First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

I’ve got to say this first: I’m really embarrassed about this cover. I’m not a “topless cover model guy” fan on a good day, but this guy is totally naked!

First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

Just a weekend…

Laura Nilsson knows what she wants: a successful career as a broadcast journalist—and a little fun between the sheets now and again. What she doesn’t want is marriage or kids. When a ripped and sexy stranger intervenes to stop a couple of drunks from harassing her in a hotel bar in Dubai City, all she can think about is spending the rest of the weekend with him—in her bed. There’s just one little problem. Unmarried sex is illegal in Dubai.

… of no-strings sex …

Navy SEAL Javier “Cobra” Corbray is on his way home from a rough deployment in Afghanistan when he finds himself having dinner with “the Baghdad Babe.” What she wants from him—sex with no strings—could land them both in prison. Still, he’s more than happy to oblige her. She’s confident and sexually assertive, and he’s secure enough to lie back and let her make the first strike. But, as she’s about to find out, he’s more than her match.

… or the beginning of something more?
Yet, neither Laura nor Javier has any idea what lies ahead—or how this weekend of mind-blowing sex will impact their emotions. Will they act on their new-found feelings in time, or will they let something special slip away… perhaps forever?

First Strike (I-Team #5.9) by Pamela Clare

First Strike is a novella with a cliffhanger of an ending, but it’s a really well-written one, steamier than I was expecting (but I probably should have got that from the cover!) and one that shows you the quality of Pamela Clare’s writing (in my opinion she’s one of the best authors around).

This was originally the opening of the sixth instalment in the I-Team suspense series, but it got too long and had to be cut from the book.

Set in Dubai, I’m very glad that Clare makes a thing about the restrictive laws there, because I was dubious about something steamy set in a country where even rape victims are locked up for “having premarital sex”. In fact, women’s and girls’ rights are the whole theme of the heroine’s work, and now I really need to find time away from my review book mountain to pick up Striking Distance, the book this is the prequel to.

I don’t know if the author has spent any time in the United Arab Emirates, but she seems to know her setting inside-out. It was Dubai as I recognise it, down to the different nationalities and ethnicities, to the expat scene… Except I don’t know anyone who calls the place “Dubai City”.

The UAE is not a country you want to get caught doing – well – anything in. You can buy alcohol all over the place, but if the authorities don’t like the look of you you can be put in prison for drinking it. It’s such an oddly hypocritical melting pot of people from the world over, and that’s what worked so well for me in how the author captured it.

A good read – but be prepared for steam!