Forged in Steele -- Maya Banks
Book 7 of KGI series
It’s probably a damn good thing that I’ve come to love the KGI world created by Maya Banks. And it’s a damn good thing that her suspenses are riveting enough and her storylines are smooth and progressive (even if they sometimes have a side dose of crazy WTF-ery that tests your suspension of disbelief). And it’s also a damn good thing that Forged in Steele begins with the action, the suspense, the hook-line-and-sinker, the steamy seduction, a spattering for likable characters, and a completely out of character KGI operative-slash-team leader Steele whose straight-laced, no-nonsense personality made for some amusing antics when it comes to sexing up the good doctor, Maren Scofield.
(Steele was definitely a delight, even if a bit hard not to find strangely comedic in some weird way that I can’t put my finger on.)
Because if this book hadn’t started off this way, I might have checked out quite early despite how much I’ve come to love the KGI world in that “This is my guilty pleasure” sort of way. If Ms. Banks had started the story off with all the flowery, drawn-out, tacky, cheesy prose and dialogue of Steele’s and Maren’s romance (which last a whole freakin’ two chapters long, halfway into the book, BTW), I would have checked out or zoned out or even walked away. (Well, I probably wouldn’t have walked away, ‘cause, let’s face it, I’ve read worse; however, I wouldn’t have at least had SOME semblance of enjoyable story points to fall back onto to excuse why I still liked this book.)
So… KUDOS Maya--by the time the schmaltzy stuff started up that cause all sorts of internal groaning and painful eye-roll worthy moments on my part, I was already quite invested in this book
To be fair, the KGI books are first and foremost romances and so this book doesn’t fall far from the story being based around the romantic escapades of Steele (who we realize DOES have a first name, BTW) and Maren Scofield. In an uncharacteristic proclamation, Steele kind of propositions Dr. Scofield (and I say "kind of" because nothing in his entire dialogue merits any kind of romantic declaration... it wasn't even remotely sexy either, but it was quite face-palmingly amusing) for one night of steamy, lusty sex when he and his team arrive in Costa Rica, seeking her medical help when a mission yields a few injuries.
Apparently Steele has been lusting after Dr. Scofield since forever and tonight he’s finally made a decision to do something about it so that he can “get her out from under his skin”. Again: What a romantic. But, of course, in all of Romance-landia, the main female character will also be lusting after the hunky and gorgeous main male character--as is the fact with Maren Scofield. And so she accepts his proposition and the two end up having hot monkey sex all night long right before Steele bugs out with his team the very next morning.
And as would typically happen, one night of passion is not enough for either of them so during some much needed vacation downtime from his work with KGI, Steele returns to Costa Rica, intent on spending as much time as necessary with Maren until he can either A) finally get her out of his system, or B) figure out what’s going on with these strange new FEELINGS he’s experiencing. Together, the two of them agree to figure out where their friends-with-benefits relationship is going.
But then Steele is called out early on another assignment and during the time he is away, the good doctor Scofield ends up kidnapped by some Big Baddie crime lord who lives in an army fortress because he’s been obsessed with her and he needs a personal physician to oversee his impending recovery from another bout of plastic surgery.
The rest of the story, of course, spirals out of control from there with a rescue mission, some government take-down conspiracies, the reappearance of Titan operative Hancock conducting his own secret mission, and lots of gunfire, explosions, and more steamy sex. And also some nice, warm, family time with the KGI team and the Kelly family. (Of course.)
And another little secret that Maren is keeping from Steele, because, why not?
This book is crazy intense. And this book is just plain crazy. With all the crazy events and the crazy stuff and just the crazy crazy.
Again, this is definitely a Romance first and a Suspense last, but at least it was good enough to keep me entertained and extremely hooked (except when the schmaltzy, dramatic lovey-dovey repetitive professions of love came up in overly drawn-out essay-form declarations between our main couple; THAT got a bit overdone and I tried VERY hard not to zone out as I speed read through it all).
I probably would have given this book a higher rating for personal bias reasons alone, to be honest. The KGI series has easily become one of my more favored ones in my comfort genre--Romantic Suspense. But then the love story got sappy, the emotions and declarations of love got overly dramatic (see description I already gave in previous paragraphs), and I started feeling just a twinge of irritation.
Still… The book was good, I found my enjoyment, and the series is still one of my more easily enjoyable and well-liked ones. What more can I ask for if not something I just enjoy despite all it’s faults?
One thing is for certain: I will continue to read the rest of the KGI books. And also, Hancock comes off quite likable in this book, which is saying a lot since I didn't really care for him two books ago. I'm even more in anticipation of his installment, Darkest Before Dawn.