This is the second installment of the series but I definitely think that it's possible to read this as a stand alone, as very little reference is made to the heroes of the previous installment.
Joseph is no unknown. He was very shortly introduced in the first installment of the series and I was really looking forward to reading his story. He's an assassin and works mainly black ops. To protect his friends and family, he lives a very secluded and lonely life, where legal and illegality have faded I to each other. However, when his high school sweetheart Ember Harris, meanwhile a doctor, is entrusted by a friend with confidential and sensitive information, which lead to her friend's death, he comes out of hiding to help her.
The blurb of the book actually summarized the book well enough, I just delivered an amateurish recap. Anyway, not a bad book and definitely entertaining enough. However, there were a few edges that didn't really sit well with me. OK, I understand that Joseph is an intense character. I thought the author brought this message loud and clear across. The description of his character and behavior was very to the point and my imagination could easily form a “mental picture". Hence, it didn't make any sense to me that his sexual practices needed to be so “intense“ (can't really word it differently without giving away anything). Neither did I appreciate the “baby I'm so proud of you” speech in this context.
As assassin meets doctor, I would've expected a controversial scene with intense pro vs contra arguments regarding a certain action/ issue. However, in the plot this aspect was reduced to a body count of Joseph's work and how the doctor wondered about his tenderness, which isn't exactly a quality requirement in his line of work. To be honest, I expected a “clash“ of the hero/ine's world and was surprised to find none.
A major thread of the story line seemed to be the planning of Joseph's exit strategy. I would've liked this thread to be more pronounced and maybe a bit more elaborate. As it was, it was certainly very soundly written but I felt that it just fizzled towards the HEA, which was certainly well done, but since this book was so intense in every aspect, I somehow expected a bit more.