Title: Reese Holt: The Dark Side
Author: Laura Baumbach
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: 14th oct, 2016
Genre(s): Romance, Ex-Military, Action, Suspense
Page Count: 240
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Kidnap victim Alex Throne literally drops into the arms of security specialist Reese Holt, pulling Holt into a battle against a ruthless drug cartel, personal betrayal, and a specter from Holt’s CIA past.
Holt agrees to put his team of specialists on the trail of Alex’s assailants while he takes on the personal job of protecting the life he inadvertently saved, motivated, in part, by a romantic attraction.
Keeping his mind on protecting Alex could prove difficult, especially when he can’t keep his mind off Alex’s body.
“The Dark Side” is a romance+action novel with intense, adrenaline-fueled fight sequences, ruthless drug lords and a whole lot of brutality while also boasting a romance in the middle of all the chaos. Action/espionage/military/mercenary, these are some favourite genres of mine and I try to read every one of them (emphasis on the “try”) and mixed with that when I get romance then I have to read it. This book combined the two genres very nicely. The budding romance amongst the hair-raising situations our MCs gets dragged into, satisfied my clamoring for both action and romance. Although I would have liked more time between the MCs but as this is the first book in this series, I am sure I will get more of that in the next books along with some serious “special-forces style” asskicking.
Reese Holt is an ex-special forces soldier who now is the owner of an internationally renowned security company, Overlap. Reese’s company handles job for governments of various countries, celebrities and any other who’s who of the world. He has an elite team of operatives who are highly trained ex soldiers and are highly efficient in what they do. While on a mission near the coast of New Jersey, Alex Thorne, son of billionaire Jason Thorne, almost lands on his lap in the middle of the ocean. Reese is drawn to the handsome young man with the startling turquoise blue eyes almost instantly. Alex seems to have been kidnapped by a notorious drug lord and they also have his sister. Reese is hired by Alex’s father to investigate into his daughter’s disappearance and protect Alex.
What ensues is a series of action-packed events with Reese trying to keep Alex safe while fighting an intense attraction towards the young man.
This trope has been used many times and I always enjoy them in various degrees. I enjoyed this book too but I found the first half of the book a little slow-going for my taste. The events of the book happen in the matter of a few days but there was a long time of inactivity for our hero, Reese and I wanted more action. In the second half of the book the story picks up when the bad guys strike again and Reese and his team powers full steam ahead to bring them down.
The mystery part of the plot as in : “ What’s the original motive behind the kidnappings?” or “Who is the main culprit?” is predictable and not that surprising but still I liked the execution of it all.
As for the characters the MCs are given the maximum focus as well as few team members of Reese.
Reese is portrayed as a very serious man who doesn’t have the time or the luxury to entertain a social/love life. His work is dangerous and he does not believe that he is lucky enough to find a guy who will love him inspite of his profession. His intense attraction to Alex always kept humming just below the surface throughout the first half of the book. There was a huge anticipation for when Reese will acknowledge his feelings and finally give into his attraction towards Alex. Reese’s character is a little closed-off coz that’s how he has trained himself to be. He does not show a lot of emotions but those who know him well can understand him with a mere nod of his head. His relationship with his best friend, Max Avery in addition to his tragic past adds a nice depth to his character.
Alex on the other hand is a very genuine human being with a kind and beautiful soul. He is a billionaire’s son but he is not jaded with power or money. He is a math geek who loves his family and loves giving to the less privileged. He is sensitive and vulnerable but during tough times he can hold his own. I loved his courage and strength, which was just what made him perfect for Reese.
The romance part was sort of slow-burn with Reese and Alex finally getting together almost at the end of the book. It was inst-love, sure but I liked the build-up of the emotions and Reese’s growing conviction that this time he is in love for real.
Overall, this book is a nice action –packed, gritty novel with an intense and passionate romance mixed in good measure. Those of you who live to read action with an added bonus of romance then definitely give this book a try!!!