Reviewed by Mandi
I’m a really big fan of Rachel Grant’s Evidence series – she does a nice job of balancing suspense and romance with really fun characters. In Tinderbox she starts a new suspense series with a military and adventure emphasis. According to the author’s note in this book, her husband is an archaeologist and has worked in Dijibouti, in the horn of Africa so she carries that knowledge to her books (although events and other places are obviously fiction).
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Tinderbox is energy. This book is fast-paced and fueled with action and a steamy romance. Our heroine Morgan has found the”paleoanthropological find of a lifetime.” A fossil, nicknamed Linus, which Morgan thinks might be three million years old. On top of that, Linus was butchering something when he died, meaning they would see what food he was going to eat. This is a once in a lifetime discovery, and Morgan is thrilled. But things go south when a local warlord targets Morgan and her fossil. Rushing to a nearby military base for assistance, Morgan is stopped outside the base by two special forces, Green Berets. After forcing her out of her car, they realize there is a bomb underneath and rush to take cover. Her car explodes, and so does part of Linus. Devastated, Morgan takes her anger out on our hero.
Master Sergeant Pax Blanchard could care less that a fossil blew up, he is just happy to be alive alongside Morgan. After some meetings, it’s determined that Morgan has mixed herself up with some dangerous people in Dijibouti, and Pax is assigned to be her security detail as Morgan finishes up her work.
Pax and Morgan have immediate chemistry – but Pax is professional and when his commander tells him to not get involved with her, he takes that order seriously. Pax has been in the Army for fourteen years and it’s his life. It’s his passion and his calling and he is not going to let a sexy woman take that away from him. But oh is it a struggle for him.
Although Morgan’s dad is a General and she can’t stand him or his military ways, she can’t help but lust after Pax- and she makes it known. She is very forward with her attraction and very vocal about being denied his sexy body. She made me smile a lot. Morgan surprises him – while she is a very serious palaeontologist with a lot of brain smarts, she is also well rounded in other areas:
“Can you shoot a person if you have to?”
“Do you think these men had anything to do with the explosion?”
“Yes.” He did, but he’d have said yes either way.
“Then I will blow the motherfuckers’ squirrel-sized peckers off.”
(and she does)
Morgan is used to dating the scholarly type. The attentive, caring, quiet guy that respects her. Pfffft…she is so over that now.
But sometimes she hated to admit she might be attracted to a guy who wasn’t so insistent on being understanding. A guy who admitted to liking guns because it was scientifically proven that just touching one upped a guy’s testosterone level.
Just once she wanted to date a guy who was as pro-testosterone as he was pro-estrogen.
She sees that in Pax – he is a gentleman but oh does he have that alpha side that she knows will boss her around when they get naked together. This type of attitude in a man she is craving also reflects her personality as well. She doesn’t hold back when she talks, and her insults can be quite colorful:
“Why would I want balls?” She tried to get a grip on her anger as she adapted her favorite Betty White quote. “Have you ever seen a woman taken out with a simple kick to the crotch? Hell no, because a vagina can take a beating. I’d like to see you squeeze a baby out of your precious, fragile balls.” You intolerant, jizz-headed ass.
It takes a while for these two to hook up due to their circumstances, but the sexual tension is done so well.
“You’re a bad girl, Dr. Adler.”
“You should probably spank me.”
She felt the intensity of his gaze even though she couldn’t see his eyes behind the sunglasses. “Do you like spanking?”
“It depends on the timing. As I’m coming – yes. Pretty much any other time – no.”
“Ah, fuck,” he whispered. “how the hell am I going to get that image out of my brain.”
Pax also says things like this:
“You keep this up, and I end up fucking you, I will not apologize for crawling out of bed five minutes after I come. You got that? I will fuck you and walk away. No emotions.”
“Works for me.”
Sometimes that alpha attitude can work so well for me – and it does in this one. He never comes across as a jerk. Just an alpha military guy looking to do his job and maybe indulge in some lust. Plus in the long-run, he is a good guy and totally lets his emotions into play and treats Morgan very well. As they dance around each other and eventually find their way into bed together, their lusty feelings become deeper and they both truly come to care for the other.
Rachel Grant paints a nice picture of the setting in this one – the details never drag the story down and there is always exciting adventure just around the corner. I’m very much looking forward to book two.