Conspiracy Game by Christine Feehan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I did not want to put this book down, which is saying something for a reread. I feel that as much as I loved the first three books, I can see the storyline coming together in a lovely way, and I can imagine that Ms. Feehan is as excited at writing these books as I am a reading them.
Jack is hardcore and dark. I loved him. I think that he was authentic. I can imagine with his tragic family past, he would go down that path. What I appreciated was that for self-image, Jack is not the unworthy man that he thinks he is. For all his ability to kill with ice water in his veins and his gruff way of expressing himself. He shows a sense of honor and integrity, and the ability to be tender and loving. He's what Dr. Bill Winston would consider a transition figure. Instead of continuing the cycle of violence that his father perpetuated, he chooses something different. Despite the fact that he believed himself unable to love, it's clear that he does love deeply. One of the best things about this book is the way he takes care of the two most important people in his life, Briony, and his brother Ken. Actions always speak louder than words. Not a man that a lot of women could love, but I think the right woman definitely could love him. And that woman is Briony.
Briony is a woman who shows what courage is. She feels that she is always afraid of everything, and she hates that about herself. Sometimes we can't help being afraid, but what we do in the face of that fear is the really important thing. Briony has fought to live in a world that is hostile to her because of her psychic abilities. Being around people causes her pain and anguish. And with her family profession, she is around a lot of people, and works through that pain to do something that could be life-threatening everyday as a high-wire performer. When she encounters Jack Norton, she acts as a champion, continually facing her fears and not allowing herself to be boxed in or caged by them. She takes steps that make me quake in my boots, and I loved her for it. I am a broken record. I really do appreciate the heroines in this series. Each one unique and wonderful.
Even though Ken is a secondary character. He is a very important one. His role in this book is crucial and adds delightful flavor to the book. He shows without words that Jack is not the lacking man that he thinks, but also augments Briony's understanding of Jack in important ways. He pokes, prods and matchmakes this couple together, and provides some delightful comic relief. He helps to makes this book the successful read that it is.
This book focuses more closely on the particular couple in focus than the GhostWalkers as a group, which some readers may like. I always enjoy the fellowship of this group, so I missed that, but the more intimate dynamics of Briony and Jack along with Ken definitely make for a rich read. The GhostWalkers show up a little, so that was good. I love how this story forwards the overlying storyline. The conspiracy thickens as we become aware that things are not as they seem, and the mastermind of the GhostWalker plan has even more sinister plans. Even on second read, this book makes me so excited to read the subsequent books!
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This book rocked my world. which is why I made myself put it down after four am to go to bed. When I woke up this morning, I immediately reached for it to pick up where I left off. Jack is a hero after my heart. I love the dangerous, gamma heroes, and I liked that he did worry that he was too dangerous and too intense to be with a woman. But when it came to Briony and his unborn babies, he's a marshmallow but will kill or die for them. The relationship between Jack and his twin Ken was really cool. I was glad that Briony and Ken got along so well. I liked Briony's brothers and how they protected her when danger came at her.
The plotline was pretty unique. I love pregnancy storylines anyway, but the pregnancy theme was used in such an unforgettable and creative way. Imagine a plot to pair you up with a warrior so you can breed second generation warrior offspring. Pretty interesting. Both Briony and Jack worried that the intense connection between them was just engineered. Maybe it started that way but they were definitely fated to be mated.
The action was incredible and there is no question that Jack and Ken are badasses, and so is Briony. She has tremendous inner strength to survive as an empath in a family that is full of loud people and as a performer in a circus. You can't help but admire her and you know that she was meant for Jack.
I can't help but fall more in love with Christine Feehan as an author. She knows how to write men that will keep your interest and keep you drooling. And the women are so perfect for them and admirable in their own right. This is one book that I didn't want to end. But at least I get to read Ken's book next. Yay!
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