Review: Rebellious River by Lindsay Cross

rebellious riverTitle: Rebellious River

Author: Lindsay Cross

Year of publication: Out today! I was kindly given a copy to read and review

The heroine: CIA Analyst/bodyguard Kate Richards

The hero: Special Forces soldier Ethan Slade

The blurb: Ethan Slade was a loner. No parents. No wife and kids. No liabilities. He had one love in his life – the Special Forces. As a member of the elite Task Force Scorpion, he’d been on more near death missions than most soldiers experienced in a lifetime and he liked it. So when his commander forced him to run protection for a senator’s daughter’s wedding, something a mall cop could do, he was pissed..

Kate Richards had a chip on her shoulder. After being fired from her job as a CIA analyst because her boss wanted her in his bed instead of behind a computer, Kate was left without a job or a clue as to what she would do next. So when the commander of an elite SF team asked her to help bodyguard at a high profile wedding, she did what she had to do. She took the job.

After years of ribbing and sexual harassment, Kate wanted nothing to do with men. Period. Especially tall, dark and handsome alpha male operative Ethan Slade.

The last thing Ethan wanted or needed was to give up his life as a roamer, avoiding any attachments or obligations. But neither of them is prepared for the instant eruption of desire at their first meeting.

The two come together in an explosion of passion so potent it will leave them both marked for life. But just as quickly as they’ve come together, Kate is violently ripped from his fingers, and it’s up to Ethan to rescue the woman he’s come to love before he ends up alone again.

Standalone or series: Part of the Men of Mercy series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: This book (which is shorter than a full-length novel, but longer than a novella) was originally titled ‘Ethan’s Promise’ and part of a different series, but it has been expanded and re-released as part of the Men of Mercy series.

It got off to a shaky start for me. Kate Richards has been sexually harassed in her job as a CIA analyst for years. Her boss dangles a promotion in front of her in a private meeting, but tells her that in order to get it she has to have sex with him, and when he makes a move she lashes out at him physically. He then admits he’s already given the promotion to a less experienced male colleague of hers and will tell everyone she’s been sexually provocative, so she tries to blackmail him into the promotion. When he refuses, she quits on the spot and flounces out of the building. As she’s about to leave, a fellow agent tells her about a private team who need a female bodyguard for a job, and it would pay more than she’s earning now. In a pickle because she’s no longer unemployed, she takes it. She later finds out the old boss has been reported several times before, and the higher ups have swept it under the carpet.

While I don’t doubt this happens, I found the whole thing to be a little unbelievable. Why would the CIA repeatedly sweep allegations of sexual harassment under the carpet? Why would Kate want to remain working for a man who continually harasses her and think blackmail’s the way to go? If the meeting was private, how did the other agent find out about what happened before she’d even left the building?

Anyway, stick with it, because the book certainly got better. Kate accepts a job playing bodyguard for the young daughter of a senator who’s marrying a man more than twice her age in what is a marriage of business, not love. While Kate is a former agent, she’s never been in the field so her new boss pairs her up with one of the other operatives working the wedding, Ethan Slade. When they first meet, they’re attracted to each other but neither is interested in acting on that – Ethan doesn’t do relationships and Kate is over men completely.

But when the training starts, the chemistry is undeniable, and it isn’t long before they stop fighting it. What I really liked about this is that they had both planned to seduce the other – Kate made her intentions clear, just as Ethan had booked a hotel room for them for the night away from the base they were training at. I liked that they were equals. Once they sleep together, it’s on for young and old, and they split their time between their jobs and each other.

When Kate, who is posing as a stylist, and the woman who’s been hired as the actual stylist realise Caroline has been all but forced into this loveless marriage, they agree to help her flee on the wedding day. They give the rest of the team the slip, but what they didn’t anticipate was being drugged once in the limo set to take them to the private plane Caroline intends to flee on. Unfortunately for Caroline, her father has some enemies.

Ethan manages to work out what’s going on and he gets to the airport to rescue the trio, but is only partially successful. The book ends on a cliffhanger and is clearly setting the next book up. Who gets rescued? For whom is Ethan too late? What happens to them? You’ll just have to read Rebellious River to find out…