Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres, and Kay Thomas’ Hard Target has all of the elements of this genre that appeal to me and make the Elite Ops series one I plan to follow.
Thomas has created a compelling plot with mystery, suspense, and romance that increasingly builds in complexity and tension and is chockfull of action, which made this a fast and engaging reading experience. I had a difficult time finding a stopping place because I was so eager to see what twists and turns were waiting for Leland and Anna in their endeavors to rescue Anna’s son, Zach.
DEA agent LeLand Hollis is a swoon-worthy hero, a born protector who is unable to walk away from a “damsel in distress” when he inadvertently gets in the middle of Anna’s crisis with her soon-to-be ex-husband, Max Mercado. Leland has just resigned from the DEA and is still reeling from a disastrous failed bust that has left him physically injured, emotionally scarred, and uncertain about his future. He now questions his ability to intervene and keep others safe when necessary. Although Leland struggles with how involved he should become in Anna’s predicament, his honor and sense of responsibility won’t allow him to just walk away from Anna until her son is found. Furthermore, Leland has suspicions that some of his personal enemies may somehow be involved in the kidnapping of Anna’s son.
Anna Mercado is a wonderful, devoted mother to her gravely ill son, Zach and is willing to do whatever is necessary to find him and get him the medical attention he needs. I was even surprised by the lengths she’s willing to go to so her son can live longer. Her unconditional love is just one reason Leland becomes attracted to her since he didn’t have that same kind of love growing up.
Although Anna is aware that her husband wants her dead, both she and Leland aren’t certain that Max is behind Zach’s kidnapping after Anna gets a ransom note. Leland turns to Gavin, his former DEA partner who has just started his own personal security business for help. One of the best aspects of the book is following Leland and Anna as they journey deep into Mexican cartel country to find Zach and discover who is behind his abduction. Although Thomas subtly foreshadows the abductor’s motivations, the truth is still almost too shocking to fathom.
In the midst of all this danger, Leland and Anna turn to each other for physical and emotional comfort. Although neither one plans for any serious attachments, their attraction and need for each other continue to grow as the story progresses. There are a few steamy love scenes that show two desperate people clinging to each other for hope when they feel their world is crumbling all around them.
Thomas introduces readers to other characters who are part of Gavin’s security company and who will play key roles as the series develops. In addition, she sets up the next storyline before the resolution ofHard Target that has piqued my curiosity, and I’m anxiously waiting for Nick’s story, which is next – and based on the excerpt I read, it looks good!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Link to Review & Author Interview