- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: HQN Books (April 28, 2015)
He was a haven in the midst of Hell…
Temporarily assigned to the Shadow Squadron in a troubled region of Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer and pilot Leah Mackenzie is no stranger to conflict—even if most of her physical and emotional scars are courtesy of her vicious ex. Still, she’s got a bad feeling about picking up a team of stranded SEALs. A feeling that’s all too justified once enemy fire hits their helicopter and all hell breaks loose…
SEAL Kell Ballard’s goal was to get the injured pilot out of harm’s way and find shelter deep in the labyrinth of caves. It’s a place of dark intimacy, where Leah finds unexpected safety in a man’s arms. Where prohibited attraction burns brightly. And where they’ll hide until the time comes to face the enemy outside…and the enemy within their ranks.
Buy, read, and discuss Running Fire
A U.S. Navy veteran, she was a meteorologist while serving her country. She pioneered the military romance in 1993 with Captive of Fate, Silhouette Special edition. Her heart and focus is on honoring and showing our military men and women. Creator of the Wyoming Series and Shadow Warriors series for HQN, she writes emotionally and romantically intense suspense stories.
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I don’t read a lot of Harlequin novels. Oh, I’m not judging – they’re great novels when you want to escape into something fun and frothy for a couple of hours, and the contemporary incarnation of the imprint tends to favor strong female characters who have lived a little bit, rather than doe-eyed, barely post-pubescent innocents. I don’t typically read them simply because it doesn’t occur to me.
That said, when I was offered the chance to read Lindsay McKenna’s Running Fire I said, “Please, sign me up,” because I’m do enjoy a good romance from time to time, and because the military aspect appealed to me. I am, after all, the granddaughter of a career Army officer, and a member of Soldiers’ Angels. As well, I lost a really good friend a couple of years ago, a friend who was one of my oldest ‘blog buddies’ and whose last email to me included pictures of an afternoon in Kabul. (He survived two tours in that region, only to die of cancer at far too young an age, but that’s another story.)
In any case, I began reading Ms. McKenna’s novel and found myself devouring it over the space of just a few hours. Her depiction of the male lead, Kell, matches my own experience with the SEALs I’ve met: off the job, they tend to be incredibly intelligent, kind, people, but once they’re in work mode their focus is laser-sharp. Likewise, I enjoyed seeing military life from the point of view of a woman who as also an officer. McKenna did a really good job of letting Leah be vulnerable, without diminishing the fact of her own training. Even when she was injured, she was never entirely helpless, and I thought the whole Leah/Kell relationship was treated as one of equals who had differing strengths.
To be honest, I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel. I think I always start any military story being wary of the politics that might crop up. (Mine are decidedly liberal – I’m very much of the ‘love the soldier, hate the war’ school of thought). I needn’t have been concerned. In this story, there’s almost no mention of politics. Instead everything is very much in the present for each character: what do I have to do to survive this day, and improve my connection to this other person?
As a novel that does take place ‘in theater,’ as well as one that deals with (I’m trying hard not to spoil plot) past sexual abuse, there are a couple of bits of violence that may be off-putting for some readers, but it wasn’t gratuitous violence, and it wasn’t described in the kind of visceral detail that is likely to cause nightmares or anything.
As I said, I rarely read Harlequin novels, but when I do, I’m happy to share what I’ve read. I found McKenna’s work so engaging that I’m curious to read other novels in this series.
Goes well with Any variety of MRE…no, just kidding. Cheeseburgers, crinkle-cut fries, and Coca-cola.
If you want to experience Lindsay McKenna’s military romances for yourself, I have the opportunity for ONE reader from the USA or Canada to receive a copy of an earlier title in this collection: Taking Fire.
To win: leave a comment here (make sure you leave a valid email address when filling out the comment form) or tweet about this review, and tag me in your tweet (@Melysse). I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday.
Monday, April 13th: Book Mama Blog – author guest post
Monday, April 20th: Feminist Reflections
Tuesday, April 21st: Palmer’s Page Turners
Wednesday, April 22nd: The World As I See It
Thursday, April 23rd: Romance Novels for the Beach
Friday, April 24th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, April 27th: The Romance Dish – author guest post
Monday, April 27th: Hot Guys in Books
Monday, April 27th: Booked on a Feeling
Tuesday, April 28th: My Life. One Story At a Time.
Wednesday, April 29th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, April 30th: Mignon Mykel Reviews
Friday, May 1st: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Monday, May 4th: Books and Spoons
Tuesday, May 5th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, May 6th: Bibliotica – That’s ME.
Thursday, May 7th: The Pen and Muse
Friday, May 8th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, May 8th: Written Love Reviews
Monday, May 11th: Life is Story
Wednesday, May 13th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Thursday, May 14th: Read Love Blog