Publisher: Zebra Book
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Mason Decker has been trying for years to become a U.S. Marshall, but his familial relations, his father is notorious smuggler, Jensen Decker (I wanted to type Jensen Ackles, wishful thinking?), have been held against him. Now, through a bit of coercion, he could have the opportunity that he’s been after, as long as he is willing to use his father and Kieran, the homeless boy who Jensen had taken in years before and raised as his son alongside Mason.
Charlotte (Charlie) Cahill is the U.S. attorney heading the task force. Like Mason, she has her own family issues to deal with namely her father, a very successful attorney who wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps. Her decision to follow a different and much less lucrative path disappointed him.
(BTW, all the blurbs mention Mason’s steely blue eyes. Don’t read it if you’re going to be disappointed that he actually has very light green eyes. 😉 .)
Locked and Loaded is part of Mandy Baxter’s U.S. Marshalls series, number 5 out of 5, but it can be read as a standalone novel.
The romance is fairly predictable. Mason and Charlie meet and they don’t like each other. Mason finds Charlie controlling and Charlie thinks Mason is a loose canon who can’t be trusted. They have their sexy moments and their fun moments, but, for me, it was the mystery that really worked.
I thought I was reading something pretty straightforward. I knew who the bad guys were, but Baxter switched events up and provided a pretty surprising and worthwhile conclusion.
Oddly enough, my favorite character was Kieran, who reminded me a bit of Fox from Janet Evanovich’s Fox and O’Hare series–charming and conning. I hope that Baxter uses him in a future novel or series and ups the bad-boy charm quotient.
Read Locked and Loaded more for the mystery than the predictable albeit sexy romance.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review.