Friday, January 23, 2015

Review: Hot Rebel

Hot Rebel (Hostile Operations Team #6)

By Lynn Raye Harris


Victoria Royal is a traitor. Or so the U.S. government believes. Victoria was once a promising sniper in the Army, but now she’s gone rogue—worse, she’s just landed in the middle of a Hostile Operations Team mission in the desert and blasted it all to hell.
Nick “Brandy” Brandon doesn’t expect to run into Victoria when he’s bugging out from a mission gone wrong. It’s been more than three years since she disappeared from the sniper course they were in together, and he’s finally stopped thinking about her killer curves and smart mouth.
But now she’s back—and she’s far more dangerous than Nick ever believed possible… Is she really a traitor? Or is there something more at stake? He has to decide fast—because time’s running out and too many lives hang in the balance…
Themes: black-ops, contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Returning to the shadowy world of black ops operatives and mercenaries, Harris reveals the darker side of military action and the operators that are keeping the world safe… or not.  The motives of the operators become the driving factor in this story as Nick and Victoria work together to find a way to bring down a terrorist and rescue her sister all at once. Harris has the ability to take the most war-torn and dangerous of settings and turn it in to the perfect place for her heroes to fall in love and she writes with such detail, it’s like I’m right beside the characters experiencing everything, while also being able to read their minds.  With a truly unique writing style, Harris brings her characters to life, which is sometimes scary with the villains, and makes you believe that even the most unbelievable of plans can succeed.  I have been a fan of this series from the beginning and love all the characters.  I’m really looking forward to the next story about Iceman.
Nick and Victoria are by no means strangers, but "friend" is a stretch as well, when they run into each other on an Op in a small country in the Middle East that is riddled with terrorists.  Victoria has just ruined Nick’s operation to bring down a tyrant, for money no less, and the glitch in his plans throws him almost as much as running into Victoria, who disappeared from sniper school years ago and who Nick believes is a Traitor.  Victoria is torn, knowing that her assignments will be aiding terrorists beats her up inside, but it’s her only hope if she has any chance of finding and rescuing her little sister, who was snared in the web of the villain Victoria's being forced to protect.  When she agrees to help HOT in gaining the knowledge they need to bring down both the terrorist organization and her boss, she never imagined just how much her life would change.  As the danger increases around them, Nick and Victoria are no longer able to keep their personal feelings separate, their chemistry undeniable any more, and they quickly begin to fall for one another.  But even working together will they be able to accomplish all their goals and get out alive… Or will this HOT mission be their last?
I really loved this story, with all the expected drama, danger, and action of a good military suspense, and the sweetness and passion of a great romance, combining into the perfect combination.  Nick is a guy that refuses to believe he will ever settle down and give up his illustrious reputation as a ladies' man.  While he is sexy as hell, a bit arrogant at times, and a serious badass, it’s obvious, his feelings for Victoria will truly make him into a hero, giving him the ultimate motive for his missions.  Seeing his gentleness when dealing with Vic, even when he didn’t understand just how to handle a situation, reminds that even the most hardened of warriors have their soft spot.  His interactions with his teammates were almost as interesting, and I loved getting glimpses of the other guys, both married and single.   I also loved the family dynamic that the author worked into the story, giving just that little hint of his past and the way he lives his life, and paralleling his sense of duty to family to Victoria’s, giving them a solid foundation of understanding to overcome her defection. 

Contrasting Nick’s understanding and sweetness is the prickly and sometimes bitchy Victoria.  She has had to depend on herself for so long that she truly doesn’t really know how to count on another person.  She is determined to get her sister to safety and give her a chance at a better life, having had to forfeit her career to her sister’s mistakes, but she pushes everyone away emotionally—and sometimes physically—making it difficult to truly like her at first.  But she begins to grow on you as she is humanized by her attraction to Nick and her obvious reluctance to truly sacrifice the safety of her country if she can help it.   Not to mention who doesn’t love a female that is blazing a trail into a world run and stocked with males, and being a badass while she is at it.  I will say that I was pissed at her for always jumping to conclusions and being on the defensive when it came to HOT, who are SO obviously the good guys, and Nick in particular, but I can understand her unwillingness to trust after you learn about her past.  It was nice to see her find a way to get her sister free, protect herself and Nick, and ultimately stop a terror cell that would have been a serious issue. 
In the end, I must say that I loved HOT Rebel and having gotten to know Victoria and Nick was great.   With all the vivid detail, attention to facts and understanding of black ops, and the characters that drive the story, ultimately Harris has given me just the type of story that reminds me why I love romance so much.  Nick is the typical alpha guy, going through women faster than underwear and determined to stay single, but when he meets his match, he doesn’t understand just what that means in his life.  While he is sexy, sweet, dangerous, and kick-ass, there were moments I had to question his intelligence as he pushed and pulled with Victoria’s emotions and made me want to head-slap him, ultimately he learns that having the woman meant for him at his side doesn’t make him less of a man, in fact it makes him a better man and a happier one.  Victoria is more of an enigma in the beginning, hiding all her pain and confusion behind bravado and action, trying to convince Nick and herself that she doesn’t need him or his team, but when she finally comes to terms with the truth of her situation, she wizens up and discovers that trusting a partner and working with a team are not necessarily a bad thing.   I was pissed as the ending approached at first, but thankfully, Harris was able to pull an HEA out of her hat and keep me from throwing my kindle at the wall. :) I am dying to find out what’s coming down the line for Iceman, since we got several little hints and clues about his life in this story.  Harris strikes again and the magic lives on.

*eBook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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