Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Spy Standing (Harlequin Intrigue #1328) by Dana Marton

Last Spy Standing (Harlequin Intrigue #1328)
Back of the Book Blurb: 
Black ops specialist Mitch Mendoza had thought this South American rescue mission would be routine. But the jungle held unexpected dangers: deadly snakes, armed drug runners and Megan Cassidy. The undercover CIA agent had legs for miles and a hidden agenda—one that interfered with Mitch's plans. So though he was a lone wolf, he had to keep her close, or risk letting his mission fail. After years of working alone, Mitch found himself distracted by Megan's steely resolve and her soft curves. And he couldn't afford that. Not if he wanted this assignment to be a success…and get both of them out of the jungle alive.

May I first just say - "HUBBA HUBBA!" -  to the cover!?  Okay, I just needed a moment.
Now on to the review...
Last Spy Standing starts in the middle of the South American jungle, as Mitch is trying to rescue the obnoxious son of a US Governor.  Zak, a trust-fund brat, has just killed the second-in-command of a Columbian druglord and he and Mitch are trying to outrun the druglord when they literally run into a beautiful American woman at a river crossing.
Turns out Megan is a CIA spy who has infiltrated a drug lord's operation and has her own personal agenda, trying to locate her DEA agent brother.  Megan and Mitch both want Zak, and their separate missions seem to be at odds.  Pretty soon they are going head to head trying to complete their own missions with Zak as the object of their tug-of-war.
The action and sexual tension is fast paced and intense - I especially liked the fight scenes between Mitch and Megan.  As they try and stay focused on their separate yet overlapping missions, they both struggle with intense sexual attraction and growing respect while they are arguing and sometimes literally fighting over Zak, a weapon, or control.  The nonstop action propels the story forward, as unexpected events occur and Mitch and Megan eventually try and help each other out.  Their growing attraction is a great diversion and counterpoint to their fighting.  Megan is a great heroine - she can kick ass as well as Mitch, and they save each other with both their wits and fighting skills several times.  Love that!
The weakness of the story for me was the lack of a well-described setting.  They're in an amazing location, the South American jungle, but during all these hikes through the jungle, and fights rolling around on the ground, there are many references to "poisonous bugs and snakes" but few other descriptions to create a strong sense of place for me as a reader.  The jungle is so rich with life and danger, and as a location it really drives a lot of this story, yet it's underdeveloped.
Overall, Last Spy Standing was a fun, sexy read, and the intense action and growing relationship made for a great escape from reality!

Last Spy Standing will be released on 1/3/2012, and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy from Dana Marton for review. 

She has written several books (over fifteen for the Harlequin Intrigue line) and novellas, and is is the recipient of the Daphne DuMaurier Award of Excellence.

For more information, visit Dana's website at

Dana has several books coming out in 2012, and I am looking forward to all of them.
Camouflage Heart releases on e-book 1/17/2012
The Sheik's Safety releases on e-book 1/17/2012
Spy Hard releases in paperback on 6/5/2012

Agents Under Fire (novella trilogy) Rogue Soldier Protective Measures Bridal Op Undercover Sheik

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