Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Passion for Danger, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Hero: Kyle Jackson (Kick)
Heroine: Lorraine Martin (Rainie)
Date of Publication: August 4, 2009
Started On: September 19, 2010
Finished On: September 20, 2010
My first Nina Bruhns is one that I certainly would not forget anytime soon. I am so very glad that the hot cover art that caught my eye had me searching up on the book and in the end succumbed enough to keep my TBR pile as it is before sinking into this adrenaline packed story. This is the first book in the series Passion for Danger, and boy am I glad that the next two books in the series have already been published, cos I don’t think I would have found it in me to be patient for a period of time to find out what will happen to the rest of the interesting stories that had cropped out of this one.
Kyle Jackson (Kick) had formerly worked for the CIA NOC-Ops (Non Official Cover) Unit, which is a top secret and highly covert branch of the CIA. Kick had been 17 when he had joined the Marines, and even back then he had been damaged goods. Throughout the story, his childhood is hinted to have been a difficult one, though not much light is shed on his former life apart from the fact he had escaped from home when he had been only 14 years old. All the rage inside of him had driven him to be the most lethal kind of Marine and had led to the CIA recruiting him to their Zero Unit, which had sent him off to war torn countries like Afghanistan and Sudan on suicide missions. One gets the feeling from reading between the lines that Zero Unit is not something one escapes from, as Kick is relentlessly hunted down 16 months after he had nearly ended up been blown to pieces by a land mine in Afghanistan and watched his best friend Christopher Alexander Zane die.
The months of therapy that had followed had made Kick more determined that he would not return to his old life ever. Dodging the teams sent out to bring him back seems to be all Kick has been doing lately. And when the last attempt to take him back tells him that they mean business, Kick manages to escape knowing that with his current addiction to oxycontin, a severely addictive painkiller which his doctor had stopped prescribing but Kick had found a means to get from a dealer. Knowing that the time has come to get detoxed from the drug, Kick walks in on a speed dating event held for the medical staff of Bellevue Hospital impersonating his friend Dr. Nathan Daneby who works for Doctors for Peace in godforsaken countries.
Lorraine Martin (Rainie) a nurse practitioner is dragged to the speed dating event by her best friend Dr. Gina Cappozia a medical doctor and a tenured professor who headed a genetics research project at Colombia University and did a stint of pediatrics at Bellevue every week against Rainie’s better judgment. Working in the ER and dealing day in and day out with blood, drugs, violence and senseless deaths left no time or inclination on Rainie’s part to be interested in dating. Having witnessed the brutal murder of her parents by a carjacker when she had been a mere twelve years old, Rainie battles with fear of random violence and hates chaos, disorder and situations that she is unable to control. Rainie has never used any means of transportation since her parents murder though she yearns to be able to be bold enough to experience the wild adventures that Dr. Nathan Daneby must face in his day-to-day life, someone Rainie has always admired throughout the years.
Gina and her tendency to date younger men who are willing to show her a good time with none of the macho Neanderthal stuff that she abhorred, had been practically salivating over the feast of young studs before her eyes with a bored and restless Rainie by her side. That is until Rainie eyes the dark and dangerous looking man who meets her eyes across the room, sending a frisson of awareness through her unlike anything she had ever experienced before starting to move through the roomful of people towards her.
Kick had gatecrashed the party wanting two things. A woman who was needy enough to let him use sex as a means to stay with her for a couple of days until he is able to deal with his addiction better, so that he wouldn’t be as weak as a newborn babe out of the woods when he had to face his old unit. But his plans go so delightfully wrong when Rainie arouses him beyond compare, and in a moment of sheer panic when his old life had flashed in front of his eyes, Kick accidentally blows the cover he had been using and kidnaps Rainie at gunpoint.
Rainie can’t believe that a moment ago she had been letting the man with the wicked looking gun trained at her kiss her senseless and feels immensely betrayed by her body when it still yearns for his touch. Before the night is through, Rainie gives in the urge to touch and to feel with the man who sets her senses on fire, before learning that Kick was an addict looking for help to deal with the withdrawal stage. And when Kick’s former unit comes in blazing with their guns and takes both Kick and Rainie, Rainie is given no choice but to tag along.
Kick is summoned by his previous commander Colonel Frank Blair, to kill Jalil Abu Bakr, the person who was the most notorious of the two leaders of al Sayika terrorist organization which was hellbent on bombing the US embassy in Khartoum, the British, the French and the UN diplomatic mission. Kick knows that he would not be able to turn his back on getting his revenge on the man who had killed his best friend and thus amidst the withdrawal symptoms that racks his body, agrees to the mission in Sudan. Meanwhile Rainie is coerced into monitoring a rapid detox procedure which was still in its experimental stages which takes nearly 72 hours to rid the body of the effects of a drug.
With the unit operating on a tight time schedule, Rainie who has never flown anywhere in her entire 30 years of life finds herself forced to accompany Kick to Egypt from where he would be transferred to Sudan, the place of his mission. And with the withdrawal symptoms still attacking Kick’s body, Rainie forcefully accompanies them on the FedEx plane that is to airlift them to Sudan from where she would say her goodbyes to the man who had lit up her world in fireworks.
But things go awfully wrong when Rainie and Kick barely escape with their lives intact when their plane is blown into pieces over the Sudanese desert. From there, its a game of cat and mouse to evade the terrorists who had been tipped off somehow, and it is Kick’s vow that he would protect Rainie from the horrors and dangers of being captured by a vile organization such as the al Sayika.
It is on this mission that the reader is introduced to STORM Corps (Strategic Technical Operations & Rescue Missions) and Marc Lafayette who belongs to this elite organization who barely escapes with severe injuries from the blast. The three of the survivors make their way to the medical camp set up by Doctors for Peace and seeing Dr. Nathan Daneby, Kick’s long term friend and the one who evidence points towards as been the traitor nearly makes Kick seethe with anger enough to kill his friend with his bare hands.
Somehow, with Marc injured, Rainie is the only one left to accompany him on his dangerous mission and against all the misgivings that Kick has, he lets the woman he loves tag along with him. It is at the camp that Kick finds out that his best friend had not been killed, but might as well have been when he comes face to face with the shrunken skeleton of the man Alex had been, with filth and pus oozing scabs and evidence of severe beatings covering his whole body with no memory of who he is with his eyesight nearly gone.
Alex’s story is an intriguing one, one which had me more intrigued than the actual story at times. Alex dreams of a red haired woman, who comes to him in his dreams, tempts him beyond anything he has known and keeps him sane throughout the 16 months of torture he endures. When the story finally ends, Alex finds out that he is engaged to be married to a woman who he does not recognize whilst the one who walks in with her supposedly fiance, his FBI friend according to her, is the woman who had been haunting his dreams all throughout! Man, Nina Bruhns certainly knows how to keep a reader guessing till the very end and keep them begging for more, much more!
Whilst all this is happening, back in the states, Gina is relentless in her attempts to find out what had happened to her best friend. Finally her attempts yield fruit when she comes face to face with the mouth wateringly handsome and larger than life and older than herself Captain Gregg van Halen. Gregg made me go weak at my knees a time or two, with his rough and tough loving that Gina craves and ultimately struggles to give into. In the end, Gregg betrays her and leaves her at the mercy of God knows what before the story ends. Talk about leaving us hanging! But the good thing is the 3rd book in the series is Gregg and Gina’s story, and boy I can’t wait to sink into that one! And that supposedly contains Alex and his mysterious lady Rebel’s story as well. *Drools!*
Fast paced, filled with enough heat to keep you warm through the coldest night, this is one book that fans of romantic suspense should NOT forgo! Kick and Rainie gets their happily ever after with both of them learning a thing or two about themselves and rising above all the hurdles to embrace the fierce love that they have for one another. Highly recommended; if you haven’t already read this series, keep your TBR pile as it is and start on this one ASAP! Yes, it is that good!