Reviewed by Helyce
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Clint Walker is desperately trying to get to Seattle to deliver some top secret information being stored on a tiny SD card. He’s survived the sinking of the submarine Ostrov, only to get to Dutch Harbor and realize that he now has some Chinese operatives on his butt. He’s almost at the airport when he realizes that they’ve probably anticipated this move and have the place surrounded. He doubles back and sneaks aboard the Ile de Coeur with the hope that this cargo ship will get him where he needs to be.
Captain Samantha Richardson has a lot riding on this next shipment. She must bring it in safely and on time or she’ll be out of a job. She’s got a lot to prove to her father who owns the ship she’s in charge of. He doesn’t think she can do it; she’s out to prove him wrong. She has double and triple checked everything and she’s confident that she and her crew will succeed.
That is until she comes face to face with Clint Walker. Samantha is suspicious, but something about Clint and what he’s telling her rings true enough that she allows him to join her crew as they make their way to Nome and beyond. Right away, both Clint and Samantha are attracted to each other and begin their innocent flirtation. Just as these two begin a more physical exploration, all hell breaks loose when the Chinese operatives board and take over the Ile De Coeur, demanding that Clint show himself and give them back the SD card.
What follows is a cat and mouse game that is full of the action and suspense that Ms. Bruhns is known for. While very intriguing, I felt that it dragged on and on with just a bit too much detail. The meat of the story takes place in barely a two-day period, yet for pages and pages we watch as Clint and Samantha decide what to do in order to save Samantha’s crew and survive themselves. It became a bit repetitive. Clint tells Samantha to stay put while he goes off to do something SEAL-ish only to see Samantha doing exactly the opposite, risking her life while doing it.
I’m not opposed to a couple moving very quickly into a physical relationship. In this case, both characters are clear that they understand that this is just an on board romance with no expectations from either party. The moment when the book truly lost me, though, was when Clint works his way back onto the Ile de Coeur having had swam over to the other boat to try to sneak a call to the coast guard. Samantha had thought he’d been killed, so when he appears, they immediately embrace and kiss, which I totally get. But then they move on to actually having sex, quick and dirty with a hint of Dom on Clint’s part, all while Samantha’s crew are being mistreated and her ship is being torn apart, well, this just didn’t fly with me. I totally get the way author’s use sex as a reaffirming of life after a traumatic event, but for me, this was ridiculous and completely unrealistic.
Once the conflicts are settled, we magically move to a hospital where Samantha is waking up from her injuries to find that Clint has left her to take the information he’d acquired to the appropriate military personnel. She’s immediately pissed that he’s left, so much so that when he tries to contact her, she ignores him, going so far as to change her phone numbers in order to deter him. This was the straw that broke my back, so to speak. I immediately began to dislike Samantha. She made an assumption without any facts and rather than pick up the damn phone and have a conversation, she just chose to ignore him and wallow in her hurt and self pity. For me, this had TSTL all over it.
I struggled with this book, but was determined to finish it. In the end I found much of it too unrealistic, even for fiction. While action packed, it felt a bit repetitive and drawn out and didn’t capture me or pull me in.