Breaking Point, the fifth book in the I-Team series, is the first book I’ve read by Pamela Clare; and I was happily surprised by the intricacy of this well thought out plot. This book was not an easy read – and by that I mean it was up front and in your face about the extreme violence that is caused by the drug cartels in Mexico. The book opens with a kidnapping and a massacre on a bus and moves swiftly to our hero Zach being held prisoner and brutally tortured. It isn’t long before we find out that our heroine Natalie is being taken to face torture, rape and death. It is in the midst of this terrifying experience that Zach and Natalie meet. That’s the beauty of romantic suspense. You know nine times out of ten the hero and heroine are not going hook up on Match.com and get together for a quick look see at the local Starbucks. Nope. They’re more likely going to meet like Zach and Natalie - in adjoining cells, dirty and bloody and trying to figure a way out of a predicament that has them miles from civilization being held captive by one of the most feared, notorious and murderous drug cartels in Mexico.
Zach is not thinking about whether he’ll order one of those over priced brownies with his Chai latte; instead he’s gathering his strength and trying to recall his Navy SEAL and US Marshall training to survive another round of torture. He’s also worried about Natalie, the American journalist in the next cell who will most likely die a horrible death. Not being a typical alpha heroine, Natalie never the less rises to the occasion and with her courage and quick thinking she’s able to initiate and facilitate their escape; and with Zach’s help they are on the run. Running from danger is all about heightened awareness - and the chemistry between them becomes explosive. Because when polite and civilized customs and mores are blown to hell and all you can think about is your next breath, you’re emotions are placed squarely in the middle of the vulnerable zone. And both Zach and Natalie are definitely at their most vulnerable, creating a ‘perfect storm’ of emotions that give way to an honesty not typically revealed on a ‘first date’. And although this not your usual first date, you still have just the right ingredients for danger to lead to the kind of lust that leads to love.
Luckily, this is a contemporary romantic suspense so I knew in my heart things would turn out alright. What keeps this book alive and the tension mounting is twofold. The first is the undeniable attraction between the protagonists. The attraction that is definitely acted upon, but because of ‘who they are’, it cannot grow or last beyond the danger. This plot point was very well thought out and made sense. It was honest, up front and had none of that annoying ‘big misunderstanding’ that generally drives me crazy. And the second well thought out plot point was the reason why Natalie was kidnapped in the first place. That was a mystery that continued to build throughout the book leading us on a winding, action packed and suspenseful ride.
If you’re a fan of this series, characters from the previous books are very much involved with the rescue and are important to the plot. If like me and you’re new to the series, this one stands alone but there was great by play amongst the characters that had me wanting to read the previous books and find out more.
The other ‘romantic suspense’ I read this weekend was an historical – and… I’ll let you know more about that one next week.
Until then, I’m curious, how do you like your heroines in romantic suspense? Alpha heroines who can win the day with an AK 47 strapped to their back, or the ones who rise to the occasion?