Covert Game by Christine Feehan
Series: GhostWalkers #14
Also in this series: Predatory Game, Street Game, Ruthless Game, Shadow Game, Power Game, Murder Game
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Rescuing an industrial spy from the hands of a criminal mastermind is a suicide mission for the GhostWalkers. And there's no one more up to the task than Gino Mazza. He's the perfect killing machine—a man driven by demons so dark and destructive that his blighted soul has given up trying to find solace. But his laser-sharp focus on his target has transformed into something nearing desire.
A treasonous senator dangled top secret GhostWalker data in front of a Chinese crime lord, and he bit. Zara Hightower, one of the world's leading experts on artificial intelligence, was sent in to psychically wipe the crime lord's computer network. She succeeded, but at a huge cost. Now she's the captive of a man who has descended into paranoid madness. Torture and death await her...
But GhostWalkers never leave one of their own in enemy territory. And it's up to Gino to save Zara, or kill her if it turns out she's led them into a trap. Either way, heaven or hell won't stop him...
I can’t quite put my finger on when it happened, but Christine Feehan’s writing has changed. And I’m loving it. She has always had her Carpathian series, which was darker than her other series, but that’s just not the case anymore. The GhostWalkers started to get darker a couple years ago. Now they’re completely in dark territory. Even her Sisters of the Heart series was pretty dark. Torpedo Ink? Yes. I am really loving this dark turn she has taken, but I wonder if it’s permanent.
Zara Hightower is actuallly the world’s leading expert in A.I. She can also do really cool stuff like wipe hard drives and networks clean psychically. A U.S. Senator and a GhostWalker like Zara gave top secret information about GhostWalkers to a Chinese crime lord that Zara has been sent in to destroy. She has also been sent in to steal other secrets he may have by downloading them directly to a SSD that is embedded in her brain. All courtesy of Dr. Peter Whitney of course. That bugger. Honestly, as each book goes on I wonder how this guy hasn’t died yet. I actually have to think back and remember each time a new book comes out. Anyhow, Zara is now in enemy territory and she knows no one will be able to prove that she is the one that wiped Cheng’s network clean. She knows that even if she’s caught and tortured, they still won’t be able to prove her involvement. What she didn’t factor into all her equations for escaping was Cheng’s enforcer, Bolan Zhu. The man showed in interest in her the first time he met her and that interest didn’t go away, even when he was torturing the bejesus out of Zara.
Gino Mazza is a special sort of man who wants a special sort of woman. He admires all the women that his teammates have ended up with. They are all warriors, just like their men. He has the utmost respect for them and would go shoulder to shoulder into battle with any of them. That doesn’t mean that he wants his woman to be a warrior herself. He wants a woman that can take care of herself, but doesn’t have to fight because Gino is there to do it for her. It sounds archaic to Gino, but he knows that he can accept nothing less than that. He watched his whole family be slaughtered during a kidnapping attempt when he was a child. He is not going to let that happen to his wife. When his team is tasked with rescuing Zara, he finds himself staring at her picture wondering if she couldn’t be the woman he has been looking for.
When the GhostWalkers get Zara out of China, Gino is the one that Zara clings to. It’s his strength of character that convinces her that he can keep her safe from Bolan Zhu. After being tortured at his hands and promised even worse if she ever tried to escape him, Zara knows he will be coming after her. Only a person like Gino can keep Zara safe. She can see something in him, though she can’t put her finger on it. Gino knows what she sees. He’s tortured people just as Zhu tortured her. If anyone can protect her, it’s him. Still, protecting her is not all he wants to do. He can see that she’s exactly the type of woman he wants and needs. She’s smart and resourceful, can definitely fight with the best of them, but she is happier not fighting. She accepts his personality, which even he knows can be hard to live with.
Basically what we have here is a D/s relationship at the most basic level. Feehan has been writing more of those lately and I wonder where she is heading. I did not like Bellisia in this book at all. She rubbed me wrong the entire book. Her relationship with Zeke was nothing like Gino and Zara’s so she decided it was wrong. I thought it was incredibly shortsighted and just plain bitchy. Not to mention it hurt Zara tremendously because she felt that she had to choose between her sister and the man she loves. I wanted to strangle her.
Now I want to know who the next GhostWalker book will be about, but that I have a feeling that information won’t be forthcoming for some time. I really enjoyed this one.
4 out of 5.