Series: HORNET #6
Published by Entangled: Amara on 18th May 2020
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Leah Giancarelli makes balancing her new role as a single mom look easy, but she’d have crumbled if not for her late husband’s best friend, Marcus. She has her issues with HORNET, an elite hostage rescue team—after all, Danny would still be alive if he’d never accompanied them on their last mission—but Marcus has always been by her side, a strong shoulder to lean on…
Until, after one impulsive kiss, he’s so much more.
Eaten alive by guilt, Marcus takes off, leaving both HORNET and Leah behind. Alone is easier. Safer. Because his feelings for Leah are all kinds of wrong, the worst kind of betrayal, and he can’t trust himself not to act on them.
But Danny’s death was only the beginning. Whoever hired the hitman is looking for something, and they think Leah knows where it is...
Getting back into Tonya Burrows’s HORNET—a private military group made up of disastrous misfits—series is always a treat.
‘Honor Avenged’ shows how far these men have come as a team as an emergent threat looks to carry the team’s missions into a potential abyss. But the answer is still this: the team is still very rocky in places and they haven’t quite gelled together like a boy band’s high-pitched and sweet synchronised tones. Yet this is also Marcus Deangelo’s story and one tackles the hint of the forbidden as he and his dead best friend’s widow Leah Giancarelli suddenly fight an attraction that had supposedly never been there before, more so because both are ridden by guilt and grief even as they find themselves entangled in bad black-market organ-trading business.
As a standalone however, ‘Honor Avenged’ did pose some issues: there was a clear narrative arc that has continued over the past few books and will continue at least to Ian’s story, and as an RS read, it’s primarily (and perhaps rightly so?) action-driven. There’s a spine-tingling and riveting story to tell, some twists and turns, a bigger plot to uncover and more loose ends to tie up after all, with some pockets of snarky team interaction that I really liked.
This did however, mean that Marcus’s and Leah’s time together felt compromised at times. Their emotions and vulnerabilities roiled in their own heads rather than get talked out; these were explored a little but as much as I’d expected as Burrows juggles action with angst and the complicated feelings of emotional betrayal. The repetition of Marcus running away both emotionally and physically, leaving Leah somewhat adrift soon becomes a familiar but tedious thread that simply made me wonder if he had enough balls to be a man about it, then the confession that he’d always loved her seemed to diminish the new thing they were building and felt like a flimsy excuse for going through scores of women while she was married to his best friend.
Still, ‘Honor Avenged’ is quite a shining one in this series as you get the feeling things are hurtling towards a train wreck of a conclusion—my own reservations and nit-picking aside—and it’s well-written and enough to spend a few hours going through that ride.