So. Sounds like a pretty fantastic set up, right? I love second chance romances and was all in for Safe at Last especially seeing as how I enjoyed the previous books in the series. The mysterious disappearance of Gracie years earlier, the trauma and vastly differing recollections and the bad guys trying to get Gracie to hurt Zack meshed together for quite the start to the book. However, past the storyline concept nothing else really worked for me. Lack of progress for the majority of the book, a frustrating heroine and then things magically being perfect left me a very agitated reader and feeling pretty let down.
Alright so my main issue was that I felt like I was trapped in the movie Groundhog Day. You know. Everything just keeps repeating over and over and nothing moves forward. That was the first 60% of the book. Yes. 60% of the book was spent with him asking "What did I do?? I loved you. I've searched for you. Explain to me what I did that made you leave me and hate me so much!" and her response of..."How DARE you?! How dare you act like you're innocent and don't KNOW what you did!". Over and over and over and over again. And then one more time for good measure. With a intermission between each verbal match of him being comforted by his teammates and lamenting not knowing what to do next. That 60% could have been whittled down to 3-4 chapters but instead was dragged out to the point of annoyance. Hell, the hero was even annoyed but still we kept going on with that.
What the hell had happened twelve years ago? He was getting damn tired of the issue being dodged and Gracie's refusal to let him in on the big goddamn secret.Amen to that! It was just exhausting.
She did eventually tell him what happened but only after he finally forced her. And it was something incredibly awful. I'll give her that. But it wasn't anything he caused or knew about. That she wouldn't believe him and had thought the worst of him all those years really bothered me. Because of their dynamic there was next to no heat in this one either and the romance...nil. It was all him trying to get her to talk, her refusing, a bit of life or death happening, him finally having proof he was innocent and her going from sheer terror at the sight of him to finding out the truth and nearly instantly declaring she loved him and agreeing to marry him. Really now? *deep breaths* It was just absurd.
Had the suspense or paranormal aspects held their weight I might have been okay but they both fell short as well.
The suspense side of things was a slight continuation of the previous book and amounted to the bad guys seeking revenge by attacking the women who meant something to Zack and his teammates. It wasn't very fleshed out, there was nothing new happening and it felt like just a random add in instead of an actual storyline. Maybe 10% of the book actually had something to do with the suspense and a chunk of that was the final battle.
On the para-side. The women in the series have psychic abilities of some sort. In Gracie's case she could read minds. However after the past trauma her power went dormant so there was next to none of that in the book. Only towards the very end did it come into play which was another let down since that aspect of the series has kicked ass until this point.
What finally did things in for me was an incredible case of multi-heroine TSTL syndrome. Gracie and the two previous heroines...become bratty and instead of allowing the men--who were trained and rescue people as a career--do their job the women used their psychic abilities to glean info and then withheld the info the men needed to save a teammate's life until they agreed to take the women with them. Into danger. When one was still recovering and weak from being nearly beaten to death and the other two weren't trained in any way. I just. Nope. I cannot stand women like that. They risked their lives unnecessarily and of course the heroine was nearly killed by the bad guy because she had no sense and really shouldn't have been there. I was done.
All in all, Safe at Last, other than the initial concept and a small secondary storyline for a future couple, was a very big miss for me. I am curious to see what happens with the next couple's story though. I just hope there's actually something happening in their book and it's pulled together more than this one. The earlier books in the series were entertaining and I had a great time with them so I'm hopeful this was just an exception and not a hint of what's to come for the series because really the 30+ chapter book could have been amounted to about 4 chapters of actual story that was set on rinse and repeat. I adore Banks and her books but this was far from even mediocre for me.
Now working for Devereaux Security, he stumbles across a painting featuring a special place only he and Gracie would know. The image is too perfectly rendered for it to be coincidence. His Gracie must be alive. When he finally tracks her down, he is shocked—and heart-broken—to discover the wounded shell of the girl he once knew and still loves. Her psychic gifts are gone, and worse, she believes he betrayed her all those years ago.
Zack has enemies, and once his weakness is discovered, Gracie becomes a target for revenge. He’ll have to save her before he can earn her trust and her love. And he vows they’ll never be torn apart again.
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