Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publication: Ballantine Books (March 22, 2011)
Description: Izzy Zanella wasn’t looking for another reason to butt heads with his Navy SEAL teammate, and nemesis, Danny Gillman. But then he met Danny’s beautiful younger sister, Eden. When she needed it most, he offered her a place to stay, a shoulder to cry on—and more. And when she got pregnant with another man’s child, he offered her marriage. But Eden’s devastating miscarriage shattered their life together—and made the intense bad blood between Izzy and Danny even worse.
Now Eden’s back, and she’s on a mission to rescue her teen brother, Ben, from their abusive stepfather. Even if she and Izzy can prove that their broken marriage is still in one piece, winning legal custody of Ben is a long shot. But they’re not alone: Danny and his girlfriend, Jenn, offer to help, and he and Izzy agree to bury the past and fight for Ben’s future.
As they plan their strategy, Izzy and Eden grapple with the raw passion that still crackles between them—while Danny and Jenn confront new depths in their own rocky relationship. But events take a terrifying turn after Ben befriends a girl fleeing a child prostitution ring. When the young runaway seeks refuge with Eden and Izzy, her pursuers kidnap Ben—and a deadly standoff begins. Now they must all pull together like never before and strike back, swift and hard, to protect their unconventional little family and everything they hold most precious.
My Thoughts: This sixteenth story in the Troubleshooters series focuses on Izzy Zanella and Danny Gilman. It is action packed romantic suspense. It is hard to know what to say about this complex book. The story about Neesha being a child prostitute is heartbreaking.
The relationship between Zanella and Gilman has been personally adversarial throughout the whole series. They just rub each other the wrong way. While they respect each other's competence as SEALs and work well as teammates, they don't have compatible personalities. It doesn't help their relationship when Zanella falls in love with and marries Danny's younger sister Eden. Both Zanella and Gilman has romantic pasts of the "love em and leave em" variety. But now they have met women they don't want to leave and have to convince them that they are there to stay.
The Gilman family relationships make up a lot of the suspense and tension in this story. The goal in this one is to rescue Eden and Danny's younger brother Ben from his abusive stepfather. Ben is diabetic, gay and fifteen. The stepfather who is a drug using alcoholic who has found religion. In his eyes, being gay is wrong and he is determined to "cure" his son by sending him to an abusive retraining center run by his church. Eden and Danny are determined to save Ben and get him away. Eden and Danny don't have a good relationship either. Danny objects to a lot of the choices that Eden has made in her life. He thinks she is an immoral user. Eden is hurt by Danny's opinion.
Something quite different about this romance is that all of the characters are from the lower middle class. Money and money worries are on their minds too as they try to solve their problems. Danny has always sent the bulk of his pay home to his mother to take care of his younger brother. She and her husband have mostly used it to drink and drug themselves. Ben's diabetes and the need to house and shelter him will stretch Danny's budget. Eden has taken any job she can to try to support herself. She has found work as a stripper that pays well but doesn't help her self image and doesn't help in their quest to gain custody of Ben.
The romance and the romantic misunderstandings in this one were also intense. Zanella and Eden each love the other but the relationship lacks trust. They aren't sure they can depend on each other. Throughout this story they are trying to get to know and trust each other. Danny and Jenn are also working on their relationship. Jenn is very good for Danny because she brings stability to him. She is a quiet voice of reason who can help Danny forge new relationships with his sister and Zanella.
I thought this was an excellent entry into the Troubleshooters series. If you like action-packed romantic suspense, this may be the book for you. I think it would be a richer experience for those who have read other stories in the Troubleshooters series.
So he explained. "My point," he said, "is that if you said to me, Izzy, I just love the power that I feel when I take my clothes off up on that stage. I love it more than words can express, well, then I'd say that since you love doing it, and if you're working in a place where you're not being pressured to do more than dance, if your're careful of your safety when you approach and leave the club..." He shrugged. "You should go for it. But if you come home from work feeling the need to scour your entire body with bleach? You might want to set a limit. Plan for an end date. Do this for a year or two or even ten, learn how to invest those wads of money you earn, and then retire and never do it again."I bought this book from Amazon because Brockmann is an auto-buy for me. It is available in multiple formats - hardcover, ebook, audiobook.