March 26, 2015

REVIEW: Last Breath (Hitman #2)

Last Breath (Hitman #2), by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick
Publish Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: paperback, obtained from the publisher
Genre: adult suspense romance/crime/military
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Regan : I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I’m at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he’s here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He’s also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it’s wrong to fall in love with him, but I can’t seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath, but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can.

Daniel: For the last eighteen months, one goal has dictated every action I’ve taken. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and befriended criminals all across the globe to find my kidnapped sister. In every brothel I raid and every human trafficking truck I stop, I hope the next face I find is my sister’s. In a hidden brothel in Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken, and still sane despite her weeks in captivity. I should leave her behind or send her home, because the last thing either of us needs right now is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I’m less able to let her go.

At the end of Last Hit (Hitman #1), I really feared for Daisy's friend Regan. She was thrust into a horrendous situation through no fault of her own - wrong place, wrong time. And, because of it, she has spend months in the worst hell imaginable. I didn't know if I could like her story after everything that happened to her. How could anyone be happy and whole after all that? Luckily, Daniel Hayes is a force to be reckoned with. 

Regan spent months being raped in brothels in Russia and then Rio. Daniel gets her out with her mind still mostly intact, but still showing both outward and inward effects from her time in captivity. But, getting out of the country proves to be difficult. Daniel is in Rio for another mission, and he can't go home until it's completed. He has his hands full as he tries to complete his mission, and keep Regan safe from an evil man who wants her back.

This book was brutal. Last Breath is a dark book, no doubt about it. The things that Regan endures in the brothel in Rio were awful. The book opens in the middle of one such act, and it was shocking - like jumping into a freezing lake. You go from, "Oh, hey - what a hot cover..." to "OMG" in one flat second. But, as hard as that opening paragraph is, it was important in order to paint the kind of person Regan is. 

Regan is a fighter. That becomes Daniel's nickname for her, in fact. She retreats into her own thoughts during her rapes, and it has kept her mostly sane. You can't go through something like this though without any residual effects. Those become apparent as we move through the book. Daniel swoops in and saves her, and Regan attaches herself to him because of it, not being able to be out of his sight for barely a minute without panicking. It's tough to see such a fighting spirit struggle through the aftermath of what she went though. But, she keeps going, with the goal of getting home in mind. 

Daniel is a mercenary hitman, like Nick was. And, he's damn good at his job. His sister was also sold into the sex trafficking business, and he's in Rio to find and rescue her as well as Regan. Daniel is a man on a mission. He saves girls all over as he searches for his sister. Regan was one of many, and yet, she was unique to him. Her strength called to the strength in him. But, Daniel is honorable to a fault, and he knew Regan had been though hell at the hands of men. Despite his attraction to her, he wasn't going to be another in a very long line. So, he constantly denies himself for Regan's benefit. 

Oh, that man. It was absolutely impossible not to love Daniel. He was crude and short tempered and violent, and yet, there was something about him that you just had to love. Some of it was the way he cared so much about his sister. Some was how he went out of his way to try and make Regan more comfortable in even the smallest ways. And, a big part of it was how well he protected her. How passionate he was about that. 

Did I say passionate? Oh yeah. I totally meant that. Regan forms an extremely tight bond with Daniel, which ends up allowing her attraction for him to come through all the crap. For awhile Regan was worried that she'd never be able to appreciate men and sex again like she used to. Daniel graciously helps to alleviate her concerns. What a giving man. :) He treats her so well, though. And, after they get comfortable with each other, it turns out, he's a wild man in bed. As if I had any doubts about that. But, his affection and eventual love for Regan shine through in those times too, which makes them even better. 

Last Breath is told in dual POV. This is the perfect book for it too. Daniel would've been so hard to figure out without those glimpses at his thoughts. He really struggled with his feelings for Regan for a long time. It was awesome reading about him trying to work through them. 

There is some Nick and Daisy in Last Breath, but not a lot. The focus is definitely on Regan and Daniel as they struggle to find his sister and get all of them home. As one would expect from a man in his profession, the journey is fraught with problems and dangerous situations. Many people die violently in this book. It's not for the faint of heart. But, if you can handle the brutality, the love story woven though it makes all of it completely worth it. 

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