Enemy Combatant (The Renegades Book 2) by Cara Dee - Review and Release Day Exceprt

Enemy Combatant is Crew's story as he and the team of former military men race to find their kidnapped loved ones. Delgado is only a target and an enemy combatant to Crew, but when he reveals he his name is Adrien and he is an undercover agent can Crew trust him? Between truth and lies Crew and Adrien find themselves drawn to each other but with different agendas only one of them can come out on top.

From the blurb:

The Renegades #2 • Romantic Suspense • Stockholm Syndrome • Hurt Comfort • Action • MM
“The best intelligence is the knowledge that your enemy doesn’t know you have.”

Crew Finlay’s ego had taken a hit or two. He couldn’t lie. As a Marine, he’d been one of the best. As a private military contractor, he’d…messed up a bit. Or failed spectacularly. Whatever. And now? A year into his new gig, working in private security for Elliott Jones, Crew had a lot to prove. He refused to screw this up too. They had people to bring home. So when he found himself holding a cartel freelancer hostage, he steeled himself and vowed not to fall for the bastard’s lies. As if Crew would believe this man was an undercover Fed. Come on.

Nah, this tall, older drink of water was full of it. Adrien Mercier, or whatever his real name might be, was going down. Until one day, when Adrien turned the tables, and then Crew was the one sitting with his hands cuffed behind his back.

SNik's Review:

Second in a four part series (The Renegades), must be read in order. Action suspense. Adversaries to lovers. Age gap. Close proximity. Slow burn. Single POV. Quick read. 

The story continues as everyone scatters and is assigned avenues to investigate in the race to recover their kidnapped loved ones with this book focusing on Crew. 

Crew is a former marine that just lost his best friend and is not meant for undercover but he is sent to Europe where he is tasked to capture a known associate with information on their main target. 

Delgado turns out to be Adrien Mercier, an undercover fed, and Crew is torn between his team’s priorities and helping Adrien with his ultimate goal to take down the head of the Blanco cartel. 

Action leads to close proximity which leads to Crew and Adrien trying to get information from each other without giving too much away, with Adrien being more mature and sophisticated and Crew being intelligent but a little out of his depth. 

They do end up sharing bits of personal insights, and their attraction is quick and a connection instantaneous. 

Crew was relatable in his dedication to family and his competence but uncertainty at times, and it was sweet to see him envisioning a possible future with Adrien. 

As the series is planned to be published in quick succession there is a cliffhanger for this book as the overarching plotline continues, the series focuses on different main characters with a planned HEA for all in the series finale.

Rating: 4 Stars

KjnRose's Review:

Enemy Combatant is the second book in Cara Dee's The Renegades series and it's even better than the first.  This book was great from start to finish and I could not put it down.  

Can't wait to see what happens next in this story.

Rating: 5 Stars

Lesetiger's Review:

After the first volume, I was already very excited to see what would happen next. I recommend reading the books in order. Enemy Combatant is not a stand alone book.

The search for Elliott's kidnapped loved ones continues. One clue is a suspected freelancer, Delgado. Crew, an associate of Elliott and a former Marine, is sent to southern France with his assigned partner to track down Delgado. The two succeed quite quickly, but nothing is as it seems, as the supposed criminal turns out to be an undercover fed. From now on, things start to get interesting. Crew and Adrien Mercier, the fed, circle each other. There is some tension between the two, but how quickly can you trust a man who is supposed to be one of the good guys? Read for yourself.....

The writing style is wonderful. I became immersed in the story very quickly and I could understand Crew and his reactions well. There are some surprising twists that make this action-packed book even more interesting and exciting. Crew, by the way, I found very likable and I adore him. His heart is in the right place and he loves his family. The same goes for Adrien, who I liked more and more the more I learned about him.

Once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down and read it all in one go! I am already looking forward to the sequel and highly recommend this series!

Rating: 5 Stars

Enemy Combatant is available to buy in ebook format 

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Excerpt I

I squeezed in one more dip in the lake before the sun went down. I’d only packed a small hand towel, so I had to use that to dry off before I stepped into my boxer briefs. Then I headed inside again and lit a few candles in the kitchen and the living room.

“Are we still in Monaco?” the scumbag asked.

I ignored him. I wasn’t going to make polite conversation with our hostage. Instead, I hummed a tune to myself and went into the kitchen. I should give him more water soon. He’d had a half-liter bottle today, roughly seventeen ounces, if I wasn’t mistaken. Far from enough, but this wasn’t a hotel, and the man restrained in the living room got off on human slavery.

After setting a pot of water to boil, I crammed more twigs into the fire compartment.

I was in Italy; I wanted to eat pasta for supper.

Then I put on a pair of sweats and figured I could prepare my bed for the night. To go with the mattresses, Ryan had bought foldable camping beds. I carried it into the living room and positioned it against the opposite wall of where cartel motherfucker sat.

Wasn’t it annoying when criminals were handsome as hell?

“How long are we gonna be here for?” he pressed.

I didn’t miss a beat. “At least a week, but my schedule is wide open all summer.”

He cursed.

I smiled to myself and finally figured out how to unfold the damn bed. There was a latch…

“We’re going to have to work out a deal,” he said stiffly. “I can’t stay here a whole fucking week. I just can’t.”

I turned around to get the mattress off the floor. “Why? Got someplace to be?”

At this rate, I wouldn’t have to do much in order to get somewhere. No violence, no good cop, no bad cop, no persuasion tactics. He was doing the work for me. I just had to wait him out.

“I’m sure a man like you has plenty of people under him who can keep the boat from sinking while you’re…otherwise occupied.” I dropped the mattress onto the bed and sat down to see how it— “Huh. Not bad.” I nodded at him, curious. “How many are in your crew?”

He looked at me as if I were defiling the English language. “My crew? I don’t have a crew. The more you speak, the more you show you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.”

I grinned faintly and scratched my nose. “Nothing you say will make me believe you’re on your own. You handle too much money, associate with too many people, and hold too much power to manage your work solo.”

I was actually fascinated by his responsibility, because not many cartels would place that much trust in a freelancer. It wasn’t unheard of, though certainly rare. He traveled all over the world, sometimes to deliver a simple message to an associate, sometimes to strike deals, sometimes to break new ground. He could be the messenger that delivered the news of a peace treaty or a conflict.

He could create both too.

War in the world of drugs and cartels was always only an insult away.

He was evidently not going to answer, so I returned to the kitchen to prepare my last meal of the day. I poured pasta into the pot, then dug out a tomato sauce from the bag with items that didn’t need to be refrigerated.

It didn’t take long before the kitchen was smelling fucking incredible.

I kissed my fingertips and all.

When the pasta was ready, I poured the water out of the window opening and then the pasta into the skillet. Followed by tomato sauce, garlic, basil, and a squeeze of lemon. I saved the meatballs for last since they were already cooked. They only needed to be reheated.

Salt. Pepper. Done.

I was gonna make my hostage’s stomach snarl with envy.

He had a body that required upkeep. One hell of a body. Damn shame he was the scum of the earth. And in no way was I going to let him survive this operation. He deserved to be six feet under.

A couple minutes later, I sat down on the bed in the living room again, this time with a skillet full of delicious pasta and a cold soda.

I had no complaints.

The fuckbag watched me in silence. He was definitely in pain. He kept trying to rotate his shoulders and find a new position.

Just to err on the safe side, I walked over there to recheck his restraints. He stiffened and glared up at me.

The rope had cinched in some places and was digging into his chest. Using the flashlight on my phone, I could see that the handcuffs had done a number on him too. His wrists were red and irritated.

I walked back to the bed and folded my blanket on my lap so I could put the skillet on top. “This was my favorite pasta growing up,” I mentioned. “I’d come home from school and ask Mom to make me butterfly pasta with ketchup.”

He muttered something under his breath.

“What was that?” I cupped my ear.

“It’s called farfalle,” he bit out.

I shrugged. “I don’t give a farfalle fuck to be honest.”

What I did care about was his pronunciation. He’d said it all Italian-like. Did he know the language? Did he have a reason to? The Blanco Family had roots in both Colombia and Sicily, so it was interesting to me.

We did have theories, after all, about how high up in the cartel this man had dealings.

“Fuck me, this is good.” I spoke with my mouth full. “If you teach me some more Italian pasta names—you know, with that arrogant tone in your voice—maybe I’ll show you what I can do with my farfalle knife later.”

I grinned. I was gonna tell that joke to everyone when this was over.

Ryan and Dad would get a laugh. Mav and Uncle Greer too.

The asshole across from me didn’t find it funny. He must not have a sense of humor.

“I’m a federal agent.”

Forget what I said. He was fucking hilarious.

About Cara

I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. 

There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. 

Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.

I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I'm a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write. 

Find Cara on social media here:https://www.caradeewrites.com/cdwlandingpage