solid 3.5 stars
So, I've confused myself. In my review of One Night with a Hero by Laura Kaye I set out some of the things that irritate me about military/ special ops/ thriller/ romances. And this book has most of them, and yet, it's totally different! Go figure.
Yes the hero is a former Marine, yes he is 'damaged', yes he comes from a terrible childhood, abandoned by his mother at the age of five, never being fostered, watching most of his team die in Afghanistan. And yet, John Palmer's 'damage' is that he is in a wheelchair. Other than that, he is a well-adjusted, normal man. He has concerns that a woman as bubbly and sexy as Shannon Murphy could ever want a relationship with a man like him. He also has genuine concerns that he might not be able to have sex because of the damage to his spine. He also talks to himself and tells himself to get a grip and take a chance – something that none of the other so-called heroes in these kind of novels are man enough to do. I suppose what I am trying (badly) to say is that John Palmer feels like a real man with real issues and concerns rather than a cardboard cut-out – the sort of man I would like to meet and talk to.
Yes Shannon has a stalker in her past, yes she appears to be his target again, or of a copycat. Yet, again in contrast to other novels of this broad genre, she immediately informs the hero of all the slightly disturbing things that have happened. She tells him the name of her stalker and the prison in which he is incarcerated. She acts stupidly once, going onto her own porch, and immediately realises she was stupid – and doesn't do it again! Again, an intelligent heroine – what a relief!
When John gives Shannon a tennis bracelet with a tracking device implanted she misinterprets the gesture momentarily and thinks he has bought her jewellery. As with most romances this is a cue for hurt feelings. But … John's friend calls it like it is – tells him he has hurt Shannon's feelings and that she clearly likes him.
OK, the stalker was blindingly obvious from very early on – that doesn't detract from the fact that this was (in my opinion, others may disagree) an intelligent special ops/ military/ romance/ thriller which shone a different light on what is an overworked genre.
On the strength of this I have bought the prequel (free on Amazon UK for Kindle) and the second book in the series.