"Ruthless Game" is the 9th book in Christine Feehan's Ghostwalker series. This story features Kane, a member of the 3rd Ghostwalker unit, introduced in "Street Game (Ghostwalkers, No 8)." If you're not up to speed on the previous books: Ghostwalkers are soldiers, who volunteered for psychic enhancements. But they all got more than they bargained for when Dr Whitney (the mastermind behind the project) also altered their genes. To make matters more complicated, Whitney has started breeding programs, where he pairs his Ghostwalkers with enhanced women, in the hopes of creating super-babies.
Kane was a soldier at one of Whitney's breeding facilities and it was there he met Rose. In "Deadly Game (GhostWalkers, Book 5)," we learned that Kane had gotten Rose pregnant and helped her escape. In that book, the men involved with the breeding program were portrayed as nothing short of monstrous rapists, so I was curious to see how Kane would be redeemed. Well, it seems Rose chose him to be her partner. She had seen him at the compound and felt attracted to him; sensed his integrity, and asked Whitney to pair him with her. Because Kane didn't want her to have to be with one of the other men, who were hardly a step above rutting beasts, he agreed to the pairing. And they had one night together before she escaped.
***STORYLINE/PLOT POINTS AHEAD***
Eight months later, our couple is brought together when Kane is on a rescue mission in Mexico. Rose has tipped off the government about some hostages and he senses her nearby when he gets on the scene. After the Ghostwalker team saves the hostages, Kane goes on the run with Rose and hides out with her until she has the baby. The hideout is under surveillance by Whitney's men and they are quickly on the run again. It doesn't take long before they are back in the fold with Kane's team. But Kane is injured during their escape --and Rose saves his life with her secret healing ability.
They all make it back to San Francisco, but Whitney's men and members of a Mexican cartel are still on the hunt for Rose. Kane needs to ensure her safety and help her learn to trust the team that is essentially his family.
I liked this book. But it was different from the previous ones in the series. Primarily because our couple didn't have sex until about 200 pages into the book. (Most of these books have frequent and hot sex scenes.) And the scenes we do have here, just don't have the same spark that the other books had. (My guess is that the pregnancy/post-delivery issues are to blame. I could live without hearing about Rose's breast milk when they're getting hot and heavy.) That aside, the actual love story was nice. Kane's love and devotion to Rose and the baby are tangible. And it is nice to see her finally have someone in her life she can trust.
I missed our old Ghostwalker friends, especially the SEAL team, so it was nice to get a small glimpse of them and their families before the story's end. I am starting to like our new unit... at least more than I did in the last book. I hope we can find away to bring them more into the fold with our old familiar faces in the coming books. 4 stars.