Tuesday, July 26, 2016

release week { w/ review re-post! } ULTIMATE COURAGE by Piper J. Drake

Forever | July 26, 2016 | Romantic Suspense
True Heroes, book 2



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.

{ about author } .

Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.

{ excerpt } .

Alex’s hand came up slowly to cradle the side of her face, encouraging her to tilt her head, and she did. He deepened the kiss then, his tongue running across her lips and coaxing them to open for him. She opened with a sigh, and his tongue swept into her mouth, gently tasting. She kissed him back in return, leaning into him until she had one hand braced against his hard chest.

A needy moan escaped her, and he responded in kind. When he lifted his mouth from hers, she almost tipped into him, her knees not holding her upright anymore and her head spinning. Wow.

She took not one, but several long breaths to clear her head, looking down at a black and tan face staring up at her with soulful, dark eyes. Souze wasn’t shy about watching, apparently.

The thought brought her the rest of the way to her senses, because weird. Yeah. Weird.

She took a step back, and Alex let her. He’d done that since the beginning. Letting her go if she wanted. So why was it so hard to leave now even if she kept saying she should?

“Thank you,” she told him, not looking up into his eyes.

“But?” Alex’s voice came cool, deep, and so sexy it just wasn’t fair.

“But I should go. Especially because this is obviously not a professional thing now.”

“No. But none of your previous employers particularly cared if you left, did they?” He sounded reasonable. “Did they bother to try to check on you?”

“Not that I know of.” She said it slowly. She’d had her phone with her, and she’d been checking her e-mail. Both big mistakes, she knew now. But she’d been paid under the table and they didn’t really have a way to contact her after she disappeared.

“I think that’s a little odd.” Rojas lifted his hand, giving her plenty of time to avoid him, and brushed her hair back from her face. “Maybe this time, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone care about whether you disappear.”

{ review } .

Just like she does for our heroine, it was Boom who wove her way into my heart in the last book and had me wanting to read her father's story. Rojas, or Alex as he will go by with Elisa, is one of the men working at Hope Kennels. He lost his wife and now is raising Boom (Serena) on his own -- except for the fact she has pseudo family in the form of those they live with and are around at Hope Kennels.

I just knew I was going to love Rojas's story and Ms. Drake did not disappoint. He's such a great father and as much as he probably would like to keep Boom in a bubble, she's adventurous and fun, and he's not about to dim her fire. When Boom and Elisa meet at an emergency room (where we get a feel of the fear Elisa has and start to draw conclusions about her past relations), Boom falls for her and has her dad give Elisa a card for the self-defense classes they're a part of. A left glove and card later, and Elisa finds herself drawn into the world that is Hope Kennels.

I truly enjoyed these two. The only -- only -- part that really irked me was the quick turn-around with the heightened suspense scene toward the end. It was too loose, and Alex's reactions too predictable (that I was mad at him). Granted, it was easy to forget that the blooming relationship between Alex and Elisa was only a week or so long, so doubts and fears are acceptable....

Next is the story of Brandon and Sophie. I. Cannot. WAIT. for these two to finally realize what they have is more than just childhood friendship.

{ giveaway } .

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