Title: Extreme Honor
HONOR, LOYALTY, LOVE
David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier's toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope's Crossing kennel can break through the animal's grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility . . . and into Atlas's heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde's mesmerizing effect isn't limited to canines. But when Lyn's work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.
Lyn realizes that David's own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he's gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else-and he's willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn't want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both . . .
Author: Piper J. Drake
Series: True Heroes #1
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Stone Walls, Glass Ceilings, Dark Corners
Published by Forever Source: Publisher
Published: January 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Military Romance, Romance
Pages: 384 pages
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website
Visit the Goodreads Series Page
First off, let me say how much I loved the cover! The dog, Atlas, looking so adoringly at his trainer, just tugs at your heartstrings. Extreme Honor moves pretty well with an interesting story-line. I love dogs and I knew it could be a potential tissue-needed-type book, but it wasn’t quite like that. At times I felt the story could have been made better than it actually came out.
I loved the premise of the book-military dog loses his handler by friendly fire. There are questions how that happened-thus the suspense side of the story. The dog is grieving and David Cruz is trying to help him with no luck. Dog whisperer, Evelyn Jones walks in and things instantly change. Atlas falls in love with her at first sight! I really liked her. She seemed uneasy about her abilities to help, but Atlas taking to her immediately strengthened her resolve to help him. I did like how the relationship evolved between her and David. Their dedication to finding out the truth of what happened to Atlas’ handler puts them in danger. I liked the romantic suspense of it.
David was harder to get into. All alpha and tough, unfortunately he didn’t connect to me. I felt his sincerity in helping Atlas and I did like that about him. He seemed to be in his own head-space a lot until Evelyn slowly drew him out.
The rub comes with some of the secondary characters. There seemed to be no real connection and they just popped up randomly. We really didn’t know how they fit into the equation so there wasn’t good flow.
All in all, Piper J. Drake wrote an endearing story. Would I recommend it? Yes. I am a dog lover. Atlas stole the show, and I loved him!
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“How’s Atlas doing?”
“He’s acknowledging her existence.” And didn’t that chafe his ass just a little bit. “She’s out walking the perimeter with him now.”
Speaking of, the pair came into view finally, far out across the grounds. Atlas kept pace with Lyn’s short stride, adjusting to her changes in speed and coming to heel when she paused to check out flowers or whatever.
Dog still maintained an air of disinterest, but he was out there with her and not laying on his belly in the kennel.
“So he’s making progress.” Beckhorn pressed for more.
“Baby steps, my friend.” Cruz chuckled. “Don’t go reporting him as recovered any time soon.”
“This mean you don’t want me to keep digging into who sent her?”
Cruz leaned back in his chair, considering. Her fear had been real the night before. Terror, really. “She was damned shaken up last night. Take a look at the debrief I sent you, off the record. Someone was looking for info she didn’t know she had. Or maybe she didn’t have it yet.”
“She’s a liability.” His friend made a grim noise.
“I had her check out of the hotel and gave her a place to stay here where I can keep an eye on her.” He didn’t entirely trust her yet but he was sure she hadn’t been faking anything the evening before. Her reactions had been genuine.
“You’re going to keep her around?” Beckhorn whistled, low and long. “Is she that hot?”
“It’s not about that and you know better.” Of course, Lyn chose to bend over right about then, checking out a pretty wildflower or weed or something, and he got a faraway view of her shapely rear.
Okay, she was hot.
But he wouldn’t keep a liability around just for that. He had Atlas in mind.
“Yeah, yeah,” Beckhorn continued, oblivious of the view. “What’s the plan now?
“We both know there was something to the way Calhoun died.” It was a big part of the reason Beckhorn had called Cruz so soon for Atlas. He’d needed someone he could trust to oversee the dog’s recovery before something unfortunate occurred. “Accidental friendly fire, my ass.”
“It’s the ‘accidental’ part in question. We both know it wasn’t friendly even if the round did come from one of ours.” Beckhorn’s tone went flat. “What we need to do is both prove it and find out why. Calhoun reached out to you just before he died and whatever drunk text he sent you pointed to Atlas.”
“At the time, the message hadn’t made any sense so I assumed it was a drunk text.” Cruz swallowed hard on the guilt and self-recrimination there. Not sure what he could’ve done from across a damned ocean but he still felt he should’ve realized something was wrong and helped his friend stay alive.
“It still doesn’t make any sense.” A string of curses followed. “Look. No ripping ourselves up for what we would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. We do the right thing now.”
“Yeah.” Cruz nodded even if Beckhorn couldn’t see.
Lyn resumed her stroll and Atlas took up position by her side. Dog might play like he wasn’t interested in the woman but he was engaged and Cruz would take whatever help there was to be had.
Of course, he might have more in common with the dog than he’d prefer to admit.
Last night, she’d suffered a bad scare. Things could have been far worse if he hadn’t shown up when he did. He’d been ready to rip her a new one when he’d come to her door, ajar only because her phone had landed in the entryway. It’d taken seconds to change gears from being angry with her to charging in to help her.
He’d have still gotten through, but it would’ve taken longer for him to realize what was going on and to break down the door. She’d been very lucky.
In those moments, he’d become someone else. The man he used to be. The stranger he’d
locked down after he’d returned from deployment. When he’d heard her in danger, he’d gladly embraced the old rage and the cold calm to rush the door. Eliminate the threats.
“You still there, man?” Beckhorn brought him back.
A cold chill passed through Cruz as he realized he’d come to his feet. Maybe he hadn’t completely put the other him to rest yet, but it’d take some time to ease back and he hadn’t been all too relaxed as it was. It’d been why he’d come to spend time at Hope’s Crossing. “Yeah. Here.”
Now. Just a minute ago? Not so much. Seemed like Miss Evelyn Jones had a way of pushing all sorts of buttons with him without even trying to.
“You wanna share what you’re thinking? I can almost hear the gears turning in your head.”
Way across the field, Lyn had come to a halt. It was Atlas’s posture that got Cruz moving. “I’m going to have to call you back.”
And don’t miss the second book in the True Heroes series, ULTIMATE COURAGE, on sale July 26, 2016!
Elisa Hall is good at starting from scratch. Leaving an abusive relationship in her rearview, she packs everything she owns into the trunk of her car and heads for refuge with her friend in Hope’s Crossing, North Carolina.
Alex Rojas returned from his second deployment as a Navy SEAL to find his condo empty and divorce papers on the breakfast table. Now he’s building a life for himself and his daughter at Hope’s Crossing kennels training younger dogs and handlers to search and rescue, struggling to adjust to life back in the States and as a single father.
When Elisa shows up at the kennels, it’s obvious she’s running from something. Luckily, the dogs and trainers at Hope’s Crossing are more than capable of warding off trouble. And with every minute he spends with Elisa, Alex becomes even more and more determined to protect the woman he’s certain he won’t be able to live without…
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About the author:
Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre. PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award. PJ’s romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.
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