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Sharpshooter by Cynthia Eden

Sharpshooter  (Shadow Agents, #3)


ORDER A COPY: Sharpshooter (Shadow Agents)

Publisher: Harlequin
Publishing Date: July 23, 2013
Paperback: 288 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Two years ago Gunner Ortez saved Sydney Sloan’s life on a mission gone wrong. And ever since then, he’s been watching her back. Now a hostage-rescue mission is about to blow the Elite Ops agents’ lives apart once again.

Working side by side back in the jungles of Peru, the heat between Sydney and Gunner is hotter than ever-and so are the threats to their lives. With the danger escalating, Sydney knows Gunner is her only hope at successfully completing their assignment. But the ex-SEAL who arouses passion she’d only dreamed about also poses the greatest risk to the secret she carries in her heart…and in her belly.


When Gunner Ortez and Sydney Sloan went into Peru, against orders, to rescue Gunner’s Brother and Sydney’s fiance, Slade Ortez, they barely made it out alive. Slade was not so lucky.

Since then Gunner has watched out for Sydney. He has always been there for her. Because he wants to protect her. Because he loves her. He has from the moment he met her, when she was engaged to his brother. But Gunner knows she could never be his, ever. She wanted Slade and now he’s gone. Yet for the last two years, Gunner and Sydney have leaned on each other, supported each other, and feelings have been changing and growing.

Gunner has always been…standoffish seems too gentle a word, but now that he and Sydney has grown so close, she knows that there is more to Gunner than the hard eyes and the cool demeanor that he shows the rest of the world. Now that she knows him, really knows him, Sydney wants Gunner even more than she ever wanted to be with Slade, and she can’t be wrong about Gunner’s feelings for her, can she?

It’s been two years since his death and as a member of the Elite Operations Division (EOD) Sydney knows how precious life can be and how quickly things can be taken away from you. She is tired of waiting for Gunner to make a move. She is planning on grasping for all the wants in life, and the first thing she wants is Gunner Ortez.

When another rescue mission to Peru turns their world upside down, Sydney will need to fight for the man she wants against the ghost of the man she lost.

THOUGHTS:

Whoo hoo! This story combines my favorite tropes, the friends to lovers as well as the damaged hero. Although I can’t say that Gunner is truly damaged, he has led a very hard life as an special agent for the government. He has been captured and tortured. He has been on death’s door more than once. He is scarred and hardened, and he appreciates all that Sydney means to him, even if that means he doesn’t feel worthy of her. That qualifies him enough in my book.

Gunner has come to mean everything to Sydney, much more than Slade ever did, and Sydney wants to move their relationship from friends to so much more but Gunner keeps the ghost of his brother firmly between them. At least he does until Sydney declares that she is ready to move on with her life and she’s ready to find a new lover, and if Gunner doesn’t want the job, she’ll find someone else how does. As you can imagine, that declaration gets Gunner moving in the right direction.

Problem is that they work together in a very dangerous field. They are both part of the EOD that goes into dangerous territories and situations for hostage rescue. Their lives are both at risk and when their relationship finally becomes more, they are finding it harder to do their jobs when the life lost could be either of them.

They end up going back to Peru for a hostage rescue and come back with more than they bargained for, a prisoner who will change everything and who might just rip them apart.

This was a enjoyable story full of excitement and romance and definitely is my favorite of the series. This story will definitely bring some changes to the EOD team and the tiny foreshadow presented for the next book looks like it will shake things up further.

Great story from Cynthia Eden as always.


Favorite Scene:

He worked with a group far off the grid. The Elite Ops Division wasn’t on any books anywhere in the U.S. government. They took the jobs that the rest of the world wasn’t meant to know about. In particular, his EOD team–code-named the Shadow Agents–had a reputation for deadly accuracy when it came to taking out their targets.

And this guy…that jerk with the trembling finger, he was going down. The man had kidnapped an ambassador’s daughter. Held her for ransom, and when the ransom had been paid, he’d still killed her.

He’d thought he could hide from justice.

He’d thought wrong.

Sydney’s intell had led them to Jonathan Hall. Led them to his hideout just over the border in Mexico.

Sydney had volunteered to go in, to make sure that Hall was holding no civilians.

Now she was the one being held.

“He can’t leave the scene,” Logan Quinn said, the faint drawl of the South sliding beneath the team leader’s words as they carried easily over the transmitter. “You know our orders.”

Containment or death. Yeah, Gunner knew the drill, because the ambassador’s daughter hadn’t been the first victim. Hall like to kill.

Gunner stared down at the man, at Sydney. You won’t kill her.

Sydney’s face was emotionless. Like a pale canvas, waiting for life. That wasn’t her. She was always brimming with emotion, letting it spill over onto everything and everyone.

It was only on the missions that she changed.

How many more missions would she take? She seemed to be putting herself at risk more these days. He hated that.

He shifted his position, testing the wind. Hall wouldn’t see him. he was too far away. Gunner’s specialty was attacking from a distance.

There was no target that he couldn’t reach.

He could take out that man right now. A perfect shot…if he hadn’t been worried that Hall’s finger would jerk on that trigger at impact.

“I want the gun away from her head.” Gunner snapped into his mouthpiece.

But even as he said the words, he saw Sydney’s lips moving.

Take. The. Shot.

Hall was outside the small house, his gaze frantically searching the area even as he kept Sydney killing-close. The man wasn’t stupid. He’d eluded capture for over a year because he understood how the game was played.

Hall knew Sydney hadn’t come in alone. The guy just didn’t see her backup. When he hunted like this, Gunner’s prey never saw him, not unless he wanted to be seen.

This time, he wanted to be seen because that gun was coming away from Sydney’s head.

Take. The. Shot. Her lips moved again.

He shook his head, even though he realized she’d never see the movement. Then he took two steps to the right. He knew that, in this particular position the sunlight would glint off his weapon. When he saw that flash of light, Hall would fire–

And he did. The man yanked the gun away from Sydney’s head and shot at Gunner.

Too late.

Gunner had already taken his own shot.

The second the gun moved away from her temple, Sydney shoved back against Hall with her elbow, and then she’d jerked away from her captor and threw herself down.

Before she even hit the ground, Gunner’s bullet slammed into Hall. The man stumbled back and fell.

“Converge,” Logan’s hard order came in Gunner’s ear.

The other EOD team members rushed from the shadows. Not that they needed to rush. Hall wasn’t going to be a threat to anyone, not anymore.

Gunner’s breath eased out. He watched as Sydney pushed to her knees, then rose to her feet.

Cale Lane, the newest team member, crouched over Hall as Sydney looked toward Gunner’s position.

He’d put the weapon down, so he couldn’t see her face clearly, not with the distance that separated them. But he was aware that his heart beat too fast. His hands had been sweating.

A sharpshooter wasn’t supposed to get nervous, wasn’t supposed to feel on the mission.

But whenever he was close to Sydney, all he could do was feel.

Alpha One by Cynthia Eden

Alpha One


Don’t forget to check out our interview with Cynthia Eden


ORDER A COPY: Alpha One (Shadow Agents)

Publisher: Harlequin
Publishing Date: January 1, 2013
Paperback: 224 pages

Rating: 4 stars


“Julie’s missing. You have to get her back.”The minute he got the message, undercover agent Logan Quinn sprang into action. Getting Juliana James out of Mexico alive was the Elite Ops covert agent’s only priority. But once the senator’s daughter was safely back in their Mississippi hometown, Logan had a new mission: to get another chance with the woman he couldn’t lose again.

Juliana had never forgotten the day, ten years ago, when Logan left her heart in pieces. Now he was back in her life, sworn to protect her from the ruthless weapons dealer who wanted her dead. As passion blindsided her—and she was once again thrust into danger—Julie realized how much she’d risk for one more day in Logan’s arms.


Shadow Agents of the EOD, Elite Operations Division, an elite team from different branches of the armed forces who don’t exist on paper, but have been brought together to do the job others can’t, including hostage recovery. The EOD have spilled blood on many missions, both their enemies and their own, but this time it’s personal.

In Alpha One, Juliana James has distanced herself from her father, Senator Aaron James, more and more over the years. Her father was once a good man, fighting for everything that was right, but since her mother’s death, his only interest has been money and power and he no longer cares who he hurts to get them. This time around, it is Juliana who is paying the price for his dirty dealings. She has been kidnapped by Diego Guerreros, better known as El Diablo, a very dangerous arms dealer who will not hesitate to cut up Juliana and send her back to her father in pieces for stealing from him.

The Senator has called in the EOD to bring his daughter safely home. He knows that Logan Quinn with do everything he can to keep his daughter safe because it was the Senator himself who separated the two lovers ten years before and he knows Logan has just as much interest in keeping Juliana safe. EOD sweeps in and Juliana is safe from Guerreros’s knife, then she finds out the team leader is Logan—her Logan and the cut to her heart is deeper then those made by her kidnappers. Juliana was only twenty when she waited at the bus stop for the man who never showed, and the pain of his betrayal far exceeds any torture Guerreros had planned.

Now she’s back in the U.S. and she’s safe from Guerreros and safe from her feelings from Logan—right? She couldn’t be more wrong. Her father told the EOD that Juliana has proof of all of his involvements with Diego Guerreros and all his clients and that she would turn all that over to the government after she was saved from her kidnappers. Unfortunately for Juliana, she doesn’t know anything about her father’s dealings. Maybe the EOD believes her, but Guerreros isn’t planning on taking any chances. Logan and his team know that Guerreros won’t stop until Juliana’s dead so they need to lead him into a trap with the only bait they have—Juliana.

Juliana isn’t complete certain that Guerreros and his men are the biggest danger to her. Sure the EOD may save her life, but will she be able to survive watching Logan walk away from her again when this is all over?

THOUGHTS:

This was an action packed story. There are some great subcharacters that you will find interesting who I presume will be the feature of the next few books. Logan and Juliana were likable characters and their story was heartbreaking and sweet.

I guess my only real problem is that after just finishing her The Wolf Within, which is a paranormal unit of the FBI, I did find this story was lacking…just lacking werewolves and vampires?…maybe that was it.

If you like you action sans hairy beasts, this was definitely a quick read and enjoyable story. You just can’t miss with a Cynthia Eden book.

Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher.


Favorite Scene:

“He was going to tell you. He told me to leave, or he’d—“

“And that made you just walk away? His threat?” She wasn’t buying that line. Time to try another one.

But he gave a hard shake of his head. “No, I left because he was right. You deserved more than me. My father was right too, you know…In a lot of ways, I am just like him.” He lifted his hands, stared at his fingers. “I was made to kill.”

“Maybe you were made to protect.” She was tired of this bull. “You don’t have to be like him. Be your own person! You didn’t have to leave me alone—“

“You looked at me like I was a hero. I never wanted you to look at me…the way you are right now.”

She stepped back. “You should have told me from the beginning.” Everything could have been different between them. No secrets. No lies. “You just left me!”

Juliana took another fast step away from him.

“I came back.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“Six month,” he said, jerking a rough hand through his hair. “I’d joined the navy. Tried to forget you. I couldn’t.

“You didn’t come back for me.” The lies were too much. Why couldn’t he ever tell her the truth?

“You weren’t alone.”

Juliana blinked.

“You called him Thomas. He was blond, rich, driving a Porsche and holding you too close.”

“How do you know about him?” Thomas had been her friend; then after Logan left, he’d been more. She’d just wanted to forget for a while. To feel wanted, loved by someone else.

“You were sleeping with him.”

There was anger, jealousy—rage—vibrating in his voice now. She almost wished for the emotionless mask. “I couldn’t breathe without thinking of you, but you’d moved on. Gotten someone better.”

She and Thomas had broken up after a few months. He’d been a good guy, solid, dependable, but he hadn’t been…

Logan.

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