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

You Only Love Twice by Lexi BlakeYou Only Love Twice by Lexi Blake
Series: Masters & Mercenaries #8
Published by DLZ Entertainment LLC Genres: BDSM, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 360
Format: eBook
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A woman on a mission

Phoebe Graham is a specialist in deep cover espionage, infiltrating the enemy, observing their practices, and when necessary eliminating the threat. Her latest assignment is McKay-Taggart Security Services, staffed with former military and intelligence operatives. They routinely perform clandestine operations all over the world but it isn’t until Jesse Murdoch joins the team that her radar starts spinning. Unfortunately so does her head. He’s gorgeous and sweet and her instincts tell her to trust him but she’s been burned before, so he’ll stay where he belongs—squarely in her sights.

A man on the run

Since the moment his Army unit was captured by jihadists, Jesse’s life has been a nightmare. Forced to watch as those monsters tortured and killed his friends, something inside him snapped. When he’s finally rescued, everyone has the same question—why did he alone survive? Clouded in accusations and haunted by the faces of those he failed, Jesse struggles in civilian life until McKay-Taggart takes him in. Spending time with Phoebe, the shy and beautiful accountant, makes him feel human for the first time in forever. If someone so innocent and sweet could accept him, maybe he could truly be redeemed.

A love they never expected

When Phoebe receives the order to eliminate Jesse, she must choose between the job she’s dedicated her life to and the man who’s stolen her heart. Choosing Jesse would mean abandoning everything she believes in, and it might mean sharing his fate because a shadowy killer is dedicated to finishing the job started in Iraq.

Brilliant. Masterpiece. Superb. Magnificent. Outstanding. I had to ravage my thesaurus to come up with enough superlatives to describe how I feel about Lexi Blake’s newest addition to her Masters and Mercenaries series. Yet all of these words seem a lukewarm description of my exact feelings while reading You Only Love Twice. I don’t think I was more than one minute into reading before I was already screaming and yelling OMG. I wasn’t even more than three percent into reading when I started crying. With her usual exceptional writing, Ms. Blake grabbed my heart and soul within two minutes of opening the book.

There was so much pain and sadness in both Jesse and Phoebe. Ms. Blake pulled these emotions to the surface for the reader to understand who these people were and help us understand their actions and motivations. But it also meant that I shed a lot of tears while reading. I shed those tears because Jesse and Phoebe were no longer fictional characters, but instead so real that I could practically feel them standing next to me. With each addition to the series, Ms. Blake blows me away with her ability to create characters with so much depth that I truly care about them.

In fact, the brilliance of this series can be directly attributed to the characters and specifically the individuality of each of the books’ featured couples. While they have BDSM and spying in common, they are never carbon copies of each other. Jesse may be a Dom in the bedroom, but when he’s not in a scene, he is full of insecurity and hurt. Phoebe has spent so many years taking care of herself and hiding her vulnerability that it is going to take someone special to knock down her walls. I found myself wanting to reach out to both of them and tell them it was going to be all right. My arms ached to give them a hug.

But there is always so much to Ms. Blake’s story than just the perfect romance. She always manages to write the perfect blend of romance and thriller. There was so much intrigue in You Only Love Twice and Ms. Blake slowly peeled the different layers of the mystery at just the right pace to keep you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think you have things figured out, she will throw another curve ball at you that mixes it all up. But it all makes sense, and every surprise is just another piece of the perfect puzzle. Once all the pieces are put together it results in a beautiful story that will stay with you long after you have read the last page.

For those who are fans of the Masters and Mercenaries series, there is plenty of Ian and the other members of the McKay-Taggert family. Ian has never been funnier or sarcastic and he is the undisputed center of this amazing group of people. I absolutely love that Ms. Blake keeps bringing back all the couples that we have previously fallen in love with. I’m never ready to say goodbye to these people that I have fallen in love with so it’s good that I don’t have to.

You Only Love Twice ended by setting up the next book in the series and I’m already counting down the days until its release. With each new release, I swear that this one is my favorite so I have no doubt that the next book will blow me away. Until then, I think I am going to go back and read You Only Love Twice again because I am not ready to leave this amazing universe that Ms. Blake has created.