Somerton Security #2
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense
Source: I received an eARC from Montlake Romance via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Ethan Somerton doesn't do safe or easy. He's all about the challenge. The risk. In order to rescue one of his agents, Ethan must infiltrate the ruthless Vega cartel. One tiny error - just one - and he's dead. Which means he needs Natalia Vega. Bright, beautiful, and cut sharper than the most lethal blade, she's finally reached her breaking point. Now Ethan must find a way to make her surrender.
Caught between desperate choices and no-win situations, Natalia has survived the unthinkable by becoming dangerous, relentless, and feared. When it comes to protecting her sister, there's no line Natalia won't cross. But when Ethan storms into her life with his cocksure arrogance, stone-cold competence, and seductive promises, Natalia wonders if she's finally found a way out. But discovering whether Ethan is salvation or destruction is going to require the one thing Natalia doesn't have - trust.
As the cartel implodes and loved ones are threatened, Ethan and Natalia are going to have to choose between love, loyalty, and the lies they cling to. They could run, knowing they'll never be safe. They could fight, knowing they'll probably die. Or they can trust in each other and do something far more dangerous.
Relentless was suspenseful with well-developed characters. There were a few times when they pacing slowed and a few places where I felt as thought Dyer "told" me rather than "showed" me but overall Ethan and Natalia's story served as a good introduction to Dyer's writing.
Ethan, feeling guilt and a lack of control, must ingratiate himself with the Vega family in order to save a member of his team. The target is Natalia Vega and Ethan would do well not to take her at face value. Ethan has his team at his back as he works against the clock to win Natalia's trust - and maybe more? - and gain the intel he needs. The premise hooked me and kept me turning the pages.
Dyer created a great cast with Ethan and Natalia at its center. She deftly conveyed the type of people Ethan and Natalia are - loyal to a fault, fearless, strong, smart - as well as demonstrating the close relationships they each have with the friends and family. I was particularly fond of the snark and wit shared between Ethan and his friends/team members, Parker and Georgia. These interactions served to illustrate Ethan's ability to trust whereas Natalia's interactions with her sister and others showed her intense lack thereof. Of course, her family runs a cartel so it was understandable.
I lumped these two together because as this is romantic suspense, they were inextricably linked. And Dyer did relatively well in developing the romance in a way that amped the suspense. Wondering if Ethan and Natalia could build on the intense chemistry they felt while also moving toward their goals, wondering what would happen if they had to make difficult choices, kept me turning the pages. The dual POV, delivered throughout the chapters rather than alternating, also worked well in conveying the romance and the suspense.
What Could Have Worked Better:
There were points in the story where the pacing slowed...not something you want in romantic suspense. Most of these places occurred when Dyer "told" me what Ethan or Natalia was thinking or feeling where actions would have "shown" it more succinctly and would have kept the pace moving.
While the chemistry between Ethan and Natalia was evident, I felt that their feelings occurred rather rapidly and mostly in their heads. If they'd spent a little more time together the romance would have felt more genuine.
Relentless, although #2 in the series, can be read as standalone. I was drawn into this world and these characters' lives deeply enough that I want to go back and read #1 as well as continue the series.