Friday, April 1, 2016

Freebie Friday Review: Zack by Cheyenne McCray

by Cheyenne McCray
Series:  Armed and Dangerous #1
Pub. Date:  July 9, 2015
Free Date:  Sept. 26, 2015
Publisher:  Self-Pub
Pages:  255

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Ever since bad boy Zack Hunter left her ten years ago, breaking her heart, Sky MacKenna hasn’t been able to find a man who sets her on fire the way he did. Then he comes striding back into her life—bigger, badder, and sexier than before. 

Zack Hunter never thought his job as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent would lead him back to his small hometown, and he never thought he’d set eyes on Sky again. Leaving her behind had been the stupidest thing he’d ever done, but this time he isn’t going to let her go. And as soon as Zack lays eyes on Sky, he makes it clear that he intends to make her his all over again. 

When Sky becomes entangled in the case he’s investigating, Zack can’t help but take the threat personally. As the danger mounts, their passion burns even hotter. 

I was a little worried when I picked up this book, for professional reasons. When a book crosses my line of work, I tend to read it more critically and sometimes end up (unintentionally) picking it apart. Luckily, Cheyenne McCray did a fairly good job explaining the federal law enforcement role in this story, and nothing stuck out to me as glaringly wrong or out of place. So kudos to Cheyenne for doing her research!

Skylar McKenna owns a ranch near the U.S./Mexican border in small town Arizona. Her heart was crushed at only 19 years old, when her boyfriend of six months left town to become a federal agent. Since then, she has dated but not gotten overly involved, despite all the masculine ranch hands surrounding her at all times. Sky was okay for me - I didn't have a great connection with her character, and I think she came off as a tad bitter. However, I did admire her ability to work and thrive in such a male-dominated field. I can only imagine how much she had to prove herself before anyone would take her seriously as a cattle rancher. (And I say that because I work in a male-dominated field as well and can empathize with her plight.)

Zack Hunter is the typical alpha male law enforcement hero. He goes after what he wants, even he if has to act like a bulldozer to do it. I enjoyed his uber alpha behavior, but I usually enjoy these types of heroes. Zack has a tortured past involving a rough and abusive childhood, however I think this aspect could have been developed more to create a deeper emotional connection to his character. As it was, his rough edges were softened up a bit, but he could still kick ass and take charge where its most important (in the bedroom).

While I enjoyed the story, I am noticing that I have lost interest in the contemporary second chance romance trope. My drama tolerance is very low at the moment, so I end up getting annoyed (usually with the heroine) and I lose some enjoyment in the story. This story had the H/h reconciling rather quickly so the drama didn't last quite as long... but I had a little trouble with believing that such a grudge was being held over a 6 month relationship that occurred when the heroine was 19. I also didn't feel a great emotional connection between the couples. Their bodies certainly aligned in all the right places to set off some sparks, but the emotional part fizzled out for me.

That being said, the suspense was pretty good. I don't think I figured out the culprit until the big reveal. I had suspicions, but they were mostly of the wrong people. All of those suspicions, though, pulled me into the story and made me want to unravel the mystery. So much so that I may have skimmed some of the sexytime scenes. The cattle rustling itself, while not typically something that ICE would investigate, was certainly presented in a way that made it plausible for the agency to get involved.

Overall it was a good story, and an entertaining quick read. There were some great secondary characters that have potential as future heroes in the series, and I am looking forward to seeing what McCray has in store for them.

View all my reviews

Armed and Dangerous