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Bland Characters Gun Each Other Down in Gunning For Trouble
Caleb was in a dead sleep until his phone alerts him to a break-in to his apartment. Immediately his defensive instincts -- honed by his dangerous work of tracking missing persons and protecting witnesses -- surface and he springs out of bed with his gun to tell the would-be burglar they have chosen the wrong apartment. But he ends up pointing the gun at Avery Walters, his former boss and ex-lover.
To Caleb's irritation, Avery is on an assignment from Caleb's boss about a string of murders in the witness protection program. Now dangerous people are after her and the only person she could turn to was Caleb. Despite Caleb's resentment and anger toward Avery, he still feels the need to protect her. While they work together to stop the murders, old anger and mistrust rises between them, but so does the lust they feel for each other. Can they move forward and learn to love each other, or will the past always hold them back?
This book was so horrible I can barely believe it was published. Caleb and Avery have the chemistry of fifth graders in their Drama Club rendition of Romeo and Juliet.
While Harlequin books are pure escapism, Gunning for Trouble let me escape into a depressing world where a vanilla heroine is forced to work with her ex who hates her but kind of wants to do it with her at the same time.
Caleb protects Avery but it's clear he doesn't want to do it out of anything other than a sense of duty. Not only is he angry about her waking him up in the middle of the night-- you know, just because her life is in danger. She should stop whining, right?-- but he constantly makes her feel stupid and makes it clear he resents the shit out of her. He says she fired him so she could get a promotion, when in reality he was a loose cannon who deserved to be fired.
Even his friends and coworkers think he needs to tone down the anger.
"Haven't heard you apologize to her," (Zach, Caleb's friend and coworker said).
"You tell me."
"I was blindsided by what she did back then."
"Any chance you had tunnel vision?"
Caleb felt his temper flare. It wasn't like Zach to butt into other people's lives. Certainly wasn't his style to question people's motives. "Meaning?"
"Just throwing the thought out there."
As you can also see from the quote above, Caleb gets angry really fast. He's so hot-headed I wouldn't be surprised if he took steroids on a regular basis. Even someone like Avery, who has little more character than a stock photo, deserves better than that.
Caleb does eventually realize he's been acting like a PMSing Neanderthal and "forgives her", still thinking he did nothing wrong but wanting to put it behind him. He's so absurd, he actually makes Christian Grey look like a freaking Disney prince.
Avery isn't as bad as Caleb, but Avery isn't much of anything at all. She probably goes down in history as one of the least interesting protagonists ever created. Buttercup from The Princess Bride has more personality than her.
I might have cared more about the characters if I understood and liked the plot. But even that was a hot mess. While I get the gist of the situation-- someone is selling names of people in the Witness Protection Program-- I can't make sense of the finer details. A hailstorm of minor characters were dumped on me at once and I couldn't even keep them straight, let alone focus on what they were saying.
On top of that, there are a couple of times Avery seems to just "get" stuff and the reader is supposed to just "get" it too. But these aren't obvious things, nor are they minor.
These things are like why Avery is too dangerous to be around Caleb's coworkers' wives. Avery just accepts that it's reasonable she would put the wives in danger, but it's not.
Even after reading the entire book and going back to skim parts of it for this review, I still don't understand the plot that well. So it's as worthless as the characters.
If you are looking for a good Harlequin Intrigue book, you would be better off reading Scene of the Crime: Black Creek by Carla Cassidy. But don't waste your time reading a half-assed story like Gunning for Trouble.