Above Reproach by Lynn Ames is the second book in the Mission Classified series and continues with the action/thriller theme from the first book. So, take a deep breath before setting out and reading it! This is also a crossover story with the Kate and Jay series.
Sedona Ramos works at the National Security Agency HQ in Maryland, USA. She is trawling through pages of intercepted Arabic language communications from Iraq when she comes across a picture of a known deserted nuclear facility in Iraq with people and vehicles around it and movement evident. She knows it should be deserted as she was part of the team that closed it down. She is immediately aware that she has triggered an alert, and within minutes a black ops team plunges her office into darkness. She is ahead of them and manages to find a way out.
Sedona manages to get the information to the President as she does not know who else to trust. The President decides to create a team outside the normal chain of command and asks them to perform off grid to investigate the incident. He brings in Kate, Peter and Lorraine from the Kate and Jay series to be part of the team with Vaughn, Justine and Sabastian from Beyond Instinct.
Sedona Ramos has ‘sleek long, black hair, deep dark eyes and an olive complexion’ and yes, I am hooked! She is both an NSA operative and a psychic/clairvoyant. She is very resourceful and independent. Sedona is on an inner journey, trying to deal with emotional events from three years ago, and is really closed off. However, she realizes that she has a strong attraction to Vaughn.
Vaughn Elliott has been living in seclusion since the events in Beyond Instinct, in retirement. She has still not moved forward emotionally and her character arc has been unchanged. In addition, she believes that her role as team leader also means that she needs to stay remote. She is particularly mean to her friend Justine who is trying to ensure that she starts to re-enter the world emotionally.
The interesting romantic angle to the story is the attraction between Sedona and Vaughn, both not ready emotionally but certainly enjoying sexual attraction—and the burn does not last for long, more a fast burn! They both then spend time working out what this means.
The Writing Style
This is a quieter book compared to the first volume in the series, and there is less action. This does not mean that the story is weak, and there is still a fast-paced chase going on across countries against the clock. The romance is also different in that neither of the women are emotionally ready for what is happening to them and the writing has to reflect this.
I particularly like the way Lynn Ames has characterized Sedona, who is so completely different from how we would expect an agent to be. She has been written as a voice of calm in the madness of what is happening and it has been really well done.
It was good to have the crossover with Kate and Jay, and to have used those characters so well was a master stroke. The story was classic Lynn Ames, smoothly written and full of happenings.
I have no issue with it, but I could see some readers not understanding the psychic side of the story and feeling that it reduced the excitement.
Another brilliant book! Now, we have to wait for the next in the series to come out…
Excerpt from Above Reproach by Lynn Ames
“Please don’t get defensive about it. I-I was thinking I wish I had something in my life that made me feel as serene as you looked.”
“Oh.” Sedona finally shifted her gaze to Vaughn’s profile. The sun gilded her tanned skin. The sight nearly took Sedona’s breath away. She swallowed hard. “Y-you could do that, you know.”
“I doubt it. Sitting still like that isn’t in my DNA.”
“No?” Sedona turned fully toward Vaughn. “What do you do when you’re on a sniper assignment and you’re waiting to pull the trigger? You wait for just the right conditions. The correct wind speed, the proper trajectory, the perfect angle. No doubt you regulate your breathing before you pull the trigger. Am I right?”
“Yes on all counts, but…”
Sedona was amused that Vaughn seemed surprised by her intimate knowledge of the craft. Dom taught her well. “But, what? What you go through in those moments leading up to the kill is a form of meditation.”
Vaughn shook her head. “Somehow I don’t equate preparing to take a life with the peace I saw on your face just now, or yesterday afternoon, either.”
Sedona smiled. “So, you’ve been spying on me?” She watched as an appealing blush crept up Vaughn’s neck to her cheeks.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781936429042
- Publisher: Phoenix Rising Press
Lynn Ames Online
- Website http://www.lynnames.com
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Note: I received a free review copy of Above Reproach by Lynn Ames. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.