I can’t remember the last time I read a satisfyingly good SEAL story, so when I saw the blurb on this story, I think a hooyah might have escaped my lips. This is my first Vonnie Davis story and I was really excited by a few things – 1) content 2) new author as I’m always looking for another good author to read 3) in your face alphaness (yeah, that’s a word).
Kelcee Todd is running for her life. She’s in the witness protection program with her new identity and her new life in a small and mystical town in the Hill Country of Texas. Since arriving in town, Kelcee’s job at the local book store was able to offer her a semblance of normal and security. When the owner dies and leaves the store, building and some other duties to Kelcee, she’s more than happy with her lot in life. Dustin Frank is a recovering SEAL team member who’s stateside recovering from a devastating loss. On his last mission, Dustin lost a good friend and teammate along with part of his leg. After his inpatient rehab, his old OIC ZQ invites Dustin down to Eagle Ridge Ranch for the remainder of his recovery.
Part of Dustin’s rehab is keeping his days occupied as a way to manage/control his PTSD, so ZQ makes a proposition – help Kelcee remodel the bookstore. It turns out that Dustin’s an architect (I didn’t see that coming) and he’s the perfect guy to help Kelcee. Let’s say their initial meeting is a bit tumultuous and includes the introduction of a ‘teacup ass’ conversation that repeats itself ad nauseam. After their meeting, I’m not sure when the sparks flew because I didn’t feel them, but Kelcee and Dustin started something. It felt kind weird to me because he called her the first day, and their flirting and chatter felt a little juvenile.
Dustin’s PTSD is the only part of his character that I found interesting and it was a bit PTSD 101 the way something, anything, would initiate a memory and he would mentally retreat for a space of time. Kelcee was willing and unable to help, but she tried. His missing leg was secondary and Kelcee handled that way too easy. I’m not sure why it wasn’t okay for her to be shocked or trepidatious when he initially showed her his stump. I thought that would have been a time to educate her about the care and management of the stump, not just kiss it and move on.
Kelcee’s past could have been so much more interesting I thought. Her background was revealed, dealt with and she moved on. A little callously, I thought. There wasn’t much like from me for her. She came off as just blah without dimension, gumption or grace.
Probably my biggest reasons for not caring so much for his story are ZQ, JJ, ZQ’s mother, Clint and Fran. That’s a lot isn’t it? But ZQ’s dialogue was ridiculous and silly. JJ and his dog Nance were an interesting pair, but there’s a lot to not be desired there. Plus I can’t stand dreadlocks on anyone – why? because they’re nasty. ZQ’s mother dialogue was ridiculous and silly; ‘fudge and buttermilk’ as cusswords don’t jive with me when adults are the only audience. Clint, the US Marshall, could have been so awesome. I was hoping for someone like Marshall Samuel Gerard (from The Fugitive) but what I got was not that. Then there’s Fran, Clint’s wife – silliness galore, I was ready for her to just be quiet and sit down somewhere.
There were some sex scenes but interestingly there wasn’t a lot of attention given to the aforementioned ‘teacup ass’. This is the first in Davis’s ‘Black Eagle Ops,’ but I won’t be continuing with the series.
Happy reading folks!
*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Vonnie Davis
Release Date: July 19, 2016