Countdown to Zero Hour

Carina: Harlequin. (Black Ops: Automatik, Bk. 1). Feb. 2016. 221p. ebk. ISBN 9781459290372. $3.99. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Hayley Bascov is a chef hitting rock bottom as she serves up pelmeni from a steam cart outside a Russian nightclub. And to make matters worse, she is drawn to her customer: a dark, enticing, and dangerous-looking man. Art Diaz works for the club's owner, Rolan. Then Art asks—no, demands—that Hayley be the chef for Rolan's weeklong meetings in the desert. Hayley is no dummy: Rolan is Russian mob, so what does that make Art? But Hayley needs the money, and Art doesn't leave her room to say no. Once at the mob compound, Hayley stays in the kitchen, trying to be invisible to the gangsters she is feeding. With danger at every turn, Art confides that he is an undercover special forces operative; he has a team ready to come in, but they need to wait for all of the bosses to be together. Hayley and Art are drawn to each other, unable to hide the passion they share. As bombs and grenades explode all around them, Art and Hayley fight for their fledgling love and the dream of his "Master Chef" cooking things up—in more ways than one.
VERDICT This first title in Rosso's (Slam Dance with the Devil) new series introduces the innocent cook caught in a tangled web of violence and deceit. Fans will root for her to be freed by the dedicated soldier who is seeking revenge for his father's death. A love story that is explosive, to say the least, and a romantic ride filled with knives, guns, Russian mobsters, and a chef with a red hot flame.
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