Release Date: July 2, 2013
Purchase on Amazon: I Dream of Danger: A Ghost Ops Novel
I Dream of Danger (Ghost Ops #2) by Lisa Marie Rice
They are the Ghost Ops: a covert squad of super-elite soldiers. After their team was betrayed and massacred, the three surviving members went underground and built Haven, a community of misfits and geniuses. Now they’re at a crossroads, facing a new threat capable of destroying everything they hold dear.
When Nick Ross disappears from Elle Thomason’s life, she is certain she’ll never see the man she loves again—except in her dreams. Ten years later, as a respected researcher breaking new ground in psychic phenomena, she sends a desperate call for Nick’s help. One by one, her colleagues have started disappearing . . . and Elle knows she’s next. An elite soldier, Nick never meant to hurt Elle, duty kept him away—and then she vanished. Now troubled by unusually vivid, disturbing dreams of Elle in danger, Nick will rescue the only woman he’s ever wanted and bring her back with him to Haven.
Though powerful men are after Elle and her special abilities, Nick will die before leaving her side again.
I read Heart of Danger, the debut of the Ghost Ops series earlier this year and enjoyed the creative story angle Rice presents by delving into a not so distant future world of elite military warriors who are considered domestic terrorists by the U.S. government and are now fugitives. Although I Dream of Danger does provide exposition about the plot conflicts, it is best to start the series with the first book. I felt the background information provided in this second book was more to help readers remember important details about the plot rather than to introduce new readers to this series.
I expected the plot to focus on the Ghost Ops’ means of survival as they are being hunted and their quest to clear their name.
While this aspect is part of the story, it becomes secondary to a more complex plot revolving around a sinister scientist’s obsession with creating a superhuman warrior. The paranormal aspects included add a level of intrigue to the story, and they provide the impetus for human scientific experimentation to continue and for the Ghost Ops team’s involvement to stop the unethical practices of a wealthy pharmaceutical company.
The novel begins ten years before the current action of the central plot. Ella Thomason is the protagonist who has a connection with one of the future Ghost Op team members, Nick Ross. She grew up with Nick until his sudden disappearance five years ago. When he unexpectedly shows up at the funeral of Ella’s father, she is both shocked and excited about his return:
“The Nick standing next to her looked just as he had in her dreams-hard, tough, fully a man. Dark eyes that gave nothing away, close-cropped dark hair, broad shoulders, lean muscles. A formidable man in every way, even though the last time she’d seen him he’d been just on the verge of manhood.”
During his absence, Ella has often had vivid dreams about Nick observing his life, and through her dreams, she can piece together information about what Nick’s life might be like. She has never been as close to anyone as she was to Nick, and his abrupt departure left her feeling more alone than ever. Her loneliness was only compounded when she had to sacrifice her life, her dreams, and her education to stay home and take care of her ailing father, whose dementia steadily worsened.
Rice uses multiple POVs to tell the story this story which was effective in providing more depth to their characters and adding more substance to the story. Getting Ella’s and Nick’s POVs deepened my understanding of the intense feelings they have for each other, even through their separation. Later in the story, Rice also adds the POV of the antagonist, Dr. Charles Lee, the scientist with a deranged agenda for creating a super warrior with special powers. His motivation for power and respect is the driving force behind his actions.
During these early scenes it is evident that Ella’s feelings for Nick are stronger than just friendship:
“Nick had been in her heart always, since he had first come into their lives. She’d only been seven, but she loved him the moment she laid eyes on him. She’d been a girl then, but she was a woman now-and everything womanly in her was concentrated on him, his handsome face, those broad shoulders, the outsized hands.”
Nick’s POV reveals his inner conflict over his restraint and desire for Ella. His attraction for her began before he left her, knowing she was too young for him at the time.
“But now? She wasn’t a young girl, she was a woman and blindingly beautiful. She was no longer the pretty girl of privilege, she was a beautiful woman who had suffered. Overly thin, unsmiling, stunning.
Nick and Ella finally give into their yearnings for one another as passion consumes them. Ella is elated that Nick is back in her life. When Nick leaves Ella again without telling her where he is going, she is devastated: “Nick…was gone. It struck her like a blow to the heart, squeezing all the air out of her chest.” His abandonment once again almost breaks her. By providing this glimpse of how their relationship has developed, Rice reinforces the agony both Ella and Nick experience once they are no longer together.
However, I was relieved to see Ella take charge of her life by leaving her childhood home that has become a dark, depressing, stifling place that would only continue to stagnate her. Courageously, she takes her meager belongings and with limited resources sets out to forget Nick and begin living her life. Kudos to Ella for being proactive instead of playing the victim!
The author makes a smooth transition to describe Ella’s life ten years later. The vivid, life-like dreams Ella has had her entire life have led her to study neurobiology so that she can begin to identify, understand, and control her perception that she is having out-of-body experiences when she dreams. Her work leads her to become part of a research group focused on the study of those with psychic abilities. Unknowingly, she has become a part of Dr. Lee’s experimentation on human subjects in his efforts to create super soldiers with enhanced abilities and powers.
When members of the research group go missing, Ella is forced to flee. Her desperate situation leads her to psychically call out for Nick, who is now a member of the fugitive Ghost Ops team. Nick hears her call in his dream and begins a frantic search to find Ella. From this point on, the Ghost Ops get involved in the drama. Here we get to see a very different side of unflinching, stoic Nick whose biggest weakness is Ella. I could feel the meltdown he was beginning to experience in the painstaking search for the woman he loves. Rice does an excellent job of describing Nick’s tumultuous emotions and his growing impatience to rescue Ella. I even begin to get anxious, silently saying, “Hurry, hurry, hurry before it’s too late!” Needless to say, the suspense was intense.
Ella is an admirable character because of her diligence in overcoming the obstacles she has faced. She never complained or whined about the sacrifices she made to care for her father. She started over with nothing and eventually earned a Ph.D. Intuitively, she knows she has a gift that others do not, and I like that she becomes passionate about her research to find answers. Yet, when she becomes suspicious about the real agenda behind Lee’s research, I’m disappointed when she passively continues with research she knows is unethical.
The story builds into another crisis when Ella eventually works with the Ghost Ops team to resolve another major conflict of the story: the need to rescue her fellow research subjects who have been kidnapped by Dr. Lee and whose lives are in immediate danger.
Furthermore, Ella has her own inner conflicts that she must deal with before she can move forward now that Nick has reappeared in her life. How will she deal with the pain from Nick’s abandonment and can she overcome her fears that he won’t leave her again?
Rice also weaves in an unexpected element to the story that creates another suspenseful plot thread which changed my expectations of what to expect next In his impatience to develop a super warrior, Dr. Lee has begun injecting himself with the experimental drug, and the consequences of his actions shocked and frightened me. This complication is just developing and will certainly carry over into the plot of the third book in the series. I am looking forward to discovering how this new problem will add to the plot.
Rice does a good job of describing and explaining the advanced technology used to forward the plot in this fictitious world, and she shows how the technology can improve our lives, but that it also has the potential to destroy our future.
I had three major issues with the plot. First of all, I appreciated that Rice included background information throughout the story to aid in the reader’s understanding, but at times this information was redundant and detracted from the pacing of the story.
A second aspect was that I felt the rescue mission to capture Ella’s colleagues was rushed and lacked the full attention it deserved. I wish Rice would have lengthened the story so that the drama could have been heightened.
A final component that I didn’t like was in how closely this storyline replicated the one in Heart of Danger. A Ghost Op falls in love with a scientist with paranormal abilities, and she uses those powers to help in the mission. I also found the crisis and its outcome mimics the one in the first book. I hope that this doesn’t mean Rice will use a formulaic plot as she continues the series.
Overall, this is a series that I will continue to follow. The characterization and creative storyline with some surprising events kept my interest, and I look forward to the third book which features Jon, the third predominant team member and his search for a woman in danger.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Disclaimer: All quotes used in this review have been taken from the book’s pre-published version and may be changed or omitted from the final, published copy.
Rating (I would rate this 3.5 Suns so I am rounding up)
About the Author
Lisa Marie Rice is eternally 30 years old and will never age. She is tall and willowy and beautiful. Men drop at her feet like ripe pears. She has won every major book prize in the world. She is a black belt with advanced degrees in archaeology, nuclear physics, and Tibetan literature. She is a concert pianist. Did I mention her Nobel Prize? Of course, Lisa Marie Rice is a virtual woman and exists only at the keyboard when writing erotic romance. She disappears when the monitor winks off. (From Amazon)
Start this Series
Heart of Danger (Ghost Ops #1)
Purchase on Amazon:Heart of Danger: A Ghost Ops Novel
“Edgy, sexy, endlessly exciting…. Give me a dangerous, seductive Lice Marie Rice hero any day …or night.”
—New York Times bestselling author Shannon McKenna