What if your family had a big secret . . . a life changing secret. My dad, the bigwig CIA agent, was always on the run, whether he was being chased or doing the chasing. I missed him. Then my mom passed away, and my sister was murdered. I turned my solitude to strength because the alternative was too bleak.
But my luck seemed to turn: I met Tango. And while I want him more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my twenty-two years, danger lurks around every corner and I simply can’t take the chance of it finding me. But his tattoos, his smell, his darkness, and his body— that marine has taken over my every thought. But, what if he too isn’t what I think? A ticking time bomb isn’t going to leave me much time to waver. Even the bravest person can be in need of a miracle.
Before she was gone, my mom warned me to know everyone and trust no one. But what was I supposed to do when I found out I am the one not to be trusted? Turns out, I was always the bait in this conspiracy.
In author Shari J. Ryan’s gripping novel, TAG, the canyons hold secrets, the waterfalls provide safety, and romance has a pesky way of showing up when you are sweaty and dirty and least expect it.
_________________________________________________________First let me thank Inkslinger PR and Shari J Ryan for allowing me to have an ARC of “Tag” in exchange for an honest review. And honestly I Loooooved it!!!!
*** Small spoiler Alert ***
This book starts out with a bang. Well a vicious stalking and a bang. Carolina or “Cali” as she prefers it is in an alley along with her sister Krissy who is being held captive by the Reaper -as Cali calls him-, knife to her throat. He is demanding to know where their father is. Problem there? She has no effing clue. When Cali gets enough in her to pull her gun on him, she shoots but it is a lost cause. He shoots her and slices Krissy’s throat. As her sister lay there dying she vows -promises her- she will avenge her. Anyone that ever hurt her will pay.
Present day we find Cali at a school -college- in California. She is making a Psychology teacher very uncomfortable as she sits in the front row watching him, making it so he is having a hard time focusing. The sultry little vixen is doing all she can to get him to unravel. Its all part of her evil plan. After class she goes to her car and while she is applying her lip glass she gets an “unidentified” call on her cell. She of course knows exactly who it is. Her dads calling to tell her she has to get out of there “he” is heading her way. He as in the Reaper. She blows it off and says she will in a few days. Knowing her time table has been pushed up she goes back to the class. Her little dance of seduction works and the teacher -and his hard on- are waiting for her when she locks the door. In the heat of the moment -his not hers- she gets the professor to admit he had raped Krissy -as in her sister- and not only does she have it on tape on her phone… she puts it on YouTube. (laughs effing hard)
Once he realizes what she has done he is just stunned. As she walks out she politely tells him her real name and that he might as well kill himself.. his wife is gone. His job is gone and his life is over. That night her cell rings. Its dear old daddy again. of course he has found out about her YouTube video and is worried she drew unneeded attention to herself. He orders her to get on on a plane that night. He gives her 2 hours. (laughs) Demanding he is. There is a ticket waiting on her. While she waits and waits for the plane to actually show up she glances a man -big, beefy muscled man- and being a female she is curious about him but goes on about her business as usual. Finally she can board the dang plane. When she gets to the back of the plane she pops two pills (valium) puts on her headphones, turns on her music and tries to relax. that doesn’t work. She starts to panic. (I don't blame her, flying sucks ass.) Through the headphones she hears a muffled voice. Its the big guy from the waiting area. He drops a small bottle of vodka in her lap. His name is tango. Tango tells her if she needs anything to just call his name and he walks to his seat.
Hours later when they land in Boston, thanks to her stellar detective skills she figures out that Tango is working for her daddy. hello new bodyguard. Or babysitter as she says it. But she is stuck with him -for now- she has plans to make him run off like the last one did. The chick is a bit cray-cray and she has a temper to match that bitchy smart-ass routine she has going. (laughs) Tango -an ex marine- is used to taking shit from people but he does ask himself a few times why he is doing this… she may make him mental yet. (At one point Tango calls her his dark princess… she in return calls him Iron Man and I did crack the fuck up.. loudly. Love it!)
They arrive at a newish apartment complex and try to settle in as best as two people that live out of bags can. Cali is trying her best to figure a way out of this place. Can she sneak out without the “Hulk” hearing her. All of her other bodyguards had bionic hearing… would he? Yes, of course because the moment she goes for the door he is there. Casually dressing to head out to find food. (Just dayum..) When they get back from the diner Cali is still feeling… out of control. She needs to relax. Finding a shooting range online she goes to Tango and he takes her a few hours later once his ruck is delivered to him. The guy at the gun range sets them up and here is where it gets… funny. Tango, this big macho man can’t shoot. Or so he tells her. I mean come on.. but it does get her to loosen up a bit and she shows him how to shoot. All is good until they leave the place. Her mind starts to bubble and she pulls a Jekyll and Hyde on him.
Catching Tango off guard she pushes him against the building and pulls a knife on him yelling at him for lying about not being able to shoot. (shakes my head. Gal is a bit cray cray for real.) He of course subdues her and gets her into the truck and gets her back to the apartment. As they spend time together over the next couple of days they embark in giving each other the silent treatment. Until finally she breaks; wanting to know if he wants to have dinner with a friend. They go out to a bar, have a few drinks a little food and then… she gets a text from her ‘dad’ wanting to know where she is. When Tango takes her phone and calls in for a satellite location she flips out. ‘He’s only after her dad.’ ‘he’s just like the rest of them.’ And so on. Her mind is like a minefield. One minute she is fine the next she is exploding. He drags her outside and tries to explain that its not her dad, again but Cali being Cali doesn’t know what to do she needs.. a rush. So what does she do? The crazy gal goes to play in traffic.. well needless to say that does not go over well with Mr. Tango. Nope. He hauls her up over his shoulder and takes her back to the apartment.
Cali is one pissed off, upset girl by this point. Her worlds spinning and she is losing it. When she hears Tango outside her door saying they have to leave she refuses to open the door. But when she hears him soften his voice and call her Cali and not Carolina she hesitates. But the minute he tells her he is calling in for a replacement she reluctantly opens it. He -as in the Reaper- is close and they need to get out of there. But she stands her ground. She tells him about the Reaper, what he did to her sister Krissy and her. He agrees they can stay there and he gives her the illusion that he will let her confront the Reaper. The next morning when she gets a text from her ‘dad’ she lets the reality sink in that its not her dad. Tango gets an ‘idea’, they pack up ‘just in case’ and he drives off with her. The next thing she knows -thanks to her nap- is they are in Cape Cod. Far from Boston. He stops on the beach and to her surprise they have a nice chat. In the end they decide to go and find her dad. Tango knows the coordinate he sent but they will still have to hunt the ass down. But its a proactive plan. They get back in the truck and hightail it out of there. Somewhere in Pennsylvania they stop for the night. Thanks to a dark room and both of them having black bags she grabs his by mistake. She sees a message pop up on his phone saying “I love you”.
So of course instead of asking him about it she pulls a mood again. Giving him simple answers and then the silent treatment after he asks what her problem is. She tells him she doesn't want to be a homewrecker. No more flirting and such. The poor boy is struck but if she wants to play that game he can too. After a day and a half though he breaks. Simply put he doesn't want her thinking of him or herself badly. Tang stops them on the roadside, pulls her to him and tells her that after he was discharged he wanted his family to keep thinking of him as a hero so he was reported dead. He had to watch them cry over his grave. But fate is a cruel bitch sometimes. He ran into his sister -who is the one texting him- while he was in a Nashville bar. She sends messages he never answers. Its easier on her that way.
Cali’s open to him now. How can she not be? That is not something you would expect. So they have a lot in common. Both are alone and no body's. As they drive on Cali asks Tango about his real name. If he buried that identity who was he, who was the man that made him who he is now? She promises to never say that name but she wants to know. So he tells her. She likes the name but Tango fits him. She even make a joke of him calling her Charlie -using the Military alphabet- but he one ups that.
“Ooh! I know. You could call me Charlie,” I laugh a little at my own militaristic joke.
“Impressive. You know the military alphabet?”
“Common knowledge in my household.”
“Well, maybe I’ll just call you Tango’s Alpha Girl, TAG,” he laughs, and his eyes gleam, making him look healthier and happier than I’ve seen him since we met.
(And I swooooned a bit at that cause just.. yeah.) Arriving in Mexico wasn’t so bad. They were let across the border and made their way to the canyons where her dad’s coordinates lead. Trick was this was going to be a long, hot walk through the canyons. Once they settle in at the end of day one they are both tired, hot and Cali -being Cali- again loses her thoughts and questions Tango of his intentions? Is he really sick? Is this a trick? the fact that she can’t believe and trust in him hurts. they set out to find water and its there at the water falls that things change. Her icy exterior breaks and as they embrace trouble shows up.
Seems they are being followed. Is it Reaper? Can they get away from him? They do some backtracking and make fake trails before getting to their campsite, get their things and go to find a hiding place to spend the night. Hopefully they can stay hidden until the morning.
You know how they say.. never get too comfortable? It’s good advice. While they slept in the cave the call of nature hit Cali. Its hell when ya gotta pee. So she makes her way out into the darkness and just when she is ready to move again… Reaper appears. He and a cohort Jorge take her away from the cave. Once reaper sends Jorge to deal with Tango. Which I mean kill him Cali ups the ante. Time to make the bastard pay, if she can get in his head… and she does. Badly. (laughs) Ya know karma's a bitch too, right? If you don’t well you do now. he roughs Cali up but she is able to slip his grip and he takes a cliff dive. But she is injured but Tango -after taking out Jorge- finds her. After a little sleep she is better. And they start back on the track of finding her dad.
At a point where they have a bit farther to go they hear voices. Spotting two men with a map Tango makes a call. Asking for back up. two people. That would even it out some. When back up arrives via a Helo.. they all meet and one is a retired Marine, knows his shit. the other is an office jockey who is a pain in Cali’s ass after 5 minutes. They do run into a group and take them out before setting up camp for the night. Tango and Cali go to get water and when they come back, Kacen -the desk jockey- starts in on Cali again. Needless to say he ends up with a knee to the nuts. (laughs hard) It was deserved. But when Cali is grabbed from behind, mouth covered she assumes it was Tango who is dragging her from him.. but something is wrong. The hand smells different. Its not Tango.
By the time Tango finds her, its only been a few minutes and she is still stunned. Maybe she was seeing things? She really isn’t sure but there is no time to worry about that now. The next morning they pack up camp and head out. Getting to the location of the coordinates Tango was given Cali goes into the dark cavern alone to look for her dad. Praying he is there. And.. he is. But the happy moments don’t last long as the China men catch up.
And… that is where I stop because I can’t tell ya more without ruining this story and I can’t do that to you. Because TRUST me you will fall in love with this book as I have. Its so many things… and the feels holy crap! I loved it. I want to turn right back around and read it again.. and yeah that only happens every so often. I love most books but this one had me on a roller coaster of emotions from page one. In my personal opinion it would make one kick ass movie. Like totes. Yes, I totes went there. (Laughs) I have a cast in my head too.. Ha. Anywhoo…. Pick this one up. I mean it is a page turner and I am super glad I had the chance to read it. Even bought myself a hard copy of it. So get it and ENJOY it!!