I woke up at 2:30 pm yesterday afternoon, saw an apartment, went to the gym, worked a night shift, and here I am, ready for bed.... (except I'm still in my scrubs so maybe just mentally I'm ready for bed).
Except I read a really good book and I just have to write about it, because if I don't, I'm afraid I'm going to lose all the excitement I have about it and the review will just fall flat.
...which is what I should have done with all the Cristin Harber books I've read, but guess I'll just have to re-read them specifically for this here blog. Such a hardship. Mia and Colby? Cash and Nic, times two? Rocco and Cat? Yeah... I think I can maybe handle another round of them.
But they're Titan. Let me tell you about Delta.
Delta: Retribution is the first book (novella) in a spin-off of the Titan series Cristin is writing (Roman and Parker still need full-time permanent loves). But while Roman and Parker are moseying about their business, Jared, aka Head Honcho, Mr. Boss-man himself, has put together a new team -- a ghost team. To lead said team is his once-second-hand-man, Brock (who wronged Jared once upon a time, but I'll go into all that jazz when I go back to the rest of them Titan boys). Brock and Jared go and search out a certain Trace Reeves, former SEAL who has some emotional baggage and a rather large demon that is keeping him as firmly away from four-walls as possible.
Hit the brakes. Let's go back a bit. How about to where we first meet Trace?
Trace first meets this fiery red-headed lady (Mallory?) and after a hot night (why is it with this unknown woman he can finally breathe again, that everything slides back into place?), and promise of more in the morning -- well, he gets walked out on. Women don't walk out on men. It's the other way around... So why is he so jilted over this girl's leaving?
While it nags at him, he moves on. He's not a forever-and-ever, fairy tale guy. NOW.... Now, here come Jared and Brock pounding on his door and offering him a pass to pretty much do whatever he has to do to fight his demons. He just needs to answer to Titan, and Uncle Sam will let him go and revenge his twin brother's death.
Reluctantly... with some outside prompting... he joins the team. However, much to his dismay, the team is grounded nearly immediately into this newest unwanted adventure and he's given keys to a fancy car and a townhouse. Nice... but four walls that close in on him.
Not what he signed up for.
Luckily for him, the team is called in for a mission before he can tear down the walls. As a ghost team, Delta is given little detail -- they get the information they need to perform their extraction and that's it. No need for personal information.
Go in, get the girl, get out.
But when they get the girl, her voice is familiar.
Her stance is familiar.
The attitude of the woman holding a gun in his face is familiar.
Turns out Mallory, or rather Marlena, is pretty brilliant in the science department and has the ability to produce a pretty dangerous virus.
Marlena has grown up with a belittling father who leads her to believe she will never amount to anything. No one will love her, no one will appreciate her, she's stupid, and has nothing to offer to anyone or anything. When a person is told that enough, they believe it.
So yes, she walked out on Trace... but there wasn't anyway in hell he actually had wanted her to stay anyway.
So why, then, after they part ways when this gig is up, does he keep calling her? And when she hangs up on him, he shows up? Or why when he hangs up on her.... she shows up by him?
The two are drawn to one another -- both are pieces of a whole. Both have issues. Both have moments of crazy. But when the two are together, Marlena feels a little bit like the fairy tale princess Trace calls her, and Trace doesn't feel the walls closing in on him.
They work well together.
...even when they have a little tift (which Rocco would have loved to witness, no doubt in my mind, because there are so many holes in the conversation), they keep up with eachother:
"You're a hot, bossy mess, Cinderella."
"I said I was sorry," she said.
"Doesn't mean I can't call you on it."
"What the hell are you two talking about?" Ryder asked.
In Titan fashion, Ryder would be Rocco... but really, Rocco just watches, amused, with his head volleying between the sparing participants. He enjoys a good soap opera.
Anyhow, I digress.
I love how Mar, as insecure as she can be, is truly courageous around Trace. He makes her a stronger person. When he starts pulling her emotions around (come here, do this, I want you, I don't want you, we don't work), she calls him out on it and accurately pins him as selfish, stating he's 'the one fucking with [her]'.
And maybe it just takes Cinderella to run out on him one last time, fires blaring and words haunting, to make him realize the fairy tale could actually work for him.
Trace, as secure in himself as he is, needs Mar to ground him. She makes his life make sense. With her, he's happy. He was happy right away around her, but he felt like he was dishonoring his brother by being happy and moving on with his life. Mar helps him past that.
I did also enjoy the non-conversation Trace had with Brock, when Trace was trying to be all manly and prove it was ok for him to have a girl at home, because hello, Brock had a girl at home, too. ...and then Brock put him in his place by throwing out the accurate title of 'wife'.
... ... ... to which after a few seconds, he then backed up by saying that yeah, maybe they met when he and she were Trace's age.
And while it wasn't a full conversation (because Brock's own demons aren't ones I see him airing out to the new guy on his team anytime soon), I think it definitely helped push Trace in the direction he ends up.
I once wrote Cristin, begging for an ARC of one of the Titan books, saying that I loved her style of writing, and that she was my new Maya Banks. Titan is right up in the ranks with my love of KGI.
Delta, I am 1,000% sure, will live up to it's hype.
I'm so very extremely excited to read more.
Currently found in the Hot Alpha SEALs Megaset: