Review: Deadly Lover: Special Edition (Exit Strategy #1) by Jocelynn Drake

Rating: 4.5🌈

Deadly Lover is my second book that I “backtracked” to when I discovered the couple in the course of reading a sequel series, Shadow Elite.

This couple, now “semi-retired”, are deadly assassins who are uncles to Alexei, an assassin as well and lover of Soren. They’re both infamous and family due to their roles and now new connections so they certainly pop up during missions or gatherings.

It didn’t take long for them to become a couple I seriously wanted a history for.

Deadly Lover begins their journey. It’s where they meet, begin a tenuous understanding of each other and start a relationship that teeters between a frightening friendship and something more fragile.

All while chasing a mystery and in turn finding themselves prey in a game where it’s billions of dollars and lives at stake.

Drake takes a chance with the dynamics here and tilts the revelations being delivered all on the side of assassin Gabriel Prescott. A deeply haunted, damaged man, the trauma of his past makes itself known by his scars, his arrays of tattoos, and his PTSD. All of which will be addressed as part of his character’s thread as the series progresses.

The character of Justin Mallory is more of an enigma. As the relationship between the men develops and the trust of their true selves becomes a final test, it’s Justin who’s that last one with the barriers raised. He’s fluid and yet he’s got a strong core. So you get him and can connect with him without having any history or knowledge about him.

This dichotomy between the main characters surprisingly works because our focus is on Gabriel, his emotional damage and trauma, while maneuvering the reader away from the narrative void that is Justin Mallory’s history and foundation.

It makes you wonder what’s coming.

The path they are on is halting, uncertain, and dangerous. The author never lets us or them forget that either.

The book ends not even on a HFN which is realistic. But on a we are going to try to make it work.

The next novel picks up several months later. It’s quite the transition.

Review coming soon.

I’m most definitely recommending this series. And Deadly Love. It’s well written. Great plotting, with a fascinating framework for the characters and relationship growth going forward. Full of exciting action and dialogue to pull you into the conversation, it’s a win all around.

Exit Strategy series:

✓ Deadly Lover: Special Edition #1

✓ Vengeful Lover #2

◦ Final Lover #3

◦ Forbidden Lover #4

✓ Accidental Lover #5

Deadly Lover: Special Edition (Exit Strategy Book 1)


New Expanded Content for Deadly Lover!

Justin Mallory is an assassin. But he’s really a good guy.

He has years of bad decisions to make up for, starting with agreeing to join the CIA after being recruited out of the Marines. No reason to add more black marks to his soul.

Now he chooses the jobs and he works always alone. It’s safer that way, and he can make sure the good guy always wins.

But this job…he can’t do alone.

Two scientists are dead and a dangerous drug is on the cusp of winning FDA approval if he doesn’t track down the culprit behind the lies and murders.

Gabriel Prescott is a well-trained, efficient, and cold-blooded killer. After a brutal betrayal left his lover dead, Gabriel is out only for himself.

But when this lucrative contract lands in his lap, he can’t pass it up. Even if it means working with the unpredictable and insane Justin Mallory.

Dodging bullets and secret meetings force them to depend on each other.

And one hot, frantic night together leads to a hidden sweetness and questions of whether they could possibly have something more.

Author’s Note: As a gift to readers, I have expanded the original Deadly Lover by nearly 20,000 words, giving readers a deeper understanding of Justin and Gabriel. Furthermore, I have added the short story Lover Calling to the special edition so you can enjoy even more of these fun assassins.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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