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Holding Her Own (FBI Guys Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Caitlin and Jake are special agents working together undercover at a casino to try and diffuse a money laundering scheme in a post-Katrina New Orleans. As the special agent in charge of the operation, Caitlin is ambitious, bold and determined to make sure the assignment runs smoothly. Her partner for the assignment, Jake, is what some would consider a "bad boy", not to mention sexy as can be! From the moment the two of them lay eyes on each other, the sexual tension is so thick. And with Caitlin's assertiveness towards him as his superior on the case, that tension just builds and builds. When the two of them finally give in to their desires for one another, the sex is incredibly steamy! The scenes are descriptively well written, and you become immersed in their romance.
Full of mystery, this story had me on the edge of my seat, particularly in the last half of the book. I loved the plot, and the characters were well thought out and likeable. The romance was very sweet, although it did progress a little too quickly, making it somewhat less than believable. Overall, however, I very much enjoyed the book. I was surprised at how much depth the story had written in to it, and delighted that the cover fulfilled its promise of a steamy read.
reviewed by Marie
This book was so much fun to read; it's one of those books that I enjoyed everything about it so in order to write a review I'd have to touch upon almost everything. Well, I'll spare you all and only talk about what mainly hit me about this book. But it's a winner all around for me.
The romance: I'm a huge fan of those old romantic comedies from the 30's and 40's wherein the dialogue between the characters is so witty and delicious and "Holding Her Own" was just that in the beginning. Caitlin and Jake go at it straight away with neither one backing down. While mentally they clash, of course, on a deeper level they have the hots for each other and the verbal dance starts turning into sexual heat.
Outside of the yummy way in which these two find their way into being together, which is what turned me on the most in this story, I loved how the tension between Caitlin and Jake slowly builds into a very sweet and loving romance. They don't hit the sheets until they both recognize that they really are attracted and are ready to open up to each other on more than a sexual level and there's nothing more satisfying to me than that.
What grabbed me even more in the romance part of this story was how really comfortable Caitlin and Jake are with each other. Both Jake and Caitlin come from backgrounds of some kind of abandonment and then being loved by an outsider, so on some level, they get each other. It had the feeling that they've been together for a life time and you know that they will stick together forever with nary a waver. They're often doing very mundane, day to day things together and you can tell how much they enjoy each other just doing those things. Very nice.
And I will say that the sex between them was very nicely written and at just the right amount. It's expressed as the culmination of their love and not thrown in there to amp up the heat to the story, which made it very erotic even though it's written more sensually than graphically.
The suspense plot: The first half of the book is mainly Caitlin and Jake finding their way as a couple, but once they are established mostly, then the suspense part really kicks in. I feel that Marie-Nicole Ryan has an excellent handle on writing convincing, intelligent and exciting suspense. Not only that, but she manages to weave the different aspects in the story seamlessly, building from one event to the next without wasted verbiage.
What I really got off on the suspense part was that even though Caitlin, Jake and Alex, their other contact within the casino, are tops in their fields as FBI agents, they go about using every day technology, unlike so many suspense books in which super intelligent technology is just made up. I just loved it when Jake breaks into the casino's CFO's office that he brings with him a simple external hard drive to transfer files. There's no super secret, WiFi file sucking chip that he can just beam at the computer from across the world, nope, he goes in with your basic external hard drive that every schmo uses and I kind of got off on how almost retro that felt. It was the same when Caitlin, a computer pro, can't hack into some files. It shows how fallible and normal these agents are.
Outside of the money laundering plot, there is a plot in which a family member of Jake's is kidnapped and this part of the story line added a lot to both the suspense plot and the romance, kind of tying in both. I can't say much on that or it'd be a spoiler, but the character is very interesting and keeps the running theme of both Caitlin and Jake's lives of having others take them in and love them and is cause to test Caitlin and Jake's love.
The only niggling point I had was that Caitlin is in charge of the operation and when she, Jake and Alex go out on a covert mission, the guys nonchalantly poo poo the decisions she makes, which came across as a bit patronizing and she backs down. I didn't like that she wavers and wasn't more decisive at that time and that she let the guys run over her even though they were right and had more field experience. It would have been nice if she would have stood her ground.
On the other hand, she does make some decisions on her own later on, which could have been rather dumb, but it did show that she was capable of being her own person and not just suddenly the good little woman because she's in love. I did like that at some point she does admit that she's not that experienced and that it was enough to prove to herself that she was able to cut it instead of actually doing dumb things, which would have put me off. A fine line was walked there.
As in "One Too Many," there is an array of colorful and uniquely written supporting characters that bring much to this story, keeping the entertainment level high. There are also a lot of New Orleans local cultural flavorings scattered throughout this story, which gave it some extra spice. As a romance and suspense, Holding Her Own is a delectably perfect blend of both genres, standing out for me as top notch in both areas.
As they pretend to be recently married, complications come up. From discovering one of the people involved is someone from Jake's past, multiple deaths and a possible paternity case, the plot just gets thicker and thicker.
Holding Her Own was a very complicated story with threads snarling into knots and dead ends. The dialogue was often very stilted and unnatural. And I had a very hard time believing that the two main characters would fall in love with each other, especially in only a few days. I wanted to like the story and it did have it's good points, but mostly it just felt very uneven. Ms. Ryan has definite potential; I just don't think this was the best example of it.
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
overall it was a good book.. would recommend this author and this book to others