He takes lives. She saves them.
A supposedly hassle-free job for mercenary Cristian Slade becomes a mission of mercy when he saves a life instead of taking one. Slade’s new mission might be his most dangerous yet, because the danger is to his heart.
Tragedy has sent esteemed surgeon Alana O’Grady to a remote a remote Nicaraguan island where she immerses herself in the lives of a native American tribe, using her talents for goodwill instead of wealth and prestige. But life turns upside down when her work requires she protect a rugged mercenary who commands her attention when she’s awake and dominates her dreams while she sleeps.
Doctoring Christian puts her entire tribe in danger from the man who’s hunting him. Is it her professional oath or her unprofessional attraction to him keeping her from sending him away to heal on his own? Alana’s fire warms Christian’s heart, but he’s a hardened assassin and has no business falling for someone like her. Can they fight hard enough to keep what they might have together?
The blurb and cover for Hard Core caught my eye and since I’m always up for a good romantic suspense I thought I would try it out. Unfortunately this one disappointed me.
When the story opens Cristian Slade is moving through the jungle on a mission to kill a man named Gavin Ross. He is ambushed, captured and taken back to Ross where he is “persuaded” to change sides. One of these persuasions is in the form of a beautiful woman, which gives Cristian the chance to escape. During his escape attempt he is shot, although he still manages to get through the jungle until he encounters Alana O’Grady whom is bathing in her favorite watering hole. Alana is a Doctor who is staying in one of the villages on the island with her dying father. I really didn’t understand the deal she made with Ross, but apparently there is a deal that she will become part of his operation if he will give her six months on the island with her father before his death. When Cristian basically crashes into where she is bathing her overwhelming doctor senses take over and she hauls him back to her hut to take care of him. The first 25% of this book is Cristian wavering in and out of consciousness while Alana tries to take care of him, battles with him over whether he is going to let her give him a shot of antibiotics and of course while Alana is deciding that, even though he is a patient in her care, she is hot for him. It took everything I had to get through the first 25%. I had this feeling that I just wanted to move on to something else. Action scenes, sex, good dialogue, bad dialogue.. just something else.
We did eventually move onto something else. Alana is taken from her hut by one of the bad guys working for Ross and we soon learn the job Ross wants her for involves her removing organs from live patients so they can be sold on the black market. This is the part that confused me, at the beginning she talks about this deal she makes with Ross to give her time to spend with her father before she joins his operation, but then when she is taken to the compound and told to perform the illegal surgery she acts shocked. I kept thinking… what did she think she would be doing? Maybe in my haste to finish this one after the boring first part of the book, or because I started skimming , I missed the reasoning. Cristian rescues her and this is where the action picks up and there are a few lukewarm sexy scenes, but I felt that the action was a bit over done and the sexy scenes a bit under cooked. Maybe I’m conditioned to sexy scenes that last more than a page and are a bit more detailed, I don’t know, they just fell flat.
Some of the mercenary friends of Cristian were introduced but, like Cristian himself I felt that they were never really developed. Cristian is cold and indifferent and you never really get to know him at all. I do think I got to know Alana more, but I really didn’t care about her much. Most of the characters in this story were just blah for me. This was a read I finished so I could say I got to the end of the book. I did get to the end of the book, but ended up disappointed.