Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by James-York Press
Released on August 31, 2015
Length: 9 hours 7 minutes
I have come to really enjoy this author’s books. I love her attention to authenticism, her engaging characters, and a plot that grabs me from the beginning. I confess that this story was one I hesitated over because of the situation of the romantic pair, but my hesitation was over-ridden by interest in other aspects of the story. And in the end, I can say that I’m glad I gave it a go.
This is the second full-length book in the Echo Platoon series. The story works just fine as a standalone. Each story is self-contained with brief mentions in this one of the pair from the last book. I suspect that will be true of all the books as each SEAL gets his story.
Brant ‘Bronco’ Adams is the easy and happy go lucky member of his team. He loves his job and has a zest for life as a former bronc rider now turned SEAL. After seeing the way his mom hurt when his dad ‘loved her and left her’, he swore that he would never do that to any woman. He never wants to have a relationship and make some woman fall in love with him only to disappoint her. He’s doing pretty good at keeping things light and easy until his friendship with the commander’s wife starts to take a turn toward attraction. Getting involved with her is career suicide let alone wrong on a few levels. However, caution goes by the way when Becca shares something suspicious about his commander and hints that things aren’t that good at home. Brant will help her sort through this dangerous new revelation and try to keep his hands to himself.
Becca married ‘Mad’ Max McDougall with stars in her eyes not realizing the controlling, cold man he really is. It is when she finds herself attracted to the fun-loving and kind Bronco that she realizes what a big mistake she made. Her disillusionment becomes the least of her worries when she accidentally comes across something on Max’s laptop that leads her to the suspicion that something is really wrong. In desperation, she turns to Bronco and what he uncovers starts a dangerous clandestine mission to get the proof they need that will both protect her and free her from the entanglement she has gotten herself into. Meanwhile, they both fight the attraction between them. Bronco doesn’t do long-term and Becca knows that the strong feelings she is developing are going to get her burned, but maybe not before Max’s secrets get her or Bronco killed.
This story sets up the romance and suspense elements quickly and then develops them. There is a goodly amount of tension in fact, it felt more thriller at times. Bronco, Becca, and Max share the majority of the narration. Having Max’s perspective didn’t lessen the tension, but changed it because the reader is left wondering if he’ll figure out that he’s under investigation or if panic and do something drastic. There is the tension of Bronco and Becca trying to be so discreet and whether they’ll get caught out. Things built to an exciting climax that left me breathless until the denouement.
Now, I mentioned that the romance was a touchy concern for me. I don’t like it when a relationship begins while one or both characters are in an existing relationship with someone else. Naturally, this one was not a cut and dry issue. Becca’s marriage was untenable by the time the attraction with Bronco was acknowledged. The author allowed them to slip up with a few kisses, but nothing more happened until Becca was separated from Max. I was uncomfortable, but still able to enjoy their story mostly because the relationship took its time and carefully built on short, solid moments together.
Bronco was a great hero. He’s attractive in looks and personality while also being protective and caring. It was sad that a guy who was fierce-some and brave in the face of everything else was scared that he would become his dad and hurt the woman he loved. Becca is a gentle soul with simple needs. She, too, was affected by her dad’s desertion and didn’t realize she married Max to fulfill that hole only to discover what real love and being with the one you loved and who loves you looks like. I enjoyed watching them help heal each other, work together to sort out Max’s dangerous mess, and tentatively forma a relationship.
The author writes good villains. She writes both the utterly black-hearted types and the conflicted villains. Tony was the first type, but Max was a complex character that fascinated me more than the hero and heroine did at times.
On a side note, I appreciate that the SEAL team actually goes out on a mission and that there is interaction between the members. The team helps Bronco figure out what is going on and has his back. Bronco’s best friend is the zen-like, bookish Jeremiah ‘Bullfrog’ and Sam is there to give him advice.
As to the narrator, Armen Taylor, was new to me, but I would definitely enjoy books he narrates. He did well with the range of mostly male and some female characters. His pacing was good and his storytelling didn’t distract, but kept me engaged in the story.
In summary, I was hesitant, but glad I took the plunge. I enjoy what the author brings to military romantic suspense and look forward to each new installment in this series. I love the strong SEAL heroes, exciting action plots, and passion-filled romance particularly because each story offers up something a little different and not cookie cutter in action or romance. Lovers of military romantic suspense should give these a look-see.
My thanks to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #316 RS
Cliché Klatch #191 ‘It’s just that simple’
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