Series: Deadly Ops #5
Published by Signet
Publication Date: March 1st 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Buy Online: Amazon ♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ Kobo
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
The explosively passionate new Deadly Ops novel from Katie Reus, the New York Times bestselling author of Edge of Danger.
After being wounded in action, NSA agent Nathan Ortiz comes home to Miami, eager to return to duty. But he doesn’t expect his newest mission to lead him straight to the one woman he loved, lost, and has never gotten over.
A beautiful, successful restaurateur, Amelia Rios enjoys giving back to her community, especially to struggling women. Then a woman she recently hired stops showing up for work, and, unfortunately, she isn’t the first to go missing.
Soon Amelia finds herself thrust into a shadowy, dark world, working side by side with Nathan, the only man she’s ever loved. They must confront old feelings as they battle a ruthless enemy preying on the poor and weak. The heat simmering between Nathan and Amelia could mean a second chance for them—but first they have to survive.
This is one second chance story I can definitely get behind. A tough, fearless heroine and a strong but slightly vulnerable hero get a second chance at happiness while facing off against a powerful adversary in this action-packed, suspenseful and passionate romance.
NSA agent Nathan Ortiz’s new assignment is a tough one. The mysterious disappearance of women in Miami has come to the attention of authorities and he’s part of the task force sent in to investigate. Returning to Miami brings back memories of his first love and his half-formed plan to reconnect with her but he does not expect to find her at the center of his investigation and he’s definitely not willing to sit by the sidelines while she gets further embroiled in the danger surrounding the case.
Amelia Rios overcame a challenging upbringing to become a successful businesswoman and is always willing to give others a hand up, so when her restaurants are linked to the missing women, she’s determined to find justice for them even at the risk of danger to herself and even though it means working side by side with the only man she’s ever loved, the same man whose heart she broke. The chemistry between them is still as hot as it was in the past, but Amelia knows she has to come clean about the secret she’s been keeping in order for her to have a chance at a future with Nathan.
This is my first book in this series but I’ve read other series by Ms. Reus and as usual the story is solid, well-written and completely absorbing. Amelia is smart, shrewd and displays an amazing strength of character, willingly putting herself in danger to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of the women. Nathan on the other hand is mostly rational except where it involves Amelia’s well-being, then his inner caveman comes out to play, which I loved especially because she’s up to the task of handling him, by being either soft or forceful when needed. I love that the connection between them remained alive in the twelve years they spent apart.
I definitely will recommend this book to anyone looking to read about a show stealing and fearless heroine or a very great second chance story. This is really a stand-alone book because it completely focuses on the primary couple and only mentions characters from the other books in passing, so there is no compelling need to read the previous books before this one, but I would recommend reading the previous books (which I plan to, soon).
“I’d like you to meet an associate of mine,” Iker murmured, slipping his arm around her waist in the same way he’d done with Naomi, only this time his grip was tighter, less casual. Definitely a male-territorial thing, if she had to guess.
When she turned in his arm, looking up to meet his associate, she shouldn’t have been surprised to see Nathan. But the shock of seeing him up close was a punch to her senses. Blood rushed to her face and she inwardly cursed her reaction.
“Amelia, this is Miguel Ortiz.”
Miguel? Nathan’s eyes were the same dark espresso she remembered. She didn’t know what to make of the name Miguel but didn’t comment on that. If he was using another name, she figured he didn’t want to admit they knew each other. So she didn’t acknowledge that she knew him, instead smiling politely as she held out a hand.
He took it, shook her hand almost stiffly, formally. It was weird touching him again after so long. Just feeling his skin against her brought up far too many memories. Ones that should stay buried. The man had always been so talented with his fingers and mouth. So, so talented. Something she shouldn’t be thinking about.
“A pleasure to meet you.” His words were raspy, but it was clear he didn’t plan to acknowledge her either. Okay, so he was definitely using an alias.
She’d be lying if she said she wasn’t curious why. No matter what, she certainly wasn’t going to call him out in front of anyone else. She swallowed hard, forcing her throat to work. “You too.” Two words—she was a freaking rock star. She swallowed again, this time subtly. “Are you in antiquities too?” she asked, looking between the two men, thankful that she seemed to have herself under control.
Nathan looked at Iker, something dark in his gaze. “Something like that.”
She wasn’t sure what passed between them, but Iker seemed annoyed. He was still all charm, but something had shifted.
“Would it offend you if I asked your date for a dance?” Nathan asked, his gaze perfectly placid and polite. But there was something in his eyes she couldn’t get a handle on.
“I don’t speak for Amelia.” Iker’s voice was butter smooth.
Now Nathan turned that laserlike focus on her again. “Will you dance with me?”
A soft Cuban beat filled the air as the lights dimmed a fraction. “Uh . . .” She glanced at Iker. She didn’t want to be rude and they’d both already danced with other people earlier in the evening. Still, it felt as if it might be impolite to say yes, but she really wanted to talk to Nathan—or Miguel—and ask why he was using another name and why he was in Miami. For a brief moment she wondered if he was in some sort of criminal business, but almost immediately she discarded that idea. The Nathan she’d known had seen the world in black and white; he’d been so damn honorable about everything. Since she wasn’t going to find out by guessing, she let her curiosity win. “Do you mind?”
Iker’s expression was soft as he shook his head. “No, but save the next one for me.” Surprising her, he kissed her forehead in a sweet gesture.
Before she could react or think, Nathan took her hand and she found herself in his arms. She was glad she’d worn heels so she was better matched for him, height-wise. He was six feet tall, the same as Iker. But Nathan’s presence was somehow bigger, more intense. Of course that was probably just to her, not the entire room.
As one of his big hands landed on her hip, more of those stupid memories pushed themselves up, including the one of her at his school’s prom. It had been so damn cliché, but they’d lost their virginity to each other after the prom. It was a sweet memory, one she’d always cherished. Despite the surreal quality of the situation, she wanted to lean into him, to soak up all of him. It had been so long since she saw him, since she ended things with him in the worst way possible, and it was difficult to believe he was here. She still felt guilty about the way she’d cut him out of her life so abruptly.
“The beard’s new,” she murmured as they swayed with what could have been a practiced rhythm. It seemed that years of separation didn’t affect that. Their movements might as well have been choreographed.
To her surprise, the hint of a smile played across those full lips. “How long have you been with Iker Mercado?”
“I don’t answer your questions, Miguel, until you tell me why you’re calling yourself—”
The grip on her hip tightened, a clear indication for silence, before he gently spun her in time with the steady beat. She was incredibly grateful for the simple three-step dance pattern. Unlike some of the complicated dances from earlier in the evening, this one she could do without thinking. Which was good because way too many questions invaded her mind. He was obviously being secretive for a reason, and she wanted to know why. Her mind circled back to the criminal angle, but she couldn’t make that work in her head. It just didn’t fit. Still, twelve years had passed. People changed.