At age thirteen, Major Wiley Gremillion sat with Aubrey Tarver under their dragon tree, sure of her future. She’d share her life with Aubrey and continue her family’s tradition of military service.
But as a sniper with Special Forces, code name Black Dragon, her enemies cost her a future with Aubrey. Walking away was the only way to keep Aubrey whole. Now retired, Wiley knows she’ll be alone, dividing her time between her canvasses and helping others with her unique military skill set.
Time hasn’t dulled the pain of losing Wiley for Aubrey, but she has to set that aside when her choices put her life and her family’s lives in real danger. The only way out is Wiley, but after so many years, Aubrey’s not sure that’s an option.
Aubrey’s first call sets off a firestorm that will take all Wiley’s experience to escape, and along the way they might find what they lost. Together they started their story under a tree, and they’ll fight to make sure it doesn’t end on the streets of New Orleans.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this story to be honest. I found myself conflicted about Wiley, the noble soldier who sacrificed everything for her country, who was also a killer. Sure she was good at it, and her targets were bad people who the world was better off without, but it’s a little hard to be emotionally invested in a character who kills for a living (at least for me). I know we were offered glimpses of her tortured soul through her art, and her reluctance to blindly accept just any job the government offered her, but the ease with which she dispatched violence kept me from really feeling the love story with Aubrey would work.
Aubrey, the object of affection, the long suffering girlfriend whose happiness was so important to Wiley, that Wiley checked out of Aubrey’s life. The noble sacrifice that devastated Aubrey. Time healed that wound apparently because she still reached out to Wiley, then when Aubrey needed her most Wiley rushed in with heroic and deadly efficiency. Aubrey hooked up with a bad woman because she was lonely? I never really got that angle. She had a child, the dream child she and Wiley wanted, then set her life aside to be a mom. There’s so many noble sacrifices here it make my head spin. Speaking of the child, Tanith, all of eight, sounds like no child I’ve ever met. She’s wise beyond her years… about 25 years wise.
I found the characters interesting, the action story a bit confusing (I had a hard time keeping all the angles and bad guys straight). I bought the love story, I wished there had been more of it, the flashbacks, the inner dialog, were all useful ways to involve us with the characters, but I still never felt it click.