Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Mackenzies, Book 2
Hero: Colonel Joe Mackenzie
Heroine: Caroline Evans
Date of Publication: August 1, 1992
Started On: October 31, 2010
Finished On: October 31, 2010
I have decided to go ahead and treat myself to the rest of the books on Linda Howard’s backlist which I have left unread for some reason or the other during the Linda Howard crazed fest which I found myself in the first time that I discovered Linda Howard as an author. I remember that I started to read this title after completely falling in love with the 1st book in the series, Mackenzie’s Mountain the first time round. I don’t know why but at that time I couldn’t muster up much interest in the story that unfolded, which now after finishing this story has left me completely dumbfounded as to the reason why I couldn’t continue with the story earlier. Oh well, better late than never I guess!
The Hero: Joe Mackenzie or “Breed” as he is called by his fellow co-workers has always known that he belonged in the sky. Joe had become a legend even before he had graduated from the academy and being the first in his graduating class, Joe had chosen to proceed with fighter jets though his six foot three frame is considered not the ideal height for fighter jet pilots. Like everything else, Joe excels in his chosen field through hard work and his god given talent and at the age of 32 Joe is made lieutenant colonel. When Joe had been young, his father Wolf Mackenzie had served time for a crime that he did not commit, and being a half-breed Joe had suffered a lot at the hands of one of the foster families that had taken him in. Joe thrives on his iron hard control both in and out of the sky and only lets go when he is back at home in Wyoming at his father’s ranch.
The Heroine: Caroline Evans is a 28 year old genius, a bona fide specialist in light amplification and optic targeting together with a PHD in Physics. Caroline had led an unusual childhood being the genius she is. Thirsting for knowledge that leaves her unsatisfied if she cannot get enough, her parents who are both PHD holders themselves had identified Caroline’s gift and nurtured it by providing her the best education possible. That had meant that Caroline had always felt out of place because she had rapidly advanced through the grades to find herself armed with her PHD by the time she turned 21 years old. Having no knowledge whatsoever of men, dating or the etiquette that goes along with the dating scene, Caroline has remained a virgin till now and knows that her best defense against men who come on to her strongly is to act prickly and totally cut them off before anything can happen. And it serves her well, that is until she meets Joe Mackenzie who shatters her very soul just by one piercing look from his light blue eyes.
Storyline: Joe has been assigned the task of ironing out the kinks in a new second generation advanced tactical fighter code named Night Wing which Joe calls as his baby. As the program manager it is Joe’s responsibility to work within the given time frame to push his baby to its limits and to take care of any tactical errors before it could go into full production. When one of the technician’s on Joe’s team suffers a minor heart attack, Caroline is brought in who manages to get under Joe’s skin right from the very beginning. And together with Caroline’s appearance starts a series of attempts to prevent Night Wing from making its deadline to production which needs the vote from the senate to acquire the funding required for its production. Joe who has always put his country first finds himself torn between the woman who sets his senses afire and his sense of duty to his country when all fingers point at Caroline to be the saboteur.
First Encounter: Joe walks in on Caroline whilst she is at the office getting acquainted with her assignment on the day of her arrival to the base. Joe who always walks silently, not because he wants to sneak up on people but because he had been taught that way to walk from the very beginning finds himself face to face with 100% infuriated woman because Joe had scared the wits out of her by letting his presence be known.
Time period: Story has a contemporary setting and takes place at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
Awareness between the hero and the heroine: I don’t know how she does it, but Linda Howard always delivers on the simmering and sizzling sexuality between her heroes and heroines. Joe and Caroline are no exception to that rule and from the very first moment these two meet, its a battle of sensual delights that meets its heady culmination delivering everything that I as a reader craved for and more.
The turning point: It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Caroline is more than wary of the intense feelings that Joe so effortlessly invokes in her. Having never tasted the headiness of mind blowing passion or lust, Caroline is helplessly ensnared by the sensuality that is an inherent part of who Joe is. When Joe realizes that Caroline’s skittishness is a result of her naivete when it comes to the opposite sex, Joe offers a wicked plan to thwart all the unwanted attention from the other pilots who seem too keen to move in for the kill. Joe would stake his claim on Caroline so that she could work in peace a condition to which Caroline agrees which irrevocably changes life as Caroline knows it in the arms of her fighter pilot.
Ending: Before the story is through, Joe makes the ultimate mistake of doubting Caroline, a betrayal that leaves Caroline reeling from it. Caroline long since having admitted to herself that she has fallen irrevocably in love with Joe feels doubly betrayed by the fact that the man in whose arms she had found joy unlike anything else she has known before can stare at her so coldly and think the worst thing possible of her. Before the ending is through, the actual saboteurs nearly succeed in eliminating Joe and Caroline as potential witnesses to their activities, the series of events which makes Joe take into account his feelings for Caroline.
Likes: Joe Mackenzie from his delectable head to foot. I felt tingles running up and down my spine every single time he seduced Caroline and he seduced me right along with her – Darn the man! I liked the fact that Caroline doesn’t let Joe walk all over her in his attempt to fulfill the role of being the alpha male that he is. And loved revisiting Wolf Mackenzie’s mountain once again, a story that still brings a warm smile to my face.
Recommended for: Fans of Linda Howard, fans of romance stories with a little bit of suspense in the mix.
“Hold out your hand,” he commanded softly, and she obeyed.
His hard, warm hand enclosed her fingers, and he pulled her closer even as he bent. His mouth lightly touched hers, lifted, settled again. He turned his head slightly to adjust the pressure, and somehow the motion parted her own lips, so that they yielded to the molding of his. …
She felt enticed rather than coerced, and his taste was filling her senses. Warm pleasure shuddered up from her depths; with a little whimper she opened her mouth, and slowly he took her.
She had chosen to wear a halter top sundress with a full skirt, deciding that it no longer mattered if he could slide his hand under it, since she had given him permission to do much more than that, but she nearly had heart failure when that warm, hard hand slipped up under the material and squeezed her bare thigh.
All thoughts of food fled her mind. She stared at him, hunger of another sort building, her need revealed in her suddenly darkened eyes and quickened breath. Joe lightly stroked her inner thigh with his fingertips, then forced himself to withdraw his hand.
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