When Captain Evan Loehris asked to help prep a new unit for deployment, he can’t help but balk at the choice of his partner. Captain Claire Montoya has proven to be a woman who puts her people before the rules, a trait that is risky for a member of the army. She has also proven to be the only woman that can test his legendary control.
After they nearly hit the sheets years before, they have worked together several times and been at odds every time. She thinks he is a stickler for the rules, a real life “Captain America”, and he thinks she is reckless. Underneath the animosity, there simmers a sexual tension that may not withstand the test of them being so close; can they remain just colleagues with a job to do?
When secrets start to be revealed, the pair step from the safety of boundaries enforced on them as professional colleagues. When both of them start to become the others sounding board and confidant, it’s clear that they are no longer as hostile as they first believed. Will their new found closeness stand the test of being on opposite sides of a decision that could damage careers?
The thing that struck me right away about this story was the realism in which the writer portrays the humans behind the decision making in the military. It isn’t over the top, isn’t pro military in tone, it’s just there. The writer is a military woman herself and it really shows. The military knowledge is used to compliment the tale, but I have to say I felt the balance of plot/romance was skewed slightly away from the HEA. Did I still want them to be together? Yes, but the connection between them wasn’t as strong as I expected.
Both of the characters were emotionally tortured in some way. I loved that they found solace in each other when they finally allowed each other in. Evan is a control freak, clinging to the rules in order to rectify wrongs in his past. My heart broke for him and his story; there is no way that he can ever forget or redeem himself and I was upset that a childish mistake had cost him the things he held dear. I wanted him to be happy, but I never really thought that I saw any healing in this tale. I wanted to see more progress for him in moving forward, but I suppose it wouldn’t be realistic. Claire was a different kettle of fish. She clung to the people that surrounded her, loyal to the point where she would commit career suicide to protect them. This is shown countless times with her protection of Reza, her close friend and functioning alcoholic in the army. She should turn him in and get him help but instead she just cleans up his messes and brushes it under the carpet (I didn’t like Reza. I thought he was an arse).
This book makes me want to read more from this author, but this book was really only OK for me. The characters were strong, but the emotional connexion between them felt a little hit and miss. I felt the issues that kept them apart weren’t dealt with and therefore I didn’t feel the HEA was as stable as I would like. The sex scenes were very well written and incredibly hot and the side characters were unlikeable for the most part, only having lines of redemption. I will read more from this series, but it is on the strength of the writing rather than on the storyline of the book.