Who doesn’t want a cowboy? 😉
Title: Wolf Haven
Author: Lindsay McKenna
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Genre: Romantic Suspense
New York Times bestselling author Lindsay McKenna brings readers back to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for another gripping, edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense!
U.S. Navy nurse Skylar Pascal is struggling to regain control of her life after a traumatic crash in Afghanistan that nearly destroyed her. After losing so much, an ideal job at the Elk Horn Ranch in Wyoming offers Sky something she thought she’d never find again—hope.
Former SEAL Grayson McCoy has his own demons. But something about Elk Horn’s lovely-yet-damaged new nurse Sky breaks something loose. Compassion—and passion. And even as Gray works with Sky to piece her confidence back together, something deeper and more tender begins to unfurl between them. Something that could bring her back to life.
But not even the haven of Elk Horn Ranch is safe from dangers. And all of Sky’s healing could be undone by the acts of one malicious man.
Wolf Haven was my first book my Lindsey McKenna.
The setting of the book–Elk Horn Ranch, Wyoming, a dude ranch for families as well as a working ranch and wildlife preserve–sounds fantastic. If it existed (note to self: do places like this exist? Investigate), Elk Horn Ranch would absolutely be on my “places I must vacation at before I die” list. I loved what they were doing there, especially the work with the animals. The scenes with the orphaned baby wolves were some of my favorite in the entire book.
I also appreciated that Sky, the heroine, suffered from PTSD. Having a heroine affected by that disorder was a unique twist, and every time she had an episode, it broke my heart a little bit more. Those parts were very intense to read.
Gray is a classic example of a strong alpha hero: a former SEAL, he’s ultra protective of both the animals on the ranch and his new assistant, Sky. Oh-so drool-worthy!
Though classified as a romantic suspense, the suspense part definitely took a back seat for much of the novel. There were a few tense moments throughout, but ultimately the entire “malicious man” situation was resolved off-screen, giving it all a rather anti-climatic feel. Much of Sky’s PTSD problems were alleviated in the first 60% as well–as a result, the last chunk of the story was missing much of the tension that the beginning part had. The HEA was sweet, but didn’t quite feel as earned as it could have been if they had run into a bit more conflict along the way.
Some aspects of the story didn’t seem to jive with realism–an RN who doesn’t want to give birth in a hospital? A wife who distrusts “white man’s medicine” but spends all of the time we see her at her husband’s side in the hospital without complaint or taking issue with anything being done to her husband by said medicine? A Marine who becomes a member of a Force Recon unit in his first (and only) four years of service? Details like these drew me out of the story quite a bit, and a tendency toward choppy writing and lightning-fast and frequent POV shifts didn’t help either.
Final verdict–an okay story, but its execution didn’t quite work for me in the end.
Rating: 3 stars / C
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sky Pascal moaned, tossing in her sleep on the hotel bed. Her stomach was in knots, with the pain radiating outward. She flinched and drew her legs up toward her body. The vibration of the Black Hawk helicopter surrounded her. She could smell the sweat from the bodies of the air crewmen on this flight to Forward Operating Base, or FOB, Charlie. The odor of the kerosene aviation fuel was always present.
She’d been asked to fly along with Dr. Aaron Zimmerman to take a look at an Army soldier who was thought to have appendicitis. They had been over at a different FOB when the call came in. The FOBs were only forty miles from one another, and they were the closest medical team that could respond.
Now the vibration of the Hawk skittered through her. Sky was on the metal deck of the medevac helicopter as it raced through the darkness to reach the soldier.
She was an emergency-room trained R.N. and Zimmerman, who sat near the door, was a surgeon, specializing in internal medicine. Two other combat medic crewmen, whom she could not see, were nearby. The two pilots to her left were wearing night-vision goggles.
The tension was so thick it felt like a wet blanket around her hunched shoulders. Her mind raced.
She was assigned to the Army hospital at Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghanistan. A first lieutenant, she had three years under her belt in the U.S. Navy. It wasn’t unusual for different military services to have personnel assigned to the huge, busy hospital. She loved her job in the E.R. Sky was good in a crisis—cool and calm. That was why Zimmerman had asked her to go with him as he visited the outlying FOBs. If he had to perform surgery on the spot at the FOB, he wanted someone like her with him.
But now her mouth was dry, and her heart was skipping beats in her chest. She was dressed in Navy fatigues, the “blueberries” coloring standing out starkly against others who wore desert-hued uniforms. Glad to have the forty-pound Kevlar vest on, Sky lived for missions like this. They were exciting and scary as hell.
She knew there was danger with any helo flight. The Black Hawk Army pilots, who were from the black-ops Night Stalker squadron, were flying high enough so the Taliban couldn’t send grenade launchers up at them. However, the Stinger missiles were always a threat. One could blow them out of the sky regardless of their altitude. Sky was a knot of excitement and fear, adrenaline leaking through her bloodstream.
She couldn’t see through the darkness because she wasn’t wearing night-vision goggles. Only the four crew members were wearing NVGs. The flight wasn’t long to FOB Charlie, located three miles from the Pakistan border. There were only two platoons at the Army base.
Sky was told this particular FOB was an essential stopgap measure to halt or slow down the Taliban and al Qaeda soldiers trying to sneak into Afghanistan. FOB Charlie was an important deterrent.
Zimmerman had warned her beforehand that this would be a dangerous mission because of the FOB’s location. Sky had leaped at the chance. Maybe she was bored. But that couldn’t possibly be. She lived on the same dicey border of stress and pressure in the E.R. Night and day, men and women were brought in chewed up by the weapons of war. She felt no small amount of pride in being part of the E.R. team who helped save those lives. Now she was going to help a young soldier with appendicitis.
The sound of the engines changed on the Black Hawk. Sky felt a sudden lurch, the nose suddenly dropping. She inhaled sharply, throwing out her hand on one of the litters against the wall. Wearing a helmet, she heard the tense, short exchanges between the two pilots.
Something was wrong.
She caught a whiff of what smelled like burning oil entering the cabin. Her pulse ratcheted up.
A sudden shrieking, screaming noise blasted through the cabin of the Black Hawk. The bird banked sharply right and plunged downward. It happened so fast. The thumping of the blades. Being thrown up against the skin, striking her head hard on the bulkhead, nearly losing consciousness. Suddenly, they were upside down. She hadn’t been able to wear the seat belt. The other crewmen were thrown around, as well. Yelling and sharp orders from the pilot filled the ears of her helmet.
They were falling out of the sky. The screeching of metal upon metal continued to shriek through the cabin.
Her mouth went dry. Sky bit back a scream. Oh, God, they were going to crash! It was some sort of mechanical malfunction. Her mind swam with terror. Where were they? She couldn’t see out the window! Gravity was shoving her hard against the aluminum skin of the Black Hawk. She was scared. She was going to die!
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Lindsay McKenna is proud to have served her country in the U.S. Navy as an aerographer’s mate third class—also known as a weather forecaster. She is one of the original founders of the military romance subgenre and loves to combine heart-pounding action with soulful and poignant romance.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Wolf Haven.
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