Series: Shadow Agents #3
Published by Harlequin on July 23rd 2013
Genres: Action, Military
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
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.
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.
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.
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.