Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Hailey turner - In the Shadows

Staff Sergeant Alexei Dvorkin doesn’t trust easily, and he most certainly doesn’t trust spies. He’ll work with them if ordered to, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it. Except Agent Sean Delaney is proving to be the exception to the rule. There’s something about Sean that gets under Alexei’s skin and won’t let go. Alexei would be lying if he said he wasn’t interested in what lay beneath the agent’s mask. When they’re assigned together for a mission, Alexei vows to keep Sean safe all while trying to coax the hot agent into his bed.
Agent Sean Delaney has spent his entire adult life living a lie for his country. When the MDF tasks him with finding evidence of criminal wrong-doing against the owner of a private military company, Sean knows exactly how to play the game to get what he wants. He just doesn’t know how to handle Alexei’s advances, nor his own attraction to the younger soldier. Being a spy is lonely work, and Sean knows he should keep his distance, but saying no to Alexei is impossible from the moment they first kiss.
When the mission takes a turn for the worse, the only thing left to do is run. In the wake of betrayal, and in the path of danger, can their fragile trust survive the battle?

Comment: This is the 3rd installment in the Metahuman series. Again, a mix of military procedures and mission details along with the development of the romance between two of the team's members.

Sean Delaney has been a CIA agent since he entered college and he has had to lie to his family since then, as well. He feels his work is worthy and that is often what makes it endurable to lie and be alone far too much. Now that he is paired with a team of methahumans, since he is one himself, he sees what being in a team really means and he doesn't feel as lonely. He gets especially close to Alexei, someone he can see becoming a friend and, perhaps, even something more than that...However, problems from his past CIA missions and the aftermath of a recent mission with the metahuman team somehow get mixed up and the team now faces a new dangerous enemy. Will they be able to avoid further complications and save the day?

In this story, which closely follows the events from the previous book - meaning this is yet another series better read in order - the team is resting up while Sean, who helped in the previous mission, is back to duty when something goes wrong he needs to call up for help. By doing so, the rest of the alpha team becomes involved too, some more than others, in order to prevent bigger problems, but things don't go as well as they hoped and somehow Sean and Alexei pretend to be very close while trying to dig up information on someone.

This is the starting point for a new mission which changes a lot of what had been established for most characters. The team is close but they still have families and individual/personal issues and that might affect their availability to a mission. For instance, Jamie is now helping his father's campaign but he certainly prefers to avoid if he can say he has work stuff to do. Anyway, this time the focus is clearly on Sean and Alexei, although the others play their roles as expected and I can say it's a nice feeling to know the others aren't there just because.

This series has plenty of action scenes and chapters focused on missions and weapons and things that I, personally, don't feel as interested in, but the author always mixes this up with personal details related to the characters and it makes what I would usually skim into something more or less appealing and quick to read. There's a lot to be said about eye for detail here and I can imagine the lists and papers on the author's desk as she connects things and makes them necessary to make the plot points feel smooth.

The mission we see being developed here has some ups and downs but for the most part, it feels as if they know what they'redoing, especially if one considers the fact they try to be fair, they try to enforce justice and protect innocents. Still, as one must imagine, for me the fun part and most captivating element in the book is the romance. True, this might not be the focus but it still plays a heavy part in the books and I surely liked Sean and Alexei a lot more than I did Kyle and Jamie from the other two books.

Now, I have to say all characters feel important but the ones in relationships obviously have a bit more attention on them. Jamie and Kyle were fun to watch but their intimacy scenes are not what I prefer to read about, so the first two books were good for me more due to the overall effect of the mix romance/world building. In this one I really liked to know Sean and Alexei better and have a better glimpse of how their personalities are.

I also liked their romantic relationship a lot more than I did the other couple's. The dynamics between these two are more appealing to me, their personalities and attitude one I like seeing developed more as well and the intimacy more fun and cute to watch. I would say they make a cute couple, they have serious issues that are heavy on their hearts but they are more carefree in general and it's easier for them to be a couple. I'm hoping we have more scenes with them in the future.

All in all, a good book, solid plot and better romance. I still think some details could have been better done (I'm a sucker for romance, therefore more romantic moments, perhaps even more scenes with the whole team or where we would get to know the other team members' personalities and private lives even more...) but overall, I had a great time and will certainly read the next book.
Grade: 8/10

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