Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#Review + #Excerpt: Shattered Duty by Katie Reus - 4 Wine Glasses

23398887Title: Shattered Duty 
Series: Deadly Ops #3
Author: Katie Reus 
Format: Ebook/Paperback, 336 pages
Published: June 2nd 2015 by Signet
ISBN: 0451419235
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Reviewer: Linda
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses

When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he's finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he's ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own.

Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble.

As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself faced with an impossible choice: either put aside his need for revenge, or save the woman who’s reawakened his soul…

Linda's Thoughts:
“She wanted to know what it was like to be completely possessed by this man. Instead of scaring her, the thought sent the most erotic thrill racing through her. If she was stupid enough to sleep with him, she knew that things between them would end badly, but she wanted Levi in a way that defied logic, and probably her sanity, and she wanted everything he had to offer. Even if she got burned in the end.”

SHATTERED DUTY by Katie Reus is the third book in the author's Deadly Ops series. Each of the books in this series can be fully enjoyed as a standalone if that is your druthers. This book tells the story of Special Agent Levi Lazaro and Special Agent Selene Wolfe. 

When his pregnant wife was brutally murdered two years ago, Levi left everything behind to exact revenge. Now he finally has the names of those who took everything from him that mattered. Nothing will thwart his vengeance and he doesn't care if he dies wreaking it or not as he has zilch to live for once those responsible have paid the ultimate price.

Special Agent Selene Wolfe is hot on the trail of some very bad dudes when Levi interferes with her case. Selene had known that Levi was in the area, but she'd hoped to have completed her mission before Levi appeared. However, while Levi knows the names, Selene has the connections and already has a scheduled meeting with the top villain. Levi and Selene will have to find a way to work together if they want to bring down their common enemy. Selene offers him a deal to work with her, be her backup, and once she gets what she needs, Levi can do whatever to those left. They reach an uneasy truce - neither truly trusting the other. Levi doesn't know it, but Selene owes Levi and his murdered wife for her life.

I can't get enough of Katie's books! This one kept me up till almost 5am in the morning finishing it. Thank goodness I didn't have to go to work that day!

Ooh la la! This was one hot tamale emotional read! I loved both the characters and their chemistry was sweet and hot, hot, hot! Levi was the epitome of a tortured hero. As the book opened, he reminded me of a hunky version of James Bond in an operation that had me on the edge of my seat. Shortly after, we learn about his wife and the competent and loyal soldier we had met had lost his mojo and had walked away from his career. I had no sympathy for the criminals and was pulling for him to find some peace. Selene had a tragic story of her own. She was a prodigy - one smart, talented cookie! I loved them together; they made a great team. I just hoped that they didn't kill each other or get killed in the process.

After all was said and done, I have to say that Levi and Selene's story was my favorite to date. They were each such strong, relatable, compelling characters. Just thinking of how fate connected them in the past and the present still boggles my mind.

I had one very small complaint about the book. It started off with a wham-bang... then there was a lull that I now understand was needed to fill in background info - but it was a bit confusing for me at the time and the pacing threw me for a loop after such a fast beginning. Thank goodness, the pace picked back up shortly after and then held my attention never letting go until the very end.

Previous characters from former books make an appearance including Jack Stone from TARGETED, Deadly Ops Book #1. Wesley Burkhart, Dax Costas, Nathan Ortiz, and Karen Stafford are other NSA agents who played a part in this one.

I can't resist sharing two favorite quotes showing the humor (yes, there was humor!) and the raw emotion in this tale - but since we're also sharing an excerpt, I'll keep them really short: 

“If you wanted a peek at my dick I would have sent pictures," Levi growled.” 

“You strip away every ounce of civility in me, Selene” - Levi” 

The surprising finale made me totally forget to breathe. I can honestly say that I never anticipated the twists at the end. AND the epilogue was wrap-up perfection. (Thank you, Katie!) The action sequences were heart-stopping amazing with well-orchestrated build-ups to lots of danger and excitement. This one had it all: murder, bio-terrorism, kidnapping, rescue missions, and tit for tat retribution. I highly recommend SHATTERED DUTY to anyone who enjoys the adrenaline rush of a very good tale of romantic suspense.

Suggested Reading Order:
Targeted (Deadly Ops, #1) - Review | Purchase
Bound to Danger (Deadly Ops, #2) - Purchase 
Chasing Danger (Deadly Ops, #2.5) - Review | Purchase 
Shattered Duty (Deadly Ops, #3) 
Edge of Danger (Deadly Ops, #4)  - Pre- Order November 3rd


“That grip tightened again but this time he started rubbing his first two fingers against her neck in a soft little rhythm. The action was almost erotic. Or maybe that was just the effect he was having on her. She could feel his gentle stroking all the way to the pulsing point between her legs. Maybe she had mental issues that this man was turning her on.

He leaned closer, skimming his mouth against her jawline and she froze. Just completely, utterly froze. “Are you meeting Tasev?” he whispered.

She’d told herself to be prepared for this question, to keep her reaction under wraps, but he came to his own conclusion if his savage curse was anything to go by. Damn it, Wesley was going to be pissed at her, but Levi had been right. She had operational latitude right now and she needed to keep Levi close. They needed to know what he knew and what he was planning. Trying to shut him out now, when he was at the party specifically to meet the German, would be stupid. Levi had stayed off their radar for two years because he was good. Of course Wesley hadn’t exactly sent out a worldwide manhunt for him either. About a year ago he’d decided to more or less let him go.

Now . . . “I met with the German earlier tonight. He squeezed me in before some of his other meetings.”

Levi snorted, his gaze dipping to her lips once more, that hungry look in place again. It was so raw and in her face it was hard to ignore that kind of desire and what it was doing to her. “I can understand why.”

Even though Levi didn’t ask she decided to use the latitude she had and bring him in on this. They had similar goals. She needed to bring Tasev down and rescue a very important scientist—if he was even the man who’d sent out an emergency message to Meghan/Wesley—but that didn’t mean she couldn’t let Levi have Tasev once she’d gotten what she needed. “I’m meeting with Tasev tomorrow night.”

At her words every muscle in Levi’s lean, fit body stilled.

Before he could respond, she continued, “I’ll make you a deal. You can come with me to the meeting—if we can work out an agreeable plan—but you don’t kill him until I get what I want. I have less than a week. Can you live with that time line?” She was allowed to bring one person with her to the meeting so it would be Levi—if he could be a professional and if Wesley went for it. And of course, if Tasev did. They had a lot to discuss before she was on board one hundred percent, but bringing along a seasoned agent—former agent—like Levi could be beneficial.

Levi watched her carefully again, his gaze roaming over her face, as if he was trying to see into her mind. “You’re not lying. Why are you doing this?”

“Because if I try to shut you out you’ll cause me more problems than I want to deal with. And I don’t want to kill you.”

Those dark eyes narrowed a fraction with just a hint of amusement—as if he knew she couldn’t take him on physically. “And?”

“And . . . I owe you.” Selene didn’t explain because she knew he’d think she was referring to when Meghan saved her life. That was fine with her. Telling him exactly how she owed him would strip her open too bare and she wasn’t willing to let anyone see that vulnerable side of her.

“Telling the truth again.” He frowned now, true confusion in his gaze. Whether from her words or the fact that she was letting him in on this op. “You plan to try to bring me in after the op?”

“No.” That was actually the truth. Wesley, however, was a different story. But she refused to let her mind go there, knowing Levi would pick up on it.

Levi started to respond when a burst of gunfire from the pool area made them both turn at the noise. Selene automatically moved off the bench, crouching down behind it and to her surprise Levi moved in front of her, blocking her even though they were too far away to be in any danger from what she could hear.

“This is what happens when you get a bunch of criminals under the same roof,” he muttered.

She snorted in agreement. “I’m leaving using the beach. You’re free to join me.” There hadn’t been any more gunfire so likely the guards had the situation under control but she wasn’t heading back up there. She’d already had her meeting so she had no reason to return.

Now he snorted as he turned to face her, still crouching low. He slid his long, callused hands down her bare arms. This time she couldn’t hide the shiver. “Oh, I’m joining you,” he murmured, a seductive note in his voice.

But the timing was all wrong. For once she wished she understood the opposite sex more. What was he doing? She’d already told him he could come on the op with her. Her nipples tightened and her body hummed with a strange anticipation as he lightly held her wrists in both hands, his thumbs rubbing her inner wrist in small circles. She started to pull back and he let go of one of her wrists. As she pushed out a sigh of relief, the feel of cold steel skimmed her skin just as the soft snick of handcuffs clicked into place.” 

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