Series: HORNET: Class Alpha, #1
Published by Entangled: Embrace on 24th February 2020
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All I want is to leave my past of criminal hacking behind. Oh, and ditch the blackmailer who has been dogging my every move for the last three years.
The plan: Hack my way into being part of Class Alpha, a training program for a secretive organization that rescues hostages the government can’t or won’t go after. Save the world and make enough money to pay back my blackmailer—solves all my problems, right?
The complication: Sweet, nerdy, and unbearably sexy Eric “Harvard” Physick. Harvard is my ideal man, but he’s also my instructor. Seriously a no-go, except we can’t seem to keep our hands off each other.
My blackmailer isn’t willing to let me off the hook, though, and a series of freak accidents—deadly accidents—sends Class Alpha into a tailspin. And the more I get to know Harvard, I start to realize his past is just as troubled as mine.
Am I the cause of this chaos...or is he?
It’s a little jarring to have a HORNET spin-off written in the New Adult 1st person POV—haven’t we all gotten used to Harvard and the rest of the team taking on missions from the contemporary romantic suspense perspective?—even though it does signal a split from Burrow’s main series. ‘Fragmented Loyalty’ is Eric Physick aka Harvard’s story and is a reminder of how far the HORNET guys have come…and how far the gap there is that still exists between him and the older, more experienced operators.
Given that, Burrow’s shift into NA does seem appropriate in some ways, with Harvard and Sami at the forefront of the chaos that follows them—stuck as they are because of so many things that they can’t individually let go of despite their growing attraction to each other. That they each have a criminal past isn’t a surprise or out of place amongst the rogues in HORNET though reading about a lack of maturity in the case of Sami’s in some instances could be grating. Their histories are linked in a series of coincidental and tragic circumstances however, and it does make for entertaining reading.
Burrows layers onto Harvard’s past, filling him out, spinning a complex web of deceit, black ‘hatting’ and social disenfranchisement that lends Harvard a more sympathetic sheen, but also a more petulant tone as this NA perspective somehow distances this story from the rest of the HORNET books that have a more ‘adult’ feel to them. Sami on the other hand, was frustratingly TSTL, hanging onto a deception that drove the plot despite her best (and inexplicably foolish) intentions. It’s not quite a morality tale of child prodigies gone wrong but rather, what happens when raw talent without parental guidance runs unchecked and the consequences that they reap as they grow up.
‘Fragmented Loyalty’ is definitely pacey and absorbing in parts, even if it concludes with a more unbelievable slap on the wrist kind of punishment for a HEA. I’m not entirely sold on this pairing—Harvard and Sami did seem a bit too unstable individually given their mental states—, particularly with Sami’s (near-unforgivable) idiocy but then, this is probably just me and my preferences speaking.