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Hard Target

(Elite Ops #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  363 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The first installment in the Elite Ops series, featuring sexy ex-military men ... and the women who rescue their hearts.

Former DEA agent Leland Hollis wasn't planning on being a hero. Recovering from an injury sustained during a drug bust gone wrong and with more personal demons than he cares to admit, he wants nothing more than peace and a chance to rebuild his life. But
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by Avon Impulse (first published November 12th 2013)
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  363 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Cindy ~
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very fasted paced with tons of action and drama.

The two main characters certainly have their fair share of problems. Anna Mercado is in Mexico to give her son who needs a heart transplant one last vacation with his father before he is admitted into the hospital. Anna had left Max over his infidelities but was willing to reconcile for a short while to make her son happy. When she accidentally over hears Max plotting her death and the kidnapping of her son she takes him and goes to Dallas where h
Barbara Ann
4.5 stars

Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres, and Kay Thomas’ Hard Target has all of the elements of this genre that appeal to me and make the Elite Ops series one I plan to follow.

Thomas has created a compelling plot with mystery, suspense, and romance that increasingly builds in complexity and tension and is chockfull of action, which made this a fast and engaging reading experience. I had a difficult time finding a stopping place because I was so eager to see what twists and turns
Roni Guzman
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this book had suspense from beginning to end. There is some romance in between but this is not your typical suspense/romance book where there is suspense then romance and then back and forth. No this is suspense….suspense…mystery…..romance….action then more suspense… I actually thought it was addicting and couldn’t put it down because I didn’t want to miss what was going to happen next. It starts off with Anna the main character at Cancun taking a small vacation with her son Zach and estrang ...more
Story: 3.5 stars
Narrator: P J Ochlan: 5 stars

The second half the story was eventful, with some good tense moments but the author used some lame, trite devices - a bodyguard fumbling with his weapon's trigger mechanism, giving Leland the opportunity to shoot him. Better to say his weapon jammed than to have Max's personal bodyguard "fumble" with the trigger; using a TV drama serial trope where the cavalry arrives only after the bad guys are killed by the hero.

I d
Books and Spoons
Sep 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Review originally published at
This plot has some original ideas that sets it apart from the regular romantic suspense, but the storyline gets messy. It is a bit too far fetched, and has so many scenarios for the possible reasons why things are turning out as they are,
and with so many secondary characters, it is so easy to lose focus and interest.

Leland is a broken man and tattered agent, being wanted, possibly, by the Mexican drug cartel. He has shut dow
Shirley Frances
Anna has been taking care of her ailing son since they found out he had a heart condition. Her marriage has crumbled, but she intends for her son to lead a normal life and get to know his father. That's how she finds herself vacationing in Mexico with her soon-to-be ex-husband. She's had a few too many margaritas and is thinking of having one last "hurrah" with her husband. It is when she goes up to the suite that her world comes crashing down.

Leland is relaxing on a motel room after a brutal ca
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at The Book Pushers

If you are able, like the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, to “believe six impossible things before breakfast” then you will probably get a kick out of this romantic suspense/bodyguard romance/heroine in jeopardy/mother’s ultimate sacrifice story.

Unfortunately for me, it tripped my “willing suspension of disbelief” meter early in the first chapter. I hung on for the ride because I promised to review this one for Library Journal, and I’m going to have th
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
*** 3.75 ***

For me, this is the first book by this author, as such I was a bit skeptical about what am I going to find.

I was however pleasantly impressed and I can definitely say I like his writing style. What particularly got my attention is how the author is describing not only what the characters do, but what they think or how they think in reacting to some events that they are involved with. This is somewhat fascinating to me, as we are not just told a story of what happens, but we also dive
Kim Byrd
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cartel what?

This was a solid read. The flow of the storyline was good and the characters were well developed. I highly recommend this book. Starting book two now!
Mrs Giggles
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard Target is the first book in a series revolving around yet another agency composed of former SEAL people and what not, because there are never enough of these people who can somehow make billions of dollars to buy the software and hardware needed to start such operations while busy saving the world from evil Middle-Eastern and the occasional, now lamentably out of fashion, Russian and Eastern Europe terrorists. Indeed, there isn't anything in Hard Target that hasn't been seen before.

Anna Mer
Happily Ever Chapter


They met under extraordinary circumstances...

Anna Mercado is the estranged wife of Maximilian Mercado "The Tequila King". She agrees to go to Cancun with their ill son, Zach, to visit Max and allow Zach a mini-vacation before he's due for a procedure that upcoming Monday back in Dallas. When Anna overhears a disturbing phone conversation in which her husband orders that the boy be taken and to kill her and dump her body, Anna grabs Zach and flees back to the States.

Leland Hollis spent a few tou
Dee McGee
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a great romantic suspense. So when I got the opportunity to read Hard Target by Kay Thomas, I jumped on it. Hard Target keeps you on the edge of your seat as you chew through your $30 manicure! There’s action, suspense, heartbreak, and sexual tension that will have you devouring this book in one sitting.

Leland Hollis character is not your typical sexy alpha ex-military guy. He’s fighting some heavy guilt over things in his past and struggling with a physical injuries that have him depende
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Romantic suspense is my favorite genre and I put Hard Target on my Wish List for a future purchase. I ended up buying it at an author signing and was excited to start reading it. However, I found the first quarter of the book a little difficult to get into and struggled to keep on reading. Once I got past that, it picked up and the action moved right along. I liked Leland, a DEA agent on the verge of resigning after a botched assignment. As he recoups in a Dallas hotel, he considers a job offer ...more
Wanderer ♔ Wanderlust ♔
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided for honest review.

This book earned 3.5 stars from me! This book was really enjoyable. It tells the story of Anna Mercado and her son Zach who is very ill and needs a heart transplant. Anna's husband Max is about as horrible as they come, and Anna finds out exactly how bad when she overhears him plotting to kill her and kidnap their son while on a family vacation. Now let me introduce you to the sexy as ever hero of this story, Leland. Leland is a DEA agent who has just testified aga
Angie Elle
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelwiess-arc
***This book was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.***

"Meet me upstairs. I want you and I’m taking you to bed."

And with that opening sentence, we’re off!

This is a story about a man looking for redemption and a woman who would do anything to get her son back, and how maybe they can give each other what they need.

Let’s start with Anna’s character. Anna was so likable. She had strength and determination and she was fighter throughout this entire book. I loved her tenacity. She
Eva Millien
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in the Elite Ops series is a fast action packed thriller that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

Recovering from a drug bust gone wrong, Leeland wants nothing more than to rebuild his life. But when a woman and her son are threatened, he can’t ignore his instincts. When her son is kidnapped, Anna has no choice but to trust this stranger to protect her and her son deep in cartel territory.

The author does a great job of conveying all the emotional turmoil of the characters i
Renee Entress
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
4.7 Star Review - Hard Target (Elite Ops # 1)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Kay. This book includes passion, laughs, heartache, kidnappings, murder, betrayal and a few gun fights.

Anna Mercado is on vacation with her husband and son when she overhears her husband planning her murder and her son’s kidnapping. She goes on the run and is hiding in a hotel when he tracks her down. Leland is staying at the hotel and comes to her aid and saves her. When her son is kidnapped they team up.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the first of this kind of book I've read.
In many ways, it reminds me of "Romancing the Stone", but more fired up.

The action as its intensity at full-throttle all the way through. The chapters are short; usually end with a new conflict development, and always develop spending time resolving some of that conflict. -- As an action/adventure story, this is well formed indeed!
I certainly found it tough to put this book down.

The romance is somewhat secondary to the narrative. Well, the whole s
Zita Martin
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Right now, I don’t know if I want to scream or cry. I don’t get this emotional with books, but I also don’t give this high rating to just any book. I believe this book is worth the highest rating that I could give it.

The storyline was not too intense or too lacking. It was at the right amount to keep me, the reader, turning the pages to find out what would be next.

I was on the edge of my seat turning the pages and then there was small rest spots that still had me turning the page but not biting
I'm a sucker for romantic suspense novels, and I have to say that Kay Thomas's Hard Target novel didn't let me down. Considering this is going to be series, the start is promising.
The novel centers around Leland, a former DEA agent, recently retired from the force, and Anna, mother of a 14 year old boy, Zach, and his rescue mission.
They meet in Dallas, when Leland gets involved in the crisis between Anna and her husband, Max Mercado. Leland saves the day, but soon after,Zach, Anna's boy is kidn
Snarky Mom
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh. My. Gawd. Okay, so it’s obvious that I’ve been bopping around different styles of romance these last couple of weeks, and I have to admit – I was in the mood for some good ole alpha romantic suspense. (Disclaimer: I received a copy of this in exchange for an unbiased review, blah blah blah.) This was SUCH a pulse pounding, stomach churning read. I want sooo much to comment on the core conflict in the book, but it would be too much of a spoiler – just suffice it to say that the moral depravit ...more
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won the book in a Goodreads Giveaway. (:

The book was an ordinary suspence one. However, there were a few things that differentiate it from other books in the genre.
The situation of Zach's health, for instance.
The bargain "suggested" to Anna by Tomas Rivera is another thing. I've never heard of such a thing.
I'm glad that no harm came to any of them, like happens often in books in this genre.

Of course, I always root for the couple to be together and have a happy ending.

I found it a bit annoying t
Monica Pulliam
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW!!! I could not put this book down once I statrted it, it took me a day and a half because of work, but I just finished it.. , I had the privialige to receive an advanced e-reader copy of this book, and I was not dissapointed. It had non-stop action that kept me on the edge of my seat. I had to tear myself away at lunch time to go back to work.

I thought about it the whole afternoon, until I could get home and finish it. I was very pleased with all the action and the simmering love story that
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a first for me on many levels. I've never read a Kay Thomas novel. I don't recall reading an Avon Impulse book. And I am not a huge romance novel lover so I rarely pick them up.
Also note that I did win this in a contest. Not on Goodreads though.

I thought it was a pretty good book. The 'Hero' was super sexy and smart. The storyline was consistent, interesting and packed full of action. All of the characters to me were believable.

I'm not gonna nit pic because it's worth it to pick up if y
Nicole Laverdure
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romantic suspense 4.5 stars!
I have just finished reading HARD TARGET by Kay Thomas. This is the first installment in the Elite Ops series, which are ex-military men and the women that will share their lives. This is the first book that I read by Ms. Thomas. I am so glad to have won this thrilling book! Wow, this was a fast-paced suspense! It had everything I needed in a romantic suspense! I loved her characters Leland Hollis, a former DEA agent and Anna Mercado. It's a beautiful love story and a
Patricia Wissore
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After Leland's protective side gets him involved with Anna's family problems (soon to be ex-husband, child awaiting heart transplant), he slowly falls in love with the protective mother. As they struggle through their own trials, they draw closer together. I loved how the story wasn't a quick jump into bed, but showed 2 people fighting their own needs to protect a child and actually learn to love each other when they weren't looking. I also liked how the secondary characters were written into th ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time reading this author and I am very pleased. I have found another romantic suspense author that I like. I enjoyed the characters. I really liked Leland. Anna was good too, but I found her a little unrealistic at times. I did not give this 5 stars because I was getting confused with all the secondary characters. There were too many to keep track of especially when there was no need to care about them. For the most part, I was able to figure out why they needed Anna, but there ...more
Shavana BeanieBrain Merrick
I was given this book by author for honest review. Leland Hollis is a DEA agent on the brink of retiring after a bust gone bad. Over hearing Anna Mercado talking to her son when her estranged husband breaks in on them he rushes to the rescue. They survive gunfights and explosions but will they survive a mother's willingness to do anything for her child. I literally could not put this book down, Fast paced to where I had to know what was going to happen next it didn’t disappoint. I am eager to di ...more
Pretty good romantic suspense. The writing is spare and well done. Dialogue actually sounds as though it was written as dialogue and not just as exposition. The story of a woman in trouble, enhanced by 1 - teenage son with serious illness; 2 - burnt out DEA guy with need to help people; 3- ugly villians who stop at nothing. Even though the plot seems formulaic, it's better than that. First of the Elite Ops series, and I'll continue on.
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Elite Ops (3 books)
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  • Easy Target (Elite Ops, #3)