I read this awhile ago and am still fixing/updating my GR reviews one by one.
Mackenzie’s Mission is the sequel to the fabulously romantic and just about perfect Mackenzie’s Mountain and it had a lot to live up to and it didn’t quite do it. Yeah, I know it’s not fair to rate a book comparing it to its prequel but I read them back to back and I never claimed to be fair anyway. “Mission” is a perfectly serviceable category romance if you like the uber-alpha male and the virginal heroine and can stomach the dated-ness when it comes to women in a “man’s” place of work. It follows the same romantic formula as Mackenzie’s Mission (experienced alpha meets virgin, sparks fly, they have lots of pain-free stupendous sex and fall madly in love) but it just didn’t resonate with me the way the first book did. But honestly? There aren’t many books that resonate with me on that level.
This is Joe’s story and I really liked Joe in “Mountain”. He was just a kid with big dreams in the previous book and it was a thrill reading about him living out those almost impossible dreams of his and becoming an elite fighter pilot but he has grown into a bit of a cocky fella. He is a Colonel and in command of a team creating a new top secret fighter weapon. Caroline is a specialist on the team and the only female in this male oriented little world and they are not very nice to her. To protect her, Joe decides she’ll have to pretend to be “his”. Well, you know how all that pretending usually turns out in these books, right? Yeah, it happens here. Some drama and adventure and backstabbing stuff happens and there is some witty repartee that I absolutely loved and some super-hot sexual bits but the plot and characters, I’m sad to say, are really nothing to get all excited over.
Caroline was sort of a throw-away heroine. She was certainly not abrasive or obnoxious but she didn’t stand out to me in any way that moved me emotionally and I never really understood her. She was a brainiac who skipped grades, never fit in with her peers and thus was unable to relate to guys and edging close to 30 is still a virgin, even though she’s incredibly beautiful. All the man-boys she tried to date had octopus arms and it disgusted her so much she developed an ice queen demeanor with all men as a defense against their slimy lips and nasty tongues. But then Joe kisses her and the tinglies and swooning begins. Joe, for his part, seemed interested in her only because she didn’t react to him the way most hot-blooded girls did, all swoony and hot to get him out of his jeans. She was cool and distant and tried to brush him off. But not for long! Not even Caroline can resist Joe.
Near the very end we learn a gut-wrenching secret about Joe that helped me understand much of his behavior and his need for control. As painful as it was I’m glad Howard included it though I do wish she’d been able to sneak it in earlier so I would’ve been able to like him better earlier on. Still, there’s nothing that makes me crazier than an alpha guy who is a control freak just . . . because and Joe had a damn good reason.
Mackenzie’s Mountain is by far the better book but I don’t regret reading this one. I don’t know if I’ll bother tracking down Mackenzie’s Pleasure unless I can dig up a copy on audio.