LAST KISS GOODNIGHT - Gena Showalter
Otherworld Assassins , Book 1
Pocket Books
ISBN: 978-1-451-67159-9
January 2013
Fantasy Romance

Solomon Judah is used to being the one to fix things for his team of black-ops assassins, but when he wakes up to find himself caged, he's not sure he'll be able to fix this.  The last thing he remembers is an explosion, then hearing the man he and his team were supposed to investigate standing over Solo making plans to kill one of his friends, take the other, and sell him to a circus.  At first Solo assumes that when the monster inside of him takes control, he'll be able to break free, but he quickly learns that letting the rage consume him brings pain thanks to the cuffs on his wrists.  The good news is that he's found the missing AIR agent he and his teammates were supposed to find—the bad news is that she, too, is a captive in the Circus of Fiends—and she, Solo, and about a dozen otherworlders are the main attraction.

Vika Lukas learned years ago that to disobey her father was to bring pain and suffering to her and anyone she tries to help.  She'd like to escape from the circus, yet the one time she managed it was a disaster, and she has no intention of leaving until she's certain she can not only support herself but also successfully hide from her father.  Vika figures that she'll need another year before she can break free, but then the giant arrives.  For a woman who's learned the hard way to avoid a man's anger, something about the newest addition to her father's circus tells her she can trust him, in spite of the violence he displays when angry.  Like all of the other “exhibits”, Solo begs her to free him, and for the first time, Vika is tempted to try.

The first book in Gena Showalter's new Otherworld Assassins series, LAST KISS GOODNIGHT, introduces readers to Solo, a being from another world who works for a black ops team connected to the government.  Other than Michael Black, the leader of his team; John No Last Name and Corbin Blue, his teammates, Solo trusts no one, not even the beings visible only to him that have tried to guide his life.  When he first meets Vika, an inner voice claims her as his, even though she's been introduced as his caretaker and shows little mercy or care for the captives.  As he watches her though, Solo sees the contradictions in her, and his desire for her becomes something very difficult to resist.  Vika watched her loving father turn into unspeakable evil, hurting not only the captives but also other members of the circus, as he and his right-hand man immerse themselves in the dark arts in their greed and lust for power.  His abuse has cost Vika her hearing, and the threat of blindness should she ever betray her father again keeps her from any overt actions to help the captives.  Her feelings for Solo surprise her but scare her also, and one wrong step could mean the end for her and Solo.

The book begins with Michael assigning Solo, Corbin, and John a case, but an explosion at the end of the briefing separates the men.  Solo refuses to believe that he won't be able to find Corbin and John and has every intention of doing so once he escapes the circus and gets Vika to safety, but there isn't much more of a set-up to the next books beyond that.  For an exciting and compelling tale, you won't want to miss LAST KISS GOODNIGHT.

Jennifer Bishop