Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genre: military romance
Series: Deep Six #0.5, Elite Force #4.5, Protect and Serve #0.5, Endgame Ops #0.5, Justiss Alliance #3.5, Night Stalkers #6.6, West Coast Navy SEALs #3.5, Troubleshooters #17.5
Length: 512 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date Released: May 5, 2015
Purchasing Info: Julie Ann Walker’s Website, Catherine Mann’s Website, Kate SeRine’s Website, Lea Griffith’s Website, Tina Wainscott’s Website, M.L. Buchman’s Website, Anne Elizabeth’s Website, Suzanne Brockmann’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
EIGHT PASSIONATE LOVE STORIES ABOUT AMAZING MILITARY HEROES BY BESTSELLING AUTHORS:
Suzanne Brockmann, Julie Ann Walker, Catherine Mann, Tina Wainscott, Anne Elizabeth, M.L. Buchman, Kate SeRine, Lea Griffith
To honor and empower those who’ve served, all author and publisher proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2002 and provides a wide range of programs and services to veterans and service members who have survived physical or mental injury during their brave service to our nation. Get involved or register for programs and benefits for yourself and your family online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
“It is a proud privilege to be a soldier.” —George S. Patton Jr.
“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” —Winston Churchill
The Way of the Warrior is a collection of military romance stories that was published in support of the Wounded Warrior Project. All of the author and publisher proceeds are going to the project, in honor of those who have served.
Some of the stories include references to the Wounded Warrior Project. Some of the vets in the stories, are using its services, some volunteering, some both.
It’s a terrific project and also a terrific thing that the creators of this anthology are doing with this book. But what about the book itself?
All of the authors of the individual stories are well-known for their military romance, and all of the novellas are part of their ongoing series. In the case of Lea Griffith’s War Games, Kate SeRine’s Torn and Julie Ann Walker’s Hot as Hell, the stories here are introducing their new series.
And even though the other stories are in the middle, or in the case of Suzanne Brockmann’s Home Fire Inferno, deeply into their series, the stories stand alone. It probably helps that all of these stories are novella length, so the author’s have plenty of time to establish their characters and setting.
Howsomever, in reading the collection there was something that bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good military romance, but there’s an accidental theme that runs through too many of the stories. Out of 8 stories, 3 feature a heroine who is being stalked and needs her military man to rescue her from her violent and escalating stalker.
In all of the cases, the stalkers are so clever and organized that they leave no clues behind and the police are unable to help the victim, even when the stalker’s identity is known. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen (all too often) in real life, but this is fiction. Even though the individual stories were good, there was too much of this theme for my tastes. I don’t like to see my heroines as victims, especially not over and over.
Of course, your mileage may vary.
Of the stories that were not about stalker victims in need of rescue, my favorites were Julie Ann Walker’s Hot as Hell, War Games by Lea Griffith, and of course NSDQ by M.L. Buchman.
In Hot as Hell, our heroine is an administrative assistant at the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. Harper is also trying to ignore the chemistry that was sparked in her one-night-stand with SEAL Mark. His unit is supposed to be guarding the embassy from a prospective attack, but after weeks of nothing happening, they’ve temporarily been sent to another assignment. And Harper has been ignoring his calls, pretending that she can’t bear the thought of being involved with a military man.
When the embassy is overrun by terrorists, Mark is the first person Harper calls. His unit is supposed to be back that day, and Harper needs a hero. Bad.
What I loved about this story is that Harper rescues herself first. As soon as she sees the gunfire, she does what she is supposed to do and gets herself into the embassy “panic room” in a nerve-wracking game of hide-and-seek, with her life as the prize if she doesn’t hide. Not that she doesn’t need Mark and his team to clear the embassy, but she might not be there to rescue if she hadn’t kept a clear head.
And not that the adrenaline rush of the danger and Mark riding to the rescue doesn’t finally melt all of Harper’s resistance to the man she already loves.
The heroine in War Games is also every bit as badass, in her completely different way, as her hero. Vivi is a CIA Cyber Spook, and she has arrived at Leavenworth to rescue her brother’s best friend, Navy SEAL Rook Granger. Because the last thing that her brother said to her before he died was that Rook was being framed, and that the op that killed their team was a set up from the get go.
It’s not an easy rescue. Rook isn’t just in solitary confinement, he’s chained to his cell to keep him from leaving. The solitary is to keep him from talking. Whatever went wrong on that last op, there are too many low people in high places who want to make sure that the truth never gets out. And that Rook doesn’t either.
But Vivi brings down all the security, and its backups and its backups’ backups, to pay her brother back one last time. As Vivi and Rook cross the country, both pursuing and being pursued by people who are tracking their every move and are one step ahead every moment, they discover that they can only trust each other with a secret that can topple governments. And that they can finally trust each other with the hearts they both believed were dead.
Like Harper in Hot as Hell, Vivi is a heroine who takes care of herself. She isn’t as physically intimidating as Rook. In fact, she isn’t physically intimidating at all. But she can, and will, mess with people’s minds, their systems, and their credit reports as needed to get the job done.
In today’s world, fists aren’t the only way to beat someone to a pulp.
And last but not least, a novella in M.L. Buchman’s Night Stalkers series, NSDQ. NSDQ is the Night Stalkers’ motto: Night Stalkers Don’t Quit. Lois Lang has to tell herself those words every single day, as the ace chopper pilot is learning to live with a career ending injury. On a rescue mission, her chopper was hit with a full load of crew and wounded. With one engine down, the only way to keep her crew and passengers alive during the oncoming crash was to roll her bird so that it landed pilot side down. Everybody lived, but Lois lost one leg below the knee.
She’s a heroine, but she’s also certain that the Army will invalid her out of the only job she’s ever loved, or even wanted.
Lois Lang, named for two of Superman’s loves, needs to find her very own Clark Kent to see that not only can she have a good life with her injury, but that she still has a lot to offer the Army and even SOAR. Because heroines aren’t made of legs, they are made of heart.
This story was especially sweet, and also just a bit different. In this one, it’s a woman warrior who is wounded and needs to find a way to recover her life, her purpose and her dignity. Even Superwoman needs someone to lean on now and again. The role reversal in the story made this one especially poignant.
Also, I just plain love this series.
Escape Rating B: That’s for the book as a whole. There were too many “stalker rescue” stories for my personal taste, especially since those are three of the first five stories. By the middle of the third, I was praying not to visit that theme again. I prefer a relationship of equals in contemporary romance, and those weren’t it.
A couple of the other stories just didn’t do much for me, but over my personal pet peeves rather than anything wrong with the story. In any collection, there are always a few stories that aren’t my cuppa. That’s kind of the point in a way, that everyone gets a sampling, and hopefully finds something they like.
I liked both the Walker and Griffith stories so much that I will be looking for the upcoming books in those series, and I always grab the Night Stalkers as soon as they appear in NetGalley. I’m still very happy that I followed that series from the beginning.
And I would happily give Hot as Hell by Julie Ann Walker, War Games by Lea Griffith and NSDQ by M.L. Buchman “A Grades” if they were published separately.