Monday, June 22, 2015

review || EXIT STRATEGY { blog tour }

Exit Strategy by Lena Diaz

Publisher: Avon (6/30/2015)
Series: EXIT Inc, book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Tasty Book Tours
Purchase links || amazon | bn | itunes | kobo | publisher || add to goodreads

Rating: ★1/2

Lena Diaz launches her thrilling new series featuring the undercover vigilantes of EXIT Inc. with a skilled operative putting his life—and his heart—on the line for a woman in trouble...

When Sabrina Hightower awakens to the sound of an intruder, she figures he's there to rob her, murder her— or worse. She doesn't expect to be carried off by a muscle-bound stud with male-model good looks... or that he came to rescue her.

Mason Hunt became an enforcer with EXIT Inc. to eliminate the bad guys—terrorists, militia groups, all those who would do America harm. But his latest target is innocent. If EXIT could lie about sultry, strong-willed Sabrina, what darker truths might they be concealing?

Going rogue in the rugged North Carolina Mountains, Mason risks everything to keep Sabrina close, especially now that EXIT's lethal assassins are chasing them down. The heat is on... but it's nothing compared to the slow burn of seduction.

about Lena || Originally from Kentucky, romantic suspense author Lena Diaz also lived in California and Louisiana before settling in Northeast Florida with her husband, two children, and a Shetland Sheepdog named Sparky. A Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist, she's won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and has been a finalist for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. She loves to watch action movies, garden, and hike in the beautiful Tennessee Smoky Mountains.

{ excerpt } .
She wasn’t sure who was more surprised. Her, because he’d managed to break into her home, again, in spite of three bodyguards. Or him, because she was naked.

One thing was for sure, he wasn’t shy about enjoying the view. His dark gaze roamed leisurely over the upper swells of her breasts crushed against his chest, before he looked her in the eyes. The sudden pressure against her belly told her he wasn’t unaffected by her nakedness.

Her face flamed and she tried to tell him to let her go, but her words came out muffled against his hand. His erection continued to harden against her belly, and since that’s where her hands were trapped between them, she was literally getting a handful of him.

A flash of heat swept through her, making her lower belly clench and her toes curl against the floor. To her shame, her body was just as turned on as his, and the shiver that swept through her was just as telling as his erection.

His mouth curved in a knowing smile.

Damn him.

He bent down toward her. Was he going to kiss her? She hoped so. Because this time a Kevlar vest wouldn’t save him from her bite.

But instead of kissing her, he pressed his lips close to her ear, his warm breath tickling the fine hairs on her neck.

“We need to talk,” he whispered, his lips brushing against her skin, raising goose bumps. “I’m going to move my hand. If you scream and alert the guards downstairs, I may be forced to kill them in self-defense. Neither of us wants that. I just want to talk to you. That’s all. Do you understand?”

He waited, his body pressed against hers so tightly that she could feel his heartbeat against her breasts. She didn’t doubt what he’d said. If she screamed, he really would kill the men tasked with protecting her. She slowly nodded, letting him know she understood and that she wouldn’t make a sound.

“Only whispers,” he said. “We’re going to have a calm, quiet conversation.”

She nodded again.

He moved back, just enough to pull his hand away from her mouth.

She licked her dry lips.

His erection pulsed against her hands.

Part of her was so mortified that she wanted to crawl under the bed and hide. The other part, a part she didn’t even recognize, wanted to stroke that impressive erection through his jeans just to see how he’d react.

“Please,” she whispered, refusing to meet his gaze, afraid he’d see the confused jumble of fear and desire roiling inside her. “Let me get dressed.”

Surprisingly, he immediately stepped back.

The heat in his gaze reminded her that she was still standing there, completely naked. She ran into the bathroom for a towel.

{ review } .
Just in time for the end of Laura Kaye's HARD INK series (so very sad it's coming to an end), here comes another series that I feel will deal with short periods of time, quick romance, but a giant mission.

This story takes place over five days. Yes. Five days.

Hero to lover takes about three, if I recall, and the first "I love you" is exchanged on day four. Or maybe it was early day five. But whatever the time frame, it was quick. But like those HARD INK books, I found myself not caring.

I love when books start with a bang, and EXIT STRATEGY certainly does. We begin this five day adventure with Sabrina stumbling around the house she's currently renting, after she heard an intruder break in. Her arm is bleeding and she's trying to find the best way out of the house without being caught; problem? She doesn't have her glasses and she can't see ten feet in front of her. Just as she can almost taste freedom, she's grabbed.

And so begins the acquaintance of Sabrina and Mason.

Mason works for EXIT, Inc, an enforcer 'company' that does the dirty work that alphabet agencies are hand-tied to do, that is hidden behind the public face of a tour company. When laws and rules get in the way, EXIT (the enforcer side) gets called in and does the deed before the bad guy gets away with any more deaths -- and Mason has carried out a number of these missions.

After a bad tour overseas, he was recruited to this company and while he sometimes questioned the marks early on, afraid that maybe the person was innocent, in the recent years he stopped wondering. Before he came out to complete this mark, the killing of Sabrina Hightower, he heard from an old friend that this particular file may have been falsified. While Mason doesn't completely believe it can be true, he wants proof before he kills Sabrina -- because while he may be a killer, the man has morals.

Immediately, he's drawn to her spunk and her will to fight. Sabrina pulls some risky moves and puts herself in danger, but quickly Mason learns that he is drawn to this little woman with long black hair and pretty blue eyes. He learns that the hit was faked, and now he's doing whatever he can to keep her safe.

As has been my theme in my last few reviews, I want to bring up those dreaded side stories. Like I've said a number of times this last week, I typically don't read them. Hear the bad guy's side? Nah, don't care for it -- surprise me. But I found myself wanting to know; I found myself reading because I was curious how in the heck good girl Sabrina, who loved her Grampy, was good with money, moved across the country to try and avenge (as well as find) her grandfather, yet had a quick hand with a gun (and knew precisely what gun she preferred), got caught up in the mess that was EXIT, Inc. There were things that surprised me, and yes, still people that bored me but hey -- I read the parts I don't typically read, so for that -- good work, Lena!

I very much enjoyed Sabrina and Mason's story. I loved that he shortened her name to Rina; I loved the gut-wrenching fear he felt multiple times where she was concerned. Also, I enjoyed meeting Devlin and Emily Buchanan -- to which I was certain that they must have had a story of their own at some point so I GoodReads'd that and found out that they do (TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP with the DEADLY GAMES series), and that this EXIT, Inc series is a spin-off.

So while yes, this was 'quick love', there were no promises of rings at the end -- and I appreciate that. Yes, the words 'I love you' get muttered in a moment of panic (although the words are true), and the idea of forever gets thrown around at the end, but this couple has been given room to grow in the series, and I'm so excited to watch it happen. Sure, Mason and Sabrina had extremely serious moments, but they also had playful moments that help assure the reader that what they have growing between them is more than adrenaline and sex.

This series will be about the take down of EXIT, Inc with Buchanan and company -- or so I assume. And as for the next book? Our leading lady is none other than our villain's daughter. Excited much?! I cannot wait... but I must.

Until December.

Late December.


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