Singed - Kaylea Cross Originally reviewed at Red Hot Books

I recently reviewed the first book in this series, Ignited, and Kaylea Cross does not disappoint with the second installment. I think these books work better read in sequence because there is a longer story arc at play here, but it absolutely can be read as a stand alone.

Claire Tierney’s life is a mess. Six months ago she left her boyfriend because she couldn’t deal with his job as a Special Forces officer after living in fear of losing her father and brother, both former Green Berets. She’s struggling with the delicate balancing act of trying to help her brother deal with the after effects of his tours in Afghanistan, including severe PTSD.

In the meantime, she is also teetering on the brink of being fired as a National Security Analyst for her role in leaking classified information to Titanium Security, aka her ex-boyfriend, Gage Wallace. Her chance to redeem herself at work lands her on a team that includes Gage, much to her chagrin. Unfortunately, Claire becomes the target of the terrorists they are trying to uncover.

Being ever resourceful, Gage sees this as an opportunity to learn the reason why Claire left him. He feels responsible for her becoming an objective for the terrorist cell as he was the one who asked her a favor. When tragedy strikes, Gage becomes the rock that Claire holds on to and her resolve to keep him at bay begins to crumble.

This book was heartbreaking as it was real. The tragedy Claire suffers is palpable and I’ll admit to even tearing up. I commend the author for treating it so respectfully. This is exactly why I love reading second chance/reunion books. Claire is so twisted up inside and it’s beautiful to watch a big badass alpha commando handle all her issues so gently. Gage doesn’t hide that Clarie’s departure ripped him apart but he won’t let her fears keep them from the long lasting relationship they were meant to have. The intimacy is charged because of the hurts on both sides, and they are huge for Claire, but the journey they take back to each other is so sweet.

I’m continuing to enjoy the development of all the other members of Titanium Security. I especially love Gage’s banter with all of his “boys.” It brings a needed lighthearted break and shows the real camaraderie found amongst the small group of Special Forces operators.

This book leans heavier on the romance part of the story than the first, but there’s a larger story arc going into book 3. Sean and Zahra’s few interactions still set off enough heat that I’m confident that their story will be electric. I’m also looking forward to getting back into the suspense/action meat of the story because Cross writes it exceeding well. As I’ve said before, when an author does homework, it makes the story that much more engaging.

Even if you don’t normally read romantic suspense, I would give this series a try.

Grade: A-