*Arc received in exchange for an honest review*
Mendoza: I grew up in the slums and lost everything I loved to poverty, illness, and death. I had only one skill to leverage myself out of my circumstances—violence. Being hired out as a mercenary hitman brought me money and built an empire. But all that I've fought for is in jeopardy. My next job: Steal secret information that could bring down world governments. Find my target. Destroy it. But then, I meet her.
Ava: Karma hates me. When my best friend Rose is kidnapped, I have no choice but to take a job as a mule for a pair of criminals intent on selling top-secret information to the highest bidder. I should have known that bad luck tends to cling, because the plane I'm on goes down. That I survived a crash-landing was a miracle. And so was being rescued by Rafe Mendoza—hot, sexy, dangerous. The thing is, he wants the information that I need to free Rose. I can't let him have it, but I need his help. And I need to fight this crazy attraction for this mercenary with hungry eyes. Rose is depending on me, and I won't let her down, no matter how appealing Rafe is.
Last Hope is the newest installment in the Hitman series written by the dynamic duo of Jen Frederick and Jessica Clare, who, on their own, are two of my favorite authors. Together, they are an amazing team which is why this series is one of my top favorites and why Nikolai is, and forever will be, in my top ten BBF list.
In Last Hope, we get better acquainted with Rafe Mendoza, who we previously met in Last Breath helping Daniel out of a heap of trouble. Rafe is not so much a Hitman, but rather a mercenary type but at the same time, a good guy. The story begins with him and his team doing surveillance at a hotel on a young woman named Ava who is in possession of some documents they need. She’s being blackmailed into transporting these documents to try and save the life of her best friend, unaware that they are watching her. Rafe’s friend Davidson is being held by the US government in return for Rafe’s cooperation in stealing documents from Duvall, the same evil dude who is holding Ava’s best friend Rose, before he sells them on the black market. It is imperative that he gets the documents but as he watches Ava from afar, seeing how brave she is and how she has put her life on the line for her friend, he can’t help the stirring of feelings that begin to well up.
He chances a meeting with her, Ava totally unaware of who he is and only knowing that when they meet, she is intensely attracted to him. She also knows that now is not the time and if she were in any other situation, this man would tempt her to heat up the bed sheets. The story picks up pace and both Rafe and Ava wind up in danger when they end up crash landing in the jungle with Rafe trying to keep them alive.
Now here is where the story kind of veers off in a, well let’s say odd, way. While in the jungle, Rafe struggles to hide his attraction for Ava and Ava is confused as to why. See, Rafe has a little problem. Well, not a little problem. More like a very large, anaconda like problem, that tempts women until they see it for themselves and then run for the hills. And yes, I’m talking about his manhood. Apparently our very sexy mercenary is very self-conscious about his “issue” and when we find out about it, it tends to take up a lot of the book and almost becomes a bigger issue (no pun intended) than the actual plot of the story of bad guys with guns trying to kill them, trying to stay alive, rescue their friend and defeat the villain. His enormous shlong also comes with another price other than scaring women in that Rafe is innocent…yup, you can go back and reread that. Dude’s a virgin. Now, I don’t mind a virgin hero. Seriously, doesn’t bother me. But Rafe is so hung up (again, no pun) about it, it becomes a focal point of the book. As you can see, it became such a focal point, I actually wrote an entire paragraph on it. Ava practically has to rape the poor dude. For me, there was so much focus on IT, you almost forgot what the story was really supposed to be centered on. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was pretty funny and leaned a little to the erotic side when it was added because while most guys are happy with a ding dong that broke the mold, Rafe is not. He laments over it and it drags his character down (do I need to add the no pun intended again?).
“Maybe we should talk about it, Rafe.”
“You know. Godzilla.”
So, what’s my final score on the book. It was good. It had the action that I love from the series, the heroine who wants to fight back too, the sexy kick ass hero who is both good and bad, engrossing scenes and well written to boot. Rafe is sweet and badass with hang ups and Ava is spunky and loveable. But that damn shlong of Rafe’s took up so much time, I was waiting for an “Ode to Penis” poem somewhere in there. So, four stars for this installment in the series. While it wasn’t my favorite, it definitely stands out among them and I will still be on pins and needles waiting for the next book because I loved the action and the characters.