Review: King of Hearts by Irish Winters (Deuces Wild #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by Between the Sheets Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

King of Hearts is my first ever Irish Winters read and it's also the first novel in the author's new romantic suspense series, Deuces Wild, which also happens to be a spin-off of her popular In the Company of Snipers series. Aside from straight-up romance, I'm always on the look out for a good romantic suspense novel to sink my teeth into. Well, not only have I found one with King of Hearts, I'm a happy camper because it's the beginning of a series, and if the rest of the books are as good as this starter, then I'm set for a couple books (or fingers crossed, maybe more).

Things aren't exactly going former Navy SEAL and current FBI agent Tucker Chase's way as of late. Not only has his ex-wife used her sole custody of their son Deuce to take him to Vietnam without Tucker's consent, but now, Melissa McCormack, the widow he's been seeing, has decided to spend three months in another country as part of an outreach program, something she had informed him about but information he clearly wasn't paying attention to. How could a badass guy like him be floundering when it came to his personal life? But then, things gets worse...

When Tucker asks for help to enter Vietnam in order to see his son, a quick visit becomes a rescue effort. Not only is Deuce being mistreated by his mother and his stepfather, Tucker witnesses the kidnapping of Melissa at the airport. With only a junior agent in the form of psychic Isaiah Zaroyin as his backup, Tucker is going to have to call on every bit of his badass self in order to save his woman from her kidnappers and his son from his abusers. What happens when Tucker is forced to choose one over the other--his flesh and blood or the woman he's in love with?

I really liked Tucker. He reminded me of a Mentos candy--hard on the outside, but soft on the inside. When the man believed in something, he was all in. For the longest time, it was all about being a SEAL and then it became about being a federal agent. He loved his son and his woman, but the job seemed to always come first until it took something drastic for him to get his act together. His unexpected camaraderie with Isaiah was definitely one of my favorite things about the book and that ending has certainly set him up for even more exciting things in the future.

Melissa may have needed rescuing but kudos to a woman who can hold her own and she certainly did. She found her first love and lost him to his job as a Marine, both while he was on active duty and later when he succumbed to his complications brought about by his quadriplegia after being shot. She's wary about risking her heart when it comes to Tucker--mainly because his love for his job reminds her of her late husband Brady--but there's no denying that he's already grabbed hold of her heart. Her time in Vietnam also made all her qualities even more admirable.

We get to see different aspects to Tucker--as an ex-SEAL slash FBI agent, as a father to Deuce, as a partner to Isaiah, and as a lover to Melissa. There's more going on in the story as well than meets the eye, and yet it never felt too much or as if it was a jumbled mess. Everything was tied together and the characters you're supposed to hate are totally worthy of that hatred. The story is also a reflection of sorts of the reality third world countries face when poverty gets the better of families. All in all, King of Hearts sufficiently ticked everything off my checklist. Five stars. ♥

Date Read: 10 December 2016

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