The final “powerfully intense” (Romantic Times) Black Ops, Inc. novel from New York Times bestseller Cindy Gerard, featuring a covert private security team and electrifying romantic suspense.Black Ops, Inc. operative Joe Green is determined to bring to justice the man responsible for former team member Bryan Tompkins’s death. He’s convinced the ambush that killed Bryan was no coincidence, but a setup. Unsure of the consequences of the battle he’s about to start, Joe distances himself from both his Black Ops, Inc. team members and the woman he loves, Bryan’s sister, Stephanie Tompkins. But Stephanie knows there must be some reason Joe broke it off, and when she hears Joe’s charged with a murder in Sierra Leone, she wastes no time in breaking him out of prison. Then they must unravel the mystery behind the ambush, and bring resolution to a long-ago betrayal….
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I put off reading those book as long as I could, because then I could fool myself into thinking the BOI series wouldn’t have to end. But all good things must come to an end, so as soon as I opened the first page in Joe’s book, I was sucked in and didn’t put it down until I was finished.
Joe has been haunted by the deal of former teammate Bryan for years, and now that he finally had a lead on who betrayed them, he is willing to do anything and everything to make sure the truth comes out. But in order for him to do that, he knows he has to leave the love of his life and Bryan’s little sister, Stephanie.
Stephanie has been in love with Joe for years, and she is crushed when he leaves. When she discovers that he is in prison, she will do what it takes to get him out and help him uncover the mystery behind Bryan’s murder, a traitor in Washington, and the truth behind the one mission that changed so many lives long ago.
I don’t even know where to start with this review. I was pulled into the story immediately and like I said, once I started reading couldn’t put the book down. It feels like I’ve been rooting for Joe and Stephanie to FINALLY get their HEA forever, and after the way this story stared, I could feel my heart breaking for them both. The emotional angst and drama surrounding their initial break-up and Joe’s decision to tell Stephanie he wasn’t in love with her had me tearing up within the first two chapters.
Once Stephanie goes off half-cocked at the idea of saving Joe I was glad to see her really step up and grab life by the horns. Instead of being a passive observer as life passed her by she stood up and took her life into her own hands. She was willing to risk everything to save him – her job, her life. Everything. Although I worried she would start pulling TSTL moves one after another, Stephanie also showed restraint in know what her capabilities were. I liked that. She knew when to take a step back and let someone else run the show.
At the same time she had this amazing revelation about her past relationship with Joe, where she wanted the future to go, and what she would have to do to have a future with him. It was eye opening for Stephanie and also great fun for me to see such a huge transformation! And poor Joe… He was so taken by surprise by her complete 180 that he didn’t seem to know what to do with himself or her. It was awesome to see such a hard core warrior brought down to his knees by Stephanie growing a pair.
I was a little mad at Joe at first, not just because he ran off into the unknown without any backup, and knowing full well he would need it, but for not trusting that his team would not only want to be in this fight, but that they would believe him and trust his instincts. There were moments when he was acting like a spoiled child and I wanted to pop him on the head for not reaching out to the other BOI guys.
Like all Gerard books, the suspense and action keep the book moving and kept me at the edge of my seat. Although there felt to be more down time than usual, I love that even the slower Gerard books are more intense than other books I’ve read in the romantic suspense genre. I was happy to see the original mission of the first book revisited and resolved and everyone was finally able to make their peace with Bryan’s death. The traitor was discovered and the series was wrapped up with a nice big bow.
The epilogue was a great way to end the series as well (although I will admit to thinking it was just a LITTLE bit corny). we got a chance to see all the BOI guys together once again with their leading ladies and families. It was fun to see them all together, growing up and moving onto the next chapter of their lives. I can only hope that Gerard plans to write a book about Mike, the on-again-off-again BOI pilot who helps the boys every now and then. We get to see a lot more of him… *grin*
All in all I’m so sad to see this series end, but so happy with the way it did. Everything was wrapped up, we got a chance to see all the guys back together again and see just how great of an impact their wives had in their lives. It was emotional and wonderful and optimistic and left me feeling like everything will have a fairytale ending for not only Joe and Stephanie, but the BOI guys as a whole. WELL DONE CINDY GERARD!
I give Last Man Standing an A