TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 October 2010
I read all that Lora Leigh writes, and am used to the Elite Ops series being about guys who are warriors, but who have left friends and family and have had plastic surgery to change their looks in order to be able to fulfil their new undercover roles. I have no problems with each book in the series being a variation on a theme, but this book kind of veered away from the tried and trusted formula a tad, making it that bit different, as well as less `angst-y', which resulted in a relationship that was pretty much on roller skates from the word go!
It's a fairly simple tale of 'nice' girl Mikayla, 26, who designs wedding dresses for a living, and has been working on her own dress for some time, until such time that her dreams of finding Mr Perfect come true, but who, due to witnessing a murder, becomes a damsel in distress. Nikolai Steele is not the knight who comes to her rescue, but has been contacted by the alleged killer, Maddix, to try to prove the latter's innocence, and as Maddix has called in a marker, Nikolai's integrity means that he takes the case, though he is not convinced of Maddix's innocence.
That's basically the tale, but it is different to the rest as Nikolai has no history with Mikayla, unlike the leads in the other tales. What this allows is for Nik to be more open with Mikayla, and he actually tells her upfront and before he becomes her knight-to-the-rescue, that he is working for the accused, but his priorities change when she becomes the target of a shooter, and her life is at risk.
Nik is more open than any of the other Elite Ops team members and reveals his past and his loss to Mikayla, when he realises how good and decent a person she is, before he actually tumbles her into bed. She is a calm, genteel lady-type female lead, so totally the opposite to previous leads such as Kira and Bailey (who make a brief appearance her, together with Kira's husband Ian), that it makes a refreshing change not to have all the arguments, feisty stubbornness and angst that we normally find in this series. She is not a total doormat, but she's not a bolshy female, which I really liked. The sex was pretty plentiful, given that Mikayla was a virgin, but was erotic rather than the 'dirty' type of sex that LL writes about - there were hints, but it was pretty much hot, hot, hot vanilla-ish stuff, which did not disappoint, as it fitted in with the tale and the leads.
What spoiled this tale a touch for me is the usual inconsistencies due to shoddy editing/proof-reading, e.g. Nik's description, made him sound like a tougher, 'buffer', version of Lucius Malfoy, with his shoulder length ice-white hair left loose (hmmm, not particularly attractive to me), yet strangely, later in the book, he was described as tall, DARK and handsome. Elsewhere, Nik drove his Hummer to meet Maddix at his house, yet when he left, the Hummer had transformed itself into a motorbike, on which Nik roared off...? There's also mention of Nik looking at Maddix's son and trophy second wife, and 'knowing' the two are at it, yet at the end, we are told of Maddix's second wife's devotion to him, and that she's trying to give him a baby...I would also have liked the tragedy in Nik's past to have been explained, after all there is mention that he 'was a father', but nothing came of it.
Overall, a decent book, much more enjoyable than the full-of-mistakes-and-inconsistencies Heat Seeker, with 'nicer' leads. Looking forward to Live Wire, out next spring.