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Romance and other things

SPOILER ALERT!

Entertaining but...

Can't Hide from Me - Cordelia Kingsbridge

Charles Hunter’s team is on a mission to extract an unidentified ATF agent from an undercover job gone wrong. All they’ve got to go on is the rendezvous location—until Charles recognizes the ex he hasn’t seen in years. Their “simple rescue mission” is about to get a lot more complicated.

For Ángel Medina, adjusting to life after his cartel nightmare is hard enough without confronting memories of a failed relationship. All he wants is a fresh start. But when a violent stalker lashes out from the shadows, Ángel realizes his nightmare is far from over.

As the stalker’s obsession escalates and bodies start dropping, Charles and Ángel are thrown together in a desperate search for the culprit. Tempers flare and old passions reignite, drawing them back into the same turbulent relationship that once ended in disaster.

But the stalker isn’t letting go—and the next strike might hit straight through the heart.

Dear Cordelia Kingsbridge,

Couple months ago one of my book buddies at Amazon m/m romance forum (I know I mention this place pretty often, but honestly I don’t talk to too many people online – on that forum I get the most of books recommendations) mentioned your name. Apparently several of my friends read and loved your free original fiction which was available online for a long time. My buddy also mentioned that Riptide publishing is going to publish your new work and since several people enjoyed your stories I took notice and when your new book appeared I bought it.

To make a long story short – one of my friends said that this is a rewrite of your book which was previously available online. I believe in its previous reincarnation it was called “From Ashes”. I have no idea whether it was true or not, because another person disputed it, I just don’t want the readers who previously read the book to buy something which could be substantially similar to what they read before without double checking.   This is my first attempt to read anything by this writer.

Let’s just say that I can definitely see why her works are popular. The writing was a pleasure to read and it was entertaining. However, I also want to warn you that this book in my mind firmly belongs to what I call “Ty and Zane” subgenre of m/m romantic suspense/mysteries. Expect unprofessional and unbelievable behavior from the agents and don’t expect them to show very good mystery solving skills. As I said above, it was still entertaining for me though, that’s why the grade as high as it is, but every time I attempted to think about the events in the story, I was jerked out of the narrative.

As blurb tells you Charles and his team (he is not the leader of the team, he is just one of the agents) are doing an extraction mission for the agent who had been undercover in the cartel for two years. The only problem is right before the extraction this agent’s handler went missing and now they don’t know who this guy is whom they are going to extract. The handler left a very bare bone plan and they know that the agent is a Hispanic man in his late twenties, but that’s about it. I was not sure why did the handler not write the detailed plan before his disappearance, but I suppose the answer was because it would have made the plot less suspenseful.

So they get to the restaurant where they are supposed to help the mysterious agent disappear from. Very soon they figure out who the agent was because Charles recognizes his ex – lover in the company of cartel people. Things start happening fast, extraction goes successfully.

Angel is traumatized which is not a surprise, two years undercover and suddenly cartel boss who took care of him ( had sex with him) is killed and Angel had to get out. To add to his problems his handler Paul is still missing and Angel does not think that Paul could betray him, give his file to the wrong people. Angel thinks that Paul is killed or will be killed very soon.

And a cherry on the top for poor Angel is that before he went undercover he and Charles had a relationship in Tucson which stopped when Angel had sex with Charles’ friend and made sure that Charles came home just when that happened. What upset Charles was not sex (or he said so because they did not exactly had a monogamy arrangement), but that it seemed that Angel wanted him to see the sex taking place.

So two years later Charles and Angel are back in close proximity with tons of unresolved issues and inability not to have sex (and fight, because hey, fighting and then having sex is more fun I guess) and Angel is just out of two years of undercover thing AND now it is discovered that Angel acquired a violent stalker.

It is suggested by supervisory ATF agent that Angel gets assigned to another office, but when it is discovered that somebody is stalking him the team decides to help him solve the case and Angel is temporarily assigned to their office, supposedly not to do field assignments but just help in the office.

So, let’s review, shall we? Agent, who had been undercover for two years, instead of changing his surroundings completely is remaining in the office with his former lover, where nobody but Charles’ boss and friend (the team’s supervisory agent Eva) knows about their relationship. Mind you Eva is in charge of six people’s team, there is an agent in charge of the bureau (I think it is his position but not sure), apparently it is not necessary for him to know that Charles and Angel had a relationship in the past. Oh Eva threatens to tell him, but Charles and Angel do not want to, so she eventually does not. Do you think it did not come out to light anyway?

Oh and field assignments or no field assignments is it a good idea for the agent who is being stalked to take any part in the investigation of who is stalking him?

As an aside, once again I knew who the stalker was from the moment the person was introduced to us.

Grade: B-