Title: Nowhere to Hide
Series: Delos, Book 1
Author: Lindsay McKenna
Publisher: Blue Turtle Publishing
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
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Lia Cassidy left the Army scarred physically and emotionally after a vicious attack by two fellow soldiers. She turns to helping others, working at a Delos Home School Charity in Costa Rica that provides schooling for children. But when the deadly drug lord, La Arana, attacks the school, Lia finds herself on the run for her life. The only person she can trust is the ex-SEAL sent to protect her.
Cav Jordan is strong, honorable and gorgeous…and intrigued by Lia. He knows she has suffered pain in her past, and he is determined to break through her barriers and earn her trust. But as Cav slowly chips away at the walls Lia has built, ghosts from her past threaten to destroy their fragile relationship.
(Reviewer's note: This story addresses rape (Lia), domestic violence (young Cav), and sex trade. Please take this into consideration before reading further and/or purchasing this book.)
The beginning of this story is beautiful. There is love and happiness and pure enjoyment as Lia rides her horse, Goldy. Then the mood shifts from lighthearted to fearful and dangerous in two heartbeats. I'm there when Lia's attacked. I can feel her fear but also her determination to live. She fights because she's not a victim. She fights because living is better than the alternative.
To me, a person's strength isn't decided by their physique but by their determination, their will to live, to push on, to find purpose despite the past. Cav and Lia were alike in that way. They experienced brutality at different stages in their lives but they were determined to live despite them. Cav was one hell of a SEAL despite the mission that went FUBAR and it showed in the way he handled Lia and her situation.
Lia... She was a little different even though I say she and Cav were alike. See, she found the strength to formally press charges against the soldiers who'd raped and mutilated her even though she was forewarned the process would be long and drawn out for her. The end result, four years for each man, was devastating but it also meant the end of their military careers. I don't know about Lia but that gave me a small bit of satisfaction knowing they wouldn't be able to inflict on other women what they'd done to her. But unlike Cav who funneled his feelings for his past into his career, Lia hid. She hid in plain sight, working in the jungle with people who didn't know her and where she couldn't be stared at because of her scars. Some might argue, "That's not determination at all." I say it is. What else do you call it when someone is determined to move on, even if it means to another country, so that they can have a purposeful life despite what they look like?
Cav and Lia's relationship was on the slow burner for me. It was nice. I mean, it took a really long time for them to get around to kissing. It took even longer for them to make love. The hesitation for both was solely on Lia, a fact Cav acknowledged and refused to press on. He was more than willing to show her that her scars didn't make her Lia. Her heart did. She was beautiful because she gave so much of herself without asking for anything in return. Proving to her that his love wasn't hinged on her physical appearance took pretty much the entire story but it was, to me, worth it.
Lia didn't need someone telling her she was beautiful. She needed someone showing her she was beautiful. Cav did that in so many ways. His patience not only proved to her (and me) that good men still exist but that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
The first half of this book is about Cav, Lia, the man behind the destruction of the school she worked at and his reason for wanting Lia. There isn't a lot of action. There is a lot of getting to know Cav and Lia as they are literally glued at the hip what with Cav being Lia's shadow and all. The ending of their time in Costa Rica came quickly for me and I felt slightly disappointed I didn't get watch the bad guy get taken down. *shrugs* I'm a blood and gore kind of gal. The fact that he ended up dead and I didn't see it was...disappointing. But, again, I like that kind of stuff. To each his own.
The second half of the story is about Cav and Lia getting reacquainted stateside. On US soil, she is no longer an assignment, he is no longer the assigned. Here they are lovers with an intense desire to learn one another inside and out, to finally move past the barriers that kept the world at bay, to see the future is brighter than it's ever been. For me, this was my favorite part of the entire book. The sweetness and intensity of them being together then surpassed what they had in Costa Rica a hundred to one.
I'm not one for overly sappy love stories. I love turbulence. I need challenge. I want acknowledgement, acceptance, and growth. I know it'll hurt. I know it'll be uncomfortable. But the end result is worth experiencing all of that. That was this story. The havoc at the beginning, the hope of healing throughout the middle, and the ultimate acceptance at the end. This is one I know I'll read again, if not for the lessons learned then for the pleasure of watching love grow from devastation.
Lia did something that her heart whispered she must do. She leaned forward, her hands tentative on Cav’s shoulders, lifting her chin, seeking...finding...the tortured line of his mouth.
Her world exploded around her. She had closed her eyes, leaning into Cav, wanting to absorb his pain, try to make him feel better. The overwhelming desire to kiss him drove her to boldly step out of her own fear and hesitancy. For a split second, Cav froze. And then, his hands tightened around her face, guiding her, drawing her against his mouth, angling her, nudging her lips open. Lost in a haze of light, joy, and need, she eagerly accepted his hunger. He moved his mouth powerfully against hers, a sense of starvation, of need for her. An avalanche of heat and fire roared to life within her lower, dormant body.
She felt him tremble as he hauled her against his chest, felt him control himself for her sake, his mouth gentling against hers.
A moan caught in her throat as he opened his fingers, sliding them through her hair, cherishing her, caught up in the heat and molten moment that glowed wildly between them. Her heart beat in triple-time as he moved her around for deeper access to her, bringing her closer in his arms, cradling her, his mouth locked with hers, not allowing her to escape.
But Lia didn’t want to go anywhere. She was relaxing into his embrace, feeling his hand trailing down her jaw, slipping around her neck, following the curved line of her spine. His mouth was cajoling. Breathing shallowly, she eagerly returned his kiss, a deep ache grew between her legs, and wetness coated the insides of her thighs.
Shyly, she moved her hand up from his shoulder to his thick neck, feeling the pulse of his jugular against her fingertips. His breathing was short and hard as he suddenly realized he might be hurting her. He softened his mouth against hers, silently demanding she fully reciprocate by exploring him.
That was all Lia needed. Her fingers curved against his jaw and she deepened their kiss, her body molding urgently to his. The moment her breasts touched Cav’s chest, a whimper lodged within her throat. Now, Lia knew just how sexually starved she really was.
Lindsay McKenna lives her life as a risk taker, and it shines through the books she loves to write: romance, adventure and suspense. She started writing at age thirteen and continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance novel in 1981. The rest is history.
Because she went into the military, this experience became the backbone of her writing—she is credited with writing the first military romance novel (Captive of Fate, 1983, Silhouette Special Edition) and has created a thriving sub-genre within the romance field! As a New York Times Best Selling author, she has sold 23 million books and in 32 foreign languages in her career thus far. Her many experiences in the U.S. Navy are backdrop for her understanding of the military in general, and also her very successful Morgan’s Mercenaries, which is an ongoing series in Silhouette to this day! Forty-five books strong!
Lindsay has gone Indie in 2015 and has created a new family saga on par with Morgan’s Mercenaries It is known as the DELOS SERIES. There will be paperback and eBooks created under Blue Turtle Publishing, her company for her fans. Readers who love Morgan and his family are bound to fall in love with the Culver family. Delos is romantic suspense, which Lindsay is well known for. It took her five years to create and bring DELOS to her readers. It was worth the wait, but we’ll let you decide that.
Lindsay loves to hear from her readers and loves to know what they’d like to see her write next. Stay up with the latest on the Delos Series here. Please visit her Web site at www.lindsaymckenna.com. And be sure to sign up for her free quarterly newsletter. It contains exclusive content found nowhere else on the Net. Plus, giveaways and other surprises, to her loyal and faithful subscribers!