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Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Hero: Captain Gerard Delaney
Heroine: Dr. Olivia Olney
Publication Date: August 12, 2010
Started On: July 13, 2011
Finished On: July 14, 2011
Don’t Look Back by M.J. Fredrick is going to be a hard book for me to review, not because I didn’t love the story that unfolded but rather because of just how much the story drew me in and wrapped its words around me, making me savor every emotion that it wrenched from me that I want to do this book the justice that it deserves. Before I begin my review however, there are two things that I would like to thank the very wonderful M.J. Fredrick for. Number one being for the blog post that she published which drew my attention to this gem, and the second for being generous enough to give me a copy of this book which I appreciate from the bottom of my heart.
Don’t Look Back kicks off seven years prior to the start of the actual story when Dr. Olivia Olney is rescued by a team led by Captain Gerard Delaney from Special Forces who specializes in hostage recovery. Broken, battered, raped and barely alive, Olivia finds the strength to persevere and come out fighting by never letting go of the image of the tough blue-eyed soldier who arrived to her rescue when she had right about given up hope.
Seven years later, Olivia is a changed woman, the scars of the ordeal that she underwent which she carries with her every day. However, that doesn’t stop her from helping out the less fortunate souls who struggle to survive the depths of hell that is war riddled Africa, even if it means going back to the one place that brings back the nightmares of how she was captured and tortured at the hands of violent and vicious men.
When her best friend Jill gets taken as a hostage by the man who imprisoned Olivia and introduced her to the depths of hell, there is no stone that Olivia would leave unturned in her quest to rescue the one woman who stood by her through every single step of her recovery. When Olivia finds out that the soldier who has haunted her dreams since the night of her rescue is very much alive and living in exile in Spain, she doesn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops, even kicking Delaney where it hurts to get him to lead their rescue operation.
Delaney is a man who has been stripped bare of everything, a man with nothing left to lose who remains in hiding, fearing for the life of his son and his ex-wife whom he has left behind. Three years of merely existing comes to an end when the sexy and vibrant Olivia sashays into his life, opening up the wounds that have been quietly festering all this while. Olivia forces Delaney to confront his fear of failure and his reluctance to go back to a country that has already taken too much from him and left him high and dry.
Making their way to Amadan, a jungle-choked country with very poor roads begins their journey towards endless violence and danger which seems to lurke amidst every step they take. But the biggest threat comes not from the danger to each of their lives but rather that to their hearts when desire races like a raging inferno through both of them until there is no choice left but to surrender.
Combining sizzling sexual tension, toe-curling passion, heart pounding adventure and vicious war lords whose agendas change as swiftly as that of the colors of a chameleon, M.J. Fredrick earns herself 5 solid stars for penning such a fantastic romantic suspense that ALL fans of the genre must read. Bringing together two souls who have already seen the worst life can offer, but still has the courage to stand tall, both Delaney and Olivia are heartwarming and endearing characters that I fell in love with right from the very beginning.
In my opinion, the fact that M.J. Fredrick portrays the story in gritty and realistic terms to the very last detail made this earn a spot from my favorite reads for this year. Raw and honest in the gut wrenching emotions that it brings forth, heartbreaking in the details of the rape and torture that is part of every day life for women in the region, Don’t Look Back is a novel that has got it all. If a well-balanced romantic suspense with a bit of dark edge to it is what you want, don’t hesitate to pick this one up and let yourself be taken away on an intense adventure that would have you biting your nails before halfway through!
To compensate, she took a deep breath and found herself with a noseful of Del-scent. Something about the sharp smell of him, lying beneath what might be Old Spice, made her want to bury her face in his throat and breathe him in.
Words escaped him. All his energy was in controlling his desire. He had no business looking at her, no business wanting to run his fingers through her hair, to bring her body against his and warm her with his kisses. He was the last thing she needed in her life.
Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!