IN FOR THE KILL Shannon McKenna
McClouds and Friends Series
, Book 11
Kensington Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-7351-2
February 2015
Romantic Suspense

Portland, Oregon and Italy Present Day

When Sam Petrie meets Svetlana Ardova at another one of the McCloud brothers' weddings, he watches her like a hawk until he finds her alone in a room.  Sam has been obsessed with her for the past two years, especially since he kissed her at another McCloud wedding.  That kiss has haunted him ever since, and he is constantly trying to find out what she is doing.  Just as it appears this prickly woman is softening to him, they get interrupted.  Sveti was taken at a young age and held by men who were harvesting bodies for parts to sell on the black market.  Since the McClouds rescued her, she is on a one woman crusade to stop human trafficking all over the world. Sam was a police detective until he got a bullet in the lungs and has been off work since, and perhaps his wealthy father has had something to do with keeping him away from going back to work.  As Sam follows Sveti home (stalker again) after she comes to his house to shake off the attraction she feels for him, he sees men leaving with a big box.  When his senses start to prickle, he checks on her apartment and finds a shoe and her purse on the ground.

Svetlana Ardova's father, a police detective, was killed by Ukrainian mafiya who took Sveti to harvest her organs.  Supposedly several years later when she was rescued and living with the McCloud's, her mother committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.  The men who just kidnapped her were looking for something called the Sword of Caine that had something to do with her mother.  Luckily, Sam rescues her just as the men are waterboarding her, and all her friends beg her not to go to Italy alone.  But no matter, she is determined to go to Italy to collect an award and start a new job in London working for an anti-trafficking group, and nothing will stop her.  Sam volunteers to be her bodyguard in Italy, and in exchange he will be her boy toy and anything else she wants.  Sveti considers herself broken, and her life is so mixed up and chaotic because of her earlier experiences, she has no way to express love and doesn't even know how to accept affection.  But darned if she is also headstrong and single-minded in finding out what really happened to her mother that she ignores all Sam's advice and goes where angels fear to tread; and gets herself into danger she never contemplated.

Sam tries every way he can to break into her hardened heart and uses dogged determination to keep her safe.  When she goes off with the man her mother lived with before she died to visit where she lived, Sam is livid, as he should be.  Let's just say that every situation Sveti gets herself into while looking to solve the mystery of her mother's death, puts her life and Sam's on the line.

Shannon McKenna has once again ratcheted up the tension, stress, and conflict in this story of Svetlana and Sam in their fight against the people who traffic in human body parts.  Sveti is obsessed and fixated on stamping out these people, and is right in their cross hairs.  The way she brings to light what they do has her always under the gun.  Sam, much to her chagrin, considers himself her invisible stalker; he watches anything regarding her on YouTube and Blogs, and he has even hacked into supposedly unhackable websites.  Sam was a detective with the Portland Police, but an injury months ago has him still recovering and spending time with the McCloud brothers to learn any little piece of information about Sveti that he can.  Despite knowing Sveti is scared of him and never even likes to talk to him, he is totally ready to put his own life on the line for her.

The entire McCloud family and other friends are trying to protect Sveti, even from Sam if that is what she wants.  Sascha is her friend from their days together in their youth in their prison, but unfortunately his father is a well-known leader of the mafiya based in Italy.  Also are two men: one who supposedly wants to hire her for his new corporate anti-trafficking Victims Fund.  The other is the last man her mother lived with before she died.

IN FOR THE KILL is another story full of emotion and action, lots of evil men and even more revolting actions that Sveti is trying to bring to a stop.  Sveti is no shrinking violet and often goes against Sam and does everything he tells her not to do without thinking about the dangers for herself or even Sam.  This is the eleventh book in the McCloud Brothers series , and while it is totally readable without having read any of the previous stories, the intermingling of the brothers and their friends will help you to understand some of the dynamics among them.  Fans of Shannon McKenna will surely not want to miss this story, and even if you have never read any of her books but enjoy conflict and non-stop action, IN FOR THE KILL is just the story for you this month.

Carolyn Crisher