FORGED IN STEELE - Maya Banks
A KGI Novel , Book 7
A Perfect 10
Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-425-26338-9
July 2013
Romantic Suspense

Costa Rica and Tennessee - Present Day

While on a rescue mission, Steele, one of his men, and the person they rescued, suffer minor injuries that necessitate a visit to Dr. Maren Scofield in Costa Rica.  Something about the pretty doctor gets under Steele's skin and he wants to get in and out as quickly as possible, but two things happen to change his plans.  First, their plane is grounded, meaning they can't leave Costa Rica until morning, and second, Maren notices that he's attracted to her.  Since he can't stop thinking about her, Steele decides that maybe he can get her out of his system, and he and Maren end up sharing a wild and very satisfying night.  As for getting her out of his system though….

Maren's been attracted to Steele since he and his team rescued her in Africa a few years earlier, but in all the time she's patched up the KGI teams, Steele has spoken very little to her.  His proposition surprises her, but she's not about to pass up the chance to have him in her bed.  After he leaves, Maren figures it would be a while before she saw him again, so she's very surprised when he shows up a couple of weeks later, alone and uninjured.  The thought that he wanted to be with her during his down time is a rush, and things go a bit deeper than just sex.  Unfortunately, a mission comes up forcing Steele to leave suddenly, and then Maren's life takes a nightmare turn.

A powerful, local man has his sights set on Maren, and he isn't going to take no for an answer.  Held hostage by this man, Maren has faith that KGI and Steele will rescue her, even as she worries that she may not be able to hold off her captor for long.  With Maren missing, Steele realizes that his feelings for her are stronger than he'd ever imagined, and he will do whatever it takes to get her back.

FORGED IN STEELE is the latest exciting novel in Maya Banks's KGI series.  Fans will recognize Steele as one of the team leaders, the ice man, who shows no emotion, yet is fiercely loyal to his team and KGI.  He has struggled with his attraction to Maren because he's lost loved ones in the past and isn't interested in reliving that kind of pain.  He can't stop thinking about her, and his hopes that being with her will stop that from happening are futile.  Maren has always been drawn to the hard-as-nails warrior and is a bit shocked that he's apparently attracted to her also.  While the first time they are together is amazing, when he returns—not because he was in the area, but with the sole purpose of being with her—it moves beyond sex and fun into the beginnings of relationship territory.  Her abduction, as well as a few other factors, has both Steele and Maren examining their feelings for one another, and thinking about whether a future together could be possible.

Other characters from the series are also a part of this novel, notably Steele's team: P.J., Cole, Baker, Renshaw, and Dolphin, who have recently been through hell together (SHADES OF GRAY).  Of course the Kelly family is present, and fans will get to meet a couple of new additions to the family, and we get a chance to check in with some of the members of the other teams.  KGI is more than a group of military men (and a few women) who take on missions the government can't; they are family and they've been through a lot together.  I highly recommend reading all of the series in order, even though each of the stories stands pretty well on its own.

The relationship between Steele and Maren is unexpected and intense and provides readers with a chance to see a whole new side of Steele.  Moments of humor surprise both his team and fans, as his growing feelings for Maren change him. Steele becomes a person totally unlike what we've seen until now.  Maren is a perfect match for him; strong, dedicated to her work, and yet she brings out his softer, more human side.  FORGED IN STEELE is a thrilling story that had me wanting to go back and reread it right away, which is why I'm awarding it a Perfect 10.

Jennifer Bishop