Lindlee wanted to apologize for the length of this RITA® Reader Challenge review, but I wouldn’t let her. When a book sets you off, the angry reactions often make the best reviews. This book was a finalist for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure.
With terrorists hot on her heels, nuclear chemist Zoe Wilkinson races to elude capture. The last person she expects help from is her ex-boyfriend Cooper Kennedy. But when their plane crashes, stranding them in the desert, the stifling heat pales in comparison to the scorching desire Zoe still feels.
On undercover assignment for the navy, Coop can’t believe the woman who ruined his life is back. Zoe’s always been trouble. And nothing’s changed—not even the consuming lust she sets off in him. But when Zoe’s kidnapped, Coop must race against the clock to protect the woman he loves.
Here’s Lindlee’s review:
Meltdown started with two strikes against it. The story begins with The Big Misunderstanding and then moves straight into The Big Secret, two of my least favorite romance clichés. I tried to keep an open mind, but it only went downhill from there.
Coop and Zoe dated eight years ago until her grandfather broke them up. He managed to convince each of them that he or she had been dumped (The Big Misunderstanding). Fortunately, once Coop and Zoe meet again, this gets cleared up fairly quickly (Yeah!!). Unfortunately, we then move on to The Big Secret (Boo!!). See, Zoe’s grandfather has been kidnapped, and the kidnappers want a flash drive with certain information on it from Zoe in exchange for his safety. The government thinks the grandfather is a traitor and has sent Coop in undercover to find him. Aaaaaaand there’s our Big Secret. She thinks he’s being a friend; he’s….well, actually he is being a friend. He’s just not telling her everything. More on why this is so annoying later.
The mystery makes little to no sense. There was too much going on and not much was explained. The less said about it, the better. Overall, the mystery was a mess, but that wouldn’t have really bothered me if I had liked the romance more.
I did like Coop and Zoe (that’s why the book managed to make it to C level with me). They both seem like perfectly nice people who do care about one another. They definitely had the hots for each other, and I could see the two of them building a relationship. So why didn’t I love the romance? Coop. But not for your typical hero reasons (i.e. he’s an ass masquerading as a hero). No, he has self-defeating tendencies and TSTL moments. Usually these are annoying heroine traits. I will say it was a little interesting to see them show up in the hero.
So here’s what happened. After the Big Misunderstanding gets cleared up, Coop and Zoe are on the run together to find the flash drive before the bad guys catch up with them. (Which was another thing. The bad guys send Zoe to get this flash drive because they don’t know where it is, but they’re trying to kill her. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until they get the information they need before they kill her? Is everyone in this book TSTL?) Pretty soon, it’s clear that Coop can and should tell Zoe that he works for the government, and he’s been sent to investigate her grandfather’s disappearance. So why doesn’t he? Because of his self-defeating tendencies!! First, he tells himself it’s because he’s not sure he can trust here, but his reasoning is rather weak. Then he decides to wait to tell her because she’ll be mad. What?! No, tell her now! The sooner, the better!! Yes, she’ll be mad, but you’re both on the run. She can’t escape you! She’ll have to deal with you, so she’ll get over her mad faster. I felt like banging my head against the wall. And of course the whole time, Coop’s thinking how he doesn’t deserve Zoe, and he’s not good enough for her. That’s when it slowly occurred to me this was self-defeating behavior. Unconsciously, he was making sure that when she found out the truth, she’d be so mad that she’d dump his ass. Because he wasn’t good enough for her. (Bang. Bang. Bang.)
I think why I got so frustrated is because I liked Coop. I just wanted to smack him upside the head and say, “You’re a nice guy. Zoe’s a nice girl. Just tell her the truth, and let her get mad so she can move on to the forgiveness stage. Then the two of you can start boinking, and we’ll all be happy.” But, no. And even when she does find out, he lets her find out the truth in the worst possible way. He has the chance to tell her himself in private, but instead he lets her figure it out on her own during a little planning session they have with his friends. (Bang. Bang. Bang. My head really hurt by the end of this book)
So this turned into more than a rant than a review, so I apologize. I was just frustrated most of the book. I came really close to not finishing it.