Leese Phelps’s road hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s brought him to the perfect job — working for the elite Body Armor security agency. And what his newest assignment lacks in size, she makes up for in fire and backbone. But being drawn to Catalina Nicholson is a dangerous complication, especially since it could be the very man who hired Leese who’s threatening her.
What Catalina knows could get her killed. But who’d believe the sordid truth about her powerful stepfather? Beyond Leese’s ripped body and brooding gaze is a man of impeccable honour. He’s the last person she expects to trust — and the first who’s ever made her feel safe. And he’s the only one who can help her expose a deadly secret, if they can just stay alive long enough…
I was given an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 3 Stars
Every young girl, at some point or another, dreams of her prince charming – the knight in shining armor who will ride in on his white horse and save her from some perceived horror her parents are putting her through (I don’t know about you, but finishing my brussel sprouts was indeed a horrifying task). Lori Foster is great at writing the grown up versions of these childhood dream men. Her male leads are almost always damn near perfect. In her newest book, Under Pressure, Leese may be just a little bit too good to be true.
As I always like to begin my reviews with the good, let’s discuss what I liked about this book. As a romantic thriller, it was well paced. There was a fair amount of action interspersed with slower periods during which the readers got to know the characters a bit more. I liked Lori’s supporting cast and can’t wait to read Justice’s story – he seems like quite a character. Additionally, the villains in this book are easy to hate, and I mean really really hate – I don’t know that I’ve ever wanted a character to die painfully so badly. Foster is undeniably a talented writer making Under Pressure easy to read and descriptive without being over the top.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t feel that Leese and Cat had chemistry. They fell for each other almost immediately and only waited to have sex because of a silly one week rule that Leese came up with. Within a day and a half of knowing one another, Leese was ready to quit his job, which he mentions loving on multiple occasions, for Cat. At the time, however, he and Cat aren’t romantically involved at all – in fact, he is fighting his feelings for reasons that never quite made sense to me. Given her circumstances, Cat’s immediate trust in Leese also threw me off. At the start of the book, Cat has been running for weeks, and instead of being wary of yet another man sent by her stepdad, she immediately feels safe with Leese. While feeling safe may not be something that we can help, given her situation I believe that she should have at least been a bit more wary. She thought about trying to escape multiple times, but never made any real effort to do so.
In romance novels, I firmly believe that there needs to be a build up of tension. The lead characters stay away from each other for valid reasons, as tension builds up, culminating in a hot “I need you now” sex scene. That final moment, when the characters just can’t fight it any more, is always my favorite part of the book. For me, that is where Under Pressure really fell short. Leese and Cat didn’t have good reasons for staying apart. Cat, despite her dire circumstances, just spends the entire first half of the book trying to get Leese into bed with her. While he obviously wants to be with her, he fights it for no good reason. The big chip on his shoulder, his huge hangup, is a tiny thing. It is explained only in passing and in a way that just makes Leese seem more perfect (seriously, I couldn’t find a single flaw over the course of this book – he was 100% too good to be true).
My Takeaway: Despite a good plot and fantastic pacing, I was disappointed in Under Pressure‘s lack of chemistry. As the book was well written, and I typically enjoy Lori Foster’s books, I plan to continue this series. However, I sincerely hope that Justice and his love interest have more of a spark than Leese and Cat did.