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When your past closes in, running isn’t always an option
The jobs Marcus Lowry works for at Phoenix, Inc. Investigations are quick and easy, and they don’t give him the nightmares his days as a CIA operative did. That is, until he gets involved in a case that grabs him by the throat and won’t let go.
Cole Jacobs left behind his old life on the streets to make a name for himself rebuilding high-end and vintage cars and bikes. But when a stalker threatens to kill him—and to hurt anyone who stands in his way—his past closes in on him, and he’s not sure where to turn.
The last thing Marcus wants to do is take on a charity case, and to say that he and Cole don’t see eye to eye at first is putting things mildly. But when the first attempt on Cole’s life nearly kills them both, Marcus realizes that Cole is in real danger, and Cole is forced to reveal everything. Almost everything. Because Cole’s deepest secrets could destroy them both.
Ok, let’s start with the positives. When I read a lot of het romance books, I loved suspense series with mercenaries or PI’s…especially those written by Pamela Clare and Cindy Gerard. Throw in the sillier versions by Kristen Ashley and I couldn’t be more predictable. I love these alpha male characters…it’s my version of fairy tale princes. So sue me.
SE Jakes writes these guys exactly as I like ’em. Gruff, scarred, imperfect heroes who’ve done their time and now make money off their expertise…usually ex special forces (yum). There’s pretty much nothing they can’t do. Think the smarts of McGyver crossed with toughness of The Rock crossed with rugged sensitivity of Hugh Jackman crossed with the hottest looking guy you can think of. Those are her characters. And I eat that shit UP!
No Boundaries is true to SE Jakes’ form. Now, I haven’t read the Men of Honor series, but, as I started this book, I realized, yet again, that she was writing a spin off and kinda just jumped into the middle of a story (this happened to me as I read Dirty Deeds, a spin off of her Hell or High Water series, which I hadn’t read…and thus was thoroughly confused). Calling this book 1 of the Phoenix, Inc series is fine. But, it seems you might enjoy this more if you knew who Law, Styx, and Paolo are. I didn’t, and thus, though I liked them enough, there was too much of these people-I-should-know-but-don’t in this book. I went back to read the blurbs of her backlist to uncover that yes, these guys were introduced in a different series.
Now, the main characters of the book, Marcus and Cole…I was really getting into their story. I was excited from the get go and rubbed my hands together thinking this was gonna be a goodie! BUT…*tire screeching*…
…the EDITING, or lack thereof, RUINED this book for me. I’m not talking about spelling or grammar errors. I’m not even talking about the dreaded mixing up of MC’s names (though it happened once in this book). I’m talking about complete inconsistencies in the story. I’m talking about errors that were unbelievable and that made the story so disjointed that at points it was unreadable. I’m talking POV shifts from paragraph to paragraph (without any formatting “warnings” like a simple extra line space) that made it confusing as to who was talking or thinking at the time. And, sadly, I’m talking about simple research errors that had me scratching my head thinking “I don’t think you can do that in real life”. And it’s disappointing because Samhain is usually really strong with edits and I’m confused as to how none of this stuff was dealt with and corrected.
And the mystery/suspense/whodunnit? Wrapped up so abruptly and so randomly, I was DISAPPOINTED! Oh the potential for this to be INTERESTING, but it felt like the answer was just a throwaway to get back to the romance…which itself became a throwaway.
And just to add one more complaint in: Marcus…my beloved alpha MC. By the end, I didn’t even recognize him. His character was so hot and cold, admirable to stupid, kind to judgemental…and I don’t think in a way that was developed, but rather just slapped together…that I didn’t know WHAT to think about him in the end.
So, I’m torn. I liked the premise. I liked, somewhat, the characters. I may even go back and read the Men of Honor series. And I may read more books in this Phoenix, Inc series. But, I’m also really disgruntled and…frustrated…by the lack of care that seemed to eminate from the final product of this book. It coulda been SO good. And for that missed opportunity, I just can’t rate it higher than 2.5 stars.