Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Hailey Turner - In the Ruins

Captain Jamie Callahan knows the Metahuman Defense Force frowns on fraternization. For once in his life, he’s breaking all the rules. Having Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan on his team and in his bed is worth the risk of being found out. When a mission comes down requiring Alpha Team to go undercover in order to infiltrate a criminal alliance, Jamie knows it won’t be easy. Putting his family’s name on the line is nothing compared to the role the MDF wants him to play—that of a billionaire’s son, discharged from the military, with a lover on his arm, looking to make his own shady business deals.
Kyle knows the only way to be with Jamie is to hide their relationship from their superiors. Waking up to Jamie at home is more important than being together in public, or so Kyle thought, until he comes face to face with what he’s been missing. Pretending to be a couple on paper for the sake of the mission thrusts Kyle into a world of incredible wealth and a social status he’s not sure he belongs in, but he’ll do anything to stay by Jamie’s side.
Surrounded by the enemy, Jamie and Kyle need to trust each other now more than ever. Their covers—and the life they’re trying to build together—depend on it.

Comment: This is the second installment in the Metahuman Files series by this author. This is a sequel to the first book, in the sense the events happen after what had gone in the first book and we can follow along as the characters deal with each other and as their relationships solidify and then change when other people are introduced, especially at work.

There is a new mission given to the team we have met in the first book. The stakes are quite high because if things go wrong, that can affect the reputation of Jamie and have an impact on his family's name, especially since his father is running for the presidency. However, the team isn't alone, joining them is Sean Delaney, an ex CIA who will help them in their cover mission. This demands quite a lot from the team but they will do what is necessary to uncover business in Europe which can prove too harmful if they get out of hand. The problem is to play a convincing role...

Again, I enjoyed being immersed in this world. I think the author does a good enough job to compel the reader to be interested in the situations taking place with a very good mix of action scenes and quieter ones where we often have personal relationships and interactions showing us how close the team is. There's also the romance between Kyle and Jamie to see evolving.

In fact, I can imagine many readers enjoy these books for the romance, me included, but this isn't the only focus. I should confess I actually skim over the sex scenes for to me they are too long and feature light BDSM intent, even if they don't seem too focused on having such boundaries fully declared. I don't like these types of intimate interactions so I skip them, although it's obvious enough they aren't just someone handy for one another and how they interact with each other outside of the bedroom is what fascinates me the most.

The mission and the information about the characters' work are quite detailed. I can't tell if it's realistic or not (withing the fact this is a paranormal world) but it does give some sense of urgency and demand to their tasks, as if real military events are alike. Well, at least it does explain and give context to the characters' actions and their reasons. It is highly entertaining, for certain.

Added to this we obviously have interesting situations they have to face, we have a little about all the members of team, even if some seem to have more presence than others and the stage seems to be set for Alexei's story to develop further, for reading the next blurbs, it seems the stories will center on the team's work while personal relationships also develop between the team members and their "other halfs", and it feels as if Alexei and his intended will have a different dynamic from Kyle and Jamie... well, I hope it will be so.

The book ends with the team concluding the mission but there are enough loose points and situations not fully solved, which will allow for these plot subjects to be back, if so, in future books. Still, the end is satisfying enough, at the professional level for the team, to give this story the feel of a structured plot where the end is justified. There are also some scenes where we can have glimpses of possibilities for personal development to come and I will look forward to it.

All said, this was a satisfying, compelling read, perhaps not really perfect, but very enjoyable.
Grade: 8/10

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