Make Her Pay
Make Her Pay is the eighth installment in St. Claire’s popular Bullet Catchers series, but it stands alone just fine. Between the unique setting and great characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest release.
Constantine Xenakis is a former Navy SEAL and thief who’s determined to prove his worth to Lucy Sharpe, head of the Bullet Catchers, and be reinstated on the team. Since she needs someone with Con’s skill-set for a particular job, Lucy puts him on probationary status and agrees to take him on. The job is to infiltrate the Paxton treasure salvage off the coast of Florida, and figure out which of the crew members has been stealing from the haul.
Lizzie Dare wants nothing more than to finish her late father’s work: proving their naval ancestor Aramis Dare was a merchant, not a pirate. When Lizzie gets word through a fellow diver that the wreck Paxton is going to salvage may be Aramis’s ship, she uses her contacts to get a job as one of the divers. Lizzie also knows that Paxton will be selling the pieces on the black market, so she intends to get photographic evidence of all the treasure found – and if she prevents a piece or two from getting into Paxton’s hands, all the better. During one of her secret forays into the treasure hold to take pictures, she’s caught by the hot new diver, Con Xenakis. Con clearly thinks that Lizzie’s the one who’s been stealing, and she has to convince him to trust her and not turn her in.
Make Her Pay is my favorite of the Bullet Catchers series so far, and the two main characters and the treasure-hunting-mystery-plot are the primary reasons. I loved learning about underwater salvaging, and found the details about how such operations are performed utterly fascinating. Add in the mystique of maritime lore, and the setting made for an intriguing backdrop.
On top of the setting, there were great characters. Whenever I start a romantic suspense I’m always a little worried that the heroine will either be TSTL or will have to constantly be rescued by the hero. So it was refreshing to find that Lizzie is neither TSTL, nor does she really need rescuing. Yes, there are times when she needs Con’s help, but she’s also quite adept at rescuing herself, and at one point, even rescuing Con. So often in RS the heroes are more like perfect superheroes than real men. To have a hero in trouble and a heroine who thinks on her feet to save him was such a nice change from the usual. Which brings me to one of the best things about Con and Lizzie: they make a great team. They work together well, and Lizzie sticks to the plan instead of doing stupid things that Con then has to fix.
I also really liked that early on Lizzie evaluates her situation and Con, and decides to trust her instincts and confide in him. I’m generally not a fan of long, drawn-out deception plots, so I was definitely cheering when Lizzie and Con teamed up. Of course, there’s still Con’s Big Secret, but he has very good reasons for not telling Lizzie the whole truth, so I was in complete agreement with his actions in that respect.
I knew from his backstory that Con was going to be at least a little tortured, but it was nice to find that he was blessedly devoid of melodrama. He had a chip on his shoulder, sure, but he didn’t let it get in his way too much. He’s clearly learned from his past mistakes, and he’s willing to fight for what he believes is right – despite the negative consequences he’ll face afterward.
In case you couldn’t already tell, I really enjoyed Make Her Pay. I loved the characters and the setting, and just had a great time reading it. Fans of the series have no doubt already picked this one up, but if you’ve a newbie, I definitely recommend you give this one a shot.