This is my problem with novellas & Harlequin sized books (I may have mentioned this problem in other novella-length book reviews) -- the author has a limited number of pages to give the reader character description and development, emotional context, and a decent plot. Most novellas feel rushed, and at the end of the book, which typically only spans a few days, BAM! they're engaged.
In real life? Yeah, not so much.
What Emmy has done right in this story of Josh and Grace? Introduced them in the prologue, three years before the meat of the story.
Josh and Grace meet in D.C. one Christmas Eve, both stating they're in the city for a limited amount of time. Granted, Grace is going by her psuedo-name of Sally, but regardless, they meet in the city when they're both their for a limited amount of time. Josh sees her sadness, Grace needs someone to lose herself in -- the perfect combination for a no-emotions-required one night stand.
Three years pass.
Whenever Grace is feeling low and trying to go over her mantra to not get attached to people in her chosen profession (reporter of the war, but reporting of the military men and women, the innocent civilians... everyone affected by the war so that the picture the media paints oh so well, doesn't wash over the true happenings that involve the men and women serving and living in it) -- her mind falls back to Christmas Eve, three years past, and to Josh.
Likewise, Josh goes back to that night because she's the 'one who got away' -- not that he wants or needs any emotional entanglements in his lifestyle. Josh is a pararescueman and that is his life -- it is what he strives for. Being a PJ is more than a job for him -- it is the whole of Josh.
Grace, who has spent the last 4 years in Afghanistan, is with her current embedded assignment when things go wrong and they need to be rescued. Unfortunately, while the team is rescued, Grace manages to be left behind. When the PJ's hear they've left someone behind, true to their creed, they turn around to pick up said person.
When the downed team mentions that the one left behind is a reporter, Josh has serious doubts and wants nothing to do with going back. It would serve the reporter well.
In war, reporters are disliked by the men and women serving their country. Reporters are a hindrance, as they slow the troops down, but beyond that, they paint pretty pictures that couldn't be farther from the truth. Once they get to the proper area to rescue said reporter, Josh takes his mark and begins his flight down -- at which time, the helicopter he's attached to becomes target practice and he needs to drop the remaining 8 feet from his rope.
Eventually finding his rescue, he reluctantly follows her to the 'safe' cave she has found; it is only after he has deemed it safe does he realize that his 'Sally', the woman and the night his mind goes to when he needs a moment of peace, is the reporter to which he needed to rescue.
Dangerous Territory follows Josh and Grace as they battle their way to getting rescued, and battle their feelings toward one another. Neither thought they'd see each other again -- Grace cannot afford, mentally at this point, to get attached to another person she could lose to war. Josh wants nothing to do with a reporter (which he makes clear again and again whenever he asks if something is on or off record, and with his paranoia that their time together will become public knowledge, which further aggravates him because they've broken rules by being together and he is not a rule breaker).
I loved every moment of this novella. At times, sure I became annoyed with Josh and his anti-reporter-shtick; granted, I understood where he was coming from, but I really wanted him to take his times with Grace and realize them for what they were. Guys are really good at the on-off switch, and Josh was no exception.
I'm extremely excited to look into what other books Emmy Curtis has put out; I'm even more excited for Beth and Walker's story in the next Alpha Ops book. And because Beth became semi-close with Grace (they need to go out for a drink...!) and Walker is like a big brother flashing around Grace's articles, I'm hopeful that we'll see more of Josh and Grace. Maybe not, but maybe still.