by Piper J. Drake
Series: True Heroes, #3
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: December 20, 2016
She wasn’t just a childhood friend; she was his reason for breathing.
LOVE IS THE GREATEST RISK OF ALL
After multiple tours of duty, Brandon Forte returns to his hometown on a personal mission: to open a facility for military working dogs like Haydn, a German Shepherd Dog who’s seen his share of combat and loss. It also brings him back to Sophie Kim, a beacon of light in his life . . . and the one woman he can’t have. But Forte’s success means he’s made enemies in high places. Enemies who are now after Sophie . . .
When Forte enlisted and left without saying goodbye, Sophie did her best to move on. But with her first love back in town, looking sexier than ever, she’s constantly reminded of what they could have had. Then after he risks himself for her, Sophie realizes she’ll have to put her life in the hands of the man who broke her heart, knowing the danger -and the sparks between them- could consume them both.
Between one moment and the next, he was right there next to her, kneeling so they were face to face. She let out the air in her lungs in a rush, not sure of what she wanted to do or what he was planning to do. She parted her lips but didn’t say anything, didn’t want to put another question out there for him to address before he answered the one she really wanted to know.
Because she was hoping he was here for her—not his childhood friend—but for the very adult version of her who’d been waiting for him all this time.
Faster than she could react, his lips caught hers. The contact rushed through her in a lightning shot of surprise. Years of bottled-up frustration bubbled up and she leaned into him with a soft gasp.
And then he pulled back and she was left trying to catch her breath.
Slowly, carefully, he slid his arms around her back and under her knees. He cradled her against his chest and tucked her head under his chin. Circled as she was in his embrace, he held her close. He pressed his lips against her hair.
“That was too close yesterday, Sophie.” His voice was low, gruff, and almost cracked with emotion. “The thought of losing you just about killed me.”
There were many things about this book that I really liked, but there was just something between the hero and heroine that was missing for me. That being said, the story itself was engaging, the writing was great, and the entire set of characters really worked for me. The whole service dog story line was awesome and I loved learning about the animals and the work that was happening at Hope's Crossing Kennels. I also loved that Sophie, the heroine, was self-sufficient and capable, but also wasn't TSTL. And of course Haydn and Sophie's kitty totally steal the show!
I haven't read the previous books in the series, so I'm not sure if I might be missing some dynamic between Brandon and Sophie. I could feel the deep friendship between the two characters, but the romance for me was just a bit off. There is some reference to some romance in their high school past, but I never got a good feel for the connection that was supposed to be between these two, which made the romance part not quite work for me - which surprised me since I am a huge fan of the second chance and friends to lovers tropes. (I did love that Sophie finally calls Brandon out - one of my favorite parts as well as the fact that once these two were all in...they were all in!)
I'm intrigued enough about this series to go back and read the first two in the series - we get to meet the characters from those books and as I already said, the entire cast seems great...and I'm also thinking that there may be something in those books that might help with the romance part in this one. So I would definitely recommend checking this out, but maybe starting with the first in this series might be best.
Also in the Series
Book One: Extreme Honor
Book Two: Ultimate Courage
Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.