James’s review of Trust in Me by Dee Tenorio Contemporary Romance released by Samhain Publishing July on July 23, 2013
Sometimes falling in love is the easy part…
A Rancho del Cielo Romance
Locke Jackman is single, childless…and he has a bad case of empty nest syndrome. For years, as he fought tooth and nail to keep his brothers and sisters together after his parents died, his entire life was focused on his responsibilities.
Now his siblings have all moved on with their lives, and there’s no one around to distract him from his overpowering attraction to his sister’s best friend. Their mutual desire is stunning…but then again, so are the secrets keeping them apart.
Susie Packard’s nightmarish marriage taught her what happens when she gives in to her weakness for powerful men. Too bad the big, stoic frowner across the street—the one who sets her bells jangling just by breathing—has her in his sights.
Try as she might to keep her emotional distance, Locke is determinedly knocking down all her walls. But as much as she wants to be the woman he needs, she knows better than most—passion may have its rewards, but every secret has its price.
Warning: This book contains a hot, modern-day Viking seducing his way to the heart of his woman, a stubborn lingerie designer with a world of secrets and a very deep bathtub… Enjoy!
Dee Tenorio is one of my personal favorite authors, so I jumped at the chance to review this one. I’m happy I did because this turned out to be my favorite romance of the year. Continue reading →
YOU GUYS!!! I am so flipping excited to finally be able to debut this new ALBTALBS feature, after you know, talking about it for more than a year. I found our reading unicorn! 😉 Our first awesome guest is James Fox. He also writes. And more than that – what I care about – it being all about me 😉 is that he is the newest addition to the ALBTALBS review crew! (See?) So James Fox has been saving my bacon all week. He gets about 50 gold stars.
Without further ado… James.
Hi Everyone I’m James
I’m a Farmer living in Oregon. I have a wonderful Wife, and two great kids.
I have loved reading ever since I picked up my first copy of Calvin and Hobbes.
I would spend hours hidden in the crawlway beneath the stairs of our house reading by flashlight.
2. How did you get started reading romance?
When I was in middle school, my Grandpa would babysit me a lot. He was addicted to General Hospital, but wouldn’t let me watch it. Instead he told me to go grab a book off the shelf. There were only two kinds of books in my Grandparents house. It was either Louis L’Amour or Romance Novels. One day I was tired of reading about cowboys, so I picked up It Had To Be You. I remember that it had a lot to do with football, which I liked. It also had a great female lead character named Phoebe. In my head she always sounded like Madeline Kahn.
3. Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite romance novel? Water For Elephants By Sara Gruen would be my favorite romance novel.
My favorite author is Joseph Heller who wrote Catch-22.
4. What would you like to see more of in romances? (What are your most and least favorite sub-genres?)
Miss Havisham from Great Expectations needs a reincarnation! What I’ve been reading has lacked that sort of punch.
I enjoy romantic suspense the most, but I hate it when the suspense swallows up the romantic storyline.
My current least favorite sub-genre is Vampires, with a permanent pass awarded to the Swedish novel Let The Right One In.
That book was a paranormal romance with young characters done perfectly.
5. What is something you hate (or dislike strongly) in romances?
I dislike it when a characters’ issues are magically solved by the end of the story.
Especially when a characters’ career makes a sudden U-turn. I think authors work too hard at a total happy ending.
6. Do you browse the romance section at bookstores? If you saw another guy there, would you offer recommendations, or ask for any?
This is a secret I’m not supposed to tell you. At the back of every book store there is a hidden room. Inside it’s wall to wall tough guys smoking cigars reading Nicholas Sparks aloud to each other. We haul out our new bodice rippers in hollowed out Harley Davidson coffee table books.
That way the ladies will never suspect us.
7. How involved are you in the romance community?
I follow a bunch of authors on twitter, and chime in on Goodreads.
8. Do your friends/family know you read romance novels?
It amuses my Wife who will point out to any visitor what I’m reading. She’ll point at a romance novel laying around, and then back away like its a hand grenade dipped in hot sauce.
9. What other genres do you enjoy reading, if any, and what are some of your hobbies aside from reading?
I enjoy thrillers, scary stories, and the occasional historical fiction.
Outside of that I enjoy hiking the trails here in Oregon with my kids. I try to run a marathon once a while, and I try to write novels.
Heh. He has a sense of humor, too. So! Let’s give Mr. Fox a warm welcome. And do you have any questions for him? I’m going to say – grill him! 😀 Anything is fair game!
Luke Collier knows his duty. A marine corps combat medic, his job is to save lives-not satisfy his own desires. Megan Trayhern is his corpsman, but the beautiful redhead can’t be anything more. Luke has already given his heart once, and he understands the toll the corps can take on a woman, on a romance…on a marriage.
Megan has her own mission. While she doles out medical care in the nearby village, she’s also gathering intel. It’s a dangerous assignment that the onetime military brat undertakes without fear. She needs to focus-and be careful-and the growing passion she feels for Luke can only put them both at risk. Honor binds them both, but the heart gives its own orders….
I was immediately interested in this story, a continuation of the Black Jaguar Squadron storyline. This book takes us to the mountains of Afghanistan, and we meet two Navy Corpsmen assigned to a combat command. They soon discover they are kindred spirits mutually haunting the other’s thoughts. The persistent danger only draws them closer together.
Megan Trayhern is a demure redhead who arrives at a Marine base near a small village. She is trained to speak the local language Pashto and gather information from the local women. A trained medic, she is eager to do her duty. She also has an unwavering desire to help people in need. After college she joined the military to fulfill her families’ tradition of service. Upon arriving at the base she is looked at as a liability by her commanding officer. Soon she changes his opinion by gaining the friendship of the village leaders’ wife, and gaining valuable knowledge of the Taliban fighters.
Luke Collier is a seasoned combat medic. He doesn’t think twice about going out on another patrol, or putting himself between a wounded Marine and enemy fire. He shares the same unwavering desire to help people with Megan. Until she had arrived he was the only medic in the area. He’s well-liked by anyone who meets him. Still he has a slightly heavy heart, since his career in the military destroyed his marriage. He prides himself as a ‘scrounger’, which means he get hard to find items better than anyone.
Lindsay McKenna doesn’t overload the front chapters with backstory. There are Black Jaguar Squadron characters in the periphery of the narrative, but this book easily stands alone. Megan and Luke rarely interact with the Marines at the base. The most significant secondary character is Mina the wife of the village leader. She is almost too courageous to be believed, even considering her rare formal education. She is unexpectedly open to Megan’s progressive suggestions.
Megan doesn’t have much time to get used to her surroundings. During the night the base comes under attack. She has to stand there in terror until Luke comes back to check on her. His calmness is soothing to her and deepens her growing attraction to him. When they aren’t in danger they mostly talk about their common views of duty and war. Their single-mindedness is only thing that takes me out of the story. Navy Corpsmen are the salt of the earth. I know this from my 5 years in the Marines. Many of them were my close friends. One thing they didn’t do was sit around all day lamenting their place in the world.
The action definitely wanes in the middle chapters as their relationship builds. Megan does have to watch as Luke goes out on patrol, but he isn’t gone long. After an attack in the village they travel with wounded children to a large Air Force Base. The carnage makes Megan retch in horror. She’s surprised to learn that Luke has the same problem. He asks her to spend the night off-base, but don’t get the opportunity until the end of the book. There are constantly hindered by the military’s rules against fraternization.
In my opinion this book suffers from the matter-of-fact dialogue from all the characters. I can forgive this of Mina, since English is not her first language. I can’t always forgive it from Megan and Luke. They come off a little wooden. This could’ve been offset by some raucous secondary Marine characters, and made the story more interesting. The lack of contrast is lessened when the action picks up. I don’t want to include spoilers, but I’ll say someone is put in a dangerous situation. The situation is then mitigated in a blazingly fast fashion that makes you forget it soon afterwards.
Our lovers finally find themselves away from prying eyes at an off-base apartment. Exhausted from their trials they put sleep ahead of lovemaking. I know it’s realistic, but it’s boring. They could’ve and should’ve tried harder. They’re romantic tension had been building for months at this point, and the first time they are truly alone they shower and pass out. Finally the next morning they (and the reader) wake up and embrace each other. The story ends with them heading back into the fold together.
Their concern for each other and everyone else does help the narrative along. I would have liked to see more in their hearts than just their aspirations. They look at each other in brief moments without allowing fantasy to enter their thoughts. This might go along with their practical nature, but I don’t think it was intended that way. Without the constant danger and taboo of their relationship, I wonder if they would be interested in each other at all. Megan and Luke could’ve run into each other on Main St. USA, and after looking each other over kept walking by.
Still they are in this situation. They go thru it together courageously devoid of malice. They come out of it with a few scratches and in love. They promise to marry after serving their country. It would be interesting to check in on them a few years down the road. I’d like to see if their love lasts after the bombs stop exploding around them.