Eight years ago, Jude Wilde was a Marine in OCS (Officer Candidate School), he fell in love with his instructor's daughter, Elizabeth "Libby" Pruitt, and two days after proposing, everything fell apart. Fast forward to the present, he's out of the military and works with his brothers for Wilde Security. When they're hired to protect an Assistant District Attorney from a stalker, the case threatens to dredge up many painful memories for Jude because Libby is the ADA. She hasn't forgiven or forgotten the hurt and the betrayal, so imagine her reaction when she learns that her father has hired none other than Jude "the cheating b*stard" Wilde to protect her. An attempt on her life drives them into seclusion, alone, together. Their lust and passion for each other never went away, so in confined quarters, raw emotions and old hurts resurface. Can they set aside their differences long enough to explore their feelings for one another before the stalker makes another attempt on her life? Or are some things just not meant to be and better left where they belong - in the past?
The story begins with a glimpse into the dynamics of the Wilde brothers. Jude is the youngest, and he's dubbed himself "the family f*ckup". According to his older brothers, he can't do anything right. When we get a glimpse of his past with Libby from her POV, we assume that Jude really is a jerk who deserves to wallow in his misery and grovel until the cows come home. He may be in his thirties, but he still lives life with a devil may care attitude. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that there is more to Jude than meets the eye, and why would he feel the need to put on such a convincing façade?
After the devastating event of losing her fiancé and love all in the same night, Libby has thrown herself into her work. The Libby of the present seems so at odds with the Libby from Jude's past. She no longer lets loose and has become rather stiff and proper. Jude intends to change all that, if Libby will let him get close enough to try. She doesn't want to be nice to him, she doesn't want to feel the desire burning hot for him, but she has needs.
This pairing had chemistry, as far as opposites attract or slap-slap-kiss tropes will allow, but I didn't feel a connection to them, nor did I find myself feeling invested in their happiness (well, Jude to a point more than Libby). Libby was one of those characters who loved at a very young age, and because of one bad experience she either couldn't or didn't want to fall in love again. She let it define her. These two bickered throughout the story, a lot. Some of it was really funny, and other times I just cringed. Jude never denied that his past was littered with nameless, faceless women. He didn't seem to have a filter when he'd blurt some of that out just to rile Libby up, or pay her back for an equally unthoughtful comment. For someone who once loved her, and kind of still does, I found that a bit odd. I like snark, but in some areas, I felt like it was a bit much. Their arguing made them sound really juvenile that I completely forgot she was a lawyer and he was a former Marine. Their hot and cold behavior was a recurring theme throughout the story that began to get a bit old past the half way mark. They seemed unwilling or incapable of actually communicating. The truth behind their breakup isn't revealed until the end. While it was a tad bit over the top, I understood why Jude let her assume the worst about him.
There were two surprises that I got a little excited about, namely that Vaughn has a connection to Gabe Bristow and Travis Quinn, and we meet Seth Harlan who was considered for the sniper position in SEAL of Honor (HORNET, #1). More about Seth's condition is mentioned in this book that was only alluded to in the other series.
Overall, it was enjoyable. The story never slowed down, it kept moving forward from one thing to the next. The sex was hot and uninhibited. I liked the full reveal of Jake's "baggage" and the closure he found at the end. The suspense served no real purpose other than to force the hero and heroine to confront their past and see where the future would lead them. Jude and Libby may not have been my cup of tea, but I find myself more intrigued about the other brothers, especially Reece. I would definitely read more from this author because I find things I both like and dislike in equal measure. It has its ups and downs, but when the author hits the right amount of snark, I enjoy it immensely.Favorite Moments:Jake and Libby barely missed getting run over by a car.
Libby has needled Jake a little too far.
"Are you? Did it hit you?"
"No. Landed hard, but I'm fine." He grinned. "Better than fine. This is the most fun I've had in weeks. Feels good to get the adrenaline going. Wanna have sex?"
Libby huffed out a breath in disbelief. "You're insane."
"Depends on your definition. So is that a no?"
His eyes danced. "Yes?"
"No! I meant yes as in yes, it's a no. I mean—" She threw up her hands.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
"There's a reason I never look back—and you're it. I never wanted to see you again. You drive me nuts with all of your questions and protests and fucking logic. You're so uptight, you wouldn't know a good time if it whacked you on the ass."