Enticed by the Operative
Grade : C

While it’s been a little while since her last novel, Lara Lacombe was a category romance autobuy from me ever since I read her debut, Deadly Contact, for review back in 2013. When I saw that this month’s TBR Challenge theme was “Not in Kansas anymore”, I figured the opening book in the 2016 Doctors in Danger trilogy would be the perfect fit.

After all, the heroine in Enticed by the Operative fits the category in more ways than one. Not only are these leads far from home, but they've been thrown into the middle of a criminal operation. The plot centers on plastic surgeon Olivia Sandoval. Dr. Sandoval works at a profitable cosmetic surgery practice, but what she really lives for is the time she spends doing reconstructive surgeries in Colombia.

However, this time around, her trip will be quite different. Shortly before her departure, Olivia is approached by a drug smuggler with an offer she can’t refuse - not if she wants those close to her to stay safe. Olivia will follow this man’s instructions to retrieve and smuggle drugs into the country or her loved ones will pay the price.

Olivia’s neighbor, Logan Murray, is a DEA agent and he quickly figures out that something is going on with Olivia. When she confides in him, Logan seizes the chance both to help her and to hopefully bring down a smuggling operation. The plan involves Logan masquerading as an investor in Olivia’s charity who wants to see the work in action before making a large donation.

In the opening chapters, the author does a good job of setting up both the suspense plot and the romantic chemistry between the leads. After all, we know that Olivia and Logan have been paying attention to each other for a while, and now the excuse to throw them together has finally arisen.

However, as the trip to Colombia is ready to occur, I got jerked right out of the story for the first time. We get a scene through the eyes of the villain, where he remembers narrowly escaping a DEA raid. He had a brief encounter with an agent and of course, it turns out that the agent was Logan Murray. So, we have Olivia and Logan going straight into the hands of a cartel, and Logan’s cover has been blown before they even leave home.

I had so many questions at this point. Why does the villain play along with Olivia and Logan's story? Also, Logan’s cover identity is pretty thin, so why doesn’t he come up with a better cover? And as the book moves along, the nagging questions continued to pop up in my mind. The novel does play out with plenty of excitement and romantic tension, but something about the story fell flat. As expected, Olivia and Logan find themselves in plenty of scrapes but the DEA side of things feels haphazardly thrown together and while I liked the leads as people, the suspense plot just didn’t work for me.

In the end, Enticed by the Operative required a lot more suspension of disbelief than usual and I just couldn’t quite get there. I do enjoy Ms. Lacombe’s writing style and I will certainly read other books from her backlist that I have sitting in my TBR, but this one was a disappointment.

Reviewed by Lynn Spencer
Grade : C

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : March 20, 2024

Publication Date: 07/2016

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Lynn Spencer

I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.
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