Before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Tace Justice was a good ole Texas cowboy who served his country and loved his mama. After Scorpius, the world became dark, dangerous, and deadly... and so did he. The Vanguard medic is stronger, faster, and smarter than before, but he's lost the line between right and wrong. His passion is absolute, and when he focuses it on one woman, there's no turning back for either of them.
Sami Steel has been fighting to survive right alongside Tace, convincing the Vanguard soldiers she's one of them. In truth, Sami is a former hacker turned government agent who worked at The Bunker, where scientists stored both contaminants and cures. Only she knows the location, and she's not telling. Yet when sexual fire explodes between her and Tace, she'll face even that hell again to save him.
Themes: Post-apocalyptic, alternate reality
Rating: 4.25 stars
Scorpius strikes again… and the world will never be the same. Everyone’s favorite Vanguard Combat Medic was infected in the previous novel in the series and we have all been watching and wondering just how he would come out on the other side of Scorpius. Tace Justice has gone from being a sweet and funny good ole’ boy from Texas to becoming an intense and challenging opponent and he has decided to make his next battle with the sensual Sami Steel, and he is determined to break her down and discover all of her secrets. Tace knew that if he survived his Scorpius infection he was going to be fundamentally changed, but since every survivor exhibits different symptoms he can’t discount any personality changes, and his former fear of becoming a sociopath is no longer a fear—though he’s not sure if that means he is already a sociopath or if he has escaped that fate. He has known from the beginning that Sami was hiding something from them, but when they are thrown into even closer confines then just sharing the vanguard territory, the attraction between them is no longer denials and it is definitely undefinable. Sami has been avoiding her feelings and increasing fears of Tace, knowing that If she ever gave in to him he would discover her every secret and out her to the entire world. But as their chemistry turns into something much deeper Sami is faced with a choice; She can either out herself, with the distinct possibility of losing her place in vanguard if not her life, and definitely her relationship with Tace, or watching him die in her arms. For Sami there is no choice at that point. Sharing her secret with her new team has some serious and long lasting consequences, but as long as Tace is able to be saved, Sami is willing to pay the price, proving that she is truly a woman with principles and the courage to stand up for them even at the expense of her own heart and soul. Tace is beyond pissed when she shares that she has been keeping the location of “The Bunker” they were all searching for a secret, but more than that he is angry that she didn’t trust him to know the truth of her past. Together with their friends, Tace and Sami have to find a way to get the resources they need, keep their people safe, and hopefully find the forgiveness and bravery to give their hearts to one another in this terrifying and all to possible new world they live in. I enjoyed getting to see how Tracers mind is working with these new changes and there were definitely some moments where the thoughts running through his mind were beyond hilarious. Finally getting to know the real Sami was interesting too, seeing her passions and conviction and willingness to sacrifice for others shows me that she is truly a great character and a woman to be reckoned with. The heat and passion between Tace and Sami sometimes has a darker shade than I prefer in my reading, but in the end the two of them were perfectly matched and I loved seeing them settle into their love and beginning their future together. While I am not generally a big fan of Post-apocalyptic stories, Rebecca manages to bring all the craziness and changes down to the level of basic human needs and how to survive in whatever world you find yourself thrown into. Magic once again, Rebecca!
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.