Review – Snap (Command Force Alpha #2) by Katie Porter

**Potential trigger warnings – physical torture of men and women**

Snap cover image

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: 30 Sep
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

Trust is a four-letter word . . .

Captain Laurence Madigan is an anomaly a levelheaded risk taker who learned the dark side of life in Manchester s slums. He needed those skills to survive fourteen months as a prisoner of Firebird, a shadowy Russian cartel.

When rescued, he receives less than a hero’s welcome. He’s considered a wild card or even a double agent. After enduring agony and degradation for Command Force Alpha, he’s determined to clear his name and bring Firebird down even if it means escaping CFA’s London facility with a very personal hostage.

Oxford-educated psychologist Gemma Calloway should fight her abductor tooth and claw, but loyalty to her old friend wins out. Isolated in a rustic hideaway, she tends his wounds and can’t help staring at his scars and prison tattoos.

Their impromptu safe house becomes a haven of uneasy trust and potent, gathering desires. As they sort present dangers from past affection, Gemma realizes she’s in over her head and up to her heart with longing for a good man whose last reason for living could be revenge.

Warning: This book contains a sexy British spy whose year-long imprisonment has left him a little pent-up. And scarred. And possibly untrustworthy. Watch out for fast-and-furious sexuality, dares that cement a friendship against all odds, and oh-so-wrong but oh-so-sexy tattoos.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I was reading blurbs of upcoming books not really focusing on the titles or authors and noticed one that happened to hit a lot of my “could be quite good” buttons so I looked at the author and just had to laugh. Needless to say I quickly requested a review copy. Porter provided what I was hoping for but did it in a way I did not expect which added some needed lightness.

This story starts after Laurence was rescued, mostly nursed back to some semblance of health and at the CFA headquarters. He thought his rescue would mean a return to normal and the freedom to live his life as he continued to recover as well as working to bring down the terrorist organization who held him captive and tortured him. CFA had other ideas, they kept him in a relatively comfortable isolation area for debriefing, tests, examinations until they believed he hadn’t revealed CFA secrets or turned into a double agent. Laurence didn’t react well to learning after everything he went through for his organization, they didn’t trust him. As a result I had the impression between the PTSD and other psychological damage from his torture sessions and his sense of betrayal he might have been stuck in isolation for a very long time.

I think the “Powers That Be” had a similar concern because they sent in one of their unit psychologists who also happened to have a very personal connection and therefore desire to see Laurence heal. Gemma was also suffering from guilt and PTSD from some events which, occurred during her one active mission so I think this was also an attempt to help Gemma regain her confidence. I had more confidence in my theory after a certain event occurred much later in the story.

Just as Laurence and Gemma were trying to reconcile their memories of an earlier time with their changed now, I was getting to know them as characters. I really enjoyed how Porter allowed me to see their slow growing friendship and their mutual attraction through flashbacks juxtaposed on current events. I was able to buy into their romance because I watched it develop. In addition to supporting the overall romance, the flashbacks explained some of the actions each took which initially seemed implausible until I started learning and understanding their past.

Porter always does a great job with the sexual tension and Snap was no exception. After their years of pent up attraction when Gemma and Laurence finally came together it was explosive even with the limitations due to Laurence’s injuries. As he continued to heal and their physical relationship deepened I was amused several times as it seemed like the expansion of their sexual activity followed a similar pattern to how their friendship developed with subtle dares. This provided a great connection to their past and showed how the inner core of each individual still existed under the trauma.

Another thing I found fascinating was how the mental healing and trust didn’t progress at the same pace as the physical healing and physical trust. It was as if their subconscious knew, but they mentally threw up roadblocks and tried to come up with ulterior meanings. It took another traumatic event and deciding what was important to fully restore trust on both sides. I thought both Gemma and Laurence went through a crucible for each other, which not only strengthened their relationship but also gave them a chance for the future. And this might be a minor spoiler but I did regain faith in CFA by the end of the story.

Snap was a very enjoyable read and I am glad I went blurb browsing. Gemma and Laurence broke my heart at times but also put it back together as they helped each other heal. I need to go back and read the first one of the series Own and keep an eye out for Bind the next installment.

I give Snap a B+

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