A hacker stuck in a destructive relationship fends off terrorists all while being wooed by a handsome fellow hacker in Harber’s (Hart Attack, 2014) romantic thriller.
Lexi Dare prefers anonymity; her business adviser, Shadow, is the only person who knows she’s celebrated hacker SilverChaos. Her latest code, Monarch, is likely to ignite a bidding war in its upcoming auction. Lexi’s personal life, however, is a struggle; she can’t find the strength to leave her abusive fiance, Matt. When Matt’s pal Parker Black, of a private security force called Titan, witnesses Matt assaulting Lexi, he intervenes. But Matt is only one of Lexi’s troubles. Shadow’s already enlisted Parker, who, unbeknownst to Lexi is hacker BlackDawn, to provide security for the Monarch deal. And sure enough, a terrorist faction wants simply to steal Monarch, targeting its creator as well, while Parker and Lexi struggle to ensure her safety. The novel, despite the presence of hackers and terrorist baddies, is first and foremost a romance. Once Parker rescues Lexi, for example, their flourishing romance sidelines everything else as it leads to the (inevitable) sex scenes. This part of the story takes up so many of the pages that it’s a little too easy for readers to forget about the people looking to harm Lexi. Suspense, accordingly, dips. Nevertheless, the couple’s moments together provide many erotic highlights. The Arab terrorists, meanwhile, aren’t much of a threat until near the end, when their plot is finally hatched with devastating consequences. It’s Matt who proves the most terrifying of the villains. His abuse of Lexi, for instance, isn’t just physical. He manipulates her, making her believe that it’s her fault when he hits or berates her, a frighteningly realistic portrayal of the dynamics of abuse that elicits a stronger emotional response than the largely nameless terrorists. Harber fully embraces a few of the genre’s trademarks, including endless references to blue eyes: Parker’s are “smoldering,” Lexi’s “icy.” But this hardly lessens the couple’s overall chic, two intelligent characters with invigorating tech skills and their own superbikes.
Sure to appease readers interested in romance, but
Harber supports it with a solid thriller foundation.