Series: LCR Elite

Running Wild by Christy Reece

Running Wild by Christy ReeceRunning Wild by Christy Reece
Series: LCR Elite #4
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Amazon Publishing, Christy Reece on November 1st 2016
Pages: 293
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four-stars

LCR Elite operative Aidan Thorne is dedicated to rescuing kidnapped victims from some of the most dangerous places in the world, but that will never stop him from hunting down a cold blooded killer. Child psychologist Anna Bradford is a temptation unlike any he’s ever faced, penetrating the steely armor encasing his heart. Though he wants her with an unending ache, Anna’s very survival requires Aidan to stay as far away from her as possible.

Understanding human behavior is Anna Bradford’s profession. Aidan Thorne is a mystery she has yet to unravel. Her fascination for the snarling, often rude man is a battle she fights on a daily basis. Her head tells her to stay away, her heart tells her something different. When they join forces to help rescue a friend, Aidan finally allows Anna to see the man beneath the tough exterior. Falling in love with him was inevitable.

But someone is watching. He’s been hiding in the shadows for years, waiting. The time has finally arrived. Anna Bradford will be his tool, his perfect weapon of revenge. She will be his masterpiece.

His worst fears realized, Aidan must now find a way to save Anna before the madman that destroyed his life once before lives out his ultimate fantasy.

‘Running Wild’ packs a huge punch, not least because it deals with a pseudo-hostile pairing that’s actually lust/love in disguise. Nonetheless, it’s compelling enough a story, with satisfying twists and turns amidst the lush and exotic locale, peppered by secondary characters from Christy Reece’s other LCR novels and villains who are hysterically insane.

Aidan Thorne and Anna Bradford have a prickly relationship but that’s mainly because of the former, who puts up a front for his apparent inability to get close to any one because of several traumatic events in his past that have conditioned him only to have dalliances with women. A chance meeting in Columbia where Aidan gets roped into Anna’s search for a lost colleague, dovetails into a plot of revenge run by a madman whose antics do stretch the limits of my belief, but are pivotal enough to change the status-quo between them.

But if I thought Anne was everything a heroine should be, her slight desperation for Thorne aside: brave, compassionate and and more importantly, lacking the TSTL bits which are detestable, I thought she was way short-changed by Aidan who spent most of the book in denial manifested in the form of a distant front and his inability to man-up right up until the end. Operating on the belief that grovelling and apologising seemed to be better than doing the right thing, I felt Aidan spent way too much time being obsessed with his own guilt regarding the other women in his life than Anna (!), making it seem as though Anna was sort of important but wasn’t his priority until he found absolution with all of them. Soft-hearted as she is, Anna nonetheless accepts his albeit rushed declaration of love and subsequent proposal, because he had finally, emotionally, caught up with her.

My quibbles with characterisation aside, Reece’s LCR Elite’s series are solid reads though; some action bits do even take on a filmic quality that I can appreciate as ‘summer blockbuster’ scenes as her characters work their way on a path to a HEA that I sometimes wish could have been laden with less stupidity.

four-stars

Running Scared by Christy Reece

Running Scared by Christy ReeceRunning Scared by Christy Reece
Series: LCR Elite #3
Published by Christy Reece on May 31st 2016
Pages: 305
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four-stars

To Have A Future, They Must Face The Past Together
Riley Ingram escaped hell, taking secrets with her that could get her killed. As an Elite operative for Last Chance Rescue, Riley’s single-minded focus is on saving others from a similar fate. A survivor of unspeakable horror, she hides behind a cool mask of indifference, vowing to never let her guard down again.
A family tragedy brought Justin Kelly to LCR. Saving lives and protecting others is a way of life for him. The phenomenal connection he shares with his intensely private LCR partner surprises everyone but Justin. He knows that beneath Riley’s icy façade is a warm, caring woman with tremendous depth.
When the past comes calling, colliding with the present, the LCR duo have no choice but to face it together. Relying on each other’s strength and courage, they’ll work to destroy one of the most horrific monsters LCR has ever faced.
But some secrets can’t stay hidden. And sometimes plans fall apart. It’ll take every bit of their grit and fortitude for Riley and Justin to stay alive to have the future together they’re just now realizing they want more than anything.

Christy Reece has consistently mentioned the unusual, unspeaking partnership between Riley and Justin in her previous LCR books and to get their story finally breaks this mystery in a way that is both expected and unexpected.

If all the LCR operatives that Reece writes about have shady, difficult pasts, Riley’s one is particularly traumatic and seeing how far she has come is nothing short of an amazing journey. Having Justin as her support and reading about the eventual change in their relationship is gratifying, though not as dramatically so or unpredictably or as tension-filled as I’d expected. Instead, their connection is written almost as preternaturally natural and one that doesn’t require words when communicating.

The pacing of the story itself was steady; I knew from the start that Riley needed to confront her past and it was what she did, in an admirable manner at least. Her mistake of running scared at the end irked me a little because I did think that Justin had proven himself way more deserving of such treatment.

‘Running Scared’ deals with sexual assault and human trafficking, brutal topics with which I normally struggle a lot – and rightfully so. Yet it suddenly struck me mid-way through that there are very little shades of grey in the LCR books; good and evil are delineated as clearly as night and day. While the multiple POVS – sometimes within a scene – could get distracting at times, but many of the LCR characters do show the common thread of having overcome a multitude of hugely mitigating circumstances while the bad guys were written with demeanours so evil that they slipped into stereotypes which (incidentally and unwittingly, I’m certain) sometimes got funny. For obvious reasons, I’m adamant that ‘Running Scared’ should not be an easy read because of the issues that Reece has raised in it. Yet my slight disappointment is merely targeted inwards because I found that it did get a little too ‘easy’ at times – when the good guys get their good ending and the bad guys are killed off.

four-stars

Running On Empty by Christy Reece

Running On Empty by Christy ReeceRunning On Empty by Christy Reece
Series: LCR Elite #1
Published by Christy Reece on September 4th 2014
Pages: 396
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three-stars

Having survived a brutal childhood, Sabrina Fox believed she could handle anything. That was before she watched the love of her life die before her very eyes. Brokenhearted, her emotions on lockdown, she finds purpose and hope as an LCR elite operative rescuing victims from some of the most volatile places in the world.
As a covert ops agent, Declan Steele was used to a life of danger and distrust, but when the one person he trusted and believed in above all others sets him up, he’ll stop at nothing to make her pay. Finally rescued from his hellish prison, Declan has one priority—hunt down Sabrina Fox and exact his revenge.
Trusting no one is a lonely, perilous path. Sabrina swears she’s innocent and Declan must make a decision--trust his heart or his head. As memories of their life together returns, he realizes just how treacherous his torture had been and the target of his revenge shifts. But when Sabrina is taken, retribution is the last thing on his mind. With the assistance of Last Chance Rescue Elite, Declan races to rescue the only woman he has ever loved before it’s too late.

Felt a little too similar to one of the LCR stories I must have read, to the point where I actually flipped the pages and wondered at the deja vu that I kept having. Still, an interesting start to the new series, although I would have preferred to have read the beginnings of Sabrina and Declan (that’s merely reconstructed in bits and pieces) more than the actual story, which sagged painfully in the middle. I did appreciate the tension between other characters though (the strange Justin/Riley vibe got to me) and for that, I’d continue down this road…for a little bit more.

three-stars