Also love it when the hero OR heroine has been traumatised in the past like Lana was. The way the sparks started flying between Lana and Caleb had me hooked. I also liked the fact that Lana didn't make it easy by just telling Caleb everything he wanted to know.
I know I was reading this book with a critical eye (I couldn't help it, because I knew going in that she has some literary relations who in her own words 'taught her how to write'), and I think that she did a great job. As far as character likability, there is not question that I did like and care about both Lana and Caleb. At times, she frustrated me the way she pushed Caleb away, because he was there to help her, and as a Delta Force operative, no one was better equipped to deal with the threats she was facing. Caleb was a character I loved early on in this book. He started to care for Lana when he sat by her hospital bed, urging her to keep living. I think he probably fell in love with her, although he didn't feel he had the right to. That is always a compelling story for me, the hero who wants nothing but to love and care for his heroine. The love story was rich, and the attraction between Lana and Caleb was vivid but emotional. The love scenes were steamy and hot, but they didn't give me that 'low-down' vibe that I get nowadays with a lot of contemporary mainstream romances that are trying to push the erotic envelope (This is a matter of personal taste. I think that Ms. Butcher writes some great love scenes (I couldn't help picturing her going over them with the writer of the great Harry Dresden novels, and I'd start grinning. I think what pushed me over the edge was how Caleb embraced his love for Lana. Part of me was struggling with Lana rejecting Caleb, because love just makes everything better.
But like the previous one, while the suspense, the imminent danger, and the tension was great, I found myself zoning out on the romance aspects of the story. I finally got my wish and read Caleb's story. He's intrigued me from his very first scene in No Regrets and I was really looking forward to reading his story and learning just why he was the way he was. Lana wasn't my favorite female character of all times to begin with, but that just sealed the deal. And that (the heroine and my dislike of her) was probably the main reason I didn't get into the whole romance aspect of this story. This wasn't as good as the first book in this Delta Force trilogy (Noelle, the heroine in No Regrets certainly didn't lack in the brain and logic department), but it was still way beyond average, all thanks to Ms. Butcher's knack of writing suspense.
Delta Force operative Caleb Stone is assigned to protect witness Lana Hancock, who was tortured 18 months prior by a terrorist organization called the Swarm while working as a volunteer in Armenia.
I'm so glad he got a second chance to make things up to Lana, and I loved his determination to never fail her again. I loved that he wasn't afraid and couldn't stop himself from telling her that he loved her, and even though her reaction hurt him, he never stopped hoping that it would work out. I wanted to like Lana so much more than I did.
STORY BRIEF: Kara is a member of Swarm, a terrorist group. Lana refused to tell anyone including Caleb that Kara was in town and was one of the bad guys. Dangerous things were happening to Lana and people around her but she continued to keep Karas identity a secret from Caleb. The emotional thread through most of the story is Lana sees Kara, is deathly afraid, but must act like nothing is wrong. CAUTION SPOILERS: Lana knows that Kara is hanging around and is dangerous. Kara is doing other bad things to Lana and the people around her. As I mentioned earlier, I was frustrated with Lanas warped thinking that she should tell no one about Kara. Finally near the end of the book, Lana tells Caleb who Kara is.
I am afraid I am going have to start re-reading books I know are great!
Her alter ego Anna Argent also writes several series with a fresh and interesting spin on paranormal romance (The Lost Shards, The Taken and The Stone Men series) as well as a contemporary romance series set in a small town in the Ozarks.