Thursday, March 14, 2013

All Riled Up - Lori Foster (HQN - Feb 2013)

Series: Men of Courage (Books 1 and 2)

Fireman Ethan Winters ran headlong into a burning building to find Rosie Carrington.

For Rosie, the heat in Ethan's eyes was enough to start a three-alarm blaze!

Good story, novella length, only 104 pages, but there was a lot packed into those pages. I loved both Rosie and Ethan.  Ethan and Rosie had known each other for a long time and had been friends forever.  They had stayed friends even when her brother ran off with Ethan's fiancee.  Rosie was tired of watching Ethan waste his time with one night stands since then.  She had been in love with him for years and finally decided to do something about it.  Meanwhile, Ethan suddenly started noticing her as something more than a friend but didn't want to risk their friendship by making advances to her.  I loved her interactions with the guys.  She was honest and uncomplicated and had no trouble lighting into them.  I loved the way she kept Ethan off balance with her comments and actions.  When Ethan finally realized that he wanted Rosie he didn't waste any time going after her.  He had some issues to deal with from his jilting but Rosie did a great job of helping him with those.  I really enjoyed the way that he was so modest about his hero status, but it was so obvious that he was exactly that.  The ending of the story was great with the way he surprised Rosie.  This story was also an introduction to Regina and Riley and the background of their story.

Regina Foxworth has no clue why an unknown assailant is out to get a small-town reporter like her. Or why the police won't take her concerns seriously. So Regina gets a guard dog -- make that a four-pound "guard" Chihuahua! -- and signs up for self-defense classes. But defending herself is not on her mind when sexy instructor Riley Moore has her pinned to the mat.

With Regina vulnerable beneath him on his gym floor, Riley breaks out in a possessive sweat. He wants her, but first he has to protect her. She needs more than her "don't-muss-my-hair" style of defense and that ridiculous so-called dog. Riley is ex-SWAT -- and his new life as an evidence tech hasn't softened his lethal training one bit. But Regina isn't quite the princess she seems, and she's about to catch him off guard!

Very good story.  Regina doesn't know why she is being attacked.  She has tried the police but they don't take her seriously so she goes to Riley at his gym for lessons in self defense.   As a former SWAT cop and current CSI he understands her fears and wants to help her.  He also wants to get a lot closer to her.  

I loved Regina and Riley.  Because of a chaotic childhood she is now very precise and proper.  Being around Riley seriously messes with her calm but she knows she needs him.  In spite of her fears I really liked her strength of will.  She wasn't going to let anything stop her from doing her job.  I also loved the way that she seemed to really understand Riley.  She also had some confidence issues from having a crappy ex-fiance.  It didn't take too long to overcome those when Riley really turned his charm on her.  I loved her little "guard" dog and the way she picked him out at the shelter.  The dog played several key roles in the story.

Riley was great.  He was definitely a big, tough macho kind of guy with some really awesome skills.  I really liked the way that he actually listened to Regina's concerns and took them seriously.  I loved watching him struggle with his attraction for Regina as he tried to do the right thing first before he gave in.  He had some issues in his past that he was really struggling with and I really liked seeing the way he was able to open p with Regina about them.  His protectiveness towards her was sweet and I loved his confrontation with her ex.  I really liked the way he was so good with the dog (once he stopped laughing at it).  He had some great scenes with it.  He had great interactions with his friends and his dealing with their teasing about Regina was wonderful.  Loved the final confrontation scene and the slight twist it had.  I definitely want to read about the other two guys. 

Riley was originally released as Harlequin Temptation #930 in June 2003

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