The Kite – N.R. Walker
Ex-Australian Specialist Response Group, Tim “Harry” Harrigan, has been running covert ops for almost a decade. A lone wolf, he’s single-handedly taken down terrorists and national security threats, or so he thinks. He’s been in the game far too long, and when he sees a familiar threat, he knows his time is up.
Asher Garin is a dangerous man. A man without loyalty, a man without a nationality, without a country, or a home. He’s also a mercenary for hire to the highest bidder. His next job is a face he recognises, and after a tip-off, he learns he too is a marked man.
It’s a different game now, and Harry and Asher have a better chance at surviving if they stick together. But it’s not just the game or the rules that have changed. The stakes have too.
Because on their own, they had nothing to lose. Together, they do.
#EnemiesToLovers #GayAssassins #UsAgainstThem
Caution: on-page physical and gun violence. Reader discretion advised.
I am a sucker for assassin v. assassin turned assassin ♡ assassin romance, so I had to grab The Kite, N.R. Walker‘s standalone take on the trope.
The book hits the ground running with bad guys hot on the trail of ex-Australian Special Response hitman Tim Harrigan who was scoping out his target. Unexpectedly, the notorious but elusive hired killer Asher Garin comes in to assist, then persuades the recalcitrant Harry to go with him. Later, Asher points out the suspicious activities of Harry’s handler and how it is related to why he was hired to kill the Australian.
Most of the book is spent with the MCs on the run. Had they had different occupations, it would have been a picturesque tour across the Middle East. As such, the boys travel on roads best avoided, sometimes, no road at all. They make pitstops at the seediest motels or rooms procured by taciturn locals. All of which was orchestrated by Asher’s super mysterious and omniscient contact whom he refuses to name. Harry calls him Four, for lack of anything to call the voice on the phone.
One of the most fun parts of enemies to lovers is the intensity of hate warring with the intensity of lust, a.k.a hatefucks, a.k.a Harry’s dilemma. Because Asher was the provocateur, mercilessly flirting and pushing buttons. The air between them was charged with tempers and USTs until it went nuclear. The sizzling heat was balanced by the softer moments, like when the perpetually grumpy and reluctantly worried Harry cuddled the freezing Asher to keep him warm.
The suspense and the non-stop action kept the story fast-paced. While the writing wasn’t particularly detailed on the scenery, Harry and Asher’s adventure still had that cinematic quality, easily conjuring images of blistering deserts, mazelike alleys and majestic architectures that Asher oh so helpfully pointed out Harry should take time to appreciate. Add to that the edge-of-your seat fight scenes and high-stakes international scandal, and it’s a story made for Hollywood!
Couple of niggles, though. The author excels at writing the fluffiest, most squee-tastic stories out there. Here, it felt like the story couldn’t make up its mind between gritty and fluffy. A book could be both, of course, but this time, the blending didn’t feel seamless.
Also, Asher’s backstory wasn’t as fully explored as I wanted. All we know are barebones facts. He’s the best sharpshooter, has no country, was frequently moved around as a child, learned how to handle weapons early on, and he’s very protective of his friend, Four.
There was still so much to learn about Asher’s character. Even that dream place he referred to generated more questions at the ending. It was also hinted that Asher has been following Harry’s career for years. I thought it was a crush. Too bad that little nugget wasn’t taken further. I’m not sure if there is a sequel, but I’ll gladly read more about Asher anytime. And I’m dying for Four’s book too!
Harry’s backstory was known early on. However, his personality came across as flat in the beginning. As the story progressed, he was less scowly and more open. The man turned out to be a pretty protective of Asher. Harry was super bad ass with his super fast gunslinging skills. His specialty is close combat. He’s a grizzly bear alright, but definitely a care bear too!
The Kite is a romantic suspense that did brilliantly on both fronts. It takes us on a grand tour of Middle Eastern cities and their underbelly via a thrilling chase and high-stakes mission. It takes a breather when two assassins go from purely physical to utterly tender in a soul-deep connection forged by danger and hard-won trust. All in all, intense, swoony, and totally spectacular as a movie!
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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