Tempted Into Danger
I’m not a huge fan of military romances. SEALs and the like don’t hold much appeal for me, and those stories tend to be so over-the-top I spend the entire book rolling my eyes. While Tempted Into Danger an ICE: Black Ops Defenders book does stray into the ridiculousness territory more than once, it also kept me entertained.
Vanessa Crosby is a banking analyst and math genius living in Panama City, Panama. When she develops an algorithm that would help track money laundering, she gets the attention of ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement). They send Agent Diego Santero and his Black Ops team to bring her to a safe house to ask for her assistance, but along the way the supposedly simple job turns complicated, very quickly. He saves her from a kidnapping attempt, and when the safe house is compromised, Diego takes Vanessa to his top-secret hiding place in the middle of the Panamanian jungle. Together, they work to keep each other alive, rejoin the rest of his team, and find out what part of Vanessa’s algorithm was worth killing her.
The book is very cinematic. With the detailed descriptions of machine gun fire and exploding grenades during the action sequences, it was very easy to visualize the scene as if out of a summer blockbuster movie. Vin Diesel very quickly became Diego in my mind’s eye. But I struggled with the gratuitous violence. I don’t care if it’s only the “bad guys” who get killed– they’re still human beings. It’s interesting, then, that later Diego makes a similar complaint: he doesn’t watch action or superhero movies because he knows the human toll of the explosions and collapsing buildings and toppled bridges that make up the climax of the story. It felt a bit inconsistent, though I did appreciate the self-awareness that Diego has.
Vanessa is one of those beautiful geniuses that populate romance novels. Is it really necessary that she got her PhD in mathematics at the age of 23? Probably not. You can be very intelligent and good at your job, without being a prodigy. Actually, Diego is a perfect example of this. His job requires a strong understanding of physics, even if he doesn’t have the fancy credentials to prove it. The two bond over math, which is geeky and cute. Oddly enough, their math connection was one of the reasons the HEA was believable. I’m pretty skeptical of romance novels in which the entire plot is condensed into several days of action that take the protagonists from being strangers to changing life plans for the other person. Passion in a life-or-death situation is one thing; long-term connection and happiness is another. In this book, though, Vanessa and Diego had a spark that could put them in the latter category.
This is an action-packed novel. It’s a quick read, and has all the elements of a military romantic suspense that fans look for: a strong alpha hero, lots of explosions, and hot sex. Those who are less excited by black ops plotlines can still enjoy it, though. I certainly did.