Guest Review: Lochlann (Order of the Black Knights #6) by Andrea Speed

Violence has been Lochlann O’Connor’s companion since he was born into a family of old-school Irish terrorists. From there he is recruited into Alpha, a secret government agency dedicated to fighting terrorism—with extreme prejudice. Lochlann’s bravery, efficiency, ruthlessness, and the natural dead eye that lets him hit anything that moves, quickly make him one of the shadowy organization’s most valued operatives.

Cas Vega joins Alpha because it’s marginally better than a prison sentence. He’s a former drug cartel assassin—or at least that’s his story. But Lochlann is suspicious. Despite an irrational and overwhelming attraction to Cas, Lochlann has questions, and they soon lead to a deeper and deadlier mystery. What is Alpha’s true purpose, and why does it seem they want to eliminate Lochlann?

Lochlann and Cas must work together to get to the bottom of Alpha’s scheme and escape it—and all while Cas keeps secrets that could cost him his life if they’re revealed. But it’s not an alliance that can last. Duty turns the men into enemies, even while fate compels them into each other’s arms. Before they can contemplate which will prevail, they must figure out how to survive.

Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

I want to preface this with saying I don’t lightly jump into the middle of a series willy nilly, but I did some investigation and truly believe that each book is a standalone story. Various reviews reassured me that there was no connection between books except a shared origin, and thus I took the plunge.

Soooo… the theme of this series is that long ago, warriors bent on hell and destruction and revenge, sold their souls to a powerful wizard to do what they do best - kill. Reincarnated over and over again, the only way out of the contract is to take a different path and spare an enemy - that special someone unbeknownst to them - who's needed to break the curse to gain freedom from the endless violence and death that plagues them.

Hence, we have Lochlann. He’s one of the best covert operatives of Alpha - a top secret government agency created to fight terrorism. The harsh life of eliminating threats is justified by knowing it’s for the greater good. However, Lochlann has seen some things recently that make him question his loyalty.

Enter Cas. He’s a hitman for a notorious cartel, and when he’s captured and forcibly conscripted for his talents to join Alpha, he has no choice but to comply if he wants to live. Or does he? The people he’s really working for have been looking for the notorious Lochlann for years, and Cas finally has a chance to apprehend him. What he doesn't expect to find is a man with vulnerabilities and hints of conscience under the impenetrable exterior that Lochlann has perfected. Cas’s mission just got a whole lot more complicated.

I’m a huge fan of Andrea Speed who wrote the awesome Infected series, so I was looking forward to seeing what she could bring to this genre, and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed. Overall, I enjoyed this, but I think mainly that’s because I love me a military, assassin, spy book, and this did not skimp on the missions nor the action. The writing was excellent and the plot plausible, but the romance aspect fell a bit short (and I know she can write romance. Hi Roan!). Make no mistake, these guys are intrigued and attracted to each other, and the UST was palpable, but as far as I know, Speed doesn’t write on page smex, and though I was hoping I was wrong, unfortunately it fell true for this book as well. And... that’s where I think it could’ve helped solidify in my mind, the love these two supposedly had for the other. Granted, I want all the smex an author can give me but here, I really do think its presence would’ve further strengthened the reader’s belief in Lochlann and Cas’s feelings and thus their subsequent motivations. I just didn’t quite believe the intensity between these two.

Having said that, the rating is for the writing, keeping my interest the entire time, and of course, the happy ending. By no means am I deterred from reading Speed again!

Thanks to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review

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