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Last Breath (Hitman, #2) by Jen Frederick
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Last Breath (Hitman, #2)

by Jen Frederick, Jessica Clare

Other authors: Tantor Audio (Producer)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hitman [Clare & Frederick] (Mar 2014 - Book 2)

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[b:Last Breath|19207601|Last Breath (Hitman, #2)|Jessica Clare|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1392822861s/19207601.jpg|27251102] picks up pretty much where [b:Last Hit|18626111|Last Hit (Hitman, #1)|Jessica Clare|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381158204s/18626111.jpg|26415493] left. Regan has been sold in a sex trafficking ring and is stuck in a sleazy bordello with a bleak outlook. Get your tissues for this part of the book because you will need them. I don't advocate trying to listen to the audiobook while you are doing your makeup in the morning (as I did) because it was a ridiculous effort.

We met Daniel in [b:Last Hit|18626111|Last Hit (Hitman, #1)|Jessica Clare|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381158204s/18626111.jpg|26415493] as a bad boy acquaintance of Nikolai. We learn in this book that Daniel is not really so much of a bad boy. He is ex-military and searching for his sister who was kidnapped from Cancun, and has rescued countless other girls from the sex trade along the way.

I liked both of these characters, but I didn't have quite as strong of a connection as I would have liked, despite the emotional beginning. I think that it was because of the instalove that occurred and I just couldn't wrap my brain around the sexytime happening so soon after her forced participation in the sex trade. That being said, I still really enjoyed the story, particularly the suspense aspect with the search for Naomi, running from and going up against Mr. Freeze and his thugs, and Mendoza's odd little community. 4 stars / 4 flames.

Iggy Toma and Kasha Kensington narrate this whole series, and I raved about Iggy in book one. He did a fine job here as well narrating Daniel, but I really missed his Russian accent from [b:Last Hit|18626111|Last Hit (Hitman, #1)|Jessica Clare|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381158204s/18626111.jpg|26415493]. That's why I am stoked that Naomi and Vasily will be getting a book and can't wait to listen to that one! ( )
  Bambi_Unbridled | Mar 19, 2016 |
Summary
Regan never knew the disaster that would happen to her because she became roommates with Daisy. But she finds herself kidnapped, sold. At first with the russians who used her brutally for sex and abuse. Then she was sold to a contractor who wanted her “broken” and she was sent down to Brazil to a whorehouse to be broken in. For months Regan has been hoping that someone would remember what happened to her and come find her. But as the months go by, she starts losing hope but she never stops fighting with spirit when many others become broken, Regan doesn’t. Daniel Hayes is on a search to find his sister and to find Regan. When his close friend Nick asks him to go search for her, and he finds her while searching for his sister that was kidnapped. He knows he can’t leave her. So he takes her, intending on sending her to the embassy. However the man who wants Regan will do anything to find her and Daniel must keep her by his side even though its dangerous. But Daniel and Regan will have to face their enemy and their fears and pasts…

Plot And Story Line
Last Breath is the second thrilling installment in the Last Hit Series. And WoW!! That is all I want to say for this book. I was completely blown away by this one. Jessica Clare joining up with Jen Frederick have written a heart pounding suspense romance that will keep its readers on their toes from the first to last page. I just couldn’t get enough of this story and it captivated me from the beginning. This does contain some tough issues on sexual slavery so it’s not for the faint of heart. But what a read!! Loved every single moment while listening to this one.

The story kicks off, with Regan for a while. We see her side of things, from the beginning really. Seeing what she has gone through over the months was simply heartbreaking…but what I loved about Regan is that she never stops fighting. Most women eventually would. But not Regan. She has this inner strength you have to admire. Before she was kidnapped she was just a sweet and kind woman and went with the flow. But this experience has definitely changed her to fighting for herself and those she cares about.

“I bite and I don’t cry and I’ll vomit and pee all over you.” Jesus Hermione Christ. This girl has balls of freaking steel.
Our hero is such a great match for her. Daniel is ex military, became a hit man, and for long eighteen months has been searching for his sister while rescuing any of the woman he can along the way. But Regan is the first that he is drawn to. In Daniel’s mind, Regan is unique. Because she is a fighter, when all the other women he has rescued have become like dolls…no life anymore. Just existing. But Regan is determined, strong and courageous. The attraction between these two is very obvious and vibrant. But after Regan’s experiences, they take it slowly. And I really admired that. It fit with the setting of the story and the characters. Just because you are attracted doesn’t mean you just jump into bed right away. I liked that these two learn each other both emotionally and physically.

“You’re mine, Regan Porter. You don’t get to decide if you die or not. Because if you do, you’re destroying me, too.”
This story has alternating POV between the hero and the heroine which I really liked. I love seeing both sides of the story, from both the hero and the heroine’s personal perspective. The romance is sweet at times and very emotional and I really liked that. It had its poignant moments, but some flirty and fun ones too!!

Every day that I wake up and see Daniel’s face next to mine in the bed, I am so thankful that he’s all for me, that he never gives up on me, even when I’m at my most needy and demanding. Not every guy would take up with a damaged girl fresh out of a whorehouse. But Daniel has never made me feel dirty or used or anything but incredibly beautiful.
The suspense is pretty intense at times and is good enough to get your heart racing. I loved these moments, seeing these two fight together and protecting each other. We also get to see Nikolai and Daisy and meet two new hitman (that are heroes in the next two books). This was a blast of a romance that rocked my world!!! Intense, gratifying, and sassy!!

Narration
I don’t always like the change in narrators, but these two were just perfect!! I want more from both of them. I loved both of their voices, and they handled the story very well. Especially with all that goes on with this one, they portrayed the story in the perfect way. I hope that they do the next books too.

The Cover
I really like this cover and man that hair!!! I just want to run my hands through it. I love the intensity of the cover with the gray background and the colored titled writing.

Overall View
Last Breath is an emotionally provoking read that takes you on a wild ride of adventure, danger, and intense emotions. GUARANTEED TO LOVE!! ( )
  addictofromance | Dec 4, 2015 |
I never thought I could like Regan and Daniel's story more than Daisy and Nikolai's, because I loved their story pretty damn much, but sweet Jesus, I did. If this keeps up by the end of Vasily and Naomi's story I'll need a 6th star or something. And now I'm in that depressed I'll-never-find-a-book-as-good-as-this-ever-again kind of state, which is ridiculous, obviously, but dammit it feels pretty real and it's not cool.

One of my favorite excerpts: "This is a fucked up world, darlin’. That you’re still breathing oughta be counted as a win." ( )
  kairih | Aug 30, 2014 |
This review and more can be found on my blog here: The Muses Circle

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Last Hit, the first book in the Hitman series by the dynamic collaborative writing duo Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick. I was thrilled to get a chance to join the blog tour for their second novel in the series, Last Breath. Despite my excitement, I couldn't help but feel nervous. Would the sequel live up to my expectations? How were they going to handle the "sensitive" nature of the topic that the story is centered around? Well, I obviously had nothing to worry about because my 5 star rating says it all. Last Breath picks up where Last Hit left off. Regan is in a brothel in Rio after being sold by the Bratva, one of the most dangerous factions of the Russian mafia. Nikolai's American friend, an assassin named Daniel, promises to find Regan for Daisy who is consumed with worry and guilt (you'll have to read the first book to see why; check out my review for Last Hit HERE). But Daniel is on a mission of his own: to find his missing sister who he thinks may have been sold into sex slavery as well. For him, it's like killing two birds with one stone. He just didn't count on falling in love along the way...

The story opens with a scene of Regan being raped. This is definitely not a novel for the faint of heart and may be a trigger for those who have suffered from similar situations.  It wasn't easy to read, but my small discomfort is nothing compared to what women in Regan's position have and are going through. Sex slavery seems to be a hot topic right now in the news and media and I've noticed some authors are trying to tackle the controversial subject. While I commend every author in their efforts to create awareness, Last Breath is the first book I've read about the issue that felt the most realistic and didn't try to sugarcoat it.

I first want to talk about the characters, starting with Regan. It's one thing to decide to write about a  sensitive topic, but it's a whole other situation when you are writing a character that is going through it. It has to be handled just right. As I stated above, the story opens with Regan being raped. Despite her months of captivity, she is known as a "biter", and refuses to show any kind of emotion because she knows that most of the men that buy her get off on women that cry, scream, and struggle. No way will she give them that satisfaction. To keep her mind separate form her body, she recites horror movies in her mind by going down the alphabet.  I remember grimacing and smiling while reading this scene which is an odd reaction. Quite honestly, I don't know how Jessica Clare did it. Somehow she was able to infuse the seriousness and horror of the situation with grim humor. Too much and it could have been a disaster.

Once Regan is free and on the run with Daniel, she goes through a roller coaster of emotions. One minute she is fierce, the next minute she is falling apart, the next she is plotting how to keep Daniel from dumping her off at the Embassy. While at first I had a hard time keeping up with her ever changing thoughts and emotions, I soon realized how realistic her mood and behavior were. The fear of being abandoned. The fear of trusting a man after being used over and over again. The fear of being recaptured. The fear of being broken and never being "normal" again. I can only imagine the relief of being free and then the sudden harsh reality of how to even begin to start rebuilding the life you lost. For Regan, it will never be the same again. So I get it.

I don't want to say too much more about Regan's journey, but I will say as the story progresses, her growth as a character blew me away. At the same time, I like the fact that Clare is consistent. What I mean is, some romance authors that write about rape victims will portray them as frightened and broken in the beginning, but are miraculously healed by the end of the story with no after affects. In Last Breath, Regan, with the help of Daniel, is on the road to recovery, but she still suffers from PST which is more of a realistic portrayal of someone who has gone through what she has.

Now to Daniel. Where do I even start? There have been times when I've read a series from an author where the hero in each book sound the same. Yes, they may have a quirk or specific trait here or there that makes them stand out from one another, but over all, they are the same. Not the case here. Daniel couldn't be more different from Nikolai and I'm not just talking about the obvious American-Ukrainian difference. Is Daniel a bad ass like Nikolai? Yes. Is he an alpha male that wants to protect Regan like Nikolai wanted to protect Daisy? Yes. But that's where the similarities end. While Nick was serious, stoic, and raised in a world of violence, Daniel had a pretty normal life until he enlisted in the military. Once his sister goes missing, his relationship with his parents becomes strained. All he wants to do is rescue his sister so he can go back to his family's ranch and maybe raise some cattle. But it is Daniel's sense of humor that really sets him apart from Nikolai. He not only uses humor to get themselves out of some sticky situations but I absolutely love the way he uses it to help Regan. The first time he sees her break down, he realizes he rather have a pissed off Regan than a broken one. So he calls her annoying pet names like "babydoll", "sugar tits" (love that one lol)-- anything to get her mad so that it keeps her on task. Regan soon figures this out and is grateful for it. As their relationship progresses, what started as a necessary way to keep Regan from breaking down or loosing it turns into flirting and affectionate teasing.

The next thing to talk about is the chemistry and sexy time. There is no denying the chemistry between Regan and Daniel. And I thought Nikolai and Daisy were a hot pairing? Holy Moses! But going back to what I said about the sensitive topic at hand,  this had to be handled with care. From the first moment Daniel lays eyes on her, he has to fight his attraction, even admitting there must be something fundamentally screwed up with him for getting a hard on at seeing her for the first time. Regan also misconstrues Daniel's intentions. At first, she thinks she has to throw herself at him in order to keep him interested so he doesn't abandon her. This pisses Daniel off as it should. But slowly, Regan begins to realize that Daniel can be trusted and he doesn't just view as a piece of ass. He really cares. Suddenly she wonders what kissing him would feel like. She wants to know if she is completely broken or if she has a shot at being a normal woman with needs. The sexual tension was thick and hot. Daniel basically allows her to do whatever she wants with him, refusing to touch her in any way unless she asks for it. She can go as far as she wants and can stop whenever she wants. As funny as Daniel can be, he also is very tender and patient with her. At the same time, he wants to pleasure her, to show her how good it can really be. In Last Hit, we learn that she had only one boyfriend prior to being kidnapped. So even before the rape, she really didn't know how good sex could be. But of course Daniel feels possessive of her and his thoughts about how he feels is so hot and beautiful at the same time.


"I would rend anyone from limb to limb who tried to come between Regan and I. From now on the only one who would be hearing her screams when she came would be me. The only man who gets to taste the nectar between her legs is me. The only cock that would ever pleasure her, from this moment until I never drew another breath is mine."

I also like that Nikolai and Daisy make an appearance in Last Breath. Their part in the story is important (I'm avoiding any spoilers) but more than that, it is nice to see how they interact with Daniel and Regan. It's also interesting to see where Nick and Daisy are at in their relationship. Daisy is going to college and Nick is trying to live the domestic life by cooking meals (there is one hilarious part where Daisy describes her walking in on Nikolai trying to make Hamburger Helper. So funny!)

Last but not least is the interesting way Clare and Frederick set up their next novel in the series. I don't think this is much of a spoiler since it's been swirling around the internet but I will refrain from saying names. We find out that the next heroine is going to be a high functioning autistic woman and her hero is going to be a member of the Bratva, a Ukrainian from Nikolai's past. Wow. It's almost as if these ladies want to keep challenging themselves. Just like with sex slavery, writing a character with autism can be tricky. I actually work with multiple disabled children, two of which are on the spectrum. In Last Breath, the authors already hinted at some of the sensory issues the heroine for the third book will have, so I can't wait to see how far they will go with this new interesting character and how the hero will handle it. Autism is just not a topic you read about in romance novels. If they are up for the challenge, then I am happy to go along for the ride.

I originally was going to give Last Breath a 4.5 rating because I came across a few inconsistencies. But then I remembered the version I read was an ARC/pre-copyedited version, so it's not really fair for me to mark it down half a star when they might not even be there anymore. But some of these inconsistencies were small, like the scene where Daniel and Regan decide to sleep at a nicer hotel. Daniel puts a dresser in front of the door on top of locking it. Later someone gets into the room and Regan starts shooting a gun at the intruder. Wouldn't someone hear this person breaking in since he has to go through a locked door and a dresser? Also, wouldn't someone in the hotel hear gun shots? Stupid little things like that.

Last Breath far exceeded my expectations. I give both Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick a lot of credit for tackling such a sensitive issue and handling it with brutal honesty and dignity. It appears as if there is nothing these ladies can't write about and I anxiously await to see what they will do with the third book in the Hitman series.

Mia @ The Muses Circle ( )
  themusescircle | Apr 3, 2014 |
Last Breath captivated me up until the very last word. It was a page turner without one dull moment! The hurt and anguish Regan endured though out the first few chapters, strangled me with tears. Living her trauma right along with her (because that’s what this book was capable of doing) you didn’t read this book you lived on the pages with the characters. You were there with them both through it all. And Daniel being sound enough to realize that Regan was indeed broken no matter how she tried so hard to be strong. And having the strength to be patient and do the right thing even though deep inside he wanted something more. Letting Regan take the lead. I LOVED this book! It was beautifully Brutal, that would be the best way I can describe it. I fell in love with this series, when I began Last Hit, its just as amazing. So this was one book I waited and watched for. It was a book I didn’t want to end, I kept watching the pages go by thinking how am I going to read after this. Such and emotional journey.

★Jammie ( )
  JRCook1 | Mar 26, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jen Frederickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Clare, Jessicamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Kensington, KashaReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toma, IggyReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Audio, TantorProducersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Regan:
I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I’m at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he’s here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He’s also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it’s wrong to fall in love with him, but I can’t seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath, but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can.

Daniel:
For the last eighteen months, one goal has dictated every action I’ve taken. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and befriended criminals all across the globe to find my kidnapped sister. In every brothel I raid and every human trafficking truck I stop, I hope the next face I find is my sister’s. In a hidden brothel in Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken, and still sane despite her weeks in captivity. I should leave her behind or send her home because the last thing either of us needs right now is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I’m less able to let her go.
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