|Ultimate Weapon (The McCloud Brothers, Book 6)
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Covert operations are what Val Janos is all about. The man is mysterious and sinister, and lethally hot. Only Tamara can understand the strange intensity that drives him to win at all costs - and only she can match it.Val has one weak spot: Imre, the frail old man who befriended him when he was scared hungry kid abandoned on the streets of Budapest. But daddy Novak knows about Imre, and Imre's head is on the block if Val doesn't deliver Tam up to Novak's tender mercies. A white hot passion explodes when Tam and Val get too close. They both have too much to be afraid of, too much to hide. And now, for the first time, too much to lose...
- Best Book I've read in the last 50 I've bought
I read at minimum 3 books a week in the winter months. This book had a great blot, wonderful chemistry, and a strong female personality who could take care of business. I have gotten other Shannon Mckenna books from the library and just couldn't get into the characters. I suggest you give this one a read....more info
- A lot of hot sex plus an exciting, suspenseful and sometimes scary story that kept me up late.
STORY BRIEF & REVIEWER'S OPINION:
Shannon McKenna does it again. I am amazed that she continues to come up with excellent stories with new and surprising ideas. This is one of her best and it's her eighth book (that I know of and not counting anthologies). For some reason I thought of James Bond when I read this book. The two main characters Val (hero) and Tam (heroine) are a romance writer's version of James-Bond-type characters. They are both super smart and talented at lying, spying and killing. They each have and use high tech gadgets, not as many as James Bond uses, but there is a similarity. Tam can outsmart anyone and has what it takes to never be found, but because she is taking care of Rachel, a 3-year old orphan, Tam is vulnerable. For example, when on the run she has to carry Rachel with child supplies. There is also the potential of kidnapping Rachel to get to Tam. I thought this was well done by the author. The bad guys can get to Tam, not due to stupidity on her part, but due to her caring for Rachel.
Tam has been one of my favorite characters in the prior books. She creates jewelry as weapons. She can taser, poison and stab people with her jewelry. Tam is a sharp, prickly and contentious hellcat who starts to soften due to Rachel. Val's weakness is Imre, the frail old man who befriended him when he was a scared, hungry kid abandoned on the streets of Budapest. A bad guy now holds Imre hostage to force Val to bring Tam to him.
MORE REVIEWER'S OPINION:
I laughed out loud several times, not due to comedy, but due to my surprise and delight at some of the great lines, great conversation and how strongly I was affected emotionally. The conversations are rich, twisting me around emotionally. Tam hits, slaps and fights Val physically and verbally. His reactions are unexpected. The conversations are heated, wild, angry, entertaining and amazing. They battle before, during and after sex. The sex scenes were wild, tremendous, powerful, sensual, and fabulous. I actually stopped reading a couple of times to do something else, catch my breath and calm down.
My only complaint is that the author occasionally used Italian phrases. I believe that most were terms of endearment, compliments or food. I just skipped over those words, but I wondered what they meant. I wish the author would put the translations immediately afterward in italics or parentheses. I don't want to miss a single thought when I read these books. My second choice would be to put a glossary in the back of the book, but flipping back and forth is inconvenient. Granted, Italian words sound beautiful but cause frustration when used without explanation.
Story length: 426 pages. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: 12. Length of sex scenes: 2 short scenes (1 page or less) and 10 long scenes (1.2 to 12 pages). Total number of sex scene pages: 42. Setting: current day Seattle, Washington area, Hungary, and Italy. Copyright: 2008. Genre: romantic suspense.
To date, I've read the following Shannon McKenna books.
McCloud Series Novels:
Although not necessary, I recommend reading the McCloud novels in order. For example, Tam played small but important roles in certain prior books. Ultimate Weapon is Tam's story but it starts where the other books left off.
5 stars. Behind Closed Doors. Copyrt 2002. Review Date 2/03/07.
5 stars. Standing in the Shadows. Copyrt 2003. Review Date 2/03/07.
5 stars. Out of Control. Copyrt 2005. Review Date 2/03/07.
5 stars. Edge of Midnight. Copyrt 2007. Review Date 1/04/08.
5 stars. Extreme Danger. Copyrt 2008. Review Date 2/02/08.
5 stars. Ultimate Weapon. Copyrt 2008. Review Date 11/15/08.
5 stars. Return to Me. Copyrt 2004. Review Date 2/03/07.
5 stars. Hot Night. Copyrt 2006. Review Date 1/19/07.
5 stars. Something Wild (in anthology All Through The Night). Copyrt 2001. Review Date 3/25/07.
3 stars. Touch Me (in anthology I Brake For Bad Boys). Copyrt 2002. Review Date 2/14/07.
5 stars. Meltdown (in anthology Bad Boys Next Exit). Copyrt 2004. Review Date 2/14/07.
3 stars. Anytime, Anywhere (in anthology Baddest Bad Boys) Copyrt 2008. My 4 star review for the anthology was posted 5/17/08.
5 stars. All About Men. Copyrt 2007. No review posted. This anthology includes 3 short stories previously published in other anthologies listed above. The stories are Something Wild, Touch Me, and Meltdown....more info
- Tons of action.
This was my first Shannon McKenna. I LOVED IT! The plot involved two really tough and intelligent male and female lead characters. Both so perfectly matched. He a hardcore street kid turned assassin for hire that no one controlled and she a woman with a tragic past that shapes her into a savvy business woman who deals in tools of death. An awesome read with lots of sizzle. I knew these two were going to be great together and wasn't disappointed. A real kick-butt thriller with a well done plot. Don't pass this one up. ...more info
- Exceeded My Expectations
Although I've been anticipating this book for months, I was nervous that it wouldn't meet my expectations. Tam has never been a likeable character, and I was concerned that McKenna would either fail to make her softer in a believable way OR that in toning Tam down (which had to happen if she were to fall in love), McKenna would strip her of the strong, in-your-face qualities she's shown so clearly in the other novels.
I am very happy to say that both worries were unfounded. In fact, Tam emerges as a complex, interesting, believable and yes, even likeable heroine. She's a welcome departure from Erin/Liv/Becca, who seemed like versions of the same deer-in-the-headlights heroine in past novels. Moreover, Val is an ideal match for Tam. I loved that he was immediately honest with her about who he was and what he was after (to protect Imre, his childhood protector)--although, of course, he does keep one thing from her that emerges later in the novel. I also liked that despite his past, he is not full of insecurities and he doesn't lash out at Tam (like the way Nick did at Becca in the last book). He knows exactly how to handle Tam, and I bought that he fell deeply in love with her, even though they only know each other for a short time.
The tone is dark, but I did like that the plot itself wasn't as complex as those in the other books (I still don't fully understand the whole organ harvesting thing in "Edge of Midnight"). I also can't say that I felt it was any darker than that of the other novels. The only parts that were truly disturbing to me were those involving Rachel in peril, and I did wonder at the end of the novel how this little girl would ever be able to emotionally recover from all the trauma she'd witnessed and experienced. But maybe McKenna will deal with that in a later novel. Certainly, Sveti seems to be set up for a future story with Josh, and that looks promising.
The sex scenes are in keeping with those in other novels-- explicit, emotional, and tense, but also surprisingly tender, especially towards the end. The only slight real-world complaint I'll make is that I'm not sure I believe that two people who were sexually abused when they were young could come together so quickly, and so successfully shut out the past (although it's true that Tam struggles with this more than Val in the beginning).
Suspenseful, well-written, and very romantic in parts, Ultimate Weapon is a very enjoyable read and one of McKenna's best novels in the McCloud series.
- powerful romantic suspense
Motherhood changes the attitude of even hardened felons as the PTA factor impacts most. Thus former thief Tamara Steele has become an acceptable jewelry designer because her goal is to be the nest mommy to her adopted three-year-old Ukrainian daughter Rachel, whom was rescued from a black-market organ harvesting operation.
However, you can run from your past, but you can't hide as Tam's history surfaces. Mobster Daddy Novak is angry over the murder of his son Kurt; he thirsts for vengeance with his finger pointing at Tam, who was Kurt's lover and in Daddy's mind betrayer.
Nasty gangster Georg Luksch blackmails his subordinate Val Janos, who wants to retire from a life of crime, to abduct Tam. Luksch plans to make her into his sex slave begging him to do anything he wants to her. To rescue his elderly Hungarian "dad" Imre from Luksch Val must hand over the woman he is falling in love with to his odious boss.
Blending heated interludes with caring for a toddler inside a powerful romantic suspense, Shannon McKenna proves she is the sub-genre's ULTIMATE WEAPON with this superior one sitting thriller. Val and Tam makes the tale work as each is a complete protagonist struggling with the insidious choices. With two nasty villains and one reformed hero seeking the heroine, fans will appreciate this exciting novel.
- Ultimate Weapon - Tam's Story
The book definitely had a different style and and darker tone to it than the previous books written about the McCloud clan. But I had been anxiously awaiting Tam's story and it was worth the wait!
Val Janos was the perfect man to get through Tam's defenses. I had trouble believing that she let him through her defenses at all, with her history. There were also a couple of scenes at the beginning of the book where I had trouble believing her character's actions, but I understand that it moved the plot forward.
I did not like the dynamics between Janos and Tam's physical relationship; specifically, him holding her down during almost every sexual encounter... but the author provided insight into why that dynamic existed, and why from Tam's point of view, she needed him to take charge.
It was a fine line for the author to travel, creating a believable connection between two such damaged souls with dark and painful histories. But McKenna made it work. Once the action scenes kicked in, I was holding my breath!
I can't wait for the next book! ...more info
- Tam's Turn
First off I agree this is really Tam and Val's story. Tam's defenses are cracking due to her connections to the McClouds and Nick. Add a three year old special needs kid and the cracks make a fault that Val Janos widens to the size of the Grand Canyon. While other reviewers find it hard to believe Tam, the fierce, could fall for a guy, I think the opening set-up makes it believeable. Besides this is romantic suspense. We are supposed to believe there exists the right person who can penetrate the defenses of even the strongest, most skeptical woman.The tone is dark at times but humor does leaven the mood. Just the image of the McCloud clan laden down with all the baby paraphenelia makes me laugh. Sure does I see flashes of the author's life as a mom and living in Italy more in this book? Of course, but the action and plot twists exist and Tam gets one hunk at the end of the day. ...more info
- Great book
I had hesitated starting this book, unsure how Tamara would get her hea. Once I started reading, I completed the book in one sitting. I was particularly impressed with the way the author dealt with the issues of trauma, no easy fixes especially with Rachel, and I found the relationship development between Val and Tamara beautifully realised.
There were the standard Shannon McKenna over the top evil bad guys, and it was great to see characters from previous books. This book still had moments of great humour, especially with Tamara dealing with a small child, but the beauty of this book was the hope, redemption and love....more info
- Not your run-of-the-mill hero/heroine
I love the McCloud series. If you're bored with the typical action- adventure characters, the McCloud brothers and their friends might add some zip to your reading. When McKenna announced that she was working on Tamara's story, I thought that it would be a let-down because I couldn't imagine a man who would be a true mate for her. ...but I was wrong. These characters are a perfect match--two people who carry real scars on their souls but whose personalities are so vibrant and strong that they are still pushing forward.
McKenna's books are not for everyone. There's a lot of graphic violence and detailed depictions of sex. However, I always finish her books with a "wow". ...more info
- I loved it!
I was disappointed that Shannon's next book wasn't about Kevin (go to her website and you'll understand) and was about Tamara, but knowing her writing and how much I loved it, I of course got this book, just like I got the one about Nick too. I expected to like it and slog through it, but still be wanting the Kevin book. WOW! I was so surprised! I loved this book, and even though I wished this book not written until later, now I take that back :) This book was really great--I think Tam finally met her match! I also loved getting updated about the McClouds and their babies, and now I REALLY like Tam. Plus, now I'm hoping she won't be so awful to Nick! ;) Thanks Shannon for making what I thought would be a tolerable read into a great one! It made it be okay that I'm still having to wait for Kevin's story..... but not too much longer, ok?...more info
- My least favorite of this series
I didn't like the heroine in this story.. so it made it hard to really care what happened.
The writing is good, but I guess I prefer the less tough heroines... just my preference.
Recommendation: Skip it.. don't waste your time....more info
- Deadly Lovers - Tamara meets her match.
Shannon McKenna's books are a guilty pleasure for me. They push the edge of my comfort zone for sensual language (though you'd never guess by the spate of steamier stuff I've stumbled into lately). But McKenna does such a great job with her characters, and developing their relationship against a nailbiting backstory that I keep coming back for more.
Even though Tamara has not been the most sympathic of supporting characters in the previous five books in the series, she has been such an interesting and dominant one that I can fully understand how Kevin got pre-empted. Tamara is still smart and deadly here but in Val Janos, she has finally met the man who challenges her. I loved Val, he is every bit as dangerous and intelligent as Tamara, but what I liked (and disliked too) is that they are each a chink in the others armor. Around Tamara, Val's cool intellect suffers and with Val, Tamara's emotional ice cracks. So this is one case were a couple definately isn't stronger together, but they are more human -- and a romance between the ice king and queen wouldn't have been anywhere near as involving.
The background part of the story, with the horde of psychopaths out to get Tamara, is action packed as usual. It is only broken by some head trips from time to time, so that we understand what make both of our characters tick - they really are kindred souls and both share a brutal past. Characters from previous books only contribute minimally to this story, so if you haven't read the previous books you won't appreciate bad girl Tamara 'going good', but you won't be lost either.
My only nit with McKenna's books on the whole, and in someways it's more bothersome here, is that her heros are so uber-alpha that there is always at least one scene which borders on assault (if not almost rape), and only misses the mark because the heroine submits to the heroes overwhelming sensuality. Well actually make that two nits - from previous books, and her past history, I just can't see Tamara being at all submissive - but I guess that was supposed to show her becoming vulnerable to Val's pursuit.
Nits aside, this is still a worthwhile addition to the McCloud series and I know I won't be able to resist Kevin's book when we finally get his story....more info