Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
This is my first book by Kaylea Cross and the reason why I read it was because I kept hearing great things about it. Usually when you hear military romantic suspense you think, well, the hero is probably in the military and that’s it, but in this case both leads are on active duty and the action takes place during a regular mission while deployed. That aspect alone was enough to make this book interesting and appealing.
Devon Crawford is a helicopter pilot, her job is to fly into danger zones and rescue people that are either wounded or in danger. When the book starts there’s an emergency but she can’t fly and rescue the soldiers because the terrible weather makes it impossible. Unfortunately one of the wounded soldiers is Ty, who happened to be her ex, and he dies because no one could get there to help him. During his funeral two of his friends meet with Devon, one of them is Cam Munro. They have a complicated relationship because while she was with Ty she felt an overwhelming attraction to Cam, and the feeling was mutual. Now Cam wants to confront their feelings but she is not ready and since she is an officer and he is enlisted, having a relationship might endanger their careers. What they don’t know is that there’s an even greater threat endangering their lives.
Let’s talk about Cam. In romantic suspense there are always two characters that almost always become clichés: the villain and the hero. More often than not, the male lead is portrayed as dominant, a confirmed bachelor (until the heroine comes along of course), possessive and so close to a superhero that you never feel like he’s in danger, he goes into a war zone and kills all the psychopathic drug-dealers singlehandedly and without breaking a sweat. But not Cam, he was refreshingly real. Part of why this book works so well is because at one point you do fear for his safety and you are kept on the edge of your seat until you know for sure that he is going to be fine. Yes he was hot, and a strong warrior, be he was vulnerable both physically and emotionally. Here we have a guy who wants to talk and confront his feelings and is very afraid that the woman he loves will never be able to love him back. He wasn’t a Navy SEAL (another common profession in romantic suspense), he is a Pararescue Jumper, he is the guy who saves the SEALs, and yes, in Cross’ books SEALs need saving because they are human as well.
I had more trouble warming up to Devon. At first she behaves a bit erratically and like she doesn’t know what she wants. She’s described as being beautiful and attractive without knowing it (even though almost every guy around her likes her and is obviously attracted to her) and since I never quite understood how that’s even possible then maybe that’s why I was annoyed by her at first. But once she comes to her senses and decides to fight for Cam, then I started seeing her under a different light. And in the second half of the book she proved to be strong, loyal and committed and I ended up liking her very much.
The book has a strong cast of secondary characters that are obviously being set up to have their own books and I’m happy about it because I want to know more about them. I was particularly intrigued by the silent Jackson and can’t wait to read his book.
Another character that deserves a mention is the villain. As I said before, the villains in these type of stories tend to be cartoonish and one-dimensional, more like what you would encounter in a James Bond movie than in real life. But in this case Cross gives us a bad guy who has a pretty good reason to be that way, and even though he is going at it in the wrong way you can actually sympathize and feel sorry for him.
My favorite part about the book was how real the military aspect felt. The action seems plausible and that’s what makes it more dramatic, because when you are reading it not only you get a feeling that no one is safe, but you know that it isn’t that far from reality. I think the author did her homework because you can tell that this was a well-researched book. There are lots of details about military life and that was just as interesting as the romance.
This book had a perfect balance between romance and suspense. You will get caught up first in the relationship, and then in the action, and you won’t stop reading until you get to the end. Every fan of romantic suspense should read this, especially if they like military heroes and strong heroines.
Review by Brie
Devon Crawford is an officer; Pararescueman Cam Munro is enlisted. Dev flies medical evacuations; Cam jumps into danger zones to save lives. Dev wants to return home from Afghanistan with her heart untouched; Cam will do anything to win the woman he loves. Reaching for happiness in a war zone is the last thing Captain Devon Crawford plans, but she can’t ignore the feelings she’s hidden for so long. Cam’s sexy charm and wicked kisses weaken her resistance, but she’s too afraid of losing him to give in. When Dev’s helicopter and crew are shot down and set up as bait by notorious warlord, Cam risks it all to save the team. What he doesn’t know is that the trap is set for him…
Carina Press. September 5, 2011.