Series: GO-Team #2
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Setting: Washington, D.C.
Source: ARC, Edelweiss
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.
The Woman Left Behind is a story that reminds me why I adore romantic suspense! Jina, the heroine, is intelligent and bold. She is thrown into a job she didn’t want, but refuses to roll over and give up. Seeing her push herself beyond what she thought she was capable of is empowering. However, Jina never loses her believability. There are times she breaks down and cries and those times remind the reader that she is determined but she isn’t a robot. The story is focused on her journey from her cushy desk job to being part of an elite special ops team. I found all of the story to be engaging, even when the tasks seemed mundane (like months of training).
Ace, the hero and leader of the special ops team, is certainly douche-y in the beginning. He doesn’t want Jina or anyone on his team. He worries that the addition of a ‘geek’ would be a liability for his team. He also worries that Jina’s presence will be a liability for him because he can’t stop thinking about her. However, as long as they are on the same team, she is off limits to him (and the rest of the team!)
By the end, I was totally crying. What Jina endures could have been written in such a way to minimize what happened or given to the reader in a kind of information dump. But Howard gives us the inner and external struggle Jina faces and I simply couldn’t hold back the tears of pain and sorrow I had for her character.
Whenever possible, I will always gravitate towards romantic suspense and The Woman Left Behind is one of the books that reinforces why. Well written characters, engaging plots, and real danger and emotions make these stories unputdownable!
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: yes
- Trope: special ops
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: stand alone
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »no « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »yes but I still would have appreciated an epilogue to give more information about where they all go from the end « Hide Spoiler
The Virtue Falls series by Christina Dodd, The Red Stone Security series by Katie Reus, The Tracers series by Laura Griffin, The Omega Sector series by Janie Crouch…then you will probably like The Woman Left Behind!
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and it’s been sitting on my TBR pile for the longest time. I should fix that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, great review!