Title: Holding Fire
Series: Alpha Security #2
Author: April Hunt
Format: Paperback & eBook, 384pgs
Published: Mar. 28, 2017 by HQN
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Alpha Security operative Trey Hanson is ready to settle down. When he meets a gorgeous blonde in a bar, and the connection between them is off the charts, he thinks he's finally found the one. But after their night together ends in a hail of gunfire and she disappears in the chaos, Trey's reasons for tracking her down are personal . . . until he learns she's his next assignment.
Elle Monroe never expected to see Trey again. The night they shared was incredible, but the last thing she's looking for is a relationship. Now that it's clear she's being targeted, though, she has no choice but to trust this man she barely knows with her life. And Trey's not just determined to keep her safe . . . he's determined to win her heart.
Elle is sick and tired of being a yes woman. When she catches her fiancé cheating on her, she kicks him to the curb. Escaping both him and her overbearing Senator father, she travels with a friend to help build clinics in Thailand.
Trey is in Thailand waiting to get his assignment from his secret former military members Alpha group, when a hot blonde comes up to him at the bar. After one night he knows she's the one he's been waiting for. However, Elle doesn't want to be controlled by anyone ever again and pulls a ditch and run on him.
Trey can't believe it when protecting Elle turns out to be his assignment but now he has even more reasons to never let her out of his sight.
With Elle in danger and a villain lurking in the shadows, Trey has his work cut out for him protecting her and convincing her that sometimes one night stands can last for a lifetime.
"The ship Uncomplicated has already sailed, sweetheart. It is so damn far out to sea, Poseidon himself can't fucking track it. Get complicated with me, Elle. What do we have to lose?"
Second in the Alpha Security series, Holding Fire turns the focus on former Delta Force Trey. If you read my review for the first in the series Heated Pursuit, you'll know the hero was my favorite part of that story. Unfortunately, Trey didn't have the same impact on me as Rafe did. Trey had a bit of insta-lust/love for Elle right away and his character was centralized on getting her to accept they meant to be more than a one night stand. We know at age thirty-four he is done with meaningless sex and wants to start a family and he has a good relationship with his mom. We get scenes of him teasing and getting teased by his Alpha Security buddies and two or three scenes with his mother but I missed a fuller character. I think my disappointment with Trey was because the story itself didn't have a rounded out feel.
The story starts off great with push and pull between Elle and Trey then the added danger of who is trying to kidnap/kill her. However, in the pursuit to keep the reader guessing as to who and why Elle is being targeted, the villain remains deep in the shadows and they kind of become a non-entity in their own suspense story. There is a decided lack of action, until the very end, and after the third or so time Elle is almost captured, I'd be side-eyeing and asking to see Trey's credentials. Most of the story had a very rinse and repeat with how Elle was in danger and her resistance to Trey.
Elle started off as a character I really wanted to know, with her I've been screwed over by my father and fiancé but I'm grabbing life by the horns now attitude. Like with Trey though, the story didn't have enough substance to support her and she ended up kind of becoming annoying with every fifth line out of her mouth along the lines of "I'm in charge of my own life." Which is a great attitude to have, but in the beginning I just wanted her to maybe listen to the professionals trying to keep you alive and later it was more about her incessantly and blindly rejecting Trey, even though she inherently acknowledged she had feelings for him. It was a conflict that started 5% into the story and continued until 95%, way too dragged out.
With the story being a bit flimsy, little imperfections jumped out at me more. Trey's nickname of "sweetness" for Elle seemed just a bit overused and the British team member's continuous use of "bloody" and "love" seemed overdone as if the author really wanted to keep reminding us she was British and this was the only way she knew how. Even though it was only done twice, I'm super done with the whole women in "tight clothing" thrusting their boobs on the poor hero's chest and aggressively flirting with him, regardless if the heroine is right beside him, as was the case once. At least have these women be more suave and do it behind the heroine's back every once and a while. I kid, but I hope you all know what I mean.
The action storyline was lukewarm, it was tiring how long and often the conflict was only the heroine's, at first empowering but then exhausting, "I can't because I must be independent!", and this story wrapped up with just about the most perfect bow you could tie. Seriously, you will be tempted to roll your eyes and I think the author missed an opportunity to write a moving and emotional scene dealing with an issue not commonly found in romance, but fairy tale fans will probably like it as much as I didn't. The charm and heart I talked about in the first did peek out a couple times but the purpose of the story just wasn't there. There are plenty of Alpha guys and gal waiting in the wings and I'll still hang around to give this author another try because her style does lend to romantic suspense fun and hotness. This one in the series didn't match my tastes but the promise of another hero like Rafe will carry me over to the next.
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