Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

Lou is a hurricane. 
A walking disaster. 
And with her, Callum's never felt more alive...even if keeping her safe may just kill him.
Lou's new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she's determined to make it on her own matter how tempting her ice dive captain Callum Cook may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who'll stop at nothing to silence Lou and prove that not even her new Search & Rescue brotherhood can keep her safe forever.
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

I completely enjoyed this book. 
The story was told in third person from the heroine's POV only. Somehow, it only made Cal more loveable. The reader got to witness his surrender to the inevitable from a more remote viewpoint than being in his head, and yet I knew what he was feeling and even thinking sometimes, just by his interactions with Lou. And Lou - ah Lou!
I do like feisty, independent heroines, but when they get idiotically stubborn, so that they're a danger to themselves and others, well, that's when the book hits the wall, metaphorically speaking since I use a Kindle Fire. This heroine was NOT like that. She was a sheer joy. She was mature and grownup and recognized Cal's need to protect her and she grew adept at reading beneath his grumpy exterior to the loving person underneath. I truly admired her for that, because strong relationships are built on give and take - compromise - and Cal did his giving too, recognizing her need for independence.
The characters grabbed me so, the plot was almost incidentental. Okay, that's an exaggeration, the plot was pretty good, had me skimming so badly that I'll probably have to reread to get all the details. But the characters are just a joy to read, expecially Lou (and you know I'm not heroine-centric).
An example: Lou's money earning job is as a waitress at the local diner. Cal started keeping her company in the evenings, since she's alone and nefarious things have been happening and she's gotten into the habit of saving him a fancy scone. This particular evening there is a couple having coffee and the lady wants a scone ...

"Excuse me." The female half of the eavesdropping couple took a step closer to the counter. "Are there any more of those scones?"
Lou pasted a regretful smile on her face. "Sorry, no. This was the last one."
"I didn't see it in the display." The woman scowled. "I specifically asked if you had any scones, and you said you were out."
"I had to hold this one back. It was defective."
"Defective?' Her eyes darted between Lou's expression of fake sympathy and the small bite of scone Callum hadn't eaten yet. "It looked fine."
"I licked it." Lou heard Callum choke on the last piece of scone, but she couldn't look at him or she would start laughing. If his airway was blocked, he was going to have to give himself the Heimlich.
The woman's suspicious expression didn't ease. "Why did you let him eat it then?"
"Oh, his tongue is in my mouth all the time," Lou said sweetly, and Callum's coughing increased. "I didn't think he'd mind my germs."
With a sound of frustration the woman stormed out of the shop, followed closely by the male half of the couple. The bells rang merrily as the door closed behind them, as if celebrating their absence.
"Sparks," Callum rasped once his coughing died down. "You're going to kill me."
"But what a way to go."
"True." Grabbing her hand, he pulled her closer and leaned across the counter. "Now give me some of those germs."

There's a novella that preceeds this story, On His Watch, free at Amazon and I presume most other sellers. Lou and Cal both appear, but the story is of Derek, part of the Search and Rescue team, and how he found his romance and HEA.
And I'm on to read the next in the series, Fan the Flames, the story of the beautiful Ian. And, y'all, I have to say there are some really different characters and eccentrics in these books. Ian himself is one, a firefighter and also in a local MC. His heroine, Rory is another. From what I can gather her parents, who are dead now (haven't found out when or how yet) were a little bit on the wrong side of the law and she has inherited their business. Will try to do a non-review on this book too. :-)
So, in case you didn't pick up on this, I like this book and this series. It's not great literature, but it is entertaining literature with likeable characters and lots of eccentrics to warm my little heart. 
Totally recommended.

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