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    Review of UNEXPECTED by Lori Foster

    Brava, Kensington Publishing, September 2003

    Ray Vereker is the toughest mercenary the company has to offer and when his brother is kidnapped, Eli Conners demands the best. He doesn't expect a beautiful woman who can outfight any five men, but that's what he gets. She knows the region of Central America where Eli's brother is being held and she has a plan to get him out. The only problem is, she wants Eli to follow his plan and he's not much good at taking orders. On the other hand, he's never had so much trouble resisting temptation and Ray (actually Ray Jean but don't dare call her that) is more temptation than he can stand.

    A night of passion in the jungle leads to an unexpected result and Ray's life is changed. She's fallen for Eli in a big way but she knows that there's no possible future for them. He's rich and she's poor. He's from culture and civilization and she's a mercenary. Still, a girl can dream, can't she--even a tough mercenary used to eating men for breakfast.

    Author Lori Foster (see more reviews of novels by Foster) combines two tough and dominating alpha characters, an unexpected pregnancy and a jungle raid into a fun and silly romance. I liked Ray, with her chip-on-shoulder attitude toward men, her no-nonsense approach to her work, her sympathy for the third-world guerillas she and Eli faced, and her care for her brother. Eli was a bit more problematic for me. I would have liked him better if he hadn't been quite so certain he was right. Couldn't he have at least contemplated the possibility that he was putting Ray in danger by his insistance on going along into the jungle? Didn't he deserve to have his head torn off by his condescending attitude toward her martial arts capabilities? He may have grown up on the rough side of town but years of solid training trump bad neighborhoods any day.

    UNEXPECTED is a solid and enjoyable read. If Eli had been taught a few more lessons, it would have been completely charming but even without that, it was fun.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 3/12/04

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