In complete honesty, I’m not a huge fan of romantic suspense, but I have to make an exception for Tara Janzen’s Breaking Loose. It’s a solid, well-paced story with sympathetic characters and sizzling sexual tension. Needless to say, I liked it quite a lot.
For years, Suzi Toussi’s worked on various assignments for the Special Defense Force. They use her and she uses them for her own needs – it’s a mutual relationship. When she’s called in for a new assignment, locating an Ancient Egyptian artifact called The Memphis Sphinx that supposedly grants eternal life, Suzi thinks the most dangerous part of the deal will be navigating the crime-ridden streets of Paraguay. She learns just how wrong she is as she discovers who else is interested in the Sphinx – especially when people start dying. Luckily, when things begin to get dicey, she is rescued by none other than Dax Killian, a special ops agent she’s had a run in with before.
His employer isn’t the most saintly of men, yet the information Dax will receive upon completion of his mission to locate the Memphis Sphinx makes the association necessary. He has to get the statue first and no one can get in his way and that includes Suz, a woman he would love to get to know much better under different circumstances. However, when faced with difficult odds, Suzi’s the one he wants by his side – if only he could trust her.
The biggest draw of this story is the main characters who are both tough, can handle themselves, and battle their own personal demons. Suzi is far braver than she ought to be and Dax knows his limitations. The story itself is action-packed and character-driven with the focus of the story remaining constant: Retrieving the Memphis Sphinx before the others get their hands on it and walking away alive. In addition, the characters have great sexual tension and a past history. From the moment they meet again, the reader feels the pull between the two, which kept me as riveted as the pacing of the plot itself.
Though I enjoyed the two main characters, I found the complete cast of characters overwhelming and confusing. Not only were there just too many bad guys, there were too many good guys as well. Plus the villain and sidekick were cartoonish in their evilness and I kept envisioning bad guys from various James Bond flicks.
Breaking Loose is a terrific romance with an appealing hero and heroine. I may be just a little more willing to pick up romantic suspense in the future if I can find more this solidly written.