Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun... or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina--who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice--making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆☆
4.5 stars
M/F Romance, Thriller

This is a fast-paced, thrilling story that has a woman who takes no prisoners and an alpha male who tries as hard as he can to resist his urges to protect his woman.

Levi is the main leader for a group of men who go in and gather intelligence, rescue people, and help people defect. They are ex-military, normally. However, when his assignment is to integrate a new member in to his squad, Levi is less than thrilled.

Jina is, at heart, a computer geek. She is amazing at her job, but now that she has to leave the safety behind her desk for field operations, she knows it's either get through it or quit... she's not a quitter. Despite having a grueling training schedule and a group of men who she's not sure about, Jina bites the bullet and plows through.

The love story in this thriller is minor, but enough to keep you interested. While some aspects of their relationship were somewhat strange and predictable, it wasn't a prominent enough part of the story to distract me. I do wish that there were more after, but hope that there will be more books for each of the GO-team members.

Jina Modell is a fabulous kickass heroine. The civilian computer programmer who finds herself inserted into a black ops paramilitary team as a drone operator is fierce, resilient, and very, very clever.

The strength of this story is the brilliant characterisation and the graphic detail of Jina’s brutal experiences with her team. Each of Jina’s team members comes to life vividly as they bond during brutal training exercises and terrifying live missions.

I do have a few issues with the story itself. Beyond Jina’s experiences, the book dips into a wider story about a congresswoman a few times. We don’t really get enough of this story for it to make a whole lot of sense and I felt it detracted from Jina and Ace’s story. Also, the pacing doesn’t quite work. Far too much time is spent on Jina’s training. I enjoyed this part of the story but because of the emphasis on her training, the ending didn’t quite work for me.

The romance in this story feels forced and again, the pacing is off. I loved Jina’s fierce independence and the romance just seems to weaken her as a character. There are a few sizzling moments between Ace and Jina but after so long pining after Ace, the ending feels abrupt and far too hurried.

I love reading about women like Jina and I really enjoyed the action/adventure aspect of this story. I’m just not sure that this works as a romance.

Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.

Connect with Linda

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard to read and review.

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