Review: Bring on the Dusk by M.L. Buchman

bring on the dusk by ml buchmanFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genre: military romance, romantic suspense
Series: Night Stalkers #6
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date Released: March 3, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

As a five-nation war simmers in the Caspian Sea, Captain Claudia Jean “Cee-Cee’ Casperson of the Night Stalkers and Colonel Michael Gibson of Delta Force are called in to subdue the conflict. They’ll need all their combined ingenuity to stop a clash that could have catastrophic global repercussions. And they’ll need to do it while remaining under the radar. It’ll take all the strength they have—but it will take even more for the pair to breach the walls they’ve built around their hearts.

My Review:

night is mine by ml buchmanI have read and reviewed the entire Night Stalkers series, so I couldn’t miss this one. And if you love military romance, you shouldn’t miss this series either. Start with The Night is Mine (reviewed here) and be prepared to sign over a bunch of your nights.

It wasn’t until the book hit me over the head, but all the books in this series have time in the title, specifically some time between dusk and dawn – because that is when the Night Stalkers operate. The dark is their friend, because it hides their operations – many of which have to be denied in the light of day.

At the very beginning of this story, Captain Claudia Casperson has to adapt herself to the Night Stalkers upside-down schedule. It’s about the only thing she really needs to adapt to, because she was born to fly for SOAR.

Delta Force, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, is another group that relies on the dark of night to get their job done. If some SOAR operations are deniable, everything that the D-boys do is deniable to the point of sometimes denying they exist. They even give the credit for some of their operations to other Special Forces units, just to keep the terrorists they are countering in the dark.

I said D-boys not just because the Unit is still all male, unlike SOAR, but also because that’s the way they are referred to in the story. However, it is a unit where there certainly are no boys, only men who have taken on a hard and dangerous duty and expect to give their lives in the service of their country.

i own the dawn by ml buchmanThere are no boys or girls, no children or young recruits, anywhere within SOAR or Delta. Even Dilya, the adopted daughter of Archie and Kee (their story is in I Own the Dawn, reviewed here) is only a child chronologically, Her experiences have made her grown-up well beyond her teenage years.

I wonder (and hope) this series can go on long enough for us to see Dilya’s HEA. But I seriously digress.

Bring on the Dusk is the story of two very quiet people who are the best of the best at what they do. Colonel Michael Gibson is the highest ranking Delta officer still in the field. He’s the best of the best, and he’s also the best at keeping his own counsel. He’s not prepared for anyone to challenge the fortress he keeps his heart in. But Claudia Casperson is also the best of the best at what she does, which is fly helicopters. She’s also good at being quiet herself.

Both Gibson and Casperson raised themselves. Gibson vaulted himself into the high Titan redwoods of California, climbing beyond where anyone else has climbed. His parents were there, but distant, and couldn’t follow where his mind or his heart led.

Claudia was a child of the Sonoran Desert, learning to fly at a young age and also taking herself out into the desert for the quiet and peace of the open spaces. Her tiny town in Arizona had no school and little opportunity. She educated herself, and her parents were also present but uncaring and distant.

Two people who both love the peace of being away from everything and everyone, find their quiet place in the midst of war with each other. It just takes both of these very intelligent people longer than you might expect to figure out that as important as it is to serve a cause that you are willing to die for, it is just as important to find someone that you are willing to live for.

Escape Rating B+: Part of the fun of this series is watching new people get introduced to the Night Stalkers that series readers are already familiar with. It’s always a hoot to see old friends from new perspectives,as well as get an update on how everyone is doing.

Speaking of which, it was terrific to see Emily Beale as she continues to adjust to life outside SOAR. Claudia calling on her as a mentor was a terrific scene. Emily is the prototype, and now Claudia has to step into Emily’s shoes in ways that she didn’t expect.

Also two women discussing military strategy for operations that they have planned or will plan and relying on each other takes the Bechdel test to a whole new level.

The romance in this story is a slow-building one, as many of them have been in this series. Gibson and Casperson are never quite sure whether the anti-frat regs apply to them or not, as they are both officers and Delta force is in a separate command structure from SOAR. But that isn’t the real barrier. The issue is that both of these people have locked their hearts away for reasons that seem good and logical, but get thrown out the window when they meet.

And neither of them knows how to handle it. Their mutual confusion makes their relationship come alive for the reader long before they figure it out themselves.

Into the middle of the romance is thrown a top secret military operation that requires both of their skills. The scene with the President, who is often referred to as just ‘Peter’ is fantastic as we see Michael and Claudia plan in front of their commander-in-chief by speaking almost without words, and the President deciding on the fly that Claudia is the best person to run the show, even though she has never commanded a black-in-black operation before.

The op itself is a nail biter, not just because of the stakes, but Claudia is almost literally biting her nails as she plans and controls at a higher level than she ever imagined, or ever expected to operate. She grows.

And afterwards Michael gets an attack of stupid and nearly wrecks any future they might have. His epiphany, and accompanying groveling (well sort of) makes for a heartwarming ending to the non-stop adventure.

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