Series: Steele Ops, #2
Published by Forever on 26th November 2019
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Top FBI profiler Grace Steele was just a girl when she escaped the Order of the New Dawn, and she’s spent the last seventeen years trying to forget her time there. But when private security firm Steele Ops needs her help extracting a young woman from the secretive cult’s clutches, she’s all in. Even though the mission requires posing as the fiancée of the only man who’s ever broken her heart.
It’s been nine years since Cade Wright turned his back on his childhood sweetheart, and he’s never stopped regretting it. Now that they’re forced to work together, he knows this is his opportunity to show Grace how much he’s changed. But the deeper they get pulled into New Dawn, the clearer it becomes that the demons still haunting Grace are very real, and Cade will have to risk everything to keep her safe . . . including his own life.
April Hunt’s ‘Lethal Redemption’ ticks all the boxes for classic RS on the surface: a high stakes operation, an infiltration and an unresolved tension between a couple who’s got years and years of conflicted history. Grace Steele—a badass FBI agent—is tasked in the middle of the night with extracting the Vie-President’s daughter out of a dangerous cult because of her unique background but to add to the monumentally difficult operation is probably one where she has to work with Cade Wright…someone with whom she hasn’t worked out her issues with yet.
The suspense plot was a good one; it was well-crafted and well-written with enough action peaks and pull-backs to give you a breather when needed. Infiltrating a militant cult, going an exfil and then taking it down was the believably complex operation that Hunt made it out to be and that much detail went into the storytelling so that you could lose yourself in the drama of it all.
Secondary characters were integrated quite strongly in the story from the start—characters who had or will have stories of their own—in the Steele Ops series which admittedly made it difficult at times to focus on the development of the plot as well as the relationship between Cade/Grace at times.
The biggest drawback however, was probably the second-chance romance between Cade and Grace that I had a huge issue with. Then again, I’ve said time and again in my reviews that this is by far my least favourite trope and that it only rarely works for me—with many, many conditions attached and with all my probing questions answered. And in ‘Lethal Redemption’, these weren’t entirely met.
What made their second chance entirely unconvincing was the idea of Cade leaving Grace nearly a decade ago, regretting it, and then never doing anything about it after realising it early on—then seeking out other women during that time while still knowing that Grace was (and always had been) the one for him. Why the hell not?
Wanting more now all these years later didn’t do much to erase that brand of ‘masculine hypocrisy’ so to speak, when it seemed as though Grace was the one who’d needed to mend that bridge between them when push came to shove towards the end. Cade’s intentions of wanting a permanent future for them seemed only mental but never quite executed in action when it mattered most; basically I’d expected more from him but merely got lip-service (quite literally) delivered.
Rating this book was ultimately one that had me torn between rating the suspense on its own and then the romance which proved to be a downer. To think of ‘Lethal Redemption’ as romantic suspense when the romance didn’t work out too well while the suspense carried the plot unfortunately, felt like a misnomer. I wished it turned out better, but I ended this feeling too dissatisfied to say I really liked it.