Book Review - HOT Witness (Hostile Operations Team #9.5) by Lynn Raye Harris

Eva Gray has a secret. Eight years ago, her sister entered the Brothers of Sin Motorcycle Club and never came back. Seven years ago, she vowed revenge, even if she had to change everything about her life to do it—her look, her name, her face.

Now she’s stalking the Brothers and looking for weakness. She’s close to achieving her goal, so close she can taste it. But a prominent federal judge is now in ICU, and Eva’s the only one who can prove the club hired the hit.

Jake Ryan was once a Brother, but he got his life together when a judge gave him a choice: prison or the military. He took the military and he’s never looked back. Now, as a member of the lethal Hostile Operations Team, he’s accustomed to working on the side of justice.

So when Declan MacKenzie comes to Washington DC and asks him to infiltrate his old gang to protect a witness and get evidence, he doesn’t hesitate to do his duty. But little does he suspect that Eva Gray is a girl he once knew or that she’s on a mission of her own. A mission that could see them both dead before they’re through.

When the warrior meets the vengeful virgin, nothing and no one is safe…

For those of you waiting patiently for book 10 in the Hostile Operations Team series, Lynn Raye Harris provides you a short and sweet novella featuring new characters in the world of the MacKenzie Family.  The MacKenzie family series was originated by Lilliana Hart who provides the forward for today's review. 

Crafting intense, believable romance is tough in a novella.  My kindle clocked me in at about an hour of total read time,  a little longer than an episode of This is Us, which always tugs on the heart strings.  It's not like the writers of This is Us are introducing new characters, giving us backstory, giving us a climax (or, ahem, several), and a conclusion in that time frame.  Given the constraints, Lynn Raye Harris does an admirable job crafting characters who have actual motivations and emotions.  As an intro reader to the HOT series, it does make want to read more of the author's work even if the description of this work includes the phrase "the warrior meets the vengeful virgin."

The characters tick some boxes for me.  My red blooded American heart absolutely does flip flop at the idea of a super jacked solider with commitment to ideals like freedom looking at me like he wants all of me.  Tattoos are hot, and so is Jax Teller...I mean Ryder Carsen...I mean Jake Ryan.  Man, with all the sandy blonde bikers running around, I am amazed I have not taken up a full fledged fantasy MC life.  The heroine, Eva, is  tough and artsy and motivated, and spoiler, wears granny panties.  The story has surprisingly feminist take on consent and masturbation, though I wouldn't share it with my daughter as some kind of roadmap on healthy relationships. 

The love scenes do have a build up, but in some cases feel like the story serves the love scenes instead of the love scenes being an integral part of the story.  As always, that is my primary gripe, but considering the novella format, it is understandable. 

MATURITY RATING - 18+ a little steamy

Lynn Raye Harris is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the HOSTILE OPERATIONS TEAM SERIES of military romances as well as 20 books for Harlequin Presents. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former-military husband, two crazy cats, and one spoiled American Saddlebred horse. Lynn's books have been called "exceptional and emotional," "intense," and "sizzling." Lynn's books have sold over 3 million copies worldwide.

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