This isn’t a sweet or even an easy reading romance. Set in Afghanistan, Kaylea Cross addresses some of the harsher realities of the Iraq war. With the treatment of hostages, torture and barbaric deaths included, to the plight of the people living there and the everyday struggle for survival amidst poverty, terrorist rule and brutality. So this may not appeal to some romance readers, but fans of military romances and stories with a bit more grit in them will undoubtedly like this story.
I got slightly muddled with the order of the books in the series, thinking this was the first book, but it isn’t. While there were some references to events in the previous book, it didn’t affect my enjoyment at all.
Our two lead characters are Sam (Samarra) and Ben. Sam is a civilian communications expert for the CIA and Ben is an ex-army ranger working on the team she is on. The book opens with Sam believing she is being followed either by a terrorist cell or the CIA, panicking she flees for her life and sets of a sequence of events that means that people in her team believe her to be a traitor.
When Sam’s cousin, the person she cares most about in her life is kidnapped by a terrorist group she has to return to her team and prove her innocence and help save her cousin’s life. Sam is in a very difficult position, her team and Ben continually question her loyalty throughout the book. Whenever something goes wrong during the rescue mission, it is Sam’s integrity that is interrogated. A bitter pill in any circumstance, but even more so during a burgeoning romance.
No Turning Back is pacy, engaging romance. The chemistry between Sam and Ben is electric. But there is also some great additional characters in the story. I in particular liked Ben’s brother Rhys, and can already see his story being set up for the next book, which I very much look forward to reading.
Despite enjoying this book, I had a few issues with the plot. For example, at the beginning of the book when Sam believes her apartment is bugged she goes to Rhys and Ben for help. But, when she thinks she is being followed she decided she can no longer trust them and runs, leaving her a woman on her own, with no military training in Afghanistan? Hmm.
Then there was the reason she has to accompany them on the mission. She jets dragged up the Afghanistan mountains, through an Al Qaeda hot zone, again with no training (she doesn’t even know how to fire a gun!), inevitably barely able to keep up and I wasn’t really sure why she needed to be there. Other than of course for the developing romance between her and Ben.
Finally, Sam had no qualms declaring her love for Ben, and I don’t have a problem with one of the characters confessing their love and then we have to wait for the other one to catch up, but she kept saying it! She’d say it and then he’d say nothing and then a few hours or a day later, embarrassingly she’d say it again. I mean …. would you? Say it once then keep your pride in tact until it’s reciprocated… surely? Or am I just cynical?
Plot misgivings aside, this really is a great suspenseful and gritty, military romance. I haven’t come across Kaylea Cross before, but I will be reading more of her books in the future.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
No Turning Back by Kaylea Cross
(Suspense Series #3)
Wild Rose Press (March 2010)
Ebook: 454 Pages