I walked into the library one day to pick up a rare hardcover book when I spotted Fuel for Fire (2017) by Julie Ann Walker on the New Fiction shelf. I knew nothing of the book or author, but decided I would give it a try. It appears that I unknowingly picked up Book 10 of Walker’s Black Knights Inc. series. The Black Knights is something of a private, undercover operations force comprised of former special ops and other intelligence-type government agencies. I can only imagine that I’ve missed a large number of romantic pairings within this group in the first nine books.
Chelsea Duvall and Dagan Zoelner, “Z,” are part of a small team infiltrating a bad, powerful businessman’s office in England. I think they suspect him of being head of a crime ring and very evil, but I honestly can’t remember the specifics. Chelsea has always been more of an office worker, but she’s given more responsibility on this mission, getting herself hired as the businessman’s assistant in order to gain access to his office. “Z” does not like this plan and has been rather disparaging towards her. But that’s really just because he hates that she’s putting herself in danger and feels she hasn’t been trained for it. I think the two have been dealing with some strong sexual tension for a number of books now.
Chelsea is able to download the critical information from her boss’s computer, but she is detected and caught by their head of security. The rest of the Black Knights have to come to the rescue, Z taking the lead. And then the entire group is on the run, trying to get out of the country with the all-important USB drive. This involves taking off on motorcycles, swimming through the ocean, and taking a homemade submarine across the Channel.
Chelsea and Z become closer and closer the more time they spend with each other. However, Chelsea has a secret about a former mission gone bad that still haunts Z to this day. She’s afraid that telling him what she knows will make him hate her, but she doesn’t want a relationship that isn’t built on honesty.
I always like a romance with some action thrown in. I also think I like the idea of a hero (no matter how unrealistic) who actually has the skills to save the day. I remember liking this book, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. There were a lot of romantic cliches and setting up partners for the next books. Although it was consistently entertaining, I never got lost in the story.
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