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 6, 2018
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.
Linda Howard is a long time favorite of mine, but her more recent books haven’t worked as well for me as her older ones. I went into this with some trepidation, but I ended up really enjoying it. Jina’s strength and determination really came through as she tried to earn her place on the GO-Team. Her snarky attitude and dry wit really carried the book. What might have been a story slogged down with minor details was instead fun and fresh because of Jina. Her constant muttering and threats, plus her sheer strength of will, had me cheering for her from the beginning. I enjoyed Levi and the other members of the GO-Team, as well as the political aspects, though that part of the story definitely took a backseat to Jina’s training.
Where I struggled was Jina’s decision at the end of the book. It was jarring and extremely problematic considering the content of the book. I’d have rather half the book been focused on her training and the other half her doing missions with the team.View Spoiler » For the entirety of the book, Jina pushes and pushes to become one of the team. With the exception of the last 2 or 3 chapters, the entire book is focused on her training. Her determination to make the team and kick ass was the major theme. So at the end when she chose to leave the team, it made no sense. I get her wanting to quit and realizing, after the dangerous, high-stress mission, she wasn’t up to the work. But that coupled with how quickly she rolled over for Levi was too much. One or the other I could see, but not both. Especially since he didn’t even apologize for leaving her behind, not really. And it seemed so out of character for her to quit with hardly any thought. Why did she push so hard to become part of the team, to stay on the team, if she was going to quit after the first hard mission? « Hide Spoiler
There were some questions left unanswered and I hope we’ll see more books in the series in the future. Jina’s strength of will and determination made this an engaging read. The ending was problematic and pulled down my overall grade.
3.25 out of 5