Series: Wilde Ways, #16, #16
Published by Cynthia Eden on 26th July 2022
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He can’t be the hero.
One moment, Chelsea Ember is sitting on a gorgeous, tropical island and sipping a cute drink, but in the next instant, she’s being tossed in the back of a van and spirited away. She’s terrified, desperate, and sure that she will never see her family again…then he rushes to her rescue. Her ex. Her gorgeous, hyper-controlled, heartbreaker of a former lover, Colt Easton.
He isn’t the lover she remembers…
Suddenly he’s knocking out bad guys and showing a dangerously brutal edge that she never expected. He’s fierce, vicious with the enemy, and there is no sign of the polished and cool businessman she knew before. But the attraction she felt for him since the very beginning—that scorching, consuming desire—is still there. Even if Colt does seem to be a complete stranger.
Trapped in paradise, all their secrets will be exposed.
Colt met Chelsea while he was working undercover. She never had an opportunity to get to know the real man beneath his mask, and he’s tracked her down because he wants a second chance with the woman he can’t get out of his head. When Chelsea is taken, he knows a boring, good guy won’t be able to help her. But the real Colt can. Time for Chelsea to see just how wild he can be.
A lot can happen on a hot island night.
Danger stalks Chelsea from every turn. And her best bet of getting off the island alive? Her ex, the most unlikely hero ever. A man who is proving to be a complete badass as they trek through the heart of the island and dodge the foes on their trail. He’s savage, rough, and definitely not a civilized gentleman, but Colt is exactly what she needs in order to stay alive. As they fight to survive, Chelsea realizes that she might just be in danger of falling for him all over again…
I seldom delve into Cynthia Eden these days but tried ‘Ex Marks the Perfect Spot’ just to see how her writing has evolved in the past few years. What I found was…well, that it was more or less the same, with a male protagonist so neaderthally-growlly that it makes a bit of a (an unintended?) joke of the alpha male, a somewhat hapless heroine and questionable/unsavoury side-characters that there were points I was tempted to think that this was a satire or parody of RS.
It does start out intriguing nonetheless. The man Chelsea’s dating really isn’t the button-up accountant but a Wilde undercover operative. And it turns out that Colt is nothing like his alter-ego–he’s instead single-mindedly brash, inexplicably driven by a huge injection of progesterone and all-ready to jump into violence the moment his protective instincts are kicked into overdrive.
Put these traits together with a potentially explosive situation that seemingly develops out of nowhere, a group of supposedly-competent agents who had a butt-dial moment and it’s a mix of non-stop suspense, some laughs and some mystery regarding Chelsea’s birthright to be solved.
The frank truth is that I’m not entirely sure what to think given how the characters felt like cardboard cut-outs after a while which had me sniggering at inappropriate times. I’m left sceptical about Chelsea/Colt’s chemistry because of the way he barrelled back into her life leaving her very little choice but to hang on for the ride as danger sweeps in. But Chelsea herself felt like a befuddled lead character who kept trying to make sense of things throughout the whole story as one thing came after another–almost like a hark back to the more traditional romances of decades past where particular tropes and character traits were par for the course.