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Lockout (The Alpha Group, #2) - Maya Cross
It was one of those slow realisations that happens a fraction too late. An unexpected sight, a dumbfounded stare, and in the blink of an eye it’s over.

Lockout takes place immediately after the events of book #1. If you haven’t read Locked yet, you definitely have to read it first These books do not stand alone. This book is also a little longer than the first book, so a lot more ground is covered in this second installment. But be warned, this book ends on a major cliffhanger. Luckily it won’t be long until the final book releases, so it’s not all that bad.

Sophia and Sebastian’s relationship begins to grow more complicated in this book. Well, perhaps I should say that it begins to transcend the boundaries of the arrangement they had agreed upon. Sebastian is away on business for the first part of the book, so it’s a good way to see how they keep their interest and connection going without being physically together. Wicked as Sebastian is, he has a few tricks up his sleeve for Sophia. As if her job doesn’t already keep her engaged enough as it is, he has a few demands for her and wants her to play along while she’s at work. When he finally returns, all the pent-up passion makes for a very rewarding welcome home. Sebastian even lets her into his world by taking her to a work function where she meets some of his colleagues. Not only is she warned about wanting more from Sebastian, but she also learns a few personal things about him.

Where the story really picks up is when a random news broadcast about a murdered British government member niggles at her memory about Sebastian’s tattoo. Then there’s the increasingly underhanded behavior of Sophia’s nemesis, Jennifer, at work. When Sophia has a particularly bad day, she calls on Sebastian to cheer her up. What follows is a strong shift in their relationship. One that Sophia didn’t see coming but could definitely get used to. Without thinking she voices her thoughts and Sebastian changes.

What I love about the author’s characters is that she gives them room to grow. Sophia is confident and I love her voice. She says what she thinks and what she feels even if she knows she could end up being hurt or rejected. She’s a woman who would rather know where she stands rather than get caught wearing rose-colored glasses. That’s usually rare in stories such as these. She isn’t naive. As for Sebastian, I never expected him to seem so vulnerable. We finally get a little history on his past – where he came from, how he grew up, and the unspeakable tragedy that has left him fearful of falling in love again. The story moves at a good clip, never slowing down with “fillers”. Each event is a revelation and serves a purpose to build and tear apart.

The climax of the story is steeped in mystery. For the first time, The Alpha Group sounds more intimidating than titillating. When Sophia realizes that Sebastian has been holding something back from her, she confronts him without realizing that it could mean the beginning of the end.

I CAN.NOT.WAIT. for the final book!

Favorite lines:

The longing in his movements dwarfed everything else. That I inspired such lust in him set me soaring. “God Sophia, you’re so tight. You feel amazing.”

“I’m tight because you’re big,” I said, my voice broken and quavering.

He f*cked me with the desperation and ferocity of a man with one day to live.

“You terrify me, Sophia. I’ve never felt so consumed by another person before.”

“Just curious really. It’s been a while since you brought out the heavy artillery in the bedroom. It’s enough to make a girl think you’ve gone soft.”

He returned my smile. “I believe I showed you exactly how hard I can be just a few minutes ago.”

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.