Review: Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

hold your breathReviewed by Joanna

A romance based around ice-rescue diving – this was a new one on me, but it’s a good one, too. Lou Sparks has escaped a life of duty and constraint, plus one controlling a-hole ex, and moved to the Rocky Mountains. She gets a cozy little cabin, a job in a café and starts training with the local ice-rescue team. Because story. Her instructor, Callum, is stern, serious, super good-looking and in total control. Until Lou brings a little chaos his way.

This is a sweet romance but also a murder mystery, as Lou finds a body in a frozen reservoir on a practice dive. The police are on the case, but she decides to do her own investigation, and Callum offers to help. He thinks she’ll get herself into worse trouble on her own.

He’s quietly into her, but Lou is no instalove heroine waiting for a guy to come her way. She’s one cool chick and is more inclined to want to mess with his tidy streak than flirt directly.

Now, other things start happening to our girl – her car tires get slashed; there’s footprints in the snow outside her bedroom window, and it’s clear she has a stalker. For a few chapters of the book, we move to his perspective, the stalker’s, and dude’s a creepy creeperson.

So there are three things going on. First, is the emerging romance, which is nicely done with casual touches, grumpy jealousy and cozy evenings in each other’s company (cos of Lou’s stalker, Cal won’t leave her to sleep alone – love this sort of forced proximity.)  Then, we’ve got the stalker issue and the identification –plus, the headless dead guy. All against a backdrop of a snowy, icy wilderness. A bit Fargo-esque.

The story pace is good and we gets lots of Cal and Lou time, which is what a romance reader wants even if the love-stuff is bubbling under with no great drama.  I liked them both and I wanted them to work out. He’s bossy and orders her about. He has an impassive look most of the time, except when he’s wearing the disappointed-in-you one. But Lou makes him happy. He’s almost as surprised by this as everyone else. Lou’s fun, not ditzy, but she does stumble a bit through life, normally in front of Callum. She’s a spark of crazy in his ordered life, and they are cute together.

But check this – there are at least 4 alternative hot guys in this book. One of the other divers, two hot cops and one hot fireman, Ian, who the second book is about. So if it didn’t work out with Cal, girl had options. It’s HEA, so she doesn’t take them, but just saying.

There are a few loose ends that are left untied, so I’ve got the next book, Fan the Flames, and will read on.

Enjoyable and sweet.

Rating: B

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Hold Your Breath
by Katie Ruggle
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

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