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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Shattered Duty by Katie Reus

I am totally in love with romantic suspense right now. The combination of action and romance can be so addictive. Of course, not every author hits the right notes with me. It's this sub genre where I'm the harshest on the heroines. Fortunately, Katie Reus is one of the few who knows how to breathe life into heroines of romantic suspense.

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Release Date: June 2, 2015

When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he's finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he's ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own.

Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble.

As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself at a crossroads. Can he put aside his need for revenge to save the woman who’s reawakened his soul?

After his wife’s brutal murder, Special Agent Levi Lazaro walked away from his job and his life in favor of tracking down the people responsible. Going from an all American straight shooting man to a vengeance driving machine, Levi has made a home for himself in the grey areas between following the rules and breaking them. Finally, after looking for nearly two years, Levi has finally gotten the names he needs to get revenge and he won’t let anything stop him. Not even an NSA agent with her own reasons for looking out for him.

Special Agent Selene Wolfe is the perfect combination of guts and brains which made her an obvious choice for the NSA. Deadly and brilliant, when Selene hears that a deadly terrorist cell might have ties to the murder of Levi’s wife, Selene knows it’s only a matter of time before Levi tries to bring them down on his own. She agrees to be part of a mission to stop the terrorist cell before they can carry out their next attack in order to try and help Levi and keep him from doing something he might regret, or that might get them both killed in the process.

It’s not official until the series is over but I do think Shattered Duty just might be my favorite Deadly Ops novel. There was just so much going on in this book and so much to love about it too!

The story line was something out of a Grade A action movie, there was the distraught man out for revenge, the villain who is as ruthless as he is cruel and the edge of your seat action and suspense. But what Shattered Duty had that most action movies don’t have was a kick ass woman who was as much a hero as the man.

I loved how competent Selene was. She knew her worth, she knew her skills and she was confident enough to go toe to toe with Levi whenever she felt she had to. Author Katie Reus delivers what she promises and that’s a strong female character throughout the whole book. None of this turning her into a damsel in distress after she meets the hero. I’ve become way more selective in my romantic suspense because of authors like Katie Reus who don’t sideline female characters when things get dangerous. Instead, women like Selene are often depended on to carry out some of the most important parts of the missions or are even the ones who come in, guns blazing, ready to save the day. Damn straight I’m only going to read romances like that because what good is a limp, lifeless, cowardly female in a romantic suspense anyway? They just drag the hero down and make him look more like a caveman.

I honestly think that because of Selene, Levi was a better hero. She was a capable woman that Levi didn’t have to save or protect. Not that he didn’t want to protect her but he didn’t have to. He could depend on her to watch his back and not hesitate to put a bullet in an enemy’s head. Levi was a natural protector of women and children but that was only part of why he was such a good character. It was his belief in Selene, that had me falling for this guy. At the beginning of Shattered Duty Levi was nothing more than a rage fueled machine and it took awhile and a bit of an internal struggle before he was more man than machine.. He didn’t want to feel anything and he hadn’t for the longest time. With the return of emotions like doubt, concern and affection for another human being, Levi became less of a machine and more of a man. One thing that never changed was Levi’s need to take down evil. I loved how noble he was despite losing his wife and breaking a few rules. Everyone loves a little bad in their man right?

Shattered Duty for me had more emotion behind the characters and in general the entire plot than previous books. I guess that’s part of what made it such a good read for me. The rage and sorrow in Levi’s soul was just too much to ignore. Plus, the way Katie Reus threw in a past connection between Levi and Selene was pretty neat. There were some pretty yummy secondary characters in this one that were so mysterious that I couldn’t help but notice them more. I do hope they’ll come out in future books. I can’t help but love the dark, dangerous, mysterious men that Reus writes because I know that when they meet that one woman, it’s going to be one hell of a sexy ride!

Final Verdict: Katie Reus makes danger look sexy!

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