Series: Steele Ops, #3
Published by Forever, Forever (Grand Central Publishing) on 10th November 2020
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Roman Steele learned a hard lesson about trusting others. While serving his country, he put his faith in the wrong person and lost a leg for his loyalty. So far, civilian life suits him---as long as he doesn't have to deal with anyone. But when he's called in to investigate a break-in at a high-security lab, he finds himself butting heads with the lead virologist, a woman as infuriating as she is beautiful.
When criminals break into Isabel Santiago's lab and steal a deadly virus, she's desperate to find the culprits before they turn her research into a weapon. But first, she must put her trust in the brooding security expert who sees danger around every corner. As she and Roman race to track down the culprits, these two unlikely partners find there's more at stake for them than they ever imagined possible---but only if they stop the enemy in time.
Funny how I’ve started to view many things through the lens of Covid-19; a year perhaps, is long enough to make or break certain habits. Pre-Covid-19, I was a huge fan of RS stories written around biological warfare (probably still am, just with a huge dose of caution) and April Hunt’s ‘Fatal Deception’ is one that steps into such a world with terminology that’s eerily familiar these days.
The RS plot itself is a familiar one: a virulent strain is forcibly taken from a lab, the forced dissemination (there was a bit of a hard time suspending disbelief with this one), a race to stop it from becoming a time bomb, a fast and furious relationship developing out of it in the meantime.
But if I liked Isabel Santiago’s sass and the spicy start with Roman Steele, I hadn’t quite gotten the feel of them together yet before they’d fallen hard and fast into bed. And the speed at with they’d gone in – the sexual tension failed to go up many notches first – made me wonder if what they had didn’t quite go beyond their stressful circumstances.
How both Isabel and Roman came to the realisation that they loved each other wasn’t a convincing one perhaps because there seemed to be insufficient investment in their emotional journey throughout the story. Both played the one-step-forward, two-steps back game which was put on the back-burner in favour of the action, and then came the turning point where Isabel was in danger which prompted Roman’s hesitant, wavering feelings to suddenly flip resolutely to love.
In essence, this started out pretty well but a combination of implausible scenes and an unconvincing romance made it taper off to something lukewarm by the end. I did like both protagonists individually (great work ethics, good personalities and all) but ‘Fatal Deception’ being romance as well…it could and should have been much more.