Leverage by E.J Noyes is a not-a-spy spy book about an ex-operative turned analyst working for the American government. It is the second book in The Halcyon Division series but can be read as a standalone. It follows Dr Lexie Martin as she is dragged away from her life and her new girlfriend and reassigned to a job, she thought she left behind, in a country she never wanted to return to.
Lexie Martin is an intelligence analyst; she finds out a secret that could ruin lives and spends a week on the run from her government with her maybe sort of girlfriend Sophia Flores. After being forced to hand herself in Lexie awaited the punishment for her actions but it never came…….
Now Lexie is confused about why she was set free, but far be it from her to look a gift horse in the mouth. She’s back at work, free, and most importantly she and Sophia are blissfully, officially dating, life’s good. That is until Lexie is reassigned into the field to a hostile country she never wanted to return to. Apparently, when you embarrass the most powerful man in the country you have to endure his petty wrath. Lexie is sure everything that is happening to her is because she knows the truth and the president is leveraging it over Lexie to keep her in line.
Now Lexie has her own mission to complete. Make it home to the woman she loves.
This is some of Noyes’ best work and as always, her writing flows effortlessly. It feels real and raw, I was so caught up in the story that before I knew it it was over, and I was screaming for more. This author’s ability to write from a first-person point of view is astonishing, there is no other author I’ve read that lets me get so lost in a character’s head quite like Noyes. The feelings she provokes through the character’s thoughts and actions in this book left me breathless. It was a rollercoaster that climbed high and peaked at elation only to plummet to such sorrow that before I knew it, I was ugly crying. This book has a lot going on, yet Noyes paces it out perfectly. She writes threads of intrigue, danger, puzzles, and romance all woven together so smoothly that you can’t tell where one begins or ends.
Leverage deals with a lot of hard-hitting topics but Noyes ability to write wit and humour alongside those topics keeps the book from being too heavy. She lightens it with quick, heartfelt dialogue, funny anecdotes, and a grounding romance and friendship. This author is a master of her craft.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I, like a lot of people, have been eagerly awaiting this book and I’m here to tell you folks that the wait was so worth it.
For those who have read Integrity , Leverage picks up right where it finished. However, this story can be read as a standalone and Noyes gives a detailed recap, so readers know exactly what’s happening. She advises readers of Integrity to skip the recap but that’s just silly because why would you skip any of this author’s writing?
I was hooked from the first sentence and by twenty-five percent I was in love and knew Noyes had written a winner. This book has it all. The romance is less because of the situation Lexie is in but it is by no means secondary. It’s sweet, powerful, and all-consuming. The love, passion, respect, and understanding Lexie and Sophia have for each other is electric, it sparks, shocks, and runs like a current throughout the story.
The thrilling plot kept me turning the page and guessing throughout and believe me there are some bombshells uncovered in this book from beginning to end. I want to say so much more but then that will give away spoilers. I will say that there is a beautiful, slow-burn, unexpected friendship in this book that had me smiling and chuckling as it blossomed. There is also a scene between Lexie and her boss, kind of friend that is very touching. The setting for that scene was perfect, the tension palpable, and the emotions so sincere, that I sobbed.
Leverage moves this series along nicely. It shows the reader more of Lexie and what it takes to do what she does. Even though these books can be read as standalone there is a running theme throughout both, and the author expands that further in this book (no spoilers so I’m being cryptic). As I read the last page, I was left speechless and with more questions. It doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, but it does end on a ‘say what’ moment that will cunningly leave you longing to read book three. Bravo E.J I’m hooked!
Now I have a confession. I’m in love with Lexie Martin, head over heels in love!
The way this woman deals with her life is truly astounding. The measures she goes to to ensure she can cope, do her job, and keep the woman she loves safe are commendable. She’s strong and compartmentalises but isn’t afraid to acknowledge her fears and try to work through them. She’s self-aware and uses exercise including yoga to ensure she can deal with what life throws at her. Lexie is a complex woman with flaws and it’s those flaws that make her so real and relatable. She feels deeply but has the capacity to stand back and see the bigger picture. She loves her job and is loyal, yet she doesn’t agree with the administration currently running the country. Despite this, she knows she is excellent at what she does and recognises the importance of her work. She stole my heart, and I don’t want it back.
A huge chunk of the book is set in a country where terrorist attacks happen frequently.
Leverage is one of those books that captivated me from the first page. It’s clever, funny, and sweet. It deals with hard topics, but the author does a brilliant job of lightening the mood through witty dialogue, and humorous anecdotes.
Lexie is a beautiful character. She’s flawed, relatable, and utterly charming. She has sass and sarcasm for every situation, and I adore her. The challenges she faces in her work and personal life would send a lot of people diving under the quilt cover of their bed and never coming out. Not Lexie she’s a self-aware woman and uses a combination of cardio, yoga, and meditation to help her compartmentalise. Lexie feels things deeply, yet she has an amazing ability to see the bigger picture regardless of her personal feelings.
There isn’t as much romance in Leverage but it’s still there and just as hot, sweet, and beautiful. Sophia seems like she is perfect for Lexie and I’m eagerly awaiting book three to discover what plans life has for the pair.
This book took me through a myriad of emotions. From beginning to end I was taken from feelings of joy to moments where I cried for the situation Lexie and Sophia are in. Noyes is a favourite author of mine, and she never fails to put me through the wringer, and I love it time and again.
If you like a story that’s packed with intrigue, danger, puzzles, romance, and brilliant writing then this one’s for you. It’s one I’ll revisit more than once, in fact, I’ve already reread parts because I had to experience them again. Another stunning book from Noyes and now I’m left with an excruciating book hangover while I wait impatiently for her next masterpiece.
Excerpt from Leverage by E. J Noyes
In the fifteen days since it had last happened, I’d forgotten what it was like to wake up next to Sophia Flores. Or, more accurately, not so much next to as kind of underneath and kind of on top and kind of all entwined together. I squirmed my feet, trying to get some blood flowing back into them, but ended up trapped when Sophia shifted in response to my shifting. The position she now caged me in was comforting and familiar, though admittedly painful given my recent escape from custody. Or more accurately—having someone stage my escape from custody for me while I was just a helpless participant.
My job as an intelligence analyst is usually straightforward, and often mundane, but since I’d been given intel implicating the vice president in an illegal chemical weapon test in partnership with Russia, my life had been turned on its head. Hopefully my life was on its way to being set the right way up again.
Carefully, I brushed Sophia’s dark, wavy hair from where it’d fallen over my face, but not before I’d inhaled deeply to remind myself of the scent of her shampoo. While waiting to see if I’d be thrown in jail as a traitor, I’d thought about the smell of her hair…the fullness of her lips…her laughing light-brown eyes…her low, husky voice…the way her breath hitched as my fingers mapped her skin…the way her body begged my body.
Her heavy curtains cocooned us from the world outside, and without a bedside clock, I had no idea of the time. Morning, based on the fact I was awake. I drew in a deep, slow breath and then exhaled, taking stock of my body. Broken fingers ached sharply, not-broken but still damaged and bruised ribs hurt, not-broken ankle ached and throbbed, right leg and hip felt like they’d been wrenched out of place and put back carelessly. And my head still throbbed like I’d gone twenty rounds with a professional boxer, the cut on my hairline pulling uncomfortably tight as it healed.
But… I was alive, free, and wonderfully tangled in bed with the woman who’d been with me through the stressful week that had preceded my short incarceration. The woman who I could easily and, scarily for me, never having been one for serious relationships, picture myself having a life with outside of all this. So, all in all, more pluses than minuses, which was a nice change after the last few weeks of mostly minuses.
Sophia shifted, her legs moving restlessly against mine. I knew from the eight days we’d spent together on our road trip, that was less fun driving adventure and more me hiding from the government and trying to uncover a huge secret, that the squirming meant she was thinking about waking up. Up until now, she’d stirred while I was doing my morning workout on the floor of a hotel room, but being in bed with Sophia meant I could finish waking her up. I smiled, remembering the one time that I’d woken her up. With oral sex.
I drew my foot up the inside of her calf and reached under the covers to slip my hand under her tee, lightly stroking the side of her breast. Sophia startled then jerked upright, freeing me and dislodging me all in one movement. She flailed, her limbs making contact with parts of my body that did not want that kind of contact. I grunted at the jolt of pain that burst through my torso, tried to move and failed, then tried not to hiss out an expletive and also failed. I lay supine, sucking in wheezy inhalations in a futile attempt to breathe through the searing pain and my spasming diaphragm.
Sophia rubbed her face. “Shit. Sorry, Lexie. I’m sorry,” she mumbled against her palms. Her voice was rough with sleep and in any other circumstance, when I wasn’t trying desperately to just inhale and exhale, I’d have found it sexy. She leaned over to look down at me. “Are you all right?” Her hand came to rest lightly on my hip.
“Mhmm.” My response would have been a more convincing assertion if it hadn’t come out as a strangled squeak. Technically I was all right, just momentarily rendered useless by the elbow she’d accidentally rammed into my bruised ribs.
Sophia’s gentle hands raised my tee, her fingertips brushing my skin. She stroked lightly up and down my belly, murmuring for me to relax, until I started breathing more easily, instead of like a hyperventilating sprinter. She thumbed the underside of my breast in a gesture that was loving, almost possessive, instead of sexual. “I’m so sorry. I was dreaming and then woke up and forgot for a moment that you were back.”
I was back from that place where I’d been held and debriefed. But was I back in her life?
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Series: The Halcyon Division
Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1642474978
Publisher: Bella Books
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