Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Course of Action - Lindsay McKenna, Merline Lovelace (HRS #1775 - Nov 2013)

Series: Sidewinders (Book 1)

Out of Harm's Way - Lindsay McKenna
After Madison Duncan is kidnapped, Navy SEAL Travis Cooper must bring her back home. He deftly recovers her from a dangerous force, but never expects such a strong attraction…and a love he never saw coming.

Madison was part of a group talking to Afghanis about their horsebreeding when she sneaked out to look at the horses.  She was kidnapped and Travis was assigned to rescue her.  He wasn't thrilled about it because it meant giving up on an assignment he'd been working on for two weeks, but he gets the information he needs and heads out.  I liked Madison even though she had been really stupid to go off on her own.  When she was taken she didn't go into hysterics but tried to think of a way to escape.  I loved the way that, as terrified as she was, when Travis killed her captors she held it together.  Besides her thankfulness that she had been rescued, she was very attracted to Travis, just as he is attracted to her.  Travis had been impressed with her strength of will, what he called "Texas steel".  I liked that he was so sure of his own feelings but wanted her to be sure of hers.  I loved the way that he didn't take advantage then, but asked if he could come see her when he got back to the States.  It was great to see them take the time to get to know each other properly before making any kind of commitment.

I loved the descriptions of the area in Afghanistan where the story took place.  It was easy to picture the caves and feel the heat and dust.  Madison's feelings of shame over her stupidity were there, as well as the effects her captivity had on her.   I liked the way that Travis explained things to her so that she knew what was going on.  I also loved the way that he helped her deal with the PR person once she arrived back at the base.  He gave her the confidence to stand up against the pressure. 

I enjoyed Travis's description of himself and his friends from high school and how they all ended up doing the same line of work.  It gave a good background/setup to this series of stories.  I'm looking forward to reading about all of them.

Any Time, Any Place - Merline Lovelace
Duke Carmichael, an Air Force combat controller, takes on an assignment to smoke out a terrorist. His cover is to be the husband of his new partner, gorgeous operative Anna Solov. When they receive conflicting orders, can they trust their own instincts--and each other?

This story was pretty much non-stop action from the beginning.  Duke and Anna were coworkers at a conference when they were assigned to track down a terrorist in the Ukraine.  Anna's family is from the area and she is fluent in the language.  Duke is less so, but his special forces abilities are needed to help keep Anna safe.  Their cover is that of a honeymooning couple.  There is a lot of action as they spot the bad guy, lose him, and then he finds them.

Anna is not impressed with Duke when she first meets him.  He is very sure of himself and his appeal to the ladies and he tries flirting with her.  She is still grieving the death of her fiance three years earlier and isn't interested.  She can't deny his physical appeal though.  She's not very happy to have to pose as a couple during the operation.  It doesn't take her too long to realize that it's because he appeals to her too much and that threatens the emotional safety she has developed since then.  I loved seeing her fight the feelings that were growing between them until she could no longer deny them.  Anna also had a great deal of courage.  Her ability to keep her head both times she encountered the bad guy seriously impressed Duke.

Duke has always been one of the top Sidewinders at getting in good with the ladies.  He is drawn to Anna right away and tries his usual flirtatious methods, and gets shot down quickly.  I love how he doesn't let it get him down for long.  When he and Anna are assigned to work together on the op I like how he gives her the respect due her abilities but also makes sure she knows to listen to him when he needs her to.  I had a great deal of fun watching him milk the whole honeymooning couple cover.  It was also interesting seeing him start to think of making their cover real and how much that surprised him at first.  I loved his intensity and focus during that final scene and how it brought home to him just how much he cared.  In the epilogue I loved his conversation with his friends, and the scene with Anna's Aunt's quilt was hysterical!

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