Review: Honor Reclaimed by Tonya Burrows

honor reclaimedReviewed by Carrie

Jen posted my first review for Red Hot Books one year ago with the first book in this series.  I thought it was fitting to celebrate with the review of the second.  It’s been a blast chatting books with everyone and I look forward to another fun year of reviewing!

I really enjoyed SEAL of Honor and was really interested to see where the author would take the gang of ex-military misfits.  I did not realize that the hero was not an original HORNET team member but is a new character from another one of Burrows’ series (Wilde Security), which I had not read.  Fortunately, I didn’t feel lost or felt like something was missing (although I will be catching up on the other series).

Former Marine sniper Seth Harlan has been negotiating the razors edge of sanity while still striving to become a trusted part of the HORNET team.  Flashbacks of his time spent imprisoned and tortured as a POW in Afghanistan plague Seth on a near-constant basis.  The poor man is fairly crippled by this experience but is trying to fight back his demons by throwing himself in with men who share his military background.  Seth gets no help from his team members as they all feel that he’s too unstable to rely on him to watch their backs in a volatile situation.  HORNET leader, Gabe Bristow, decides to put Seth to the ultimate test when he sends him with the team back to Afghanistan to rescue a US operative that was captured by terrorists.  Even as he doubts himself, Seth is determined to return the favor by participating in the op even as it risks his fragile mind.

Phoebe Leighton is finally happy with the turnaround she’s made in her career as a photojournalist.  She gets to relate stories about real people with real struggles, like the human rights story she’s in Afghanistan for, instead of the salacious drivel she previously wrote for a sleazy tabloid.  The past comes back to haunt Phoebe when she runs into the soldier that she wrote a dirty and nearly libelous piece about.  She recognizes him but he has no idea who she is.  The chance meeting quickly gets out of control when the bad guys show.  The team puzzles out that her bad guys are their bad guys and agree to work together.  In the meantime, Seth and Phoebe keep coming back around to their mutual attraction.

Phoebe is guilt-ridden over Seth.  Yes, she felt bad about the dirty story, but seeing the broken man right in front of her causes her acute pain.  However, it’s real empathy that causes her to continue to seek to ease his discomfort.  It’s her slow steadying presence that Seth grows to rely on as his touchstone to reality.  Seth is as mentally beaten as a man can get.  He feels worthless and accepts any crap anyone throws his way.  He constantly drifts back to his time as a prisoner and his utter debasement at the hands of his captors.  Seth’s issues are given respect and the romance builds very slowly as Phoebe works to bring Seth back up to the surface.  It’s absolutely heart wrenching and made me tear up a time or two (particularly during the love scene where the extent of his injuries are revealed).  My only bummer is that the story is more of an HFN than HEA even though the prior makes more sense in keeping with the story.

The author deftly combines the romance with some high octane suspense and action.  The scenes are well paced and captivating; I could not put my kindle down.  The camaraderie is still building amongst the men as they are still getting to know each other but there’s enough trash talking and banter to get a feel for how they might relate to each other in the future.  I especially enjoyed Seth and Ian’s unlikely relationship.  I’m really eager to find out whose book will be next!

Fans of Cindy Gerard and Kaylea Cross will love this series.  I highly recommend this book for an excellent action packed romantic suspense with a truly tortured hero and a sweet yet tenacious heroine.

Rating: A-

*ARC provided by Entangled Publishing 

Click to purchase: Amazon

Honor Reclaimed
by Tonya Burrows
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Select

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