ARC Review: When the Smoke Clears by C. Chilove

Thank you so much to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for letting me read an eARC of When the Smoke Clears! Based on the summary of the book, I was really excited to read it, because I was really into special forces romances last year, but this one was not my favorite. 

When the Smoke Clears 3/5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Lieutenant Colonel Brenden Jasper lives a life of secrets, danger, and clandestine missions. As commander of the most elite Black Ops unit in the world, nothing is more important to him than protecting the country he loves. But there’s a reason only the toughest, battle-tested, alpha men can call themselves members of the Black 2131 brotherhood. None but those in the highest realms of government even know of its existence, and it’s Brenden’s job to avoid emotional entanglements so he can keep it that way.

Dr. Paige Nichols has spent her life ruled by logic and reason, teaching and analyzing art history, so nothing could have prepared her for the completely overwhelming attraction-at-first-sight when she sets eyes on Brenden. Their chance encounter at a party opens her up to a tantalizing dark side she never knew she had—and leaves her wanting so much more. But a man with a dark side often comes with way too many secrets…ones that could put her life in danger.

Though their chemistry burns hotter than ever, when danger comes knocking on Paige’s door, Brenden will have to walk a fine line between duty, honor, and love

Let’s start with what I liked about this book. I was a big fan of the special forces aspect of things and I really liked that Paige was into art therapy and talked about the importance of that. I also really liked Bellamy, Paige’s best friend. Also! This book was so steamy, which I definitely appreciated haha it would have been too steamy if I had been reading it during the day in my living room, but I was reading it at night in my bed, so it was great. Now, let’s talk about the things I didn’t like. I felt as though Brenden and Paige’s relationship was held together just by sex, but they wanted to make it seem as though they had a more solid foundation than that. I also didn’t like how Paige seemed so… wishy washy at times. Like she wanted Brenden to be open with her but then after they had sex and he would have to leave or he would wake up after a nightmare and wouldn’t tell her anything, she still would stay with him because… I don’t know, maybe the sex was just that good? I definitely think the book got way better in the second half, but the first half was almost painful for me. The suspense and the drama were really good though, so if you want to read a really steamy book with great drama and suspense and you’re willing to overlook some of the interpersonal annoyances, definitely definitely grab this book!

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