Code Name: Papa by Aliyah Burke
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars
Ms. Burke gave me just what I was asking for: a great interracial spy romance. And the heroine is Grade A Certified Kickbutt Artist. She reminds me favorably of one of my all time favorite heroines, Charly Baltimore from "The Long Kiss Goodnight." There's even a line about her joining the PTA and making pretty good cookies. Happy sigh!
Seriously, Indigo is the real deal. She is hardcore. She's an ex assassin who goes off the grid to raise her son by her ex-partner, Beckett. They are reunited when he's sent to retrieve her from a Mexican jail. She cannot go back to their ex-agency. She has to save her son from the people who kidnapped him. Beckett finds out he's a papa in a very explosive way. And Beckett quickly chooses that he's going to help his ex-partner and lover get their son back. They make a killer team (literally).
I love that Burke makes the action authentic. Sometimes with romantic suspense, the action takes a backburner. The spy stuff will make a spy fan happy. Indigo and Beckett really do act like operatives. It also reminded me of "Alias", which is one of my all time favorite shows. Indigo has many of the traits I loved about Sydney Bristow, although she's more emotionally closed off. The scenes in which Indigo does what she needs to do to get her son back are well-orchestrated. I liked that even though there are plenty of steamy scenes, they are appropriate to the story. No extraneous sex breaks. And while it's clear that Indigo and Beckett love each other, they have to work through their issues and put the past into perspective. You can see that they were always good together. Their romantic relationship was built on a solid foundation of mutual respect and friendship, and despite the way things ended, that didn't change, except maybe for the better.
While this read a little slow at times (It was probably me and not it. I'm a bit short attention span right now), it ends with an explosive action sequence that will make any bonafide action lover happy. And the operations felt pretty authentic to me (not that I have a spy background!).
I gave this 4.25 well deserved stars because it's a very good story. The writing flows and it has a cinematic feel. Burke know show to bring on the sexy without being kinky or off-puttingly raunchy. The characters are three-dimensional (although I wish that Indigo's physical features were more described). Beckett is likable despite the fact that he acted like a commitment-avoiding Peter Pan in the past. I couldn't hate Indigo for her choice to disappear and have her baby without Beckett, based on their situation and the way Beckett acted in the past. It was good that she got to hear Beckett's side of things and to see that Beckett had changed. He deserved the right to know his son, and clearly he would die protecting both of them.
Burke delivers on the spy romance and with a dangerous couple to boot. Pick this up when you need your kickbutt heroine action romance fix.
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