REVIEW: Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann WalkerFriday, October 19, 2012 1:00
Oh, lord, just what I need, another new author to add to my list! But Julie Ann Walker had me hooked from page one. Her hero is a good-hearted alpha who has to keep his distance from the heroine, his best friend’s sister, for more than one reason. And that heroine? One smooth lady who keeps her cool and her smarts under the most dangerous and stressful situations.
We find right off the bat that Nate, a former Marine, is keeping something about his friend’s death from the man’s family. Especially the sister who he’s been attracted to for years. But you don’t move in on your buddy’s sister, even more so when said buddy warns him to stay away from said sister. We learn the horrible circumstances of torture both he and Grigg endured when captured in the Middle East. But there’s more to the story and Nate doesn’t think about those dark days, let alone talk about it. Nate walked out of that hell. Grigg didn’t.
It’s only a few months since Nate came to their home to tell them about Grigg. Ali is trying to keep positive and move on, but it’s difficult. Then she realizes she’s being followed. After an attempted mugging, she knows something is going on and the only one who can help her is Nate. Since he doesn’t want much to do with her after their brief and disastrous beach interlude, Ali has to brave showing up on his doorstep unannounced. Which at first seems like a mistake. She’s missed him so and he’s a sight for sore eyes, though he’s not even close to welcoming.
Reasoning that Grigg somehow gave Ali information on his latest “rogue” case, Nate and his team struggle to put the pieces together, which eventually lead them to believe Grigg was working outside their strict and loyal lines. But Ali refuses to believe that. Going against the odds to retrieve the intel to finally discover all of Grigg’s secrets, they hop aboard Nate’s “Ghost” – and what a ride it is! – for the long trip to Ali and Grigg’s childhood home. All goes well until the return trip, and what a heart-pounding and subsequently tragic aftermath occurs just when it looks like all is finally going well.
When Ali finally learns the secret that Nate has been living with, all hell breaks loose. There’s confusion all around and they get their signals crossed. Ali thinks the exact opposite of what Nate truly does think. That leads her to believe something Nate would never feel; thus, they’re both miserable for a time. But this gives them time to process everything that’s happened, all the information that’s been revealed, including feelings and emotions they wanted to keep hidden. Coming together after that is that much sweeter.
There’s also a side romance with Nate’s boss, Frank Knight, and another co-worker, Becky, who, I believe, are featured in the next book. Which makes me happy because I was not expecting what happened between them in this book. I like these characters too and I look forward to their story.
I have only a couple of nitpicks, which wouldn’t have bothered me if they’d happened only once. A few times in Nate’s POV there’s things I just don’t see a man saying or thinking; i.e., she’s cute or adorable, that kind of thing. Especially when he is such an alpha the rest of the time, it just doesn’t add up when those thoughts happen. I’d rather have more of his emotions, even the reluctant tear, which are great scenes. The second thing is Ali’s weak stomach. There are some scenes where things are just too much for her and she vomits. Hurls. Throws cookies. And a number of other ways to say upchucking. I had enough with the first scene and all the description to go along with it. I didn’t need it another two or more times at such length. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Otherwise, this is a fun, action-packed read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m definitely going to be reading Ms. Walker’s books from here on out.
Ex-Marine Nate “Ghost” Weller is an expert at keeping his cool – and his distance – which makes him one hell of a sniper. It’s also how he keeps his feeling for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she’s his best friend’s baby sister… and totally off limits.
ROUGH ROAD AHEAD
Ali’s never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley – or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she’s in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now’s she’s become the target of some nasty organization. With Nate, her life in the most capable hands possible – but her heart in another story altogether.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: