Elliott Mackenzie is a man reborn. Disbarred and nearly killed, Elliot managed to avoid going to prison and has since created a new life for himself. As a guru for the self help program, Charmed Life, Elliot is committed to helping others learn from their mistakes. And if he makes tons of money in the process, then that makes it even better. But living with a high profile comes with drawbacks. Someone has been threatening Elliot, but he is reluctant to involve the police because his sister is running for office and he doesn’t want to risk hurting her campaign. Which brings ex-Army Ranger Lennox West into his world.
Lennox carries the weight of the dead on his soul. With PTSD crippling his relationships, Lennox is struggling to stay above water. He works security and happens to be friends with Elliot’s executive assistant. When Lennox is recruited to help Elliot set up security at his home, the two men share an instant connection. But Lennox is determined to take the threats against Elliott more seriously than Elliot himself. As Elliott gears up for a major Charmed Life event, Lennox works behinds the scenes to ensure his safety. But as the danger mounts, Elliot and Lennox find themselves struggling to survive.
Friendly Fire was just, plain enjoyable. With its fast pacing, easy writing style, and the natural chemistry between its main characters, Friendly Fire works on almost every level. There is nothing particularly spectacular about the plot and overall it’s pretty predictable. So while this isn’t exactly an original piece of fiction, that doesn’t really detract in the long run because of Elliot and Lennox. The villains of the piece, like the plot, are rather caricatured and more annoying because there is never any mystery. We know from the start (you would have to be oblivious not to) who will be the biggest threat to Elliot and while there is a casual red herring tossed in, this the weakest part of Friendly Fire.
Elliot is an unusual protagonist in that his past is far from squeaky clean. He’s no bad boy; rather we get the impression he was close to a being a real sleaze bag. His family has abandoned him, but his devotion to them is so strong he willing to risk his life to keep his problems from interfering with his sister’s campaign. He is a reformed man and while Charmed Life doesn’t seem like much more than the next favor of the week self help glop, Elliott is portrayed as genuine and committed. Lennox is equally complex and while his PTSD still controls his life, he is working diligently to free himself from the nightmares of his past. He and Elliott click on several levels, but there is such a natural, relaxed chemistry between them that it’s easy to believe in their romance.
Overall Friendly Fire was a strong romance with a relaxed style of writing and two main characters that are easy for readers to connect with from the start. The plot and its cartoonish antagonists aren’t anything special but as a whole, this book works and I found it to be a fun, engaging read. I think most everyone will like this one, but especially those readers who like strong protagonists and engaging action.