Let me just say that when I was honored with the invitation to join the stable of extraordinary reviewers of, it was understood that I would not be reviewing “romance novels.” I’m more of a non-fiction and/or military thriller kinda gal. I’m definitely “rough around the edges” and like my reading material to be the same. I have no patience for the “heaving, pearly scoops of pebbling flesh” prose that most romance writers employ. Suffice it to say, when I was asked to read J.L. Saint’s new ebook original, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, by Samhain Publishing, Ltd., I raised an eyebrow at the description “romantic suspense.”

COLLATERAL DAMAGE is the first book in Ms. Saint’s Silent Warrior Series which intends to feature a military man or woman as the hero or heroine of the story. The first few books in the series involve members of a Delta Team whose mission was to extract high-profile hostages from a radical group in Lebanon. The mission goes bad, leaving a swath of physical and emotional destruction amid the survivors.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE introduces us to Jack Hunter, a Delta Soldier recovering from his wounds received during the hostage mission in Lebanon and anxious to fill in the blanks of his fractured memories. The last of which was seeing his target drop to the ground before all hell broke loose. Jack decides to go AWOL in order to get some answers by tracking down the target’s wife, Lauren Collins.

Lauren Collins is about to learn that being abandoned for a foreign plaything is the least of her soon-to-be-ex’s betrayals. Through a series of events she finds herself relying on Jack for protection of herself and her only hope in rescuing her children.

…not your father’s suspense thriller, nor is it your mother’s romance novel.

Although COLLATERAL DAMAGE does succumb to some “romance novel” formula insofar as the two main characters fall in love seemingly overnight, this is my only “complaint.” In hindsight, I have some patience for this particular shortcoming since the expedited development of the relationship makes way for the “good parts.” Ms. Saint most assuredly has a way with words when painting a picture for the mind’s eye. (In this instance, it’s good to judge a book by it’s hot cover!) Interwoven within the main plot are engaging subplots which are very interesting considering today’s current events. It’s a “fast read,” but one must pay attention to the details to truly appreciate the complexity of the story. The adult vernacular is current and occasionally unrefined, something this reader appreciated.

Ms. Saint certainly succeeds in providing a story that expresses love physically and mentally after overcoming numerous obstacles, while providing a parallel story of military intrigue, action and suspense pertinent to today’s political climate.

Honestly, I almost turned down the opportunity to read this book. I’m glad I didn’t! COLLATERAL DAMAGE is not your father’s suspense thriller, nor is it your mother’s romance novel. If you are intrigued by the cover, as was I, you won’t be disappointed by the smart story contained therein.

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About the Reviewer

K. Renae