cover image His to Take

His to Take

Shayla Black. Berkley, $16 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-425-25125-6

Terrifically tormented characters can’t mitigate the flaws of Black’s ninth Wicked Lovers novel (after Theirs to Cherish). Years ago, a five-year-old girl disappeared when her father was murdered for his secret genetics research. Bailey Benson may be that girl, all grown up and still harboring her father’s secrets. NSA agent Joaquin Muñoz kidnaps Bailey to protect her from LOSS, a group intent on overthrowing the government with an army of genetically enhanced soldiers. Joaquin receives help from an ex-SEAL who suggests that he bring Bailey to Club Dominion, a BDSM club run by sexually dominant warrior types, for safekeeping. Bailey initially views Joaquin as a threat, and after their romance sparks, she worries about his emotional baggage. Their mutual discovery of latent sexual needs is powerful, but the ridiculous premise and setting are beyond cliché. Agent: Kimberly Whalen, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)