There’s a lot going on in this book. The big story in this one was how it made me think of 9/11. There’s a domestic terror plot, and the prime targets are all in New York. Robb unashamedly kills of several hundred people in domestic bombings at prime locations – Madison Square Gardens during a Rangers game, The Plaza during high tea. The team has to determine the next target site, and they mention that it could be the UN, the Twin Towers, or the Statue of Liberty. It was very disconcerting and freaky. Also, the terrorist group is picking up where a previous group left off, after bombing the Pentagon many years before. This book was originally published in 2000, long before 9/11, but after the original UN bombings. Uncanny how she thought that up. Much in the same way my husband and I thought it was amazing how Tom Clancy thought up a scenario with a terrorist hijacking a plane and flying it into the capital and white house in Executive Orders. (for which he took a lot of flak after 9/11)
We meet Zeke, Peabody’s brother. He’s a wonderfully sweet, naïve man, who happens to fall in love with the wrong person. Peabody and Eve’s relationship strengthens as Eve does all within her power to save Zeke from arrest for murder. Peabody learns from Eve, and she also comes to appreciate not just Eve’s tenacity as a cop, but her compassion as well.
Peabody is at her most vulnerable, with her baby brother in trouble, her emotions running high. In steps McNab. Their attraction and adversarial relationship finally takes the next step, as they all of a sudden can’t keep their hands off each other. They are all over each other constantly. It was actually a woohoo moment for me, but Eve is particularly grossed out by it, which I actually found to be a small bit of amusement in a tension-laden story.
There are some incredibly intense moments in this one between Eve and Roarke. They have their first real fight, brought on by her inappropriate brashness and inability to notice how scared Roarke is for her. I liked that she recognized it shortly thereafter, but in true Eve fashion, wasn’t quite sure how to make it right.
I do love the quotes, especially when they demonstrate the relationship far better than I could explain. Following the first bombing, where nobody is seriously injured, but Eve came precariously close to being blown to smithereens, they have this confrontation:
“This is a goddamn crime scene, and I don’t have the time or inclination to stand around and pat you on the head because one of your 6 million dollar buildings got blown to hell. Now, I’m sorry about it and I understand that you feel ticked off and violated, but don’t take it out on me.”She’s finally getting it. Yay Eve! I also loved that by helping out at the disaster scene, Roarke also begins to "get" what Eve goes through as well. Just another example of the growth of equality in their relationship.
He gripped her arms and hauled her up to her toes in a move guaranteed to make her snarl and spit. If his property hadn't been heaved out in a half-block pile of stinking ruin, she might have decked him.
“Do you think that’s the problem?” he demanded. “Do you think the fucking warehouse is the problem?”
She struggled to think through her own temper. “Yes.”
He hauled her up another inch. “You’re an idiot.”
“I’m an idiot? I’m an idiot? You’re a moron if you think I’m going to stand here making clucky noises to your ego while I’ve got somebody blowing up buildings on my watch. Now, get your hands off before I take you down.”
“How close were you to going in?”
“That’s not — “ She broke off, deflating as it hit her. It wasn’t the building that put that wicked light in his eyes. It was her.
Also some humorous ones, as Eve acknowledges her aide’s attraction to Roarke. As Peabody walks in on Roarke examining Eve’s injury and kissing it all better *g*, he asks her how she came through the morning.
“Okay, it was… well actually. She cleared her throat and shot him a hopeful glance. “I got this little nick right here.” She rubbed her finger at her jawline, heart fluttering pleasantly when he smiled at her.LOL!! We now see an acknowledgment from someone other than Mira of the ties between Eve and Roarke. People are always wondering what it is about Eve that so struck Roarke. Peabody makes this observation:
“So you do.” He stepped to her, angled his head, and touched his lips to the tiny cut. “Take care of yourself.”
“Man, man, oh man,” was the best she could manage when he’d left. “He’s got such a great mouth. How do you stop yourself from just biting it?”
“Wipe the drool off your chin, for Christ’s sake.”
“I almost got blown up and got kissed by Roarke all in the same morning. I’m writing it on my calendar."
It was so fascinating to watch them together, she mused. An education in the tug-of-war of relationships. And the way they looked at each other when their minds came together. You could actually see it.Wow. That sums it up nicely, no?
She couldn’t imagine what it was like to be that connected. So meshed that the brush of fingertips over your hair was a simple and absolute declaration of love.
There’s also a scene where Eve apologizes to Roarke for the way she treated him and spoke to him. After an amazing apology where she lays everything out for him – how she can’t believe he’s hers, and how he stops her heart when she just looks at him, it ends thus:
“You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. In my life, you’re what matters most. I love you so much it scares me, and I guess if I had a choice about it, I wouldn’t change it. So… now you can get pissed off, because I’m done.”
“A fat lot of room you’ve given me for that.”
I was more caught up in the suspense portion of Loyalty than I have been in previous books. Watching Eve put all the different crimes together in order to make the last piece fit was terrific. And because of the eerie connection to 9/11, it was all the more riveting. But as always, there were huge strides in Eve and Roarke's relationship, and a move forward for Peabody and McNab as well.