Type: Romantic Suspense
My Copy: NetGalley
Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love…
Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…
Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.
As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…
Heroine, Sandra is a top notch, kick ass female who had a black op go horribly wrong. Her faith was shaken and not knowing what else to do she bails, fakes her death, disappears and reinvents herself as someone new taking a job at a local family fun center. What’s more harmless than that right? Except her boss is the smoking hot Casper Grady, ex Marine and the one person who doesn’t seem to believe her extremely made up back story.
When her cover is blown and her past catches up to her, Sandra makes a break for it with Grady hot on her heels. With danger around every corner and no one to trust Sandra decides to confide in her boss but the one thing he seems to want she refuses to give up….her heart.
Let me break it down…..the good….
1. Sandra is a totally kick ass heroine. She plays with the big boys and isn’t afraid of much…yet when her op goes south she’s vulnerable and feels the need to hide that from her team since showing weakness generally isn’t an option. Afraid of never being able to hold her sniper rifle and take the necessary shots again, she runs. Seeking solitude and trying to shake the guys following her she settles in a small town and becomes the manager of a arcade/family fun center. I found it hilarious that this tough woman who only recently set down her rifle was working at such a place.
2. Even when Sandra is faced with opposition she never backs down. What follow is a LOT of action mixed with some sensual scenes where she learns that while she may be deadly with a rifle, she’s still a flesh and blood woman who craves the touch of a man.
3. The man I’m referencing is Casper Grady and boy does DePaul know how to light my fire with her leading man. Damn. This man is strong, loyal, smoking hot and can both annoy and inflame Sandra in the same sentence. A former Marine he can definitely hold his own in a fight but he never seems to have problem conceding to Sandra’s skills either. I. LOVED. HIM. He’s reserved but sensual and extremely determined to not only figure Sandra out but fulfill his promise to himself about protecting those he loves.
4. The loyal-ness of Sandra’s team. What a family-like unit this bunch was. Even in the face of her deception they still had her back once they found out the truth. They came together and helped take down the man responsible of Sandra’s horrible op AND deal with some internal issue’s within their unit.
5. The snarky and totally witty dialogue had me chuckling even in the face of seriousness.
The bad…there’s always the bad.
1. While I enjoyed the voice I thought at times DePaul did more telling of the surroundings/action then actually showing it to the reader. This made certain parts of the book a bit wordy.
2. While both characters were awesome on their own I didn’t really feel the connection DePaul was trying to hammer home. I’m not sure why this was because all the elements were there but the fire wasn’t. I liked them together but didn’t end up ever loving them. This may have been because their romance felt secondary to the story line of Sandra overcoming her past and the villains on her trail.
3. I often felt the need to keep track of the plethora of characters by making a cheat sheet. I chalk this issue up to the freshman information dump that a lot of starter books in a series fall victim to. Even seasoned authors fall into this trap. Not only is there a ton of characters but their individual traits were also hard to keep track of. Confusion would set in every time I tried to figure out who everyone was or if they were good or bad….
I look forward to seeing where DePaul takes this world she’s created. As a debut I think this was a solid beginning to what could evolve into awesomeness. Chock full of fragile emotion and killer action, Exchange Of Fire is worth the read!
I give Exchange Of Fire by P.A. DePaul 3.25 stars!