Saturday, July 26, 2014

Early Review of Personal Target: An Elite Ops Novel (Elite Ops #2) by Kay Thomas

    Title: Personal Target: An Elite Ops Novel
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Romantic Suspense
    Series: Elite Ops
    Format: Paperback; 384 pages
    Publisher: Avon Impulse (September 2, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0062290886
    ISBN-13: 978-0062290885 
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher via Edelweiss.

"They're coming after yours, and you can't stop them." The dying man laughed, his laughter changing to a cough as his damaged lungs filled with blood. Even so, he managed to rasp out one last threat. "It's personal now. Your family will be dead in six weeks."

Nick Donovan, a former Navy SEAL and Black Ops specialist, recently left the NCS, a component of the CIA, to join the Armored Extraction Guards and Investigative Security, AEGIS works under the radar of most governments and specializes in private security, risk management, and the recovery of people and assets from foreign countries. While performing his job, Nick was caught on the security camera of one site leaving the area and on the camera at another setting a listening device. His identity compromised, the cartel mistakenly thought he'd set the bombs which had exploded shortly after his departure from each of the scenes killing first the Drug Lord's sister and later his brother. Believing he had held a part in their deaths, Nick's family members were now the personal targets of one of Mexico's most ruthless and lethal drug cartels.

While Nick was successful in warning his brother and getting his family out of harms way, the cartel had managed to get their hands on a family friend, whom they'd mistakenly believed to be his sister-in-law. Jennifer had been asked to watch the house and feed the family pets. While not family, Jennifer and Nick had once been close and so while the cartel missed their target, they still managed to hit their mark, if only by accident. Since the kidnapping, the cartel has gained intel that drones were used in the bombings. If Nick can find who is responsible, the cartel says they'll release Jennifer, but for each day she's with them she'll suffer a fate most won't wish to live through.

Now Nick's in a race against time to find Jenny, get her out, and keep her safe. Jenny is the only woman he's ever loved. The only woman to ever truly understand him. This one's personal and Nick Donovan takes care of his own.

This book was a fast paced roller coaster of a ride with a lot of action, twists and turns. It held my attention and I didn't want to put it down until I finished. I loved the story line of a past love--the one that got away--accidentally being sucked into Nick's dangerous world. How despite the fact she broke his heart, he still goes in to rescue her.

Dr. Jennifer Grayson is a Southern Methodist University professor specializing in paleontology who is recently divorced. She's smart, brave, and when she finds herself in a bad situation, she immediately realizes revealing she's not Angela could get her into worse trouble than holding her tongue. She decides to try to figure out what's going on before doing anything she can't take back. But things quickly escalate from bad to worse as she finds herself in a Mexican brothel where she's told she'll need to pay for her stay.

Nick has never forgotten Jennifer and when he sees the picture of her bound, he almost immediately realizes who Vega has kidnapped. Having worked in the field for years, Nick calls on his contacts and within a relatively short period of time has a lock on her location. I loved the impatience he displayed and how he had a hard time hiding his emotions as he attempts to rescue Jenny and keep her from harm.

While Kay Thomas has all the potential of becoming one of my favorite authors and I enjoyed the story, I did have a couple of issues with it. First, Nick believes that while in captivity, Jennifer might have overheard something that put her life in danger. Instead of sitting down with her and questioning her about what transpired, like most government operatives would do, he never does. I found this very odd. Perhaps if he had communicated his concerns a little better, he'd have had better control over the situation, and she'd have realized just how much danger she was in. Still, I thought Jennifer should have realized how serious things were when things starting blowing up. I personally thought that was a pretty huge tip off, but I guess she let her emotions overrun her logic.

A second item I had issues with was Nick's reaction to finding out that years ago, after a summer romance, Jennifer had gotten pregnant with his child and had a miscarriage. I felt his reaction to this news was a bit extreme. While I could see him being upset with Jennifer for breaking up with him without officially doing so--she just broke off all communication with him--his being upset because she never told him about her pregnancy just irritated me to no end. Most women would not want a man to feel obligated to marry them because of a pregnancy, and Jennifer knew Nick well enough to know that's the type of man he was. I can understand how she would feel insecure and unsure of how to handle things. I seriously doubt that Nick ever inquired if she could be pregnant after he left and joined the Navy. Whenever two people are intimate, there is always the possibility of pregnancy and if a guy really cares for a woman, he should ask. I personally think this is something all mother's should instill in their sons. So while he had a right to know, I could see how she'd drag her feet on telling him. It would be an awkward subject to breech, especially from long distance over the phone or through a letter, so she put it off.

Anyone who's gone through a miscarriage knows how emotionally upsetting it is. Whether a pregnancy was planned for or not, its still has a profound effect on a person. Pair that with having a hysterectomy and you can just imagine the emotional trauma someone who wanted children would suffer. A miscarriage at five months is a very painful experience as is a hysterectomy, She probably wasn't in her right mind for some time after. If she had trouble telling him about the pregnancy, how could she be expected to bring up the subject of a miscarriage? I just felt he had very little grounds to be mad at her and rather should have been upset for not being there for her. At the very least he should have felt bad for not letting her know how he felt about her before he left. If she'd felt secure in their relationship, I'm sure she would have had no trouble telling him what was going on.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. While I had some issues with the way certain things were handled, they didn't have a huge impact to the overall story. Every time I thought things were starting to settle down, another deadly situation would arise. There was plenty of action, mystery, and suspense combined with ongoing story lines which thread the fabric of the series together. You'll want to read all the books as each book builds upon the other to create what I believe will be a larger all encompassing story which will fit together like a puzzle containing bits and pieces of all the books at the end. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of the series:

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