Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris (Hostile Operations Team #1)

Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye HarrisAvailable: July 17th 2013 

Type: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Self Pub

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Nikki

The last man she ever wanted to see…
Might be the only one who can save her…
Things are about to get HOT in the bayou!

Evie Baker’s luck just ran out. Thanks to an ex-partner with organized crime ties, she’s lost her restaurant, her money, and nearly all her self-respect. Forced to return to her hometown and work as a shampoo girl in her mother’s salon, she doesn’t think her luck can get any worse.

But then someone starts shooting at her, her sullen baby sister is suddenly missing, and the high school heartthrob who stole her heart—and her virginity—is the only man big enough and bad enough to help.

Captain Matt “Richie Rich” Girard can’t afford to get involved. He’s already on the verge of a court-martial after a Top Secret op gone wrong, and he’s been ordered to stay out of trouble while he’s home for his sister’s wedding.

But when Evie’s ex-partner turns up dead, staying out of trouble is the last thing on Matt’s mind. He failed Evie once before; he can’t fail her again. If he’s going to protect her from a killer, and find her sister before time runs out, he’ll have to risk his entire future—and both their lives—to do it.

Let’s get it out of the way first….that cover is seriously hot. Like “one handed read” hot.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I saw that cover and was like, “I’m reading this book, like right now!” Because damn…it’s hot.

Going into this one I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had just finished a particularly good romantic suspense and so I wasn’t sure this one would live up to the level of awesomeness I had just finished.  In part, it did and in part I think it failed somewhat.

Firstly the story line was action packed and was a total winner with me. There was constantly something happening and that kept me engaged to the book. I enjoyed how Evie was scorned by Matt when they were teens and how she had a hard time allowing him back into her life even when faced with needing his help. I also liked the small town setting and the stigmas that can come along with that. Having everyone know your business is hard enough but when living in a small town no one ever FORGETS your business either. Even years later.

Speaking of the setting…it’s in the south…and Matt is Cajun…and if you know me at all you know how big of a panty dropper that is for me. Lord have mercy I love that accent and everything it entails…but especially the slipping into French on occasion. Matt brings all that to the table and coupled with his military background and loyalty it made him the perfect hero.

Where this one goes kinda off the rails is with Evie. Her character has a rather tumultuous back story. Coming from the wrong end of town her friendship with Matt was unexpected since his family was extremely rich. Her and Matt finally reached the pinnacle of their young relationship with him taking her virginity, then turning around and bragging about it to all his friends before leaving for private school. That left Evie with a reputation for putting out making her last few years in town extremely painful. She finally leaves and open her own restaurant only to have everything taken by a crooked business partner. That business partner ended up taking money from some other not so nice people who seem to think that when he parted ways with Evie, he left something of theirs with her. Now both they and her business partner want it back. She skirted the line of too stupid to live a few times and it made me dislike her on a few levels. Her and Matt find themselves up to their necks in danger with bad guys coming from all angles and yet Evie can’t seem to follow one “stay put” request from Matt. It got kind of old after awhile and I wished she would have just heeded his request once or twice. It’s good to mix it up.

I also wished the heat level would have accelerated a bit quicker. Hot Pursuit is slow to warm to anything past a simmer until much further into the book then I liked.  At times I felt some of the scenes/dialogue could have been cut back a bit shortening the overall story some. When we finally get these two together it was pretty hot but was tempered by Matt’s inability to allow himself any happiness. Still recovering from an epically bad op gone wrong, with his future up in the air, Matt resists his growing feelings for Evie all the way up to the end.

The H.O.T. team is an intriguing bunch of guys and like any military black ops book, perform as a fluid unit more like brothers then co-workers. I look forward to reading more about them in the following books.

I give Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris 3.75 stars!

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