Review: Raw Power by Jackie Ashenden

raw powerTitle: Raw Power

Author: Jackie Ashenden

Year of publication: 2018

The heroine: Socialite/musician Callie Hawthorne

The hero: Ex-marine Jack King

The blurb: They fought for their country. Now they fight for you.

To find the people lost in the shadows, you need the men who live in them. The former soldiers of 11th Hour are unaffiliated, unacknowledged, and definitely illegal. They protect the innocent, destroy the guilty–and capture hearts along the way . . .

Rugged, skilled, and hard-bodied, Jack King’s whole life was the Marines until an injury left him discharged from active duty. But he finds a new purpose when he’s recruited by a special unit that employs ex-military to do very special jobs. Yet he’s not impressed when his first assignment is babysitting the pretty, perfect daughter of a politician–especially when she’s far from the angel she appears to be . . .

Callie Hawthorne hates politics, and she hates playing the part of a senator’s goody two shoes daughter even more. It only gets worse when her father decides she needs a security detail 24/7–and the bodyguard happens to be the most insanely hot guy Callie’s ever seen. Still, she’s not going to be ordered around just because of some half-assed threat to her father. . . . But when it turns out her dad’s no angel either, Jack has to kidnap Callie in order to protect her. And as danger closes in, he’ll need all his considerable talents to keep them both alive. The greater challenge will be to keep his hands off her . . .

Standalone or series: Book one in the 11th Hour trilogy, but can be read as a standalone

The review: When I was talking with the author about this book, she amusingly – and accurately – referred to Jack King as a grumpy dude. But our hero has a lot to be grumpy about; scarred from a traumatic childhood and witness to a horrific incident he couldn’t have stopped, he found his path with the Marines. Leading a team into a hostage situation, he’s advised it may be a trap. But Jack in unable to be patient when he hears the cries of innocent children, so he gives the order to go in… and ends up being the only one left alive after the intel about the trap unfortunately proves to be correct.

Horribly scarred down the entire left side of his body, he is deemed medically unfit and discharged. Lost without the only thing in his life that made sense and gave him purpose, Jack drinks his sorrows away before he’s approached by a woman named Faith Beasley, offering him a job with a private military unit called The 11th Hour. Owned and run by the elusive and mysterious Jacob Night, Jack’s curiosity gets the better of him and he goes to the HQ in San Diego to learn more.

When he learns his first assignment, an interview of sorts, is to be bodyguard to the daughter of a Boston senator whose family is getting death threats, he baulks. But when he’s told he either takes the assignment or leaves, he flies to Boston. Callie Hawthorne is, at twenty-two, almost a decade younger than Jack, and the last thing he wants is to be babysitting a spoilt princess. But when he finally tracks Callie down, he finds her at a nightclub, dancing. Music is the only freedom Callie has in her life, and more time Jack spends around Callie, the more he realises she’s terribly afraid of something. After an amateur assassination attempt on Callie’s life, the discovery of hidden cameras in Callie’s apartment that her father secretly wants put back in, and Jack witnessing a confrontation between Callie and her father, he realises what it is that Callie is so afraid of: Senator Hawthorne.

So he spirits Callie away from Boston without warning back to San Diego, against the orders of his new employer, and her father is furious. But Jack is adamant he is not allowing Callie to go back to the senator, and Callie fears this is her one chance to finally get out from under her father’s thumb. Callie has never known kindness or affection in her life; her father wanted an heir and, after Callie’s complicated birth, her mother couldn’t have any more children. Her parents blame Callie for that, and she is nothing more than a trophy to be paraded in public.

Callie is intrigued by Jack. She knows he has secrets. She’s attracted to the darkness inside him, because she understands what it’s like to have nobody on your side. For his part, Jack finds Callie brings out his protective instinct, and wakes up a side of him that’s been dormant for a very long time.

The senator raises hell, determined to get back the daughter he believes is his property. It isn’t long before Night digs up the dirt on Callie’s father, and the team is called into action to protect her. When he tracks her down anyway, Callie musters up her courage and defies his order to come home, having made the decision that her place is by Jack’s side.

This was a raw, gritty, sometimes dark romance, and it worked well for a character like Jack. Callie balanced out the darkness with some light, and her courage and determination not to let her father dominate her life forever made her an interesting, well-written heroine. I adore this series.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: