Sunday, July 2, 2017

Review: Ultimate Courage by Piper J. Drake

Title: Ultimate Courage
Series: True Heroes
Author: Piper J. Drake
Read copy: eBook (Kindle
Published: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Forever
ASIN: B017RQP1X0


LOVE IS AN ACT OF BRAVERY

Retired Navy SEAL Alex Rojas is putting his life back together, one piece at a time. Being a single dad to his young daughter and working at Hope's Crossing Kennels to help rehab a former guard dog, he struggles every day to control his PTSD. But when Elisa Hall shows up, on the run and way too cautious, she unleashes his every protective instinct.

Elisa's past never stays in her rearview mirror for long, and she refuses to put anyone else in danger. But with Alex guarding her so fiercely yet looking at her so tenderly, she's never felt safer...or more terrified that the secrets she keeps could put countless people in grave peril. The only way for both to fully escape their demons will take the ultimate act of courage: letting go and learning to trust each other.


My rating:

Elisa Hall has spent the last six months on the run from her controlling ex, but no matter what she does, or where she goes, the man always ends up finding her, and it's only a matter of time before he'll force her to go back with him. But maybe the chance encounter in an ER can be her saving grace, maybe the taciturn, brooding man taking care of his daughter might save her, offer her the freedom she craves...And maybe she can return the favor.


Oh, yes. Now we're talking. Much, much better than the first book in this series at least as far as characterization of the heroine goes. The romance was still rushed and rather instantaneous.

This one had it (almost) all. A wonderful hero, a great heroine (still with issues, but understandable and relate-able issues), an awesome dog (I like it how all the couples—so far—ended up with a dog of their own completing the family), and the amazing little whirlwind of joy that was Alex's daughter Boom. Usually when there's a kid involved in a story, everything revolves around that kid, and the kid's usually a whiny, passive-aggressive brat. Boom was so far removed from this clich√©, I almost cried in gratitude. She was smart, fun, spunky, and knew her place in her father's heart and life, so she wasn't afraid of any "competition" so take that security away. And her matchmaking was utterly endearing.
This book certainly had its characters (both primary and secondary) down pat. Well-developed and nicely layered, their growth and change both in personalities and relationships was organic and realistic, and boy am I glad that despite their issues there was no dragging-on conflict that could've been resolved with a simple conversation. They were all adults, even the kid. ;)

True, there was a bit of a slip-up in the last couple of chapters, where I wanted to smack the hero upside the head, and although it served as catalyst for the final confrontation between Elisa and her ex, I couldn't help but feel it could've been done differently, without turning Alex into a temporary asshole. But hey, we cannot have it all.

The romance was, as mentioned, once more rather rushed, but rather more believable (despite the haste) as the one between Lyn and David. Alex and Elisa actually talked, they actually had meaningful conversations, they more or less knew each other's triggers and possible intimacy issues, and they still decided to give it a go almost from the start without the let's-keep-it-professional-because-we-work-together. They wanted each other and they went after it, I appreciated that.

But where the romance once more failed, the suspense picked up the slack. It wasn't as "in your face" as in the first book, it was all more subtle and slightly creepy, perfectly in tune with the stalker angle, but the final scene packed just as much punch.
I knew from the moment Elisa told her tale, that whatever dealings her ex had, had to be connected to the overall suspense arc, and I wasn't wrong. I would've liked for that point to be a little more expanded, the resolution maybe a little more detailed, but I guess every loose end will be connected in the next book.

Looking forward to it.



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