Top critical review
Oddly inconsistent with graphic and explicit rape torture threats
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2018
I'd liked the previous series' enough to be looking forward to Protecting Dakota but this is a mess of book.
I'll include the rest of my review below but this one quote makes me regret that I've given this author any money, ever:
"If Aziz violated her, Dakota knew she'd never be the same again. Oh sure, she'd survive it, but something inside her would die. She'd never fell clean again and would forever loose her chance to belong to Slade".
This is inexcusable. The only thing I can hope is that a rape survivor never, ever touches this book and that Ms. Slade removes such abomination from all future editions.
If we skip over that line, which moved it from a 2-3 star review to a 1 star review, for the first half of the novel, the plot is nominally believable and interesting. The "On the Run" portions were well written, consistent and with fast but believable character development that did make me wonder where the rest of the series was going to go (a hope that's dashed by the end, I won't be continuing with it). It is insta-love but at 47 and 42, they're not spring chickens and the character development does somehow make it work. The author clearly has skill but it only shows in glimpses and chunks in an otherwise frustrating book.
Some of the characters are well written but others are choppy and it's often difficult to follow without having fresh memory of the previous books (that I have actually read but a while ago). Likewise, the inconsistent treatment of re-appearing characters is probably exaggerated by the fact it's a Kindle Worlds novel but it's frustrating. The side forays into reincarnation are odd and especially for a romance novel, the language used for "vagina" is wincingly poor.
There's specific asylum seeker fear mongering, weird guilt trip patriotism, there's an odd stalker element and the Tunisian mode of dress is more "I Dreamed of Jeanie" than reality for what purports to be a hardline Islamist group (come *on*, google is not so hard, surely). The placement of the "big bad" and his reveal is just farcically unbelievable and it's unexplained and generally unsubstantiated within the novel so it just hangs there. He's literally just a pastiche of every bad guy trope imaginable, then we get to the climax and the rape torture threats which are explicit, detailed and graphic.
I struggle because it's got some good elements and I actually really liked the main characters but then you throw in all these other elements and get a deeply flawed novel that is unfortunately not worth the rating it has.