Tuesday, March 6, 2018

ARC Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Pub. Date:March 6, 2018
Publisher:William Morrow
Length:368 pages

This must be a week for new-to-me authors, as this is another new one for me. Though I have had Linda Howard on my TBR for a really long time, I just haven't found time to fit her in until now. And now I want to go back and read the whole back list! This was a great romantic suspense!

The premise revolves around GO Teams, a secret sect of the government sending highly specialized and trained teams out into dangerous situations to address whatever situation is needed. Unfortunately the teams, and their leader, Axel McNamara, have an enemy in Congress who wants to see them fail in the worst way. So there was suspense and danger at ever angle in this novel.

Jina "Babe" Modell loves her job working communications for the secretive GO Teams, until she gets reassigned to be a full fledged team member and learns that she will have to start going out on missions. As somewhat of a girly girl, albeit it with a smart mouth, this is the last thing in the world that Jina wants or is ready for. I loved it when Jina showed up at the training facility and her training was taken over by her big bulky hunky testosterone-filled teammates. They totally kicked her ass and pushed her beyond her limits, and Jina never gave up. I respected the hell out of her, and so did all the guys even if they didn't show it. There were lots of moments in this book where I admired Jina. She took on an almost G.I. Jane sense of determination and grit, and its hard to find fault with that. However I think my favorite aspect of her character was her plucky snarky attitude, particularly when she was cursing under her breath about what nutjobs the guys were.

Levi "Ace" Butcher is our team leader and neither he, nor his team, is too keen on being saddled with the sole woman in the program. Levi was extremely tough on Jina, but the dangerous situations they encountered didn't allow for liabilities and it was his responsibility to make sure she was up to par. Levi was a good team lead - he was willing to make tough decisions and always put the team first, even above himself. 

This was a slow burn romance as Levi and Jina had this whole forbidden attraction thing going on. They both lit up around each other, but they couldn't cross that line being teammates. This led to quite a bit of prickly and awkward behavior, and it got to the point where they couldn't even look at one another. But the tension was there and building throughout the story, so you knew when things sparked off, they were going to be explosive.

About the first half of the book is spent on Jina's training and conditioning, and damn if it didn't sound fun. I wish I had 6 huge guys to force me to get in shape whether I wanted to or not... so this part was somewhat motivating. Then when the team starts going on missions, the varying dangerous situations kept my interest piqued and advanced the plot nicely. I liked how the building chemistry was intertwined with the action, and some emotional moments were even thrown in as well. Overall, this was a romantic suspense and I'm glad I've finally delved into the world of Linda Howard.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, William Morrow.

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