This is the first book in Trish McCallan’s Forged series.
Beth Brown dreams of a hijacking of a plane (where she works) and is drawn to the boarding gate to try to stop it. She joins with Zane Winters and his unit to try to stop the terrorists. What Beth does not know is that Zane’s family has a history of fated mates and Beth is his mate. How can Zane get her to accept this while trying to keep her out of danger?
The genre of this novel is a contemporary paranormal suspense romance. While our hero does have some psychic skills, this is about normal warriors not shape shifter or any other superhuman species. This series is actually a unique concept; military based (Seals) warriors with supernatural facets that do not deal with foreign species like werewolves, witches, or genetic manipulation.
For once, we have a female lead that can hold her own, but also shows her vulnerability. Beth is someone who steps up when something has to be done, in this case, even when she can’t believe that she had a dream of the hijacking. Her moments where she told Mac off were great, I cheered her on when she basically told them to put their penises away and let her make her own decisions:
“If you two Neanderthals are finished with this useless display of testosterone, I’d like to remind you that the only person who has any say over what I do and who I do it with—is me.”
Her character development is how she accepts the risk of letting a man close, and how she struggles to accept this “fate” with Zane. It was refreshing to have in a book with “fated” love to have a character who actually goes, “wait a minute, that’s soo not happening.”
I adored the character of Zane Winters. He is the Alpha male who has almost given up on finding his mate. We understand that this fated female is something of a family curse (or gift) and he has spent the last 10 years waiting for her to show up. Here comes Beth at the worst time and he must find the hijackers and try to convince a total stranger that they are destined. His struggle with the need to win her and his fear of loosing her could not be better described:
Living without something you’d never experienced was a hell of lot easier than living without something once you’ve been given a taste.
What I like about Zane’s character is that he’s basically whole and functional. While I enjoy the broken warrior types, it was nice to find Zane emotionally ready to love. We didn’t have to spend the book helping him accept the relationship, but rather how he was going to help her accept it. It was a nice twist.
A large portion of this book was action, and it is a bit difficult to have a large amount of character development. However, for the romantic theme, we see how two people find each other and trust a bond that in the end saves their lives.
I love the imagery found within this book. Ms. McCallan does such a good job of using the characters’ perspective to drive the plot forward. My favorite quote of the book:
Mac’s very DNA was wired with suspicion. As a kid he’d probably done perimeter searches before letting anyone out on the playground, checked beneath swings and slides and merry-go-rounds before climbing up to play.
I just had this image of a boy holding his classmates back while he checked out the playground. The dialogue between the men was great; I enjoyed how the different personalities played off of each other. It drew me into each of their characters, which in turns makes the reader want to read their stories.
What could be better?
To some degree, I could tell that this was a first book. I have a feeling the slight reading discomforts that I had will be better in the next.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I look forward to Forged in Ice. This was an example that the risk is worth it to take a chance on someone who is self-published. There were some rough spots in readability (i.e. maybe a simile or two that should have been rewritten), but I feel that in future books that will improve. The plot was good and driving, I did not put the book down until I finished. Ms. McCallan took a situation of “fated lovers” and instead of just having them jump into bed first off; she gives them time to develop a relationship. I struggled on what to give this book, a 3-Star versus a 4-Star and finally decided that this was ultimately a well written book. It broke several “tropey” stereotypes of paranormal romances and for that, I gave it a 4-Star for its originality. I can’t wait for Forged in Ice.