Review: The Specialist by Anna Hackett

Review: The Specialist by Anna HackettThe Specialist (Norcross Security #3) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance
Series: Norcross Security #3
Pages: 322
Published by Anna Hackett on March 26, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & Noble

She’s in danger and now her personal protector is her too handsome, totally aggravating billionaire boss.
Executive assistant Harlow Carlson is having a very bad week. Firstly, she’s been temporarily reassigned to work for bossy, workaholic tyrant, Easton Norcross. He might be sex in a suit, but mostly she just wants to stab him with her stylus. Secondly, her father’s in trouble and has gone missing. Lastly, when a strange man attacks her on the street, Harlow knows she’s in over her head.
That’s when Easton steps in. Now her boss is her own personal protector and he isn’t taking no for an answer.
After he left the Army Rangers, Easton Norcross found a purpose in building his company, Norcross Inc. He works hard, likes control, takes care of his family and employees, and thrives on making money. But his new assistant pushes buttons he never knew he had. Harlow’s smart, efficient, and not afraid to speak her mind. And her curvy body makes it very hard to remember that he’s her boss.
But when he sees she’s in danger, Easton is willing to break all the rules to keep her safe.
As danger swirls around Harlow and she’s sucked into her father’s dangerous dealings, Easton knows he’ll need all the specialist skills the Army gave him to protect her, as well as pulling in his brothers at Norcross Security. But the toughest job he’ll have is convincing his beautiful assistant to take the biggest risk of all—falling in love.
Note to readers: This is a sexy, fast-paced romance with lots of action-packed suspense, a heroine in danger, and a hot, billionaire boss who’ll do anything to protect her.
**Each book in this action-packed romance series can be read as a standalone.

My Review:

As much as I love this author’s blend of action adventure and romance, there’s always a special spot in my heart for the romance in each series where the boss of whatever the group is finally takes the fall into love. Ready or not, willing or unwilling.

Considering that being the bosses that they are, they are generally neither ready nor willing, it makes their inevitable fall all that much more delicious.

I also have a sneaking fondness in general for the slightly taboo thrill of workplace romance, particularly when that romance is between the hard nosed man in charge and someone he knows he really shouldn’t touch – like the assistant he can’t live without in the office but finds himself unexpectedly wanting to live with outside it.

The Specialist does a fantastic job of combining both of these romantic pleasures into one terrific story!

Escape Rating A-: I’m coming to the rating early because there was so much of this one that I so hard (there’s a pun intended here) and can’t wait to talk about the parts I loved.

Number one, in Easton Norcross the author has combined two of my all-time favorite romance heroes into one marvelous – and generally marvelously tailored – heartthrob.

As I said, I love this combination of tropes, the boss of bosses of an entire series (Team 52’s Jonah Greyson in Mission: Her Justice or Holmes in Hell Squad) with the falling for your boss, however reluctantly, trope. So this entry in the Norcross series gave me vibes of a story that I loved so much in this exact same vein – Rock Hard from Nalini Singh’s Rock Kiss series.

For anyone who read that series – and if you haven’t please take a look! – Easton Norcross and T-Rex, AKA Gabriel Bishop, would be besties – once they stopped fighting over who was alpha.

But the descriptions of Easton, not just the way he looks but also the way he works, read like Easton is an Italian-American Roarke (of the awesome In Death series), just 40 years earlier and without the Urban Wars in his past. Just a different war.

So this is one where I fell hard for the hero. Maybe not as hard as the heroine, but damn close.

I also loved parts, but not all, of the heroine, Harlow Carlson, for her ability to stand in the face of Easton’s distracting, demanding, over-working and over-achieving hard-headedness in the office. In spite of the mess in her personal life, Harlow remains in control at the office, and never lets Easton steamroller her on the job.

As much as I enjoyed Easton, the one niggling little thing that keeps me from bumping this up to an A has to do with the pattern that is emerging in this series in regards to the heroines. Individually they’ve all been both likeable and worthy of the heroes, but they ALL seem to get in over-the-top, over-their-heads trouble from which they have to be rescued by the heroes. All of them seem to have either family or friends who do really dangerous and stupid shit that they can’t resist getting in up to their necks.

I really want to see at least one story where the heroine is equally – even if differently – badass, because these women, even Gia Norcross, veered a bit too close to damsel in distress territory.

But Easton was such an irresistible combination of Roarke and T-Rex that pretty much ate this story up with a spoon in a couple of very enjoyable hours.

This is a series where each story does stand alone, at least so far, but they are so long on fun and short on length that reading them all is a great binge-read for a rainy weekend. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here waiting for this author to give me her take on another one of my favorite romance tropes.

The next book in the Norcross Security series is The Bodyguard, taking up his duties in late April. I have a feeling that this will be grand!

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