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Last Man Standing
on January 31, 2012 and has 323 pages.
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Seventh and last in the Black Ops, Inc. romantic suspense series. The couple focus is on Mean Joe Green and Stephanie Tompkins.
With the new characters who have been joining BOI, and Gerard bringing them all back to be based in the States, I had hoped that Gerard was planning to continue the series. Now, I’ll have to hope that she’s planning a spin-off. I don’t wanna lose them!
I’ve so enjoyed the contrasts of these men who are tough and hard when necessary and soft and gentle when it’s not. They’ve had their individual stories and back histories, but the common thread of loyalty and honor has remained the same. Which is what confuses me as to why Joe doesn’t think he can even mention his discoveries to the rest. They’ve always had each other’s backs, and this last story kind of irks me for Joe ignoring that. I suppose in some ways that Joe believes he’s doing the right thing because the others are married, some with children. But if that’s true then shouldn’t he be trying to talk them out of being active at all?
Ooh boy, that last bit out the door was just cruel. Although, Joe does pay it back one thousand times over in the Freetown jail. Don’t think that Gerard is dramatizing this either. I lived in Sierra Leone for two years. She ain’t kidding when she says they don’t hold life dear.
Well, I do have to agree with Bangura on one thing: men who will destroy their own side for gain have no business looking down on others who do the same. Nor should the country who sends men like that pretend to be superior.
That Suah…he is ready for anything and between him and Stephanie, they are armed for bear, er, monkey. And it just blows Joe’s mind. I do adore Suah. He’s so reluctant about the whole thing and so dismissive of anything and everything. Then there’s that almost last page…you’ll cry and laugh. All at the same time.
Joe is determined to break it off with Steph. He’s not likely to be coming back and he doesn’t want her mourning him. Now he needs to find the proof that it wasn’t faulty intel. What Joe doesn’t realize is that Bryan wasn’t the last of the innocents targeted.
It’s a satellite image of an unidentified man, arrested in Sierra Leone, that spurs Stephanie into action. And only Stephanie. The BOIs can’t help on this one.
On a seemingly separate note, the secretary of state will be stepping down, and the president has a short list of people he’s considering to replace him. Ann Tompkins is one of those names as is Joe’s target.
Meanwhile, Steph knows there’s no future with this man. But she owes him.
Stephanie Tompkins works for the NSA and she’s been in love with Joe since Feel the Heat, 4. Bryan Tompkins, her brother, was killed in an operation in Sierra Leone. The last one before their multi-branch unit, Task Force Mercy, was officially pulled out. Just before Captain Nate Black quit the military and formed Black Ops, Inc. Robert and Ann Tompkins, Bry’s parents, took the BOIs into their hearts and they have been family since Bryan’s funeral.
Mean Joe Green is the last unmarried BOI (from the original cast) and former CIA. Bobby is the name of his baggage. His baby brother.
Bry, Gabe Jones (married to Jenna and they just had little Ali Lynn two months ago; Show No Mercy), and Sam Lang (married to a pregnant-again Abbie; Take No Prisoners) were Delta; Rafe Mendoza had been a Ranger (married to B.J., who goes into labor with Selena Rossella Janine; (Feel the Heat); Luke Colter was a Navy Seal (married to the now-pregnant Valentina; With No Remorse); Johnny Reed was a Force Recon Marine (married to the newly-pregnant Crystal; Whisper No Lies); Nate was a U.S. Marine (married to Dr. Juliana Flores); and, Wyatt Savage (married to Sophie; Risk No Secrets) had been CIA along with Joe.
Rhonda Burns is a co-worker and friend of Steph’s. Mike “Primetime” Brown has recently joined up with the BOIs as a pilot. Ty is the little brother he taps to help him with the flight to Sierra Leone and Minnesota. Jess runs a convenience store in Minnesota.
Retired general, current Arizona state representative, and the liaison between the U.S. and the United West African Nations Greer Dalmage is an ambitious man heading out to Sierra Leone. A local resource with power for Stephanie.
A very stiff and proud Suah Korama is fifteen now, one of the former boy soldiers stolen from their homes to serve in Augustine Sesay‘s army. He feels a debt to Joe Green for saving him in With No Remorse, and he is determined to pay that debt off. Dr. Bala Sankoh helps start the healing process on Joe. Bekah is a friend of Suah’s; another boy soldier.
The brutal Lieutenant Saidu Bangura is in charge of the the prisoner. A very handy position for bribes. Carl Wilson, Simpson, Duvall, Janikowski, and Benson are the troubleshooters who go after anyone who gets in the way.
Black Ops, Inc. is a private paramilitary organization based in Buenos Aires that works exclusively for Uncle Sam.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a cold feel to it with the bruised looking sky and Mean Joe Green in camo pants, facing away from us, shirtless with his ribbon tattoo snaking up his spine. Even though he’s half-naked and armed only with a gun, there’s a sense of armed lethality about him. The text for the title and the author’s name is in gold with her last name flipped so that the letters are surrounded by gold.
The title could refer to Joe being the last one of the original crew who’s unmarried, or it could refer to his belief that he’s the Last Man Standing who can handle the truth he has discovered.