Thursday, May 28, 2015

ARC Review: My Highland Lover

My Highland Lover (Highland Hearts #1)

by Maeve Greyson

Blurb:

 As the proprietor of a homeopathic store in rural Kentucky, Trulie Sinclair
knows that her neighbors think she’s strange—but they have no idea how strange she really is. Trulie was born in Scotland in the thirteenth century to a line of time-traveling Highlanders. When Trulie’s grandmother convinces her to return to their homeland,Trulie jumps back in time, right onto the powerful chest of Gray MacKenna. Just as his steely good looks send ripples through her body, their fierce attraction will send ripples through the ages.
After his parents murdered, Gray is consumed by thoughts of revenge. As the new chieftain of the MacKenna clan, he has reason to believe that there’s a traitor in his midst, and nothing—not even the bonny lass who suddenly drops from the sky—can distract him from his single-minded pursuit of the culprit. But when Gray learns that this sassy beauty possesses gifts beyond the sparkle in her eye, he allows his gaze, and his heart, to linger. While he hunts for the murderer, Gray finds in Trulie a precious companion—and a timeless love.
Themes:  time travel, historical, paranormal
Rating: 1.75 stars
Heat Rating:
Review:
While I am truly an avid reader, I can honestly there are very few books, especially in my chosen genre, that I truly didn’t like in the end.  I have read a few that I didn’t like a the beginning but came to enjoy and even a few I hated so much that I couldn’t even finish, but this story was just so ho-hum that I kept thinking it would get better so I went all the way, but I have to say it was really not a book I enjoyed.  While there was plenty of drama and the characters were ok, my biggest issue with this story is there never seemed to be any times of calm, it was like jumping from one mountain peak to another and never making the trip down into the valleys.  As soon as one disaster had been dealt with, overcome, or gotten over, another tragedy, or emotional upheaval would follow.  This left me feeling exhausted for the characters and made me miss the quiet moments, the moments when the lovers get to really know one another and can find a common ground to build their future on.  I liked the premise of the story, though time travel is not one of my favorites, but in the end the choppy writing and plot point jumps were just not supported enough for me. 
The characters were also not some of the best I’ve seen. Trulie was so all over the place with her emotions and thoughts that I couldn’t keep up, even when she was simply dealing with a hard time in the present, and when her life really gets complicated I was so confused with her that I was had to stop reading a while to get my own head back on straight.  Gray was a bit of a boring character for me, with some dialogue and actions thrown in that left me wondering if this guy lives in the 13th century or the 13th century BCE?  All in all not a great read for me, but please feel free to explore for yourself and see if this is more along the lines of something you might enjoy.  Sadly I wasn’t able to connect with the characters, story, or author in this one so I think I will have to avoid future stories, even though I would have liked to have enjoyed this book enough to see what happens with the other sisters in the future…err past?  Maybe when the rest of the series is released I will skim those books to learn the end game for the sisters and see if Granny ever grows up, since she was the only character I really loved.  Moving on to the next adventure.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 


Monday, May 25, 2015

ARC Review: When Darkness Ends

When Darkness Ends (Guardians of Eternity #12)

by 

Blurb:

The Guardians of Eternity are facing a final battle to save their world—but battles of the heart may be the most difficult to fight…
Cyn, the vampire clan chief of Ireland, is an unabashed hedonist whose beauty is surpassed only by his insatiable appetite for pleasure. It’s no wonder he’s furious when he’s transported from the magical land of the pureblooded feys to his desolate private lair—only to have his very existence thrown into a chaos that even he cannot charm his way out of…
Most women may be all but powerless against Cyn, but Fallon, a sharp-witted fairy princess, is less than beguiled by the silver-tongued vampire. She’s a serious soul with no time for the sort of games he plays—especially when they learn that someone is trying to close the veil that separates the dimensions. But seduction may prove the most powerful force of all, as attraction ignites between the unlikely pair even as worlds are colliding around them…
Themes:  demons, vampires, magick, paranormal
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating:
Review:
 Oh, my gods, has the end of this series arrived?  After finishing this story I get the distinct impression that this might be the end of the series. There are so many final endings, that I cannot see where the story might go next.  This series has been going for a long time now and so much has happened in the lives of these demons that I almost understand why they need this craziness to end, but it's sad for readers to say goodbye.  This story revolves around the threat that is so often overlooked by these all powerful and deadly men and women, the humans that surround them and the inability for most of them to embrace differences in their own species much less the fact that they aren’t really the top of the food chain. With cameos by many of my favorite characters from the series, there is a lot going on in Fallon and Cyn's story, but the love between them remains the most important theme in the story, and maybe a side love story as well (wink wink, nudge nudge).  And never to be neglected, I must mention that everyone's favorite gargoyle plays an important part in this tale as well. If this really is the end, I am sad to see it but feel like I have lived with these characters through a lot.

Cyn and Fallon have been pulled into the heart of a conspiracy that could end their world and the only way they can save themselves and their world is working together... which would be easier if they could stop sniping at each other.  Cyn has lusted after Fallon since the first time he saw her, but her haughtiness and annoying way of acting around him puts him constantly on edge, even as she digs under his skin and into his heart.  Fallon has found herself in a complete culture shock, never having left the safety of her world and her father's castle, but being called to save the world is a heady experience, even if she has to work alongside the annoying and frustrating vampire.  Even as the passion heats up between them, their mission becomes even more complicated as Fallon's fiancĂ© pushes into their isolation and changes Fallon's life forever, ultimately for the good, but leaving her floundering.  As they uncover the layers of danger and battle the villains out to end their world, Cyn and Fallon will have to accept that their lives will change forever and the evil in the world will be the least of their worries if her father has his way.

Fallon is the type of woman that you have to look deeper into if you want to discover her true nature.  First meeting her, Fallon comes across as a spoiled brat, a woman that has lived in her bubble so long that she will never be able to handle a male like Cyn.  But boy would you be wrong.  As she begins to come out of her shell and truly show us the woman she is, we begin to love her more and more.  Fallon has some serious skills, ones that she has had to hide for a long time, and she is determined to use her magic to the benefit of all.  As she learns more and more about the true man that Cyn is, she begins to fall for him and when she is unable to resist him she learns that the passion of their fights makes the love between them so intense that I needed a cold shower. Fallon turned out to be a wonderful woman and she captures my imagination as well as my heart, becoming the perfect mate for Cyn in every way.  And never let it be said that a woman can't save the world!

Cyn was a layered hero, full of passion, with friendships and loyalty that bring help whenever he calls.  He has lusted after Fallon since he first saw her, but never imagined she would become so integral to his life and happiness. Being a berserker, combined with his vampire nature, makes him a serious threat to anyone that tries to come between him and what (or who) he wants.  As it becomes apparent that Fallon is the perfect woman for him, his inner beast comes out and makes more of an ass, until he finally lives up his resistance and instead puts that passion into making her his woman.  His intelligence and skill allow for them to solve the puzzles of the villain out to destroy their world, but only when he works with Fallon are they able to really win the day.  I loved Cyn even when he was being grouchy and grumpy, and he was really a great hero character. 

When Darkness Ends is a story of two people from really opposing ways of life who have to come together to save their world and all their friends and in the end fall in love while they battle.  Cyn is a kick ass warrior, used to having everything his way, but when he comes up against Fallon it becomes a case of the immovable object hitting a brick wall.   Fallon was a heroine I really loved, one that learned to stand up for herself against all enemies and advocate for herself, even though it goes against the way she has lived her very long life to this point. The sparks fly off the page whenever Cyn and Fallon are together whether they are arguing or making love and you find yourself really rooting for them every step of the way.  There are a few sad moments and some moments where you want to tell both Cyn and Fallon to think before they speak in fear or anger, but in the end they find a way and that conflict and the fact that they overcome it is what makes their relationship so strong.  The way this story ended,  I will say I am sad to see the series end, but it ended with an awesome story.  Looking forward to more from Alexandra, whether from this series or another, because I have yet to find anything she writes, even on her group projects, that I didn't love.  Keep the awesomeness coming Ms. Ivy. 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

ARC Mini-Review: Never More

Never More (The Gray Court #6)

By Dana Marie Bell

Blurb:

Amanda Pierson’s long-overdue holiday at the Dunne farm unexpectedly turns into a working vacation when she’s roped into throwing together a last-minute dream wedding for Michaela Exton and Robin Goodfellow. No biggie for one of the best party planners at Fantasy Events, Inc., right?
Right.
A monkey wrench lands with a thud when the groom’s son—who’s been watching her every move—declares they were meant to be together. Raven Goodfellow is everything she doesn’t want in a lover. Brash, bold and goth. Yet there’s something almost . . . magical about their attraction.
The moment Raven saw Amanda’s picture, he had suspicions. Now that he’s seen her in person, he’s certain. She is his truebond, though it will take a delicate, feather-light touch to bring her into his world.
Love takes wing faster than a bird in flight. But when the Dark Queen sends agents to destroy him, Raven finds himself in a desperate fight to protect all he holds dear . . . or the Dark Queen may succeed where so many others have failed.
Themes:  magick, paranormal, Fae
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
 A wonderful story of redemption for a man that once fully embodied the dark side of life, not necessarily by his choice, but that has finally found his way to the Light (for the most part at least) and has earned a truebond to balance his darker urges.  The story is one I have been looking forward to for the past two or three reads in the series, about the dark and deadly son of Robin Goodfellow, the prince of the powerful Gray Court. The way that Raven blew onto the pages during Robin’s courting of his mate was one that could have destroyed the known world, as Robin’s anger is nothing to be underestimated and discovering he had many grown children that have been turned to the Black, was certainly life altering.  As we got to know more about Raven in his subsequent appearances on the scene, I began to really root for him to find his very own truebond to keep him level and bring him the happiness he was denied for so many centuries at the hands of the Dark Queen. If you are a fan of this series and/or Shakespeare’s tales of Oberon and Titania you will still never be prepared for the full extent of this strange and varied group of people that have come together as a family. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series as I have a strong feeling I know who will get his HEA next and couldn’t be more thrilled to read that story.
Raven and Amanda’s story is one of emotional turmoil, battles for their lives, and of course the sweetness of Robin and Michaela’s wedding.  Amanda is a wedding planner that has gotten pushed not just into the deep-end but into the damn Marianna Trench of Weddings, and she also finds herself with a new man drawing her attraction and desire.  She is determined to give Robin and Michaela the wedding of their dreams, but with one of Robin’s sons telling her she is his mate and another out to kill them all, she’s in over her head, especially when she learns that almost every member of the wedding party and Robin’s little “family” are not even human.  I loved Amanda and her ability to embrace the absurd, keeping her from becoming the type of character that all women hate, a TSTL heroine.  Instead Amanda handles all the crazy changes to her reality and her life with a beautiful aplomb and quirky sense of humor.  I loved that she decided that Raven was taking too long and decided that she was going to take the bird by the feathers (sorry couldn’t resist) and seduce her man.   Raven himself was a different type of character, though we have seen the tortured hero character many times before, his ability to embrace the beauty around him, even when he was fully Dark sets him apart in my mind.  His sensuality and sweetness are apart in equal measure and it became obvious immediately that he will be a perfect mate for his Amanda and will treat her like the princess she will become, even when he is making her scream his name.  I also enjoyed his apparent intelligence and ability to outmaneuver his opponents when they tried to frame him and ultimately destroy his entire family. 
Characters, plots, setting, and continuation of the series ARCs make this story one of the most fulfilling in the story, bringing some relationships to a crucial step, expanding the Gray court to include some interesting new folks, and even bringing a few humans into the mix.  I am really looking forward to the next story and hope it is the one I think it is.   If you are a fan of Bell’s work, her Gray Court series is not to be missed, but I would definitely start at the beginning and read them all, maybe a marathon read weekend would be in order, because only by having an understanding of all the stories will you appreciate the true greatness that is Oberon and his people.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ARC Mini-Review: Protective Instinct

Protective Instinct (Moon Shifter #5.5)

by Katie Reus

Blurb:

 A woman worth fighting for…
Wolf shifter Teresa is blown away by her packmate Ryan’s honesty about his past and his rare empathic powers. She wants him in her bed—and her life. The only problem: Ryan insists they wait, because the last thing he wants is to recreate the hellish family he grew up in. Frustrated, Teresa jumps at the chance to assist a packmate off the ranch—far away from Ryan.
On the way, their vehicle is run off the road—and it wasn’t an accident. Ryan rushes to Teresa’s side, determined to protect her. But there’s a dangerous enemy lurking in the shadows, and if Ryan doesn’t break out of his old thinking and put his faith in his and Teresa’s love—and their ability to overcome obstacles together—it will be too late.
Themes:  shifters, magick, vampires, paranormal
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
Protective Instinct is the story of the long anticipated love between Ryan and Teresa, and fans of the series will not be disappointed.  Ryan and Teresa have been circling one another since the first story when their packs were integrated and they set eyes—and noses—on one another.   Reus has the amazing ability to make you fall in love with her characters and really invest in their happiness so I have been waiting a long time for Ryan to pull his head from his ass and show Teresa how important and special she is to him, and so has Teresa.  The story picks up shortly after the previous full length novel, Hunter Reborn, ends and if you haven’t read that one I have to alert to coming spoilers, because Hunter Reborn is where the passion between Teresa and Ryan really comes to a head forcing them to admit their feelings to each other.  Like all other stories in this series, there is some intensity when enemies attack, lots of emotional angst, and of course the passion inherent in wolves and humans that share their wolves with them.  I loved this story and cannot wait for more in the series. 
Ryan and Teresa are mates that have some serious issues, mainly that Ryan refuses to accept and embrace the mating and Teresa is quickly losing patience.  In the previous story Ryan finally made a verbal claim, but he is determined that Teresa spend time thinking about her decision before they mate, way more time than Teresa needs.  To get away from her frustrating mate, Teresa takes an assignment from her Alphas; never imaging the danger she would be putting herself or her mate in.  I enjoyed Teresa’s stance on not letting Ryan pussyfoot around anymore, especially since it was emotionally dragging her down, and forcing him to finally quit stalling.  She is a kickass lady with compassion, sweetness, and fierceness when protecting those she loves.  Ryan, once he wizens up, was a great character too, with seriously cool tech skills, the ability to kill just about anything standing between him and his mate and the sensuality of an alpha man at his best.  When these two finally reach a point where they can each accept the mating and give into the heated desire coursing between them it becomes almost hotter than I could handle.  I think these two, and the pup that Ryan has adopted, will make a cute little wolf family and will soon expand if the passion between them is any indication.  I am very much looking forward to whoever’s story is next in this series and of course getting to continue reading all the other great series that Ms. Reus has currently filling my physical and electronic bookshelves.  Another great addition to my collection Katie, you rock!

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Review: A Highlander's Passion

A Highlander's Passion (Highlander's Beloved #2)

by Vonnie Davis

Blurb:

 As a bear-shifter in a pack roaming the Scottish countryside, Bryce Matheson embodies brute force and untamed abandon. As a widower, he's running scared. When Bryce attempted to open his scarred heart to another, she grew tired of waiting for him to state his intentions, and the unearthly beauty spurned him for someone who wasn't worthy. But now that fate has conspired to set Kenzie Denune free once again, Bryce vows to finally win her love.
Kenzie is a witch who summons her powers to protect those too weak to care for themselves. After surviving an abusive husband, she swears off men—even men like Bryce, whose iron muscles make her knees weak, and whose piercing eyes fill her with longing. Her life's purpose is to help others. However, dark forces have different plans for her gifts. To save herself, Kenzie must team up with the shifter who has always stirred her soul—and trust in a passion powerful enough to set her blood aflame.
Themes: shifters, witches, paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
There seems to be a trend in this series that is unique, but interesting--stuffing every possible type of paranormal being and dramatic edge into one story.  Davis throws them all at us in this second installment of her Highlander's beloved story.  In book one we had to deal with a psychic who falls in love with a bear-shifting highland laird, who is currently dealing with an abusive and drug-dealing bear in his clan and in the second book there is even more going on, believe it or not.  While I will say there is a lot mashed together, Davis has a way of making everything flow smoothly and in the end you don't even realize just how much has been uncovered and thrown at you in the story.  I enjoyed seeing Kenzie come in to her own and find a way to let Bryce back into her heart even with all the trauma and sadness tearing them apart.  With beautifully vivid and detail characters, settings that will take your breath away, and a plot that will keep you twisting and turning until the very end, A Highlander's Passion takes us on a journey of love, discovery, and forgiveness that I personally will never forget.

This story picks up shortly after the previous one ends, with Kenzie moving on with her life to the best of her ability after the trauma of her husband beating her almost to death and miscarrying her child.  Every time she turns around though, she is faced with the man she has loved since she was five, the man that broke her heart TWICE already and she is determined to keep him at arm's length.  But when she begins to learn more about herself and her family's true past, Bryce is there to give her the support and strength she needs.  Bryce regrets his idiotic decision to push Kenzie away in the past and knows that he will have his work cut out for him if he ever has a chance to reclaim her love and earn her forgiveness.  But hidden truths slowly come to light that could force Bryce and Kenzie even further apart, if they let it.  So the question becomes can they find a way to get past their tragic history and find a way to love again, or will they be forever unable to come together?  And if they can come together, will Kenzie survive the danger stalking her so she can have her HEA with her big, strong, and sexy as hell alpha-bear?

Poor Kenzie has had a really really bad few years.  But she is determined to move on and find a way to have some semblance of happiness even if she cannot have the man who holds her heart as her own.  I loved seeing her embrace her newfound destiny and OMG seeing her mentor teaching her the magick she never knew she possessed was beyond amazing.  It was a lot for the woman to take in as she learned about herself, dealt with new powers, a demonic killer out to get her, ripping apart old wounds so she and Bryce could heal together, and of course finding a way to build a life with Bryce.  I can be a big enough woman to admit that every time she revealed a new secret and showed a new wound I cried for her and her loss.  I don't know many women that could handle what she has at such a young age and still leave herself open for the damage that Bryce seems unable to prevent himself from causing her.  Kenzie was the perfect woman to stand up to and with Bryce as they battle their demons--both inner and external.

Bryce, oh Bryce, whatever shall we do with you.  The man was obviously sweet and sexy, but he was oblivious to so much of the drama going around him all his life, that really you had to almost feel bad for the big bad bear-shifter.  I liked Bryce a lot in the previous book, mainly because he has such an interesting sense of humor, one that sometimes others just don't appreciate. When Bryce begins to learn secrets, we get to see the truly soft and vulnerable side of Bryce, breaking your heart a little more each time, but when he begins to support his woman, being the strength she needs to overcome the pain, you fall a little more in love with him just like Kenzie does. In the end, Bryce has to come to terms with all the mistakes that he has made and find a way to earn Kenzie's forgiveness and her love back.  I loved getting to know more about him and seeing Bryce interacting with his young daughter Colleen and of course his family, proving that he really is just a big old teddy bear.

A Highlander's Passion really revolves not only around the romantic love that Kenzie and Bryce finally get to embrace, but also the familial love that so often is neglected in novels.  Bryce is a man that has been protected from many hard truths in his past, but now he is forced to deal with all the pain and fear that comes along with those missing pieces of his history.  Kenzie is a beaten woman, but she is not broken and refuses to allow herself to dwell on the tragedies that have left her heart surrounded by a wall of ice so thick it is almost impenetrable.  But thankfully the heat of the passion between Bryce and Kenzie is able to melt that wall and allow for Bryce to sneak by her defenses.  The intensity of their love leaves me wondering if I need to find my own Scottish bear to be able to feel that passion.  Even though there is a lot going on in the world of these Bear-shifters I find myself liking this series more and more with each book and I cannot wait to read the new book in the series, most likely revolving around the third and final brother in the family.  And I really wonder just what Ms. Davis will pull out her hat next and throw into the mix for these sexy Highlander's to deal with.  If you love highlanders, shifters, witches, magick, family drama or really any type of romance you are bound to find something about this series to love,so take my advice and give it a try, I am certainly thrilled I followed my instinct and picked up these books. 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mini-Review: Beyond Limits

Beyond Limits (Tracers #8)

by Laura Griffin

Blurb:

FBI agent Elizabeth LeBlanc is still caught in the aftermath of her last big case when she runs into the one man from her past who is sure to rock her equilibrium even more. Navy SEAL Derek Vaughn is back home from a harrowing rescue mission in which he found evidence of a secret terror cell on US soil. Elizabeth knows he’ll do anything to unravel the plot—including seducing her for information. And despite the risks involved, she’s tempted to let him. Together with the forensics experts at the Delphi Center, Derek and Elizabeth are closing in on the truth, but it may not be fast enough to avert a devastating attack…
Themes:  contemporary, military, FBI
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
Finally, the tracers are back.  I have loved this series and author since the first time I picked up one of her books, and though I started with her Glasser sisters series, the tracers series stemmed from that and remains one of my favorite romantic suspense series.  The Tracers are a group of individuals that all work in police fields, mainly in Texas, and are working at or with the Delphi Center, a hugely funded and sought after forensic lab with only the best in their fields, ranging from computer forensics to forensic anthropology and everything in between.  If you are a fan of CSI type stories or stories about the good guys outsmarting the bad guys to defeat them, you will love the Tracers series and all the men and women that Griffin portrays in them.  Beyond Limits revolves around two individuals that have worked together before, FBI Agent Elizabeth and sexy Navy SEAL Derek, as they work together, somewhat reluctantly, to bring down a terrorist plot and try to prevent disaster.  But the passion between them, passion that was denied the last time they worked together, is forcing them into dangerous territory and Liz will have to come to terms with the drama that could come along in any relationship with a man like Derek.  This story was packed with drama both personal and professional for both Derek and Liz and you just didn't know if they were going to figure everything out in time or not.

Derek and Liz get off to a rocky start, mainly because they have been circling around each other for so long and Derek has been trying to convince Liz to take a chance on them.   Thrust back into each other’s path, Derek and Liza have to finally deal with all the emotional baggage coming between them and see if they have a chance at a relationship.  One that might offer them both exactly what they need and change their lives forever.  I love Derek, even though at times he was frustratingly high handed in the way he handled things with Liz.  There were times I wished he was just a bit more ready and willing to share with her and trust her with his thoughts and feelings.  Not to mention the details of the case that he played very close to the vest, keeping secrets until he was ready to share them, usually at the last minute.  But that being said he was a great character with just enough flaws to take him from superhero SEAL to lovable and sweet man, a man that Liz could truly love.  Similarly Liz had some serious issues to work through so that she could find a way to have a relationship with Derek, mainly getting over the fact that Derek was a SEAL and would never be around. Liz was a pretty interesting character in her own right, an FBI agent on the rise and one that is determined to keep the public safe, even if it means bending a few rules (or allowing Derek to), and she will make sure that she gets the job done, even at the risk of her life or the life of the man she loves. 

This story was one that revolves around the most important choice that any public servant has to make, sacrificing for the greater good, and Derek and Liz are both willing to give their last breath to keep a terrorist from killing thousands.  The plot and suspense of this story were amazingly written, with tons of  twists, secrets uncovered, and developments you never see coming.  Of course, the relationship plays a big role as they build and break trust between them and their passion fuels the fire that keeps them coming together again and again.  Derek was sexy, sweet, and determined to get his woman, even if he has to break through, climb over, or blast down the walls she's built around her heart.  Liz is just as determined that while she'll have a fling with Derek, it will never go beyond the physical need he fuels in her, but she falls hard as they face danger and the deadly truth that life and death don't always come when you expect them.  Griffin is the type of author that weaves a story that will capture your brain as well as your heart, and she even manages to sneak in a few cameos of characters that have come in previous books.  I also loved getting to meet more of Derek's team and kind of hope they get stories of their own someday.  All-in-all Beyond Limits stands up to its name beautifully, going  beyond the limits of imagination and beyond all my expectations.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series and hope that Griffin keeps the Tracers alive for many years to come.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Review: Hot Ice

Hot Ice (Hostile Operations Team #7)

by Lynn Raye Harris

Blurb:

 When fire and ice collide, you get steam…
Grace Campbell leads a privileged life. The daughter of a United States senator, she moves within the social circles of the rich and famous. But Grace is also a scientist, and when someone learns she possesses the knowledge necessary to create a new super virus capable of destroying entire nations, she becomes a target for terror groups and foreign governments alike.
Garrett “Iceman” Spencer didn’t join the Army’s elite Hostile Operations Team to babysit a spoiled rich girl, but when his superiors insist on assigning him to a senator’s daughter as her security detail, he has no choice but to comply.
It’s a shock to find that beneath the glasses and serious scowl, Grace Campbell burns hot. And Garrett, who’s been burned before, suddenly wants to immerse himself in the flames.
Keeping Grace alive—and keeping his hands off her—is a full-time job for this HOT soldier. Failure is not an option…
Themes:  contemporary, military
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
Ok so here's the deal... I love a good mystery surrounding a shadow branch of the military, mainly because there's always some bad guy that scares the hell out of me with the reality that he represents and the men are always sexy as hell alpha guys that turn out to be big squishy teddy bears when it comes to their women.  But the HOT group is even more intense than most.  The men are true badasses and the women, whether civilian or military operators alongside their men, are always smart, sexy, and kick-ass women on their own.  But the way that Harris brings these people together, against all odds, and finds a way for the couples to kick ass together to defeat the villian is a work of beatuy, a true testament to Harris’s skill as an author.  The setting of the stories varies from the darkest deepest holes of the Middle East to the splashy, glitz of DC elite, but you never know what will come next.  This story allowed us to finally get to know more about Garrett aka Iceman and see that beneath the ice he is named for lies the passionate heart of a man that has been burned and is protecting himself behind thick and deadly walls of ice.  Lighthearted these stories are not, but the intensity and danger that brings the couples together serves as almost another character, providing motivation and obstacles equally as the couples find a way to be together.  I am looking forward to more of this series and possibly future series by Harris as well.
Garrett and Grace's story begins with an attack as Grace is leaving her highly controversial job, which she luckily escapes from, but being the daughter of a senator/presidential candidate comes with some drawbacks, mainly the security details this attacks earns her.  When her father learns of the attack he contacts his new friends at HOT and she finds herself faced with the indomitable Iceman, Garett, as her new bodyguard.  When Garett meets Grace his initial estimate of her character is pretty low, mainly because he thinks he knows the kind of woman she is at first sight.   But he couldn't have been more wrong about Grace.  As they escape the men after her for her knowledge of biological "weapons" Garett finds himself more and more drawn to the sweet but fiery woman that he is seeing under Grace's shyness, but while he wants her, he is determined that the affair will be short-lived and he will keep his feelings under wraps.  But honestly the more they learn about one another the less likely it will be for Garett to be able to leave her behind in the end.  The question now is can they survive the many layers of danger they are wrapped in to even have a chance at a future together?
Damn, Garett lives up to his moniker in this story, pushing Grace away again and again and trying to make her believe he is too broken to ever have a relationship that will last.  I liked how Iceman interacted with his daughter, but seeing his heartbreak as he dealt with his Ex and the way he punished grace for his ex's mistakes seriously pissed me off.  If he'd compared Grace to Melissa one more time I was going to have to kick his butt!  But thankfully in the end he realized that Great was NOTHING like his bi***y ex and she deserved a chance at his heart and future.  It was awesome to see Garett wiggle his way of danger, physically with the bad guys and emotionally with Grace, but his true sweetness comes through when he is supporting Grace as she deals with the drama in her life.  I would have liked to see Garett come to his senses sooner, but all in all his stubbornness serves its purpose and makes him a good match for Grace and her determination. 
Grace was an enigma, a sexy, passionate woman wrapped in the skin of an introvert with serious issues of shyness and fear of crowds, covered by the social regalia of a lady that knows her way around any social function.  The layers of this woman really were endless and I’m glad I don't have to deal with as much as she does.  She simply wants to work on her science so that she can help people, but with her father's position and prestige she is forced time and again to work a crowd and show off her social abilities, but never as well as she does when she has Garett's support.  I loved Grace's character... there's no other way to say it.  To list all her attributes would take up way to many pages but I’ll start with sexy, brilliant, modest, smartass, sweet, loving, determined, stubborn, and the list goes on.  When she butts heads with Garett her true nature shines through and she finds a way to make him accept that she might look it, but she's no shy reserving miss that can't handle what he dishes out.  They really are the perfect match.  The only drawback for me, or missing element I guess, is that I would have liked to see how Grace interacts with Cammie, before she and Garrett take the plunge and commit in the end.  Even though I’m sure they would be a great family, seeing that relationship be built would have been interesting. 
As a whole, Grace and Garett are a match through and through.  Grace is the type of woman that every girl wants to grow up to be, ignoring the "princess" part of their life.  Strong, mostly independent, intelligent, successful, and willing to sacrifice for others, Grace also has the little bit of smartass and badass she needed to stand up to Garett's more forceful alpha personality.  Garett was the type of man that would typically make me nuts, but seeing him slowly open his heart to Grace, however reluctantly, showed me that he was in fact capable of some growth.  The intrigue and betrayals that these two had to deal with on their journey was well written, beautifully plotted, and full of twists and turns.  Though I’m still really not sure if Ian Black is a bad or good guy, I’m hoping to see more of him in the future and maybe seeing him even get his own story.  For now though, I will settle for more of the sexy HOT guys and the women that manage to capture them.  Keep the great stories coming Lynn and I’ll keep spreading your greatness.
*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.