This latest book by Cindy Gerard is the third in her One-Eyed Jacks series. I love romantic suspense and they seem to be thin on the ground so I always jump when a new one comes out. But the main reason I love romantic suspense is for the romance portion of the book, and this book was a little too heavy on the suspense and the romance was too flat for my tastes. The book was a decent read and I would probably give the suspense part a B+, but the hero or heroine never really clicked with me.
Playboy Jamie Cooper has been lusting after Rhonda Burns since she joined the One-Eyed Jacks a few months past. With her vintage sweaters that cling tightly to her generous curves, he makes a point of arriving early to meetings just to see her walk in. Rhonda knows that Coop has a thing for her, but she has had it with relationships and just wants to prove herself as an IT guru on the secretive counter-terrorism unit. So even though Rhonda wears her sexy clothes to work, she really doesn’t want any male attention.
The book opens with the members of the One-Eyed Jacks having their monthly “get-together” meeting at one of the restaurants on their rotation. Having all members of the team in one place is dangerous and rotating these meeting places is designed to throw off any bad guys that might want to target the crew for revenge. Only this time, someone has their number and a sniper opens fire on the group. One member is seriously wounded and the others quickly galvanize to see what person or group wants to take them out. There is just one hitch in this plan for Coop. He is scheduled to go with Rhonda on her first security detail for the team. That causes two problems for Cooper: he is not in the middle of finding out who shot at them and he has to spend time in close proximity to his fantasy woman. Their travels to various military facilities put them into the middle of another mystery and of course…danger. That the two problems are connected does not cross their minds.
Jamie Cooper got on my nerves a little bit at the very beginning and although I thawed toward him, I never really bought into his hero status. He was too much of a playboy and the transition from horndog to real love just did not seem genuine to me. Rhonda was probably a more fleshed out character, but if I have to read one more story where a man “done some girl wrong” so she will NEVER love again, I might just tear out my hair. I doubt there are few people alive who have not been dumped at least once. Yet, we don’t decide to live the rest of our lives alone. The trauma seemed a little out of sync with the reaction. Then as the relationship progresses, we get to the friends with benefits stage with Rhonda only wanting the benefits and Cooper wanting more. Even the trope turned on its head doesn’t save this relationship for me. It wasn’t bad. It was just Meh. I read romance for the romance. If that fails, then it makes the book a disappointment for me. I would probably grade the romance in this book a mediocre C.
If suspense is what you look for when reading a romantic suspense novel, then you might just love Running Blind. But if you want that something special in the romance department, I am not sure this book is for you.