I am a huge fan of Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick’s Hitman series, and I liked Last Hope, but I think this installment is the weakest. As I’ll discuss below, there was a “third character” that was just a bit too much, and for me was too big of a focus of the story.

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Ava Samson is a hand model who is in a dangerous position due to no fault of her own.  Her roommate has been kidnapped, and in order to save her, Ava must transport information to various buyers. Currently in Peru, she is stays in a hotel room until her captors tell her when and where to meet the various buyers, she shows them the information, and then goes back to her room.  Ava doesn’t know what’s going to happen after the sale happens – will her captors let her and her roommate go, or will they kill her anyway?

We met Rafe Mendoza in the second book in this series, Last Breath. Rafe is mercenary who is currently tracking the activities of a notorious black-market information dealer.  The government is holding one of Rafe’s men hostage until Rafe and his crew can obtain the information and remove the threat posed by the dealer.  As part of their surveillance, they have discovered Ava and her part in the scheme. Rafe thinks she’s beautiful, but his friend is priority and while he hopes Ava won’t end up as collateral damage, he can’t be sure. His priority is his getting the information and saving his friend at any cost.

When her captors suddenly put her on a plane, Rafe manages to get a seat on the plane.  When the plane goes down in a remote jungle, Rafe knows he’s got to save Ava to save his friend.  The more they get to know each other though, they each start wondering if they can save their friends, and each other.


Okay, first things first…let’s talk about the “elephant in the room”, or more accurately, the elephant in Rafe’s pants.  That “third character” that I mentioned in the PJV Quickie – yeah, it’s Rafe’s penis. There seemed to be a constant focus and it was constantly mentioned and compared to a wine bottle, a club, and a baseball bat.  Even though they’re in the jungle, fighting for their lives, he’s constantly aroused and she’s constantly thinking about his “giant cock” (that she nicknamed Godzilla).  I thought they trained that out of you in mercenary school (or however you train to become a mercenary).  I think I had a hard time with the romance set up in general, as they were in the jungle, trying to survive, and Ava is more concerned with where she’s going to find lube.

I know it sounds like I didn’t like Last Hope, but I did. Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick write great characters and the plot was interesting, I just wish it would have been less penis-focused.  Rafe’s back story was interesting, until you got to the part about his sexual history. I found it hard to believe he was a smart guy with access to modern technology but still believed the skewered view of his past.  <– See?  Every time I try to get to the meat (heh) of the story, it circles right back around to Rafe’s penis.  I liked Ava’s story inasmuch as she’s worried about her future,  but also her compassion for the women she meets on a mysterious island.  I think that once she was given a chance, Ava turned out to be a strong character and I liked her.  As far as secondary characters, Rafe’s guys seemed pretty cool and I am wondering if we’ll see more of his team in future books; I think I’d like that.

I am still a huge fan of the Hitman series, but I think that Last Hope is the weakest book in the series.  I think it is lacking the suspense and romantic build that I feel is a staple of series.  I’m genuinely surprised to rate a Jessica Clare/Jen Frederick book as a solid 3 – I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. While it can definitely be read as a standalone, if you’ve never read this series, I would not recommend reading this book first.

If you’re a fan of Romantic Suspense, virgin heroes, kidnapped heroines, and romances where the hero and heroine are forced into a survival situation, you may enjoy Last Hope.

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Last Hope by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick

Last Hope by Jen Frederick, Jessica Clare

Series: Hitman #4
Published by Berkley, Penguin on September 29, 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: Publisher
Also in this series: Last Kiss
Also by this author: Undeclared, Last Kiss, Playing Games, Ice Games,
3 Stars

In the explosive new Hitman novel from the bestselling authors of Last Kiss and Last Hit a jungle mercenary and a female target find love on the run...

Mendoza: I grew up in the slums and lost everything I loved to poverty, illness, and death. I had only one skill to leverage myself out of my circumstances—violence. Being hired out as a mercenary hitman brought me money and built an empire. But all that I've fought for is in jeopardy. My next job: Steal secret information that could bring down world governments. Find my target. Destroy it. But then, I meet her.

Ava: Karma hates me. When my best friend Rose is kidnapped, I have no choice but to take a job as a mule for a pair of criminals intent on selling top-secret information to the highest bidder. I should have known that bad luck tends to cling, because the plane I'm on goes down. That I survived a crash-landing was a miracle. And so was being rescued by Rafe Mendoza—hot, sexy, dangerous. The thing is, he wants the information that I need to free Rose. I can't let him have it, but I need his help. And I need to fight this crazy attraction for this mercenary with hungry eyes. Rose is depending on me, and I won't let her down, no matter how appealing Rafe is.