Hard Target (Book 1)
The spin-off series to Wrecked features many familiar background faces from the gym, with the bonus of realizing that they’re a bad-ass vigilante/mercenary group on the side of the light. I’m sure that this book could be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading the first three books in the Wrecked series first, especially Shameless, for Rafi’s full backstory and how all the other characters are involved in it. (And because the original Wrecked series is also excellent.)
The friends-to-lovers progression between Rafi and Everett was, in turns, poignant and adorable. At the same time, Rafi’s evolution from grieving widow back to his best self is hilarious and also adorable, even if I’m not sure how he ended up with such a terrible clothing style post-Air Force. (Actually, considering how much trouble my spouse always has dressing himself after deployments, maybe I can.) I appreciate that Everett is forced to reckon with and accept talents that Rafi brings to the Guardians team, even as I understand his urge to keep his new lover safe. On the surface, the two men don’t seem much like a decent pairing. However, how their relationship evolves from a solid friendship first enhances the romantic elements and made me so much more invested in their happily ever after.
Fox continues to blow me away with her use of character. I’m not a fan of books where the romantic leads exist in a vacuum, so I’ve had a blast with the delightful cast of characters she has built to share between both series. She is now on my “drop everything and read” for all future releases. I look forward to learning more about the newly-formed Guardians team, especially since Fox has already introduced us to and teased us about the next romantic pairing.
Full Contact (Book 2)
Kelly Fox is my newest favorite author. It’s probably a good thing she’s not on Twitter, which is one of the only reasons I haven’t been yelling about her books there as much as I want to. The combined-world series of Wrecked and Wrecked: Guardians feature the best of everything I have come to love about contemporary romance stories, such as complex characters with intriguing backstories, nontraditional love matches that still work, a detailed cast of characters so that the heroes don’t exist in a vacuum, and overall, stories that are just fun to read. Anders and Omar are both introduced in previous books, but we know little about them beyond the surface details they share with the world. Both characters spring to life in this book, however, and I adore each of them.
Anders skirts the line between being loveable and a complete ass, and that’s to everyone around him, not just Omar. Omar is keeping secrets of his own, but his reasons for doing so are warranted. The final barriers between them break down during a forced partnership and road trip, in a series of scenes that should have dragged but kept me invested every moment. By the time the action of the external conflict starts, “watching” Anders and Omar work together as they get closer emotionally is the icing on the cake.
This book gets so many extra stars for Anders’ amazing parents. I love the Guardians team and the work they do, extra-legal though it may be. Fox keeps dropping hints and introducing characters related to Anders’s “day job,” and I hope she has some stories in the works on that end as well. I’m already counting down the days until the next book in this series drops.