Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: December 6th, 2016
Challenges: NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe* | iTunes* | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb adapted from goodreads:
Love may be the toughest battle of all
Captain Bennett Oscar Sheraton
Navy SEAL, the best of the best
Dr. Kimberly Warren
Brilliant engineer, founder of secret space program
When scientists on Dr. Warren’s super-secret space mission start dying, Navy SEAL Captain Sheraton is sent in as an astronaut candidate with a hidden agenda—find the person sabotaging the program.
Kimberly and Bennett’s instant attraction may prove to be a major distraction—or it might be the key to both of their dreams coming true…
I love a good military romance, one that's well-written, gets the details right, and leaves me breathless from both the romance and the action. "The Soul of a SEAL" had a little too much technical detail which slowed the story down at times but I enjoyed it. Kimberly and Bennett were wonderful together - strong, sexually confident, tops in their respective fields, and with a strong sense of humor. Another plus was the fact that Kimberly is in her 30s and Bennett is 40, ages that are both realistic and relatable. And if you're wondering if you can jump into the series with this book, the fourth in the series, yes, you absolutely can. It worked quite well as a stand alone.
Bennett and Kimberly meet when he and another SEAL officer, Jonah Melo, are sent to investigate sabotage and possible murders at the research facility where Kimberly works. I admit, I had no idea just how involved SEALs are in the US space program. It was fascinating to read and to learn more about the space program. I could have done with fewer details, they dragged down some sections, and weren't necessary to the story. The romance moved along at a fast pace but it worked for me, it was believable, and I loved that they didn't play games with each other but were straight forward about what they wanted, and I loved that Elizabeth didn't bring out those much abused tropes, the big miscommunication and the secret. Their issues were internal, not external: is Bennett ready to settle down? Can their careers mingle? Are they ready to let each other in? Normal issues that most people deal with at one time or another.
Bennett is investigating everyone at the center, even Kimberly, though he quickly eliminates her as a suspect. Still, his work causes some minor friction as he and his fellow officer, Jonah try to solve the problems and root out the person or people responsible. There's also a good-natured competition between Jonah and Bennett as they join the race to qualify as the astronaut who will take Kimberly's secret new shuttle to outer space. There's never any real doubt about who will pilot the shuttle in space but Elizabeth did keep me guessing on the who and they why behind the sabotage and violent attacks.
"The Soul of a SEAL" captured me with it's blend of steamy romance, twisty politics and intrigue, and action. It lost me a few times with the extensive and detailed talk of space, shuttle design, and oh my word, the training; so much minute, mind-numbing detail. While this is a romantic mystery, it's also a science fiction novel. It's all intertwined and there's no separating any of the elements. But it's worth the read and some readers will no doubt appreciate the details that I didn't.
A few favorite quotes:
"What's your fantasy, sailor?"
"This...," he said against her lips before he kissed her again. "You. A passionate woman who knows what she wants."
"I do." Her belly did a somersault as his words hit home. Had anyone told her that exactly what and who she was, was exactly what and who she needed to be? It was an aphrodisiac of the most explosive kind.
Water was everywhere, and though he loved the stuff on a normal day, his skin was beginning to look like a duck's butt underneath the feathers.
"I'm Jonah, but I prefer my last name, Melo. Just don't call me Mellow Yellow," said his teammate. "In case you want to add that to your information bank, too."