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Breaking Point - Pamela Clare Now this is one time when you CAN judge a book by its cover! Breaking Point was HOT, sexy and even a little bit dirty. {{wink, wink!}}

The I-Team is hands down my favorite romance suspense series for many reasons, but one is how uniquely different the stories are from each the other. If you haven't found this series yet, the common thread is that each heroine works as an investigative reporter for the Denver Independent newspaper, and each story takes one of these ladies on a high octane adventure fighting believable bad guys and falling for a heart-pounding hero. However, the criminal rings and bad people are unrelated, so each book takes you on a brand new adventure with vastly different settings. I also love that the heroines in these books are always ‘normal’ too, meaning they are smart and tough, but not cartoonish. They are not fearless nor believe themselves invincible, in fact quite the opposite, but they will rise to the challenge when provoked. In other words, they are real women I can relate to.

In Breaking Point, U.S. Marshal Zach McBride gets tied up in Mexico – literally. Starved, tortured, blindfolded and chained to a brick wall, not to mention duped by a trusted agent who turned him in to the Los Zetas (a powerful organized Mexican crime ring), he has little hope of survival and bringing down Arturo César Cárdenas, the head of Los Zetas. Cárdenas, a man of many crimes, is wanted in the United States for the murder of Americans on U.S. soil.

Natalie Benoit, an attractive American journalist visiting Juarez Mexico for a three-day SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) convention and tour, gets caught in the crossfire of what she believes is a local gang war. They take her captive, bring her to an old abandoned church where she finds herself in the cell next to a prisoner chained to the wall.

As you can guess, Zach and Natalie do escape and begin a deadly game of survival with the Zetas across Mexico. (The escape was so nail biting, OMG!) This story moves at a fast pace, but never slips on the details. You feel like you are right there. Zach must rely on Natalie as he nurses his health back from the injuries sustained while captive. They are two strangers who must now depend on each other for survival. The Zetas want Zach recaptured believing he can lead them to millions of dollars worth of missing cocaine, and Natalie may have a price on her head too.

This story had many layers, which kept me guessing and the pages turning. It eventually takes us back to the United States for what could easily be dubbed as the biggest show-down in this series yet. Holy crap, so much happens! The Zetas crossed U.S. soil once, and despite the risks, they are ready to do it again to ensure their secrets remain hidden and millions of dollars safe.

Zach and Natalie’s romance was wonderful to see develop. Both of them have damaged souls from past losses too grave to face. Despite the fast-paced action of the story, they build a slow, tender and heartfelt passion between them. The bone melting kind that explodes when they come together. (mmm,yum!) They were opposites in many ways, but made a very convincing romance between them. They had me in tears a few times too, especially near the end.

I have to give props to Natalie. She is easily my favorite heroine in this series now. I just loved her. She was smart, willing to push herself beyond her comfort zone to do what is needed to keep them safe, but not willing to take stupid risks. I liked how she was able to deal with her past demons too. Very realistic and touching.

Zach was a darker character with a damaged soul in need of healing and believing again – how can you not love a guy like that?!! The way he treated Natalie had my heart in my throat so many times! His back-story was heart breaking, but part of it included a small bit with his father that never gelled with me as I honestly never understood the full scope of his anger with his dad. You may more sense of it than I did, but if not it was a super small part that can be skipped over.

Past hero/heroines Reece and Kara, Julian and Tessa, Marc and Sophie, and Gabe and Kat all make reappearances too. Julian, Marc and Gabe play a significant part too, (but don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous books, you will be able to follow no problem.)

This was another fantastic addition to the series. Fans are going to have a hard time picking their favorite among the series, but no one will be disappointed with Breaking Point. It was that good! The story never slips on the details. It is tight, believable, and unpredictable – not to mention sexy, nail biting, and seriously HOT! Enjoy!

In full disclosure, I got this book as an ARC copy, but I would have paid full price the second it was released if I didn’t. I love this series and all things Pamela Clare.