Series: Crimson Point Protectors #2
Published by Kaylea Cross Inc. on 31st May 2022
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She wants answers—and justice.
Jaia knows her brother was murdered on a contracting job overseas, and that the company they work for covered it up. She just can’t prove it—yet. But she’s been quietly searching, gathering evidence and building her case at great personal risk. When she learns that the company is about to target another innocent man because of what he knows, she intervenes, risking it all to warn him and steal secret company files. Now there’s no safe place for her. Not knowing who else to trust, she flees and turns to the stranger she saved—hoping it won’t cost her life.
Their search for the truth could get them killed.
Air National Guard Pararescueman Brandon Whitaker nearly died after being captured by the enemy during a mission in Yemen. The things he learned about atrocities allegedly committed by American contractors there continue to haunt him. When no one seems interested in finding the truth, he starts digging on his own—and discovers a cover-up. When a phone call from a stranger alerts him that he’s in imminent danger, it triggers an irreversible chain reaction. On the run while trying to track down the woman who warned him, their paths suddenly collide. He doesn’t know if he can trust her, but now it’s the two of them against the shadowy forces tracking their every move. Only together can he and Jaia uncover the truth and expose the people responsible. But with trained killers on their tail, it’s all they can do to stay alive.
Quiet, reserved Brandon Whitaker’s story is an unfinished one and ‘Cornered’ was really the book that I didn’t know I wanted to read until the blurb grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. As a short POW that turned his world upside down and unfolded a bigger conspiracy about war crimes conducted by mercenaries, Brandon’s search for answers–while trying to keep his family at large out of it–was one that I knew I wanted to go to the bottom of as well, considering the previous book in this new series ended with too many questions unanswered.
I loved the start of ‘Cornered’ as well: an anonymous warning voice that seems to be helping him from the inside; it’s all very cloak-and-dagger stuff except that it’s merely from a civilian who’s also lost her brother and is determined to get her answers like Brandon. It’s in many ways, like double-agent-type stories which got me visibly excited, except that the tension sort of goes down a little when Jaia and Brandon finally meet (somewhere only after the first third of the book) when her life finally implodes.
Action sequences are in abundance and the narrative from there does get a bit predictable, even as the whole cast of characters from Crimson Point flit in and out at some time. There is some sort of instant attraction/instalove here, though Kaylea Cross is cautious in framing it this as holding onto each other when everything else is crumbling. The intensity with which they cling to each other is understandable, though somewhat insufficient as a basis for a budding romance when all I seemed to get was Brandon/Jaia’s drive to uncover the truth.
‘Cornered’ is hence a bit of a mixed bag: an awesome beginning that builds towards Jaia and Brandon finally coming face to face, though this levelled out into something more mellow and more surface-level in the end. The overarching plot started in the first book seems resolved by the end of this and while it’s not the big conspiracy that I thought it would turn out to be, I’m curious to see if the rest of the series would continue in a similar vein…which is personally a nice step away from the small-town suspense kind of romance.