by Sheryl Nantus
Series: Delta Force Brotherhood #3
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: February 26, 2018
Reading Challenges: 2018 Romance Roundabout Challenge
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Trey Pierce has spent years helping the Brotherhood, using his computer skills to dig out secrets and help deliver justice. But there's one mission he's yet to finish–– finding out who killed his best friend. A chance meeting with Ally Sheldon gives him a new lead, one that comes with some baggage.
Executive Ally Sheldon has to find her wayward brother if she wants to save her company. Pretending like nothing is wrong is getting to her. But when the sexy Trey is assigned to her to help her case, focusing on what's most important is difficult. Never in his life has Trey been more attracted to a woman, but she’s hiding something. And that something may just destroy them.
While this is the third in the Delta Force Brotherhood series, each book is a stand-alone, and I had no problems jumping in. The Brotherhood is an organization of ex-military vets who help those who can’t find help anywhere else. Ally gets involved with them when Jessie, the girlfriend of the head of the Brotherhood, agrees to investigate the disappearance of Ally’s adopted brother, Vincent, shortly before a big planned meeting in Las Vegas. While they don’t believe it’s likely he’s been kidnapped, as he has a habit of losing his bodyguard Edgar and getting drunk, he’s been gone for much longer than usual and the upcoming presentation is crucial to the future of the family company.
“Mentally he listed the reasons why he was not, repeat, not going to consider getting involved with Ally Sheldon.
First, she was a client. Maybe not officially a Brotherhood client, but definitely Jessie’s, and he didn’t want to incur her wrath.
Second, and most importantly, she was quite possibly related to a killer. Not the best of circumstances for romance.”
At first Trey, the Brotherhood’s computer genius, can’t figure out why Jessie wants to involve him in the case – until he sees a picture of Vincent. Five years ago, Trey was injured and his best friend killed in a hit-and-run in New York. The case went cold, and the only clue Trey has is that the driver had a red diamond-shaped tattoo on his arm – exactly like Vincent has on his arm. Trey’s need for vengeance for his friend’s death has consumed him, and he needs to know if Vincent was the man responsible. Only problem is, he has to find him first… and deal with his inconvenient attraction to Ally.
“‘But when I showed up on his doorstep, he took me in. Gave me his playroom, the one next to his. And when I woke up at night crying and scared, he would come in and take me down to the living room where we’d sit and watch cartoons all night.’ She looked at Trey. ‘I remember that when he gets out of hand—the little boy helping me cope.’”
Ally is smart, driven, and the brains behind the family company. She’s been content – until now – to run the company behind the scenes while Vincent is the figurehead, taking most of the credit, partly because the construction industry is such a men’s club. Despite having been involved with the company for basically all her life, she’s still subject to snide comments and paternal dismissals because she’s a woman. So, despite the fact that Vincent is a complete jackass, Ally remains loyal to him because he’s family, and because of how he worked to make her feel at home when her aunt and uncle took her in after her parents’ death. Ally is not exactly squeaky clean – she’s almost as much an enabler as his parents, having cleaned up Vincent’s messes several times before – but given the heavy emphasis on family loyalty and the feeling that she “owes” them for taking her in, she came off as a sympathetic character, despite the cover-ups. Like boiling a frog, she’s been trapped in the dysfunctional family bubble for so long that she handles each of Vincent’s incremental transgressions without much grumbling, and it isn’t until his complete disappearance (and the realization of how freeing it is to run the company without Vincent’s meddling) and Trey’s support that his behavior finally tips the scale. And to her credit, when the rubber hits the road, she does the right thing.
“She looked at him. ‘I need you to promise this will stay secret.’
He dragged his finger across his heart, reveling in her answering smile. ‘Scout’s honor.’
‘I somehow doubt you were ever a Boy Scout.’
‘I’m hurt.’ He slid his lower lip out in a childish pout, drawing a wider smile from her. ‘Want to see me tie a knot?’
It came out sexier than he intended.
She looked at him, lips curling upward and stealing the air from his lungs as his libido reacted to that smoking hot silent response[…]
At the door, she paused before looking back. ‘The knot thing. I’ll keep it in mind.’”
I went in to this book expecting more action, as this is romantic suspense, but, in the end, I wasn’t particularly disappointed by the lack of it. Most of the actually work tracking down Vincent is handled off-page, while Trey, Ally, and Edgar keep up the illusion of everything being business as usual. However, the sexual tension more than made up for it. Trey, being honorable to almost a fault – while the Brotherhood may skirt the law, they don’t break it – is reluctant to get involved with Ally while he suspects Vincent is a murderer, and doesn’t want to tell her about it until he’s sure Vincent’s the man responsible. Even so, he’s hard pressed to admit what, exactly, kind of closure he expects if he’s finally found his man. Ally, for her part, almost immediately realizes that something’s off with Trey, and while she figures it has something to do with Vincent, she never suspects the truth.
“’Nice try, but I’m not buying it.’ She shook her head slowly. ‘I’ve learned over the years to know when people tell me half-truths. I’ve also learned sometimes it’s for a valid reason.’ Her smile disarmed him. “You’ll tell me the rest when you’re ready.’”
Despite Ally’s defense of him, it was obvious from the beginning that Vincent was no peach, but it was hard to believe how much more I disliked him once he appeared on the page in person. The characterization – of the bad guys and good guys – is absolutely amazing, and while I didn’t agree with the characters actions, I felt they were consistent with their characters and backstories. What I really loved about this book, however, was Trey’s gradual coming to terms with the results of his hunt for revenge. There’s a particular conversation I loved and wanted to share, but it’s bit a spoilery, so I’ll hide it behind a tag. View Spoiler »
“’We appreciate your hunting for this man, appreciate your devotion to justice. But tell us, what have you been doing with your life aside from this?’ David asked. ‘What have you done to move forward?’
‘I work with my friends. I… I’ve been busy. We help those who need it.’ He found his voice. ‘I took what Nick gave me and paid it forward. I’ve done what I can for those who have no voice, who need solutions no one else can give them.'”
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Overall, this was a delightfully fun, drama-filled read. I will definitely be looking up the previous two books in the series. I’m hoping there will be more – I’m especially interested in Edgar, the ex-British Marine bodyguard.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: