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Sandy M’s review of After the Storm (KGI, Book Eight) by Maya Banks
Contemporary Romance published by Berkley 7 Jan 14

I’m sure like me a lot of fans of this series have been very anxiously awaiting Donovan’s book. He may be called the geek of the family, but a geek with muscle, a hard hero body, and who can wield a gun with the same fierceness as his brothers? And he’s a champion for children and women? Well, sexiness never sounded so darned good.

Why then, am I asking myself, does this story not stack up to the previous books in the series? Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a terrific KGI book. I’ve loved the Kelly boys since the first, they’re all here in this one, so it’s a fix I need until the next release. What I have a difficult time with here is the pacing. I’m usually complaining about a slow pace when I read, but for Van and Eve things move much too fast, even though I realize his life is finally heading in the direction he’s waited so patiently for for so long. I think the fact that there’s not the same action in this book that we’ve had in prior stories, none of the huge rescue attempts we’re used to, so that could be why I feel Van’s feelings and wants seem to move much too quickly.

Sister Rusty has hired a scared kid to help out at the family hardware store because he reminds her of herself before the Kelly family took her in years ago, made her feel safe and loved her no matter her attitude. So she wants to help this young guy as much as she can. Therefore, she goes the extra step and contacts one of her brothers to see what they can find out about him. Van is who she gets, and they follow a nervous, constantly-looking-over-his-shoulder Travis to a dilapidated trailer house where his two sisters await. The youngest, Cammie, is sick and his oldest sister, Eve, is the one staying home to watch over her while Trav brings in a bit of cash to get them by.

The moment he sees Eve, Van wants to help. That she has two younger siblings only triples his need. But he knows if he and Rusty push too soon, all three of them will flee. So he makes himself back off and return later with supplies. Then before he can do more, a tornado hits the area, destroying Eve’s house. But she’s done exactly what Van is afraid of – she and her siblings were running – again. She can’t allow anyone to get too close. Her stepfather is too powerful and they have to stay a step ahead of him or all is lost. However, getting caught in the storm is the best thing that could have happened to them, though she doesn’t realize that just yet. Van finds them and takes them to the Kelly compound where they’ll be safe, can see a doctor, and he can find out what the hell it is that draws him to Eve.

Thus begins his slow seduction that garners not only Eve’s love but her trust. Van knows that’s the one thing he has to nurture in all three siblings. Their trust has been crushed to smithereens, so that job is first and foremost. And being a Kelly boy, Donovan knows just what to do to bring Eve’s emotions to the surface. It’s always such fun watching a Kelly man in his prime doing what he does best. This happens about midway through, so we know something has to happen to knock this new-found trust off its axis. And that’s another little thing that bothers me.

Eve draws conclusions when she shouldn’t. Though to be fair to her, she doesn’t realize that. She runs after that – without a word to anyone, even her siblings. I know she’s skittish when it comes to trust even after Van has shown her she can trust him. And by this time she loves him. So to have her bolt at the drop of a hat, not thinking about what’s happened over the past weeks between them, only what she thinks has happened makes me a bit irritated. She wants trust but she’s not willing to give it. She assumes the worst of Van and acts on it. That, of course, gets her in a world of hurt that has Van and his brothers and teams flying across the country, praying they’re not too late.

But even with these issues, I still love this series; it’s one of my all-time favorites. I love the sense of family that’s always present. The lack of action is missed, that always brings an added layer to the stories in the series, but I realize different paths have to be taken now and again. All that sexiness running around the compound almost makes up for that lack, however. I like that we see more finally happen between Rusty and Seth. Ramping things up between them brings an anxiousness in waiting for their story in the future. Also enjoyable is the way the Kelly women bring Eve into the fold, show her unconditional friendship with the love she’s discovering.

As an aside, I recently read on Maya’s Facebook page where she apologized that some readers are disappointed in this book, it wasn’t her intention. This is a side effect of social media nowadays, and to a point it’s unfortunate. I don’t believe an author should ever feel the need to apologize for the way some readers feel after reading their books. I’m sorry that Maya feels this way, because even though this story doesn’t work the same for me as the previous books, it’s still a great read. That it doesn’t come up to a reader’s pre-determined expectations isn’t Maya’s, or any other author’s, fault. That’s on the reader. Social media doesn’t give someone the right to be mean and cruel, which happens a lot anymore, no matter the subject. You rock, Maya Banks. Don’t listen to a word from someone who tries to say otherwise.

sandym-iconGrade: B+


The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.

Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.

Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…

Over the years, Donovan Kelly has fought relentlessly for justice, women and children always holding a special place in his heart. Working side by side with his brothers, Donovan has witnessed firsthand the toll it’s taken—physically, mentally, and emotionally—on his loved ones, and the innocent lives caught in the crossfire. What he never expects is for his next mission to happen right on his home turf—or for it to take a very personal turn.

Picturesque Kentucky Lake is the perfect place for a soul in search of safe harbor. A beautiful stranger has arrived—desperate, breathless, and on the run from a dark past closing in on her and the younger siblings she has vowed to protect. Donovan must now draw on every resource at his disposal—if he wants to save a woman and the children who may prove to be his destiny.

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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