Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Rides Trouble by Julie Ann Walker

In Rides Trouble by Julie Ann Walker
Black Knights Inc.
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (352 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Rebel with a Cause

Becky "Rebel" Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys-she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.

Man with a Mission

Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank's way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants is for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it's just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back-whether she says she needs him or not.

Testosterone-charged, no-holds-barred, get-the-job-done Black Knights take care of their own while keeping their identities secret. But their feisty, smart-mouthed Becky tries their patience and skills regularly. Whether she’s on the mean streets of Chicago or vacationing on the catamaran “Serendipity” halfway around the world, trouble seems to always find her.

“The Boss” Frank Knight rages and stomps around trying to cover the anxiety he feels, The super-talented, hyper, sassy Becky is the bane of his life and he loves her with every atom of his being. He refuses to admit it, because he is more than a decade older than she is. He knew she was trouble more than three years ago when she challenged him at first acquaintance. Now Somali pirates are holding her and her friend hostage somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

Frank, Becky’s brother, Bill, and the ex-Mossad agent Angel are on their way. Her last message picked up by a drone said “…would you guys hurry the hell up already?” makes them feel she is still okay and full of attitude.

Becky knows “her guys” will rescue them if she can just keep herself and Eve alive. She uses all the skills the Black Knights taught her. She copes with the filthy, not-too-bright pirates that first board the “Serendipity”, but when Sharif arrives in fancy clothes and sickening cologne, she has her mettle tested. In the engine room of a British ship, she works to repair the engines while Sharif alone watches and threatens.

Sharif, having to do a job that he feels is below his station in the organization, hates the blonde-haired, sassy-mouthed American woman. He wants to punish her for making his body want her and for her not knowing her “place”. His vow to make her suffer and then kill her is an ominous undercurrent that runs through the plot.

It's not necessary to have read the first book of this series, Hell On Wheels, to get the full impact of the tension, strong emotions, dangers, and edginess involved in the happenings. The Black Knights always have each others’ backs, but they are alpha males that don’t give an inch and exude a silent challenge when they feel there is a need. Becky and the female operatives navigate in the testosterone-charged atmosphere with aplomb and with an attitude that gives the reader some humorous instances that enlivens things.

All the characters have uniqueness about them that intrigues. Ozzie, the computer expert who can find a needle in a haystack with minimal information to go on, is deceptive is his appearance and conversation; but in a bind, he is the guy to go to. All the operatives know their success and even their lives often depend on him.

Angel, the ex-Mossad agent, is an enigma. With the surgery he’s had to change his identity, he is as beautiful as an Angel, yet lethal when he needs to be. Becky thinks she sees sadness in his eyes but most see only silent challenge with no real emotion involved. He pretty much puts Frank on notice about how he treats Becky. Tension runs high at times.

Shell and three-year-old Franklin, that Frank Knights goes to see regularly, add mystery and misery without even knowing it. Moreover, the arrival of Snake, another alpha male, makes me hope there is a story about him somewhere in this series.

Julie Ann Walker never lets the reader’s attention stray. She keeps the adrenaline pumping and even adds love scenes that set the heart pounding. When she builds events to the climax and creates what seems an impossible situation for Becky, the story reaches a fever pitch. The dénouement keeps one reading to the last word to be sure the happy-ever-after really happens. It also hints at more Black Knight adventures to come.