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Navy SEALs

REVIEW:  Getting Hotter by Elle Kennedy

REVIEW: Getting Hotter by Elle Kennedy

Dear Ms. Kennedy:

I’ve really enjoyed this series you have written for Samhain and my biggest regret were that they were novellas and not full length stories. Getting Hotter is the first full length novel and while I enjoyed it, so much of the text was given to building up the secondary romance that I wondered if I was just getting to novellas in one story.

Getting Hotter Elle KennedySeth Masterson is part of the infamous SEAL team based out of San Diego. He’s had the good fortune (according to his teammates) of being raised with a number of Las Vegas showgirls. His mother was one and she still works in the show. One of the younger dancers is Miranda Breslin and ever since Seth saw her dancing on the stage, he’s wanted her in his bed. A heavy rain fall resulting in flooding of Miranda’s apartment places Miranda conveniently under his roof.

But Miranda is the mother of twins and she doesn’t do one night stands. She doesn’t really have the time for it. When she does have time to look, it will be for a guy who wants to marry and settle down. When Miranda moves to San Diego to open up her own dance studio, Seth begins to pursue Miranda with determination. I struggled with why Seth kept after Miranda when she was a parent and he did not like children. It was explained that Seth was having a hard time even enjoying sex with other women and he needed to get Miranda out of his system.

Miranda was realistically drawn as a busy single mom with a new business. It made sense that, despite all her self warnings, she gave in to Seth’s dogged attentions. She deserved to do something nice for herself and Seth was better than a massage and a facial.

The flirtation between Miranda and Seth; the dialogue between Seth and his roommate Dylan; and the banter between Seth and his teammates are a delight to read. It’s funny yet natural. I think the Elle Kennedy books should have a tagline that says something like “She gives good dialogue.”

I liked the idea of a romance between a guy who simply refused to have children and a woman who already had two kids because the conflict is both understandable and seemingly insurmountable. Seth’s aversion to them is well drawn and Miranda’s children respond in kind. They can tell he doesn’t like them or at least feels uncomfortable about them. The fact that they know he doesn’t like them makes it all the more awkward.

“And we don’t like you,” Sophie added.

“So-phie!”

Seth swiftly held up his hand to silence them, not in the mood for round two. “Listen, kid.” He shot Sophie a look that usually made grown men cower, and yet didn’t get so much as a blink from the six-year-old. “I don’t care whether you like me or not.”

“That’s ’cause you don’t care ’bout anything,” she shot back. “Because you’re mean. And I don’t like it here!”

“Soph!” Jason’s face was so red he looked like a little dark-haired tomato.

“It’s fine,” Seth told the boy. “Look, it doesn’t matter anyway, because you guys won’t be here for much longer. You’re going back to your place tomorrow or the day after, remember? And FYI, I’m not mean.”

Sophie smirked. “Are too.”

“Are not.”

Are too.

Holy sweet baby Jesus, was he actually playing the Are-Not Game with a six-year-old?

The secondary romance takes place between one of the SEAL members who believes he is straight but finds himself attracted to another man. He admits that he’s fooled around with men before, but only in the context of a ménage with a woman. This idea that he might be gay takes a little while for him to get used to.

Obviously for the Seth and Mirnda to have an HEA Seth would have to come to love children. Or at least Miranda’s children. This happened too quickly, as if he was able to turn an internal switch and all of a sudden became comfortable playing with Miranda’s girls based on some emotional breakthrough. B-

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Scorched by Laura Griffin

REVIEW: Scorched by Laura Griffin

“The dead don’t speak, but Kelsey Quinn knows their secrets. As a forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center crime lab, Kelsey makes it her mission to identify bodies, often using no more than shards of bone. Her find at a remote Philippines dig hints at a sinister story. When Kelsey’s search for answers puts her at the scene of her ex-fiancé’s murder, only one man can help her–the man who broke her heart months before and is also a prime suspect.

Faced with an ultimatum—Kelsey or his job—Gage Brewer did the only thing a Navy SEAL could . . . but that doesn’t mean he stopped wanting Kelsey. Now Kelsey is running for her life and Gage is her last line of defense.”

Dear Ms. Griffin:

My reaction to the last book “Twisted” had me worried and frankly I was holding my breath with this one. I did end up with a few tiny issues but overall this one is back to what I hope for in a Laura Griffin romantic suspense book.

Laura Griffin ScorchedThe plots of these books always sound plausible. I might have issues with the way some of the characters act and react but as far as the driving force behind what gets the action going, I don’t have to suspend belief and just go with it. And the plots are scary as hell – usually. The break from a serial killer villain is appreciated. Now we’re on to mass murder. Is this worse – more victims in total, or better in that I’m not worried throughout the story for individuals who might fit the profile? I’m conflicted on that but the evil level is still maintained throughout.

What happens is a clever mix of real events and dreaded scenarios. I hate to use the hackneyed phrase “torn from the headlines of a newspaper” but, honestly, the plot could be. Thanks for keeping it real.

Isn’t it nice for the unsuspecting American populace that trained SEALs are there who are cool as ice under pressure? And have had their anthrax vaccines? Hmmm, I’m not sure about that phrase “Froggie sense” that Gage’s teammates use to describe his sixth sense of danger since for me it conjures visions that are more cute than that of finely honed warrior instincts. Thank God the description of the SEALs here is not quite to the worship stage of other authors but still enough to get a good feeling that these men can handle whatever is thrown at them and are not going to back down. More “cool, man” than “OMG, I’m so in awe!” of them.

I love the details of Kelsey and later Gage doing what they do best. Even if they’re sort of grim details it gives the characters authenticity and veracity to their speculations later on. But how does Kelsey think she’s going to be able to waltz into the Delphi center – with all its id checks – and not realize the FBI will catch on to the fact that she’s there?

The tension is built up, then lowered down a touch, then built a bit higher, then relaxed a little then slowly raised to bursting point. It’s not like a roller coaster but more in gentle inclines but the payoff is still boss. I have a niggle though, at the out that Kelsey offers to the SEALs at the end. Really, she thinks they might say “nah, we think we’re done here. You take it from now on” and give up at the last minute? And what does she know about what needs to be done? She loves her man and wants to help but, jeez! Jane and I chatted a bit about this issue and she, rightly, pointed out that Kelsey has a scientifically trained mind and isn’t one to get all squirrely under pressure.

Love the way one final person gets caught. Fucking genius. At times I might wonder about the intelligence of the FBI but here it’s abso-fucking-lutely great. Big smile time.

Initially as I read it, I thought the love story didn’t work as well for me as the suspense. Then I thought back and realized it does work. There are fabulous reasons that Gage and Kelsey initially broke up – and they match what I’ve heard are the standard issues for the rockiness of SEAL marriages. Plus there’s the geography of Gage stuck in either of two US locations where SEALs are stationed and Kelsey in mid country in a dream job. It would be next to impossible for either to just pick up and find a similar job in closer proximity to each other. Plus Gage’s initial concentration on sex with Kelsey with no expectation of it being more for them kinda sucks. Sure, as a relief valve for the pressure they’ve been under, I can see but Kelsey is aware that Gage isn’t thinking long term commitment. As I’m reading this, I’m thinking that these two a polar lengths apart and how could they ever work through these issues. It’s only after the fact that it becomes clear that the whole book is set up to allow this.

Gage and Kelsey both knew how important each others’ jobs are but here they get to see the other in action and it finally becomes crystal clear how damned good each is at what he/she does and how important these jobs are. As Kelsey becomes a target, Gage finally realizes what she went through worrying about him when he was in combat. It’s the proverbial “Ahhh haa, the light dawns” moment. And right when Kelsey tells him what she wants in the future, and that she now knows she won’t get it from him because she can see what being a SEAL is really all about, he begins to shift to knowing that he wants to be the man in her future. The transition works for me. Instead of a book where I can’t buy into the change of heart needed to bring two people together who’ve been written so far apart, here I can see it happen.

The time added on to the end of the story helps and the fact that both of them are willing to give in order to make this work is a fantastic beginning to the next stage of their relationship.  B

Jayne

 

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