Women are finding their place in the special forces and now even into the elite SOAR, the units that are dispatched into areas so dark that their missions are invisible to all but the very highest echelon in the military. Connie Davis is the newest addition to the elite DAP helicopter team stationed in the Hindu Kush mountains. Born with a genius IQ and then orphaned at a tender age with no close relatives, she has been an outsider all her life. Will she be able to make her place in this tight-knit team and finally find the family she has lacked all her life? In this newest entry in the Night Stalker series, the author beautifully blends high-tech military technology, action, adventure, suspense with achingly beautiful romance.
As we revisit and catch up with the characters we’ve met before, we see the addition of Connie Davis to the crew of the helicopter Vengeance through the eyes of “Big” John Wallace, the flight engineer. He’s baffled by his reaction to this mix of beauty and brains. His admiration of her mechanical skills and acumen that may even be better than his own, mixed in with the softer feelings about her as a beautiful person and what, if anything, he can do to melt the icy facade. Of course, unbeknowst to him, there is actually a lot going on under the cool facade; five tracks of things of which her awareness of him is definitely one.
While Connie is aware of her looks and the direct attention of the male species to get her into their bed, which she has certainly exercised. But, in reality, she is not interested in being a notch in someone’s bedpost. It’s very sweet that she is unaware when a fellow crew gently nudges her in that direction. The aha moment when she discovers this is very bittersweet.
Before there is any chance of a relationship developing between John and Connie, the crews are recalled stateside on what appears to be a top-secret mission. As their helicopters are going through some significant modifications the crew is given leave. On an impulse John invites Connie to spend the leave with his family. Connie has been a loner and a misfit all her life. She is totally blown away by John’s family and their easy or uneasy acceptance of her in their life. Slowly but surely she starts to blend into the fabric of the family – from John’s grandfather, who opens up and allows her to work on his old tractor with which he built his farm, to his sister who first appears like a prickly thorn but opens up to Connie and shares her deepest desire to follow in her brother’s footsteps and, of course, John himself as he slowly acknowledges and acts upon his feelings.
The one thing Connie fears is death. Everyone she has loved has left her. She still has nightmares about her father’s last mission and how he died and she’s convinced that it’s only a matter of time before she’s killed. With her own childhood scars she’s promised herself that she’s never going to make an emotional commitment that will leave a vaccuum in someone’s life. For the first time she makes an emotional connection with John and his family. It seems that John might be able to help her conquer her fears, but she’s abruptly brought face to face with her deepest, darkest nightmare when John’s grandfather passes. She does the one thing she’s good at, she runs away to hide in plain sight.
It will take a grueling mission and facing her own mortality to finally bring home the lesson that it is better to have lived and loved than to live without love to help John and Connie find their happy ending. I love the slow buildup of the story and relationship, the cameo of life in small town America truly highlights what the men and women in our armed forces are truly fighting to protect and preserve.
I really enjoyed the poker game on the airplane ride from Afghanistan to Fort Campbell when Connie transforms from the sheep who was going to be fleeced into the lion who takes the victory thanks to her computer brain. That episode just highlights the camaraderie between the teams. Of course, the flip side when the poker game becomes a war game between John and Connie later in the story is quite an interesting read as well.
While I read my review to see how much I presented it from Connie’s side of the story, one of the highlights of this book for me is how much of the story is presented in John’s voice and I love the ability to see into John’s head as the story progresses. Perhaps it is all that engineering precision that teaches John the patience he needs to win Connie over.
All in all, this book sucked me in and touched my heart. I cried and bled with John and Connie and their friends through the pages of this book and rejoiced in their happy ending. I am looking forward to meeting this lady helicopter pilot again. Perhaps she’ll take co-pilot to Emily on the Vengeance or the other woman officer in the SOAR Assessment.
Two Crack Mechanics, One Impossible Mission
Being in The Night Stalkers is Connie Davis’s way of facing her demons head-on, but mountain-strong John Wallace is a threat on all fronts. Their passion is explosive, but their conflicts are insurmountable. When duty calls them to a mission no one else could survive, they’ll fly into the night together—ready or not.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: