I don’t usually read m/f romantic suspense, but the description of this book reeled me in. The heroine –Lia– is hiding out in a small Rocky Mountain town from a deadly cartel, when Ash knocks on her door looking to rent a room. She is damaged on the inside, but he is damaged inside and out by his service in Afghanistan. They recognize something kindred in each other, and a friendship is born. As it turns into something more, all of Lia’s secrets begin to come out, and Ash puts himself on the line to keep her safe.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, though I did have a few small complaints. Ash is great hero material. He is strong, but also vulnerable because of his injuries and PTSD. At first, we really only see the vulnerability in Lia, but her strength becomes apparent as her story unfolds.
I liked the way the relationship between these two evolved. The way Lia took on the role as Ash’s caretaker was a little flimsy, but otherwise I believed in the steady growth of their relationship. I liked their friendship and the little glimpses of something more. This was a slow burn –and it needed to be. In fact, once we learned the details of Lia’s history, it was hard for me to believe she could ever let a man touch her at all. I like that she had a chance to be a white knight for Ash before he returned the favor to come to her rescue as well.
I felt like I really understood Lia’s character, especially once I learned what happened to her. It was a little less so with Ash. We know he’s a war hero and a good guy, but that’s about it. It’s enough, I guess, for the story’s purpose, but I would have liked to have known him better, especially since he was the draw for me to pick up the book. Overall, though, I liked him –and I liked him with Lia, which is the most important thing.
The things that I liked less about the book all had one thing in common –that they felt over the top. Lia’s history for instance? I expected bad, but not that bad. It was… a lot. Then, there was how Ash resolved things. I don’t want to spoil the details, but again, nothing so simple as testifying against the bad guy or just blowing him away. It’s all so… unrealistic. Now I said at the beginning that this isn’t my normal genre. Maybe it’s just accepted that you go big or go home. But it gave me pause.
The book does live up to the promise of its premise, and it’s the start of a new series. So if wounded warriors are your cuppa tea and you like Dire Circumstances with a side of Extreme Measures, I’d suggest you give this one a try.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Anna del Mar
Release Date: February 22, 2016
Publisher: Carina Press