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Series: The Collective #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: May 14th 2013
Format: Bound ARC provided by author
Rating: 5 Stars
Grace Meredith is the CIA’s most deadly assassin. Too bad she’s gone off the grid and become a mercenary for hire. After the death of her daughter by a sniper’s bullet, Grace can no longer stomach the demands of agency life or keep herself from blaming the only man she’s ever loved. Her mind and body are fragile, and she knows she’s just a step away from breaking down completely.
Gabe Brennan holds the weight of the world on his shoulders. As one of the most brilliant black ops agents the CIA has ever employed, he knows it’s no one’s fault but his own that his child was gunned down in cold blood. He might not have been able to save his daughter, but he’s determined to save his wife. He only has to find her first.
Sexual tension crackles between Gabe and Grace from the moment they’re reunited, but between the man who is hunting them, a secret that’s been buried for eighty years, and a turbulent past—the odds are stacked against them.
Last week I was having a really shitty day with no prospect of getting better until I got an email from the author of this book asking if I would like to read her newest Romantic Suspense novel. I read her MacKenzie brothers series last year and fell in love with her writing so for her to email me it was HUGE! I jumped at the chance to review it and I wasn't disappointed!
There's nothing I love more than a kick ass female character. Unless it's a kick ass couple working together to save the world, and Kill Shot has BOTH!
The prologue begins with a look inside the mind of a madman hell bent on resurrecting a formula for a biochemical weapon that can target and kill one person based on their DNA. We find him wiping out an entire village with this undetected and untraceable killer. With the help of one of the worlds top scientists he is close to completing the formula.
Jump to present day we find former CIA agent Grace Meredith on a rogue mission to take out a terrorist and grab a top secret flash drive that can lead her to the man who tore her life apart. She's taken out most of her targets but when she gets to the main room where her top mark is holed up, she finds him already dead at the hands of an expert. That's when she comes face to face with her past in the form of Gabe Brennan, her ex husband. After tracking her down he offers her a position on his team because she's the best sniper around and he needs her help. Sparks fly immediately between them and she tries to fight it but her body has always wanted Gabe. After dismissing his advances she finally agrees to take the position when he promises to help her track down the man who killed their daughter.
Once back at his secret headquarters with his team he refers to as THE COLLECTIVE, they set out to uncover who this madman is and stop him. His team is comprised of Ethan, the teenage hacker, Jack an ex navy SEAL and Gabe's right hand man, and Logan his explosives expert. Together they uncover the secret to this biochemical weapon that involves descendants of Hitler. The more they uncover about this plot the more danger they put themselves in. They all work together to stop this weapon of mass destruction from getting into the wrong hands, while Grace and Gabe go off together to try and take down their daughters killer. When they find him it's an unexpected surprise that just might backfire on them all.
This book had me guessing constantly and on my toes throughout each chapter. I used to love a good suspense book when I was younger and now romantic suspense has become one of my new favorite genres. I was amazed throughout this story at how in depth the the plot was. You can really tell the author did her research about everything from the CIA to the guns make and model, going undercover and even how to destroy a building with one drop of some kooky serum that super heats the wiring and brings the building down with no explosion. That was intense.
Grace was a badass, broken down female character I wanted to hug and high five at the same time. Not only could this woman bring down a target over a mile away (that's a big deal btw) but she could grapple with a grown man in hand to hand combat. My love affair with Kick ass female characters started with Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight. her role in that movie made me glad I have ovaries (except once a month). Grace Meredith is no different in this book. She's tough and strong but obviously broken by her loss and the grief she experiences once it comes crashing down on her brought a foreign substance to my eyes. At first you start to think she is super human when she is able to shut off her emotions but during several scenes you get to see her vulnerability and I loved that! When she first comes to the group Gabe recruits her into she doesn't allow herself to joke or have fun and laugh because she feels guilty that her daughter is gone but she isn't. The group really comes to depend on her when the danger begins with her sniper capabilities and she ultimately becomes the hero.
What I loved the MOST was the relationship between Gabe and Grace. They end up losing their only daughter Maddie, at the hands of a terrorist because of their involvement in the CIA and their marriage crumbles afterwards. Gabe's cover was blown by someone on the inside and he was sent into protective custody immediately after and didn't even get to be there for Grace when Maddie was buried. Because of his absence Grace shuts down emotionally and becomes an empty shell just working jobs so she can finally bring down the man who killed Maddie. She had no intention of ever seeing Gabe again but when these two are thrown back together, the chemistry they have always shared ignites and they end up in some really smoking hot scenes I was holding my breath through. You get to see Gabe fight to not only save his marriage but he fights to help Grace heal because she never really let herself grieve her loss. I loved watching Grace transform in this book. She was broken and has been on her own for so long thinking Gabe never cared about her, their daughter or their marriage but when they finally confront the issues they come out stronger than ever. I bonded with this couple throughout their journey and fell in love right along with them.
The supporting characters added a little humor to the story before it got too heavy especially the relationships between these older more experienced men who have been around a while and the goofy new teenage kid that is employed as their teams hacker. Because he's a teen nobody really takes him seriously and he stirs trouble up a time or two especially with Gabe's second in command Jack. I was really nervous thinking one of these team members were going to eat it at any time, especially the closer to the end the book gets. I get really protective of characters I like and I totally fell for these three guys. Thankfully everyone makes it out alive and rightfully so because there will be another in this series about my second...OK... no... THIRD favorite character Jack! He was the second hottest guy next to Gabe. He owns the fact that he is a serial man slut and finds himself working out his tension on bartender with a name he can't remember. I am looking forward to reading his story because the epilogue will leave your mouth watering for more!
Overall this was a definite winner. Romance, Drama, Suspense and hot sex go hand in hand to make a great story. A thrilling page turner that will keep you guessing, gasping and completely at the authors mercy until you finish it.
Huge thanks to Liliana Hart for submitting this bad boy for review!!
"The more dangerous the better. Isn't that right, Grace? The higher the stakes, the wetter you get. Remember when we were on that mission in Siberia and had to hide in that cave? Land mines and grenades were going off all around us, and you were so hot for me that I made you come with a whisper of breath and a diamond the size of my fist." Page 32
"Nothing that happened is your fault. I don't have the words for you. I don't know what to say to help you. But I know you have to get control over this. Or it's going to kill you. And this world needs you, Grace. Whether you need it or not." Page 208
"I'll gladly take whatever shit job you throw my way," he said, nodding. "To tell you the truth, I could use a low key babysitting job. Preferably by the beach somewhere." Page 254
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Liliana Hart spent five years teaching music in the public education system. She molded America’s youth, busted kids for smoking pot in the restrooms, and broke up illicit affairs behind the stage on a regular basis. (Liliana’s Addison Holmes Mystery Series, about a small town teacher who gets into a whole lot of trouble, is somewhat autobiographical, but she won’t confess to which parts).
Liliana began reading romance novels with all her new found free time, and when she ran out of things to read, she decided to write her own novels. The result was a 150,000 word thriller—a dazzling adventure—where the heroine was a thirty-year-old virgin assassin (Yes, you read that right). She couldn’t imagine why people weren’t knocking down her door to read it, but she persevered and began writing a second book. She finally got the hang of things, and eventually learned that losing one’s virginity wasn’t all that romantic after all. All of her books involve some kind of suspense (she just can't help herself), laughter, and a lot of steamy sex.
Since the failure of her first attempt, Liliana’s books have won awards such as: The Daphne Du Maurier, The Suzannah, The Linda Howard Award of Excellence, The Maggie, and many others. Her affiliations include Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.
Liliana loves to cook, and is addicted to reading, Internet Boggle, kickboxing, and Bones. She lives in a big, rambling house in Texas with a couple of cats to keep her company. She loves to get emails from readers.
Enjoy the Adventures!