And now for something completely different... a review!
Book 3 in the Devlin Group series, this one features Carmen Olivera and John Gallagher. It opens up right in the middle of the action, with the two stuck in a goatfuck of an op trying to find their way out of what was to be a routine job. Stranded, reliant on each other to get out alive, they give in to the attraction they’ve been fighting for years.
Once again, Stacey keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, on a roller coaster of an adventure. I loved Gallagher, in particular. I loved how open he was with Carmen, how willing he was to put it all on the line. Except that he had the problem all those alpha males have – not wanting his woman to be in danger. When your woman is a covert operative, that’s a problem. Carmen, in addition to having a whole ton of commitment issues, isn’t willing to sit back and let him muscle her out of any work where she’s the logical choice based on her skill set.
Stacey has a gift for writing kickass heroines with issues, and alpha heroes who are just so mushy inside you want to melt. This book delivers two of those heroes, although we’ll have to wait for Jack Donovan’s story (and boy, does it promise to be a good one – I was reminded almost immediately of Gerard’s Dallas & Amy). Gallagher is all that is awesome, with that flaw of wanting to protect Carmen too much. Carmen is prickly, but when she lets her guard down with Gallagher, wowza, the sparks fly, and she is vulnerable and all woman.
I also liked that there was a hint of moral ambiguity in this book – when Gallagher and Donovan go back to finish the job they started. It wasn’t necessary; they already had the Isabelle out. But they went in and assassinated Le Roux anyway. It shows what it must be like living that kind of life on the edge. And Stacey didn’t shy away from it.
Some of the best scenes in the book are those with Jack, and his struggle to maintain his cover and professionalism with Isabelle, the hostage that the team goes in to rescue. Stacey shows his dark side and how his past and his job haunt him. And though he could have easily taken over this book, he didn’t, because Gallagher is truly such a wonderful hero that you can’t help but wait for every page that he appears on and root for him to win Carmen over.
Another area where Stacey shines is in writing humor. Both Carmen and Gallagher are incredibly funny, and have some hilarious exchanges. The humor serves to lighten the tension, but also to bring warmth to these characters - Carmen especially - when they could have otherwise been viewed as simply driven and hard-headed.
A terrific entry in the DG series – with humor, action, romance, angst, and a great setup for a future book without sequel-baiting. Will Jack’s book be the next one? Can’t wait to find out. This book definitely stands on its own, too. You do not have to read the first two in the series, although I highly recommend it!
The Devlin Group Series:
72 Hours: Alex & Grace’s book
On the Edge: Tony & Charlotte’s book
No Surrender: Gallagher (John) & Carmen’s book