Mandi Schreiner's Reviews > Hard Core

Hard Core by Jennifer Lowery
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Oct 11, 12

bookshelves: rom-suspense
Read from September 24 to 26, 2012

I’m always in the mood for a romantic suspense book that features a hero who is a mercenary stuck in the jungle somewhere ready to kill some bad guys. I love a sweaty, bug-bitten hero. And by all accounts, Cristian is pretty hot and gruff. He has been assigned to kill Gavin Ross on an island somewhere in the Caribbean Ocean, he doesn’t know much about him except he is the target, and that is his job. As he inches up closer and closer, all of a sudden he hears the click of a dozen guns close to his head. Captured by the man he is suppose to kill, Cristian gets dragged in for interrogation and gets roughed up. Gavin, who is in the business of selling organs, wants Cristian to switch sides and come work for him and tries to woo him by throwing him into a bedroom with a beautiful woman. This provides an excellent opportunity for Cristian to escape, and while he does he is shot in the process. Which leads us to the heroine.

Alana, a doctor, is on this island because Gavin Ross demanded she be there to help him with his operation. With her father dying from cancer, she makes a deal with him to wait for six months before she joins his team. During this time she resides with her father and the local tribe, giving them care. As she is bathing one night she hears thrashing in the woods only to discover Cristian about ready to pass out from his bullet wound. Although he could be working for Gavin, Alana has the strong urge to save everyone and drags him back to her camp to care for him. He is delirious for days, and as he recovers, she starts to learn who he is, and just how dangerous and what bad deeds Gavin Ross can do.

I was disappointed with this book. There are times with some good action scenes and crazy, over the top jungle moments, but overall it just didn’t do it for me. The beginning of the book drags along as Cristian is recovering from his injury and goes back and forth escaping from Alana, and then coming back for different reasons. Action does pick up in the second half, but even then the story feels uneven. We go from jungle action, to back in the US on a ranch with horse injuries. It didn’t feel like a smooth transition. We meet some of Cristian’s fellow mercenaries, but we really don’t get to know them that well. Even more frustrating, Cristian remains a mystery through most of the book. Even at the end, when I think back I don’t know that much about him. His personality is forgettable and his background is never gone into with much detail. We do get a much better grasp on the heroine, and I did enjoy her. While she is tough (I think you have to be living on a pretty much deserted island) she is not stupid and doesn’t try to fight the baddies on her own.

Another disappointment I had is with the sex scenes. With a book full of action, and a hero who kills for a living, I think you need the down and dirty sex scenes to match the tone. Unfortunately, we get very rushed, glossed over sex scenes that barely last a page. We needed a lot more detail.

The romance develops pretty well, but because I didn’t connect with the hero it was hard to root for them. It almost felt as if this was Alana’s story and Cristian is in the background. Too uneven and a disappointing romance to recommend this one.

Rating: C-
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message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I love that cover. Can't wait to hear what you think of this one.


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