Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Kudos to Ms. Clare for taking two of the most hated professions, and giving us three-dimensional, lovable characters in these professions, that question this reader's perceptions of people in these fields. Kara is a reporter, but she is one of the reporters that show the ethics and the dedication that the people in this field should represent, in a perfect world. She's a really sweet person, but is also strong and driven to do a good job. Kara faces the struggle that many American women face, raising a child and pursuing a career at the same time. Kara deals with the prejudice that working moms face: that they must not love their child enough or they would stay home with her or him. And on the other side, they aren't committed enough to their job because their child is more important. There is not a question in reading this story that her child Connor is her life. But at the same time, she takes her career as a journalist very seriously. And a woman can do both. Many women do it every day. But in the end, Kara has put her other needs as a woman on the shelf, also because of being betrayed by the man she loved, Connor's father. She has denied her sensual self for five long years, and avoided relationships and/or sex for five long years. I personally could see where she was coming from, because I too believe that having a revolving door of men through a single woman's life is not good in the long run for her children. It's the dilemma that a single mother faces everyday.
Enter the other part of the equation, Reece Sheridan. I'll be the first to admit it. I was underwhelmed at the thought of the hero of this book being a senator. Let's just say, I don't feel that a lot of politicians are overendowed with sincerity. Well, Reece is as real as they get. In fact, at several times in this book, I was blown away at his earthy, raw nature. My mouth was open, because I didn't see politicians like that. Okay, I'm naive. Well, he's a serious alpha man, and he is definitely a sexual person, and he wants to explore that part of himself with Kara.
Had that been all his relationship with Kara was about, I would have thrown the book against the wall. Books where the relationship is just about sex are not my cup of tea. It was a big part of their connection, true. But Reece truly cared about Kara. He wanted to make sure that all her needs were met. He really was a sweet guy. He was pretty sexually agressive, but that seemed to be what Kara needed. I loved the fact that he got invested with Connor, and wanted to spend as much time with him as he did with his mother. He really was the perfect mate for Kara.
And Reece cared about society and became a state senator to prove a message he tought as a teacher, if someone wants to make change in the world, he has to act. He worked very hard to stay out of the political machine and to get things accomplished as a senator. He didn't always make the right choices, but his integrity could never be called into question.
It was interesting how Kara and Reece interacted as man and woman (lovers), but also as professionals whose career lives intersected, since Kara's story involved corruption at the government level, because the company doing illegal dumping and violating environmental regulations was getting some aid on the inside of the legislative system.
This book has a really good suspense storyline. It was frighteningly real. And it showed how ruthless people can be when it comes to making a profit. The environmental message was timely and intense, and seamlessly tied in with the fact that the culprits had no problem killing and hurting people who got in their way, really showed how inethical and harmful this behavior is. I really admired Kara for pushing through to get her story written. Her life was threatened and she was badly injured more than one time in the course of this book. But she would not give up. It wasn't about glory for her. It was about using her abilities to see justice done and people helped. There was a message in this story about responsible journalism that resonated with me. I do believe that the news media has fallen prey to bias and has forgetten about the important service they have and the crucial nature of ethics in the profession. Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox because that's not what this review is about. I do have to say that Ms. Clare did a much better job of getting this point across in an enjoyable way.
The sex is blistering hot in this book. You need to wear handmits when reading this book. However, the best thing is the powerful emotional relationship between Kara and Reece, that encompasses Kara's sweet little boy, who needs a father, just as much as Kara needs a lover and a mate.
Be warned about the violence level. It's intense, but it drives home the message about greed and how some people show no morals when it comes to keeping the money rolling it. Anyone that cannot be bought could end up dead or injured if they stand in the way.
This was a very good book, and I have to say that Clare is just as skilled at writing contemporaries as she is historicals. I look forward to reading the other books in the I-Team series.
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