I knew going into this book that I was jumping into a series in progress, but I am such a fan of tortured heroes that I couldn’t pass up one as clearly messed up as Hoyt. I figured I could just wing it with the characters I didn’t know –and really, I could. The problem was, the hero and heroine had a pre-existing relationship. I could follow the story, yes, and I could appreciate Hoyt’s misery. But I lacked the emotional component of knowing these two as a couple before That Very Bad Thing tore them apart.
Basically, a couple kidnapped Hoyt and carved him up to get him to sign over his land, I think. I say “I think” because the backstory provided is pretty cursory. I guess all I needed to know is that Hoyt is very scarred both inside and out, and now he thinks he is worthless to Hayden. She doesn’t want to let him go, but he keeps pushing her away. He even tries to kill himself, but again, this doesn’t get more than a drive-by mention. I don’t know if the suicide attempt was part of a previous story or new here, but the emotional impact is nominal, when it could have been so much more.
So fast forward three months, and Hayden finally decides to try and move on… just as the Bad Guys zero in on Hoyt’s Task Force of soldiers and their families. Of course, once Hayden is in danger, Hoyt can’t ignore her anymore. He has to protect her. This throws them back in each other’s orbits and dissolves any pretense that they don’t belong together.
I’m assuming that long time readers have the feels established from previous books. Maybe they don’t; but I sure didn’t. I appreciated Hoyt’s self-derision, and I understood that he and Hayden loved each other, but I didn’t connect with them. This book has some great reviews, so I acknowledge that I am in the minority. But the meat of the story happens only in a few days. It seemed like the external factors were a crutch to make the necessary emotional progression and it felt kind of superficial. And that’s a shame, because I feel like there was good potential.
As far as the external factors themselves, I thought the military stuff was ok. But bad guy was easy to spot a mile away… even without knowing his backstory. He felt like a cookie cutter villain in the “big reveal.” I was just kind of meh about it all. And then the book was immediately over after the resolution. It felt short.
Again, maybe I’d feel differently if I had read the previous books. But jumping in at book 6, it just didn’t rock my world.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Lindsay Cross
Release Date: January 30, 2016
Publisher: Cypress Bend Publishing