Clandestine Christmas (Covert Cowboys, Inc.) - Elle James

Series: Covert Cowboys Inc (Book 8)

Sexy cowboy ropes in stunning secret agent!

 

A wickedly handsome billionaire rancher, Chase Marsden is past his dissolute playboy days. With Covert Cowboys' Kate Rivers posing as his fiancée, he's determined to find the culprits trying to murder an old -- and notorious -- friend many would kill to keep silent.

 

From the moment Chase eyes Kate -- beautiful, tough, but vulnerable -- he knows she's the one. Kate, a former Texas Ranger, fears nothing but Chase's reckless kisses. As they investigate together, each clue puts their lives further in jeopardy. Will Christmas find them under the mistletoe…or escaping kidnappers and dodging hit men?

 

Terrific end to the Covert Cowboys series. Chase is a wealthy rancher who used to be quite the playboy. He was rescued from the consequences of that lifestyle by Sadie Lovely, a former madam, who helped him see the error of his ways. When Sadie comes to him, worried about strange accidents that have been happening to her, Chase is determined to protect her and her grandson. He asks for help from Covert Cowboys Inc.

 

Kate is a former Texas Ranger who came to work at CCI after injuries that forced her to leave the Rangers. She arrives in town just in time to see a car run down Chase and Sadie, leaving Sadie in the hospital, fighting for her life. Posing as Chase's fiancée, they are determined to find out who is trying to kill Sadie and why.

 

There is an immediate attraction between Kate and Chase. Kate tries hard to ignore it for two reasons. The first is that she is working for him and it would not be appropriate to get involved with him. Second, there are things about her that she feels make her all wrong for a man like Chase. He doesn't agree. He is drawn to her strength and her beauty, and also to the vulnerable woman he senses is under the tough exterior. I loved seeing the way that Kate was able to share her secret with him, and Chase's insistence that it makes no difference to his feelings.

 

I loved the changes that both went through. Chase's transformation from playboy to rancher was great. His growing appreciation for his legacy also showed him what he was missing in his life. I really liked the way that he saw Kate's place in his life so quickly. Kate had more to work through. The unhappiness and feelings of unworthiness caused by her injuries left her feeling that all her dreams for her future were dead. It hit her especially hard when she first saw Sadie's grandson Jake. I loved seeing the effect that being around him had on her, and how he helped with her healing. I loved the ending with the Christmas wishes coming true.

 

The suspense part of the story was great. The action started right off with the attack on Chase and Sadie, and continued at a good pace throughout. Each clue that they uncovered seemed to be countered with another attack as they tried to piece together who was behind it all. There were several possible suspects and I loved the way each was dealt with. There was one scene that gave me an idea of who it was, but I wasn't sure until the end. The intensity of the kidnapping scene made the final confrontation a little bit anti-climactic, but satisfying nonetheless.