Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on December 1, 2015
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
This was only my second encounter with the author. I read one of his Night Stalker stories in the Way of the Warrior anthology and loved it. I definitely want to read that series, but then this story caught my eye- first woman ever to become Delta Force? No recruitment office necessary to hook me in. The book was all that I could hope for as it led me from the moment Carla arrived at the Delta selection camp to her experiences at the grueling tasks and what she was up against as the woman and then it exploded into action on missions. And then there was the romance with the delectable Sgt. Kyle Reeves who didn’t let her hard mental walls and stay away from anything personal attitude deter him. This was all that I could want in a romantic suspense and more.
Carla Anderson arrives at the Delta training center unsure of how she was chosen to go through the selection, but very certain this is exactly where she wants to be. Her mother and brother died in combat and left with only an alcoholic father, she is determined to honor their memories by succeeding. Her first day on the post has her defending her right to be there because she is a woman, but it also sets the precedence when she slams an obnoxious bully into a wall that she will not tolerate hazing. She is in the zone and rarin’ to go.
Kyle Reeves is honored to be chosen, but knows that the selection process is grueling and one can’t get cocky or unfocused. He is a natural leader and guys gravitate toward him. He is the best of their group, but Kyle is well aware as the weeks progress that Carla Anderson is right on his six and determined to beat him out. He loves her spirit and how she remains cool and focused. He is strongly attracted to her, but knows he must proceed with caution. There is a hard inner layer that keeps everyone and every feeling on the surface and he wonders about her past and her motivations. But, he would be more than pleased to finish the course with Carla right beside him.
Carla is impressed by Kyle and like the others looks up to him, but she also is strongly attracted to the man and wouldn’t say no to get up something together after selection- that is if they both make it. As the numbers whittle down, certainty of success is not even possible.
And then they are together- on a team and as a couple. Carla doesn’t want to analyze closely why this makes her happy. On a personal level, Kyle’s presence scares the crap out of her because he makes her feel and she doesn’t want that. She also doesn’t want to make him feel because she has nothing to give a man. But there is the high octane missions to keep them focused and occupied along with the rest of their team.
So, this story was pretty good. It felt like a two-part affair with the Delta selection process one half and then the missions as a Delta team the other half. There is also the dichotomy in the romance, too. There is the slow build sensual attraction and then giving in and the hard grinding development of a relationship.
There is a great attention to detail regarding Delta, the process of selecting from hand-picked people to go through it, and Delta missions. I can’t say I have knowledge beyond a few brief mentions that these are very specialized military personnel, but the background info felt authentic. I found it balanced just the right side of interesting without overbalancing into tedious detail that slowed down the story.
The story was a good example of a balanced romantic suspense. There is a ton of action particularly in the latter half which gets uber exciting, but there is the steady development of characters and the romance.
Kyle is the easy part. I fell in love with him the second he arrived and he was like Captain America awesome the whole way through. Skilled warrior, quiet yet alpha, intuitive, and oh so patient with Carla. She hurt him badly and yet he tried to be so understanding.
Carla is steely strength and a warrior, too. However, her personal side is all prickles and ‘stay back’ warnings. She let her mom and brother’s deaths as well as her dad’s choice to check out of her life screw her up. She didn’t want to be hurt by the feeling of abandonment ever again so she has decided that her heart is dead and it will stay that way even if she has to fight tooth and nail to stay disengaged when Kyle- time and again- proves that she can and does feel. I really respected how Carla is written. She was believable as a woman making it into Delta Force and she was tough and competitive, but she didn’t have this chip on her shoulder like she had something to prove.
The camaraderie of Kyle and Carla’s unit was another enjoyable part of the story. These were skilled operators, but they are like family. I turned pages so fast while the scenes with their missions were going on.
All in all, this was a fantastic start to a new series. I haven’t read Night Stalkers series, but I think this was a spin-off because there was a bit of crossover so that there was some Nightstalker action in this one. Look forward to what is coming next. Those who appreciate sultry, exciting military romance and a strong dose of dangerous suspense should definitely give this a try.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.