Series: Safeguard #1
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: November 9, 2015
Challenges: NetGalley and Edelweiss ARCs
Buying Links: Amazon* | Kobo | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
He's not the hero she's looking for...
As part of the elite Centurion Corporation team, military-veteran-turned-mercenary Gabriel Diaz is a natural defender. He'll do anything to ensure a mission is successful. Anything but get emotionally invested—he learned the hard way that can be deadly. Easy bodyguard jobs in between the more challenging missions are all he's interested in now.
Maylin Cheng is desperate and running out of time. Her younger sister has gone missing but no one seems to take her concern seriously. Her last hope lies in asking an aloof bodyguard for help. He dismisses her outright, but all that changes when she is almost killed in a not-so-accidental hit-and-run right before his eyes.
As Maylin leans on Gabriel, she begins to rely on him for more than just her safety. But as their attraction grows, so does the danger surrounding them. When the elaborate web they're trapped in unravels, Gabriel will do anything to protect them. Even if that means putting his heart in the crosshairs.
Book one of the Safeguard series
What I Liked:
1) I love romantic suspense. Most romances these days aren't appealing to me rom suspense still does. Of course, the problem with romantic suspense is getting the mix just right. Ideally, it's around 50-50 but usually one element is stronger than the other. This one was a pretty even mix. Bonus? No miscommunication or big drama; the romance proceeds along without those artificial problems. Okay, there's one time where he delays telling her something and she's upset when she finds out but it's not a big drama. They work it out.
2) Gabe is a strong, protective alpha male but he's not dominating, condescending or an alphahole. He's kind yet coolly practical, has a sense of humor, treats Maylin with respect, and good at his work. Unfortunately being good at his work and being coolly practical meant that he, along with his boss, made some cold., calculated decisions. I got soooo mad at at times at their willingness to leave a hostage with their kidnapper because it wasn't financially profitable to attempt a rescue. The good guys were definitely venturing into bad guy territory. But I digress. Gabe is basically a good guy but he's complex and not a simplistic good or bad.
3) Maylin. I really liked Maylin. An excellent cook (and why didn't Drake include the recipes?! Bad marketing decision), a loyal and devoted sister (with, sadly, the cliched evil stepmother, sigh), gentle, hard-working, and utterly determined to do whatever it takes to find her sister and bring her home. Maylin had an amazing inner strength that I envied. She met every obstacle with grace and never gave up. Sure, she got down and felt overwhelmed but she managed to get past that and keep going.
4) I don't know diddly squat about mercenaries or bodyguards except for what I read in fiction or see on TV or in movies but Centurion Corporation came across as very real and believable. They were a business first and foremost, even when a person's life was at stake; their set-up was realistic; and the way they operated came off as realistic. It wasn't just Gabe and his team, a total of 4 people, who went on the rescue but other teams were involved too. The mercenaries weren't supermen who could over overcome any odds.
5) Diversity! Maylin is Chinese American. Granted, Drake indulges in some cliches but still, it was nice not to have your basic WASP heroine. Then there's Gabe's team; 2 of the members are women. Skilled, capable, competent women who are just as good as their male teammates.
What I Didn't Like:
1) I mentioned up above that I was not happy that Centurion Corporation was willing to let someone
who'd been kidnapped remain kidnapped because they wouldn't get paid to rescue them. That's not good guy behavior, that's not moral or right. It might be good business but it's shitty human behavior. The only reason they went in after the kidnappee was because funding magically, conveniently appeared. It was teh definition of deux ex machina. While it sets up an overall story line for the series, I'd have preferred that
Centurion Corporation did the right thing for the right reason.
2) The cliches and stereotypes. Drake herself is Asian American, though not Chinese American, so it was especially disappointing that she indulged in the stereotypes. Another cliche that really grated - the evil ex. And this ex is truly evil. Sadly, it looks as if she'll back for more books, causing trouble. To be fair, she causes only minimal trouble for Gabe and Maylin romantically. The trouble she causes has more to do with the mystery portion of the story. For that, she didn't need to be Gabe's ex. She could still have been a villain without being Gabe's ex. Why do all exes have to be bad? Why can't romance heroes and heroines ever just have an ex? Sure, they broke up but that doesn't have to automatically make them bad.
3) While overall I liked the realism of Centurion Corporation, at times it was too much. Drake went into too much detail, making for some dry passages that I skimmed over. It slowed down the story at times.
"Hidden Impact" (which I keep wanting to type as "Deep Impact", lol) is entertaining, with likable and interesting characters, a romance I was rooting for, and lots of suspense. It's a good start to the series and I'm looking forward to the rest.
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This one was such a man's POV that it made me laugh. Gabe clearly is a minimalist when it comes to decorating. :D I have about three or four throw blankets in my living room alone.
Pillows artfully arranged on a modern-style couch and throw blankets neatly piled within reach. Several. Unless she liked to build forts in her spare time, he couldn't imagine why she'd need so many.