Extreme Honor (True Heroes #1)
by Piper J. Drake
David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier’s toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope’s Crossing kennel can break through the animal’s grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility…and into Atlas’s heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde’s mesmerizing effect isn’t limited to canines. But when Lyn’s work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.
Lyn realizes that David’s own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he’s gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else—and he’s willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn’t want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both…
His kiss wasn’t light or gentle or teasing. His lips came down on hers with heat and firm pressure. His hand moved from her chin to cup the back of her head, urging her to tilt for him. She did, opening her mouth and giving him access, too. His tongue swept in, hot and searching. She answered in kind and they explored each other.
This was . . .wow. More than wow. Heat swept through her and she reveled in the sensation he sent coursing throughout her body with his kissing.
It was a long time before he let her up for air and when he did, she realized she was clutching the front of his shirt with both hands. Oh hey. How about that?
“You need to get over this.”
Shocked, she started to step back but David’s hand was still on the back of her head and his other arm came around her waist. Tucked against him, she looked up to see him glaring at Atlas through the chain-link fence.
The big dog had reared up and put his front paws on the fence.
“You can deal,” David said to Atlas. “Don’t even tell me you gave Calhoun this kind of interference when he was with somebody.”
Butterflies tickled her and she buried her face in David’s chest as she giggled.
“What? That’s seventy-five pounds of canine jumping up on me if it weren’t for this fence.” Despite his words, amusement colored his tone and his arm remained firmly around her waist.
“With the two of you, there isn’t anything that can keep me worried.” She smiled up at him, enjoying the fit of their bodies against each other.
David gave her a lopsided grin. “Good. I’d like to say we make a solid team but Atlas here is working for you but not with me, if you get what I mean.”
“Ah well, he’s a free agent for the time being.” She didn’t want to ruin the mood. But it’d be stupid to pretend Atlas wouldn’t be returned to duty once they’d gotten him back to one hundred percent responsiveness. The big dog was too good to retire yet.
“True.” David pressed a kiss to her temple. “So.” She could barely believe her own audacity but the last few days, the last few minutes in particular, were all about personal evolution, apparently. “Where were we before Atlas expressed his opinion?”
Because she’d like to get back to that. And explore. In detail.
Okay, maybe she wasn’t as daring as she could be. Yet.
“Here.” David caught her mouth for another hot, fantastically mind-blowing kiss.
I have been wanting to read Extreme Honor for months now, and to be completely honest I think I might have set my expectations just a little too high for this one. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad read, it just didn't quite hit the mark for me.
The story starts off with tension between David and Lyn right off the bat. She's been sent in to help him train Atlas, a dog that he's been working with at Hope’s Crossing Kennel where he works with a couple of his ex-military buddies, and he doesn't think she has what it takes. Of course he's surprised when Atlas reacts to Lyn, the first person he's reacted to since he arrived at the kennel, and agrees to let her help out, even if he is a little skeptical.
When Lyn is attacked in her hotel David steps in and offers Lyn a place to stay and that's when their relationship starts to pick up. Unfortunately that's also when it started to fall a little flat for me. After their first initial meeting I had a hard time feeling their connection and it never really caught on for me before they were declaring their love at the end.
I was hoping the suspense would make up for the lack of romance but unfortunately the suspense was even less intriguing than their relationship. Of course there's the underlying story of what happened to Atlas' original handler, why Lyn was attacked, and the question of whether or not Atlas will get back to his former glory and move on from Lyn and David... But I never found myself fully invested in any of it.
I think that if the romance, the suspense, and even the characters were fleshed out a little more it could have been a great read and everything I was hoping it would be... Unfortunately that's just not how it worked out in this instance. Am I interested enough to continue the series? Definitely! But I've lowered my expectations in the hopes that I won't be disappointed in the end.
And don’t miss the second book in the True Heroes series, ULTIMATE COURAGE, on sale July 26, 2016!
Elisa Hall is good at starting from scratch. Leaving an abusive relationship in her rearview, she packs everything she owns into the trunk of her car and heads for refuge with her friend in Hope's Crossing, North Carolina.
Alex Rojas returned from his second deployment as a Navy SEAL to find his condo empty and divorce papers on the breakfast table. Now he's building a life for himself and his daughter at Hope's Crossing kennels training younger dogs and handlers to search and rescue, struggling to adjust to life back in the States and as a single father.
When Elisa shows up at the kennels, it's obvious she's running from something. Luckily, the dogs and trainers at Hope's Crossing are more than capable of warding off trouble. And with every minute he spends with Elisa, Alex becomes even more and more determined to protect the woman he's certain he won't be able to live without...
Piper J. Drake (or "PJ") spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre. PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award. PJ's romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.
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