Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ARC Review: Hot and Bothered

Hot and Bothered (Hostile Operations Team #8)

by Lynn Raye Harris


He can never have her. Having her means the end of his career in the Hostile Operations Team. But when he learns she’s carrying his child, he’ll have to make a choice…
Ryan “Flash” Gordon has been drawn to Emily Royal bin Yusuf since the first moment he met her. But she’s a terrorist’s widow, which means she’s completely off-limits. A HOT special operator can never be with a woman whose name is on government watch lists the world over.
But when Emily begs him for just one night, he can’t refuse. The next morning, she’s gone. Not just from his bed, but from his life.
Emily can never clear her name—or can she? When a rogue CIA operative offers her a chance to put her past behind her and do something for her country, she leaps at the opportunity—even though it means leaving behind the man she’s fallen in love with. But not before she lets herself have one night with him.
One night with stunning consequences…
Themes:  contemporary, military ops
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
 This story is one that has been much anticipated for me, as well as most fans of the HOT teams.  Flash and Emily have been circling one another since the moment that she turn to him in her trauma and found a heart to match hers.  If you haven’ read the previous stories in the HOT series you might feel like you are missing a lot of the backstory for Flash and Emily’s love story, but there are enough details and semi-flashbacks that you will get the info you need to feel like you were there with them as they met and fell in love.  This story is packed with trauma, emotion, and action, though there were a few clichés, the old standards are great for a reason.  I have been a fan of this series ever since I stumbled across it on a review page and just had to get my own copy.  If you are a fan of romantic suspense authors such as Pamela Clare, Katie Reus, and Marie Force you will love this series that follows the lives of some very special operators and the women that capture their hearts. 
Flash and Emily’s story picks up right away with Emily’s determination to find a way to get herself back on track after the terrifying experience of her marriage to a known terrorist.  She has fallen in love with Ryan and is unwilling to give into their passion because the taint of her past would surely leave his career in ruins, but when she sees a way out she jumps at the chance to clear her name.  She has chosen her course, but leaving without having Ryan, just once, in her arms and bed is unthinkable.  Ryan has resisted their attraction from the beginning, terrified of the consequences to them both if they give in, but when she comes to him offering him all the passion they have been denying he is unable to resist her.  The next morning she is gone from his life and he learns she has done the unthinkable by placing herself on the front lines of a war that he tried so hard to save her from.  When they come face to face once again they must face the consequences of their night of passion, physical and emotional, and decide if they are willing to do whatever it takes to be together in this crazy world they live in.
Emily is the kind of character that can break your heart one moment and the next leave you wondering how she ever allowed herself to be so beaten when she’s obviously made of steel.  She has made many mistakes in her past, but she is unwavering in her desire to change her life and set past wrongs right.  She has relied on others all her life, giving into the desires of those around her so she didn’t have to make the tough choices, but thankfully she has finally found her backbone and refuses to let anyone else run her life any longer.  Seeing her kicking butt and taking names, standing toe-to-toe with Flash, as well as Ian Black, shows that she is growing up and the time has come for her to take her life into her own hands.  Seeing her love for Ryan, her desire to ignore their love to keep his life and career safe, shows that even though she still has a long way to go to make up for her past, she is a good person and one that will sacrifice for those she loves.  A perfectly flawed heroine she matches well with Flash’ hardcore goodness and sweet inner core, even if he is wrapped in a seriously badass package. 
Flash similarly always seems to know just what Emily needs, even if he fights against their relationship becoming anything beyond friendship for entirely too long.  From the first second he set eyes on Emily he has fell the pull to her, even though he tried to deny it, tried to just be there for her as a friend and protector, so when she comes to him and basically demands they make love, he fights initially.  Giving in to her will change their relationship forever, and though he knows this, Flash just cannot fight his love for her in the face of her need.  Furious when she runs out on him the very next morning, Flash is determined to write her off as a meaningless affair, but his heart just can’t do it.  He is crazed in his need to find and protect her, especially when he learns the truth of where she has gone and why, making him into an unrecognizably angry and dangerous man.  When his next assignment places him directly in her path, he forces her to explain herself and when the full consequences of their night together are discovered, there is no way he can walk away from the mother of his child, leaving her to certain death, or worse.  Flash was the kind of man I love to read about, a true hero with his issues, but an obvious honor that make him the perfectly flawed red-blooded male that will leave a woman burning for him, loving him to distraction, and trusting him with her very life. 
Overall the HOT series just keeps getting better and better, and having the inside track of having the next story, HOT SEAL, which has already been release in an anthology, I can anticipate it will only get more interesting with an infusion of new blood to the team.  Flash and Emily’s story is one that nicely wraps up a story ARC surrounding the original team, with their hearts being given to the women that completes each of them.  Ryan is the kind of character that will leave you salivating for more, but still fill you with a feeling of having read about a truly great man.  His compassion might be a bit on the rougher side, but his heart is always in the right place and his honor keeps him in line, even if his stubbornness can sometimes be frustrating.  Emily has grown up quickly in the past 5 years of her life, but when she meets Flash she actually grows into the woman she was always meant to be.  There is no denying these two have been circling each other for far too long, but when they finally share their love and come to terms with their need for one another, and that needing each other isn’t a bad thing, they both become truly fabulous characters.  I cannot wait for the next full length novel in the series to come out and am wondering who might be getting their love story.  HOT just keeps getting hotter and more interesting and I can see this series keeping my interest long into the future.  Keep the heat coming Lynn and I’ll keep spreading the word. 
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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