Series: Love Over Duty #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Also by this author: The Strongest Steel, The Fractured Heart, The Purest Hook, The Darkest Link, Jordan Reclaimed
HE CAN TAKE THE HEAT.
Hot, hard-bodied Sixten Rapp is a former SEAL who’s raring to begin his brand-new civilian life. He and his Navy “brothers” start a security firm that offers the kind of services only a team of military-trained professionals can provide. But nothing prepared Six for his new client: an innocent woman on a mission to improve thousands of lives. . . unless someone takes hers first.
CAN SHE HANDLE THE FLAMES?
Dr. Louisa North knows time is against her as she tries to create a “miracle” medical treatment for a disease with no known cure, until she creates a sample so powerful that the wrong people want to use it as a chemical weapon. At first, Six is unwilling to accept Louisa as his client. But soon he realizes that the danger is real and that there’s much more to this plain-Jane scientist…including a burning passion between them that neither of them can resist. And now that an enemy is on Louisa’s trail, Six will do whatever it takes to protect her—or die trying.
Under Fire is part ex-military action, part cutting edge medical research combined in a fast paced romance between 2 total opposites. Louisa is the type of heroine I enjoy in a story. She is brilliant, driven, goal oriented, caring, and shy. For some reason, I adore shy characters. Maybe because I can empathize so much? Who knows. I also was drawn to her area of study: Huntington’s disease. I have a friend with the disease and, like Louisa, I know there is not enough research on the disease and it is so difficult to watch someone you love suffer.
Six has just left the Navy and with a couple of his SEAL buddies started a security firm. They are trying to get it off the ground and Six is assigned a security job at a benefit gala. The meet-cute between Six and Louisa was adorable. She is having a bit of a panic about having to give a speech in front of everyone and he manages to talk her down a bit. Their second meeting included Louisa seeing Six at his moment of weakness. I loved that the author included a meeting where both the hero and the heroine were showing a weakness. It helped show them both as realistic characters.
Louisa begins to notice that things in her lab are off. Its nothing obvious, but she knows that her notes have been touched and a petri dish goes missing. Determined to get to the bottom of this, Louisa doesn’t realize what she is getting into. Cole did a great job with the medical information in the story. As a science nerd (former Science teacher!), I enjoyed reading about Louisa’s work; however, it was written in a way that wouldn’t scare away non-science loving people.
Six was hot and cold for me. There were times I loved him; he didn’t push too much with Lou and was accepting of her struggles and treated her with kindness. Then, he would get closed off and push her away. I hate when heroes (or heroines) are wishy washy! Its such an unappealing characteristic.
What I appreciated most in Under Fire though was that Cole didn’t ‘dumb it down’ to make the science more accessible. I hate with authors ‘man-splaine’ things because it not only offends those who understand a given concept, but it offends those who don’t by coming off as condescending. So, kudos to Cole for not going that route. I love that I had to look up a few things as I was reading. I loved the casual references to scientific things that Lou would throw out when she was nervous (Linnaeus for example!). To me, THAT is great writing.
- POV: 3rd
- Trope: ex-military, mortal peril, bodyguard
- Triggers: View Spoiler »spoiler « Hide Spoiler
- Series/Standalone: stand alone
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »no « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »yes « Hide Spoiler
From Under Fire:
Six looked tortured. Common sense was telling her that it was best to just go back to her room and let him work through it, which totally lined up with her usual MO of avoiding, well, life. But for once she held her ground. “Okay, first please quit the martyr act. We are grown-ups who had consensual sex. I’m sure you’ve done that before, so don’t start getting weird just because it was me. Second, I’ll look at you any way I damn well please. You didn’t care how I looked at you when I was riding . . . well . . . you know,” she said, gesturing toward his shorts. “Third. If the only difference between you tugging at the corner of this towel to do something . . . urgh . . . hot, or sexual, or something and you walking out of the bathroom without kissing me good morning is the fact that I gave your company a check, I’ll cancel it. I’d rather pay you to help me, but I’m sure I can find somebody else if it’s the difference between us doing this or not.” Her knees were shaking and her voice was loud enough that she suddenly realized if any of Six’s team were still in the house, they’d likely heard her stumbled words. She felt pink spread to her cheeks.
She stepped toward the bathroom door, feeling like she was going to pass out before she made it to her own room. Her heart was pounding, and her head was spinning.
“Lou,” Six said quietly, his hand looping her wrist. “You like your lists? Fine. I’ll give you mine. First, I’m not being a martyr. We can’t build a reputation as a professional firm if I hook up with one of our first clients. Professionally, you must see how weird that looks, no matter how badly I want to. And what kind of message does it send to the guys who work for me? And yes. I have had sex before, lots of it, but what we did was much more than that. So please, for both our sakes, don’t minimize it. Just because I shouldn’t have done it doesn’t mean it wasn’t perfect. And for the record, how you looked riding my cock—and yes, you can say that word because, as you mentioned, we’re both grown-ups—was burned into my memory. And third, if it was as simple as just giving into this, you’d have been out of that towel and up on the counter with my face between your legs before you could cry out my name. It’s just . . . Shit, Lou. I’m trying to figure out what the right thing to do here is, and my duty wins out every time.”