselves out in the mild autumn Parisian evening and came back forever changed. But insoasfar as fiction mirrors reality, Ms. Clare gives her readers at least, a reprieve from the brutal violence, and ends her I-team series on a high.

four-stars

Soul Deep (I-Team #6.5) by Pamela Clare

Soul Deep (I-Team #6.5) by Pamela ClareSoul Deep by Pamela Clare
Series: I-Team #6.5
Published by Smashwords Edition on June 30th 2015
Pages: 120
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four-stars

Rancher Jack West knows what it means to love a woman with all his heart and to lose her far too soon. A widower for seven long years, he thinks love and romance are a part of his past. He devotes himself to his grown son and his family, the horses they raise, and the land that has been theirs for three generations. He doesn’t know that life has a surprise in store for him in the form of Janet Killeen, the lovely FBI agent he threw off his land last winter.
The bullet that left Janet Killeen seriously wounded also tore a hole through her life. All she wants is a little peace and quiet in the mountains, a chance to feel like herself again. That chance comes to an abrupt end when she goes off the road in a snowstorm and winds up stranded alone in a ditch. The last person on earth she wants to see is that arrogant jerk Jack West, no matter how handsome he is. But from the moment Jack finds her and offers her his hand, she realizes there’s far more to this gruff cowboy than she had imagined.
But trouble is brewing at Cimarron Ranch. A deranged man with an inscrutable motive is moving in for the kill, threatening to end Jack and Janet’s romance before they can claim a love that is … Soul Deep.

Jack West was the rancher who’d tossed Janet off his property months ago, and he was the last person she’d hoped to see against as she works hard to get her life back in order after a grievous injury protecting Laura Nilsson. But Jack isn’t all she’d initially imagined and despite the years between them, something else sparks to life there.

Soul Deep is more of a cowboy book than a romantic suspense one, and even if it’s a world away from what I’m familiar with, Pamela Clare writes with an unmistakable, heartfelt conviction that love isn’t a connection forged merely by people in their twenties or thirties. I can’t help but get the feeling that the blunt, honest emotions in this book are in part, inspired by the hard year of cancer treatment that Ms. Clare has undergone and for that, Soul Deep takes on a deeper resonance than many other books do, with a clarity of (mature) emotion that overflows out of the pages and into real life. Ms. Clare writes her personal experiences into her protagonists; just like her, Janet and Jack are survivors who, at their ages, can and will find happiness that is tinged bittersweet but is no less precious.

four-stars