Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Review: You Only Love Twice by Lexi Blake

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #8
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, BDSM
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: February 17th 2015
My Rating: 5 Cups
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A woman on a mission

Phoebe Graham is a specialist in deep cover espionage, infiltrating the enemy, observing their practices, and when necessary eliminating the threat. Her latest assignment is McKay-Taggart Security Services, staffed with former military and intelligence operatives. They routinely perform clandestine operations all over the world but it isn’t until Jesse Murdoch joins the team that her radar starts spinning. Unfortunately so does her head. He’s gorgeous and sweet and her instincts tell her to trust him but she’s been burned before, so he’ll stay where he belongs—squarely in her sights.

A man on the run

Since the moment his Army unit was captured by jihadists, Jesse’s life has been a nightmare. Forced to watch as those monsters tortured and killed his friends and the woman he loved, something inside him snapped. When he’s finally rescued, everyone has the same question—why did he alone survive? Clouded in accusations and haunted by the faces of those he failed, Jesse struggles in civilian life until McKay-Taggart takes him in. Spending time with Phoebe, the shy and beautiful accountant, makes him feel human for the first time in forever. If someone so innocent and sweet could accept him, maybe he could truly be redeemed.

A love they never expected

When Phoebe receives the order to eliminate Jesse, she must choose between the job she’s dedicated her life to and the man who’s stolen her heart. Choosing Jesse would mean abandoning everything she believes in, and it might mean sharing his fate because a shadowy killer is dedicated to finishing the job started in Iraq.

A Masters and Mercenaries Novel by Lexi Blake
*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

Yet another great story from a great series! I’ve been wondering about how Phoebe and Jesse ended up together ever since I read some of the later books in the series and there was talk about how she was spying on Ian and that intrigued me. Because how can one woman get to spy on the McKay-Taggart business without anyone noticing? I’ve also been curious about Jesse’s story, because he never seemed like the bad guy, no matter what other people thought about him. I also loved Phoebe’s love of Harry Potter, and seeing Ian desperately trying to escape all that knowledge was funny to me.

Phoebe is definitely not what I expected. The first surprise comes when we find out in the first pages of the book who she really is. I never imagined she’d be a spy, but she is, she’s actually a super spy. Not only that, she's Ten's sister. So that makes this mission even more interesting. And then I discovered why she was there in the first place and I wanted to bawl my eyes out. What Ten did for his sister was incredibly sweet, but also born out of desperation on his part, and it's interesting to see how affected he truly was by what his sister was going through. I would like to believe Phoebe would have pulled through without Ten's help, but I kinda don't think so. That being said, Phoebe is insanely smart and strong. Once she received and accepted her mission, she was focused on her job and she put aside her grief. I loved Phoebe and I kept rooting for her the entire book.

Jesse was also a surprise for me. I'm used to Blake's underdog heroes, the ones that are a little bit too sunny for this job, but Jesse was something else entirely. Jesse was one of the truly good guys that was dealt a shitty set of cards, and yet he doesn't despair, he doesn't lose hope, he doesn't turn bad. I didn't expect to like him so much. I knew he couldn't have been morally gray since he was paired up with Phoebe, but I also was kind of expecting him to have done some things he didn't remember, that I don't think anyone would have judged him for, myself included. He also struggles with PTSD, and while it doesn't magically disappear just because he's found a partner, he finds ways to cope with it and Phoebe and Simon do help him out a lot. I also loved what he did for Phoebe, and I'm not talking about giving her someone to live for. He had the possibility to learn who she really was and what her secrets were, and he refused to know if the information didn't come from her. That showed me just how noble and good he was. Considering what he went through, considering what her secret really was, Jesse proved to be one of the truly good guys.

We also meet Tag's younger brothers, Theo and Case, and I can't tell you how much my heart broke when I read about Theo. Because...yeah, I'm not saying anything more because of major spoilers, but if you've read the books, you know why.

The themes are slowly growing darker and darker with each book, and I'm always prepared to shed a tear or two when I'm reading these books. Blake definitely knows just how to make me cry. The story is pretty fast paced and we get to learn more about the Collective and this is also the book that seals the deal on Ten's career. I feel like You Only Love Twice is the turning point in this series, because it introduces some big players that will change the course of the McKay-Taggart missions. I'm very curious to see what happens next. I also loved how Blake explored the idea of becoming your cover. Phoebe has moments when her cover went on for so long, she kind of forgets who she really is. Phoebe Graham and Phoebe Grant kind of blend together and it's hard for her to remember that one is a real person and the other is just a mask. That also leads to mistakes on her part, mistake that I don't know if I would have caught to be honest, for the men and women trained to spot these things, it's the thing that made them realize she's more than she said she was.

As always, this book was another fantastic story in the Masters & Mercenaries series, and even though my heart broke and I may have cried a little, I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

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