Formats available: ebook
Genres: science fiction romance
Series: Hell Squad #10
Published by Anna Hackett on August 9th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon
In the aftermath of a deadly alien invasion, a band of survivors fights on…
For Hawk pilot Finn Erickson, flying is in the blood. Since the aliens decimated the planet, he spends most of his time flying Hell Squad into combat. With communication to other survivor bases cut off, he has no idea if his family is still alive and feels their loss keenly. But helping to fight back sustains him, and his quadcopter is the only woman he needs. She doesn’t argue with him…unlike a certain redhead who is one hell of a kisser.
Lia Murphy lost her mother and sister in the invasion. She vows never to get emotionally involved with anyone again, and as head of the drone team, she’s always busy with work. But one cocky, arrogant pilot pushes all her buttons. When Finn issues a challenge--a fly-off in the flight simulator--she can’t resist. But she’s not sure if she can accept what he demands as his prize if he wins…her. In his bed for one night.
But as Finn and Lia’s fiery attraction heats up, so does the battle with the aliens. The pair must work together to reestablish communications with other humans and discover what the aliens are hiding in a mysterious area to the north. In the process, they will face the most dangerous alien creature yet, and be tested to their very limits…
In this tenth book in the Hell Squad series, we finally start seeing the human survivors take the fight to the alien Gizzida, and it is awesome. Meanwhile, just as in all of the previous entries in the Hell Squad series (start with Marcus and ENJOY!) the story tells its tale of kicking alien ass and not bothering to take alien names through a hot and steamy romance between two of the survivors of the alien invasion.
Finn and Lia are both pilots, not that anyone can get Finn to admit that Lia is a pilot. It’s part of the tension between them. Finn is out in the thick of the fight with his aircraft, flying the squads, especially Hell Squad, to where they need to go, and pulling their collective asses out of the fight when things get too hot.
Think of Finn as a one-pilot equivalent of SOAR in M.L. Buchman’s Night Stalkers series. He takes the best where they need to be, and gets them home when they’ve done their job. The Squads often “bug out” under fire, and Finn and his Hawk quadcopter shoot through their enemies to bring them home.
Lia is a drone pilot. Her little spies go where humans fear to tread, and bring back precious bits of enemy intel. But as much as she loves her drones, she doesn’t risk her life with them – she does her piloting from the relative safety of the base. But her piloting is every bit as vital as Finn’s. The humans desperately need the intel her drones provide to pinpoint any enemy weaknesses. So when the aliens start jamming communication over a particular area, it doesn’t take spidey-senses to figure out that whatever is being protected is even more dangerous to the human survivors than the bad news they already know.
And the humans at the Enclave are all too aware that time is not on their side. If they are going to kick the Gizzida off Earth, they are going to need help from any and all survivor bases that have managed to hang on during the last two chaotic years. And for that, they need long-range communication.
That’s where both Finn’s and Lia’s piloting skills come in. The mission is to drop a communications booster out in the Pacific Ocean, far from shore, and far outside the operational range of the Hawks. They need an airplane. And Lia knows just where to find one – and just how to fly one.
All they need to do is steal it, fix it and fly it out from under the enemy’s noses. Or snouts. Or whatever. And play oceanic keep-away with a giant sea monster.
It’s all in a day’s work for Hell Squad.
Escape Rating A-: This one ends on a marvelous high note, which I won’t reveal. And this reader is overjoyed that the survivors are starting to seriously work towards the Gizzida’s exit from Earth – with extreme prejudice. Because up until now, all of the marvelous love stories have been forced to finish with a Happy For Now. Not because the various couples (including Finn and Lia) are in any way uncertain about their love for each other, but because the future is so uncertain. It is impossible to plan for a Happy Ever After when you are completely unsure that you, your friends or the human race itself have any kind of an “ever after” at all.
Both Lia and Finn have a lot of emotional baggage, and in this romance it’s the same brand of luggage. They both lost their families in the invasion, and have both chosen to wall themselves off emotionally rather than feel the pain of those losses. But their friendly rivalry breaks down the barrier, and they both discover that even this crazy life is sweeter when you have something and someone to live for.
Their rivalry is also a lot of fun, and reminds me of the romantic relationship in one of M.L. Buchman’s Firehawks books. His military romance and romantic suspense series are marvelous (and best sellers) so he is good company for Finn and Lia to be in.
As with all of the books in this series, the action is non-stop and the romance is meltingly hot. But a big part of my reason for reading this series is the science fiction set up – the alien invasion and its perilous aftermath. I am a very happy reader to see that overall arc take the first steps towards a righteous alien ass-kicking conclusion.