And holding on for dear life…
The Special Ops hero feared nothing -until he met a woman too hot to hold…
Lt. Jake Hansen has survived some of the riskiest missions known to man. But now the wounded Navy SEAL faces his toughest job yet: Smuggling Dr. Isabelle Markham out of Africa without triggering an international incident. Not easy to do when the gorgeous hostage happens to be a senator’s daughter —and about as easy to resist as an oasis in the desert…
If it weren’t for Jake, Isabelle would still be halfway across the world, where rebel forces left her for dead. The Special Ops warrior may have saved her life, but she doesn’t need him to protect her now. Tell that to the ruggedly handsome hunk in full battle fatigues who’s just been assigned Isabelle’s personal bodyguard. Close quarters aside, Isabelle won’t let Jake anywhere near her heart — until danger throws them together again…and nothing in the jungles of wildest Africa could prepare them for a passion this wild. This crazy. This hot….
I have to admit, I purchased this book for no other reason than Lea (closetwriter.blogspot.com) wrote an excellent review a while back. I had never heard of Stephanie Tyler or her SEALs series, and I have yet to read the back of the cover. So when I decided to throw my hat in the ring for the DIK challenge and saw Hard to Hold on the list of optional books, I took the bait! I rarely read contemporary romance... there are a select few CR authors that are on auto buy. I pick up a CR when I need a change of pace or I am in a reading slump and HR is just not cutting it for me.
Hard to Hold opens in the Jungles of Africa. On their way to the rendezvous point (forgive me here, I can't remember the ranks) Jake Hansen, our SEAL, and his best friend Nick get a call that an American woman was kidnapped and believed to be located in there general vicinity. These guys hump it over to the location where the woman was seen left for dead. Upon their arrival they find Dr. Isabel Markham, a Senator's daughter, badly beaten and abused. They make quick work of stabilizing Isabelle, when she tells them that she can't be moved. With their communications down and rebel fire closing in, Nick runs for help. Jake does everything possible to ensure Isabel of her safety with him and that they will get out of Africa alive.
Dr. Isabelle Markham is a plastic surgeon who has decided to work with Doctors without Borders instead of practicing in the safety of an American hospital and marrying her fiance. In all of her previous stints with the organization things have been perfectly fine, until her mother is elected into Senate. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree... both of these women are head strong, feisty, and stubborn...real go-getters. Despite being betrayed by her bodyguard Izzy is getting on with her life, in almost the capacity that she wants. It is only going to take a few more months before she can go back to Africa and do what she loves most.
Jake Hansen is a tortured hero. After a childhood of abuse he enlists in the Navy at 15 years old with the help of forged documentation and becomes a highly trained SEAL. He is stubborn, loyal, and is able to take charge in any situation no matter how chaotic.
Two months after her ordeal in Africa, Isabelle has signed on, with the help of her "Uncle" Cal (an Admiral), as a civilian consultant for the Navy. She is assigned to the same base as Jake and the Admiral. Cal asks a favor of Jake, who is on restricted duty due to a gun shot wound. "Keep her safe" Without Isabelle's knowledge and with a lot of bucking Jake becomes her "personal body guard". There is definitely a connection between Jake and Isabelle. Jake believes that it is a hero syndrome, you know the one I mean, the one where the girl is attracted to her rescuer because he rescued her. Isabel isn't sure what the connection is that she feels but insists that it is not the hero syndrome.
Hard to Hold was exciting to read, never losing steam. The battle of wills that ensues between Izzy and Jake, while not funny, was extremely fun to watch unfold. The pushing and shoving to release the bottled up emotions and deal with the past so they could face their futures, fighting the strong sexual desires, and the overall caring between Izzy and Jake made for a very intense romance and not so normal romance. Jake understood Isabelle's limits and pushed her past them emotionally while respecting her need to stand on her own two feet and take back control of her life. I loved that Jake not only respected those boundaries, but that he understood that Isabelle was in no way ready for a sexual relationship.
Hard to Hold definitely earned the hype that I have heard, and a 5 star rating!!! I am looking forward to the other to novels in this trilogy, Too Hot to Hold and Hold on Tight.
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