cover image Trusting Skylar

Trusting Skylar

Susan Stoker. Montlake Romance, $12.95 trade paper (318p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2134-0

Flat, predictable characters drag down this series starter from Stoker (the Mountain Mercenaries series). After a Delta Force team led by Carson Rhodes kills a terrorist without waiting for permission from superiors, the team is disbanded. But the FBI, impressed by Carson’s marksmanship and the teamwork of his band of brothers, recruit the men to work as assassins while running an Indianapolis garage as a cover. Carson meets damsel in distress Skylar Reid, a kindergarten teacher, when her car gets a flat tire and she calls for a tow, kicking off a relationship between the two that reads more like codependency than romance. Carson does his best to protect her innocence from the evils of the world while keeping her in the dark about his second job, and Skylar becomes increasingly smitten with Carson, even while worrying that there’s something he’s not telling her. Stoker barely fleshes out her premise, and the pace lags with little to animate the plot until a threat to Skylar’s life kicks off the action-packed finale. This formulaic romance has little to recommend it. (Dec.)