This is my 2nd time reading/listening to this book, and I still love it! I think I've grown to love Tom even more, and although I like Kelly, I'm not...moreThis is my 2nd time reading/listening to this book, and I still love it! I think I've grown to love Tom even more, and although I like Kelly, I'm not entirely convinced she deserves him! There's actually three love stories involved, Tom and Kelly are the main couple. Tom's niece Mallory falls in love as well, with geeky but adorable David. And then the historical romance, something Brockmann is well known for putting in her books.
This time it's a three way between Tom's Uncle Joe, Kelly's dad Charles, and the woman they both love but neither could have, Cybele. This is a heart wrenching part of the story, Joe, the ultimate nice guy is in love with Cybele, fighting alongside her for years during WWII in France with the Resistance. Cybele, a young widow already wants nothing to do with love, only to kill Nazis. But then they rescue a wounded Charles Ashton, and it's love at first sight Cybele and Charles. Except Charles is already married and fast becoming friends with Joe. It's the one secret they have between them, and in all their years as friends, 65 to be exact, they never speak of it until Charles learns he's dying. I wanted to cry for them all, Cybele for being so young and already losing her husband and baby to the Nazis is determined not to be vulnerable again. Joe, ah, Joe! Joe has never gotten over Cybele, never married. And Charles wanted to love Cybele, but in 1942, divorcing the wife you just married because you got her pregnant wasn't the thing to do.
Then you have Tom and Kelly. Kelly has pined for Tom for years, but when Tom finally realizes he's in love with her, he's afraid he's going crazy too, from seeing a terrorist every one thinks is dead. This weighs on him heavily, and seeing him be so vulnerable and open made me just fall harder for him. Kelly is too afraid of love, and I don't feel she has that good of a reason. Yes, Charles is not a very affectionate father, but neither was he abusive. I guess we are to believe neglect is the main fear, but I just don't see it. Ultimately Kelly admits to loving him, but their relationship doesn't seem settled yet, and I know from reading the rest of the series, it's not settled until book 2 or 3, not sure.
Mallory and David are cute, but their romance happens a little fast, and reading about an 18-year old girl lose her virginity to a 20-year old guy, when she's not even told him she's still a virgin is a little creepy for me. He's great with her, but the fact it wasn't discussed prior bothered me. Of course, just like David, we were to assume by Mallory's reputation and attitude she wasn't one, but I still think the conversation taking place just before sex would have made it a little less weird.
We get introduced to Sam/Roger/Houston/Ringo Starett and Alyssa Locke! Their romance is so great because we get to see it develop over several books!!! Usually we get the back story within the romance, but here we get to see it all happen, over several years! It's a bit angsty in parts, but when they finally get together it's book magic!! Plus Alyssa is not your typical white girl heroine, something I wish a lot more authors did, or in reality, a lot more publishers/readers would embrace! No, Alyssa is described as somewhat of a Vanessa Williams type, but better! The fact that her and Sam hate each other when we first meet them, well, that makes it all the better for later! We also meet Jazz, who still hasn't had a book in the 16 book series yet! I can't wait for that!
If you like the military heroes (and heroines, Alyssa is an LT in the Navy!), the suspense and great characters, you can't go wrong with this series!(less)
**spoiler alert** It's been awhile since I've read/listened to this one, and in my memory LT John Nilson, Nils, was a nice guy, but didn't hold up ver...more**spoiler alert** It's been awhile since I've read/listened to this one, and in my memory LT John Nilson, Nils, was a nice guy, but didn't hold up very well in comparison to other Troubleshooters, but after re-listening to it, I can see I was wrong! In this second installment of the Troubleshooter series I have noticed something I had put together yet, and that's in the first several books, minus Terri Howe, I've not liked most of the heroines. Besides Terri, I didn't like any of the heroines until Alyssa. Unfortunately, I'm still not crazy about Meg Moore, but I don't dislike her.
First, this book is very aptly titled, but it took me a while to see how defiant Nils is, it's sort of a quiet defiant, and a quiet strength he has. He's not overbearing, he's kind and respectful, but he is in no way beta. He will not give up, and nothing can hold him back. It's a rare quality in romance heroes these days, and they tend be overlooked, but Nils is no push-over. He's just very patient. Extremely patient! Like 3 1/2 years patient! This is how long he's held a torch for Meg! I also like that they have a history, and it's not just they meet and fall in love. Actually, this is sort of a long and painful journey to love, even a little depressing, when John breaks down and admits how much he loves Meg, he does it because she's ready to give her life to save her daughter in a no-win situation, and John is begging her to let him and the SEALs help her. She's desperate and half-crazed from worry and lack of sleep, ready to break down herself. No, this is not a fun romp to HEA, but it is a great story nonetheless.
I can certainly understand Meg's dilemma, and her lack of faith in anyone being able to keep her daughter and beloved Grandmother Eve alive, after all the terrorists know an awful lot about her, and she will do anything, including trading her own life for her daughter's, to save Amy and Eve. I don't fault her for that, even though I think if I were in her situation, I would totally cave to John right from the beginning. Especially after witnessing his magic in K-stan 3 1/2 years ago in getting the job done, in a rather creative way. But not having a child of my own, realizing it has been a long time since she's seen John, I can understand her lack of trust. The thing I don't like about Meg is the way she stayed with her cheating and horrible ex Daniel, even after she found out he was cheating on her for the second time, on Christmas Day no less. After a certain point staying together for the sake of the child is way too damaging, and if you kid knows you're staying with the loser because Amy wants her family, in the end all you really teach your child is to put others values and concerns above your own. This is something I can't stand, and I can speak from personal experience on this. Watching your mother (or father, let's not be biased here) stay for something like that is degrading, and for Meg to not only let this go on, but lead John on at the same time, well, it made me like her a little less, and feel she didn't deserve John.
The story within a story that Brockmann is famous for was included in this book as well. Meg's grandmother Eve, who spent WWII in England and fell in love during the very difficult time, I thought was great. Even if it was a little creepy, Eve was 15 when she fell in love with and married Ralph Grayson, but he thought she was 20. Her deception does excuse him in my mind, because before the marriage is consummated, she tells him the truth. He's outraged and leaves for war immediately. But after 5 years, when he returns they are still married and end up together forever. Eve never told anyone she was 20, they all just assumed she was, she was responsible for her little brother, left to her own devices to look out for both of them from a young age, her parents long dead, her step-parents are generous but neglectful in that they want to live their own lives. Eve really is mature, and does a good job of taking care of her illiterate brother, protecting like a fierce den mother from evil teachers who make him feel stupid. Ralph is hired by her step-parents to tutor him, and the glib Englishman has never seen anything like this beautiful American girl, who can blame him for falling in love with her? It's a great story, and includes a really great part on the true story of the "little ships" evacuation of Dunkirk, France. I love some history in my romances!
Usually there is just two love stories in Brockmann's novels, but in this one, and the next 2-3 in the series we get another one that stretches out and breaks your heart, several times before Sam and Alyssa finally find their HEA. They met in The Unsung Hero, and here we get to see them interact a lot more, and this part of their story fits very well with the sort of depressing, desperate theme of this book, as it's very obvious Sam is smitten from the beginning, and leaves himself open and vulnerable to Alyssa, who takes almost every opportunity to stomp on his heart and feelings from the beginning. I think it's done very well, because it could be very easy to hate Alyssa, but she's had a hard life, is the best at what she does in a man's field, and has to have her defenses up at all times to protect herself and reputation against sexual harassment, and hurt. She's a very strong person, but at the same time very weak, and Sam sees this and I think the caveman part of him wants to protect her, she just can't let her guard down enough to relax. Plus she has some serious stereotypes against him, assuming he's a redneck asshole, which is kinda funny because if someone were to throw racial stereotypes at her, she would go off. Yet she hurls them without thinking at Sam. It's very hard to like Alyssa, and if this was all I ever knew of her, I wouldn't like her. But I know the next books will show a different side to her, and I like that we get to see them both grow. Don't give up on her and Sam!
I think this is a little bit of a tough book and for it to be second in the series, especially after Tom's difficulties in book one, it's a lot to handle. But I think the characters are worth it. I wouldn't call this series dark, but it is very intense, and even though I may not like some of the characters as much as others, they are all well-thought out and fully human. I don't feel like I'm reading about two-dimensional characters in a book, they feel like real people who could walk off the page at any time. This is something I really love about this author. I highly encourage this series, but take heed - it's not light reading! (less)
It's been a while since I've read/listened to this book, but I am glad I read it again. Well, listened to it again, lol. This is a really heart-wrench...moreIt's been a while since I've read/listened to this book, but I am glad I read it again. Well, listened to it again, lol. This is a really heart-wrenching book, in so many ways, but I like books that dig below the surface and really show the characters under a spotlight, good, bad, or indifferent. I want to see it all! Over the Edge does not disappoint in the angst, that's for sure!
First, there's the main couple, Stan and Teri. It's so obvious Sr. Chief Stan has a huge crush on LT Teri, and how sweet is that! Stan is a bear of a man, the ultimate repair man, if there's a problem, Sr. Chief will get it done, and in a no-holds-barred, take no prisoners kind of way. Except when he has feelings for Teri Howe. Those he does nothing with, understandably, because he's enlisted and she's an officer, he's more than 10 years older than her, and he's described as not exactly a handsome man. A life with a Navy SEAL would not be easy, so he figures the deck is stacked against him. But he wants Teri to be happy, safe and strong, so when she needs help building her self confidence to stand up to boorish men, Sr. Chief can fix it. It's slightly annoying, but charming at the same time to see Stan trying to resist falling for Teri, even pushing her towards LT Mike Muldoon, who comes across as totally clueless in the book. When Teri ultimately sees through the rouse, she pushes Stan, and holy cow! They are hot together! I love that she's learned to conquer her fear of confrontation and just goes for it with Stan. There's some dark parts, when Teri reveals the reason she's so timid around dominant men is due to child sexual abuse as a child. I love that Stan is so angry and upset over what happened to her as a child that he cries! My favorite scene was in the stairwell when she announces to Stan and all his men that's she's in love with him! She immediately realizes she's probably embarrassing him and herself and apologizes, to which Stan answers in typical, funny Sr. Chief fashion - he's not upset, Teri's declaration has just proved that he can, in fact, accomplish the impossible! Eventually Stan stops fearing he's not good enough for Teri. They are one of my favorite Troubleshooters couples!
Of course, most Brockmann books include a blast from the past love story. This one was equally great, the love between Helga Shuler's Jewish brother Hershel, and Stan's Aunt Anna in Nazi-occupied Denmark is sweet and heartbreaking. The re-telling of it by Helga, who's 'losing her marbles' is cute and heart-breaking as well. She's a great story-teller, but her memory is completely 'Swiss cheese,' so she end's up re-telling bits, and pieces, losing her place in time, and she does it with dignity and grace. I just love Helga!
Finally, there's Sam and Alyssa. Their story is just so difficult to read/listen to at times. Not because it's not good, but because it's so gut-wrenching. It's obvious they are soo attracted to each other, and they are both such strong people, afraid to admit 'defeat' by admitting they even like each other. And Sam! Sam completely breaks down and cries over her, when it seems they just can't get along except between the sheets. When Alyssa sees this by accident, it brings a new dawn of realization to her, that Sam maybe isn't such an asshole. Then Sam ultimately lays it all on the line, his heart, his pride, everything to tell her he loves her, and wants to get to know her better. Finally, we think! They are going to get together! Except Sam's ex-girlfriend Mary Lou has a surprise for him. And Sam, being the noble, sweet, honorable man that he is intends to provide for Mary Lou and his soon to be child, even if it breaks his heart. When he comes to Alyssa's apartment to tell her, it's one of the saddest things I've ever read! Your heart just breaks for both of them!
All of this is told against the chaos that is a hostage situation in K-stan, where we meet brave Gina and smooth as silk Max, who have a later book. All sorts of tension, danger, death even, in this book. I think it's one of the best in the series, and it's in my top 3 fave of the series! Highly recommend!(less)