Dance with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians #3) by Kit Rocha
4.5 stars, actually.
The third couple in Kit Rocha’s series about a post-apocalyptic world where various mostly-evil folks control resources and technology and plucky bands of genetically engineered folks try to live under their shadow are: handsome military intelligence officer Rafe of the mercenary Silver Devils and super-human Dani of the “librarians” (they’re not so much librarians anymore, rather, community organizers, hospital care, teachers, kind of the saviors of civilization).
New intriguing characters (all of whom could definitely star in their own books) keep getting added to this series, and half a point was deducted for how entirely confusing that is in the beginning of the book. There’s a scene where Dani takes a round of drinks to various tables of alpha couples in the bar and I had to reread it like three times to remember who was who.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love having the former alpha couples (Knox/Nina, Maya/Gray) around being cute and competent, as well as adding more folks (Ava’s new friends Phoenix who frankly didn’t stand out at all, I kept conflating Savitri and Syd, and Beth who was definitely fun paired up with Mace) who can make things interesting, it’s just a learning curve. And of course every single character is some kind of genetically or surgically enhanced and competent and/or deadly AF.
Dani’s nemesis is the Sec-Ex (Security for TechCorps executives, they’ve been surgically changed to be fast and strong and in Dani’s case, to not feel pain) officer who trained her. Despite Maya/Gray taking down the former TechCorps baddie, a new one has popped up and is threatening the regular old humans our heroes live with. Dani/Rafe have to save the day going in as undercover folks in the glittering world of TechCorps with Ava/Pheonix’s help.
This book really is Dani’s journey, Rafe is all-in from the beginning and is part of a large, loving family. The family’s safety is his only baggage, and that does get resolved. Dani is the one who has to come to terms with her powers and what it means to be vulnerable. What I like about Kit Rocha is that the alpha couple often has some emotional depth to their journey– which is the case here.
If you can get through the action/politics/massive cast of characters in the first two thirds of the book, the signature Rocha steaminess comes in for our heroes. I do hope this isn’t the end of the series. I would love more of nerdy tech dude Conall and Mace and Beth!