Collateral Damage – Lynette Eason

Collateral Damage Lynette Eason
Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason
Also by this author: Acceptable Risk
Series: Danger Never Sleeps #1
Published by Revell on January 7, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Thriller
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others--but her days of helping military personnel are over. She's got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she's not equipped to take on more. Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way--terrorists, bombs, bullets. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.
Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor, and Brooke is pressed by her boss to take him on. When he arrives at her office she isn't there--but a dead body is. Brooke is devastated when she walks in, and Asher is a conveniently strong shoulder to cry on. But she can't take him on as a client after sharing such an intimate and unprofessional moment, can she? And he's not sure he can handle sharing his deepest fears with such a beautiful woman.
When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack--and that her secrets go even deeper than his own--Asher vows to protect her no matter what.
Bestselling author Lynette Eason is back with a new series that spans the globe and will have your heart working overtime.

Bestselling author, Lynette Eason is launching another series with the release of her latest book, Collateral Damage. This time Eason takes on the war in Afghanistan, and its after effects, dodgy orphanages, and shadowy assassins.  But no worries. Nothing can phase our heroine and her ever-present hard-core, tenderhearted rescuer.

Action opens with an explosion at an Afghan cafe where protagonist, military psychiatrist Captain Brooke Adams, is meeting a group of friends for a little decompression time.

As she attempts to escape the carnage, she stops to help a downed soldier, who holds a secret – a secret he passes on to her in the form of a cryptic message and a bracelet.

Once stateside, Brooke discovers that the bracelet is much more than a bracelet when she finds herself the target of some sinister figures who want the bangle, and her dead.

Joining forces with the handsome and rugged Asher James, Brooke is on the run staying a few steps ahead of the bad guys while trying to figure out the mystery she holds.

Eason effectively balances action and amore in book one of her series Danger Never Sleeps.  Brooke is equal parts death-defying doctor and damsel in distress, with client special ops sergeant James ready to sweep in to protect and fall in love with Brooke.

Even though there’s plenty of gun play and car chases, the plot is sadly, predictable.  The central plot concerning a shady orphanage operating in Afghanistan is the most intriguing part of the novel.  I would have liked to have focused on that orphanage and the characters populating that venue exclusively. Unfortunately, we spend most of our time in the States – which wasn’t as intriguing.

I never felt invested enough in any of the central characters to care enough if they lived or died – or fell in love. The pacing was flat at times, and it was difficult to be interested in the story. Although Brooke chases down a gun-toting goon, she doesn’t come across as a strong independent woman. Despite her identity as a therapist for struggling combat participants, she still comes across as needing the protecting and manly presence of Asher.  But to be fair, this is a romance – so Eason delivers.

Eason touched on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I would have liked it if she would have delved more deeply into this issue instead of simply using it as a character quirk.  But to be fair, the book isn’t trying to be a deep dive into PTSD or the horrors of an Afghan orphanage. It is a romance in the most basic sense.  And if that is what you are looking for, you won’t be disappointed.

No lie, Eason has proven herself in this field. It’s an action romance – and as such, it doesn’t disappoint. So if you are looking for a read for a rainy weekend that provides the girl-meets-boy-and-they-avoid-the-bad-guys-and-triumph-in-justice-and-love-by-the-final-page-turn story then this novel will fit you like your favorite pair of comfy slippers.

four-stars