Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Genre: Contemporary | Romantic Suspense
This is section 8
A cabal of operatives with dangerous pasts teams up to work black ops missions. Their weapon: deception. Can they help one of their own before he goes too far?
When Gunner agreed to help Section 8, he didn’t realize he’d be pulled back into the shadowy world he thought he’d escaped forever. The son of double agents, he was initiated at a young age into the cold world of espionage when his father forced him to work for international smuggler Drew Landon. And when Gunner’s past with Landon threatens the other mercenaries, and, most important, Avery, he makes an impossible choice…and disappears.
Avery’s not willing to give up on Gunner. The attraction between them has been there from the start, and she rallies Section 8 to help him. She knows there’s only one way to keep Gunner safe: fake his death and take him off the grid. But when she finally locates him, Gunner is a changed man, harder, more desperate, and on the edge of self-destruction. And only Avery can find a way to free him from Landon—and from the demons of his past—before it’s too late.
It took me a while to get to UNBREAKABLE by Stephanie Tyler because of it's length and seemingly heavy plot. I read Section 8-1, Surrender, last year and ended up liking it even though it took me a while to get into the story. STyler took her time building the kind of world her covert agents live in and coupled it with a complicated backstory that weighed down the intro a bit. Surrender had a slow start but it picked up mid-point and revved up til the end. Another drawback for me were the MCs who I didn't really connect with so with all these impressions, I wasn't expecting much from UNBREAKABLE although I was hoping that it would be better than Surrender.
Obviously I'm kicking myself because I ended up loving UNBREAKABLE and totally prefer it over Surrender! With the backstory and world building out of the way, STyler was able to focus on the plot, pace and character development. From a series romance perspective, I love that we get to meet the next couple to be featured on the current book so there's a good layering of present and future story. It's a good device to avoid those pesky instant connections that's a pet peeve for most readers. So there's a good character build-up and by the time the next book rolls in, we've already established some sort of connection with the MCs and that's exactly the case for me regarding Avery and Gunner.
Avery and Gunner's romance was passionate and angsty due to the latter's guilt issues regarding his past (his dad was the last book's super villain) which made him emotionally unavailable. Avery, being the loyal, devoted and loving chick that she is, saw Gunner's pain and made it her mission to break down Gunner's walls. I have to say, I love Avery's style, she's no wallflower and she's not a Section 8 legacy for nothing. She met Gunner point by point, was soft when he's loving and turned forceful when he was being obstinate. As for the sexy, I love that the focus was more on Avery and Gunner's emotional connection than their sexual attraction. There's some heat, and those moments steamed up my glasses, but it's far in between which IMO is more realistic than a couple who'd go out of their way to bump uglies while in the middle of a mission.
Hear this -- we (S8) are coming for you. As of now, you're the one who's being hunted. I'd make sure I kept looking over my shoulder if I were you. One of these times, you're doing to see me. And 'll be the last thing you do see before you hit the ground. [Kapow! That's Gunner talking to the bad guy, Drew Landon]
The plot was fantastic, you have human traffikers, goons, mercenaries, villainous twins, spy games and lots of gray areas. UNBREAKABLE is exciting, suspenseful with a good amount of blood and gore thrown in to add to the grit! The story revolved on Gunner's redemption, he had some pretty rough and dark moments, being the tortured hero that he is, but at the same time, I also like that the story didn't dwell on that. STyler kept the pace quick and suspenseful and focused on Section 8 agents nabbing the bad guy. And just like in Surrender, the conflict resolution was thrilling, the scenes are like a Mark Wahlberg action movie so you can only imagine the level of adrenalin present here. Also, based on the new thread opened, it seems like Section 8 will be saving a damsel in distress in the next book and the bad guy is the leader of a motocycle club. I can tell book 3 will even be more epic than the first two, can't wait!