Pretty Little Lion (Third Shift #2)

Suleikha Snyder 

Second book in this series is better than the first— or maybe its just Elijah “Lije” Richter, head of the mysterious Third Shift black ops isn’t as angsty and self-recriminatory as Joe from the first book. Or maybe its because Meghna Saxen-Saunders was seriously Black Widow-bad and powerful.

Or maybe because the B romance here is Gracie the Chinese-Black medic finally figuring out how to be with Finn Conlan pretty-boy vampire and Nate the lawyer. (seriously, I was eagerly waiting for Gracie POV about midway through the book as Elijah and Meghna kept going into hiding, having sex (but mostly its summarized) and then going into hiding again).

Third Shift chooses Elijah for a sexy sting operation on the arm candy of a serious arms dealer. Only Elijah and Meghna encounter sparks– and a complication when they are interrupted mid-tryst.

They go on the run, but Meghna isn’t willing to give up her primary mission related to the secret she’s keeping from Third Shift, and C romance set-up vampire Tavi also wants to get his hands on the same info as Meghna. As usual, Third Shift plans just keep blowing up in their faces but Meghna, Nate, and even Tavi can’t quite resist the found-family allure of Third Shift and their hopefulness in a broken world.

And Snyder’s world is seriously broken. There’s more explanation in the first book, but enough background and references to “The Darkest Day” in 2016 (and its not entirely the election of an orange cheeto president) wherein supes were exposed to the world and cities turned into walled off sanctuaries against totalitarian/authoritarian gov’ts that we can see why Third Shift is so bent on making things a little better by picking off the major bad guys.

I’m in it for the world-building, the multiple viewpoints of Southeast Asian culture and mythology (sirens, aspara, naga), the explicit reference (okay, at times a bit repetitive) to skin color and in this book, why Jamaican Elijah needs his white partner Jackson to make Third Shift a success, and not so much for the steamy scenes– which are this weird combination of abrupt and explicit, but often summarized or alluded to after the first couple ones. There’s lots of alpha male dominant thinking by Elijah and not so much actual screen time for Elijah/Meghna.

But since this book did get better (less whining) and I loved the B romance, I will definitely read on to find out how Third Shift handles Tavi’s stealing of their mission objective for his own objective. And hopefully there will be a C romance for the tech guru Joaquin!