Love can find you in the unlikeliest of places. Case in point, on a cold and rocky cave floor whilst you and your lover are running for your lives from the Taliban. Although, I feel like when a SEAL is involved, aka the ultimate alpha male, you don’t really have much room to complain. You pretty much just gotta whip off your shirt and say, “Mkay, where would you like to ravish me?”
What’s it About?
Temporarily assigned to the Shadow Squadron in a troubled region of Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer and pilot Leah Mackenzie is no stranger to conflict—even if most of her physical and emotional scars are courtesy of her vicious ex. Still, she’s got a bad feeling about picking up a team of stranded SEALs. A feeling that’s all too justified once enemy fire hits their helicopter and all hell breaks loose. SEAL Kell Ballard’s goal was to get the injured pilot out of harm’s way and find shelter deep in the labyrinth of caves. It’s a place of dark intimacy, where Leah finds unexpected safety in a man’s arms. Where prohibited attraction burns brightly. And where they’ll hide until the time comes to face the enemy outside…and the enemy within their ranks.
I had a tough time putting this book down! It’s suspenseful from start to finish, what with a helicopter crash right at the get-go, followed by constant running and hiding from Taliban forces. On top of all that, the shock of the crash has reawakened Leah’s emotional distress from her abusive ex-husband, and the only place she can find comfort is in the muscle bulging arms of Kell. You can’t help but be drawn in by the intimate relationship these two form in the close confines of their cave hideout. I’m not gonna lie though, at times I was worried if this book was actually going to have a happy ending. Every time Kell started planning a future together with Leah I kept thinking, “Oh, you might wanna see if you get out of this alive before you pick out paint colors.”
I was so excited when the synopsis mentioned that Leah was an Army helicopter pilot. I thought, “Finally! A tough as nails female who can hold her own in the face of adversity!” Yeah, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, she was definitely brave, but dealing with the shock of the helicopter crash, and the possibility of escaping right into the hands of her bastard ex-husband, puts her right into damsel in distress mode.
Enter Kell, who immediately takes on the role of Leah’s protector. When she has nightmares of the abuse inflicted upon her by her husband, Kell is quick to hold Leah in his arms, and she doesn’t shy away from his comfort. That’s sweet and all, but I almost wish she had been more reserved with him at first. Not necessarily cold and heartless, but more strong-willed, as though she wanted to try to move on without any help from anybody. I guess I was surprised that after putting up with the abuse from her husband for so long she would have been so quick to trust another man. A bit more effort getting through her walls would have been interesting.
Let’s Go Over That One More Time
Overall I absolutely loved the story-line of this novel, but there were a few things that could have used some more explanation. Firstly, our two lead characters spend about 80% of the book in a cave, but apparently they never had to go to the bathroom. I know it’s a silly thing to complain about, but it’s all in the details, and I couldn’t help but wonder where the heck they did their business in that thing.
Another much more important aspect which confused me was the failed marriage between Leah and her ex-husband. He used her and abused her to further his own career, and yet he was the one to divorce her. When her helicopter is shot down he does everything in his power to get her back to him for further intimidation. Why did he end their marriage in the first place, and if he ended it why is he trying to get her back? I think more explanation as to how exactly their marriage ended would have been beneficial to further understanding their characters.
Kell is deliciously amazing. He has an innate sense to protect people, yet this is heightened even more when it comes to Leah. His feelings for her are strong, but he must keep his desires in check. Leah’s husband sexually abused her, and Kell takes it upon himself to not only show her what it means to make love, but also to be in love. He also shows her a thing or two about what real pleasure is. Oh sigh, I want a Kell for myself.
Series: Shadow Warrior series, book 8. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. I really wanna go back and read the first seven!
Should you read it? Oh yeah, for sure. You’ll be biting your nails in anticipation through most of it, but the romance between Kell and Leah is to die for.
Smut Level: Because of her troubled past, Kell is very gentle with Leah when they make love…at first.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. HQN Books. 378 Pages.