Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Full Throttle (Black Knights Inc. #7)

Full Throttle (Black Knights Inc. #7)

by Julie Ann Walker


She Needs a Hero...
Abby Thompson didn’t sign up to be the daughter of the President of the United States. The position was forced on her by the small matter of her birth. Preferring a quiet life of study, she’s content to leave the politics and the international intrigue to her father. Unfortunately, the most powerful man on the planet is sure to make enemies. When a group of armed thugs takes her hostage half a world away, demanding the U.S. government release prisoners in exchange for her safe return, she fears her father’s policy of “not negotiating with terrorists” means she’ll never see the shores of the Potomac again. Luckily, there’s one glimmer of hope. His name is Carlos Soto. And though she abruptly ended things with him years ago, she knows now he’s the only man who can save her…
Black Knights, Inc. to the Rescue...
Carlos “Steady” Soto has taken part in his fair share of dangerous missions working at the covert government defense firm of Black Knights Inc. But nothing prepared him for the emotional rollercoaster he faces when he’s tasked with rescuing the only woman he ever loved—who also broke his heart. Racing against time and outmaneuvering a group of trained terrorists will take everything he’s got. Plus there’s the heat simmering between them which is threatening to ignite into an inferno. While ruthless enemies stalk them, they must learn to trust each other again. Even if they do make it out alive, will Abby turn her back on him…for the second time?
Themes: Mercenaries, bikers, Contemporary
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Secrets of the past and the truth of a love that has been an undercurrent in the lives of two friends for a long time are revealed in the newest addition to the BKI series.  Walker takes us through foreign jungles and the hearts of two individuals that have sacrificed much for their loves and country, but reminds us that some people are just meant to be together. BKI was a series that pulled me in from the very beginning and I have loved every book, though I didn’t form as much of an attachment to the relationship in Full Throttle as other previous novels.   There was a lot of action and in the end, their love triumphed, but there was a lot of looking back to the past where I would have much rather experienced more of them developing a relationship as adults.  Obviously, they had a strong emotional base from that past relationship, but I’ve always felt that love has to change with the people as they grow so seeing more of that in the present would have made the story a 5-star for me.  All-in-all Steady and Abby are a couple you can see are meant to be together and come hell or high water they will find a way to be together once they accept that their tragic past shouldn’t keep them from being together.
Steady and Abby were unusual characters but nonetheless interesting.  Abby is the first daughter, but doesn’t let her status from her father keep her from being an active and involved member of society.  The tragedy that hit both her and Carlos changed Abby just as she was becoming a woman of her own, so maybe she made a personal mistake pushing him away, however it was the only way she thought she could keep him safe.  She has kept a close eye on Steady all these years and isn’t surprised when she sees him, that all the love of the young heart is still burning strong, even as she fights to keep from showing him that emotion.  After she’s kidnapped she knows he will come for her, knows he’s her only hope, and that will be the very thing that puts him danger again.  The danger that surrounds them on their escape doesn’t prevent the passion between them from exploding and it becomes more than obvious that Steady isn’t willing to let her walk away a second time, especially not in some misguided attempt to keep him safe.  I really found myself proud of the type of woman that Abby became, she’s obviously a force to be reckoned with and even when she is devastated by the loss of her friend, she is determined to keep others safe, no matter the damage to her heart.  She is a great example of the type of leader that is needed in this world—compassionate, strong-willed, determined, good-natured, fierce, and loving—and we can only hope those traits find their way into more people’s hearts.
Carlos “Steady” Soto is a man of action and he is devastated when the girl he has always loved—though he never put that name to his emotions—is kidnapped right under his nose.  He has spent the last decade or so heartbroken and angry at Abby for turning him away in the aftermath of the greatest tragedy of either of their young lives.  Turning his tragedy into motivation for change, Steady devoted his life to protecting the innocent, first in the military during war and then as a black-ops operator with the BKI team, saving the unsavable and protecting the world in secret.  Steady has been a mystery in the last few books, but I have been drawn to him for inexplicable reasons and his story has been long awaited for me.  Seeing him kicking ass and taking names to get the woman he loves back to safety was probably the reason I was so drawn to him because OMG he’s amazingly hot and seriously dangerous.  When he finally gives in to his desires and understands that Abby wants him too, there is no way he will back down; he is determined to claim her for his own, even if he dies protecting her afterward.  I loved seeing this rough and sometimes scary person show his softer side and fall deeper in love with the girl who unwittingly stole his heart so long ago. 
Full Throttle is true to its name, going balls to the wall through the entire story, with action, high running emotions, and trauma leading to impossible choices.  Abby grew up quickly when she witnessed the danger that her father’s new position would truly put not only her into, but also how it would affect others that she loved or even simply befriended. Pushing Steady away was the hardest thing she’s ever done, but she never regretted her decision to protect him, until she is faced with the chance that she might never feel his love and one or both of them might die with her terrible secret between them.  Steady, as his name implies, has always been the one that others counted on to get them out of trouble and keep them calm, but seeing Abby in danger has made him anything but.  Carlos’s dark side emerges as he tears through the men that are threatening the woman that he loves and there is no way he won’t give his alleven to his death—to keep her safe.  These two seemed to have great chemistry, though I really wished for more time where they could develop their relationship; obviously the heat of the moment led them where I wanted, which was back to each other, but seeing them fall back into love once they returned home, might have created more emotional attachment for me.  In the end, I was happy to see how everything worked out, but a few more chapters to really flesh out their passion would have been great.  Also I must mention there were several side stories going on in this book and I can see the next in the series will be very interesting—as well as I hear there might be a spin-off series coming about the sexy SEALs that jumped in to offer aid to BKI.  Though not my favorite, Carlos and Abby were another great addition to the pantheon of BKI lovers and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next from Julie and her boundless imagination. 
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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