Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-208579-5
Romantic Suspense, 2011 (Reissue)
Into the Crossfire was released about half a year back in the Avon Red imprint before it is reissued in mass market paperback. Despite the fact that it first showed up in an erotic romance imprint, this one only has one sex scene, and it’s pretty much what you’d get from a story by this author. Then again, this story is pretty much you’d get from this author, as Lisa Marie Rice isn’t changing her formula any time soon.
So this time around, we have another alpha, protective, but gentlemanly OTT hero. He’s Sam Reston, a former Navy SEAL who has started his own security business with his two brothers. They make it their lifelong crusade to help rescue battered and abused women in their free time, helping them to start new lives under new identities away from those abusive men. Like every other hero from Ms Rice, Sam catches sight of Nicole Pearce one day and he’s obsessed.
Nicole is a delicate flower compared to Sam, as she’s the daughter of an ambassador and spends most of her life in refined company. Her father is dying of cancer, and she’s trying to get her translation business going so that she can pay his expensive medical bills. Having the intense Sam just across her office may just be the distraction she needs. Soon she and Sam are having the time of their lives, but a terrorist plot looms to threaten their happiness.
This story takes place over only three days, so the romance is pretty much another “obsession means love” thing. It’s not like the author can make the romance seem believable using other means here, as we are talking about three days of getting to know each other, have sex, discover a terrorist plot, and the hero rescuing the heroine, and getting married. These guys move fast, I tell you.
And yet, the story often feels as slow as a tortoise race in slow motion, mostly because until the terrorist thing kicks into high gear, the author kills time and fills the pages with often repetitive thoughts and information dump. For example, Sam’s “hobby” of playing the protector to downtrodden women everywhere is constantly rehashed until I wonder whether the author believes that I suffer from very short-term memory or something. Same with Nicole’s father having cancer and is about to kick the bucket anytime soon. Okay, I guess it is understandable for an upset heroine to keep dwelling on the fact that she’s about to lose her beloved father, but still, that particular matter is just another one of the many same things constantly brought up and rehashed in this story. Sam lusts after Nicole often and constantly, but his mental lusting becomes repetitive after a while. It’s the same with Nicole. It’s always about how big Sam is – in every way that matters, of course – how overpowering he is, how… everything. For a long time, I feel like I’m stuck reading the same things again and again.
Things do pick up once these two have sex, although things often become unintentionally hilarious. Of course, Sam is huge, amazing, so virile – he literally spews a lake of his manly batter into Nicole. Once again, typical of this author, it’s true love because Nicole willingly lets Sam have sex without a condom and Sam is so thrilled that he gets to “bareback”. Clearly, it’s not manly if he isn’t gushing like a broken dam right into the honey, and it’s fine because Nicole is on the pill. Clearly, it’s the same magical pill that every heroine of this author uses, that offers complete protection from STDs, the scarlet whore stigma, and other feminine concerns.
Oh, and yes, the villain is a Muslim terrorist wishing to take down USA as means to start a new Muslim empire. And yes, this type of plot has been done before by the author. I guess if you want to be offended, it’s easy to do so here, as the only nice foreigners in this story are those who are employed by Americans. I confess that I roll up my eyes when Nicole equates stopping the terrorists from bombing America to saving the world. But it’s hard to get offended, at least on my part, because the whole story is too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
Into the Crossfire features that hero, that heroine, those sex scenes, and that plot. If you have read enough of this author’s books, you will know what kind of that I am talking about, because the author’s books all follow the same formula. It’s a formula that sometimes works very well, sometimes not. This one happens to be somewhere in between. There are occasionally charming moments, particularly those of Sam bending over backwards to put Nicole on a pedestal, but on the whole, this one is too much of the same thing for its own good. Even the comical emphasis on the hero’s huge pee-pee and its mighty lake of semen can’t keep me from feeling bored, alas.