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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

ARC Review: Opposing Forces by Adrienne Giordano

OPPOSING FORCES was my first Adrienne Giordano book. Though it is book #6 in her popular Private Protectors romantic suspense series, it can be read as a standalone: I never felt lost or confused despite not having read the previous five books, but I probably would have gotten a bigger kick from some of the secondary characters had I read their stories. It is a fast-paced, solid romantic suspense title that does a great job balancing the danger and suspense with a complex, emotionally layered romance.

Jackson (Jack) Lynx is an excellent male protagonist. Former Army, former aide to the Secretary of State, and current Vice President of the private security firm Taylor Security, he has plenty of alpha qualities, a desire to help those in need, and a protective streak a mile wide. But as a recovering prescription narcotics addict almost a year into a regimented recovery plan, he’s also incredibly vulnerable and has moments of weakness that make him very real and appealing. He’s committed to achieving a full year of sobriety before even considering a relationship and has a strict plan to reach that goal that is threatened by his overwhelming attraction to Jillian Murdoch. The countdown in his head until he can take her to bed is both a testament to his fortitude and ridiculously adorable, and it’s incredibly satisfying to watch him learn to let go and reach for what he wants. Addiction and all, he’s definitely swoon-worthy.

Jillian Murdoch is the perfect romantic counterpoint to Jack’s character. The daughter of an alcoholic who has never made a true commitment to get sober, she’s used to disappointment and has worked hard to be self-sufficient and keep people at arm’s length to avoid being let down by them—something she is convinced will invariably happen. She has sworn to not repeat her mother’s mistake of getting involved—and staying—with an addict, so she has a lot of hang-ups and doubts about getting involved with Jack despite her attraction to him and the fact that he’s committed to (and so far successful in) his recovery. Of the two of them, she’s the one with the bigger emotional issues and who grows more as a character as the novel progresses—Jack is incredibly self-aware and cognizant of the fact that his battle is a daily and ongoing one—and Ms. Giordano writes that growth and path to the HEA in a way that is realistic and believable.

The suspense plot stems from Jillian’s job coordinating drug shipments in a pharmaceutical company. One night she witnesses an undocumented late-night delivery and her home is broken into immediately afterward. She reaches out Jack for help, which triggers an investigation into the company and hijinks ensue. The action is fast-paced and tightly written and a great complement to the romance without detracting from or overshadowing it.

If you like your romance on the serious side (without being excessively angsty), with top-notch characters, great dialogue and tight pacing, and the right amount of edge-of-your-seat suspense, OPPOSING FORCES is definitely the read for you! I’m looking forward to reading the first five books in the series, and any subsequent ones.

**ARC provided by Author**

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