cover image Total Control

Total Control

Jackie Ashenden. Kensington, $9.95 (296p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1634-7

Though the work of the 11th Hour black ops team remains vague, Ashenden’s stronger second entry in this series (after Raw Power) succeeds by focusing on bringing two childhood friends together against a backdrop of high-society shady dealings. Orphaned Sabrina lived with Kellen Blake’s well-to-do New York family throughout her childhood, though she knew her place and never expected to be loved as a daughter. When an injury forces Kellen to leave the U.S. Navy Seals for the 11th Hour team, Sabrina doesn’t hesitate to join the group as an expert computer hacker, though she makes efforts to tamp down her intense, unrequited feelings for Kellen as they work together. While on assignment to covertly investigate his father—a retired army general who may be involved in illegal arms sales—Kellen finally realizes that he’s in love with Sabrina. Between sneaking into locked offices and reading encrypted files, Kellen and Sabrina find plenty of opportunity to indulge their passion. Ashenden excels at building believable romantic pairings, but her series through line suffers from the flimsiness of the conspiracy backstory. (July)