Hot Pursuit (Hostile Operations Team #1)
Might be the only one who can save her…
Things are about to get HOT in the bayou!
Evie Baker’s luck just ran out. Thanks to an ex-partner with organizedP crime ties, she’s lost her restaurant, her money, and nearly all her self-respect. Forced to return to her hometown and work as a shampoo girl in her mother’s salon, she doesn’t think her luck can get any worse.
But then someone starts shooting at her, her sullen baby sister is suddenly missing, and the high school heartthrob who stole her heart—and her virginity—is the only man big enough and bad enough to help.
Captain Matt “Richie Rich” Girard can’t afford to get involved. He’s already on the verge of a court-martial after a Top Secret op gone wrong, and he’s been ordered to stay out of trouble while he’s home for his sister’s wedding.
But when Evie’s ex-partner turns up dead, staying out of trouble is the last thing on Matt’s mind. He failed Evie once before; he can’t fail her again. If he’s going to protect her from a killer, and find her sister before time runs out, he’ll have to risk his entire future—and both their lives—to do it.
Hot Pursuit is a fascinating beginning to a new series, by an author who is new to me, but outshines all expectations I had for her. The story introduces us to a new amazing group of men that are part of an elite counterterrorism unit known as HOT: Hostile Operations Teams. We get an inside view of the training and skill it takes for these commandos to work every day to protect not only themselves but the entire nation. Harris gives us this inside track while she shows us the very human side of the men that make up these teams and the women that give them the courage and commitment to continue to do so.
Matt and Evie’s tale begins with both of the former lovers returning to their home town of Rochambeau, LA, under less than ideal circumstances. Evie’s life has been turned upside down by a criminal who was also her business partner and lover, one who is now missing and it has left her without the restaurant she has built her dreams on and lacking the courage or finances to start fresh. Returning home seems her only option, and when she does her life is nowhere near as simple as it was supposed to be. The first sign of things going very wrong in her life is the return of her first love and the only man to have ever broken her heart. Matt is just as gorgeous as ever and her feelings for him haven’t lessened over the years or through the heartbreak. But his return is really only the tip of the iceberg she’s to be faced with.
Matt’s return to his home, though timed to match his sister’s wedding, comes with its own sadness and regret. His last mission didn't go so well and he’s facing the loss of his military career along with his freedom, if things don’t go well for him. When he runs into Evie his heart and body respond instantly to the girl who was his best friend and the biggest regret of his young life. Determined to not only win her forgiveness, but bring Evie back into his life however possible, Matt plans an assault on her senses that leaves them both burning for each other. Too bad the plan is interrupted. When danger begins to follow Evie, bringing them both into the dark and dangerous game of organized crime, Matt must use every skill and resource that HOT has given him to keep them alive and find a way out of the mess they’ve landed in.
Matt and Evie definitely had chemistry, a spark between them that kept the reader guessing until the very end. As they both had to overcome some series issues with their families, careers, and personal regrets, there was a very emotional bend to the story that ran parallel to the lust burning up the pages. Matt wasn’t what I would classify as a purely alpha male, though he was certainly man enough to get the job done and extremely protective of Evie. His fears and lack of self confidence in his personal life certainly didn’t carry over into his professionalism or skills though. The strong belief he held that he was no good for Evie and couldn’t have a relationship with her was a bit annoying at times, to the reader as well as Evie. Evie though is a wonderful and richly written heroine. Though she has been through a very tough time, she refuses to let herself be kept down. She stands beside Matt, working as his partner (whether he likes it or not) to get them safely through the challenges they are facing. Showing a surprising amount of fortitude, Evie is one of those women that we all aspire to be: full of heart, character, strength, and love. I don’t think I’ve liked a female lead more in a long time.
Action packed and definitely full of twists and turns, Hot Pursuit was a story that you could lose yourself in. Matt and Evie move through the dangers around them with passion, spirit and conviction of right and wrong. Their love rekindles as they are repeatedly thrown into dangerous situations that allow them find not only each other again, but the missing pieces of themselves. The love between Matt and Evie is a powerful undercurrent throughout the entire story and when their path is set and their HEA has arrived you feel blessed to have traveled the long road back with them. As a begging to the series, it was a well-written introduction to the HOT program as well as a few of the other men we will meet down the road. Though this was a first Harris read for me it will not be the last and I’m looking forward to wherever she takes us in the future.
Rating: 4.25 stars
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.