Line of Fire
Line of Fire has all kinds of elements that should make it a promising read – a tortured hero and heroine who also have some history between them, a second-chance-at-love plotline (love those!) and plenty of angst. Unfortunately, things never entirely came together and until about the last quarter of the book, I spent much of my reading time muttering under my breath about how I wished these twits would just grow up already.
Molly Cain is the younger sister of Jason McAdams’ best friend Sawyer. She’s had a crush on him since she was a teenager, and they’ve shared a kiss or two that apparently haunt her still. Now, several years into the future, Jason has been through a failed marriage and following the end of his military career, he’s been on a downward spiral of one night stands and self destruction. His new job working with Sawyer to start a firing range and gun safety courses seems to be the main thing turning him around. Not surprisingly, though, his new job with Sawyer is bringing Jason into contact with Molly and that’s causing all kinds of new tensions. And it appears that Jason just can’t get over his old attraction to Molly.
You know what else Molly and Jason can’t seem to get? A clue on how to talk to one another like adults! All through the book, readers see constant references made by siblings and friends of the leads as to how Jason and Molly seem to have a long history of fighting. Clearing the air does not come easily to either one of them and while learning how to communicate is probably a valuable lesson for both Jason and Molly, it’s not necessarily fun for the reader to watch them go through it. This is particularly true when so much of their bickering seems to follow the, “I can tell you’re mad. What’s wrong?” “You should know why I’m mad.” “But I don’t.” “Well, then something is obviously wrong with YOU” pattern. Barrels of fun, I tell you.
Since we hear so much about Molly and Jason fighting, but initially get relatively little insight into why all the fighting needs to happen, it can feel like pointless melodrama at times. It’s a shame because it detracts from a story where the author has set up a lot of believable tension that needs to be worked out if anything approaching an HEA (or a normal life, for the matter) will happen for these characters. Molly has reasons for running from problems, and she’s riddled with guilt over something that happened when she was a teenager.
And then there’s Jason. He survived hellish events in the Middle East, made it through a marriage that sounded disastrous from the start, and on top of all that, he has his own secrets. Molly and the reader may not admire Jason’s past, but it’s understandable that he would seek temporary solace in bar hopping and one night stands for a time.
However, instead of dealing with issues, the first portions of the book are riddled with arguments that sometimes feels pointless. The characters talk past one another, and then they enter one of those “sex only – no commitment” arrangements that seem to be a staple in contemporary romance nowadays. In this particular case, the friends with benefits(and bickering) deal goes on for way too long and reading it can get painful. On the plus side, I did like the secondary characters a lot. Readers get to see the continuation of the romance from the first book in the series, and there’s also a male/male couple whose troubles held my attention far more than the leads.
The deeper issues between Molly and Jason get more meaningful treatment toward the end of the story, and the reading experience does improve quite a bit. I actually really liked the last few chapters. However, based on what I read to get there, I just cannot recommend this book.