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With One Breath (Blackhawk Security: Book 1) by Margaret Watson


Publisher: Dragonfly Press

Date of publication: March 1st, 2022

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Series: Blackhawk Security

With One Breath—Book 1

Once Removed—Book 2 (review here)

Once Burned—Book 3 (review here)

Fool Me Once—Book 4 (review here)

Just This Once—Book 5 (review here)

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two against the Taliban, two wildly different agendas — both crazy risky!

Laila’s not the type of woman who needs rescuing. Except for a tiny rule-breaking penchant, she’s a model CIA agent—smart, resourceful, brave, and very very determined.. But right now she’s in a tight situation—in more than one way. She’s hiding from the Taliban in a network of pitch-dark interlocking caves, so narrow a cat could barely thread its way through them. A cat or an agent trained for it.

And that would be Jase, her designated rescuer.

Once her CIA training agent, he’s the last man she’d get involved with, even though he’s the hottest guy she’s ever met. He’s bossy. Intimidating. Way too alpha. And a strict rule follower.

All traits on her ‘no fly’ list.

Set against the tense U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, this rapid-fire tale begins with electrifying action, moves on to fast-flying sparks, and never lets up. Laila’s on the way to Kabul to leave the country, where she also teaches a class of village girls, when her driver betrays her. She outwits him, but it’s only a matter of time till the Taliban track her down.

She’s never been so glad to see Jase.

Romance should be the last thing on either’s mind as they frantically crawl and slither their way through the claustrophobic caves, desperate to find an exit. Still, infatuation sparks.

And smolders.

But neither can afford to take their eyes off their own goals. Jase’s is simple–to rejoin his team and deliver Laila safely to Kabul. But Laila has a more ambitious agenda, one that will require breaking rules, disobeying orders, and endangering the whole team.

First Line:

Laila’s arms ached as she held the heavy M4A1 carbine in front of her.

with one breath by margaret watson

I committed the one thing that I have told people not to do—read books out of order if they are in a series. In my defense, the author restructured the series and bumped this book up to the first book in the series. So the book I thought I was reading last ended up being the first book in the series. It threw me for a loop but didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

With One Breath had an exciting plotline. Laila is a civilian CIA agent who goes undercover in a remote village to gather information on the Taliban. Jase was Laila’s trainer in Kabul, and he is part of an extraction team that is supposed to get Laila and leave after intel tells them that she is in immediate danger. Circumstances strand Laila and Jase in caves outside a Taliban arms depot. Fighting a red hot attraction, Laila and Jase must work together to avoid getting captured by the Taliban. But Laila also has another plan that needs to be set in motion once they get out. She wants to move her girl students and their families to the embassy in Kabul and save them from the Taliban. Will Laila and Jase get out of the caves? Will they rescue the girls and their families? And will they give in to their attraction?

With One Breath is the first book in the Blackhawk Security series. Since it is the first book, readers can read it as a standalone.

If you are claustrophobic and do not do well reading about people being trapped in caves, I highly suggest not reading this book. A good part of this book takes place in the caves where Laila and Jase are hiding. I am not claustrophobic, and those scenes got my anxiety going through the roof.

I liked Laila and loved her determination. The only thing that I didn’t even remotely like about her was that she trusted too quickly. She was led into a Taliban trap by the older brother of a girl she taught in school. Then, she took him with her during her rescue of those same girls. I get why she did it but still. Other than that, she rocked. I don’t know how she dealt with being in those caves (and traveling the passages!!) without having a breakdown.

I also liked Jase. I did think he was a little too straight-laced, but when the author gave his backstory, I understood why. I liked how he tried to keep it professional with Laila and kept his cool under pressure. Even though he didn’t like Laila’s plan, he went along with it. The only thing I didn’t like was that he called Lailabae.” I made my feelings clear in a previous review. Other than that, I thought he was the perfect Alpha male.

The suspense angle of the book was well written. I loved the cat and mouse game Jase and Laila played with the Taliban. Those scenes in the cave and the scenes that involved them escaping had me on the edge of my seat. I was also kept on edge with the plan to get the girls and their families out to Kabul and then out of the country. There were points during those scenes that I did wonder how it was going to go. And of course, what happened to Jase at the airport had me screaming!!

The romance angle of the book was also just as well written. There is no InstaLove involved. Instead, Laila and Jase’s relationship was allowed to blossom naturally. Of course, being in a high-stress situation did move it along, but it wasn’t Instalove. I also liked that the relationship continued to progress after Kabul and that it showed that being in love wasn’t perfect. It was messy, and some things could derail it if allowed. I loved it!!!

Jase and Laila had insane chemistry. The author kept the sexual tension up for most of the book before allowing them to have sex. That was the only time they had it, and I loved it. Not having sex every other page allowed me to focus on the storylines.

The end of With One Breath was terrific!! Laila and Jase fought tooth and nail for their happiness, and I cheered with how they ended up. I also loved that the author gave updates on the girls and their families.

I would recommend With One Breath to anyone over 21. There is violence, language, and sex.

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