Published: 15 October 2019
Series: Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Warnings: Language, stalking, kidnapping, mild violence
Book cover blurb:
An RPG attack. A career in turmoil. A life teetering on the edge.
Empty and lost, former Navy SEAL Beck, stands at a crossroad. A job opportunity in New York is as far away from his previous world, as he can get. Only life has other plans for Beck and he finds himself back on the West Coast doing personal security for an up and coming Hollywood actress.
Samantha needs help, but won’t admit it. Her lifestyle has put her family in the line of fire. To protect them, she cut ties with everyone and decides to go it alone. After an accident on set, she concedes she needs help and agrees to a bodyguard following her every move.
The simmering attraction between Samantha and Beck escalates until they can’t ignore it. But when Samantha’s life is put in danger, can Beck face his shortcomings and keep her safe?
Let me start by giving a little background to this story. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ‘Special Forces: Operation Alpha’ series, you’ve been missing out! It began with the characters from Susan Stoker’s ‘Seal of Protection’ and ‘Delta Force Heroes’ series, which were picked up and turned into a fan fiction ’world’. There are many, many authors who have all added their own spin-offs from the original, with the caveat being that their new series will feature one or more of Susan’s characters. (I’m not sure how many books there are now in the ‘world’, but at the time of writing this, the highest number that I could find was 80!) Nicole Flockton has added her own piece of the world with this novel.
The story begins with Cane Beckwith (‘Beck’) sharing his mental battles with the reader about how he is struggling to cope with the transition from SEAL to civilian, after having to be medically retired from the Navy. In Beck’s own words, “All he knew was how to be [was] a SEAL. Now he didn’t know who he was.”
The reader spends a considerable length of time inside Beck’s mind at the start, as he is quite weighed down with mental turmoil. This is all being shared while he prepares to attend a job interview (for a job he isn’t sure he wants), with Alliez Security Forces firm. It is run by a former SEAL buddy, Ash, and his business partner, Storm. (He ends up taking the job.)
I had a few ‘are we there yet?’ moments as the story was getting getting started, as I started getting annoyed with Beck rather than becoming empathetic. He was leaning a little too close to whinging at times, but no doubt I did get a well established understanding of the character, so it served its purpose.
Samantha is an actress, who is currently filming the movie Cross Purposes. We’re told fairly soon after meeting her that she has been receiving anonymous messages and threats for months now. She meets Beck on set when he’s there for other business, but his presence turns out to be very lucky for her when he saves her from an accident involving falling equipment. It is after this event that friends convince her that she needs to get a bodyguard. And you guessed it, Beck gets the job.
Samantha has been keeping the information about the threats to herself, as she fears for the safety of her sister and brother-in-law. This is a theme that is revisited over and over throughout the book, with everyone else pointing out that she should have sought help, and Sam sticking to her method and insisting that she was keeping everyone safer by staying silent. (Sorry Sam, but your sister is married to a Delta Force man – I’m with everyone else! You should have told them!) This constant justification of reasoning that was obviously flawed did wear a bit thin for me.
Beck and Sam together I thought were a good pair. She made him straighten up and feel less sorry for himself, and he helped her to feel safe again. As far as quick reads go, this story for me won’t be winning any ‘book of the _____’ awards, but it was still an enjoyable read if you’re looking for something involving men with big muscles and a bit of lightweight and easy reading. The book description suggests 2 hours 50 minutes, but I’m not sure it was quite that fast. Certainly it would be in 3.5-4 hour bracket though.
One thing I did find a bit with this book was the odd spot where I had to stop and go back to read a bit again, due to a strangely ended sentence, or a random spare word that made no sense. But such editing issues weren’t all through the book, nor were they frequent enough to impede my reading of the story.
I’m giving this book a ‘4 chilli’ rating for spice, as although there weren’t a lot of intimate scenes, what there were of them were quite ‘descriptive’.