Forged in Steele by Maya Banks
ORDER A COPY: Forged in Steele (A KGI NOVEL)
Publishing Date: June 25, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Steele, a KGI team leader, is an enigma not even his team mates understand. His emotions are tightly locked down and nothing can break that icy exterior. Nothing except Maren Scofield, a doctor on a mission, a woman who has gotten under Steele’s skin and threatens to crack that unflappable cool he’s legendary for.
Steele is determined not to allow Maren past his carefully guarded defenses, but when she’s in danger, there’s no way he’ll allow anyone else to protect her. She’s hiding something. He’s sure of it. But he isn’t prepared for the shocking discovery her secrets reveal. Or how they will forever alter the course of his destiny. He has a decision to make. Hold tight and shut her out. Or take a chance on something more powerful than he’s ever faced. Love.
Jackson Steele leads his KGI team to rescue a young woman who has hooked up with a local drug lord. Her parents want her returned to the United States and away from his influence. Since the girl has no interest in leaving the love of her life, she gets herself shot and almost gets them all killed. They decide to make a stop to see Dr. Maren Scofield at her little clinic in Costa Rica. Dr. Scofield has helped out KGI before, especially after they helped rescue her from terrorists in Africa a few years back.
Maren is surprised to see the team at her front door, but she has no problem fixing them up. She knows the dangers that they face and the people they help. The only thing Maren isn’t happy facing after a long day of work, it the glaring eye of Steele. The man has never had anything to say to her and almost dashes out of the room when she walks in. So imagine her surprise to find Steele waiting for her in her little cabin and making an offer of a night of hot sex so that he can “get her out from under his skin.” He fantasizes about her all the time and she’s a distraction he doesn’t need in his line of work. Well, not the most romantic proposition but hell who wouldn’t want a piece of Steele even if it is only for one night.
Maybe one night just isn’t enough since both of them are desperate for a repeat performance and for the first time in years, Steele is looking for a little down time so he can make his way back to the clinic to spend more time with Maren. Yet when duty calls Steele back to KGI, Maren finds herself being dragged to the home of a very dangerous man. A man who is in need of his own personal physician and why hire out, when you can just borrow the lovely Dr. Scofield. Javier Mendoza wants more than just medical attention from Maren and since she is under armed guard day and night she can only pray Steele and his KGI team can figure out where she has been taken and come get her as Mendoza’s obsession with Marin grows and becomes more dangerous with each passing day.
I love this series and this author! Maya Banks writes very passionate characters, and Steele is no exception although he was always presented as a strong, silent leader. In Book 6, when PJ’s mission goes south and they can’t get her out before she is raped, this was the first time we saw any real emotion from the very stoic Commander Steele. I was excited after Book 6 when I saw Steele would be the feature of Book 7.
Maren was very personable and a very relateable character from the start. She at first questions Steele’s interest in her as she doesn’t consider herself anything special, but then who wouldn’t want to have sex with gorgeous man like Steele.
As always, the action was intense. If anything about this story was a little far fetched, it was the depth of feelings expressed so eloquently and so often from a man who barely speaks to anyone. Once he starts speaking, it appears he can’t shut up and he spoke to Maren like he was reading from a greeting card even though he initially comes across as the quiet, manly man whose conversation would consist of “You have nice tits…I mean, breasts.”
This was a wonderful story and a great addition to the KGI series. I am looking forward to more stories and the addition of a new team to the KGI family sets us up for even more future stories. Yay!
Received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.
He stood a long moment without saying a word. Finally he broke the silence, his jaw clenched. He was positively ill at ease. Cool, unflappable Steele was agitated.
“You’re under my skin. Can’t get rid of you. Sometimes when I sleep…I can smell you,” He admitted. “I can see your eyes and those cute glasses you wear. I wonder what is would feel like to run my fingers through your hair.”
Ho-ly shit. This was…epic. This…There wasn’t even a description for what this was. This was huge!
She raised her hand, self-consciously adjusting the frame. “You think my glasses are cute?”
He let out a sigh and then, to her utter astonishment, he relaxed, his shoulders dropping the tiniest bit, and an honest-to-God smile curved the corners of his lips upward.
“And you want to have sex with me,” she repeated.
“I believe that’s what I said.”
“Wow. And, um, what then?”
His eyes narrowed. “You drive me crazy. You’re under my skin. Stuck deep. I don’t need you there. You’re a distraction, and I can’t afford distractions. So we’ll have sex and then I’ll stop fantasizing about what it’s like.”
“I have to say, that’s about the worst proposition I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Steele shrugged. “So I’m not a sensitive guy. You want to fuck or what?”
She clamped her hands over her ears. “Stop. It’s only getting worse.”
He pulled he arms down and then tilted her chin up with two fingers before he claimed her mouth again. She sagged into his arms, her eyes closing in bliss. When the man wasn’t talking—and she’d decided it had been a blessing he hadn’t spoken to her before—he was sexy as sin. Silence was sexy. So far, his speaking hadn’t been that great of an idea. Eloquence was not one of his strong points.
“You want me,” he said gruffly against her mouth. “You want me every bit as much as I want you.”
“Well duh,” she grumbled.
He pulled away, his eyes flashing. Triumph glittered in those ice blue depths. Only instead of feeling the chill in his gaze, all she felt was searing heat.
“The team is staying at the clinic. We have about six hours before we go wheels up. Your bed big enough for both of us?”
Slowly she nodded.
Without another word, he picked her up and she landed with a thud against his body. His arms tightened around her and he strode toward the doorway to her bedroom.
Her pulse thundered in her veins and her heart was beating so fast she felt light-headed. This was really happening. Steele wanted to have sex with her. Steele was carrying her to her bedroom. In a few minutes they’d both be naked and in the same room. Holy hell!
She braced herself, sure he’d dump her on the bed, but he surprised her by easing her gently onto the mattress before stepping back. He began to undress and her gaze was riveted to all the male flesh he was revealing.
Hard. Muscled. Tight. Not a spare ounce anywhere on his body. Lean abdomen with a ripped six-pack. Broad shoulders and chest with bulging muscles in his upper arms. His thighs resembled tree trunks. Thick and sturdy.
She grabbed for her glasses, tossing them toward the nightstand because this was too good to miss. It wasn’t as though she needed them all the time anyway. Just for reading and when she really needed to focus on an injury. Or lab reports.
This man was beautiful to look at. Suddenly she was extremely conscious of the fact that he would expect her to shed her clothes next, and she didn’t have the body he did. Not even close.
She was too soft in places she shouldn’t be. Her boobs weren’t perky. They weren’t sagging yet, thank God, but they weren’t the kind you could bounce a quarter off. Her abdomen was squishy because she didn’t exercise enough and she enjoyed her sugar. At least her hips weren’t big, not that it was much in the way of reassurance. She wasn’t huge or anything, but she wasn’t one of the super slim women or the curvy ones who looked lush and beautiful. She was just sort of in between and…blah.
“Give a mint to know what you’re thinking right now,” Steele muttered.
“I’m blah,” she blurted out.
Then she closed her eyes. She needed better social skills. This was what happened when someone grew up in an isolated environment, shut off from most of the world, never having friends or interacting with other people. They became a blithering idiot the first time they tried to interact with another person on an intimate level.
The incredulity in his voice soothed some of her frayed nerves.
“Yeah, blah. You’re gorgeous. I mean perfect. And I’m just blah. We don’t match up very well,” she said in a serous tone. “Gorgeous male specimens such as yourself do not have sex with blah women. They don’t have to. They can have sex with gorgeous female specimens, so why would they settle for blah?”
His lips flapped up and down a moment and he looked so exasperated that she felt sure his next move would be to start pulling at his hair. “You’re shitting me, right?”
She shook her head solemnly.
“You’re an idiot,” he muttered.
“You don’t call a woman an idiot if you have any plans to have sex with her,” Maren retorted.
“You’re an idiot,” he said calmly.
She had nothing to say to that.
He gestured down. “Look at this. Do you think I get this hard for ‘blah’? That I’m so horny and desperate that I’ll fuck anything with a pussy? Jesus Christ, woman, I’m a goddamn walking hard-on around you. Haven’t you ever noticed?”
“N-no,” she stammered out.
“You’re an idiot,” he repeated.
She frowned. “Okay, I’m really not liking that word.”
He sighed. “Okay, you’re clueless then. Completely and utterly clueless.”
She probably couldn’t argue that point because well, it was true. She’d had no idea that he was remotely attracted to her. It still stunned her.
She licked her lips and cleared her throat. “So let me get this straight so we’re on the same page. We have sex tonight. You leave at eight. And we never speak again and pretend this never happened. Do I have it right?”
“Didn’t say we’d never speak again,” he rumbled.
“Yes, because we spoke so much before,” she said sarcastically.
“I want you out from under my skin.”
Well, okay then. That was that. She wasn’t sure how she felt about being used as an exorcism of herself, but sex with Steele wasn’t something she was going to pass on.