Series: Flashpoint #2
Author: Rachel Grant
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Format: Unabridged Audiobook, 11 hours and 24 minutes
Published: November 21, 2017 (Audible Studios)
ISBN: ASIN: B0772YW3MY
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Audible
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
When a food storage depot in famine-struck South Sudan is torched, American aid worker Brie Stewart flees, only to land in a market where she’s the next item up for auction. Is the attack on the aid facility another assault upon the war-torn fledgling democracy, or has her family set her up as a pawn in their quest for oil rights?
Chief Warrant Officer Sebastian Ford crossed paths with Brie years ago when she was a shill for her family’s company, pushing a pipeline that threatened his tribe’s land. Determined to lead the rescue operation to save her, he won’t let her abduction—or the attraction that flares between them—get in the way of settling their unfinished business.
The Green Beret’s skills are put to the test in the flooded grasslands of South Sudan, where they must battle nature and dangerous factions who are after more than oil. Bastian and Brie put their hearts on the line as they find themselves embroiled in a conflict that extends beyond country and continent. Together they must douse the spark before it reaches the flashpoint and engulfs everything they hold dear.
“So, your friends call you Bastian. Your enemies call you asshole. What do lovers call you?”
“Why do you want to know?”
She smiled up at the stars. “Future reference.”
Catalyst by Rachel Grant is a wild ride from the starting gate. Don’t expect it to let up from there as the momentum of this roller coaster ride does not ease until the final paragraphs. The couple’s adventures are imbued with twists and turns I never imagined without a single dull moment! I laughed, swooned, cried and was both amazed and dismayed. It’s the first book I’ve ever read by Rachel, but it won’t be the last as I already have the book that preceded this one, Tinderbox, queued on my phone ready to hit play.
I had absolutely no issues reading Catalyst as a stand alone. I understand that the hero in Catalyst was first introduced in the series debut and I will be enjoying Tinderbox soon!
The two main characters, American aid worker Brie Stewart and Chief Warrant Officer Sebastian Ford were both great characters who I found it easy to relate to. She’s smart and thinks on her feet. By her choice, Brie is estranged from her family. She was born into wealth and privilege but is now committed to doing her part to fight what her family stands for.
Sebastian is a Native American who has risen through the Green Beret ranks to be second in command of his unit. He is proud of his people and of his country. Years ago, he saw Brie before she walked away from her family promote putting a pipeline through his tribe’s native land. He was repulsed by what she stood for, but was physically attracted to her even then. She was his forbidden fruit.
Now, years later, their paths cross again. Sebastian has a hard time believing that the Princess Prime he knew before could have changed into the caring individual she seems to be today. He can’t help but think that she’s putting on an act. They have words. But, weeks later, when her camp is attacked and she is kidnapped, Sebastian is determined to be involved in her rescue.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Catalyst:
“I’m an aid worker. I’ve been helping South Sudanese people who’ve returned to their villages after being displaced by the civil war prepare for the rainy season, which, by all accounts, is going to suck elephant dicks this year.”
“Ten years ago, I attended a community meeting for an oil pipeline proposal PE was ramming through the environmental impact process in eastern Washington. I sat in the front row as you defended PE’s plan to destroy an important Traditional Cultural Property to build a pipeline that would bisect the state from the Canadian border to the Columbia River. You had no respect for the sovereignty of tribes over the land. Your plan lacked even basic environmental protection for air and water, but you defended it because you didn’t give a fuck about air Indians breathe or water Indians drink.”
“I’m going to make an exception for you. If you want to study me – every inch of me – I’m willing to be your lab rat.”
“Well, I’d need to have research questions if it’s going to be a valid scientific endeavor.”
I listened to the audio edition of Catalyst for which Greg Tremblay is the exceedingly able narrator. His strong and clear voicing of the story and the characters is excellent. He consistently distinguishes between each of the characters – male and female - with voices that sound genuine exuding emotions that added to the graphic and stirring nature of the tale. The end product is polished. His outstanding performance kept my attention captivated. I look forward to hearing him again.
Catalyst is hot and steamy, but also sweet and caring. It’s a romantic thriller on steroids, and an eye-opening lesson on social responsibilities, status and consequences. It’s fast-paced and action-packed. The ending is warmly satisfying as far as the main characters’ futures, but, as the author notes, the future for the Sudanese region is not rosy. Awareness that we can make a difference is a first step in making change happen. Rachel brings this cognizance to the forefront in a highly entertaining format and I applaud her for doing so. If you enjoy riveting edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense set in exotic locales with excellently-plotted intricate storylines, I’d highly encourage you to check out Catalyst!
Suggested Reading Order:
Tinderbox (Book #1)
Catalyst (Book #2)