Bishop’s Knight (Engame Trilogy #1) by Katie Reus

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She needs his help…

Thanks to years of government training, Evie Bishop knows how to get into places she doesn’t belong—and she’s very good at it. But years of doing black ops work burned her out so she returns home—to unexpected chaos. One of her brothers is in a coma and the other is in hiding, wanted for murder. Then a fellow operative from her past shows up shot and bleeding with news that an assassin is gunning for everyone involved with a past op. She’s forced to turn to the one man she knows she can trust—the man whose heart she broke.

But it will come with a price…

When Dylan Blackwood proposed a year ago, Evie turned him down flat and walked out of his life. He’s stunned when he finds her on his doorstep covered in someone else’s blood, needing his help. He always knew there was more to her than met the eye—that Evie was never simply the pampered society princess she wanted people to believe she was. But he never expected this. If she needs help, he’ll give it. Even if he can’t forget her betrayal. Even if he isn’t sure he can trust her. But his protection will come with a price—her heart. Before they can have a chance at a future, they’ll have to work together to take down a faceless enemy who has Evie firmly in his crosshairs.

Rating: B-

Bishop’s Knight is the first book in the new Endgame Trilogy of romantic suspense novels from Katie Reus which features the Bishop siblings – Ellis, Evan and Evie.  It’s a fast-paced, well-put together story full of secrets, lies and betrayals featuring a sexy second-chance romance and an engaging central couple – and the author sets up the other stories in the trilogy in a manner that feels organic and doesn’t detract from the principal storyline.

The book opens fifteen months before the commencement of the story proper, as Evie and her crack team of CIA operatives is in the final stages of their current assignment to take down a Russian mob-affiliated arms dealer.  Although things don’t quite go according to plan, the mission is successful, and they’re told their next job will take them to Miami – Evie’s home town.  Nothing more is known about it at this stage, other than it’s big, they’re teaming up with the Feds and their target is someone named Jensen.

When we meet Evie again, she’s retired from the CIA and has been back home in Miami for a month, where she’s temporarily living in the apartment belonging to her brother Ellis.  Her wealthy, well-connected family is reeling from the news that Ellis – a DEA agent – has been accused of murdering his partner and has gone on the run and off the grid; and as if that wasn’t bad enough, a recent explosion at Bishop Enterprises has left her oldest brother, Evan, critically injured and necessitated a medically induced coma.  Evie is taking a short break from her vigil at the hospital with her parents and Evan’s fiancée, Isla, when she receives a text from her friend and former CIA colleague Samara Sousa announcing that she’s outside – which is where Evie finds her, bleeding from a gunshot wound to her hip.

She does what she can, but her friend needs more medical attention than is to be found in Evie’s first-aid kit.  As Evie works to staunch the bleeding, Samara tells her what brought her to Miami – the news that two of the people they’d worked with on the Jensen operation have been murdered and the desire to warn Evie that she might also be a target. Samara doesn’t want to go to a hospital and leave a trail for whoever shot her, so Evie has to think fast – and reluctantly comes to the conclusion that there’s only one person she knows in Miami who is likely to be able to help.

Dylan Blackwood – a former marine turned property magnate – and Evie met over a year earlier when Evie had targeted him as a way of getting an introduction to Rod Jensen, a Miami real estate mogul in who’d been involved in human trafficking and many other criminal activities. Her relationship with Dylan was only supposed to be a casual thing – a few dates, at most – and would end after Dylan had got Evie the introduction, but she hadn’t been able to end it. From the first moment they met, there’d been an intense attraction and sense of connection zinging between them, and Evie wasn’t ready to give it up, even though she’d known, deep down, that one day she would have to.  And that day came around a year previously when Dylan proposed – and Evie had to do one of the hardest things she’d ever done and walk away.

Knowing Dylan is a decent man – and that he retains the services of an on call, concierge doctor – Evie takes Samara to his mansion in the exclusive South Beach area. Dylan is surprised to see her, but as Evie had hoped, he agrees to help.  Being close to him again brings her ruthlessly squashed feelings for him back to the surface and into sharp focus, and she tries hard to shove them away again, knowing that by asking him for help, she could well have put him in danger, too.  But Dylan is far from stupid. He’s worked out that Evie must have worked for one of the alphabet-soup agencies, and suspects that her past employment is somehow tied to the danger she’s in now – but he can handle himself and he’s not going to let Evie face it alone.

The story moves quickly with plenty of twists and turns, and the author does a good job of showing that Evie and Dylan have never really fallen out of love with each other.  What I didn’t like so much was Evie’s constant bemoaning to herself that she and Dylan can never have a future together, so convinced is she that he’ll dump her once he finds out the truth, that she’d used him as part of an op.  I’m not a big fan of that whole ‘I-can’t-tell-you-because-then-you’ll-hate-me’ thing; Dylan and Evie are adults, not little kids, and she should have thought enough of him to allow him to make his own decision.  Luckily for her, Dylan is the better man; he’s determined not to let her go it alone, and he respects her abilities and her decisions, so while he wants to protect her, he never tries to take over or to push her aside for the sake of her safety.  He’s a great guy, prepared to help the woman who broke his heart simply because she needs it; and although he’s hurt when he finds out what Evie has been hiding from him, he handles his disappointment in a mature way.

Bishop’s Knight is a quick, satisfying read and as I said at the beginning, the author has set up the next two stories in the trilogy very well.  I’m looking forward to reading them.

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