The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2) by Linda Howard
Series: GO-Team #2
Also in this series: Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.
But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun...or else be out of a job.
Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.
Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.
But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.
Jina Modell works for an off-the-books paramilitary agency, doing something related to communications. When she’s reassigned to a field unit, she joins Levi “Ace” Butcher’s team. Jina is not prepared for the physical demands of being in the field. Levi is determined to train her harder than the other recruits because he doesn’t want to put his team’s safety in jeopardy for an unprepared teammate. Jina keeps surprising him, and herself, by overcoming each new challenge through sheer grit and determination. As she gets more comfortable with the team, though, it becomes harder to ignore the white-hot attraction between her and Levi. When a dangerous mission goes sideways, Levi and Jina have to make some difficult choices, and it changes them both.
I thought Jina was completely excellent–funny, tough, and so practical. She absolutely made the book for me. I enjoyed reading about her training, even the mundane aspects, because she was just such a great character. She knew how to put the guys in their place without coming across as shrill or unyielding, and I adored that. I really loved Levi too and thought he was a great match for Jina because he cared about her but still respected her abilities. The side characters were excellent too. All the guys on the team were a hoot, and it was fun to read about their dynamic.
But then, nothing much happens. The training goes on and on…and on. Like, literally the whole book was Jina’s training. There are a few smoldering moments between Jina and Levi, but they are few and far between. Of COURSE it wasn’t a good idea for them to get busy. He was her boss and responsible for the cohesiveness of the team. I get that. But it made for a romance very light on the romance. Jina and Levi have almost no one-on-one conversations the entire book–time is mostly spent in Jina’s head (with some glimpses of Levi’s perspective) or with the whole team interacting. When they do finally get down to business it was sexy and great, but that didn’t happen until the book was over.
My biggest problem with the book is indeed the ending. I won’t spoil it (even though I really want to discuss it more!), but I’ll just say I disliked Jina’s behavior at the end. I was ok with her choices but not her reasons. It made her seem wishy washy and didn’t seem to match her behavior throughout the rest of the book. Also, the book tries to squeeze a thousand pounds of plot and a bunch of sex into the last 40 pages. Seriously, little happens for chapter upon chapter, and then suddenly a whole ton of shit goes down in quick succession and boom, the end. We saw glimpses from the perspective of the Congresswoman villain (not a spoiler, it’s in the cover copy) throughout the whole book so you’d think it would have made me more invested in her, but it didn’t. I didn’t understand what her plan was, and when she is taken down at the end I didn’t feel much satisfaction.
I liked the characters in this story and enjoyed reading it, but based on the cover copy I was expecting more action and more survival. That’s not what I got, and I wanted a bit more from the book.
Grade: 3 out of 5