Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Nothing to Fear (Final Hour, #2) by Juno Rushdan

Synopsis (via Goodreads): The clock is ticking

Fearsome Gray Box operative Gideon Stone is devoted to his work and his team. He's never given reason to doubt his loyalty...until he's tasked with investigating Willow Harper, a beguiling cryptologist suspected of selling deadly bio-agents on the black market.

He knows she's innocent. He knows she's being framed. And he knows that without him, Willow will be dead before sunrise.

Thrust into the crossfire of an insidious international conspiracy, Gideon will do anything to keep Willow safe...even if that means waging war against his own. With time running out, an unlikely bond pushes limits―and forges loyalties. Every move they make counts. And the real traitor is always watching...

"She had a lovely way of robbing him of his defenses."
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I am loving this series! I had high expectations after the first book, Every Last Breath, and Nothing to Fear didn't disappoint. I was glued to the pages as soon as I started! Gideon and Willow were amazing characters, and I really liked their interactions and seeing their relationship develop. This book starts off with a bang, and just keeps on going!

Gideon has quietly watched Willow from the sidelines, observing her mannerisms and preferences without actually approaching her, because he doesn't think he's worthy of someone so innocent and kind. He believes his soul is tainted due to the nature of his job, and that Willow deserves to live a life with someone better. My one quibble would be how often Gideon says something about not being good enough. I'm okay with some self-deprecation, an even enjoy it when it's sarcastic, but he really struggled with who he was. He was confident in his abilities -- and rightly so -- but I wish he had hated himself less, or at least thought he was deserving of love.

Willow may not have snuck glances at Gideon when they were in the same room, but she cyber-stalked the hell out of him. She read every file she could find, and even hacked her way into redacted versions of reports. She wanted to know everything about him, even if she didn't fully understand why. In any other circumstance, their stalking would have been super weird, but it really worked for these two. Neither saw it as a breach of trust (or thought it was super creepy), but accepted that both were observant control freaks that liked information.

Rushdan knows how to write adventure and suspense, and I was kept on my toes for the entirety of the book. I desperately wanted to know who Cobalt was, especially after how the author left things at the end of Every Last Breath. I had so many questions! Cobalt is skilled at masking their identity, so I questioned everyone's actions and words. Everyone was a suspect in my mind until I could confirm -- without a doubt -- that they weren't responsible. The author leaves a small trail of who it's not, but that only narrowed my list down to a handful of others. It was stressful! I couldn't figure it out. I kept thinking, "No, that's too obvious. Wait! Maybe it's supposed to feel obvious so I'll dismiss them?" I loved it!

The romance was remarkably well-written as well. I really enjoyed reading from Willow's perspective, since she has a unique way of viewing the world. I believe she has Asperger's... I think I'm remembering correctly, and she's very blunt and honest. She says what she wants when she wants it, and she offers personal details about her life without prompting. I think she was really good for Gideon, because he needed someone he could be completely honest with. Willow knows everything about him, the good and the bad, and she still thought he was worth loving. It also meant he didn't have to keep secrets from her, which had caused a strain on his previous marriage. He thought he was a monster, but Willow saw a hero willing to sacrifice parts of himself for the greater good. They were passionate lovers, but they also connected on a soul-deep level that was just as intimate.

I cannot wait to see where this story goes next! There's a lot of fighting, some descriptive violence, and even some torture in this one. It's not overly explained, but the picture and intentions are clear. It's part of working at the Grey Box and saving the country from the shadows, but it can also be a little graphic. Weak stomachs beware!

I was happy to see Cole and Maddox get cameos in this one! It makes me want to re-read their story!



  1. This sounds like an intense fun read. I always like to see the story from someone's POV that may be different - blunt and honest sounds great!

    Cheeky Lines

    1. It was an amazing read! It doesn't take long for the story to take off, and then you're left trying to put the pieces together alongside the characters. I love that it was easy to solve, and that I was surprised by the outcome. Willow's perspective was awesome! Have you read The Kiss Quotient? It was a similar experience. :)

  2. I agree, this sounds like it was a lot of fun! Great review!

    1. It was so much fun! I highly recommend this series if you haven't tried it.

  3. This sounds like an exciting romantic suspense! And it's pretty cool that the author is a former military intelligence officer. I'm sure the situations she writes about are exaggerated to make them more exciting but they might just be based in some reality.

    1. Both the suspense and the romance made my toes curl! I desperately wanted to know who the mole was inside the Grey Box, but I also wanted to prolong the experience so Gideon and Willow had more time together. There's a boat! And a storm! Lots of life-or-death situations. Very intense read that I thoroughly enjoyed. <3

      I didn't realize the author had personal experience with the subject, so thanks for teaching me something new! I'm curious how much her stories are based on real experiences. You're probably right about them being exaggerated, or at least I hope you are... ;)

  4. Omigosh. This sounds lovely and sweet! It's too bad it only comes in mass market paperback. I would love a hardback or a trade paperback at least. (I know, I'm a snob. Lol.). Might download the audio. :)

    1. Haha! I don't mind mass market paperbacks! I have a shelf just for my smaller-sized books. :)


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless