True Peril by Veronica Forand

True Peril by Veronica ForandTrue Peril by Veronica Forand
Series: True Lies #3
Published by Entangled: Select Suspense on March 7th 2016
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She's this assassin's toughest assignment ever...
Socialite Trista Patterson has turned her back on her life of privilege and dedicated herself to helping others. Her mission to protect the world’s children often takes her into the bleak and violent underbelly of third world countries. When a kidnapping attempt goes wrong, Trista quickly finds herself running for her life...and married to a man she just she’s placed at the top of the Cartel’s most wanted list.
Some days no good deed goes unpunished.
Dane O’Brien has spent his life in the shadows. Once a lethal assassin he grew tired of losing his soul with every hit, trading his gun and missions for a conference table and office politics as an undercover operative for the CIA. But when visiting his humanitarian sister turns deadly, Dane finds himself swearing to protect her beautiful and passionate friend Trista no matter the cost...even if it means stepping back into the world he swore never to return to. Although falling for the tough-hearted Trista is easy, keeping her alive is hard.

A kidnapping attempt goes terribly wrong and leads Trista Patterson down a road she’d never imagine. In a matter of days, she finds her old identity buried and a new one that proclaims her married to a man whose past is kept from her and a new career path that she’s blackmailed into by Simon Dunn.

‘True Peril’ is a plunge back into the shadowy world of arms-dealing, covert operations, double-crossings and deep cover identities that Veronica Forand portrays with intricate detail, but it also reminds me of the slightly off characterisations that once again, make me hesitate about liking both Trista/Dane as a pairing. There are narrative twists and turns that made me incredulous than thrilled and like Trista/Eve, I felt rail-roaded into reading about decisions that were difficult to accept.

Dane and Eve on their own are formidable characters; the latter more than the former at least, because her fortitude in the face of uncertainty and mitigating circumstances was more than admirable. But together, their relationship is frustrating for reasons that I find difficult to articulate other than the premise of it being a fictional one based on necessity. Their connection was merely lukewarm and never quite fulfilled its potential, with Dane doing little to deepen a bond that he proclaims to want after knowing her for a short period of time. They spend much of the book flitting in and out of each other’s lives, behaving like Simon’s pawns (once again, I’m reminded why I couldn’t like Simon at all as a leading main character), with very little opportunity for trust to build all around. Dane spends all his time trying to deny Eve’s capabilities while Eve’s conciliatory attitude to Dane and Simon after their awful treatment of her baffled me. Consequently, their mutual declarations of love in enemy crossfire felt forced and abrupt, particularly after Eve had sort of been betrayed by Dane and Simon.

My enjoyment of this story has been greatly curtailed by the fact that the romance inserted into the story—and its dysfunctional characters—felt too stunted to buy into; perhaps ‘True Peril’ would have functioned better as a suspense novel without any romantic entanglement at all.