True heroes will do anything to protect the women they love…
As the newest recruit at Search and Protect, Raul has a lot to prove. Luckily, he’s got the best friend and partner a man could ask for: a highly trained, fiercely loyal German Shepherd Dog named Taz. Together, Raul and Taz make an unbeatable team. But their first mission in Hawaii really puts them to the test when an international kidnapping ring sets its sights on the bravest woman Raul’s ever met . . .
Mali knows her latest job has put one hell of a target on her back. And on this small island paradise, there’s nowhere to hide. With a service dog like Taz, Mali feels safe. Sharing close quarters with a smoldering muscle-for-hire like Raul, she feels something else – an unexpected wave of desire. Raul feels it too. But when the kidnappers make their move, he’s got to turn that slow-burning passion into hard-hitting action – and save the life of the woman he loves.
With Total Bravery, the True Heroes series moves from Hope’s Crossing to the Search and Protect Organization, based in Hawaii(!). (And who can blame them? I mean, Hawaii…) Raul, with his new partner GSD Taz, fresh from Hope’s Crossing, is hoping to finally have found a team that he can really gel with. Things are going great with his canine partner, now he just has to make a good impression on the humans. He’s hoping to start out ahead, since Arin, his BF from his days in the military, is also there.
But then he gets a phone call meant for Arin, and things get a little dicier…
Mali, Arin’s sister, is in trouble and needs the Search and Protect’s help. The mystery that Mali, Raul, Taz, and Arin find themselves embroiled in involves a missing university research team, a ransom demand (or is it, really???), human trafficking, and some pretty bad guys. (They’re wearing dark suits on the beach in Hawaii, so you know there’s something wrong with them… ;)) On top of all the dangerous suspense elements here, Raul and Mali feel a mutual attraction pretty much right away…and did I mention that Raul is besties with her older sister? And that that same older sister was a sniper in the military? So, yeah…
The suspense portion of the story definitely keeps you on your toes, wondering what’s behind Mali’s team’s disappearance. The resolution there was fairly satisfying, though I couldn’t help but feel like I might have missed some of the details. (I freely admit this could have been me, though–I was reading pretty fast.)
With a only a few slight speed bumps along the way, Raul seems to be fitting in well with his new teammates, and of course his relationship with Taz is one of the book’s highlights. The canine/human partnerships are definitely a strong element in this series, and something I look forward to in every book.
Raul and Mali have quite a bit of one step forward, two back going on in their relationship–for the most part, it’s a pretty slow burn and every time you think they’re finally getting closer something else happens to set them back again. In the end it’s really the two of them more than any other character that works to keep them apart–Raul’s convinced he’s not “a good person” (related to his time in the military, mostly) and Mali’s number one concern is her research and career–and though we do get to an HEA we don’t really see them work though those conflicts to get there, which was a bit of a bummer.
Still, an HEA is an HEA and I did want one for the two (okay, three–can’t leave out Taz!) of them. I really liked the new characters and location introduced here and am looking forward to a lot more stories set in the Search and Protect side of the series. If you haven’t read any of the True Heroes books yet this would be a fine place to start, since knowing the Hope’s Crossing people and the events of the previous books isn’t a prerequisite here.
Just don’t blame me when you need to go back and read the other books anyway… (Okay, fine. Blame me–I’m okay with that. They’re great books.:))
Rating: 4 stars / B
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.