Micah Sloane knows almost everything there is to know about Risa Clay, including the vicious betrayal she endured years ago and the distrust she's harbored ever since. The only way for the Elite Ops agent to uncover an assassin - and banish the ghosts of his dark past - is to use Risa as bait. But nothing has prepared him for her disarming blend of innocence and sensuality, or for his overwhelming need to protect her...
Risa has spent eight years rebuilding her life. And now, to save it, she must pose as Micah's lover and draw a killer into the open. It's a risky plan - especially with a man as powerfully seductive as Micah. But, as their charade becomes reality, Risa realizes the greatest danger may lie in losing her heart forever...
Lora Leigh is my guiltiest pleasure. She's an author who consistently turns out wonderfully romantic novels filled to the brim with possessive heroes, oozing sexual tension, and of course, the requisite bad guy intent on killing the heroine. Doesn't matter if the heroes are Breed or human, they are each sinfully cunning when attempting to get the heroine into his bed, making for great angst and numerous bouts of humor.
Leigh's heroines are strong females who've lived through some tragedy or another, but it's always the hero that helps her overcome any nightmares of the past and embrace the strength of her femininity. It all makes for excellent escape reading because truly it is fantasy. As much as I enjoy super alphas in my novels, it's a big "No Thanks!" in real life. I prefer more of an equal footing with the males of my life but damn if those romance novel alphas turn me on every time!
Risa Clay has survived hell. Abused terribly at the hands of a man that should have protected her life with his own, instead Risa's father, Jansen Clay, allows her young virginal body to be used as a facilitator for an experimental drug and weapon. Not only did he hold his own daughter down while another man raped her, but he also made sure Risa stayed quiet after her rescue by admitting her to a private psychiatric ward with strict instructions that she remain heavily sedated, all the while, injecting her with drug after drug.
Jansen Clay and his doctor associate have been perfecting the drug used on Risa known as Whore's Dust - a powerful aphrodisiac that virtually blinds the user to anything but debilitating lust. The drug attaches itself to pleasure receptors in the brain causing any type of arousal to border on pain until release is achieved. When climax is finally attained, the effects are so explosive and overwhelming that the user can become terrified of the uncontrollable sensations.
It's been eight years since Risa was rescued from her captives, and six years since the death of her father allowed her subsequent rescue from the psychiatric ward. Now, determined to move past her isolating fear that has virtually made her a prisoner in her own home, Risa is ready to take a lover. The aching lust writhing within her has moved beyond nuisance and straight into agony. Yet fear of a man's touch isn't the only thing that she's afraid of. Risa knows that she isn't beautiful. She's been told since as far back as she can remember by her father that she was ugly. Never has a man been interested in her. Even the man who raped couldn't stand the sight of her. But with the encouragement of her friends and some new found strength, Risa agrees to meet their friend Micah Sloane.
Micah Sloane is a man whose original identity of David Abijah, died. Now, a covert agent working with a group of "dead" men known as Elite Ops, Micah is determined to catch an assassin called Orion that not only murdered his parents, but nearly succeeded in murdering David as well. Now that very same killer is after Risa Clay, a woman stronger than anyone he's ever known to have laid eyes on.
A rare occurrence has happened with Risa. Whore's Dust is supposed to block any memory of the user while the drug is in effect, but Risa is starting to remember things about not only the night she was raped, but of the visitations her father made while in the hospital. Someone is worried that his identity is about to be revealed and he intends to put a stop to Risa's life before she can remember more.
With the hopes of capturing Orion and ascertaining the identity of his employer, Elite Ops and more specifically, Micah Sloane, will dangle Risa as bait while he poses as her new live-in lover. Risa agrees to the charade. She hasn't worked for the past six years to get her life back just to have it taken away again.
Despite the strong physical evidence where Micah's arousal is concerned, Risa's low self esteem with her image causes her to second guess and excuse Micah's behavior as nothing but the need to complete an op. In her mind he couldn't find her anywhere near attractive. But Micah has a plan, for Risa's excuses couldn't be farther from the truth. For the last six years Micah has caught glimpses of Risa coming and going from her friends' houses and every time he was struck but an inner glow of strength that radiated off her despite her baggy clothes and face obscuring hair. Micah has been fascinated with Risa since day one and he's developed an intricate plan of seduction with hopes of banishing Risa's self-loathing and revealing her true beauty.
Each day finds Risa falling more and more in love Micah but nothing can ever come of it. Micah is expected to walk away from Risa once the threat to her life has been removed. Yet it certainly isn't a crime to hope. With their lives put in danger time and again, Risa and Micah both are having trouble dealing with the fact that there can't be a future relationship for them. Micah is a "dead" man who has signed his life away to Elite Ops. The only way that Risa can truly be his is if he claims her now and forever and damn the consequences.
'Maverick' while a good read, wasn't my favorite by Lora Leigh. To be honest, I can't really pin point what was lacking or if the novel even lacked anything at all. I suppose it was just mundane in essence. Everything was there: Alpha hero, sexual tension, all the hot love scenes to melt a romance reader's heart. I think I just missed the emotional angst that I've come to love so much in a Leigh novel. This may have something to do with the fact that most of her novels portray the reunited love theme where the hero and heroine share a past which is generally tragic in some way or another. That vital angst was missing. I think it'll be a while yet for Leigh top 'Wild Card' which is the absolute best of her military novels, IMO.
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