** Since I read this one back-to-back with Hard as It Gets, I would be making comparison here and there **
Oh, this book is a major failure for me in so many level. Load of baggage that as big as mine if I want to travel for a month. Instant-love that just a HUGE turn-off. And DRAMA.
Let me listed out the things that didn't work for me
Seriously -- Shane met Cystal in just MERE days (maybe what, 4-5 days?) In which he only spent FEW TIMES with her -- since he lived at Hard Ink and Crystal was 'trapped' in an abusive relationship with one of the bad guys -- but they were VERY MUCH IN LOVE and he was ready to take of her and Crystal's younger sister forever and ever and ever? Nope. Didn't buy it.
Look, in the first book, Nick and Becca practically had a case of instant-love as well, in a mere week. But somehow in that book, I was able to let it go, because in addition to the suspenseful situation, Nick and Becca built their relationship in close counters, since Becca moved in with Nick after her apartment being thrashed off. So I could somehow bought that.
In here? Not so much! When Shane told Crystal (or Sara, her real name) how much he loved her around 90%, I was ready to DNF. My eyes were rolling so hard I was worried it would fell out of their sockets.
Oh, and I wasn't a huge fan of Shane being totally out of character in his intensity around Sara as well. I cringed when I read how he put a listening device without her knowing, even if it was for the good. Nor was I a fan of Sara's martyrdom complex (heck even her sister was upset with her decision). Basically, these two didn't work for me.
Also, having first time sex AFTER you got a phone call that your sister was in total danger and would probably be tortured or sold off as sex slave? Yeah. A big fat no on that either. While Nick and Becca also did their deed when Charlie was still missing, at least Becca didn't really 'hear' anything from the bad guy.
Let's see ... Shane had a kid sister who was missing when she was eight years old so he has been walking around with guilt.
Sara dropped out of university so she could somehow pay her father's debt (I think? That part was rather blurred to me) and ended up being a waitress at a strip club owned by very bad gang. She was also trapped in an abusive relationship with one of the gang members because if not she was in danger of being sold in some human trafficking operations (I guess at one time she was imprisoned in their dungeon and being whipped ... again, blurry moments).
Aside from human trafficking case, there was also guns selling, bunch of bikers (I think) ... or as I would call it, just throw any kind of bad things in this book!! It was just too much. It felt unfocused and way over the top! Because of that, the mystery surrounding the Colonel, and the account money, and what actually behind the cluster-fuck that ended the military careers of these men was overshadowed....
SO DISAPPOINTING! Especially because that premise is what attracted me in the first place.
The only thing that makes me want to go back for book #2.5 and #3 is the guys. Again, I've invested myself in their brotherhood. I LOVED the camaraderie between them (the reason for my extra 0.5*). Most especially whenever I read about Marz or Jeremy. Gah I loved these two. Which is why I really, REALLY, want to read about Jeremy/Charlie coming in April. So I'll continue, but maybe I keep my expectation low for the next books.