Saturday, March 4, 2017

seriously romantic: wild card undercover by kari lemor

in wild card undercover, meg o'hara has had a crappy two years. lured out to miami by her ex, he managed to go deep into debt to a local crime lord, salazar moreno. and somehow he skipped town and left her to pay the bill. under threat and trapped in servitude she's managed to keep from prostituting herself, even though she'd pay the debt off faster. she ran away from her family to come to miami, and doesn't want to endanger them or go back and prove she's the disaster they all thought she was.

when she first meets christopher shaunessy she's just hoping to avoid trouble with the pool manager of the hotel she crashed. he goes along with her ploy because he wants to see where it will go, because he's attracted to her, but also because he can stop himself from trying to make things right. he's an fbi agent, sent undercover to observe the very crime lord meg is working for. when he figures this out he convinces meg to share information that she is in the perfect position to overhear, given the fact that she is often asked to serve drinks during moreno's exclusive poker games.

chris and meg pretend that they are dating as a cover for their handler/informant relationship. but chris realizes early on that this is a dangerous game that he is playing. he cares about meg, he's attracted to her. he wants to protect her and free her from the terrible situation she's gotten herself in. but this is an investigation that has been building for over three years, there are other characters who have been in deep cover who's identities are at stake if this all goes belly up.

their romance is intertwined with the plot to take down moreno. it's what brings these them together, and yet even in the midst of a high-risk investigation chris and meg find ways to connect beyond the scope of their undercover work. it's one of the things that makes everything so tenuous, there are real feelings between them and those feelings puts them both in danger. when everything blows up, it raises the stakes exponentially because they care about each other. meg isn't an expendable eyewitness, she's someone he wants to protect. she believes in him. and that probably scares him most of all.

one thing i also appreciated was that once meg was out of danger, the author gives both chris and meg some time to heal and figure out if their feelings are real or if they were only intensified because of their forced proximity. we get to see the real meg, the one who isn't running scared for her life and worried about protecting her family from the threat of a dangerous man. and we also get to see who chris is outside of an fbi agent. those glimpses of their real selves made the relationship more real.

**wild card undercover will publish on march 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical underground) in exchange for my honest review.

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