Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cover of Darkness: A 2010 Favorite Book

Happy New Year! I have been looking back on the books I read in 2010 - what a trip the year was in terms of the variety on my (virtual) bookshelves. I have to plug Goodreads here because I read primarily ebooks and keep track using Goodreads.  It is a great site to catalog the books you've read, keep a TBR list, record reviews or ratings, and compare books with other readers. It is also how I know that I read 214 books for a total of 56,897 pages in 2010. Crazy, right? But for an organizer like me, I love the resourcefulness of this site for keeping track of my reading.

For my first review of the new year, I thought it perfect to review one of my favorites from 2010...

Exciting, riveting, suspenseful and still tender… Cover of Darkness by Kaylea Cross is all of these things and more. I was hooked from the very beginning and am certain any fan of romantic suspense will be just as taken. The biggest question I have is why this author hasn’t gotten more serious PR. Cross is fabulous and readers are going to miss a quality series if they haven’t heard of her. So here is my shout out to a little known but well crafted author!
The reader is immediately dropped into the story of Bryn McAllister who has been targeted by a terrorist cell.  She survives a bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut while at a function with her father; but is kidnapped and left to die in a desert cellar. Her tenacity during her captivity shows amazing resourcefulness and allows the reader an appreciation for inner strength. In just a few pages, the reader has no doubt that Bryn is a commanding female lead. She demonstrates strong physical endurance along with emotional control which allows her to be measured up against all of the strong alpha males she encounters without being overpowered.
When she is rescued by Navy SEAL Lieutenant Declan McCabe and his team, Bryn is weak and has to rely on them to get her and her father to safety. Dec is a dangerously hot alpha male whose authoritative, commanding nature leads him to take charge of any situation. He is genuine, solid and loyal – the perfect hero for such a strong heroine. Though they form a bond during Bryn’s rescue, they part ways when Dec is called back for another op and Bryn is hospitalized for her wounds.
Then a family friend, and the legendary CIA operative Luke Hutchinson, recruits her and Dec to work as part of the team tracking down Tezharri, the terrorist mastermind guilty of the attack and kidnapping. Tezharri was a seriously scary psychopath with no redeeming qualities. The excerpts that bring the reader inside his thoughts are startlingly menacing. Having more experience with terrorists like Tezharri, Dec realizes more than Bryn the danger she is placing herself in.
Though Dec thinks her joining the mission is a bad idea, Bryn is determined to see the terrorist brought to justice and Dec is determined to protect her. However, bound by the code of the Navy SEALs, Dec fights the attraction between them so that he can focus on his job and keep her safe. While their feelings for one another grow, they maintain a safe distance until spurred on by the fear of loss. But when Bryn is captured again, Dec makes the difficult choice between his duty as a Navy SEAL and the life of the woman he loves.
You will never guess what happens. This is my favorite thing about this book. I was on the edge of my seat every second because there was never a part of the story where I could guess what was coming. Cross is an author who really knows the topic she’s writing about, including incorporating her own skills of karate and belly dancing (loved that scene – you go, girl!). It was clear that she’d also done her research on the Navy SEALs or other soldiers in the Special Forces. She created a strong storyline with the military aspect of the plot as strong as their growing romance. Cross really gets what romantic suspense should be about - the romance is crucial to the action, and the action is crucial to the romance and never should one get in the way of the other. That’s the formula Cross uses and it works beautifully.
Without a doubt, Cover of Darkness deserves five chocolate-dipped strawberries. I am so glad I found Kaylea Cross. Now that I have discovered her, I have already downloaded the next in the series (Cover of Darkness is the second book) and am off to read it.

This review was originally written for TRR and can be found, along with other reviews, at: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=251.
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