The Way of the Warrior
by Suzanne Brockmann, Julie Ann Walker , Catherine Mann , Tina Wainscott , Anne Elizabeth, M.L. Buchman , Kate SeRine , Lea Griffith
To honor and empower those who've served, all author and publisher proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2002 and provides a wide range of programs and services to veterans and service members who have survived physical or mental injury during their brave service to our nation. Get involved or register for programs and benefits for yourself and your family online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Themes: military, contemporary, anthology
Rating: 4.25 stars
There are so few chances in this world for people to make a difference with something as simple as picking up a book, but I am humbled to say I have been given the chance to read and review the newest short stories that have been compiled for the best of causes--supporting our wounded soldiers and their families. This anthology of stories revolves around military warriors and the women they fall in love with, written by eight well-loved and remarkable authors for a great benefit to others. Each story will have its own level of greatness so I will be giving a brief review of each and then a final review of the book as a whole. Please join me in supporting this beneficial cause by doing the one thing we all love to do... buying more books!!
1. Hot as Hell by Julie Ann Walker
Julie Ann Walker's addition to this compilation is actually a prequel to her new Deep Six trilogy, all about the lives of a former SEAL team that are running an excavation company now. This is the story of one of their team and his connection with a sexy and sensual ambassador's aid during a dangerous rescue in the Middle East. The story itself is very short but full of passion and sweetness, not to mention an amazing introduction to what will be an obviously amazing group of men. Even with its short length Hot as Hell manages to hit all the right buttons and give a truly romantic telling of a love that I hope to see more of in the coming stories. Michael and Harper are both interesting characters, but we only skim the surface of them really and I kind of wished they'd gotten a full-length novel too. I am looking forward to learning more about the men of the team we met and meeting the rest of the team as well. Looks like another great series is coming to us from one of my favorite contemporary authors, especially if these men are anywhere as near badass as the men of Black Knights Inc. Cannot wait to see the mischief they get into and the women that ultimately tame them and steal their hearts.
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating: 4
2. In Plain Sight by Catherine Mann
Wow I’m even more thrilled that I grabbed up this anthology, I didn’t realize at the time that a novella for one of my favorite series, one that has been stalled a while now, was included. Gavin and Stacy's story was a wonderful and beautiful surprise, giving me closure after seeing him almost die in previous novels in the series. Gavin is just as great a character as he was in previous novel as he comes to terms with the changes in his life and returns home to the one woman that got away--just in time to save her life from a mistake that haunts her from her past. Stacy never imagined her life would come full circle, giving her another chance at the life she always wanted with Gavin, but it was so well written I could easily imagine this happening in reality. Gavin was sensual and sweet, even as he worked to overcome his inadequacies and keep Stacy safe from a killer. Stacy has finally decided that she has a reason to embrace life again and Gavin gives her the strength to battle her own demons and protect them both. It was great to see some old friends and I’m hoping this passionate and sensual novella is a return to the Elite series, which I have greatly missed. Catherine, you are just evil to give us this little glimpse without a promise of the next story coming soon...evil but still awesome!
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 4
3. Torn by Kate SeRine
Well, well, childhood sweethearts find very much adult love in this story by an author I am unfamiliar with, but will keep an eye out for in the future. Torn revolves around a couple that have been friends all their lives and never admitted to each other the true depth of their feelings, but when a psycho stalker forces them to come to terms with each other the heat is blinding and the sweetness of their love is apparent in each touch and smile. I very much enjoyed Joe and Sadie's story and would like to read the stories of his brothers if that possibility comes along, as they seem like an interesting family of lawmen. Sadie was a sweet character, one that you could easily dismiss as just a bit of fluff, but she is obviously strong as steel at her core. Joe has had a really rough time dealing with the changes that come for a wounded warrior when they return to their homes, but he is going to make it with the love of a good woman at his side and his own determination to return to the man he's forgotten still exists behind the scars and fear. A great picture of the life of a wounded guardsmen, one of the many that have been called into battle with no expectations or real understanding of what they’d be facing. The story was full of love, passion, and very well written, so I’m going to keep my mind open to SeRine in the future if I see her name come up for reviews.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 4
4. War Games Lea Griffith
Wow, I really did not see this one coming at all!! Let’s just start this off by saying that this short story starts with a prison break from Leavenworth and ends with a secret agency fighting a conspiracy against dirty government officials… can you say AWESOME? There was so much subtext and so much going on in this short novella that I found my head spinning a time or two. Olivia seems like a super intelligent woman, one that will give all for her convictions, and I enjoyed meeting her, though I would have loved to gotten more of her in a longer story. Rook was an intense and sensual guy when he wasn’t threatening Olivia’s life, but the connection between them was REALLY fast and intense. Literally within hours of meeting each other they were about to rip each other’s clothes off and commit to a relationship. I guess it’s true what they say about intense situations creating connections, but the writing was so well done it was actually pretty believable. I am curious to see if this story is the beginning of a new series and will be keeping eyes and ears open to find out for sure, because I’d really love to learn more about this ENDGAME thing and the new agency she created in the story. Definitely an author to keep a look out for.
Rating: 3 stars
Heat Rating: 4
5. Beauty and the Marine by Tina Wainscott
Ok so that was weirdly intense for such a short story. Wainscott's contribution to this anthology about warriors focuses on a marine that has returned home to hide from the scars left by a fire during war. He's hiding on his family property and as offered their hunting resort for a safe place to be used by a team of security specialists protecting a model. Kristy has a stalker and she is determined to get him off her back, no matter what it takes, but when she meets Griff, she instantly feelings a connection to the man. Griff's scars don't put her off in the least and when it's time for her to return to the city, she asks Griff to come with her so they can have a chance at a relationship. The story was interesting, though one I have basically read before in longer versions by other authors. There were some funny moments and some fun moments, but I didn't really connect with this story like I have the previous ones in this group. Overall a decent read, but not the best in the bunch to me.
Rating: 2.75 stars
Heat Rating: 3
6. NSDQ by M.L. Buchman
Awww what a sweet and heartwarming story about a wounded female warrior Superwoman and the Superman who stole her heart. I enjoyed very much seeing the healing story about Lois and Kendall, even with the few moments of real intensity as she relived the crash where she lost her leg again and again. Kendall was such a real sweetheart, while remaining a strong influence in Lois's life. I really liked his character and would have loved to see him have gotten a full length novel. Lois herself was a role model for sure and I am thrilled to have gotten to see how she grew into an even stronger woman with the love of her man. I've never read any of Buchman's work, but after reading this I might just have to pick some up to see if they are any steamier when they are longer. A great twist on the expectation of the wounded warriors all being big strong alpha men.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 2
7. SEALed with Passion by Anne Elizabeth
Well Jonah and Alisha's story is a perfect example of the important of communication in any relationship. For being such a short story there was certainly a lot of changing of minds, hearts, and coming together of bodies in this story about two former lovers getting a second chance at love. I loved seeing Jonah and Kevin interacting and knowing that the deep bond between them made them more than brothers, and of course having two sets of best friends be coupled up makes the future so much brighter for them all. Alisha's passions ran high in everything she did and when she learned the truth of why they weren't together the past five years, she is quick to remedy the damage and claim her SEAL for herself. I enjoyed the story and the characters even if the writing wasn't my favorite and the dialogue was a bit odd at times. I may just have to check this author out if my TBR pile ever shrinks. Short, sweet, sexy and full of hope, SEALed with Passion was a great story for this anthology and would make a great stand-alone novella too.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 4
8. Home Fire Inferno by Suzanne Brockmann
Well I guess after a long book with many stories of people finding love, it's only fair that the last story revolve around what comes after that love is found. This brief glimpse into an interesting and obviously prolific SEAL team and their families was entertaining, sweet and a snapshot of a true extended family--one that came together by choice instead of by blood and filled with love. Babies born, new romances begun, little hints of past couples in what I’m guessing is a long series and even some intensity with drama and danger as they all work together to avert tragedy. I liked the author's writing as well, though the way she broke up the story was odd to me and I’d be wary if the full length ones were done this way as well. All in all a cute and lovable way to end the anthology.
Rating: 3 stars
Heat Rating: 0
So to wrap up my review, I will have to say that I loved this book as a group, each story flowing nicely from heated intensity to loving sweetness. There were plenty of little dramas, intrigue, and glimpses into several series I am looking forward to. The warriors in each novel were all strong characters, both male and female, and I loved seeing them working to get past the changes in their lives. I am thrilled to have had the chance to read and review an early copy of this novel and you can bet I will buy my own copy and several more for friends and family. Supporting such a wonderful cause, doing something I like to anyway, and making sure that people know about such a worthy cause and this easy way to give back to so many soldiers that have given their lives to keep us safe. Being a military brat of several generations, I felt deep connections with all the wounded warriors and am more than willing to share the word with the world.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.
As a personal plea, keep in mind that even helping a bit for these men and women is great. Giving money for support is important, but consider giving time as well, working on one of the projects they often have going on that need volunteers. Giving of yourself, like they have given to us, is the best way to thank and pay your respects to these warriors and their families. For more info see the website below: