Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: I-Team, Book 3
Hero: Marc Hunter
Heroine: Sophie Alton
Date of Publication: April 1, 2008
Started On: October 27, 2010
Finished On: October 28, 2010
I don’t know how she does it but Ms. Clare rocks my world every time with her delectable characters and engrossing storyline. I’ve never experienced a dull moment nor encountered a scene which I had wished would have gone differently since I started on the I-Team series. Its a testament to Ms. Clare’s creativity and talent that each of these stories have wormed their way into my heart, never to be forgotten, to be revisited sometime in the near future. With only one more book from the I-Team series left for me to read, it’s going to be an unbearable wait till July next year when Breaking Point featuring the mouthwatering Jed Hill on its cover comes out.
The Hero: Marc Hunter or Hunt as he is called by Sophie is a convicted killer serving out his life sentence without eligibility for parole in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Broad shouldered with thick brown hair and deep green eyes, Marc comes from a broken home with a mother who had been a drug addict which had led him to growing up within one foster home or the other. The social service workers had come to take him and his younger half sister Megan away when Marc had just been 10 years old. And to this day, the image of little Megan crying and reluctant to leave her home drives home the guilt that he should have been a better protector for Megan. Marc had managed to clean up his act enough to get a place in the army where he had spent six years of his life becoming a decorated Special Operations sniper and served 18 months in Afghanistan before coming back to Colorado. Seeing that Megan had turned into a drug addict just like their mother cuts Marc up deeper than anything else and he tries to do the right thing by helping her overcome her addiction. With a job at the DEA doing what he can to rid the streets of the drugs that had ruined his family, the life he had created for himself comes crashing down on the afternoon of August 12, 2001. When the walls of the prison closes around him, life becomes undoubtedly that much harder for Marc as the guards hate his guts because he had killed a federal officer whilst the inmates are out for his blood especially those he had helped put behind bars during his time at the DEA. The only thing that keeps him going through the six years in prison is reliving the sweet memory of Sophie or his fairy sprite, the girl who had offered him her virginity on the night he was to leave for the army giving him the most precious and happiest hours of his life.
The Heroine: Sophie Alton had just been 16 years old with a massive crush on Hunt when all her dreams had come true on the night June 9, 1996. Sophie and her brother David had had to move down to Grand Junction, Colorado to live with their maternal grandmother when Sophie’s loving parents had been killed by a drunk driver whilst crossing a road in Denver. With strawberry blond hair, creamy skin and deep blue eyes, Sophie has big dreams of making it as a journalist when Hunt gives her the most unforgettable night of her life beneath the open sky. Though Sophie had dated sparsely throughout the years, every other man pales in comparison to Hunt. 12 years on, Sophie does the prison beat for the Denver Independent’s elite I-team. With her brother David studying to be a horse vet, Sophie saves every penny she can so that she can help David along to achieve his dreams.
Storyline: Sophie had been covering Megan Rawlings, an inmates journey through pregnancy and motherhood for the past couple of months ever since she had covered a piece on the stillbirth of an inmate’s baby which had in turn spurred her on to look more closely into the plight of female prison inmates. Megan had spent 18 hours in labor pains to deliver beautiful baby girl Emily only to give her up to the Social Services. On the day that Megan had earned a 2 hour visit with Emily which Sophie was covering, Megan disappears with Emily in tow leaving a large amount of drugs in her room, a testament to the fact that Megan had once again succumbed back to her addiction which Sophie had been so happy to see that Megan had been overcoming slowly. Since Sophie had grown pretty close to Megan during the months she had spent with her, when Sophie receives an invitation from Megan’s brother in jail, Sophie is more than eager to meet up with him to find out whether he has any information that could lead her to Megan. When Marc walks into the interview room Sophie has no idea of who he is though the very sight of his beautiful Sophie all grown up hits Marc nearly stunning him momentarily. Before Sophie knows it, she is held at gunpoint by Megan’s brother as he flees the four walls of the prison that had been his home for the past 6 years. It is only later on that Megan realizes that Marc Hunter is none other than her Hunt and that Marc had broken out of prison because he feared for Megan and little Emily’s life. It is then Sophie learns of the horrors that Megan had undergone at the Denver Juvenile Detention Centre at the hands of the guards who are sworn to protect the lives of those under them violating the lives of so many women. As Sophie and Marc race against time to find Megan and Emily before the determined and corrupt government officials get their hands on Megan and silence her forever, so does the white hot attraction and feelings between Marc and Sophie escalate which left me breathless -almost all the time! Sigh!
First Encounter: Sophie had been a sophomore when her friend Candy had convinced her into going to the graduation party where she sees Hunt, the hottest guy in senior class and the school bad boy who fuels all of Sophie’s dreams. Marc who has always admired Sophie’s beauty and intelligence from afar becomes her ultimate rescuer and the man to whom Sophie offers her virginity giving them both a night neither of them can forget.
Time period: This story has a contemporary setting and starts from the year 1996 and continues 12 years later.
Awareness between the hero and heroine: The memory of their encounter is a one often revisited by both Marc and Sophie, more so by Marc who dreams about Sophie continuously, the memories being the only thing that keeps him sane throughout his imprisonment. Marc knows that as a convicted killer he has nothing to offer for a woman like Sophie who has her whole life ahead of her. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting her for himself, wanting just one more taste, to touch her just once more, the needs that Sophie arouses in him so feral that it is all he can do to keep his hands to himself. Sophie, though she knows in her heart that Marc will only bring her heartache and nothing else cannot explain why she is so reluctant to help the authorities find him. Memories of scorching kisses and a night of passion fuels the dreams and fantasies of an all grown up Sophie, especially when all Sophie wants to do is just kiss every perfect inch of the man in question. The constant hum of awareness between Sophie and Marc is one the best things about this story.
The turning point: Sophie’s investigations into finding out whether Marc’s insinuations are true opens up a whole lot of troubles which lands her in jail with charges of intent to sell and distribute controlled substances. Out on bail, Marc is the only one who understands the emotions that well up within Sophie and the only one who can keep her safe from those intent on silencing her forever. This proves to be the event that turns things around when Marc keeps Sophie holed up with him in his hidey-hole which bursts forth the torrent of feelings and passion that has been simmering between the two since the night Marc takes Sophie hostage.
Ending: With surprising twists at the end of the story, this story ended in the phenomenal I-Team series style with an epilogue that just had me beaming smiles all around. The tangled web of family loyalties and misuse of authority by those in power kept me at the very edge of my seat towards the end, thinking that it was indeed too late for Marc and Sophie. Lovely ending as always.
Likes: There is nothing like a hot hero to keep the pages turning and Marc is just the epitome of perfect hero material. With his scars and sexy tattoos and his oh so perfect body its a wonder I made it through the story without continuously drooling from the sides of my mouth. Yes, he is that hot. The thing that always astonishes me with every story I read from Ms. Clare is the fact that her heroines are equally appealing. Most of the time heroines tend to get on my nerves one way or the other but I guess Ms. Clare knows just the right ingredients to make her heroines as appealing as the heroes. I loved the combustive passion between Marc and Sophie which were of the eyebrow singeing type. Ms. Clare delivers on all fronts especially with a much needed against the wall scene and an against the car scene which just made my day! And as always loved revisiting the characters from the previous stories which always makes the next book a plus point in my opinion.
Dislikes: None at all.
Recommended for: All romance novel lovers and those who love a good romantic suspense.
Sophie had been kissed before, but she’d never been kissed like this.
He brushed his lips over hers again and again, soft butterfly caresses that made her whimper. Then he kissed the corners of her mouth, tasting her lips one at a time. And when she was sure she couldn’t take it another second, he took her mouth in a scorching, full-on kiss.
The heat of it stunned her, stole her breath, made her brain go blank. She heard herself moan, her body turning into hot jelly. She clung to him, instinctively following his lead, opening her mouth to the velvet strokes of his tongue, so new and strange to her.
Hunt lifted the sushi to his lips, curled the lip of his tongue around it, drew it slowly into his mouth, then chewed, his gaze riveted on her.
Heat unfurled in Sophie’s belly, and her pulse tripped, every coherent thought in her brain vanishing. ….
Ken was telling her how he’d felt when he’d learned she’d been taken hostage, but Sophie barely heard him, her gaze drawn back to Hunt – who lifted a pale piece of tuna with his chopsticks, licked its juices with the tip of his tongue, and dropped it into his mouth, a look of bliss on his face.
Twelve years of wanting her. Six years of fantasizing about her, of imagining himself taking her in every way a man could take a woman, of f****ing his own fist just thinking of her. But no fantasy could compare to the mind-blowing sensation of being inside of her.
It was like falling dick first into paradise.
Sophie. His Sophie.
“Well … I kept thinking about what you’d said about always wanting to be a father and how that was your biggest regret. And then I realized that this might be it – your only chance to be a father – and I spit the pills in the sink.”
“So you heard me say I wanted to be a father, and you decided to put your uterus at my disposal. Is that it?” He glanced over his shoulder at her, his gaze cool. “That’s awfully selfless of you, Sophie.”
So onto book 4 I go!