Tempted by His Target
Harlequin/September 20, 2011
From Goodreads ~
Wanted for the murder of a Mexican drug lord's son, party girl Isabel Sanborn fled to Oaxaca. Now she owes her life to Brandon Knox, a passing tourist who just saved her from a hit man.
But Knox is no accidental hero—he's an undercover U.S. marshal assigned to bring Isabel to justice. Instead, wanting to protect her, he joins her on the lam…with cartel goons and corrupt police in hot pursuit!
And as the danger escalates, sexual tension sizzles. For the first time in his career, Brandon considers jeopardizing his mission to safeguard his target. And though Isabel can elude the authorities,she can't escape her feelings…
The opening pulled me in, set on a beach, with the hero watching the heroine surf. (One movie I can watch over and over is Blue Crush). He may be the well-trained one but she can hold her own against the men after them. The setting is not a place we see often either. Although I've only been to Baja, Sorenson did a good job describing not only the landscape but the people and culture of the Oaxaca region. It was an enjoyable change of scenery.
Isabel Sanchez loves the ocean. It's one of the reasons she's living in this region of Mexico. She fled her life and the high living in LA when a night of drugs and loss of memory put her on the most wanted list of a dangerous man and the US government. But it's the drug lord that she's more afraid of since she thinks he wants her dead. Isabel Sanchez aka Izzy Sanborn has come a long way from the party girl she use to be. I liked how Izzy has transformed herself into a survivor. She still makes mistakes but her survival instincts have kicked in.
Brandon Knox is just a surfer, looking for the perfect wave when he shows up on the same beach as Izzy. A harmless tourist who just happens to teach self defense classes which explains why he's so good at saving Izzy from the men who are after her. Just like Izzy, I had no problem buying into this but when Brandon pulls out a gun and ammo, his story started to get shaky. His fear of Izzy bolting if she knew who he really was very genuine. The reason she's in Mexico is because she ran so there's no reason to believe she won't do it again but as they became closer and he thought of them having a life after she was safe, he should have come clean and trusted her.
The romance was an on-the-run romance which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. This time it didn't fully work for me. I got the physical attraction part. Izzy and Brandon had no problem steaming things up, but the actually falling in love part is where I felt the story weakened. Since they were both lying to each other about who they were, it was hard to believe they actually fell for the real person. Too many lies in the way. Maybe if they had had a chance to fall in love after they were no longer on the run, it might have made it more believable.
The suspense runs fairly high with little down time. With Izzy knowing the country and how the drug cartels work, she proved to be a real asset to Brandon. At times, he played the muscle while she was the brains. Even with all of Brandon's training, Izzy was just as important a factor in keeping them alive as he was. (I liked that!) They did learn to work together quickly with part of that due to the fact that they didn't have much choice if they wanted to survive. There was still an air of mistrust between the two which made sense since neither was telling the full truth.
Tempted by His Target was a quick read with a lot of action. The romance seemed to be brought about by the physical attraction and driven by stressful circumstances. I did like the pacing of the story, I never got bored just wish I had believed more in the couple. Looking forward to reading Sorenson's full length novels.