For U.S. Navy SEAL, Bowie “Ruckus” Cooper, going on a mission into the most dangerous place on earth wasn’t new, neither were the orders to tag and bag an international criminal, but when Bowie finds a captive American reporter, that wasn’t exactly run of the mill. Neither was getting separated from his team, teaming up with her or protecting her against all odds, while working to keep his hands from around her neck and off her delectable body.
Fearless and bold photojournalist, Dana Sorenson never backed down from a fight or to showcase her dedication to reporting on the human condition. That’s what she thought until she meets Bowie and big, bad, and tough takes on a whole new meaning. Gratitude for saving her ass gets lost in his demanding orders and fighting for her life takes a back seat to falling for this alpha male who’ll risk everything to see her safe.
Getting out of tight situations, dangerous situations is what Ruckus has done for the better part of his adult life. As leader of SEAL Team Alpha, Ruckus has honed his mind and body to withstand and thrive in conditions most people would buckle under in an instant. His team is his family and their safety his primary concern. Until Cupcake, nothing has ever gotten in his way, clouded his judgement, or compromised a mission. Until Cupcake.
Dana Sorenson has spent her life trying to live up to the example set by her parents. Her mother selflessly gave of herself through Doctors Without Borders and her dad held down the fort at home, always ready for the return of his girls. Dana’s parents loved generously and without condition and often in the service of others. To that end, Dana’s current assignment in the armpit of Hell is the fulfillment of a final request from her mother, tell the story of the people who are suffering. With a small crew and a few “permission slips” that will mean nothing once the shooting begins, Dana finds herself the prisoner of a madman and all her footage and data stolen.
The arrival of Ruckus and his team is a sight for sore eyes and a welcome surprise, but Dana is having none of them sending her home without her footage and materials. She knows where the team can find their “real” target and she’ll be happy to tell them as long as she’s allowed to tag along and recover her property. Thus begins, Operation Cupcake.
Ruckus isn’t pleased with his new “teammate,” especially once they’re separated from the rest of the team, but even he has to admit, she’s scrappy and able to keep up with him. Cupcake, as Ruckus refers to her, has a smart mouth, a quick mind, and a fearlessness he has rarely encountered outside of the SEALS. She’s sexy as hell and one of the few women ever able to break through his prodigious defenses. Thanks to a truly awful childhood and some epically failed relationships, Ruckus doesn’t easily trust, but again and again, Cupcake proves she can be trusted and even liked. Though he doesn’t want to like her or betray her, Ruckus has a job to do and part of that job is seeking her safe return to the US, with or without her property.
The Bottom Line: Quite frankly, Zoe Dawson is just too good to fall into the traps of the typical first in a series book. Ruckus starts out hard and heavy and it doesn’t let up for a single minute until the very end! Ruckus is by far my favorite character in this read and I thoroughly believed in his quiet aggression, his nearly silent strength, and overt sexiness. Ruckus tends to let his actions speak louder than his words and I LOVED what he had to say. Dana is a strong character, but she took time for me to really warm up to. To be completely honest, I am not a fan of reporters so I went in with a bit of a bias against Cupcake. With that being said, Dawson has created a completely atypical reporter character and I completely appreciated that effort. Sure, Dana wants her property back and wants to tell her story, but her mission is more about fulfilling a promise to her beloved mother and not scooping another reporter or trashing people for the sake of a juicy story. Once I recognized the alignment of Cupcake’s priorities, I warmed up to her nicely. Finally, in addition to Ruckus and Cupcake, there is the rest of Team Alpha who don’t play a huge role in this read, but make enough of a splash to let the reader know, this is going to be one slammin’ series!
U.S. Navy SEAL Ashe “Kid Chaos” Wilder doesn’t do sedate, so packing a novel and namby-pamby sunscreen for a Caribbean vacation doesn’t float his boat. Instead, he’s going to ride down the world’s most dangerous road on a mountain bike through the treacherous Andes in the wilds of Bolivia. His now ex-girlfriend thinks that he is much too crazy for her, and, sadly Ashe hasn’t found the right woman to understand or tolerate his daredevil proclivities until he runs smack dab into Paige Sinclair. She’s not only as audacious as he is, but their chemistry is off the charts.
NCIS agent Paige Sinclair is undercover in La Paz, Bolivia. She’s been tasked with investigating one of the co-owners, a former CIA operator, of a tour company for his possible involvement in arms theft that left two MPs dead. When she meets Ashe, and sparks fly, she loses her head and has a thing with him, not expecting it would go anywhere, her job took up all her time. Except when the investigation heats up, she’s thrilled to have a well-trained Navy SEAL covering her back. As they join in battle to find the weapons and stop the bad guys from selling them to terrorists, those sparks turn into a flame that could heat up the Andes.
They don’t call him Kid Chaos for nothing!! He’s the youngest member of SEAL Team Alpha and Ashe Wilder certainly lives up to his call name. He is all wild energy, adrenaline junkie, badass with a mouth that sometimes just doesn’t know when to stop running. He works hard, proudly defends his country, and loves fiercely. The only real problem in Kid’s life is finding a woman who can love him as fiercely and loyally as he loves her. After two failed relationships, Kid has decided it may just not be in the cards for him.
Paige Sinclair isn’t interested in anything beyond her career. Since her mother left, when Paige was just a kid, Paige has become accustomed to hard work. She took over the raising of her brothers and caring for their home and then it became all about her career. Nose to the grindstone, a work ethic that is largely unmatched, and an iron will has led Paige to La Paz, Bolivia and on the trail of thieves will nothing but bad intentions. Two servicemen are dead and a cache of weapons are missing, and Paige is determined to see justice done. She’s two weeks into her undercover gig when Ashe Wilder walks into her life.
Ashe is sex on two legs and for the first time in as long as she can remember, Paige is interested. Though he’s in La Paz on vacation, Ashe is always a SEAL and always aware of his surroundings. Paige is certainly someone he is aware of and within the span of a day and a half, Ashe is also aware of brewing trouble. When Paige shows up in a place she shouldn’t be, the cards are placed on the table and suddenly a solo undercover mission becomes a duet with Ashe’s team made aware of his situation. When Paige begins to disclose all details of her mission, Ashe knows they are up against nearly insurmountable odds which is just where he excels! Though his call name is Kid Chaos, Kid knows how to handle himself in a bad situation and he uses his brand of crazy to his advantage. Additionally, as Paige begins to open up and trust Kid, she becomes important to him and jeopardizing her safety and/or life just isn’t an option.
The Bottom Line: By and large, I enjoyed every minute of this read and it had everything to do with Kid Chaos!! From the moment he opened his mouth in book one, Ruckus, I was #teamkid There’s very little that brings Kid down and he lives his life as if every day is his last day. He doesn’t pursue the extreme sports for the adrenaline rush, but for the experience and he is fiercely loyal. Paige taps into everything in Kid that is wild and chaotic and speaks to his soul. Paige brings a newfound strength to Kid’s life and proves to Kid that when you find the right person love and devotion are totally worth the risk. Oh, and if there’s some crazy extreme, someone’s trying to kill you business going on, all the better 😊
Zoe Dawson lives in North Carolina right on the Mason/Dixon line. She discovered romance in her teens and has been spinning stories in her head ever since. Her heroes are sexy males with a disregard for danger and whether reluctant, gung-ho, or caught up in the action, show their hearts of gold. Her imagination runs wild with romances from sensual to scorching including romantic comedy, new adult, romantic suspense, small town and urban fantasy. Look below to explore the many avenues to her writing. She believes that it’s all about the happily ever afters and always will be.