Rescued by the Ranger (Dixie Lee Brown)

September 3, 2015 Book Reviews 8 ★★★★

Rescued by the Ranger (Dixie Lee Brown)Rescued by the Ranger by Dixie Lee Brown
Published by Avon on September 8th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic suspense
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Protecting those in trouble is what Army Ranger Garrett Harding does best. But after helping a feisty redhead toss a couple of losers from her Idaho bar, the woman is anything but grateful for his assistance—in fact, she seems to know him. Worse, she almost certainly hates him.

The only thing Rachel Maguire wants is to send this smart-mouthed, muscled military man packing. She knows Garrett has his own reasons for staying, so when he offers Rachel a deal—two days to prove his worth or he leaves—she reluctantly agrees. Despite wanting to loathe him, Rachel finds herself drawn to his quiet confidence…and the way he fills out a t-shirt.

But when Rachel receives a phone call from the past, everything changes. The stalker who destroyed her life ten years ago is closing in once more. Refusing to put anyone else in harm's way, Rachel hits the road hoping to lure danger away from those she loves. But Garrett won't leave this sexy spitfire to face her stalker alone. He'll do anything to protect her. Even if it means risking his life—and his heart.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Review

Rescued by the Ranger grabbed my attention right from the start, with its twin mysteries, vividly-drawn characters, and well-maintained suspense. The whole stalker issue is pretty well done and adds an element of real danger to the plot, and the main characters’ relationship is brimming with romantic tension.

I fell in love with Garrett, an Army Ranger with both physical and emotional wounds, the latter from his mother’s disappearance from his life when he was five. He’s got a big heart, though, and his relationship with his canine partner, Cowboy, is one of the highlights of the book. I like Rachel a lot, too, especially for her courage and for her loyalty to her friends and employers, Peg and Amanda (recently deceased.) But I was a more than a bit annoyed with her for jumping to conclusions – very negative ones – about Garrett, and then sticking stubbornly to them in the face of mounting evidence that he isn’t the coldhearted beast she believes him to be. I understand why she dislikes and distrusts him initially, because it stems from that loyalty I so admire, but her refusal to even ask the man why he acted (or rather didn’t) the way he did came across as more than a little immature. In her position, it would have been the first question out of my mouth! Then again, Garrett acts immaturely at least once, too – though to his credit, he comes to his senses pretty quickly.

Despite Rachel’s deep-seated reservations about Garrett, there’s a strong physical and emotional attraction between the two. The threats to Rachel’s safety mean that their relationship actually progresses fairly quickly in real-life terms, though it takes about half the book before she completely relents in her attitude toward him.

The suspense and romance are balanced pretty well, and I only had a few complaints on the mystery-suspense side of things. The first is that the main villain, Rachel’s stalker (whom I did suspect from pretty early on), used two things I think would have been hard for him to acquire, let alone know how to use properly. (I can’t say more without spoilers.) The bigger issue is that, having built the tension to a real fever-pitch, Brown resolves it in a matter of moments. I was expecting a much bigger or more protracted showdown, and instead it was almost a “blink and you’ve missed it” resolution. But that was only a minor detraction from a book which otherwise kept me turning the pages and reading far into the night.

One final note: There are hints that there might be a follow-up book about Garrett’s brother Luke – a Navy SEAL – and one of Rachel’s closest friends. If so, I’m definitely on board to read it!

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Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt #55 – read a book featuring an animal prominently in the story. Cowboy, Garrett’s dog, is a highly-trained ex-Army canine who plays two important roles: as Garrett’s best friend, he serves to show the reader Garrett’s best qualities (loyalty, respect, love), and because of his training, he is every bit as involved and important in protecting and rescuing Rachel as Garrett is.

four-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Scavenger Hunt - Summer 2015

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