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Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 386 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Callum Cook is an ex-marine, leader of the search & rescue team, perfectionist, and a little surly. Lou Sparks moved out to the Rockies to escape her controlling ex. She is accident prone, sarcastic, and needing to make it on her own. Lou moved out into the middle of nowhere to prove herself but after things start happening to put her life in jeopardy, she'll learn to rely on Callum without losing her hard won independence. Callum sees Lou as a walking disaster, odd, and keeping her safe had become his number one priority.
One of my favorite things about the characters is that they embody what we have come to love in romance, alpha male and independent female, without being overbearing. Although Lou wants to be independent she realizes that she can still retain her independence with Callum, who doesn't want her to change. She isn't independent to the point of annoying or too stupid to live and he's not alpha to the point where he overwhelms her.
It kept me engaged and wondering what happens next. Although the book doesn't technically end on a cliffhanger, it will make you excited for book 2, Fan the Flames
This was a pretty good story. I had some mixed feelings about the story because the story was really good but there were a few points of annoyance/WTF moments that caused my opinion to waver a bit. It ended well though so my overall rating stands. :)
Lou is a barista that volunteers for the Field County's ice rescue dive team. She grew up in an uptight family with parents that wanted her subservient and willing to marry her step-father's second-in-command with no thought of what she wanted. She finally broke free and moved to the mountains but her parents aren't supportive and seem to prefer her Ex over her, still waiting for her to "come to her senses!".
Callum is Captain of the Field County's ice rescue dive team. He's a very controlled and commanding person that does well in his position. Callum grew up with a single mother that couldn't do anything for herself and brought losers into their home constantly. Callum is nothing like that and has been single a while when the story begins.
Lou and Callum have had a weird relationship for the first few months she's been on the dive team before this story begins. Callum liked Lou and was trying not to show it so he kept their communication very professional/instructive/lecturing. Lou was definitely attracted to Callum but thought she annoyed him because of his constant stern demeanor around her. Also, there was the small issue of Lou speaking her mind often and part of that included how hot she thought some of the men around her are hot. Some of which is within hearing distance of Callum, leading him to think she was seriously interested in these men when she was actually just making passing comments in general and has no lasting interest in any man other than Callum. When the story begins, this is how things are going between Lou and Callum. The dive team has a training session that leads to finding a dead body that the police is having trouble identifying. This prompts Lou to start s a Nancy Drew type investigation into the identity of the body and Callum gets pulled into it.
The larger part of the story becomes the stalker that Lou has...she doesn't even know it at first but she starts having a string issues that could just be bad luck. However, when she finds out her flat tires have actually been slashed, she realizes it's intentional and the police get involved. Callum sees her in danger and steps in, getting more protective as more evidence mounts that the stalker is close. Lou was too submissive to her parent's wants and now feels the need to make it on her own so she worries about being too clingy with Callum during everything that's going on. She resists his protectiveness a bit but thankfully, she doesn't pull any TSTL moves and mostly allows the protection, especially as the stalker gets creepier. There isn't a huge amount of drama (although the ending is somewhat dramatic), the story focused more around danger and suspense. Things do get wrapped up well and by the end, Callum and Lou are together and heading towards a HEA.
This was a pretty enjoyable story. I liked Lou and thought she was a good heroine. She wasn't a superwoman...she was more realistic and I liked that she was scared at times but showed the bravery to push through it. Callum...well, he was a great hero and I can't think of any complaints about him except I wish we'd have gotten some of his PoV. Although there were a few points in the story I wasn't too hot on, overall I liked the story and characters and would recommend it. :)
* note - I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator sounded pretty good but I did notice a couple of words that she mispronounced.
I do have to say that I was pretty certain of the bad guy's identity early on and I find it a bit unbelievable that it doesn't occur to Lou much earlier. The murder mystery that is still ongoing and clearly leading into book 2 seems intriguing.
The reason why I gave it 4 stars was the lack of depth and backgrounds of the main characters. There was very little revealed regarding their pasts. They were both easy to like, Lou being a bit quirky, Callum always trying to be in control of himself and the situations, but together they balanced one another. There was a lot of attraction and they were good together, but I just wish there had been more focus on the romantic aspect of their relationship. The other thing was that even though you get the full story of the main plot (the romance and the stalker), the secondary plot (the deceased corpse) ended with a huge cliffhanger. I personally hate cliffhangers, especially surprise one's. The only good thing about this is that the next book is already available and can be read immediately. These are my personal issues and opinions.
I loved this book, as well as this series! If you haven't read it, I suggest that you start from the beginning. Not only will you get to read great stories, but you will also learn more about each couple, the dynamics between the dive team, first responders, and the people in the town. You won't be disappointed! I strongly recommend this book, series, and great author.