Alexi Steele, an agent with the Recovery Enforcement Division (RED), a clandestine branch of the NSA, is unpleasantly familiar with the vast underground world of human trafficking. Heading up an op to bring down the mastermind behind multiple sex trafficking rings takes Lexi's team from their home base in Boston to New York City, where girls from all over the world are being recruited to become models, only to find themselves enslaved as prostitutes. Lexi's a pro, but she can't help but be distracted by a family emergency. Not to mention her continuing frustration that her partner and lover, Nicholas Donovan, is still keeping his past a secret from her. Going undercover to infiltrate one of the clubs where girls are being held will put all of Lexi's considerable skills to the test. The clock's ticking and there's no telling what Lexi will have to do to get the job done.
Cheyenne McCray has delivered another hard-hitting novel with the adrenaline-packed The Second Betrayal. The second Lexi Steele novel is every bit as engaging as the first, though the romance between Lexi and Nick takes a back seat to their op. Lexi continues to be a smart, kick-a** heroine you can respect, and family trauma adds a degree of vulnerability to her character that only makes her more appealing. Nick continues to be one of my favorite heroes (and not just out of those Ms. McCray creates), but he isn't as prominent in this book, which was understandable but still a pity. The secondary characters, heroes and villains alike, are as fully-fleshed out as the story's protagonists, which is one of the things I love about The Second Betrayal. I particularly hope I see more of Lexi's family and RED agent Chandra Kerrison in future novels.
As with the first Lexi Steele novel, The First Sin, Ms. McCray doesn't hold back when developing sadistic villains. This means that The Second Betrayal isn't a "light" book by any means. However, because the bad guys are so evil, I was invested all the more in RED's mission to bring them down. While the mission does take first priority in this book, Lexi and Nick's relationship does have a chance to grow, bringing brief moments of intimacy and pleasure to the page in between the action. Ms. McCray continues to enthrall with The Second Betrayal, but she leaves the story with a couple of cliffhangers that have me desperate for the next Lexi Steele novel.
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed